I Chronicles 27
This chapter, continuing the general subject of David’s arrangements of all
the leading departments, sacred and civil, of the kingdom, which he was so
soon to yield into the hands of his son Solomon, proceeds in the first
fifteen verses to the enumeration of the military courses of his people,
month by month. These were twelve in number, each containing
twenty,four thousand men; and the captain, or chief, or chief father, of
each is specially mentioned.
1 “Now the
fathers and captains of thousands and hundreds, and their officers
that served the king in any matter of the courses, which came in
and went out month by month throughout all the months of the
year, of every course were twenty and four thousand.” It difficult to
feel fully satisfied with any translation which the words of this verse offer.
Yet there can scarcely be any doubt of the meaning of the verse, viz. that the
writer would speak of the children of
captains of thousands and hundreds, as regards their courses and their number
in their courses, as they succeeded one another, month by month, including
also all those officers who served the king in any relation to these courses —
the courses were twelve, and each course was numbered twenty-four
thousand. Meantime, when we turn to the list, we do not find any full
complement of chiefs, captains, and officers specified, but apparently only
the chief of each course, with somewhat ambiguous additions in vs. 4
(Mikloth), 6 (Ammizabad), 7 (Zebadiah); while what seems an unnecessary
stress repeats the number each time. This, however, in fact, tallies with the
clause “respecting their number” in the first verse, and may constitute the
explanation of the apparent inconsistency in question. Milman (‘Hist. of the
Jews,’ 1:251, edit. 1830) says on this military portion of David’s
preparations, that he “organized an immense disposable force; every month
twenty-four thousand men, furnished in rotation by the tribes, appeared in
arms, and were trained as the standing militia of the country. At the head of
his army were officers of consummate experience and, what was more
highly esteemed in the warfare of the time, extraordinary personal activity,
strength, and valor. His heroes remind us of those of King Arthur or
Charlemagne, excepting that the armor of the feudal chieftains constituted
their superiority; here, main strength of body and dauntless fortitude of
mind.” Which came in and went out month by month; i.e. exchanged
places in rotation (II Kings 11:5-7, 9; II Chronicles 23:8).
2 “Over the first course for the first month was Jashobeam the son of
Zabdiel: and in his course were twenty and four thousand.” Jashobeam
is mentioned in ch. 11:11 as son of Hachmoni, and as one of those
“three mighties” of David, of whom the other two were Eleazar and Shammah
(see also ch.12:6); he is again referred to (II Samuel 23:8) in a verse of which
the text is corrupt, as “the Tachmonite,” or more correctly “the Tahh-cemonite.”
The tau in this word is probably an error for the article. Kennicott (‘Dies.,’ 72, 82)
confirms this supposition by noting that the Book of Samuel constantly
replaces by the definite article what appears in Chronicles as “son of.” He
has also shown reason for believing that the words in this passage, “that sat
in the seat”, are a corruption of the Hebrew text for characters that would
spell our name “Jashobeam.” We know nothing of this name “Hachmon,”
which may be the name of an earlier forefather, while Zabdiel, thence
named “the Hachmonite,” appears to Be the name of the actual father of
Jashobeam. Jashobeam was of
3 “Of the children of Perez was the chief of all the captains of the host
for the first month.” This verse tells us that Jashobeam belonged to the tribe of
Judah, through Perez, the fourth son of Judah (ch.2:4).
4 “And over the course of the second month was Dodai an Ahohite,
and of his course was Mikloth also the ruler: in his course likewise
were twenty and four thousand.” Before the name Dodai we must supply
“Eleazar the son of,” on the authority of ch.11:12; II Samuel 23:9. The allusion
to Mikloth (of the tribe of Benjamin, according to ch.8:32; 9:37) in this verse is
not plain. The translation may possibly be the same which our Authorized Version
gives, And over the course of the second month was (Eleazar, the son of) Dodai
the Ahohite, and (over) his (or, its) course also Mikloth was ruler. The appearances
of the Hebrew text, however, favor the supposition of an inaccurate text. A
somewhat similar construction and position of words in v. 6 is less difficult by
the absence of a conjunction before Ammizabad.
5 “The third captain of the host for the third month was Benaiah the
son of Jehoiada, a chief priest: and in his course were twenty and
four thousand. 6 This is that Benaiah, who was mighty among the thirty,
and above the thirty: and in his course was Ammizabad his son.”
Benaiah (ch.11:22-25; II Samuel 23:20-23). To this name Keil thinks the
word chief (vaOr), in the succeeding expression, chief priest, belongs.
Thus Jehoiada would be named here only priest. Yet see ch.12:27, where
Jehoiada is called dygiG;j" ˆroh}a"l]; and II Kings 25:18; where vaOrh;
ˆheKo stands for our vaOr ˆheKoh, as applied to Seraiah. Benaiah was
manifestly a Aaronite.
7 “The fourth captain for the fourth month was Asahel the brother of
Joab, and Zebadiah his son after him: and in his course were twenty and
four thousand.” With this verse, as Keil observes, the description of the
successive courses is given with the greatest brevity. Zebadiah was of
(II Samuel 2:23) before this division of military courses was made, it is evident
that his name in this place marks, not the individual, but the family. Possibly
he and his name were held in all the greater regard, and his son Zebadiah
best known for the sake of his father.
8 “The fifth captain for the fifth month was Shamhuth the Izrahite:
and in his course were twenty and four thousand.” Shamhuth. For
variations in the form of this name, see ch.11:27; II Samuel 23:25. In the
former of these passages also we have Harorite in place of our Izrahite,
and in the latter Harodite. The Izrahite probably means of the family of
Zerah (ch. 2:4, 6), and of course marks one of the tribe of Judah. The
Hebrew jr;z]Yih"evidently does not justify the form as translated “Izrahite.”
9 “The sixth captain for the sixth month was Ira the son of Ikkesh the
Tekoite: and in his course were twenty and four thousand.” For Ira,
See ch.11:28; II Samuel 23:26. He was of Tekoa, belonging to
10 “The seventh captain for the seventh month was Helez the Pelonite,
of the children of Ephraim: and in his course were twenty and four
thousand.” For Helez, see ch.11:27; II Samuel 23:26. He belonged to Ephraim.
11“The eighth captain for the eighth month was Sibbecai the
Hushathite, of the Zarhites: and in his course were twenty and four
thousand.” For Sibbecai, see ch.11:29; 20:4; II Samuel 21:18; 23:27, where
by a corruption the name Mebunnai is found for Sibbechai, a corruption all the
easier to account for in the similarity of the characters that form the names. He
was a Zarhite, and belonged to
the tribe of
12 “The ninth captain for the ninth month was Abiezer the Anetothite,
of the Benjamites: and in his course were twenty and four thousand.”
For Abiezer, of the tribe of Benjamin, see ch.11:28; II Samuel 23:27. For
Anetothite (Anathoth) see ch.6:60; Joshua 21:18; Jeremiah 1:1; 11:21; 32:7-9.
13 “The tenth captain for the tenth month was Maharai the Netophathite,
of the Zarhites: and in his course were twenty and four thousand.”
For Maharai, of the tribe of
Netophathite. Though the name of the town Netophah happens to occur only
after the Captivity (e.g. Ezra 2:22; Nehemiah 7:26), yet the name of the people,
as in this passage, was evidently a name existing before the Captivity (see also
ch. 2:54; 9:16).
14 “The eleventh captain for the eleventh month was Benaiah the
Pirathonite, of the children of Ephraim: and in his course were
twenty and four thousand.” For this Benaiah, who was of Ephraim, see
ch.11:31; II Samuel 23:30. For Pirathon, see Judges 12:15, where alone
the place is mentioned.
15 “The twelfth captain for the twelfth month was Heldai the
Netophathite, of Othniel: and in his course were twenty and four
who belonged to
name appears as Heled, and II Samuel 23:29, where it appears as Heleb.
For Othniel (who was nephew and son-in-law of Caleb, and first deliverer
of the people after Joshua), see Joshua 15:17; Judges 3:9. These twelve
captains then come — from
each, and from Levi one.
In vs. 16-22 are given the names of the rulers (v. 16), or princes (v. 22),
of ten out of the twelve tribes of
Asher, an omission which reminds of that of the two tribes Dan and Zebulon
from the genealogies contained in chapters 4 to 7., and equally unexplained.
These designations ruler (dygin;) and prince (rc") are the same as are found
in the list of vs.1-15 — the former in v. 4, and translated also as here “ruler;”
and the latter in vs. 1, 3, 5, 8, under the Authorized Version word of “captains.”
This rehearsal of the rulers or captains of the tribes stands evidently in no special
relation to the preceding military enumeration, but it forms naturally enough one
of four lists in this chapter that purport to set forth David’s complete arrangement
of the affairs of the kingdom. So far as the enumeration goes, it appears to
aim at fulness and no omission, for the “Aaronites” (v. 17) are given, and
Ephraim and the two halves of Manasseh separately (vs. 20-21).
over the tribes of
was Eliezer the son of Zichri: of the Simeonites, Shephatiah the son of
Maachah: 17 Of the Levites, Hashabiah the son of Kemuel: of the
Aaronites, Zadok:” It is, perhaps, remarkable that Hashabiah — presumably a
Gershonite — is not distinguished from the Hebronite (i.e. Kohathite) of the same
name (ch.26:30); some, however, think that our Hashabiah is the Kohathite
(see Smith’s ‘Bible Dictionary,’ 1:759 b). For Zadok, see ch. 6:4,12. He was
of the line of Eleazar.
18 “Of Judah, Elihu, one of the brethren of David: of Issachar, Omri
the son of Michael: 19 Of Zebulun, Ishmaiah the son of Obadiah: of
Naphtali, Jerimoth the son of Azriel:” 20 Of the children of Ephraim,
Hoshea the son of Azaziah: of the half tribe of Manasseh, Joel the son
of Pedaiah: David’s eldest brother Eliab is no doubt intended here by the
name Elihu. The Septuagint gives Eliab. For Michael, see ch. 7:3.
21 “Of the
half tribe of Manasseh in
Benjamin, Jaasiel the son of Abner:” There is no reason to doubt that Jaasiel
is the son of the Abner who was Saul’s own cousin (I Samuel 14:50).
22 “Of Dan, Azareel the son of Jeroham. These were the princes of the
in each case those who represented the tribe according to lineal descent in David’s
time. Though Gad and Asher are left out, the thirteen are filled up by the allowance
of two for Levi, viz. one for the Levites and one for the priests; and three for Joseph,
viz. one for Ephraim and two for the divided tribe of Manasseh.
23 “ But David took not the number of them from twenty years old and
under: because the LORD had said he would
the stars of the heavens.” The contents of this and the following verse may
be supposed to be suggested by the distinct reference to the matter of number in
the first verse of the chapter, and in the latter halves of the following fourteen
verses, contrasting with the utter absence of any allusion to the same
matter, when the whole body of the tribes and their princes are the
subject, in vs. 16-22. The deeper significance of the latter part of this
verse probably comes to this; that God had already given His people the
proudest name for their numbers, in saying that they should be numberless,
like to the stars of the heavens, and perpetually on the increase.
The Increase of
A devout mind will ever acknowledge that not only individual, but also
national, prosperity is FROM GOD! It was a conviction with all the pious
Hebrews that their nation had been selected by a special decree and
appointed to a special purpose. This conviction came to their minds to
sober them in times of national prosperity, and to comfort and fortify them
in periods of affliction, disaster, and captivity.
faithful. The Lord showed Abraham the stars of heaven, and assured him
that so numerous should be his seed. (Genesis 15:5; 22:17; 26:4)
assurance so inspiriting, so glorious, should be forgotten; it was embodied
in national tradition; it was enshrined in sacred literature; it was fitted to
dignify their conception of their calling as a people; and it was a rebuke to
their national pride. As on the occasion referred to in the text, it was
designed to lead them to place their hopes, not so much in their own
strength or fortune, as in the purpose and the promises of the God
Solomon the nation of
of fame and power. But it is pleasant and encouraging to believe that the
promise recorded in the text will be fulfilled in a deeper sense than that
which appears on the surface. There is a true
who, sharing Abraham’s faith, are Abraham’s spiritual children
(Romans 2:28-29). These are destined to be numerous as the sands of
the desert, as the leaves of the forest, as the dew-drops of the morning,
as the stars of heaven. This is a kingdom whose subjects shall ever
multiply, whose glory shall know no limit and no end. (“After this I
beheld, and, lo, a great multitude, which no man could number,
of all nations, and kindreds, and people, and tongues, stood
before the Lamb, clothed with white robes, and palms in their
hands; And cried with a loud voice, saying, Salvation to our
God which sitteth upon the throne, and unto the Lamb.” –
God’s Promises Checking Man’s Wilfulness (v.23)
The impulse on David leading him to number
adequately explained. Probably there were some peculiar national
conditions which are not detailed. The connection of the reference to the
“numbering,” which is made in this verse, intimates that it was a part of
some military arrangements which the king was advised to make. Possibly
in order to fix the amount of his standing army, he desired to know the
number of men in his kingdom who were above the age of twenty, the age
from which military service was required. Eastern writers give curious
illustrations of the Oriental prejudice against numbering possessions. “The
apprehension of a Nemesis on any overweening display of prosperity, if not
consistent with the highest revelations of the Divine nature in the Gospels,
pervaded all ancient, especially all Oriental religions. David’s act implied a
confidence and pride alien to the spirit inculcated on the kings of the
chosen people.” What does come prominently out in the narrative is that
David was willful in the matter, but that God kept his very wilfulness under
some limitations and restraints. David was kept from taking a complete
census, because he felt it irreverent to attempt to count what God was
understood to have promised should be countless. David’s own heart, as
well as Divine judgments, brought to him the conviction of his willfulness
and sin. In religious life and religious work often anxious to reckon up and boast of,
the results of our work. The individual Christian wants to count and value
the steps of his personal spiritual growth; and the Christian worker, in his
varied spheres, despairs if he cannot show the actual fruitage of his toil,
thinking there will be no harvest from his seeding if his own hand does not
bind the sheaves. Much may be said, and much may be said severely, of the
almost mania that possesses some Churches for “numbering the people,”
and counting up the net gains of Christian work. In both spheres God’s
promises should check this desire to count.
God has promised to bring us off “more than conquerors” (Romans 8:370;
to “perfect that which concerns us;” (Psalm 138:8); to give us “more grace”
(James 4:6); to ensure us “all sufficiency in all things” (II Corinthians 9:8);
and to be “with us always” (Matthew 28:200; so there is no need for constantly
testing our own spiritual state, and trying to gain assurance by counting the
steps upward which we may have made. Our best help is the”
time to think about our own feelings.
God has promised abundant fruitage as the result of faithful Christian toil:
a wondrous harvest-home, and not one sheaf missing. It is enough. Why should
we trouble about results, and count up converts? Let them be as many as ever God
wills, and let us be satisfied with the joy of our working, and the smile of our Master
which surely rests upon us in the doing. Still, as in the older days of David, there is
grave reason to fear that numbering results tends to nourish human pride and conceit,
sets men upon
boasting of the “great
most essential quality of Christian work is the meekness of self-forgetfulness,
that will be wholly amazed if, one wondrous day, God should point to sheaves safe in
His garner, and say, “These were gathered in by thee.” True and humble hearts
learn to leave all the “numbering work” TO GOD AND TO THE GREAT
24 Joab the son of Zeruiah began to number, but he finished not,
because there fell wrath for it against
number put in the account of the chronicles of king David.”
It seems a little surprising to read of Joab, fixed on the page of
history as the person who began to number, but… finished not, when we
have been already particularly told that it was he to whom King David’s
command to number was “abominable” (ch. 21:6). However
differently enough from the method of either nature or mankind, the
antidote has here preceded the evil. For because there fell wrath for it,
read the Hebrew, and there was for this wrath upon
sentence of the verse purports to say that such numbering as had been done
before the point at which Joab stopped was not honored by a place, where
other numbers were found, in the register of the chronicles of King David.
Verses 25-31 have for their primary object, not to give an exhaustive summary
of the wealth of David and the sources thereof, but to give the names of those
persons who were charged with the care, or the management and care, of’ it.
The classification, however, is interesting, and may be naturally expected to be
tolerably complete. We do not find any distinction made between such property
as might have belonged to David as private property, and such as belonged to
him as king — probably because there was none worth making.
25 “And over the king’s treasures was Azmaveth the son of Adiel: and
over the storehouses in the fields, in the cities, and in the villages,
and in the castles, was Jehonathan the son of Uzziah:” For storehouses,
read, as in former clause, treasures. The suggestion of the second half of this
verse in comparison with the first is that Azmaveth’s charge was over treasures
though the same in both clauses, may probably enough cover precious treasure,
as of gold, silver, costly raiment, etc. (I Kings 14:26; 15:18), more particularly in
the first clause, and grain, fruit, etc. (II Chronicles 11:11), in the latter, for the
word has distinctly this double application.
26 “And over them that did the work of the field for tillage of the
ground was Ezri the son of Chelub:” This verse appears to give the name,
not (as in the former verse) of the person who had charge of the stored grain,
fruits, etc, but of the chief superintendent and manager of the labor and laborers
of the field.
27 “And over the vineyards was Shimei the Ramathite: over the increase
of the vineyards for the wine cellars was Zabdi the Shiphmite:” This verse
specifies the officer who had the management of the vineyards, and also the officer
who had charge over the wine-cellars. The description of Ramathite does not assist
us to identify Shimei, though the choice of place is ample (Joshua 13:26; 18:25;
19:29, 36; Judges 15:17). For Shiphmite, see Numbers 34:10-11; to the place
Shepham, mentioned in which passage, the reference here may be. For over the
increase, read over that which in the vineyards, etc., where the initial v
stands for rv,a}.
28 “And over the olive trees and the sycomore trees that were in the
low plains was Baalhanan the Gederite: and over the cellars of oil
was Joash:” A similar couple of officers to those of the last verse are
described here. By the low plains here in the Authorized Version is
translated what had been better left untranslated, i.e. the Shephelah, one of
the five divisions of
coast and, roughly speaking, stretching from Joppa to
(μwOmiq]Vih", a plural masculine, and once twOmq]vi, a plural feminine, Psalm 78:47)
is to be distinguished from the sycamine, being that kind of mulberry tree
called fig mulberry. The Septuagint, however, does not observe the
distinction, and always translates suka>minov – sukaminos – sycamore.
It was a common tree, and useful to the poor. It is the same with the black
eatable, and its wood, though soft, yet endurable. The name Baal-hanan
comes first before us as that of a King of Edom (Genesis 36:38-39; ch.1:49).
The place Gederah (Joshua 15:36), or Beth-gader (ch.2:51), attached to the
name of the present Baal-hanan, renders it not less probable that he was of
29 “And over
the herds that fed in
and over the herds that were in the valleys was Shaphat the son of
exception, always accompanies it, “the level land,” and on the
west of the
exactly corresponds with the Mishor on the east, a word of identical signification
to Joppa. The valleys here intended are not specified.
30 “Over the camels also was Obil the Ishmaelite: and over the asses
was Jehdeiah the Meronothite:” Whether the word Obil (lybiwOa), is a
proper name or not, it signifies “a tender of camels” by derivation. The task
suited the Ishmaelite, no doubt! Nothing is known of the Meronothite, nor of
the situation of the place called Meronoth, unless anything may be conjectured
from Nehemiah 3:7.
31 “And over the flocks was Jaziz the Hagerite. All these were the
rulers of the substance which was king David’s.” For the Hagerite tribe,
see ch. 5:10,18-22. For the rulers of the substance, the Hebrew words are
vWKr]h; yrec;. The number of them adds up again to twelve; Keil justly supposes
that the two named in v. 25 were those principal officers to whom the other ten
delivered the proceeds of their respective charges.
Earth’s Produce (vs. 25-31)
David was a man of war, and it is not surprising that these historical books
are largely occupied with an enumeration of his armies, catalogues of his
mighty men of valor, and records of his military exploits. But it is
interesting and instructive to observe that the chronicler does not pass
unnoticed matters which give an aspect of peace and prosperity to David’s
reign. The king was not only a commander and a judge, but also an
administrator and an economist. The chronicler, in referring as he does in
this place to the accumulation of wealth and to material prosperity generally,
indicates that in his judgment a nation’s greatness does not consist simply
in the number of its warriors or the brilliance of its feats of arms.
There are here enumerated the stores of corn, the vineyards and the
oliveyards, the flocks, the camels, and the herds which largely constituted
David’s wealth. “The earth is the Lord’s, and the fulness thereof.”
GRATITUDE. The Creator has made all things for man’s use and comfort.
“He hath put all things under his feet, all sheep and oxen, all beasts
of the field” (Psalm 8:6-7). To Him daily thanks are due!
TEMPERANCE AND SOBRIETY. When the creature is abused, the
Creator is dishonored; but a just and temperate use of material wealth is
improving to man and honorable to God. (“For every creature of God
is good, and nothing to be refused, if it be received with thanksgiving:
For it is sanctified by the word of God and prayer.” (I Timothy 4:4)
CONSECRATE ALL TO THE GIVER. Christians especially, who are
“not their own” (I Corinthians 6:19-20), are bound to regard and to use
all their property as God’s. So used, it will not minister to pride, but will
become a means of grace. In this certainly David has set us an example
worthy of imitation.
The Trust of Riches (vs. 25-31)
In these verses some of David’s wealth is enumerated, especially that portion
which consisted in estates, herds, and flocks. Accepting life on the earth as the
sphere of our “probation,” or “moral training,” we need to see that all things which
bear their influence upon us may be, and indeed are, used by God as agencies in
this gracious work over which He presides. Riches, therefore, may be a Divine trust
committed to some men with a distinct view to their culture through this trust; and it is
precisely this view of riches which needs to be more generally taught and apprehended,
so that it may become a most solemn thing for any man to have this trust, and all
who have it may be much more impressed with the responsibility of it than with the
advantage and privilege of it. We easily take up with two imperfect notions.
assumed as a universal fact. Riches may be a token of Divine wrath and
judgment, and the very agency of a man’s punishment. And riches may be a
sign of God’s anxiety about our moral state, and the need for subjecting us
to some severe moral testing. To some natures no more searching test
could be found than the trust of prosperity and wealth.
must be acceptable to God because they are rich, and that others must be
out of acceptance, seeing that they are poor. But then we must face the
difficulty which the Psalmist Asaph felt so bitterly (Psalm 73.) — the
wicked are often the rich, and the righteous are among the down-trodden
poor. It is evident that no general rule will fit all cases, and that, in wise
Divine orderings, wealth and poverty are arranged for the highest good
Of the individual and THE PERMANENT GOOD OF THE WHOLE!
Did we know all, we should never envy those to whom God entrusts the riches.
Neither of these conceptions is sufficiently true to be accepted without due
consideration of certain other and important representations, such as:
Ø that riches may be Divine judgments;
Ø that riches may be Divine trials;
Ø that riches always are Divine trusts, of which due account will
presently be required.
Then attention needs to be directed to three things in relation to our riches:
Ø The wise care of them, as not ours, BUT GOD’S!
Ø the faithful use of them, as not given to us for our sake, but for the
sake of others, whom we may bless by means of them; and
Ø the watchful culture of the soul’s life while in the enjoyment of
them, seeing that the precise peril of them is that they tend to nourish
a sel-fconfidence which is fatally injurious to the soul’s health and life.
Remember Jesus’ parable of the farmer who was getting over-rich, and had no storehouses
large enough for his harvests, but who was not rich toward God. (Luke 12:16-21)
Verses 32-34 contain the names of seven men of high position, and who were,
at all events, important enough, in one respect or another, for this closing special
in a similar relation of counselors to the king with Ahithophel, but after him.
place found for his name.
The first thing which may be observed as to this enumeration is that it is
not one whole belonging to the later portion of David’s time. Ahithophel
had long before put an end to his own life (II Samuel 17:21-23; also see
15:12,31,34; 16:20-23). Secondly, that out of the seven names, four or
five are already well known to us in some other capacity; for see the lists of
ch.18:14-17; II Samuel 8:16-18; 20:23-26. And thirdly, that in one or two
instances, a different or additional part is assigned to the names mentioned.
The impression left with us is rather of honorable or special mention made of
seven who had been distinguished helpers of the king or the kingdom at one
time or another.
32 “Also Jonathan David’s uncle was a counsellor, a wise man, and a
scribe: and Jehiel the son of Hachmoni was with the king’s sons:”
Nothing is known of any uncle to David, named Jonathan, but special mention
is made, in ch.20:7 and II Samuel 21:21, of a nephew, son of Shimea, who
rendered valuable service, and whose name was Jonathan. It is possible that the
Hebrew rwOD may mean “nephew,” as simply meaning “relative.’’ It must be
admitted, however, as very remarkable, that in Leviticus, Numbers, the historical
books, Jeremiah, and Amos, to the number of sixteen times in all, the word
confessedly means “uncle;” while this seventeenth time, it would appear to
mean “nephew.” On the other hand, in Proverbs, Canticles, Isaiah, Ezekiel,
to the number of thirty-six times in all, the word follows its other branch of
signification of “love,” and in particular “one beloved.” Nothing certain can
be said of the Jehiel of this verse, but, if a son of Hachmoni, we may
presume him to have been related to Jashobeam of v. 2 and ch.11:11.
33“And Ahithophel was the king’s counsellor: and Hushai the Archite
was the king’s companion:” For Hushai the Archite, see II Samuel 15:32,37;
34 “And after Ahithophel was Jehoiada the son of Benaiah, and
Abiathar: and the general of the king’s army was Joab.”
The after of this verse may possibly be the after of time, i.e.
after the death of Ahithophel, instead of the after of place, i.e. subordinate.
Jehoiada the son of Benaiah. Either the individual of v. 5; ch.18:17;
II Samuel 8:18; 20:23, is not the person here intended, or we have here the
names accidently reversed. There seems no sufficient reason to doubt that
the high priest of the Ithamar branch is here meant.
The Army, Tribal Princes, Royal Possessions,
and Chief Counselors of the King (vs. 1-34)
This chapter brings before us the organization of the army, and also the
public administration (vs. 1-15); next we have a list of the princes of the
twelve tribes (vs. 16-24); then we have the managers of the domains and
royal possessions (vs. 25-31); and lastly, the chief counselors of the king
(vs. 32-34). These subjects follow the arrangement of the Levites’
service, because it was David’s earnest desire before his death to give the
constitution of his kingdom a more stable form. David’s object in
numbering the people, as we may gather from the twenty-third verse, was
to leave his kingdom, strong within and without, to his son. There were
twelve divisions of the army, consisting of twenty-four thousand men in
each. In the enumeration of the tribal princes, the tribes of Gad and Asher
are omitted without any reason being assigned for the omission. With
regard to David’s domains and possessions, the property and income of the
king were divided into treasures of the king, treasures in the country, in the
cities, the villages, and the castles. The treasures of the king were the
treasures of the royal palace in
fields, vineyards, plantations, cattle, camels, asses, and sheep. Officers
were set over these various departments. With reference to David’s
counselors (vs. 32-34), we have here enumerated three catalogues, and
the mention of Joab as the commander-in-chief of the army.
Wisdom, Kindness, and Folly (vs. 1-34)
In reading this chapter we are struck with three features of David’s rule.
Ø Securing the safety of his kingdom by a sufficient militia without
sustaining a burdensome standing army. One month’s practice in the
year would suffice to maintain their soldierly qualities without seriously
interfering with their civil pursuits (v. 1).
Ø Adopting the system of promotion by merit. In the list of captains
(vs.2-15) we meet with names of men that had distinguished themselves
By their courage and capacity, and who had “earned their promotion.”
Favoritism is a ruinous policy, and fatal to kings and ministers.
Ø Limiting his own personal requirements to a moderate demand. David
lived as became such a king as he was, but he did not indulge in a costly
and oppressive “civil list” (see vs.25-31).
Ø Choosing so sagacious a counselor as Ahithophel (II Samuel 17:1-3,14),
and so true and brave a friend as Hushai ( Ibid. vs.7-14).
on the principle that the highest posts should be reserved for the most
capable men and those who “deserved well of their country,” yet he did not
neglect his own kindred in the hour of his opportunity. We find, amongst
others of the foremost men, the names of his relatives, Asahel (v. 7);
Jonathan, his uncle (v. 32); Joab (v. 34).
the disastrous departure from rectitude, when, notwithstanding the wise
counsel and somewhat strenuous opposition of Joab, he insisted on
numbering the people (vs. 23-24). Regarding the folly of the king, we
THAT HUMAN NATURE, EVEN AT ITS BEST, BEARS THE STAIN OF
IMPERFECTION. Devout and humble as David was, prosperous and beneficent
as was his reign, he yet fell, more than once, into sin; and on this occasion (of the
numbering) he involved the nation in a terrible calamity. He resembled all other good
men of every age. Human excellency is a beautiful but a blemished thing; it has
admirable qualities, but is never without defects; it halts somewhere. Therefore:
needs to be corrected! We have faults which others see and which they
regret to see in us.
by the first thing we see in them, it may be that we shall apprise them by
the one pardonable fault behind, which, unrecognized by us, hide a hundred
virtues. We should not like to be judged by the first action our neighbors
chanced to witness in us.
placing their many solid graces against their few superficial failings, let us
not withhold our esteem, or our confidence, or our affection. Regarding
David’s kindness, we learn:
THAT WE DO WELL TO USE OUR OWN ELEVATION TO SERVE OUR
KINDRED. Nepotism is a crime as well as a sin, but, when other things are equal
and when opportunity offers, we should surely remember those whom, by the ties of
affinity, God commends to our kindness, and those whom, by profession of friendship
in earlier and humbler days, we promised to assist. And in view of the king’s wisdom,
we may learn:
THAT GOODNESS AND WISDOM TOGETHER ARE A SOURCE OF
INCALCULABLE BENEFIT. David without his devoutness would have been
nothing to his country or his kind; without his wisdom he would have been little more.
Piety and prudence together are a power for God and man.
"Excerpted text Copyright AGES Library, LLC. All rights reserved.
Materials are reproduced by permission."
This material can be found at:
If this exposition is helpful, please share with others.