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Clarke's Commentary on the Bible
The different persons, captains, etc., who joined themselves to David at Ziklag, vv. 1-22. Those who joined him at Hebron, out of the different tribes; Judah, Simeon, Levi, the house of Aaron, Benjamin, Ephraim, Manasseh, Issachar, Zebulun, Naphtali, Dan, Asher, Reuben, etc., to the amount of a hundred and twenty thousand, 1 Chronicles 12:23-37. Their unanimity, and the provisions they brought for his support, 1 Chronicles 12:38-40.
1Now these are they that came to David to Ziklag, while he yet kept himself close because of Saul the son of Kish: and they were among the mighty men, helpers of the war.
Came to David to Ziklag - Achish, king of Gath, had given Ziklag to David, as a safe retreat from the wrath of Saul.
2They were armed with bows, and could use both the right hand and the left in hurling stones and shooting arrows out of a bow, even of Saul's brethren of Benjamin.
3The chief was Ahiezer, then Joash, the sons of Shemaah the Gibeathite; and Jeziel, and Pelet, the sons of Azmaveth; and Berachah, and Jehu the Antothite,
4And Ismaiah the Gibeonite, a mighty man among the thirty, and over the thirty; and Jeremiah, and Jahaziel, and Johanan, and Josabad the Gederathite,
5Eluzai, and Jerimoth, and Bealiah, and Shemariah, and Shephatiah the Haruphite,
6Elkanah, and Jesiah, and Azareel, and Joezer, and Jashobeam, the Korhites,
7And Joelah, and Zebadiah, the sons of Jeroham of Gedor.
8And of the Gadites there separated themselves unto David into the hold to the wilderness men of might, and men of war fit for the battle, that could handle shield and buckler, whose faces were like the faces of lions, and were as swift as the roes upon the mountains;
And were as swift as the roes - That swiftness was considered to be a grand accomplishment in a warrior, appears from all ancient writings which treat of military affairs.
9Ezer the first, Obadiah the second, Eliab the third,
10Mishmannah the fourth, Jeremiah the fifth,
11Attai the sixth, Eliel the seventh,
12Johanan the eighth, Elzabad the ninth,
13Jeremiah the tenth, Machbanai the eleventh.
14These were of the sons of Gad, captains of the host: one of the least was over an hundred, and the greatest over a thousand.
15These are they that went over Jordan in the first month, when it had overflown all his banks; and they put to flight all them of the valleys, both toward the east, and toward the west.
In the first month - Perhaps this was the month Nisan, which answers to a part of our March and April. This was probably before the snows on the mountains were melted, just as Jordan began to overflow its banks; or if we allow that it had already overflowed its banks, it made their attempt more hazardous, and afforded additional proof of their heroism.
16And there came of the children of Benjamin and Judah to the hold unto David.
17And David went out to meet them, and answered and said unto them, If ye be come peaceably unto me to help me, mine heart shall be knit unto you: but if ye be come to betray me to mine enemies, seeing there is no wrong in mine hands, the God of our fathers look thereon, and rebuke it.
18Then the spirit came upon Amasai, who was chief of the captains, and he said, Thine are we, David, and on thy side, thou son of Jesse: peace, peace be unto thee, and peace be to thine helpers; for thy God helpeth thee. Then David received them, and made them captains of the band.
The spirit came upon Amasai - "The spirit of fortitude clothed Amasai, the chief of the mighty men; and he answered, For thy sake, O David, are we come, that we may be with thee, thou son of Jesse.
Prosperity be to thee by night and by day; and prosperity be to thy helpers; for the Word of the Lord is thy assistant." - T.
19And there fell some of Manasseh to David, when he came with the Philistines against Saul to battle: but they helped them not: for the lords of the Philistines upon advisement sent him away, saying, He will fall to his master Saul to the jeopardy of our heads.
20As he went to Ziklag, there fell to him of Manasseh, Adnah, and Jozabad, and Jediael, and Michael, and Jozabad, and Elihu, and Zilthai, captains of the thousands that were of Manasseh.
21And they helped David against the band of the rovers: for they were all mighty men of valour, and were captains in the host.
22For at that time day by day there came to David to help him, until it was a great host, like the host of God.
Like the host of God - "That is, a very numerous army; like the army of the angel of God." - T.
23And 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.
And came to David to Hebron - That is, after the death of Ish-bosheth, Saul's son. See 2 Samuel 4:5.
24The children of Judah that bare shield and spear were six thousand and eight hundred, ready armed to the war.
25Of the children of Simeon, mighty men of valour for the war, seven thousand and one hundred.
26Of the children of Levi four thousand and six hundred.
27And Jehoiada was the leader of the Aaronites, and with him were three thousand and seven hundred;
Jehoiada was the leader of the Aaronites - Abiathar was then high priest, and Jehoiada captain over the warriors of the house of Aaron.
28And Zadok, a young man mighty of valour, and of his father's house twenty and two captains.
29And 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.
30And of the children of Ephraim twenty thousand and eight hundred, mighty men of valour, famous throughout the house of their fathers.
31And of the half tribe of Manasseh eighteen thousand, which were expressed by name, to come and make David king.
32And of the children of Issachar, which were men that had understanding of the times, to know what Israel ought to do; the heads of them were two hundred; and all their brethren were at their commandment.
Children of Issachar - According to the Targum they were all astronomers and astrologers: "and the sons of Issachar, who had understanding to know the times, and were skilled in fixing the beginnings of years, the commencement of months, and the intercalation of months and years; skillful in the changes of the moon, and in fixing the lunar solemnities to their proper times; skillful also in the doctrine of the solar periods; astrologers in signs and stars, that they might show Israel what to do; and their teachers were two hundred chiefs of the Sanhedrin: and all their brethren excelled in the words of the law, and were endued with wisdom, and were obedient to their command." - T. It appears that in their wisdom, experience, and skill, their brethren had the fullest confidence; and nothing was done but by their direction and advice.
33Of Zebulun, such as went forth to battle, expert in war, with all instruments of war, fifty thousand, which could keep rank: they were not of double heart.
34And of Naphtali a thousand captains, and with them with shield and spear thirty and seven thousand.
35And of the Danites expert in war twenty and eight thousand and six hundred.
36And of Asher, such as went forth to battle, expert in war, forty thousand.
37And on the other side of Jordan, of the Reubenites, and the Gadites, and of the half tribe of Manasseh, with all manner of instruments of war for the battle, an hundred and twenty thousand.
38All these men of war, that could keep rank, came with a perfect heart to Hebron, to make David king over all Israel: and all the rest also of Israel were of one heart to make David king.
39And there they were with David three days, eating and drinking: for their brethren had prepared for them.
They were with David three days - These were the deputies of the different people mentioned here: it is not possible that all the thousands mentioned above could have feasted with David for three days; and yet it appears there was even of these a great number, for the men of Issachar, Zebulun, and Naphtali, who were nearest to this place of rendezvous, had brought all the necessaries for such a feast. From the whole it appears most evident that the great majority of the tribes of Israel wished to see the kingdom confirmed in the hands of David; nor was there ever in any country a man more worthy of the public choice. As a statesman, warrior, hero, poet, and divine, he stands unrivalled in the annals of the world: by him alone were the Israelites raised to a pitch of the highest splendor; and their name became a terror to their enemies, and a praise in the earth. But, alas, how are the mighty now fallen!
40Moreover they that were nigh them, even unto Issachar and Zebulun and Naphtali, brought bread on asses, and on camels, and on mules, and on oxen, and meat, meal, cakes of figs, and bunches of raisins, and wine, and oil, and oxen, and sheep abundantly: for there was joy in Israel.