Now the children of Israel after their number, to wit, the chief fathers and captains of thousands and hundreds, and their officers that served the king in any matter of the courses, which came in and went out month by month throughout all the months of the year, of every course were twenty and four thousand.This verse is a general heading to the list 1 Chronicles 27:2-15. The heading has been taken from some fuller and more elaborate description of David's army, whereof the writer of Chronicles gives us only an abridgement. Omitting the captains of thousands, the captains of hundreds, and the officers (probably "scribes") who served the king, he contents himself with recording the "chief fathers" or heads of the divisions 1 Chronicles 28:1, and the number of Iraelites in each course.
Over the first course for the first month was Jashobeam the son of Zabdiel: and in his course were twenty and four thousand.Jashobeam - Jashobeam is mentioned in marginal references as the chief of David's mighty men. He is called in 1 Chronicles 11:11 "the son of Hachmoni." We learn from 1 Chronicles 27:3 that he was of the tribe of Judah, being descended from Perez (or Pharez), the son of Judah, from whom David himself sprang. See 1 Chronicles 2:3-15.
Of the children of Perez was the chief of all the captains of the host for the first month.
And over the course of the second month was Dodai an Ahohite, and of his course was Mikloth also the ruler: in his course likewise were twenty and four thousand.Dodai The words "Eleazar, son of," have probably fallen out before Dodai (or Dodo). According to Jewish tradition, EIeazar 1 Chronicles 11:12 was cousin to David; his father, Dodai, being Jesse's brother. Mikloth was probably second in command to Eleazar.
The third captain of the host for the third month was Benaiah the son of Jehoiada, a chief priest: and in his course were twenty and four thousand.A chief priest - Rather, "the chief priest" - an expression by which is meant, not the high priest, but probably the high priest's deputy, who is sometimes called "the second priest" 2 Kings 25:18.
This is that Benaiah, who was mighty among the thirty, and above the thirty: and in his course was Ammizabad his son.
The fourth captain for the fourth month was Asahel the brother of Joab, and Zebadiah his son after him: and in his course were twenty and four thousand.Asahel died before the courses, as here described, could have been instituted. Perhaps the arrangements of David in his later years were based upon institutions belonging to the period of his reign at Hebron.
The fifth captain for the fifth month was Shamhuth the Izrahite: and in his course were twenty and four thousand.
The sixth captain for the sixth month was Ira the son of Ikkesh the Tekoite: and in his course were twenty and four thousand.
The seventh captain for the seventh month was Helez the Pelonite, of the children of Ephraim: and in his course were twenty and four thousand.
The eighth captain for the eighth month was Sibbecai the Hushathite, of the Zarhites: and in his course were twenty and four thousand.
The ninth captain for the ninth month was Abiezer the Anetothite, of the Benjamites: and in his course were twenty and four thousand.
The tenth captain for the tenth month was Maharai the Netophathite, of the Zarhites: and in his course were twenty and four thousand.
The eleventh captain for the eleventh month was Benaiah the Pirathonite, of the children of Ephraim: and in his course were twenty and four thousand.
The twelfth captain for the twelfth month was Heldai the Netophathite, of Othniel: and in his course were twenty and four thousand.
Furthermore over the tribes of Israel: the ruler of the Reubenites was Eliezer the son of Zichri: of the Simeonites, Shephatiah the son of Maachah:Gad and Asher are omitted from this list of the tribes. Similarly, Dan and Zebulon are omitted from the genealogical survey of the tribes 1 Chronicles 4-8. We can only suppose that the lists, as they came down to the writer of Chronicles, were incomplete. The "rulers" or "princes" of the tribes appear to have been the oldest lineal descendants of the patriarchs according to the law of primogeniture.
Of the Levites, Hashabiah the son of Kemuel: of the Aaronites, Zadok:
Of Judah, Elihu, one of the brethren of David: of Issachar, Omri the son of Michael:
Of Zebulun, Ishmaiah the son of Obadiah: of Naphtali, Jerimoth the son of Azriel:
Of the children of Ephraim, Hoshea the son of Azaziah: of the half tribe of Manasseh, Joel the son of Pedaiah:
Of the half tribe of Manasseh in Gilead, Iddo the son of Zechariah: of Benjamin, Jaasiel the son of Abner:
Of Dan, Azareel the son of Jeroham. These were the princes of the tribes of Israel.
But David took not the number of them from twenty years old and under: because the LORD had said he would increase Israel like to the stars of the heavens.David's numbering of the people was therefore a military arrangement in order to fix the amount of his standing army. To the general Oriental prejudice against numbering possessions, etc., there was added in the case of the Jews a special objection - a feeling that it would be irreverent to attempt to count what God had promised should be countless.
Joab the son of Zeruiah began to number, but he finished not, because there fell wrath for it against Israel; neither was the number put in the account of the chronicles of king David.Because there fell wrath - literally, "And there fell wrath." The falling of God's wrath was not the cause of Joab's ceasing. His motive is clearly stated in 1 Chronicles 21:6. See also the marginal references.
Neither was the number ... - The meaning is, that in the portion of the chronicles of King David which treated of numbers - the number of the standing army, of the Levitical and priestly courses, the singers, etc. - the return of the number of the people made by Joab was not entered. The disastrous circumstances which followed on the taking of the census perhaps produced a feeling that God might he further provoked by its being put on record in the state archives. The numbers which have come down to us must therefore have been derived from private sources.
And over the king's treasures was Azmaveth the son of Adiel: and over the storehouses in the fields, in the cities, and in the villages, and in the castles, was Jehonathan the son of Uzziah:This section is important as showing that David, the younger son of a not very opulent family 1 Samuel 16:11, 1 Samuel 16:20, had now become a large landed proprietor, as well as a capitalist, possessed of much moveable wealth. We may perhaps see the sources of both these kinds of property, in the successful wars which he had waged 1 Samuel 27:8-9; 1 Samuel 30:20; 2 Samuel 8:4, 2 Samuel 8:7-8, 2 Samuel 8:12; in the revenue derived from subject kings 1 Samuel 8:2, 1 Samuel 8:14; 1 Samuel 10:19; and in the purchase and occupation of lands in different places. Further, he enjoyed, of course, the usual rights of a Jewish king over the landed property of his subjects, and was thus entitled to receive a tithe of the produce in tithes (1 Samuel 8:15, 1 Samuel 8:17) and in "benevolences." Compare 1 Samuel 10:27; 1 Samuel 16:20, etc.
And over them that did the work of the field for tillage of the ground was Ezri the son of Chelub:
And over the vineyards was Shimei the Ramathite: over the increase of the vineyards for the wine cellars was Zabdi the Shiphmite:
And over the olive trees and the sycomore trees that were in the low plains was Baalhanan the Gederite: and over the cellars of oil was Joash:In the low plains - Rather, "in the Shephelah," the proper name of the low tract between the hill country of Judaea and the Mediterranean.
And over the herds that fed in Sharon was Shitrai the Sharonite: and over the herds that were in the valleys was Shaphat the son of Adlai:
Over the camels also was Obil the Ishmaelite: and over the asses was Jehdeiah the Meronothite:
And over the flocks was Jaziz the Hagerite. All these were the rulers of the substance which was king David's.
Also Jonathan David's uncle was a counseller, a wise man, and a scribe: and Jehiel the son of Hachmoni was with the king's sons:A list - supplemental in character - of some chief officers of David, not mentioned before. The list cannot belong to a very late part of David's reign, since it contains the name of Ahithophel, who killed himself during Absalom's rebellion 2 Samuel 17:23.
And Ahithophel was the king's counseller: and Hushai the Archite was the king's companion:Was the king's companion - or, "king's friend," as in 1 Kings 4:5. Compare also 2 Samuel 16:17.
And after Ahithophel was Jehoiada the son of Benaiah, and Abiathar: and the general of the king's army was Joab.After Ahithophel - i. e., next in counsel to Ahithophel: inferior to him, but superior to all others.