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The Captains and Princes of Israel
v. 1. Now, the children of Israel after their number, to wit, the chief fathers and captains of thousands and hundreds, the commanders of the twelve divisions of the army and the officers under their command, 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. This was the number included in the division or legion of each tribe, their term of service being a month each in rotation. There were thus always twenty-four thousand soldiers on duty, and an army of at least 288,000 men was available on very short notice, which, with its total number of officers, 12,000, could make a very creditable showing at any time. Moreover, it is probable that the same individuals from every tribe were not always enrolled, and that the number of trained soldiers was twice the number given.
v. 2. Over the first course for the first month was Jashobeam, the son of Zabdiel; and in his course were twenty and four thousand, these being, in turn, divided into regiments of one thousand, with twenty-four captains, and into companies of one hundred men each, with 240 centurions. In the military courses the highest dignity, though not that of authority, was given to the hero with the most exploits to his credit.
v. 3. of the children of Perez was the chief of all the captains of the host for the first month.
v. 4. And over the course of the second month was Dodai, an Ahohite, a great champion of the army, 2 Samuel 23:9, and of his course was Mikloth also the ruler, the captain actually in command; in his course likewise were twenty and four thousand.
v. 5. The third captain of the host for the third month was Benaiah, the son of Jehoiada, 1 Chronicles 11:22-25; 2 Samuel 23:23, a chief priest, rather, a chief or principal officer; and in his course were twenty and four thousand.
v. 6. This is that Benaiah who was mighty among the thirty and above the thirty; and in his course was Ammizabad, his son.
v. 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.
v. 8. The fifth captain for the fifth month was Shamhuth the Izrahite; and in his course were twenty and four thousand.
v. 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.
v. 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.
v. 11. The eighth captain for the eighth month was Sibbecai the Hushathite, of the Zarhites; and in his course were twenty and four thousand.
v. 12. The ninth captain for the ninth month was Abiezer the Anetothite, of the Benjamites; and in his course were twenty and four thousand.
v. 13. The tenth captain for the tenth month was Maharai the Netophathite, of the Zarhites; and in his course were twenty and four thousand.
v. 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.
v. 15. The twelfth captain for the twelfth month was Heldai (or Heled) the Netophathite, of Othniel, whose family, through his connection with Caleb, was included in the tribe of Judah; and in his course were twenty and four thousand. Many of the champions here named have occurred in the list of David's heroes, 1 Chronicles 11:27-31.
v. 16. Furthermore, over the tribes of Israel, no reason being evident for the order of the tribes as here given, and for the omission of Gad and Asher: the ruler of the Reubenites was Eliezer, the son of Zichri; of the Simeonites, Shephatiah, the son of Maachah;
v. 17. of the Levites, Hashabiah, the son of Kemuel, who, although under the high priest in all church affairs, was the civil officer of the tribe and had jurisdiction in all civil matters; of the Aaronites, Zadok, the importance of the line of Eliezcr thus being emphasized;
v. 18. of Judah, Elihu (or Eliab), one of the brethren of David; of Issachar, Omri, the son of Michael;
v. 19. of Zebulun, Ishmaiah, the son of Obadiah; of Naphtali, Jerimoth, the son of Azriel;
v. 20. of the children of Ephraim, Hoshea, the son of Azaziah; of the half-tribe of Manasseh, west of Jordan, Joel, the son of Pedaiah;
v. 21. of the half tribe of Manasseh in Gilead, Iddo, the son of Zechariah; of Benjamin, Jaasiel, the son of Abner;
v. 22. of Dan, Azareel, the son of Jeroham. These were the princes of the tribes of Israel, the hereditary chiefs, or rulers, in whom the civil authority was vested. Every government is ordained of God, who wants the work of the government to be carried on in a systematic and efficient manner.
Special officers of the Nation
v. 23. But David, at the time of that unfortunate census, took not the number of them from twenty years old and under, which would, moreover, not have fitted in with the army arrangements which he had in view, because the Lord had said He would increase Israel like to the stars of the heavens, Genesis 15:5; Genesis 28:14,
v. 24. Joab, the son of Zeruiah, began to number, as David commanded him, 1 Chronicles 21:2, but he finished not, the pestilence from the Lord falling upon the people before he had visited the tribe of Benjamin, because there fell wrath for it against Israel, 1 Chronicles 21:7; 2 Samuel 24:15; neither was the number put in the account of the chronicles of King David, not entered in the daily records or annals of the king's reign, partly on account of the incompleteness of the records, partly on account of the terrible calamity associated with the census.
v. 25. And over the king's treasures was Azmaveth, the son of Adiel, he was in charge of the property and the spoils of war which were the property of the crown; and over the storehouses in the fields, in the cities, and in the villages, and in the castles, the towers or forts used for storehouses, was Jehonathan, the son of Uzziah;
v. 26. and over them that did the work of the field for tillage of the ground, the laborers on the royal domains, was Ezri, the son of Chelub;
v. 27. and over the vineyards, the territory of Judah being particularly adapted for wine-growing, was Shimei the Ramathite, of Rama, in the tribe of Benjamin; over the increase of the vineyards for the wine-cellars, the large vats, or reservoirs, for storing wine, was Zabdi the Shiphmite;
v. 28. and over the olive-trees and the sycomore-trees, that is, the sycamore-fig trees, that were in the low plains, especially in the southeastern and eastern part of Canaan, was Baal-hanan the Gederite; and over the cellars of oil was Joash;
v. 29. and over the herds that fed in Sharon, the rich plain in the west, between Caesarea and Joppa, was Shitrai the Sharonite; and over the herds that were in the valleys, namely, those in the hill country of Judah, was Shaphat, the son of Adlai;
v. 30. over the camels also, among the richest possessions of the king, was Obil the Ishmaelite, of a race which had always kept camels; and over the asses, these, like the camels, probably being in the country east of Jordan, was Jehdeiah the Meronothite;
v. 31. and over the flocks, the sheep and goats, was Jaziz the Hagerite. All these were the rulers of the substance which was King David's.
v. 32. Also Jonathan, David's uncle, was a counselor, a wise man, and a scribe, the word here not designating an office, but literary activity; and Jehiel, the son of Hachmoni, or the Hachmonite, was with the king's sons, a member of David's council;
v. 33. and Ahithophel was the king's counselor, 2 Samuel 15:12; and Hushai the Archite was the king's companion, a very close and trusted friend, 2 Samuel 15:37;
v. 34. and after Ahithophel was Jehoiada, the son of Benaiah, bearing the same name as his grandfather, and Abiathar, the priest of the line of Ithamar; and the general, the commander-in-chief and, at the same time, the minister of war, of the king's army was Joab. It is a blessing of God upon a country if its ruler is a wise administrator, who is able also to choose the best assistants in all departments of his rule.
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Kretzmann, Paul E. Ph. D., D. D. "Commentary on 1 Chronicles 27". "Kretzmann's Popular Commentary". https://studylight.org/
the Fourth Week after Epiphany