I Chronicles 11



1 “Then all Israel gathered themselves to David unto Hebron, saying,

Behold, we are thy bone and thy flesh.” Upon the death of Saul, Abner,

for a while espousing the cause of Ishbosheth, the only surviving son of Saul,

made him king over” a large proportion of the people, exclusive of Judah

(II Samuel 2:8-10).  Already David had been anointed at Hebron by “the men

of Judah, king over the house of Judah(Ibid. ch. 2:1-4). And David continued

king in Hebron over the house of Judah seven years and six months”  (Ibid.

v.11; ch. 5:5; I Kings 2:11; ch.3:4, here). Notice the agreement of this date with

the account of the six sons born to David in Hebron (II Samuel 3:2-5). The

explanation of the chronology for Ishbosheth affecting this period is not easy.

It is said that he reigned over Israel “two years” (Ibid. ch.2:10). Where was

the difference of five and a half years lost? Our first verse here, with its apparently

emphatic “then” (compare Ibid. ch.5:1), would seem to make it very unlikely

that it was lost between the death of Ishbosheth and the kingship of David over

all the tribes of Israel together with Judah. On the other hand, the

interval in question might find its account in the “long war (Ibid. ch. 3:1,6,

17-21) between the house of Saul and the house of David.” There

is, however, still possible the supposition that the historian intends to give

the intrinsically correct facts of the case, and means that, what with delay

before getting the adhesion of the people to Ishbosheth, and what with the

early decay of his sovereign power, he could not be said to have reigned

more than two years. This verse, then, shows that the history proper of

Chronicles purports to begin from the time of David’s rule over the entire

and united people, at the exact date of seven and a half years after Saul’s

death, while no mention is here made of his intermediate partial rule over

Judah, or of Ishbosheth’s temporary rule over Benjamin and Israel. All

Israel;” -  i.e. “all the tribes of Israel(II Samuel 5:1), by their

representatives, “the elders of Israel (Ibid. ch.3:17; 5:3; as well as

our v. 3). The first nine verses of this chapter cover the same ground as

the first ten verses of  II Samuel 5. Unto Hebron.”  We learn how David

came to be here from Ibid. ch.2:1. “And it came to pass after this” (i.e.

after David’s “lamentation over Saul and Jonathan”) “that David inquired

of the Lord, saying, Shall I go up into any of the cities of Judah? And the

Lord said unto him, Go up. And David said, Whither shall I go up? And he

said, Unto Hebron.”  Hebron was the earliest seat of civilized life, not of

Judah only, but of all Palestine.  It and Bethlehem are two of the most

special memorials of David. An interesting sketch of the topography and

natural features of this place, and a succinct Biblical history of it in

Stanley’s ‘Sinai and Palestine,’ p. 164 (edit. 1866), from which comes the

following quotation: — “Hebron, according to the Jewish tradition, was

the primeval city of the vine. Its name indicates community or society. It

was the ancient city of Ephron the Hittite, in whose gate he and the elders

received the offer of Abraham, when as yet no other fixed habitation of

man was known in central Palestine. It was the first home of Abraham and

the patriarchs; their own permanent resting-place when they were gradually

exchanging the pastoral for the agricultural life. In its neighborhood can

be traced, by a continuous tradition, the site of the venerable tree under

which Abraham pitched his tent, and of the double cavern in which he and

his family were deposited and perhaps still remain. It was the city of Arba,

the old Canaanite chief, with his three giant sons, under whose walls the

trembling spies stole through the land by the adjacent valley of Eshcol.

Here Caleb chose his portion when, at the head of his valiant tribe, he

drove out the old inhabitants, and called the whole surrounding territory

after his own name; and here the tribe of Judah always rallied, when it

asserted its independent existence against the rest of the Israelite nation. It

needs but few words to give the secret of this early selection, of this long

continuance of the metropolitan city of Judah. Every traveler from the

desert must have been struck by the sight of that pleasant vale, with its

orchards and vineyards and numberless wells, and we must add, in earlier

times, the groves of terebinths and oaks which then attracted from far the

eye of the wandering tribes. This fertility was in part owing to its elevation

into the cooler and the more watered region above the dry and withered

valleys of the rest of Judaea — and commanding this fertile valley, rose

Hebron, on its crested hill.” “Behold, we are thy bone and thy flesh.”

 This is a figurative expression, the pedigree and lineage of which it is interesting

to note (see II Samuel 19:12; Judges 9:2; Genesis 2:23; 29:14). The highest

service to which it was promoted may be said to be reached, however, in

Ephesians 5:30, Paul, in speaking of Christ, said “For we are members of

 His body, of His flesh, and of His bones.”.


2 “And moreover in time past, even when Saul was king, thou wast he

that leddest out and broughtest in Israel: and the LORD thy God

said unto thee, Thou shalt feed my people Israel,” -  (so II Samuel 5:2; 7:7;

Psalm 78:71). Thus to the servant is condescendingly vouchsafed the same

description as the Master takes through the Spirit for Himself — to the under-

shepherd the same as the Chief Shepherd acknowledges; note same psalm,

v. 72; Psalm 23:1-4; 100:3; 1 Peter 5:4 -“and thou shalt be ruler over my

people Israel.”



A True Leader (v. 2)


David’s life was made up of several successive stages; and, as we read his

biography and so trace his course, we see clearly — what at the time he

could not see — how one position, one experience, prepared for the next.

His youth was a preparation for his manhood, his court life for the throne,

exile for power, rule over Judah for sway over united Israel. The seven

years during which Saul’s son ruled over the other tribes were the years of

David’s reign over Judah. At the close of this period, upon the death of

Ishbosheth, the elders of all Israel came to David at Hebron and offered

him the crown. This was the occasion upon which they made the

acknowledgment, “Even when Saul was king, thou wast he that leddest out

and broughtest in Israel.” This was a recognition of the inborn qualities of

true leadership, called forth by circumstances, and cultivated by responsibility

and action.




LED. Whilst in government there is much which is artificial, there is a

natural foundation for the relationships which subsist. Parents direct the

course of their children; elder brothers to some extent that of the younger;

the capable, the self-confident, the experienced, are the natural leaders of

the timid and submissive. In all human communities there are born leaders

of men. If all distinctions were abolished today, tomorrow they would be

revived in other forms. There is doubtless injustice in many political and

social arrangements; but whilst the unjust acquisition and use of

authority is of man, THE PRINCIPLE OF AUTHORITY IS

FROM GOD.  (Romans 13:1-8)



of a man being placed in a position of influence and authority is sure, if he

be capable and strong and under the domination of high principle, to elicit

his best and most useful qualities. Especially will such a position foster

habits of sound judgment and quick decision, habits of self-control and

self-reliance, a just discernment of character, and aptness in recognizing

ability and trustworthiness in others. Thus it is that a high position is fitted

to lead to one yet higher.  It was leadership which made of the shepherd

son of Jesse the warrior and King of Israel. As in other departments of life,

so here, exercise promotes strength and development. Let none shrink

from the responsibility of guiding others when Providence calls him to this

work; strength and wisdom shall be “as his day.” (Deuteronomy 33:25)




THE DIVINE RULER. (I believe that the Bible teaches that God will

provide good leaders as long as His people honor Him.  There is a correlation

between America turning her back on God and “POOR LEADERSHIP.”-

CY – 2012)  When men have been accustomed to be well led, their confidence

in their leader grows with rapidity, and their attachment is consolidated by time.

When the throne was vacant, the eyes of all Israel were turned to David.

Their experience of his ability and valor, his designation by God’s

prophet, were the indications to them that the son of Jesse was the right

man to rule over them. Events proved that they were not mistaken. The

sway of David made the chosen people one great nation, and fitted them

for the work appointed for them by the theocratic governor. There is in this

passage a lesson specially suitable to young men of ability, education,

 and position. For such God in His providence has assuredly a work to

do. It is for them quietly and patiently to await the indications of Divine

providence, in the persuasion that faithfulness and diligence in present

duty are the best preparation for future responsibilities. It is God’s




3 “Therefore came all the elders of Israel to the king to Hebron; and

David made a covenant with them in Hebron before the LORD;” - A forcible

use of this phrase occurs in Judges 11:11. It implies that the engagement was

ratified in the presence of a holy place, a holy vessel of the sanctuary, or a

holy person (I Samuel 21:6-7; Joshua 18:8; Leviticus 1:5).  Whether the tabernacle

was now at Hebron is doubtful, but the two priests, Abiathar and Zadok, were -

and they anointed David king over Israel,” -  The first time of

David’s being anointed (I Samuel 16:1, 13) Samuel the prophet officiated.

The second time (II Samuel 2:4) was when the “men of Judahanointed

him king over “the house of Judah.” This third time when David was

anointed king over the united people, it was at all events at the special

instance of “all the elders of Israel,” although who officiated on these two

last occasions is not mentioned -“according to the word of the LORD by

Samuel.”  The sentence marks the complete fulfillment of what had been

foreshadowed in I Samuel 16:12-13; and it may probably have been

the more carefully introduced by the compiler of Chronicles, in consideration

of the absence from his own work of previous details and of the previous

anointings of David.



David’s Accession (v. 3)


With this chapter commences another part of this Book of Chronicles,

which, from this point onwards, is occupied with the reign, the character,

and the exploits of David, King of Judah and Israel. His accession, related

in this verse, occupies accordingly a position of interest and significance in

the narrative. The point especially deserving notice in the language of this verse

is the combination of Divine and human agency in the nomination of

David to the throne. This combination, especially apparent in the history of

theocratic Israel, is really discernible by the reflecting mind in all the events

of life and history. Observe:


  • THE HUMAN AGENCY which led to David’s accession to the throne.

To many eyes no other than human agency was visible.


Ø      His own character and services marked David out as the one

only ruler whom Israel could select and trust. Born a shepherd, he

had yet within him the heart and the future of a king.


Ø      A popular election effected his elevation. It was the wish of

all Israel that David should take the responsibilities of rule.

In his election the old adage was verified — Vox populi vox Dei

(the voice of the people is the voice of God).


Ø      A senatorial requisition sanctioned and enforced the popular

nomination. “All the elders of Israelcame to David, to express

the general feeling and to prefer formally the national request. The

appointment of the king was not the work of a moment of enthusiasm,

was not the caprice of a mob; it was the deliberate act of the wisest

and the noblest in the land.


  • THE DIVINE CAUSE of David’s appointment to the throne. This may

not have been apparent to all, but it is acknowledged with justice by the

sacred historian.


Ø      A Divine prediction led to Davids accession. The language of the

people is very noticeable: “The Lord thy God said unto thee, Thou

shalt feed my people Israel, and thou shalt be ruler over my people



Ø      A prophetic designation foreshadowed it. The appointment, so we

read, was made “according to the word of the Lord by Samuel”

The same inspired seer who anointed Saul was directed to nominate

his immediate successor.


Ø      A religious covenant ratified the nomination of David. When he

made a covenant with them in Hebron before the Lord,” he acted

in accordance with his religious convictions, but he acted also in a manner

harmonizing with the theocratic position of Israel. Church and state were

not merely allied, THEY WERE IDENTICAL!   Nothing more

natural than that a sacred ceremony should accompany the public and

political act. There is no trace of selfish ambition on David’s part. He

acknowledged the tremendous responsibilities of reigning. And in the

sight of Jehovah his subject, THE GENERAL PUBLIC,




o       In all human history and biography there is a blending of the

human  and the Divine.  We should seek the Divine in the human.


o       Social and political duties can only be discharged aright

 when fulfilled in a devout and prayerful spirit. The more

responsible our position, the greater our need of a sincere

confidence in the Supreme Lord who is the Supreme Guide

 of man.


4 “And David and all Israel went to Jerusalem, which is Jebus; where

the Jebusites were, the inhabitants of the land.”  Jerusalem, which is Jebus.

This ancient name of Jerusalem, of Canaanitish date, is found only once beside, viz.

in Judges 19:10-11; the Gentile form of the noun, however, Jebusi, is of more

frequent occurrence, and sometimes it is found even as the name of the city

(Joshua 15:8, 63; 18:16, 28). The derivation and meaning of the word

are unascertained. Gesenius explains it to mean “a place dry or

downtrodden like a threshing-floor.”


5 “And the inhabitants of Jebus said to David, Thou shalt not come hither.” - 

The inhabitants of Jebus added something beside (II Samuel 5:6). They had said,

“Except thou take away the blind and the lame, thou shalt not come in

 hither: thinking, David cannot come in hither.” “Nevertheless David took

the castle of Zion,” - This fort became the site of the temple. It is the Acra of

Josephus, and is different from the modern Zion. It was the eastern hill in the city,

was the second highest elevation in the city, and up to the time of the destruction

of the city of Jerusalem was uniformly named Zion, though from the time of

Constantine it has been used for the name of the western hill, the site of Jerusalem.

There is but little doubt of the identity of the hill of Moriah (Genesis 22:2; II

Chronicles 3:1) with the hill of Zion, though no individual passage of Scripture asserts

it. The passage before us, however, with its parallel, tells us plainly enough that the

city of David, and that which became the sacred hill of Zion are one; and many

passages in the Psalms and the prophets both confirm this and point out the

difference between Zion and Jerusalem - “which is the city of David.”


6 “And David said, Whosoever smiteth the Jebusites first shall be

chief and captain. So Joab the son of Zeruiah went first up, and

was chief.”  The name and fresh glory of Joab, as given here, are not given

in II Samuel 5:3-10; and we could suppose that they were purposely

withheld there. It is true that Joab already held high office, probably the

first place as captain of David’s men, but Bertheau’s objection to the

statements of this verse on such grounds easily yields to the considerations

first, that there can be no doubt Joab had fallen into disfavor with

David and others, upon his slaying of Abner (II Samuel 3:26-29, 36-37);

and further, that this was a great occasion, exceedingly favorable for

evoking any very special ability of younger or unknown men, at present

lost under the shadow of larger growths. The advantage which Joab gained

now was one that confirmed his position and increased largely his

influence; and an indication that he was not slow to avail himself of it is

probably to be traced in the our eighth verse, where it is said while “David

built… even from Millo round about,… Joab repaired the rest of the city.”




Joab, the Military Statesman (v. 6)


Though this man, Joab, is introduced to us before (II Samuel 2:13, 26, etc.), yet, in

order of time, this passage is his first appearance, and only here have we the account

of his prowess in taking Jebus, and his part in the building of the city of David. He

probably had been chief captain of David’s band of outlaws, but on this occasion

he gained the position of general of the national army, and he became subsequently

the great military statesman of the kingdom, and the chief king’s counselor. Probably

he may be regarded as the man who exercised most influence over the king, and

the careful review of their relations produces a deep impression that the influence

was seldom a good one. He became David’s master, and under his bondage David

vainly writhed and struggled in his later years.


  • JOAB HIMSELF. The incidents by which he is made known to us are

mainly the following:


Ø      Abner’s killing of Asahel, Joab’s brother (II Samuel 2:12-32), filled

Joab with purposes of revenge.


Ø      Joab treacherously slew Abner (Ibid. ch.3:6-39), and David felt

himself too weak to do more than denounce the murder; he dare not

punish the murderer.


Ø      Joab took a leading part in the wars of the reign, especially

distinguishing himself against the Ammonites (Ibid. ch.10:6-14).


Ø      Joab connived at David’s sin in the matter of Bathsheba, and

so gained the power over him which he so humiliatingly used



Ø      Joab was faithful in the time of Absalom’s rebellion.


Ø      He directly and insultingly disobeyed his king and lord in slaying

Absalom.  (Ibid. ch. 18:5-17)


Ø      He showed his mastery and his control of the army by killing Amasa,

who had been appointed chief general in his stead.  (Ibid. ch. 20:9-10)


Ø      He properly remonstrated with David against his self-willed scheme of

taking a census.  (Ibid. ch. 24:1-4)


Ø      But after David’s death he took the part of Adonijah, and was

condemned by Solomon. He was strictly a man of the world, brave,

 daring, manly, generous, and persevering, but masterful,

impatient of what he thought David’s hesitancy and weakness;

 a man who saw clearly an end to be aimed at, and was in no

way particular about the choice of means by which to reach it.

He was unscrupulous, having no quick sensitiveness of conscience

to that which is wrong. He ordered his life by the rule of the

expedient, not the rule of the right, and was heedless of the claims

of others if they stood in his way. A man who was a type of a class

still to be found in business and social spheres, who are all for

self, and do not mind who they trample down as they go up.

“His character was ambitious, daring, unscrupulous, yet with an

occasional show of piety” (Ibid. ch.10:12). Wordsworth says,

Joab is the personification of worldly policy and secular expediency,

and temporal ambition eager for its own personal aggrandizement, and

especially for the maintenance of its own political ascendancy, and

practicing on the weaknesses of princes for its own self-interests;

but at last the victim of its own MACHIAVELLIAN



  • JOAB’S INFLUENCE ON DAVID. Sometimes it was good. He

skilfully aided in the restoration of the banished Absalom; and he properly

roused the king from the excessive grief he felt at the death of his favorite

son (Ibid. ch. 19:1-8).  Again and again, with statesmanlike genius, he enabled

David promptly to seize the occasions that promised success; and he had

Religion enough, or insight enough, to see where David was wrong in the

matter of the census. But, as a whole, Joab’s influence was bad. His

unscrupulousness led David into crimes, and his masterfulness prevented

David from properly punishing crimes. When conflict came between state

necessity and religious duty, Joab gained the victory for mere policy, and

so made David act in ways that were unworthy of one who was only

Jehovah’s vicegerent. It is never good for us to come into the power of any

fellow-man. We should be ever in GOD’S LEAD but refuse any fellow-

man’s bonds. And no undue influence exerted by a fellow-man can ever


POLICY, are no forces of blessing in any HUMAN SPHERES!


7 And David dwelt in the castle; therefore they called it the city of

David.  8 And he built the city round about, even from Millo round about:

and Joab repaired the rest of the city.  9 So David waxed greater and

greater: for the LORD of hosts was with him.”  Millo” – There is

great uncertainty as to the derivation and the meaning of this word. It is probably

not really of Hebrew extraction, but of the oldest Canaanitish origin. In the Hebrew

it is always used with the article, and would presumably come from the Hebrew

root “to fill.” Josephus seems to use, as synonymous expression for “Davids

wall round Millo,” this, viz. “buildings round about the lower city” (‘Jud. Ant.,’ 3:2,

compared with 5; ‘Wars,’ 6:1, where he identifies those “buildings,” etc.,

with Acra). As the name of a family, it is mentioned in connection with

Shechem, known specially as a place of the Canaanites (Judges 9:6, 20).

The Septuagint represents it by the word hJ a}kra hae akraAcra - In the

remarkable passage, II Kings 12:20, the word “Silla” is even a greater enigma,

which, however, may designate the “steps from the city of David

(Nehemiah 3:15), or “the causeway of going up” to the west of the

temple (I Chronicles 22:16). The likeliest view of Millo is that it was a

very strong point of fortification in the surrounding defenses of the hill of

Zion (I Kings 9:24; 11:27). In II Chronicles 32:5 the otherwise

unvarying translation (hJ a}kra) of the Septuagint is superseded by to<

ajna>lhmmato analaemma - a word itself of doubtful signification. For

while some would render it by the word “foundation,” Schleusner translates

it “height.” Grove (in Smith’s ‘Bible Dictionary,’ 2:367) puts it in “the neighborhood

of the Tyropaean valley at the foot of Zion.” Some clue may lie in the word

“inward,” applied to the building by David. Does it imply a covering by

edifices of the space, or some portion of it, that lay between Zion and the

rest of the city?



David’s Greatness (v. 9)


From the time that the king began to reign over all the tribes of Israel his

fortunes began to improve. Dark days had he gone through before; now

the sun of prosperity blazed upon his path.




Ø      In warlike achievements. He was a man of war from his

youth, and his manhood was occupied with the defense of his

kingdom and the defeat of his foes.


Ø      In the valor of his captains. “Mighty men of valor” gathered

around him, and contributed to his power and his fame.


Ø      In the prosperity of his people. That David’s reign was an era of

material prosperity is evident enough. If nothing else proved it, it

would be established by the munificent offerings which the princes

and the people presented at the close of David’s reign towards

the temple fund.


Ø      In the prevalence of religion. This appears from the establishment

upon a grander scale of the Levitical and priestly orders, with the

services, sacrifices, and festivals connected with the house of God.

David’s own psalms, sung as they were by the Levitical choirs, at

once evidenced and furthered the prosperity of true religion.


  • THE GROWTH OF DAVID’S GREATNESS. He “waxed greater and

greater.” His career was one of continually advancing prosperity. As with

most men favorably circumstanced, so in his case, success and prosperity

were the cause of their own increase. “He went growing and growing.”



hosts was with him.” Cui adhoeres, praeesthe prevails to whom! The

Lord God may better say than any earthly prince, He to whom I attach

myself, he shall prosper. “The Lord of hosts was with David:”


o       To give him regal qualities.

o       To surround him with prudent counselors, devoted friends,

and faithful servants.

o       To give him favor with the people.

o       To reveal Himself to his heart, as the Subject of praise, the

Law of righteousness and the Lord of life.



David’s Mighty Men (vs. 10-25)


This list of chiefs of David’s “mighty men’ finds a more appropriate position where

it is placed here, than where it is found, after the close of the very dying speech of

David, in II Samuel 23:8-23. It plainly belongs to the time of the establishment of

David’s sway over the whole people. The different position of the list here is itself

an indication of some force, that the writers of the work of Samuel and of Chronicles

availed themselves independently of the common source, and that the latter did not

take through the former.



10 “These also are the chief of the mighty men whom David had, who

strengthened themselves with him in his kingdom, and with all Israel,

to make him king, according to the word of the LORD concerning Israel.

11 And this is the number” - The Hebrew has, “These are the number.”

The sentence should probably be, “These are the names” (II Samuel 23:8) –

of the mighty men whom David had; Jashobeam, an Hachmonite,” –

Jashobeam. In the parallel passage, this name is supplied by the words

“The Tachmonite tb;V,B" bvey, Authorized Version, “that sat in

the seat” (see the previous verse), probably in error for our μ[;b]v;y; (see

Kennicott’sDissert.,’ 82). His immediate paternal ancestor seems to have

been Zabdiel (see ch.27:2). The only other notice of him are in (Ibid. ch.12:6),

 in which latter passage he is mentioned as “over the first course for the first

 month and in his course were twenty and four thousand” - “the chief of

the captains:” - The Authorized Version follows the Keri (which is distinguished

from the Chethiv by a yod in place of a vau), and translates captains. It seems

better (vs. 15, 25; ch.12:1,18; 27:6) to abide by the Chethiv, and translate

the chief of the thirty” -  “he lifted up his spear against three hundred

slain by him at one time.”  Notice the probable error in Samuel,

occasioned by some similarity in the Hebrew letters. “The same was Adino

the Eznite.” The number of Jashobeam’s victims is stated at “eight

hundredin the parallel passage (II Samuel 23. 8). (For analogous idioms,

see Exodus 7:20; 20:25; Deuteronomy 27:5; Joshua 8:31; Psalm 41:9; 74:5;

Isaiah 2:4)



Mighty Men (v.11)


Great epochs and great leaders call forth great men.  In most nations’

histories there are periods when greatness seems to spring forth

spontaneously, and to display itself in all the departments of human

activity. David had the power — distinctive of true leadership — of

evoking, as it were, capable, valiant, and devoted followers. In his day and

in the early periods of many nations, warlike qualities were needed, and the

recommendations of physical strength and courage were the highest of all.

In more settled states of society and more civilized communities, gifts of

mind are more prized than those of body. The qualities that are developed

among nations are for the most part those which are demanded by the

necessities of the times.  (It is taken for granted that in any stage of

a nation’s development, that “MEN WILL SEEK THE LORD!”

So much the more when men are wrestling “AGAINST PRINCIPALITIES,



PLACES.”  (Ephesians 6:12)



FROM GOD. This is indeed true of all gifts. “We are His offspring.” “In

Hm we live, and move, and have our being” (Acts 17:28).  Yet how

often is this truth forgotten in the presence of splendid endowments

of strength and skill, genius and influence!  “Thus saith the Lord,

Let not the wise man glory in his wisdom, neither let the mighty

Man glory in his might, let not the rich man glory in his riches:

But let him that glorieth glory in this, that he understandeth

And knoweth me, that I am the Lord which exercise lovingkindness,

Judgment, and righteousness, in the earth:  for in these things

I delight, saith the Lord  (Jeremiah 9:23-24).  Men take the praise

to themselves for the powers which GOD HAS CONFERRE, for the

achievements which He has enabled them to accomplish. But it should ever

be remembered that all human might is but a slight and evanescent glimmer

of His glory.



SERVICE. There is a notion that high station and great genius absolve

men from allegiance to the ordinary laws of morality and religion. What is

regarded as proper for the multitude is sometimes deemed inapplicable to

the exalted few. There can be no greater error. Great men have great

power for good or for evil, and in their case it is preeminently of

importance that the “five talents” (Matthew 25:14-30) should be

employed in the service of the Divine Lord, who has a rightful

claim to their consecration.



THEIR GIVER. There is nothing in the fact of their unusual number or

magnitude that absolves from that responsibility which characterizes all

moral and accountable natures. The DIVINE JUDGE  will doubtless

require a strict account at last. There is no principle more prominent in

Christian teaching than this . “To whom much is given, of them much

will be required.”  (Luke 12:48)


Let those amply endowed with natural gifts beware of pride. There is

nothing so unreasonable, nothing so spiritually disastrous, as is this sin.


Let such “great ones” remember to render to Heaven grateful acknowledgments,

for to Heaven such acknowledgments are ASSUREDLY DUE!  “What

hast thou that thou didst not receive? Who hath made thee to differ?”

(I Corinthians 4:7)


12 “And after him was Eleazar the son of Dodo, the Ahohite, who was

one of the three mighties.” Eleazar. Perhaps the same as Azareel in the list at

ch.12:6, in which Jashobeam is also found. Dodo. This name is found in three forms,

the Chethiv being Dodi; the Keri, Dodo; and Dodai being found in ch.27:4. He is

mentioned there as “over the course of the second month… in his course likewise

twenty and four thousand.” The Ahohite. In the parallel passage (II Samuel 23:9),

for yjiwOj"a]h; here, we find yjiwOja}Aˆb,. Ahohite is the patronymic of the Ahoah,

who (ch.8:4) was given among the sons of Bela, the firstborn of Benjamin.

The three mighties. Who is the third? We have here but two — Jashobeam and

Eleazar. The parallel passage supplies the omission by the name of Shammah the

Hararite (II Samuel 23:11, 33; compare our v. 27). And a careful comparison of

the passages suggests how the omission came about, and that it was but part of

a larger omission. Between the sentences, “and there the Philistines were

gathered together to battle,” and “where was a parcel of ground full of

barley (in our next verse, 13) there is an hiatus of two verses (viz. those

found in II Samuel 23, as latter half of v. 9, v. 10, and former half of

v. 11), and this hiatus was occasioned probably by the recurrence of the

expression, “and the Philistines were gathered together,” in the remaining

half of v. 11.


13 “He was with David at Pasdammim, and there the Philistines were

gathered together to battle, where was a parcel of ground full of

barley; and the people fled from before the Philistines.”

“Pas-dammim.”  This word, μyMiD" sP"h", appears in I Samuel 17:1

as μyMiD" sp,a,, and is supposed to mean, in either form, “the boundary

of blood;” it was the scene of frequent conflicts with the Philistines, and was

the spot where they were encamped at the time of Goliath’s challenge to Israel.

It was near Shocoh, or Socoh, in Judah, some fourteen miles south-west of

Jerusalem. Full of barley.  The Authorized Version reading in the parallel

passage (II Samuel 23:11) is “full of lentiles,” the Hebrew for “barley” is

μyriwO[c], for lentiles μyvid;[}. Possibly the words should be the same,

one being here spelt, by accident, wrongly for the other. The first Bible mention

of “barley” occurs in Exodus 9:31-32, from which verses we learn that it, together

with “flax,” was an earlier crop than “rye” and “wheat.” It was not only

used for food for man (Numbers 5:15; Judges 7:13; Ezekiel 4:12), but also for

horses (I Kings 4:28). That it was nevertheless of the less-valued grain, we have

significant indications, in its being prescribed for the “jealousy offering”

(Numbers 5:15, compare with Leviticus 2:1), and in its being part of the purchase

price of the adulteress (Hosea 3:2). Its derivation in the Hebrew, from a verbal

root signifying “to bristle,” is in noticeable analogy with the Latin hordeum,

from horreo.  The lentile, on the other hand, was a species of bean, and used

much for soup, of which Egyptian tomb-paintings furnish illustration (Genesis

25:29-34; II Samuel 17:28; Ezekiel 4:9). Sonnini, in his ‘Travels’ (translation of

Hunter, 3:288), tells us that still the Egyptian poor eat lentile-bread, but,

what is more apropos of this passage, that in making it they prefer to mix a

little “barley” with it. This apparent discrepancy between the parallel

accounts not only counts in itself for very little, but may easily be

surmounted by supposing that, though it be written that the “parcel” of

ground was “full of lentiles,” and again “full of barley,” the description may

only amount to this, that such parcels were in close juxtaposition. But if not,

our allusion above to the possible error in the Hebrew words will sufficiently

explain the variation.


14 “And they set themselves in the midst of that parcel, and delivered

it, and slew the Philistines; and the LORD saved them by a great

deliverance.”  This, as well as the latter half of the preceding verse, belongs

to the account of Shammah the Hararite (II Samuel 23:11), and in the

parallel the verbs are accordingly in the singular number. In that same

place Shammah is called the “son of Agee,” which probably answers to the

Shage” of the present chapter (v. 34), where our reading should rather

be, “Jonathan the son of Shammah the son of Shage, the Hararite.” The

wordHararite” designates, according to Gesenius, “one from the hill country,”

i.e. the hill-country of Judah or Ephraim, and would be equivalent with us to

such a description as “the mountaineer.”


15 “Now three of the thirty captains” - The thirty here alluded to have not

Been mentioned either in the Book of Samuel or here, except by implication of

our v. 11, where we might imagine the sense to be, “Now these are the

names of the mighty men, in number thirty, whom David had, viz.

Jashobeam, an Hachmonite, the chief of the thirty.” Nor are we told in

either place who were the “three” here spoken of. The article is absent in

both places, or it would be convenient and natural to suppose that the three

just mentioned are those intended, which cannot, however, be taken for

granted. The language of vs. 20-22, 25, might rather indicate that the

three mentioned in those verses are those in question. The repeated

uncertainty in which we are left on matters to which no intrinsic difficulty

adheres seems evidence of injured manuscripts rather than of anything else -

went down to the rock to David,” - This is the right reading, dwiD;Ala,

rXujeAl[e; and that in the parallel passage (“to David in the harvest-time”)

is not correct, dwiD;Ala, ryxiq;Ala, - “into the cave of Adullam;” - 

Adullam, evidently a place of great antiquity (Genesis 38:l,12, 20), is mentioned

in Joshua 12:15; 15:35; it was the seat then of a Canaanite king. It afterwards

lay in Judah, in that lowland (called often the Shephelah) that ran from Joppa to

Gaza, near the Mediterranean Sea. It kept name and fame to the last (II Chronicles

11:7; Nehemiah 11:30). The “rock” marks the limestone cliffs of the region.

We read of it, as David’s refuge (I Samuel 22:1-2). From our present passage,

and its parallel we should have concluded that it could not have been far from

Bethlehem. In this sense Dr. Thomson (‘The Land and the Book,’ pp. 606, 607)

refers to the tradition that fixes the cave at a spot now called Khureitun, between

Bethlehem and the Dead Sea, and says, “Leaving our horses in charge of wild

Arabs, and taking one Arab for a guide, we started for the cave, having a fearful

gorge below, gigantic cliffs above, and the path winding along a shelf of the rock,

narrow enough to make the nervous among us shudder. At length from a great

rock, hanging on the edge of this shelf, we sprang by a long leap into a low

window, which opened into the perpendicular face of the cliff. We were then

within the hold of David, and creeping half-doubled through a narrow crevice for

a few rods, we stood beneath the dark vault of the first grand chamber of

this mysterious and oppressive cavern. Our whole collection of lights did

little more than make the damp darkness visible. After groping about as

long as we had time to spare, we returned to the light of day, fully

convinced that, with David and his lion-hearted followers inside, all the

strength of Israel under Saul could not have forced an entrance, and would

not even have attempted it.” - and the host of the Philistines” -  For this

word “host” (hgej}m") the parallel (II Samuel 23:13) has the “life of the Philistines”

(but the Authorized Version, the “troop of”), i.e. the beasts and cattle of the

Philistines. So also the Syriac Version translates, The Septuagint shows in

this place parembolh> - parembolaearmy; camp; castle -  and in Samuel

ta<gma tagmatroop; series; order -  “encamped in the valley of Rephaim.”

The situation of this notable valley is not certain. Yet there can be little

doubt, in spite of Furst (‘Handwortbuch,’ 2:383), who supposes a situation

northwest of Jerusalem, that it must be near Bethlehem, and therefore

southwest of the city. The word employed Here for “valley” (qm,[i should

mark an enclosed one. Rephaim means “giants.” Hence our Authorized

Version, “The valley of Hinnom westward, which is at the end of the valley

of the giants northward” (Joshua 15:8; 18:16; also II Samuel 5:18; compare with

our present passage; and II Samuel 5:22 compare  with ch.14:9).


16 “And David was then in the hold,” - This statement may, perhaps,

sufficiently identify this occasion with that of II Samuel 5:17-18; where

it is expressly said that “David went down to the hold” (hd;Wxm] being the

word found there as here) -  “and the Philistines’ garrison was

then at Bethlehem.”  Garrison. The Hebrew here says “officer”

(byxin]), but the parallel passage has “garrison” (bX;m"); yet, according to

Gesenius (Thes.,’ 903), the former word has both meanings. He is right,

certainly, if he means that it has received both translations, for see I  Kings 4:19

for the one, and our present passage supplies the other (I Samuel 10:5; 13:3).


17 “And David longed, and said, Oh that one would give me drink of the

water of the well of Bethlehem, that is at the gate!”  Nothing else is known

of this well. No trace of it exists now, according to Dr. Robinson (‘Bibl.

Res.,’ 1:473). The traditional well is half a mile distant, to the north of the

town, and consists of a group of three cisterns, while the present town is

supplied with water by an aqueduct.


18 “And the three brake through the host of the Philistines, and drew

water out of the well of Bethlehem, that was by the gate, and took

it, and brought it to David: but David would not drink of it, but

poured it out to the LORD.”  This was done after the nature of a

libation (I Samuel 7:6; Judges 6:20; Exodus 30:9; Genesis 35:14).


19 “And said, My God forbid it me,” - Compare the Hebrew of this with that

of the expression in the parallel (II Samuel 23:17), where hwO;hy] is found

in the place of our yh"loa’me. It is probable that the preposition nieni is lost

from before “Jehovah”  - “that I should do this thing: shall I drink the

blood” –  i.e. the water which has been obtained at the imminent  peril of the

life of these three brave men (compare Genesis 4:10-11; 9:4-6; John 6:53, 54) –

of these men that have put their lives in jeopardy? for with the jeopardy

of their lives they brought it. Therefore he would not drink it. These things

did these three mightiest.”



The Well of Bethlehem (vs. 16-19)


This is one of the most touching and poetical incidents in the romantic life

of the son of Jesse. It exhibits him in a light in which we cannot but discern

both his amiability and his piety.


  • DAVID’S DESIRE. He was, with his faithful band of valiant followers,

in the stronghold upon the borders of the Philistine territory. The enemy

were in possession of his native vale, the scene of his boyish happiness and

youthful exploits. It was a position of danger and of privation — this which

he occupied at this time. How natural, how human, his desire for a draught

of the bright, cool water from the spring that gushed from the hillside near

his father’s fields! The associations of childhood and of home are precious,

and it is no sign of weakness to cherish them.  It was a longing for home, it

was a clinging to the associations of childhood, it was the unchanged heart,

that prompted the desire that found utterance in his words, “Oh that one

 would give me,” etc.!


  • THE FEAT OF THE HEROES. The men David had around him were

men ready for any daring exploit — bold, fearless, and prompt. Yet they

had tender hearts, that could sympathize with such a wish as that their chief

expressed. It was a gallant and heroic feat, this which they performed, in

breaking through the ranks of the Philistines, and bringing to David the

draught of water his soul desired from the dear well at Bethlehem.



David appreciated the faithfulness, the sympathy, the bravery, of the noble

three. He could not drink the water, for it seemed to him like the life-blood

of the heroes. It was too precious for any but for Jehovah. Accordingly he

poured it out in a pious libation before the Lord, giving his best to God.


20 “And Abishai the brother of Joab, he was chief of the three: for

lifting up his spear against three hundred, he slew them, and had a

name among the three.”  It is remarkable that again the name of one of the

three is wanting, even if we take Benaiah of v. 22 for the second.


21 “Of the three, he was more honorable than the two;” -  The Hebrew

(syin"v]b") cannot be thus translated, but possibly the words may mark the second

 set of three - “for he was their captain: howbeit he attained not to the first



22 Benaiah the son of Jehoiada, the son of a valiant man of Kabzeel,

who had done many acts; he slew two lionlike men of Moab: also

he went down and slew a lion in a pit in a snowy day.”  Beneiah ‘s father

was Jehoiada the chief priest (ch.27:5). Benaiah was, therefore, a Levite by tribe,

though Kabzeel (Joshua 15:21) was in Judah far south. He was “captain of the

host for the third month… and in his course were twenty and four thousand”

(ch.27:5). When in our v. 25 it is said that “David set him over his guard,” the

allusion probably is to his uniform and prolonged command of “the Cherethites

and Pelethites (II Samuel 8:18; 20:23; I Kings 1:38; ch.18:17). His fidelity and

influence remained into Solomon’s time (I Kings 1:8,10,32,38,44; 2:35; 4:4).


23 “And he slew an Egyptian, a man of great stature, five cubits high;” -

This height is not given in the parallel passage; it means seven feet six inches –

and in the Egyptian’s hand was a spear like a weaver’s beam;” -  A spear

like a weaver’s beam (so I Samuel 17:7; II Samuel 21:19) - “and he went down

to him with a staff, and plucked the spear out of the Egyptian’s hand, and

slew him with his own spear.”


24 “These things did Benaiah the son of Jehoiada, and had the name

among the three mighties.”  The name. There is no article in the Hebrew.


25 “Behold, he was honorable among the thirty, but attained not to the

first three: and David set him over his guard.”  If the reference is not as

above (see v. 22), the margin of the parallel (II Samuel 23:23) may be followed,

which would translate “guard” as council. Ch. 27:6-7 shows Benaiah to be

captain of the third division.



Benaiah the Son of Jehoiada (vs. 22-25)


Benaiah the son of Jehoiada, the son of a valiant man of Kabzeel, who had

done many acts; he slew two lion-like men of Moab: also he went down and

slew a lion in a pit in a snowy day. And he slew an Egyptian, a man of

great stature, five cubits high; and in the Egyptian’s hand was a spear like a

weaver’s beam; and he went down to him with a staff, and plucked the

spear out of the Egyptian’s hand, and slew him with his own spear.” I

venture to treat of this hero, although far removed from any nineteenth century

characteristics. (Or twenty-first, for that matter, this written two-hundred years

ago – CY – 2012) He was a priest, son of a high priest, yet a warrior.

To find one like him in office and quality one has to go back to the fighting

bishops of the Middle Ages. We do not read of his ministering at the altar.

Yet we must not, therefore, imagine him some degenerate son of Aaron,

affording warning rather than example. For there is something savoury in

his brief story, which occurs twice in the Bible, and just because of its

unusual combinations of characteristics it is worth our lingering on it.

Let me urge some simple lessons which may be of use, at least to the more

combative of our readers. Observe:



PRIESTHOOD. To make a true priest of God, the first and greatest thing

required is godliness, and the second is like unto it — manliness; and on

these two qualities hang all effective discharge of priestly duties. It may be

objected that this remark does not necessarily spring from Benaiah, who,

though of the tribe of Levi, might be an exception to rather than a

specimen of the priestly order. And I should admit the relevancy of the

remark were it not that the tribe of Levi seems, in Egypt, to have been

conspicuous for its courage and leading qualities (for otherwise the

eminence of Aaron before Moses received his commission would be

inexplicable); that the tribe of Levi was called preeminently the host,”

during all the encampments in the wilderness; that in David’s time the tribe

of Levi seems to have afforded one of the monthly army corps of twenty-

four thousand men (ch. 27:5); that from the days of Phinehas

to those of the Maccabees, and even later, the priesthood furnished many

of Israel’s noblest warriors; so that, without pressing or straining anything,

we have the fact clear that the manliness of the tribe of the Levites was

one reason of its selection for the priesthood, or at least one characteristic

of it.  There is a vulgar manliness, loud, blatant, coarse, unfamiliar

with any of the finer questionings or feelings of the soul. Far from all

priestly work be such. But the noblest manliness is not coarse. It blends

gentleness with courage, is a thing of force of spirit rather than of bodily strength,

marked by vigor and truth, daring rather than any braggart delight in blows.

And it should be remembered that weak and feeble spirits are nowhere more

out of place than in the Christian ministry. To make a true minister of the

gospel of Jesus Christ you want essentially, as the raw material out of

which God makes him — manliness. Courage to avow the faith when all

may be denying it; to stand alone; to resist all seduction to smother doubt

and to repeat hearsay; to dare to do right; to have the inspiring power

which nerves others to dare it as well; to rebuke; to warn; to count and

accept the cost of faithfulness to principles; to be a leader and commander

to the people; — for these things is manliness is needed!  Is courage not

supremely requisite? Peter said, Add to your faith manliness ( virtue in the

Latin sense, not in the English) (II Peter 1:5).  Christ said of Peter, “Thou art

 a rock, and on this rock I will build my Church” (Matthew 16:18). 

In Hebrews 11, you could almost substitute the word “courage” for the word

faith,” so constantly and inseparably are they united. The great names of the

Church are no less illustrious for courage than for spiritual insight. Paul,

Athanasius standing “alone against the world,” Luther, Calvin, Knox, Wesley,

Carey, Williams, Livingstone (and in later years, Spurgeon, Moody, Sunday,

Graham, Stanley, etc – CY - 2012); you have just to go over the great names

of the Church’s history to see that the names of those greatly good have been

those, preeminently of men, greatly brave as well. Whatever your work,

Christian, if you would be a true priest of God you must be brave. “Put on thy

strength, O Zion (Isaiah 52:1).  Religion never enervates when it is the real

thing, but uses and increases all the braver qualities of the spirit. FAITH IS

A FIGHT IN ALL DIRECTIONS!   We have sometimes fostered a piety

too sentimental, phrasy, and self-conscious. From the manliness which God

approved in in the old priesthood, and which Benaiah had in prime fullness,

learn that godliness and manliness should meet to make A THOROUGH

CHARACTER!  Observe (what, indeed, flows from this):



HALLOWING, ADMITS OF IT. Man is very largely a fighting animal. His

modes of attack come almost as instinctively as the various modes of

assault used by the lower animals. The taste for conflict distinguishing all

men, true religion does not destroy, but seeks to hallow it. (One of the

most profound statements, outside of the Bible, which I have come across

in my life is “The purpose of Christianity is to SANCTIFY THE

SECULAR! Charles Haddon Spurgeon – CY – 2012).  The mental

analyst will tell you that he needs some admixture of the combative element

to produce some of the finest qualities of nature. It is that which gives

hardness and a staying power to the man. There is no decision of character

without it. We need the power of standing up against our enemies to

stand up against ourselves. There is no pertinacity of purpose without it.

He who has not a little of the combative element soon gives in. There is no

conquest of difficulties without it. We shrink from every trouble and say

there is a lion in the streets” (Proverbs 26:13), if there is nothing of

this quality in us. So that the combative quality is not one of nature’s mistakes

that grace has just to weed out, but something it has to hallow; an edged tool,

in learning the uses of which we often cut our fingers, but something not on

that account to be thrown away. It may be hallowed, but it needs a good

deal of effort to secure a thorough hallowing of it. It is apt to be a reckless

quality, striking wildly; the weapon of the passions rather than of the

reason; used by and intensifying animosity; the source of strife and confusion,

and the “every evil work” which attend them (II Timothy 4:18) — shedding

blood, devastating kingdoms, burdening conscience with guilt, running riotous

in its wrong.  When rightly used, one of the grandest blessings of life;

when ill used, one of its great curses. If so valuable hallowed, so mischievous

unhallowed, the question rises — When is it hallowed, and truly and divinely

used? And I think Benaiah’s case gives us, somewhat roughly, perhaps, but

clearly, the true answer to the question. It is used rightly and hallowed when

directed against the enemies of the public good. Sometimes against an

Egyptian host mustered to battle, sometimes against the Moabites, and

Sometimes against the wild beasts. An evangelical generalization might not

be far out of it which stated it that the combative clement is wisely employed

when it operates against whatever injures our own character or our neighbor’s

well-being. The man fights foolishly who does not begin the conflict by

fighting with himself. It were vain to fight against Egyptians and Moabites,

and then give in and let some lion destroy the power so valuable — power

which might have done such splendid service. To say “No” to our own

weaknesses, to protect the interests of others, to oppose whatever by its

falsehood, sin, or mischief threatens the true well-being of our friends

and neighbors. Oh, how much there is that needs fighting! how much of evil

in our own hearts! how much in the world! How much of evil is daily

assailing and destroying the happiness and well-being of multitudes, but for

want of brave hearts that think of more than merely getting to heaven

themselves, and that are willing to make some sacrifice of comfort and

 ease and to risk what is dearer than either! Fight the good fight of

 faith; lay hold on eternal life” (I Timothy 6:12);  “Thou therefore

endure hardness as a good soldier of Jesus Christ”  (II Timothy 2:3)

and oppose whatever harms your brethren.




Sometimes Egyptians; sometimes Moabites; sometimes lions; sometimes

some other foe, like the Philistines encamped round Bethlehem, through

whom Benaiah and two others broke to fetch David a draught of water

from its well. Yes; there is more than one or two or even three sorts of

enemies against which we have here to fight. Now it is a subtle whisper

that denies there is any Providence here or heaven hereafter:


Ø      now it is some passion that, rising up within us, clamors for mastery

over reason and duty;

Ø      now it is greed, which makes the fingers stick to the money they

should part with;

Ø      now it is one of what are called the minor faults, but which yet are

capable of inflicting much pain and injury that needs to be put down;

Ø      now it is the ignorance of the children of the people;

Ø      now it is their vices, their drunkenness;

Ø      now it is the system which is permitted to increase the wealth of

individuals at the expense of CORRUPTING THE LIFE

OF THE PEOPLE!  (Tell me how that by permitting alcohol,

drugs, the abortion industry, pornography, etc. is not

fulfilling this IN OUR LIFETIME?????? – CY – 2012)


Oh for a few Benaiahs, that in conflict with such evils will put

forth a noble strength. Let us not live a merely private life. Rise and assail

THE FOE WHICH IS INJURING SOCIETY  beginning, I must say again,

with the enemies that fight in your own heart — Do I smoke dope?  Am I

sexually active?  For convenience, will I have an abortion?   Am I

into pornography?  Am I sober?  Do I believe in Jesus Christ? Am

I unwilling to follow Him?  There are too many Reubens in every age who,

when great issues are being fought out big with bliss or woe to generations,

abide ignobly “among the bleating of the sheep” (Judges 5:16).



required at our hand. Lastly, observe that:



Benaiah had great muscular strength, but that was but a little of his

equipment. The splendid audacity that engaged with the Egyptian, meaning

to kill him with his own spear. The fine superiority to thought of

consequences to himself of engaging with that hungry lion on a winter’s

day, in close quarters, where neither could escape the other. It was that

brave spirit in him which, never shrinking from attempts that seemed

impossible, nor kept back by the discretion that seeks to save its skin,

(In the Bible, Satan is to humanity AN ADVERSARY, AN ACCUSER

OF THE BRETHREN  - I Peter 5:8; Revelation 12:10.  Consider how

he accused Job before God.  “Skin for skin, yea, all that a man hath

will he give for his life” - Job 2:4.   Has the devil got his bluff in on

you and I????? – CY - 2012) – wrought its grand marvels!    Oh, how little

of this grand courage marks us!  How much solicitude we have about our

name, our peace, what people may think of us, our money, the chance of

failing!   In this world the timid don’t always go most safely. It is the brave

heart that comes best out of all its conflicts. (Last Sunday, Mr. Posey

told me of a soldier in the Civil War who had on a blue top and gray

trousers and both sides shot him!  - CY – 2012)  Jesus said,

“He that gathereth not with me scattereth  (Matthew 12:30). 

Pluck up a little strength, and call to God for more, and venture bravely

wherever duty calls you, and, like Benaiah, you will find fame, safety,

usefulness, attendant on your steps.   “Surely goodness and mercy

will follow me all the days of my life:  AND I WILL DWELL IN



Verses 26-41 correspond with II Samuel 23:24-39 and with them the subject ends

there, though not here. The list announced here as comprising “the valiant men of

 the armies,” is unannounced there, but, beginning with the same name, Asahel, it calls

him “one of the thirty,” and suggests the inference that those who follow will make up

the rest. The number that follows (coinciding in this respect strictly with our list here) is

itself thirty, which, though one too many, may be considered satisfactorily accounted

for in the fact of the untimely death of Asahel, already recorded (II Samuel 2:23).

Considering the exact crisis at which he died, it is very likely that his place should be

compensated for, although his name was not removed from the honorable list. Amid

the difficulties that develop themselves in the contents of these lists, when compared,

the comparison of them aids the conviction that, so far as they go together,

they do stand for “the thirty” spoken of in both places, and that a sentence

or two here and there, now lost or corrupted beyond recognition, would

clear up the whole subject. The comparison also seems to make it clear that

the compiler of Chronicles, meaning to go beyond an enumeration of the

thirty, nowhere speaks of thirty after v. 25. On the other hand, the writer

of the account in Samuel carefully sums up all (v. 39) in the words,

thirty and seven in all “ — an addition which means either the actual

thirty-one given and the two sets of three each; or the thirty, with the two

sets of three each and Joab ever all. Our present chapter, however, goes on

to the number forty-eight in all, vs. 41-47, adding sixteen to the thirty-two

which precede. Beside some minor differences, it must be said that at

fewest three names, Hepher, Ahijah, and Mibhar, in Chronicles, resist

identification with those that should (from position) correspond with them

in the list of Samuel and with any others. And the same thing may be said

of the same number in the list of Samuel (Elika, Eliam, Bani) when

compared with the list now before us. The points of contact and clearest

identification are, therefore, in so great a majority and are so uniformly

distributed that, although it is left hard to decide the causes of them, these

differences cannot throw any discredit upon the list as a whole. Perhaps the

most probable suggestion to be offered is that the knowledge of the writer

of the Book of Samuel enabled him to supersede the names of such as were

soon lost to their brave career by death by other names; or, resting on the

same fundamental reason, there may have been two different editions of

the list, to one of which the writer of Samuel was indebted, and to the

other the compiler of Chronicles.


26 “Also the valiant men of the armies were, Asahel (see above) the

brother of Joab, Elhanan the son of Dodo of Bethlehem,

27  Shammoth the Harorite,” -  The parallel passage has Harodite, the local

identification of Shammoth, as from Harod, known for its spring (Judges 7:1),

by which Gideon encamped, where also the army was tested by its mode of

drinking. Some think it the same with the fountain of Jezreel (I Samuel 29:1).

Izrahite seems to have been the family distinction of Shammoth (ch.27:8), from

Zerah son of Judah. He is the fifth captain. In the parallel his name is followed by

Elika, who is also called “the Harodite” -Helez the Pelonite,” - Though the

parallel place has Paltite, the present form probably should hold its own. Helez

is the seventh captain of division, and said to belong to the “sons of Ephraim”

(see ch.27:10, and Septuagint in all three passages).


28 “Ira the son of Ikkesh the Tekoite, Abiezer the Antothite,

29  Sibbecai the Hushathite, Ilai the Ahohite,” - Sibbecai; Ilai. Both of

these names are conceivably reconcilable with the Mebunnai and Zalmon of

the parallel place (II Samuel 23:27-28, through the very possible mistake and

substitution of one Hebrew character for another. Sibbecai was the eighth captain;

he was of the family of Zerah, and of the town of Hushah (ch.4:4).

30 Maharai the Netophathite, Heled the son of Baanah the Netophathite,

31  Ithai the son of Ribai of Gibeah, that pertained to the children of

Benjamin, Benaiah the Pirathonite,  32 Hurai of the brooks of Gaash,

Abiel the Arbathite, 33 Azmaveth the Baharumite, Eliahba the Shaalbonite,”


34 “The sons of Hashem the Gizonite,” - This sentence is unmanageable as it

stands, and is insufficiently assisted from its parallel But if from this latter we take the

suggestion of the preposition “from” (Authorized Version) before “the sons”

(which, however, is not in the Hebrew), and from the Alexandrian Septuagint, the

suggestion of the name Gouni (yniWG), Guni, (ch.5:15) in the place of Gizonite

 (ynizOG), we should obtain a coherent reading. But this would be mere conjecture

suggested by the Septuagint, and “the Gizonite offers the difficulty of the

presence of the article, which would not subsist with the proper name

Guni. Were it not that the word yneB] is found in both passages all difficulty

would disappear with its disappearance. The remainder of this verse, in

relation to II Samuel 23:32-33 illustrates opportunely the uncertainties of the text.

For, as seen above, Jonathan is the grandson of Shage (Ibid. v.11), and son of

Shammah, while (Ibid. vs. 32-33) the parallel reads “Jonathan,” with no

connective word “son” at all, yet supplies the right name, Shammah the Hararite

for the father, and omits all mention of Shage -“Jonathan the son of Shage the



35 Ahiam the son of Sacar the Hararite, Eliphal the son of Ur,”

For these three names the parallel shows Sharar, Eliphelet, and Ahasbai

respectively.  (Ibid. vs. 33-34)


36 Hepher the Mecherathite,” -  Although this name is not found in

the parallel passage, it is tolerably plain that the niche for it is left before

the words (v. 34), “the son of the Maachathite,” which last word answers

to our Mecherathite -Ahijah the Pelonite,” - This name cannot be identified

with the Eliam the son of Ahithophel the Gilonite,” which answers to it in

the parallel (v. 34).


37 Hezro the Carmelite,” -  Hezro appears as Hezrai in Samuel. (For Carmel,

which lay south of Hebron, see Joshua 15:55.) - Naarai the son of Ezbai,”

The differences between these words and those of the parallel -Paarai

the Arbite (v. 35),  or Arab (Joshua 15:52), are not formidable to reconcile.


38 “Joel” - This name is also easily to be reconciled with the Igal of

the parallel passage (v. 36), though there is nothing to evidence which

should stand - “the brother of Nathan, Mibhar the son of Haggeri,”

For this last,  we have in the parallel place (v. 36) the names “Bani the Gadite;”

but before these comes the last word of the previous clause, “of Zobab.”

When these three words are compared with the three of our present passage,

it is very possible to bring them into harmony (‘Speaker’s Commentary,’ in loc.).

Zobah was a district of Syria in the time of Israel’s first three kings, stretching

northeast and east towards the Euphrates (I Samuel 14:47; II  Samuel 8:3:5,12).


39 Zelek the Ammonite, Naharai the Berothite,” - Among David’s great

men were evidently numbered some foreigners, whose admiration and fidelity he

must have won. Hence the mention of  (II Samuel 23:36) Zobah, and here of the

Ammonite (II Samuel 8:12; 12:26-31), the Beerothite (Beeroth, originally a Hivite

city, Joshua 9:17, fell to the lot of Benjamin, Joshua 18:25; to it belonging Rimmon

and his two sons, Reehab and Baanah, possibly native Canaanites, the murderers

of Ishbosheth, as above), and (v. 41) the Hittite -  “the armor-bearer” -  To be

made armour-bearer was a sign of honor and attachment (I Samuel 16:21;

II  Samuel 18:15) - “of Joab the son of Zeruiah,”


40 “Ira the Ithrite, Gareb the Ithrite,”- The Ithrite. One of the families of

Kirjath-jearim (ch.2:53). Other similar colonists from Kirjath-jearim, and

descended from Shobal, were the Puthite, the Shumathite, and the

Izrahite. With this verse we count up, including the dropped-out Elika, the

names of “thirty mighty men.” And we may understand Samuel’s thirty-seven

to consist of these, increased by Uriah and the two parties of three each.


These last seven verses (vs. 41-47) are assisted by no parallel, either in the Book

of Samuel or elsewhere. Of the sixteen names which they contain, not a few

are to be found elsewhere, yet not as designating the same persons. Also,

while the Reubenite and the Gentile nouns Ashterathite and Aroerite are at

once recognized, the Mithnite, Tizite, Mahavite, and Mesobaite are not

traceable elsewhere, the plural form of the last but one being an additional

source of obscurity.


41 “Uriah the Hittite, Zabad the son of Ahlai,  42  Adina the son of Shiza

the Reubenite, a captain of the Reubenites, and thirty with him,”

Thirty with him. The Hebrew preposition here translated “with” appears thus,

wyl;[;z], and will naturally translate “and in addition to him.” As he was a

captain, this addendum may probably refer to those over whom he was captain,

and whom he brought in his train, and who were possibly themselves officers.

As the writer of Chronicles indicates no difference, nor any sense of a change of

persons enumerated, when he has reached (v. 41) Uriah the Hittite, it would

all the rather be consistent with his own superscription when (v. 26) he proposes

to set forth simply “the valiant men of the armies” without confining their

number to the “thirty.”


43 Hanan the son of Maachah, and Joshaphat the Mithnite,  44  Uzzia the

Ashterathite,” -  Ashteroth was in East Manasseh (ch.6:71) -Shama and Jehiel

the sons of Hothan the Aroerite,” - Aroer lay east of the Jordan (Joshua 13:16,25).


45 Jediael the son of Shimri, and Joha his brother, the Tizite,  46 Eliel the

Mahavite,” -  It has been suggested that this word may stand for Mahanite, from

Mahanaim - “and Jeribai, and Joshaviah, the sons of Elnaam, and Ithmah the

Moabite,  47 Eliel, and Obed, and Jasiel the Mesobaite.” The Mesobaite. 

This name is entirely unknown, unless it may be the same as Mezobah.



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