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Bible Commentaries

Garner-Howes Baptist Commentary

1 Chronicles 27

Verses 1-15

The Standing Army, 1 Chronicles 27:1-15

David’s army was divided into twelve courses of twenty-four thousand men each, for a total of 288,000 men in the standing army. Each course was on active duty for one month of each year. There are listed here the chief captain of each course, with some subordinate, or successors, also mentioned in places. It is interesting to note several of David’s mighty men named among them, as well as heroes whose exploits have been noted previously. Some of the tribes were more notably represented than others, particularly those of Judah, Ephraim, and Benjamin.

Jashobeam, captain during the first month, was apparently the hero who slew several hundred Philistines in one campaign and was numbered among the mighty men (1 Chronicles 11:11). He was of the Judahite family of Perez. Dodai, in the second month, was the father of Eleazar, another of David’s heroes and mighty men. His subordinate was famous enough to be named also, a man named Mikloth. The captain in the third month was perhaps the most famous of all, Benaiah, whose father, Jehoiada, was one of the chief priests. Benaiah was one of the chief of the mighty men, captain of the Cherethites and Pelethites and succeeded to the chief captaincy after the execution of Joab, when Solomon became king. His son was his subordinate officer, Ammizabad, who may have succeeded to his father’s position under Solomon. He was, of course, a Levite.

Others of interest include Asahel, captain in the fourth month. Since Asahel was killed in battle by Abner before David was made king over all the tribes, this military organization must have begun while David was rulina in Hebron over the tribe of Judah. Asahel’s son, Zebadiah, succeeded him. Helez, the seventh captain, and another Benaiah, the eleventh captain, were from the tribe of Ephraim. Abiezer was of the tribe of Benjamin, and served in the ninth month.

David’s own tribe furnished chief captains in the first, fourth, sixth, eighth, tenth, and twelfth months, exactly half of the captains being from Judah. Others not mentioned above included Sibbecai, who slew one of the Philistine giants in the Philistine wars (1 Chronicles 20:4), of the Judahite family of Zerah. Maharai was also of the family of Zerah, and from the town of Netophah. Heldai, in the twelfth month, was also a Netophathite, and a descendant of the first judge of Israel, Othniel (Judges 3:8-11). Shamhuth, the fifth captain, is thought by some to be the same as Shammai the Harodite, one of the mighty men. It is not surprising that these heroes were made chief captains.

Verses 16-24

Tribal Princes, Verses 16-24

From the postscript to the listing of the tribal princes, verses 23, 24, it seems that these men served with Joab in the numbering of the people at the order of David (1 Chronicles 2-1; 2Samuel chapter 24). There are thirteen of these, though only twelve tribes, and two of the tribes, Gad and Asher are not named, for some unknown reason. There are two princes for Manasseh, one for those east of the Jordan and one for those in Canaan. In addition to the prince of Levi, Zadok the high priest is named as the prince of the Aaronites, the priest family.

Most of these princes are not otherwise known in the Scriptures. It is interesting to note that the prince of Judah was Elihu, one of David’s non-warrior brothers (who were Eliab, Abinadab, and Shammah). the prince of Benjamin was Jaasiel, the son of Abner, the captain of the host under King Saul.

This passage might shed further light on the difficulty of the numbers in David’s census, as recorded in 2 Samuel 24:9 (800,000 Israel; 500,000 Judah) and 1 Chronicles 21:5 (1,100,000 Israel; 470,000 Judah.) Chronicles having been written several centuries later may have had access to records not available in the time Samuel was written. It would also appear there is a rounding of figures in the Samuel account more sharply than in Chronicles.

Verses 25-31

Domestic Officers, verses 25-31

The twelve men named in these verses were supervising servants of David, to oversee the various interests he had of a material nature. That he had widespread possessions, and varied, is evident from these verses. None of those named here of any further prominence in the Scriptures. The first had charge over his treasures; the second over his stores in the fields, cities, villages, and castles (or towers); the third over the land to cultivate it for the king; the fourth over the vineyard horticulture; the fifth over the making and storing of the wine; the sixth over the culture of the olives and wild sycamore figs.

Also, the seventh was over the storage cellars for the olive oil; the eighth over David’s herds in the rich plain of Sharon; the ninth over the herds which fed in the valleys; the tenth was over the camels (this man, Obil, was an Ishmaelite, possibly a camel-breeder from that desert country where camels are used extensively); the eleventh over the asses (donkeys); the twelfth over the flocks of sheep and goats.

Verses 32-34

The Royal Council, Verses 32-34

David’s royal council consisted of seven men, most of whom are met with in other places. Jonathan, the first named of the counselors, is called David’s uncle, but some scholars think the translation should be "nephew;" David had a nephew so named, who slew one of the Philistine’s giants (2 Samuel 21:21). Jehiel is not further known, but he had the very important task of tutoring and advising the princes, David’s son. Ahithophel, David’s counselor, went over to Absalom in that rebellion, and committed suicide when his counsel was rejected for that of Hushai the Archite (2 Samuel 17:1-14; 2 Samuel 17:23). Hushai is called the king’s companion, and seems to have been a kind of a personal adviser. After the death of Ahithophel, Jehoiada and Abiathar, older priests, became advisers. Joab continued as general over the army.

Copyright Statement
These files are public domain.
Text Courtesy of Blessed Hope Foundation and the Baptist Training Center.
Bibliographical Information
Garner, Albert & Howes, J.C. "Commentary on 1 Chronicles 27". Garner-Howes Baptist Commentary. https://studylight.org/commentaries/eng/ghb/1-chronicles-27.html. 1985.