1 Chronicles 12:23
And these are the numbers of the bands that were ready armed to the war, and came to David to Hebron, to turn the kingdom of Saul to him, according to the word of the LORD.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
II. THE NUMBER OF THE WARRIORS WHO MADE DAVID KING IN HEBRON AFTER SAUL’S DEATH (1Chronicles 12:23-40).

(23) And these are the numbers of the bands that were ready armed to the war.—Literally, And these are the numbers of the heads of the equipped for warfare. “Heads” may mean (1) polls, or individuals, as in Judges 5:30, though “skull” (gulgōleth) is more usual in this sense; or (2) it may mean “totals,” “bands,” as in Judges 7:16. The latter seems preferable here. The Vulg. and LXX. render “chiefs of the army”; but no chiefs are named in the list, except those of the Aaronites (1Chronicles 12:27-28); and we cannot suppose, on the strength of a single ambiguous term in the heading, that the character of the entire list has been altered by the chronicler. The Syriac version omits the whole verse.

And came to David.—“And” is wanting in the Heb. “They came to David at Hebron,” &c., is a parenthesis, unless the relative has fallen out.

To turn the kingdom.—Literally, to bring it round out of the direct line of natural heredity (1Chronicles 10:14).

According to the word.—Literally, mouth (1Chronicles 11:3; 1Chronicles 11:10). What Jehovah had spoken by Samuel was virtually the word of his own mouth.

1 Chronicles 12:23-24. According to the word of the Lord — Whereby he had settled the crown on David after Saul’s death. Six thousand, &c. — Who came hither in the name of their brethren: for that whole tribe adhered to David.12:23-40 When the throne of Christ is set up in a soul, there is, or ought to be, great joy in that soul; and provision is made, not as here, for a few days, but for the whole life, and for eternity. Happy are those who wisely perceive it to be their duty and interest, to submit to the Saviour Jesus Christ, the Son of David; who renounce for his sake all that is not consistent; whose earnest endeavours to do good are directed by the wisdom that God giveth, through acquaintance with his word, experience, and observation. If any man lack this wisdom, let him ask it of God, who giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not, and it shall be given him.Rather, "These are the numbers of the men, ready equipped for the host, that came to David, etc."

In the list which follows such points as

(1) The large mumber sent by the trans-Jordanic tribes;

(2) The large numbers from Zebulon, Asher, Naphtali, and Dan, all tribes somewhat remote, and generally speaking undistinguished;

(3) The small size of the contingent from Judah, which is generally represented as numerically superior to every other tribe, and which might have been expected to be especially zealous on behalf of its own prince and tribesman; throw some doubt upon the numbers, which may be suspected of having in some instances undergone corruption.

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 [374]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.

Whereby he had settled the crown upon David after Saul’s death. And these are the numbers of the bands that were ready armed to the war,.... That were trained up to it, and accounted for it:

and came to David to Hebron; after the death of Ishbosheth and Abner, and when David had reigned seven years in Hebron:

to turn the kingdom of Saul to him; to transfer it to him and his family:

according to the word of the Lord; by Samuel, which they were acquainted with; and the number of those of the children of Judah, who made him their king already, and so there was the less need of a numerous appearance of them, were 6800 armed men, 1 Chronicles 12:24, of the tribe of Simeon, valiant men, 7100, 1 Chronicles 12:25, of the children of Levi 4600, 1 Chronicles 12:26, of the Aaronites or priests, with Jehoiada the son of Benaiah, according to Jarchi and Kimchi, at the head of them, 3700, 1 Chronicles 12:27, besides Zadok, a young man of the line of Eleazar, who was made high priest in the time of Solomon, who brought with him twenty two captains, 1 Chronicles 12:28 the heads of the courses of the priests, which were afterwards twenty four, 1 Chronicles 24:4 of the tribe of Benjamin, the kindred of Saul, the greatest part of whom had been sticklers for the continuance of the kingdom in the family of Saul, 3000, 1 Chronicles 12:29, of the tribe of Ephraim, valiant men, 20,800, 1 Chronicles 12:30, of the half tribe of Manasseh on this side Jordan, whose names were pricked down, being given, to make David king, 18,000, 1 Chronicles 12:31, and of the tribe of Issachar, two hundred of the heads of them; men of knowledge and understanding, either in chronology or astrology, or in the proper seasons for husbandry, or for the fixing the beginning of years and months, and the intercalation of them, for keeping the several festivals; or rather were men of prudence and wisdom, and knew that this was the proper time for making David king, Ishbosheth and Abner his general being dead; and as they were men in high esteem for their parts and abilities, their brethren were at their beck and command, 1 Chronicles 12:30, and of the tribe of Zebulun, warlike men, skilful in war, and well armed, 50,000 men; and their numerous appearance showed that they were hearty and sincere, being the greatest number of all the tribes, 1 Chronicles 12:33, and of the tribe of Naphtali, 1000 captains, and with them armed men, 37,000, 1 Chronicles 12:34 and of the tribe of Dan, men skilled in war, 28,600, 1 Chronicles 12:35 and of the tribe of Asher, warlike men, 40,000, 1 Chronicles 12:36 and of the Reubenites, Gadites, and half tribe of Manasseh, on the other side Jordan, military men, well armed, 120,000, 1 Chronicles 12:37, which in all made 348,800 men, and upwards.

And these are the numbers of the bands that were ready armed to the war, and came to David to Hebron, to turn the kingdom of Saul to him, according to the word of the LORD.
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
23–40 (cp. 2 Samuel 5:1). The Forces which came to Hebron to make David King

23. of the bands that were ready armed to the war, and came] R.V. of the heads of them that were armet for war, which came (“heads” = “persons”).Verse 23. The bands; rather, the chief men, or captains, by one or the other of which words this same term has been several times hitherto rendered in the immediate context (yet see Judges 9:37, 44, and Judges 5:30 for yet a third signification). There follow (vers. 24-37) the numbers of each tribe (the full thirteen being enumerated) who "came with a perfect heart to Hebron, to make David king over all Israel." The large numbers of some of the joyful pilgrims to Hebron, as for instance of the trans-Jordanic tribes, the very small number that came of the tribe of Judah (in fact, lowest but one, i.e. Benjamin, and yet nearest home), and of some others, help to invest with doubt the numerals of this passage, although it is not at all difficult to suggest some very passable explanations of these phenomena. This doubt is not lessened by the total, which, according to this list, must make a figure between three hundred and forty thousand and three hundred and fifty thousand men. To the host have to be added, as we are expressly told, the "asses, camels, mules, and oxen," which carried the "bread, meat, meal, cakes of figs and bunches of raisins, and wine, and oil, and oxen, and sheep in abundance," for the consumption of the host during their "three days' "stay "with David," and their journeys to and fro. In the presence of such numbers, and the celebration of such an occasion, Hebron must indeed have beheld the reflection of its own probable meaning, of the "fellowship" or "community" of society. To turn the kingdom of Saul to him (so 1 Chronicles 10:14). The phrase is not a common one. According to the word of the Lord (so 1 Chronicles 11:3; 1 Samuel 16:1, 12, 13). There came to David in the mountain-fastness also men of Benjamin and Judah (cf. 1 Chronicles 12:8). Their names are not in the lists, possibly because they were not handed down in the historical works made use of by the chronicler. At their head, as we learn from 1 Chronicles 12:18, stood Amasai, chief of the thirty, i.e., of the corps formed of the thirty heroes (see 1 Chronicles 11:11), although his name does not occur in the catalogue, 1 Chronicles 11. According to this, Amasai must have occupied a very important position under David; but since the name עמשׂי is not elsewhere mentioned in the history of David, the older commentators have conjectured that עמשׂי may have been the same person as עמשׂא, son of Abigail (1 Chronicles 2:17), whom Absalom made captain in Joab's place, and whom David, after the victory over the rebels, wished to make commander-in-chief in the room of Joab, and whom for that reason Joab afterwards murdered (2 Samuel 17:25; 2 Samuel 19:14; 2 Samuel 20:4, 2 Samuel 20:8.); or identical with אבשׁי the son of Zeruiah, 1 Chronicles 2:16 and 1 Chronicles 11:20. Of these conjectures the first is much more probable than the second. To meet these men, David went forth from his fastness, and asked them with what purpose they came to him. "If for peace," to stand by him, "then shall there be to me towards you a heart for union," i.e., I will be with you of one heart, be true to you. ליחד לבב is plainer than אחד לב, 1 Chronicles 12:38. "But if לרמּותני, to practise deceit against me (to be guilty of a מרמה) for mine enemies (to deliver me to them), although there be no wrong in my hands, the God of our fathers look thereon and punish;" cf. 2 Chronicles 24:22. The God of our fathers, i.e., of the patriarchs (cf. Ezra 7:27; 2 Chronicles 20:6, and Exodus 3:13.), who rules in and over Israel, who shields the innocent and punishes the guilty.
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