1 Chronicles 12:29
Parallel Verses
English Standard Version
Of the Benjaminites, the kinsmen of Saul, 3,000, of whom the majority had to that point kept their allegiance to the house of Saul.

King James Bible
And of the children of Benjamin, the kindred of Saul, three thousand: for hitherto the greatest part of them had kept the ward of the house of Saul.

American Standard Version
And of the children of Benjamin, the brethren of Saul, three thousand: for hitherto the greatest part of them had kept their allegiance to the house of Saul.

Douay-Rheims Bible
And of the sons of Benjamin the brethren of Saul, three thousand: for hitherto a great part of them followed the house of Saul.

English Revised Version
And of the children of Benjamin, the brethren of Saul, three thousand: for hitherto the greatest part of them had kept their allegiance to the house of Saul.

Webster's Bible Translation
And of the children of Benjamin, the kindred of Saul, three thousand: for hitherto the greatest part of them had kept the ward of the house of Saul.

1 Chronicles 12:29 Parallel
Keil and Delitzsch Biblical Commentary on the Old Testament

List of the warriors who made David king in Hebron. - The superscription (1 Chronicles 12:23) runs: "These are the numbers of the bands of the men equipped for war, who came," etc. החלוּץ is a collective noun, denoting the equipped manhood. ראשׁי signifies here, not principes exercitus, as the Vulgate renders it, heads, i.e., leaders of the army (Berth.), but literally denotes sums, i.e., companies, bands of soldiers, as in Judges 7:16, Judges 7:20; Judges 9:34, Judges 9:37, Judges 9:44; 1 Samuel 11:1; or it may perhaps also be heads for individuals, as ראשׁ in Judges 5:30. Both these meanings are linguistically certain; so that we cannot say, with Bertheau, that ראשׁי before החלוּץ denotes, according to the well-ascertained use of language, leaders of the army, and that גלגלת would have been used had it been wished to express the number by heads, e.g., 1 Chronicles 23:3-24. That use of the word is indeed also found, but it cannot be proved to be the only proper one. If we take ראשׁי here to denote leaders, we bring the superscription into irreconcilable contradiction with the contents of the following catalogue, which gives the names of the heads and the number of the warriors (1 Chronicles 12:27.) only in the case of the families of Aaron, and in that of Issachar the number of the princes; while in the case of the other tribes we have only the numbers of the bands or detachments. This contradiction cannot be got rid of, as Bertheau imagines, by the hypothesis that the superscription referred originally to a catalogue which was throughout similar in plan to that which we find in 1 Chronicles 12:26-28, and that the author of the Chronicle has very considerably abridged the more detailed statements of the original documents which he used. This hypothesis is a mere makeshift, in which we have the less need "to take refuge," as the catalogue has neither the appearance of having been abridged or revised by the author of our Chronicle. It is shown to be a faithful copy of a more ancient authority, both by the characteristic remarks which it contains on the individual tribes, and by the inequality in the numbers. Bertheau, indeed, derives support for his hypothesis "from the inequality of the statements of number, and their relation to each other," and upon that ground throws doubt upon the accuracy and correctness of the numbers, but in both cases without sufficient warrant. If we place the respective statements together synoptically, we see that there came to David to Hebron -

Of the tribe of: Judah 6,800 men Of the tribe of: Simeon 7,100 men Of the tribe of: Leviticus 4,600 men With Jehoiada the prince of Aaron 3,700 men With Zadok and his father's-house 22 שׂרים (captains) Of the tribe of: Benjamin 3,000 men Of the tribe of: Ephraim 20,800 men Of the half-tribe of: Manasseh 18,000 men Of the tribe of: Issachar 200 chiefs and all their brethren Of the tribe of: Zebulun 50,000 men Of the tribe of: Naphtali 37,000 men with 1000 שׂרים Of the tribe of: Daniel 28,000 men Of the tribe of: Asher 40,000 men Of two and a half trans-Jordanic tribes 120,000 men Total 336,600 men with 1222 heads and captains

The total is not objected to by Bertheau, and its correctness is placed beyond a doubt by the recollection that we have here to do not with the representation of the various estates of the kingdom, but with a declaration of the will of the whole nation, who wished to make David their king. We must, if we are to estimate these statements, endeavour to go back in imagination to the circumstances of that time when Israel, although settled in the land, had not quite laid aside the character of a nation of warriors, in which every man capable of bearing arms marched to battle with, and for, his king. Now if the total number of fighting men in Israel was 600,000 in the time of Moses, and if, when the people were numbered in the last year of David's reign, there were in Israel 800,000, and in Judah 500,000 (2 Samuel 24:9), - the Levites being excluded in both cases - the 340,000 men of all the tribes, except Issachar, in reference to which no number is given, or after subtracting Judah and Levi, the 324,500 men out of the remaining tribes, is not much more than a half of the men capable of bearing arms in Moses' time, and about a fourth part of the fighting population towards the end of David's reign. But the relation of the numbers in the respective tribes, on the contrary, is somewhat surprising, and calls forth from Bertheau the following remarks: "To Judah, David's tribe, which from the earliest time had been famous for its numbers and its powers, 6800 are assigned; to Zebulun, on the contrary, 50,000; to Naphtali, 1000 princes at the head of 37,000 warriors; to the two and a half East-Jordanic tribes, 120,000 men, etc. How does it happen that Zebulun and Naphtali, for example, two tribes that play no great part in Israel's history, are so strongly represented, while Judah sends only a relatively small number of warriors?" To this question we answer, that Judah's being represented by a number of warriors relatively so small, is accounted for simply by the fact that David had already been king over Judah for seven years, and consequently that tribe did not need to make him king by coming with the whole of its warriors, or the majority of them, when the other tribes were doing homage to David, but sent only a small number of its male population to this solemn act, who were witnesses in the name of the whole tribe to the homage proffered by the others. The same remark applies to the tribe of Simeon, whose domain was enclosed by that of Judah, and which had consequently recognised David as king at the same time as the larger tribe. In regard to the numbers of the other tribes, Levi had in the last year of David's reign 38,000 men from thirty years old and upwards (1 Chronicles 23:3); and when here only 4600 Levites, besides the priestly families, are spoken of, the question arises, whether this number is to be understood to refer to the Levites in all the tribes, or only to those dwelling outside of Judah and Simeon, in the cities assigned to them by Moses and Joshua. The smallness of the number (3000) from the tribe of Benjamin is explained by the remark that the majority of this tribe still held to the house of Saul (1 Chronicles 12:29). The only thing which is at all remarkable about the other numbers is, that the Ephraimites are so few (20,800 men) in contrast to the 180,000 men brought into the field by the half-tribe of Manasseh. But if we consider that Ephraim, which at the first census under Moses at Sinai had 40,500 men, had decreased to 32,500 at the second census in the wilderness of Moab, it is not improbable that at the time now treated of that tribe may not have been very strong in fighting men. For in Saul's last war with the Philistines, when they had pressed forward so far as Mount Gilboa, and also in Abner's struggle on behalf of King Ishbosheth for the re-conquest of the territory occupied by them, it probably suffered more, and was more weakened, than any of the other tribes. Perhaps also we may add that Ephraim, owing to its jealousy of Judah, which dates from the time of the judges, was not very much disposed to make David king over all Israel. That Zebulun and Naphtali are here so numerously represented, although they do not otherwise play an important part, is no reason for suspecting that the numbers given are incorrect. Since Zebulun under Moses numbered 57,400 men, and at a later time 60,500, and Naphtali 53,400 and 45,400 men capable of bearing arms respectively on the same occasions (see t. i. 2, S. 192); the first named tribe may easily have sent 50,000, the other 37,000 men to David, as the tribes dwelling in the north had been least affected by the wars which Israel carried on in the second half of the period of the judges and under Saul. Both of these tribes, too, are praised in the song of Deborah as a people ready to risk their lives for their fatherland (Judges 5:18), and may have very much increased in the succeeding time. And besides all this, the tribes Asher, Reuben, Gad, and the half-tribe of Manasseh are indeed more feebly represented than Zebulun, but more strongly than Naphtali. There therefore remains no reason for doubting the historical accuracy of the numbers given; but it is of course to be understood that the numbers, which are stated only in hundreds, are not the result of an enumeration of the individual persons, but only of an estimate of the various detachments according to the military partition of the tribes.

In regard to להסב מ, cf. 1 Chronicles 10:14; and as to יהוה כּפי, see the remark on יהוה כּדבר, 1 Chronicles 11:3, 1 Chronicles 11:10.

1 Chronicles 12:29 Parallel Commentaries

Treasury of Scripture Knowledge

kindred [heb] brethren

1 Chronicles 12:2 They were armed with bows, and could use both the right hand and the left in hurling stones and shooting arrows out of a bow...

Genesis 31:23 And he took his brothers with him, and pursued after him seven days' journey; and they overtook him in the mount Gilead.

the greatest part of them [heb] a multitude of them

2 Samuel 2:8,9 But Abner the son of Ner, captain of Saul's host, took Ishbosheth the son of Saul, and brought him over to Mahanaim...

Cross References
2 Samuel 2:8
But Abner the son of Ner, commander of Saul's army, took Ish-bosheth the son of Saul and brought him over to Mahanaim,

2 Samuel 2:9
and he made him king over Gilead and the Ashurites and Jezreel and Ephraim and Benjamin and all Israel.

2 Samuel 3:19
Abner also spoke to Benjamin. And then Abner went to tell David at Hebron all that Israel and the whole house of Benjamin thought good to do.

1 Chronicles 12:2
They were bowmen and could shoot arrows and sling stones with either the right or the left hand; they were Benjaminites, Saul's kinsmen.

1 Chronicles 12:30
Of the Ephraimites 20,800, mighty men of valor, famous men in their fathers' houses.

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