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David’s Followers in the Wilderness

12

The following are those who came to David at Ziklag, while he could not move about freely because of Saul son of Kish; they were among the mighty warriors who helped him in war. 2They were archers, and could shoot arrows and sling stones with either the right hand or the left; they were Benjaminites, Saul’s kindred. 3The chief was Ahiezer, then Joash, both sons of Shemaah of Gibeah; also Jeziel and Pelet sons of Azmaveth; Beracah, Jehu of Anathoth, 4Ishmaiah of Gibeon, a warrior among the Thirty and a leader over the Thirty; Jeremiah, Jahaziel, Johanan, Jozabad of Gederah, 5Eluzai, Jerimoth, Bealiah, Shemariah, Shephatiah the Haruphite; 6Elkanah, Isshiah, Azarel, Joezer, and Jashobeam, the Korahites; 7and Joelah and Zebadiah, sons of Jeroham of Gedor.

8 From the Gadites there went over to David at the stronghold in the wilderness mighty and experienced warriors, expert with shield and spear, whose faces were like the faces of lions, and who were swift as gazelles on the mountains: 9Ezer the chief, Obadiah second, Eliab third, 10Mishmannah fourth, Jeremiah fifth, 11Attai sixth, Eliel seventh, 12Johanan eighth, Elzabad ninth, 13Jeremiah tenth, Machbannai eleventh. 14These Gadites were officers of the army, the least equal to a hundred and the greatest to a thousand. 15These are the men who crossed the Jordan in the first month, when it was overflowing all its banks, and put to flight all those in the valleys, to the east and to the west.

16 Some Benjaminites and Judahites came to the stronghold to David. 17David went out to meet them and said to them, “If you have come to me in friendship, to help me, then my heart will be knit to you; but if you have come to betray me to my adversaries, though my hands have done no wrong, then may the God of our ancestors see and give judgment.” 18Then the spirit came upon Amasai, chief of the Thirty, and he said,

 

“We are yours, O David;

and with you, O son of Jesse!

Peace, peace to you,

and peace to the one who helps you!

For your God is the one who helps you.”

 

Then David received them, and made them officers of his troops.

19 Some of the Manassites deserted to David when he came with the Philistines for the battle against Saul. (Yet he did not help them, for the rulers of the Philistines took counsel and sent him away, saying, “He will desert to his master Saul at the cost of our heads.”) 20As he went to Ziklag these Manassites deserted to him: Adnah, Jozabad, Jediael, Michael, Jozabad, Elihu, and Zillethai, chiefs of the thousands in Manasseh. 21They helped David against the band of raiders, for they were all warriors and commanders in the army. 22Indeed from day to day people kept coming to David to help him, until there was a great army, like an army of God.

David’s Army at Hebron

23 These are the numbers of the divisions of the armed troops who came to David in Hebron to turn the kingdom of Saul over to him, according to the word of the Lord. 24The people of Judah bearing shield and spear numbered six thousand eight hundred armed troops. 25Of the Simeonites, mighty warriors, seven thousand one hundred. 26Of the Levites four thousand six hundred. 27Jehoiada, leader of the house of Aaron, and with him three thousand seven hundred. 28Zadok, a young warrior, and twenty-two commanders from his own ancestral house. 29Of the Benjaminites, the kindred of Saul, three thousand, of whom the majority had continued to keep their allegiance to the house of Saul. 30Of the Ephraimites, twenty thousand eight hundred, mighty warriors, notables in their ancestral houses. 31Of the half-tribe of Manasseh, eighteen thousand, who were expressly named to come and make David king. 32Of Issachar, those who had understanding of the times, to know what Israel ought to do, two hundred chiefs, and all their kindred under their command. 33Of Zebulun, fifty thousand seasoned troops, equipped for battle with all the weapons of war, to help David with singleness of purpose. 34Of Naphtali, a thousand commanders, with whom there were thirty-seven thousand armed with shield and spear. 35Of the Danites, twenty-eight thousand six hundred equipped for battle. 36Of Asher, forty thousand seasoned troops ready for battle. 37Of the Reubenites and Gadites and the half-tribe of Manasseh from beyond the Jordan, one hundred twenty thousand armed with all the weapons of war.

38 All these, warriors arrayed in battle order, came to Hebron with full intent to make David king over all Israel; likewise all the rest of Israel were of a single mind to make David king. 39They were there with David for three days, eating and drinking, for their kindred had provided for them. 40And also their neighbors, from as far away as Issachar and Zebulun and Naphtali, came bringing food on donkeys, camels, mules, and oxen—abundant provisions of meal, cakes of figs, clusters of raisins, wine, oil, oxen, and sheep, for there was joy in Israel.


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1Ch 12:1-22. The Companies That Came to David at Ziklag.

1-7. Now these are they that came to David to Ziklag—There are three lists given in this chapter, arranged, apparently, according to the order of time when the parties joined the standard of David.

while he yet kept himself close because of Saul—that is, when the king's jealousy had driven him into exile from the court and the country.

Ziklag—(See on 1Sa 27:6). It was during his retirement in that Philistine town that he was joined in rapid succession by the heroes who afterwards contributed so much to the glory of his reign.

2. of Saul's brethren of Benjamin—that is, of the tribe of Benjamin (compare 1Ch 12:29), but some of them might be relatives of the king. This movement to which the parties were led, doubtless by the secret impulse of the Spirit, was of vast importance to the cause of David, as it must have been founded on their observation of the evident withdrawal of God's blessing from Saul, and His favoring presence with David, to whom it was universally known the Divine King of Israel had given the crown in reversion. The accession of the Benjamites who came first and their resolution to share his fortunes must have been particularly grateful to David. It was a public and emphatic testimony by those who had enjoyed the best means of information to the unblemished excellence of his character, as well as a decided protest against the grievous wrong inflicted by causelessly outlawing a man who had rendered such eminent services to his country.

4. Ismaiah the Gibeonite—It appears that not only the Canaanites who were admitted into the congregation (Jos 9:1-27), but people of the tribe of Benjamin, were among the inhabitants of Gibeon. The mention of "the Gederathite," probably from Gederah (Jos 15:36), in the lowlands of Judah; of the Korhites (1Ch 12:6), from Korah (1Ch 2:43), and of Gedor (1Ch 12:7), a town in Judah, to the southwest of Beth-lehem (compare 1Ch 4:4), shows that this first list contains men of Judah as well as Benjamin [Bertheau].

8-13. of the Gadites there separated themselves unto David—that is, from the service of Saul and from the rest of the Gadites who remained steadfast adherents of his cause.

into the hold—or fortress, that is, of Ziklag, which was in the wilderness of Judah.

whose faces were like the faces of lions, &c.—A fierce, lion-like countenance (2Sa 1:23), and great agility in pursuit (2Sa 2:18), were qualities of the highest estimation in ancient warfare.

14. one of the least was over an hundred, and the greatest over a thousand—David, while at Ziklag, had not so large an amount of forces as to give to each of these the command of so many men. Another meaning, therefore, must obviously be sought, and excluding was, which is a supplement by our translators, the import of the passage is, that one of the least could discomfit a hundred, and the greatest was worth a thousand ordinary men; a strong hyperbole to express their uncommon valor.

15. These are they that went over Jordan in the first month—that is, in spring, when the swollen river generally fills up the banks of its channel (see on Jos 3:14; Jos 4:19; Jos 5:10).

they put to flight all them of the valleys—This was probably done at the time of their separating themselves and their purpose being discovered, they had to cut their passage through the opposing adherents of Saul, both on the eastern and western banks. The impossibility of taking the fords at such a time, and the violent rapidity of the current, make this crossing of the Jordan—in whatever way these Gadites accomplished it—a remarkable feat.

16. the children of Benjamin and Judah—It is probable that the Benjamites invited the Judahites to accompany them, in order to prevent David being suspicious of them. Their anticipations, as the result showed, were well founded. He did suspect them, but the doubts of David as to their object in repairing to him, were promptly dispelled by Amasai or Amasa, who, by the secret impulse of the Spirit, assured him of their strong attachment and their zealous service from a unanimous conviction that his cause was owned and blessed of God (1Sa 18:12-14).

19-22. there fell some of Manasseh—The period of their accession is fixed as the time when David came with the Philistines against Saul to battle.

but they helped them not—(See on 1Sa 29:4).

20. As he went to Ziklag—If those Manassites joined him on his return to Ziklag, after his dismissal from the Philistine army, then their arrival took place before the battle of Gilboa could have been fought (compare 1Sa 29:11). Convinced of the desperate state of Saul's affairs, they abandoned him, and resolved to transfer their allegiance to David. But some learned men think that they came as fugitives from that disastrous field [Calmet and Ewald].

captains of the thousands … of Manasseh—Those seven were commanders of the large military divisions of their tribe.

21, 22. they helped David against the band—that is, the Amalekites who had pillaged Ziklag in David's absence. This military expedition was made by all his men (1Sa 30:9), who, as David's early helpers, are specially distinguished from those who are mentioned in the latter portion of the chapter.

22. the host of God—that is, a great and powerful army.

1Ch 12:23-40. The Armies That Came to Him at Hebron.

23. these are the numbers of the bands … that came to David to Hebron—after the death of Ish-bosheth (see on 2Sa 5:1).

to turn the kingdom of Saul to him, according to the word of the Lord—(1Ch 10:14; 11:3, 10). The account commences with the southern tribes, Levi being associated with Judah and Simeon, as the great majority of the leading men in this tribe resided in Judah; and, after recounting the representatives of the northern tribes, it concludes with those on the east of Jordan.

27. Jehoiada, the leader of the Aaronites—not the high priest, for that was Abiathar (1Sa 23:9), but the leader of the Aaronite warriors, supposed to be the father of Benaiah (1Ch 11:22).

29. Benjamin … three thousand—This small number shows the unpopularity of the movement in this tribe; and, indeed, it is expressly stated that the mass of the population had, even after Ish-bosheth's death, anxiously endeavored to secure the crown in the family of Saul.

32. children of Issachar, … that had understanding of the times, &c.—Jewish writers say that the people of this tribe were eminent for their acquirements in astronomical and physical science; and the object of the remark was probably to show that the intelligent and learned classes were united with the military, and had declared for David.

33. Zebulun … could keep rank—that is, were more disciplined soldiers than the rest.

not of double heart—Though their numbers were large, all were in a high degree well affected to David.

38. all the rest also of Israel were of one heart to make David king—that is, entertained a unanimous desire for his elevation.

39, 40. there they were with David three days, eating and drinking—According to the statements made in the preceding verses, the number of armed warriors assembled in Hebron on this occasion amounted to three hundred thousand. Supplies of provisions were abundantly furnished, not only by the people of the neighborhood, but from distant parts of the country, for all wished the festivities to be on a scale of liberality and magnificence suitable to the auspicious occasion.




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