The Groups of Heroes (ch.11:10-12:40)
“These are the chief of the mighty men whom David had.” (ch. 11:10-12:40).
This roll of ancient chivalry is worthy of a little notice. Men of valor consecrating that
valor to service of David and their country, emulating each other’s deeds and all
abounding in service to their land, their numbers, association, prowess, has charmed
many a reader and inspired through many generations a grand succession of heroic
souls. As courage is a constant requisite in all directions, let us study this singular
group of valiant men, and observe how:
are not more or less contagious. Corruption corrupts, and strength
invigorates others. Honor sets its fashion, and vice finds many to copy it.
The bad man has to answer, not only for the harm he does, but for the
harm that he leads others to do. The good man has the reward of his
service, which is great, but of his example as well, which is greater still.
Here we see that one hero makes a multitude. After one man has fought
and slain a gigantic foe, Benaiah can do the same. And Jashobeam and
Eleazar can do their marvelous deeds, slaying foes by hundreds who come
against them. The nobility of David’s nature attracts and elevates
kindred spirits. It attracts them; for even when an outcast and exile,
they collect about him (ch. 12) in the
Philistines. All Saul’s authority as king and kinsman does not prevent many
of the bravest of the Benjamites attaching themselves to David, even in
Saul’s lifetime. A Moabite, and an Ammonite were among his chief
captains; a Hittite, one of his thirty knights; from beyond
gather to him; and later on, from every tribe of
his standard. There is such an attraction about every great soul. The law of
gravitation, I suppose, is true of souls, that they attract each other in the
ratio of their masses; and if a nature be tenfold grander than another, it has
tenfold more attraction. Great men cannot help attracting, and men less
great from feeling the force of that attraction. And when the greatness is
the rounded greatness in which generosity of nature meets with courage
and with wisdom, there is no bound to the attraction exercised and the
devotion yielded. If God has made you a kingly spirit, you need not be
over-solicitous about the recognition of your claims. He whom God makes
to be master is master by a law of gravitation, and finds his level as
naturally as material things find theirs. Impatience to reach your throne
only delays it. Be still, and if God means you to rule, there is
nothing more certain than that you will. Meanwhile, as perhaps you
have not that part to play, attach yourself as a learner and a follower to
him whom you find better and wiser than yourself, and, sitting at his feet,
you will, in the practice of obedience, learn the secret of command. David
not only attracts, however, but elevates. Beneath the kindling inspiration
of his valor all hearts grow brave. Courage seems so easy and fear so
shameful that, with him as leader, each man is twice, ay, sometimes many
times himself. A
Bruce, a Cromwell, a Nelson, or a
lack brave following. “As iron sharpeneth iron, so does a man the
countenance of his friend” (Proverbs 27:17). Valor in one makes
many valiant. King Arthur had his knights of the Round Table, and
David had his, and all brave men have theirs. Such a fact is worthy of
notice, for we are apt to think evil a stronger thing than good; the fact
being that good is the most powerful thing on earth, kindling similar
goodness in others’ lives. Be brave and good, and you will not long be
did so because he recognized the validity of the principle we have just been
considering. His valor infused into the captains; theirs would be infused
into the men. In war an army wants brave leaders, not figure-heads.
“Take the kings away every man out of his place, and put captains in
their room,” said the sensible military critics of Benhadad, who had made his
first invasion of
20:24). But it is not only in military matters, but in all others that courage is
wanted. From the teacher of a Sunday school to a prime minister, from a
minister of religion to a member on the town council, whoever is at the head
of his fellows should be brave; wise as well, but brave. Prudence without
some daring and enterprise will so shrink from difficulties and risks that it will
take often the most dangerous course of all — DOING NOTHING!
There is always at hand, available for whoever can use it, abundance of
power to work reforms, to render needed service to mankind, if only there
be leaders for it. Are you in a position of influence of any sort, in Church or
state, with few or many? Remember that David would have none but heroic
men for leaders, and if you have not courage to lead men forward, you should
give place to those who have. (“Lead, follow, or get out of the way!” –
Thomas Paine) - Happy the
school board, the city council, the land, whose leaders have brave hearts
that do not slacken with languor or shrink from danger! With such leading,
the community, like
measure than languid hearts ever dare to dream of.
I Chronicles 12
This chapter is retrospective, and the contents of it are not found elsewhere. It is
occupied, first (vs. 1-22), with the names and some accounts of those who had come
to the help of David in three great crises in time past, to join themselves to him and his
cause. And afterwards (vs. 23-40), with an enumeration of those representatives from
the tribes who came (ch.11:1, 3) to support the proceedings of the occasion when he
was being made king of the whole people. Thus the chapter would divide really into
four parts, to which the following sections will be found sufficiently to answer:
o vs. 1-7;
o vs. 8-18;
o vs. 19-22;
o vs. 23-40.
1 “Now these are they that came to David to Ziklag,” - The occasion referred to
is evidently that recorded in I Samuel 27:1-2, 6-7; 30:1, 26; and generally in those and
the intermediate chapters. David stayed at Ziklag a year and four months, a period
which closed for him with the death of Saul. Ziklag, in Joshus’s original allotment,
the possession of Simeon (Joshua 19:5). It was situated south of
into the hands of
27:5-7). The site of it has not been identified in later times. It witnessed one of the
narrowest and most remarkable of the escapes of David, on an occasion which
brought danger, not so much from acknowledged foes, as from the maddened grief
and despair of his own friends and people (Ibid. ch.30:3-6). The whole scene of the
broken-hearted grief of David and his people, when, on discovering the successful
raid of the Amalekites upon Ziklag, “they lifted up their voice and wept, until
they had no more power to weep,” is one of the most dramatic on record. The
rapid reverse to good fortune, when David turns away their heedless anger against
himself and proposal to stone him, by pursuing and overcoming the enemy, and
recovering their captives and their goods near the brook Besor, completes
the effectiveness of the scene. The middle voice form of expression in this
verse, - “while he yet kept himself close” - means to say that David was, by
fear of Saul and by force of his enemies, more or less hemmed up in Ziklag –
“because of Saul
the son of
helpers of the war.”
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, even of
Saul’s brethren of Benjamin.” Of Saul’s brethren of Benjamin. It would be
better to read these words as the commencement of the next verse. Prominence is
given to the fact that this set of helpers of David, counting in all twenty-three,
comprised Benjamites — men of the same tribe with Saul (v. 29). They had seen
and been impressed by the wrongness and cruelty of Saul, and found themselves
unable to keep in sympathy with him. Of such were Eleazar, Ilai, and Ithai, mentioned
in the preceding chapter vs.12, 29, 31, respectively). The Benjamites were noted
both for their use of the bow, and of their own left hand (Judges 3:15, 21; 20:15-16;
ch. 8:39-40; II Chronicles 14:8).
3 “The chief was Ahiezer, then Joash, the sons of Shemaah the Gibeathite;” -
The Peshito-Syriac has wOnB] instead of yneBe. This has the effect of making Joash the
son of Ahiezer, and it makes Shemaah a third name in the list. This name has in the
Hebrew the form for the article before it, and should appear in our version either as
“Has-Shemaah,” or “the Shemaah.” The name, together with that of Azmaveth, is
found in ch. 8:13, 36, as belonging to the tribe of Benjamin -“and Jeziel, and Pelet,
the sons of Azmaveth; and Berachah, and Jehu the Antothite.” The name
Jeziel is omitted in the Syriac Version, and the two names Pelet and Berachah
appear as sons of Azmaveth (ch.11:33; II Samuel 23:31, where the Baharmite
means the Baharumite, i.e. the man of Bahurim, in Benjamin). The Antothite; that is,
native of Anathoth. The place is not given in Joshua 18.; but it was a “priests’ city”
with “suburbs,” belonging to Benjamin (ch.11:28; Joshua 21:18; I Kings 2:26;
Jeremiah 1:1; 29:27).
4 “And Ismaiah the Gibeonite, a mighty man among the thirty, and
over the thirty; and Jeremiah, and Jahaziel, and Johanan, and
Josabad the Gederathite,” The name of Ismaiah does not appear in the list
of the preceding chapter, nor in its parallel; nor is it possible to identify it with
any that does appear there. The suggested explanation is that he was in the first
edition of that list, and died early. The expression, “among the thirty, and over
the thirty,” may possibly mean that, from distinction as one of them, he was
promoted above them to be leader of them. Josabad the Gederathite. The name
should be spelt Jozabad. The Gederah here suggested cannot to all appearance be
that of Joshua 15:36, in the Shephelah of Judah, as Jozabad was a Benjamite.
If otherwise, it must be supposed to have come in some way into the possession
5 “Eluzai, and Jerimoth, and Bealiah, and Shemariah, and Shephatiah
the Haruphite,” Jerimoth. This name is found also among Benjamites (ch.7:8).
Bealiah. This name comprises both the word Baal, and Jah! Haruphite. The
Masoretic word is ypyrij}j (Nehemiah 7:34). The sons of Hariph (Ibid v.24)
may have belonged to the tribe of Benjamin.
6 “Elkanah, and Jesiah, and Azareel, and Joezer, and Jashobeam, the
Korhites,” Jashobeam. Possibly the same with him of ch.11:11; 27:2.
Korhites. Some authorities are as positive that this name designates Levitic
Korahites, as others are sceptical about it. Bertheau explains the name as
meaning descendants of Korah of Judah (ch.2:43). Others surmise that a
Benjamite Korah, otherwise unknown to us, is pointed to. There does not
seem any intrinsic difficulty in supposing that these were some of the Levite
Korahites, whose proper and allotted abode was in Benjamin, or perhaps
7 “And Joelah, and Zebadiah, the sons of Jeroham of Gedor.” Of Gedor.
The place apparently here spoken of (yet see ch.8:31; 9:37) is unknown, and it
is to be observed that in the Hebrew the article precedes the word (rwOdG]h").
If it be the Gedor in
of a Benjamite (ch.8:27).
8 “And 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;” As v. 1 is introduced by
the description of those who came together “to David to Ziklag” at a certain time,
so it seems evident that this verse introduces the mention of certain others who
befriended David at another time, by coming to him into the hold to the wilderness.
These others were Gadites in part, and the hold none more likely than that of
Adullam (v. 16 of last chapter), although the word here employed
(dx"m]l") for “hold” is a different form of the word (hd;Wxm]) found both
there and in the parallel (II Samuel 23:14). There is, however, nothing to
negate the choice of other spots and occasions (I Samuel 22:5; 23:14,19,24,29,
Authorized Version; 24:1, Authorized Version). This graphic description of the
military and indeed native qualities of these Gadites, is in harmony with many other
glimpses we get of them and their character (ch.5:19-22; II Samuel 1:23; 2:18).
9 “Ezer the first, Obadiah the second, Eliab the third,
10 Mishmannah the fourth, Jeremiah the fifth,
11 Attai the sixth, Eliel the seventh,
12 Johanan the eighth, Elzabad the ninth,
13 Jeremiah the tenth, Machbanai the eleventh.”
The eleven names of these verses are all known elsewhere, but none of them as
designating the same persons.
14 “These were of the sons of Gad, captains of the host: one of the
least was over an hundred, and the greatest over a thousand.”
This, evidently an incorrect translation, is easily superseded by the correct
literal version, One to a hundred the little one, and the great one one to
a thousand. The preposition lamed prefixed to the two numerals, “hundred”
and “thousand,” will signify either that the “little one was as good as a hundred,
and the great one as good as a thousand;” or that the “little one was rare
as one of a hundred, and the great one rare as one of a thousand.”
are they that went over
corresponds with our end of March. The interesting incident of this verse is
unrecorded in detail elsewhere (Joshua 3:15; Jeremiah 12:5; 49:19; 50:44) -
“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.”
16 “And there came of the children of Benjamin and Judah to the hold
unto David.” In addition to the Gadites, some others of Benjamin and
17 “And 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.”
The solemn tone of David’s language recorded here, and the beautiful pathos and
religious appeal of the last two sentences of the verse, bespeak sufferings and
disappointments experienced by David heretofore through deception. It is, however,
noticeable that there is no direct testimony of anything of this kind, least of all of any
flagrant instance of it, on the part of such detachments of friends as had come to him;
and that, though they had occasionally been contributed from sources not the most
desirable (I Samuel 22:2).
18 “Then 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 response of
the band, by the mouth of Amasai was worthy of the character of the appeal that
David made, both in its heartiness and its high tone. Amasai. Possibly the same with
Amasa (ch.2:17), the son of Abigail (David’s sister), wife of Jether (II Samuel 17:25;
19:13; 20:10). He was made captain of the host by Absalom, afterwards by
David, and Joab put an end to his life (II Samuel 20:9-10). The Spirit (see Numbers
11:26; Nehemiah 9:30). The more literal translation of the verb came upon is
clothed. Most interesting and instructive is the subject of the gradually
developing manifestation of the agency of the eternal Spirit from the
beginning of the world. Through the ascending illustrations of His natural
work in creation (Genesis 1:2), His relation to human bodily life
(Ibid. 2:7; Job 27:3), His intellectual work of various kinds
(Genesis 41:38; Exodus 28:3; Numbers 24:2; Judges 13:25), we are led on to
His highest spiritual functions.
19 “And 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.” And there fell… of
Manasseh to David. Of this use of Al[ lp"n; there are many other examples
(II Chronicles 15:9; Jeremiah 37:14; 39:9). The phrase does not correspond
with our own idiom of “falling to” one’s lot, but with that of” falling away”
from the service or love of one to another, i.e. deserting. The occasion here
spoken of is described in full in I Samuel 29:2-11.
20 “As 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.”
Although those of Manasseh who wished to ally themselves
with David did not — most providentially for David and his Ziklag people
— have the opportunity of aiding him when, on the eve of Gilboa, he was
about to aid Achish the prince of the Philistines against the Israelites and
Saul, yet their help must have come in useful when, on his return “to Ziklag
on the third day,” he found what the Amalekites had done, and pursued
them (I Samuel 30:1-6, 11-25). Seven is the number also of Eastern
Manasseh mentioned in ch. 5:24. Nothing is now said of the
men belonging to them joining with them. Jozabad. One manuscript
quoted by Kennicott has for this name on its first occurrence Jechabar. It is
scarcely likely that the same name should appear twice in this short list,
without some qualifying mark being put to one of the two. Nothing else is
known of these seven captains of the thousands of Manasseh.
21 “And they helped David against the band of the rovers: for they
were all mighty men of valor, and were captains in the host.”
The band referred to is evidently that of Amalek in I Samuel 30:8-9.
Were captains; better, became captains.
22 “For at that time day by day there came to David to help him, until it
was a great host, like the host of God.” The host of God. A forcible comment
on the metaphorical use of this phrase is found in I Samuel 14:15; Authorized
Version, “a very great trembling” is the translation of Hebrew “trembling of God.”
The for with which this verse commences probably explains the call there was for
many and able “captains” for a host becoming daily larger.
David’s Mighty Men: the Gadites, Benjamites, and Judah (vs. 1-22)
This chapter contains three lists of those who joined the standard while he
yet kept himself close because of the jealousy of Saul. While he was in the
Philistine town of
afterwards contributed so much to the glory of his reign. Preferring the
exile and reproach of David to the honor of the court of Saul they gave
up all for love to him. Vs. 1-15 give us the first list; vs. 16-22 the
second list; vs. 23-40 the third list. The children of Benjamin joining his
standard must have been peculiarly grateful to David. These were of the
kindred of Saul, and included probably many of his relatives. They could
only have joined David’s standard under the influence of the Spirit of God,
perceiving the evident withdrawal of God’s favors from Saul and His
favor to David. It was a public and emphatic protest by those who had
means of knowing David better than others of the excellence of his
character and the grievous wrong done by outlawing one who had
rendered such eminent services. We see how David was naturally
suspicious of these Benjamites joining him. In order to remove David’s
suspicion of their being traitors from the house of Saul, they had probably
asked the children of
God, speaking through Amasai, removed all fears. David’s confidence in
God in an extremity which might have been fatal to his life and the
existence of his kingdom, is instructive. He casts himself upon God. A
“good conscience” enables him to do this, “seeing there is no wrong in
mine hands” (v. 17). With a “good conscience” towards God, men may
never fear in any emergency, however trying. The Spirit of the Lord will
always lead the way. Though the cloud may hang very long and look very
dark, the result is as certain as the most certain thing in the world. To such
a soul there will be one final issue — “peace peace” (v. 18); yes, “perfect
peace” (Isaiah 26:3) to all such.
David’s Mighty Men: Motive for Service (v. 18)
Let us now glance at the motive of these noble men who joined David’s
standard. Despising the court of Saul and all its honors, they were drawn
to David. His exile and reproach were dearer to them than it all. And why?
Instructed by the Spirit of God, they recognized the Lord’s anointed. They
looked not at the present, but forward to that hour when the king should
reign. For this they counted all the honors of Saul as worthless. They
esteemed David’s reproach because they had respect to his future glory
(Hebrews 11:26). Need I say what this teaches? The people of God now are
gathered round Jesus, the rejected One, the Exile from this world. They
esteem the reproach of Christ, for they have respect to the recompense of the
reward. “Choosing rather to suffer affliction with the people of God than to
enjoy the pleasures of sin for a season” (Ibid. v. 25). They “know whom they
have believed” (II Timothy 1:12). “The heathen rage, and the people imagine
a vain thing” (Psalm 2:1). The world has set itself against Christ. Yet they
know, notwithstanding all this, that “the Lord hath set his King on his holy hill
out from this world’s ruler and god, and with joy they move onward under the
“Captain of their salvation.”
23 “And these are the numbers of the bands that were ready armed to
the war, and came to David to
or captains, by one or the other of which words this same term has been several
times hitherto rendered in the immediate context (yet see Judges 9:37, 44, and
5:30 for yet a third signification). Here follow (vs. 24-37) the numbers of each
tribe (the full thirteen being enumerated) who “came with a perfect heart to
some of the joyful pilgrims to
very small number that came of the tribe of
i.e. Benjamin, and yet nearest home), and of some others, help to invest with
doubt the numerals of this passage, although it is not at all difficult to suggest
some very passable explanations of these phenomena. This doubt is not lessened
by the total, which, according to this list, must make a figure between three hundred
and forty thousand and three hundred and fifty thousand men. To the host have to
be added, as we are expressly told, the “asses, camels, mules, and oxen,” which
carried the“bread, meat, meal, cakes of figs and bunches of raisins, and wine, and
oil, and oxen, and sheep in abundance,” for the consumption of the host during
their “three days’ “stay “with David,” and their journeys to and fro. In the
presence of such numbers, and the celebration of such an occasion,
must indeed have beheld the reflection of its own probable meaning, of the
“fellowship” or “community” of
society – “to turn the
to him,”- (so ch.10:14). The phrase is not a common one - “according to
the word of the LORD” (so ch.11:3; I Samuel 16:1,12-13).
and eight hundred, ready armed to the war. 25 Of the children of Simeon,
mighty men of valour for the war, seven thousand and one hundred.”
David had already found friends and adherents in these two southern tribes of
Judah and Simeon.
26 “Of the children of Levi four thousand and six hundred. 27 And Jehoiada
was the leader of the Aaronites, and with him were three thousand and seven
hundred;” Jahoiada. He was probably the father of Benaiah (see ch.11:22; 18:17;
27:5; II Samuel 8:18). The Aaronites. This is, of course, equivalent to saying
“the priests,” i.e. the priestly troops, of whom Jehoiada was leader.
28 “And Zadok, a young man mighty of valor, and of his father’s
house twenty and two captains.” This is the first mention of Zadok. He
was, no doubt, the chief priest, son of Ahitub, of II Samuel 8:17; I Kings 1:8;
ch. 24:3; 29:22. He is leader of the Levites.
29 “And of the children of Benjamin, the kindred of Saul, three
thousand: for hitherto the greatest part of them had kept the ward” -
rather, had kept on the side of; the Hebrew, tr,m,v]mi μyrim]vo; Vulgate,
adhuc sequebatur. The proposedtranslation of jn;jeyd["z] by “still”
(‘Speaker’s Commentary,’ in loc.) is very doubtful. The for hitherto
of this verse explains the reason of the comparatively small number of
the Benjamites - “of the house of Saul.”
30 “And of the children of Ephraim twenty thousand and eight
hundred, mighty men of valor, famous throughout the house of
their fathers. 31 And of the half tribe of Manasseh (west Manasseh)
eighteen thousand, which were expressed by name, to come and
make David king.”
32 And of the children of Issachar, which were men that had
understanding of the times, to know what
heads of them were two hundred; and all their brethren were at
their commandment.” Had understanding of the times (II Chronicles 2:12;
Esther 1:13; Job 24:1). This verse does not tell the number of the “children,”
but only of the “heads” of Issachar. It is possible that the number has slipped
out. The description of the characteristics of Issachar here seems an advance
upon that of Genesis 49:14-15.
Men of Understanding (v. 32)
The position of Issachar among the tribes was one central and desirable. Some of
richest land in
prosperity. The strong ass crouched between burdens is emblematical alike of plenty
and of toil (Genesis 49:14). How to connect Issachar’s prosperity in husbandry with
the characteristics of the text is by no means easy, perhaps not possible. But it is high
praise which the chronicler accords to this tribe, or to “the heads” or leaders among
them — they were “men that had understanding of the times, to know what
(James 1:17). “If any man lack wisdom, let him ask of God.”
(Ibid. v. 5) From HIM ALONE counsel and guidance proceed.
By His Spirit He enlightens men. Hence the reasonableness and
the importance of prayer.
REACH. No doubt there are certain natural qualifications; yet these may
either be left undeveloped, or may be cultivated. Observation, conversation
with the learned, the wise, and the experienced, reading, practical conduct
of affairs, — all these are means of acquiring wisdom, Nor must we
overlook one potent agency — “Years, that bring the philosophic mind.”
(tribulation worketh patience; and patience, experience; and
Experience, hope” - Romans 5:4).
text alludes to present necessities. Issachar had “understanding of the
times.” True wisdom does not lie in comprehending past states of society,
so much as in realizing the characteristics and needs of our own days. The
text alludes also to action. Historical and scientific and speculative
knowledge are all good. But knowledge reduced to practice is wisdom.
competent to decide. We may set aside all the explanations of this passage
which represent the men of Issachar as versed in astronomy, chronology,
or other studies. There can be no doubt the reference is to political
sagacity, military promptness, and practical habits. These men recognized
in David a faculty for ruling, strongly, justly, and religiously; and
accordingly they were forward to give in their adhesion to the son of Jesse,
to repair to
33 “Of 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.” This phrase should be connected closely
with the preceding clause, of which it is the termination, the sense being
that they were the men to face battle with no doubtful heart.
Singleness of Heart (v. 33)
Several of the tribes who joined in electing David king are characterized by
the chronicler in a few graphic words. It was good testimony which was
borne to the warriors of Zebulun, that “they were not of double heart.” Not
in war only, but in all the affairs of life, and especially in religion, it is a
weakness to be double-hearted; it is strength to have a single heart — to
be, as in the Hebrew, “without a heart and heart.”
Ø Those may be assigned to this class who are undecided whether to
serve God or the world. As a matter of fact, those who are in such a
state of mind are decided, for the present, against God. “He that is
not with me is against me” (Matthew 12;30). It is a pitiable, weak,
unhappy condition, and NONE SHOULD REMAININ IT FOR A
SINGLE DAY! “If the Lord be God, serve Him; but if Baal,
then serve him.” (I Kings 18:21).
Ø Those also may be termed double-hearted who are attempting to
serve both God and the world. There are misguided persons who
flatter themselves that they can rank with both the opposing
forces. Christ has spoken very plainly upon this matter, saying,
“Ye cannot serve God and mammon,” “No man can serve two
masters, for… he will love the one and hate the other.”
Ø There are those who profess to serve God, but, in reality and in their
heart of hearts, are serving the world. These profess a single eye to
God’s glory; but in truth they are ever seeking, as the great aim of their
life, their own glory, or wealth, or pleasure, or ease. These are
hypocrites; against such the censure and condemnation of Christ are stern
Ø It is dishonoring to God, who has a just claim upon a perfect allegiance
and service, By every claim we are His, and His only, and to withhold from
Him aught .that is ours is an infringement upon His rights. His demand is a
just and unvarying one: “My son, give me thine heart” (Proverbs 23:26).
We want to encourage ALL to give their whole heart to their God and
Ø It is evidence of ingratitude towards Christ. When the Lord Jesus
undertook our redemption, He did not leave His work half finished,
for He did not undertake it with half a heart, with a divided purpose,
a distracted love. Shall we give a divided heart to HIM WHO GAVE
HIS LIFE FOR US?
Ø It is disastrous in its effect upon those who witness its exhibition. How
many young minds have been prejudiced against religion by the double-
heartedness of its professors! And what mischief has been wrought in
society by such a spectacle! How often has it shaken the confidence and
deterred the progress of inquirers into Christianity!
Ø It is deteriorating to the character of those who are tempted into it.
What more contemptible than vacillation? “A double-minded man is
unstable in all his ways” (James 1:8). The longer the habit is
persevered in, the more mischievous are its consequences to its victim.
He cannot but sink in his own esteem and lose the strength which is
imparted by self-respect.
34 “And of Naphtali a thousand captains, and with them with shield
and spear thirty and seven thousand. 35 And of the Danites expert in war
twenty and eight thousand and six hundred. 36 And of Asher, such as
went forth to battle, expert in war, forty thousand.” Naphtali, Dan, and
Asher all show to advantage, in number at all events.
38 “And on
the other side of
Gadites, and of the half tribe of Manasseh, with all manner of
instruments of war for the battle, an hundred and twenty thousand.
38 All these men of war, that could keep rank, came with a perfect
group muster a high number, and of well equipped men.
Too often the counsels of
frustrated by party spirit, by envy, by faction. The occasion before us was
one of national harmony and cooperation. To make David king the people
were of one heart. A lesson this as to the spirit and the attitude becoming
Submission to one Lord. As
obedience to one king, David, so we, as Christians, are bound to
be subject to the authority of our rightful Prince, even Christ,
David’s Son and David’s Lord.
Ø Acknowledgment of one faith. The unity of the faith is real.
All who are Christ’s receive the truth of Christ, and hold it fast for His
sake. A common principle, a common sympathy, a common aim, impart
unity to those who cherish them.
Ø Reception of one baptism. The same Spirit descends, in copious
showers, upon all the followers of Jesus Christ, making them partakers
of the same purity and the same spiritual life.
attitude towards Heaven, but it declares itself by certain palpable
manifestations amongst Christians. Especially mutual love, confidence,
and helpfulness, and common sacrifices of prayer and praise, and
common labors for the world’s enlightenment and salvation.
Ø Happiness. Discord is fruitful of misery; harmony of felicity and joy. A
united Church is a happy Church.
mind and heart, so in the Church of the living God. A united
Church is a strong Church. Its enemies cannot reproach or despise it.
Ø Efficiency. Christ, the great Head and High Priest of the Church, saw
this. Hence the language of his prayer: “That they all may be one; as
thou, Father, art in me, and I in thee, that they also may be one
in us: that the world may know that thou hast sent me” (John 17:21).
Oh that the whole world were “OF ONE HEART” in acknowledging
JESUS AS KING OF KINGS, in crowning Him LORD OF ALL!
39 “And there they were with David three days, eating and drinking:
for their brethren had prepared for them.” The supplies for eating and
drinking were no doubt found chiefly in kind. To sum the number of the
men here described, we should require to allow for those of Issachar and
of the Aaronites and Zadokites added to the Levites (vs. 26-28). That grand
total will not amount to the six hundred thousand of Exodus 12:37.
40 “Moreover they that were nigh them,” – The meaning is that
only the “brethren” of
of visitors - “even unto Issachar and Zebulun and Naphtali,” – but that
others did so in ever-widening circles, even as far as the remoter Issachar,
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
national consciousness of divided rule coming to an end, and of the cloud
and frown of the Divine countenance having cleared mercifully away.
All now could join to show loyalty and to feel it towards one king, of whom
they had reason to believe that he was the chosen of God as of themselves.
After the reign of Saul, with all its caprice, violence, and irreligiousness, it
with something more than a feeling of relief that
accession of his successor. The unity of the people was manifested in the
large and representative assembly that gathered together at
the cordial sympathy of the absent in the presents and tribute forwarded
from all parts of the land. The feasting was prolonged for three days; for
the tables were abundantly furnished by the contributions of the several
tribes, even from those in the northern districts of
in the acknowledgment of Christ’s Divine and regal authority.
“I have set my King upon my holy hill of Zion.” Christ is the
rightful King of humanity. (“THE DESIRE OF ALL NATIONS!” –
(Haggai 2:7). He is the acknowledged and actual King of His ransomed
Church. “He shall reign until He hath put every enemy under His
feet” (I Corinthians 15:25). Surely a race, distracted by lawlessness
and rebellion, may well rejoice when assured that a King so mighty
and so wise ascends His rightful throne.
Jesus as King are the proper persons to offer the sacrifices of rejoicing.
How many are the admonitions we find in Scripture to rejoice in the reign
of Immanuel! “Let all the children of
With shouts of acclaim and songs of welcome do Christ’s people exalt
Him to the throne of their loyal hearts.
The elders and chief captains of
accepted the crown. And Christ’s true subjects cannot do other than
speak forth His praise and celebrate His exploits.
kingship is fitted to awaken, we shall find it easy to submit and to obey; we
shall learn that “the joy of the Lord is your strength” (Nehemiah 8:10).
We shall have some earnest (down payment) of the higher and immortal joy
which shall fill the courts of heaven.
When the joy of a vast number of people finds expression in unison it must needs be
exceedingly impressive. Were it possible to hear at once that consentaneous volume
of sound of gladness, it would be nothing less than overpowering in its effect. Or,
if it were possible to see at a glance all the signs and all the manifestations of the
sparkling gladness, no scene of outer nature could be supposed so dazzling, so
bewildering. But in the known harmonious joy of a vast multitude of people, it is
not the mere effect upon our sense of the expression of it or the manifestation of it
that would invest it with its most real and in fact most solemn force. This would
rather be due to the suggestions thickly, richly clustering round about it. Whence it
grew, what it had intrinsically in it, and to what it was promising to grow,
would assuredly be some of the first of the thought which we should
thereupon think. And these deeper, less visible feeders of our own joy
would prove the more lasting and the more significant account of the deep
feeling wrought within us. The point of Scripture narrative at which we are
now arrived reveals to us A WHOLE NATION IN THE CRISIS OF ITS
JOY. There are peculiarities about that joy very possibly of a merely temporary
character, but there are others that are good for study, as permanent in their nature
and as having the efficacy of principles.
(I hope that you, Dear Reader, experience the JOY OF JOYS when we all
get to heaven and are a part of that multitude which no man can number - “And I
beheld, and I heard the voice of many angels round about the throne and
the beasts and the elders: and the number of them was ten thousand times
ten thousand, and thousands of thousands; Saying with a loud voice,
Worthy is the Lamb that was slain to receive power, and riches, and wisdom,
and strength, and honor, and glory, and blessing. And every creature which
is in heaven, and on the earth, and under the earth, and such as are in the sea,
and all that are in them, heard I saying, Blessing, and honor, and glory,
and power, be unto Him that sitteth upon the throne, and unto the Lamb
for ever and ever. And the four beasts said, Amen. And the four and twenty
elders fell down and worshipped Him that liveth for ever and ever.”
(Revelation 5:11-14 – I highly recommend Michael W. Smith’s rendition on
You Tube – for the spirit of which I am talking – over three million views – CY – 2012)
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