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Go to Bible: 1 Chronicles 12
“at Ziklag.” This was very early (1 Sam. 27:6-7), before the men of Judah anointed David king over the tribe of Judah (2 Sam. 2:4). It is important to note that many of the men who came over to David before he was anointed are not from Judah, and some were even from Saul’s tribe, the tribe of Benjamin (see commentary on 1 Chron. 12:23).(top)
“they were of Saul’s relatives from Benjamin.” These men were relatives of King Saul, but they followed David and supported him.(top)
|1Ch 12:3||- (top)|
“Ishmaiah the Gibeonite, a mighty man among the thirty, and over the thirty.” The leadership of the 30 changed over the years. 1 Chronicles 12:4 says that Isahmaiah was the leader.(top)
|1Ch 12:5||- (top)|
|1Ch 12:6||- (top)|
|1Ch 12:7||- (top)|
“Men from the Gadites went over to David to the stronghold in the wilderness.” Here we see more Israelite men defecting from Saul’s kingdom to support David even before David was anointed king over Judah.(top)
|1Ch 12:9||- (top)|
|1Ch 12:10||- (top)|
|1Ch 12:11||- (top)|
|1Ch 12:12||- (top)|
|1Ch 12:13||- (top)|
|1Ch 12:14||- (top)|
“went over the Jordan in the first month when it had overflowed all its banks.” The tribe of Gad was located in the Transjordan, east of the Jordan River, but they were so determined to support David that they crossed over the Jordan River even though it was at flood stage rather than waiting a couple of months for it to go into its smaller summer size when the crossing was much easier and safer.
“and they put to flight all those who lived in the valleys.” The Hebrew reads, “and they put to flight all the valleys,” in which “valleys” seems to be a metonymy for those people who lived in the valleys. This would naturally point to the fighting prowess of the men of the tribe of Gad who were joining David.(top)
“of the sons of Benjamin.” These men were defecting to David from Saul’s own tribe of Benjamin.(top)
|1Ch 12:17||- (top)|
“and he said,” This is a great example of God putting His gift of holy spirit upon someone who was not generally known as a prophet, who then gave a very powerful word of prophecy to David.
“helpers.” The Hebrew is singular, but it is a collective singular for all those who help. The Septuagint has the plural.(top)
“And some men from Manasseh defected to David.” These are more men defecting from King Saul to David even before David was anointed king over Judah.
“David.” The Hebrew text says “him,” but the REV added “David” for clarity.
“master.” This is a grammatical plural; the Hebrew text reads “masters,” but it refers to King Saul.
“He will defect to his master Saul at the cost of our heads.” It seems that the Philistine leaders thought that David would buy back his favor with King Saul by turning on the Philistines and killing them. There is no “if” in the sentence although many versions put it in the text.(top)
|1Ch 12:20||- (top)|
“the band of raiders.” This particular raiding band seems to be the group of Amalakites who attacked Ziklag (1 Sam. 30) or, it could have been earlier when Daivd was raiding the nomadic people in the Negev who themselves traveled in bands (1 Sam. 8-12).(top)
|1Ch 12:22||- (top)|
“who came to David at Hebron to turn the kingdom of Saul over to him.” 1 Chronicles 12 shows that David was God’s choice for the king of Israel by the support he got from every single tribe of Israel, not just from his own tribe of Judah. Before Saul died and while David was running away from Saul, David had already gotten support from the tribes of Benjamin (1 Chron. 12:2, 4), Gad (1 Chron. 12:8), Manasseh (1 Chron. 12:20), and very likely from other tribes as well (1 Chron. 12:22). Then, after Saul died, David moved to Hebron and was crowned king by the tribe of Judah (2 Sam. 2:4). However, he was challenged for the kingship of Israel by Saul’s son Ish-bosheth because after Saul died, Saul’s general, Abner, had taken Saul’s son Ish-bosheth and set him up as king over Israel in competition with David (2 Sam. 2:4-11).
Nevertheless, people from every tribe of Israel recognized that David was God’s choice as the true king of Israel and supported him instead of supporting Ish-bosheth. 1 Chronicles 12:23-38 lists tribes that had men who came to Hebron in support of David, and every tribe of Israel is specifically mentioned: The tribe of Judah (v. 24), Simeon (v. 25), Levi (v. 26), Benjamin (v. 29), Ephraim (v. 30), the western half-tribe of Manasseh (v. 31), Issachar (v. 32), Zebulun (v. 33), Naphtali (v. 34), Dan (v. 35), Asher (v. 36), Reuben (v. 37) Gad (v. 37), and the Transjordan half-tribe of Manasseh (v. 37). In showing this universal support for David, Chronicles is showing that David was truly God’s choice for the king of Israel and godly people knew it. We now know what at that time neither David nor the people knew: that David’s dynasty would lead to Messiah, and indeed, “the throne of David” is the throne of the legitimate king of Israel and would ultimately be given to the Messiah (cp. Ps. 2; 110; Isa. 9:7; 16:5). In fact, one way that the angel made it clear to Mary that the son she was going to give birth to was the promised Messiah was that he said to her, “the Lord God will give to him the throne of his father David.” At the time Mary lived, the “throne of David” had been vacant for over 500 years since the Babylonian Captivity, but it will be occupied one final time, by the Messiah himself, and he will reign forever.
“the mouth of Yahweh.” The word “mouth” is a metonymy for what is spoken by the mouth, a “word” or “command” or “decree.” It was God’s decree that David would be the true king of Israel (cp. 1 Sam. 15:28-29; 2 Sam. 3:17-21; 5:1-4).(top)
|1Ch 12:24||- (top)|
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“who had understanding of the times to know what Israel ought to do.” In this context, this phrase simply seems to refer to the fact that these men knew that David was God’s chosen king.(top)
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|1Ch 12:38||- (top)|
“for their relatives had made preparation for them.” These men who came to support David had brought provisions with them from their homes so they would have food to eat while they got settled around David. The Chronicler is making the point that even many of those Israelites who did not come to support David in Judah supported David from their homes in the way that they could by providing food (see 1 Chron. 12:40).(top)
|1Ch 12:40||- (top)|