1 Chronicles 12:1
Now these are they that came to David to Ziklag, while he yet kept himself close because of Saul the son of Kish: and they were among the mighty men, helpers of the war.
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(1-7) Men of Benjamin and Judah who joined David at Ziklag. (Comp. 1 Samuel 27)

(1) To Ziklag.—A place within the territory of Judah allotted to Simeon (Joshua 19:5; 1Chronicles 4:30). The Philistines seized it, and Achish of Gath gave it to David, whose headquarters it remained sixteen months, until the death of Saul.

While he yet kept himself close.—The Hebrew is concise and obscure, but the Authorised Version fairly renders it. David was still shut up in his stronghold, or restrained within bounds, because of, i.e., from dread of King Saul. Or perhaps the meaning is “banished from the presence of Saul.”

Helpers of the war.The helpers in war, allies, or companions in arms of David. They made forays against Geshur, Gezer, and Amalek (1Samuel 27:8; comp. also 1Chronicles 12:17; 1Chronicles 12:21 below).

1 Chronicles 12:1. Now these are they that came to David, &c. — This author thought fit to do those the honour of having their names recorded, (which was omitted in the book of Samuel,) who came and joined themselves to him when he was in exile; and were afterward great assistants to him in his wars. While he kept himself close — Or was shut out from his own land and people: for the writer speaks not of that time when he was shut up, and hid himself in caves in the land of Judah, but when he was at Ziklag.12:1-22 Here is an account of those who appeared and acted as David's friends, while he was persecuted. No difficulties or dangers should keep the sinner from coming to the Savior, nor drive the believer from the path of duty. Those who break through, and overcome in these attempts, will find abundant recompence. From the words of Amasai we may learn how to testify our affection and allegiance to the Lord Jesus; his we must be throughly; on his side we must be forward to appear and act. If we are under the influence of the Spirit, we shall desire to have our lot among them, and to declare ourselves on their side; if in faith and love we embrace the cause of Christ, he will receive, employ, and advance us.This chapter is composed wholly of matter that is new to us, no corresponding accounts occurring in Samuel. It comprises four lists:

(1) One of men, chiefly Benjamites, who joined David at Ziklag 1 Chronicles 12:1-7;

(2) A second of Gadites who united themselves to him when he was in a stronghold near the desert 1 Chronicles 12:8-15;

(3) A third of Manassites who came to him when he was dismissed by the Philistines upon suspicion 1 Chronicles 12:19-22; and

(4) A fourth of the numbers from the different tribes who attended and made him king at Hebron 1 Chronicles 12:23-40.


1Ch 12:1-22. The Companies That Came to David at Ziklag.

1-7. Now these are they that came to David to Ziklag—There are three lists given in this chapter, arranged, apparently, according to the order of time when the parties joined the standard of David.

while he yet kept himself close because of Saul—that is, when the king's jealousy had driven him into exile from the court and the country.

Ziklag—(See on [369]1Sa 27:6). It was during his retirement in that Philistine town that he was joined in rapid succession by the heroes who afterwards contributed so much to the glory of his reign.The companies that came to David at Ziklag, when pursued by Saul: some of Saul’s own family; some of the tribe of Gad; of Benjamin; and Judah; and Manasseh, 1 Chronicles 12:1-22. The armies that came to him at Hebron; their feast, 1 Chronicles 12:23-40.

While he yet kept himself close, or, was shut up, or shut out, from his own land and people; for he speaks not of that time when he was shut up and hid himself in caves in the land of Judah, but when he was at Ziklag.

Now these are they that came to David to Ziklag,.... Given him by Achish to live in, when he fled from Saul, 1 Samuel 27:6.

while he yet kept himself close, because of Saul the son of Kish; when he was an exile from his own country, and obliged to live retired in a foreign one, because of Saul's persecution of him, and seeking to take away his life:

and they were among the mighty men, helpers of the war; not against Saul, with whom David had none, but with the Amalekites, and others, 1 Samuel 27:8.

Now these are they that came to David to {a} Ziklag, while he yet kept himself close because of Saul the son of Kish: and they were among the mighty men, helpers of the war.

(a) To take his part against Saul: who persecuted him.

1–7. Benjamite Adherents of David

1. to Ziklag] David at Ziklag was a client of Achish, king of Gath (1 Samuel 27:5-6), so that the Benjamites in joining him were putting themselves under their hereditary enemies the Philistines. The yoke of Saul seemed heavy even to his own tribe (cp. 1 Samuel 8:11-18).

while he yet kept himself close] Render, while he was yet shut up. David was shut in, as in a prison, and unable to move freely through the land of Israel.

helpers of the war] R.V. his helpers in war.Verse 1. - To Ziklag. The occasion referred to is evidently that recorded in 1 Samuel 27:1, 2, 6, 7; 1 Samuel 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, was the possession of Simeon (Joshua 19:5). It was situated south of Judah, and came into the hands of Judah when Achish made it a gift to David for a rest-deuce (1 Samuel 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 (1 Samuel 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, 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. 1 Chronicles 11:21 should be translated: honoured before the three as two; i.e., doubly honoured-he became to them prince, leader. With regard to בשּׁנים, which, as meaningless, Bertheau would alter so as to make it correspond with הכי (Sam.), cf. Ew. Lehrb. 269, b. For Benaiah and his exploits, 1 Chronicles 11:22-25, see the commentary on 2 Samuel 23:20-23.

No special deeds of the heroes enumerated in vv. 26-47 are related, so that we may regard them as a third class, who are not equal to the first triad, and to the second pair, Abishai and Benaiah, and consequently occupied a subordinate place in the collective body of the royal body-guards. In 2 Samuel 23 thirty-two names are mentioned, which, with the above-mentioned three and two of the first and second classes, amount in all to thirty-seven men, as is expressly remarked in 2 Samuel 23:39 at the conclusion. In the text of the Chronicle no number is mentioned, and the register is increased by sixteen names (1 Chronicles 11:41-47), which have been added in the course of time to the earlier number. The words החילים וגבּורי, 1 Chronicles 11:26, are to be regarded as a superscription: And valiant heroes were, etc.; equivalent to, But besides there, there remain still the following valiant heroes. The words החילים גּבּורי are not synonymous with החילים שׂרי, leaders of the host, 1 Kings 15:20; Jeremiah 40:7, (Berth.), but signify heroes in warlike strength, i.e., heroic warriors, like חילים גּבּורי (1 Chronicles 7:5, 1 Chronicles 7:7,1 Chronicles 7:11, 1 Chronicles 7:40). That חילים has here the article, while it is not found in the passages quoted from the seventh chapter, does not make any difference in the meaning of the words. The article is used, here, as with הגּבּורים, 1 Chronicles 11:10, 1 Chronicles 11:11, because the heroes of David are spoken of, and לדויד אשׁר is to be mentally supplied from 1 Chronicles 11:10. As to the names in vv. 26-41, which are also found in the register in the book of Samuel, see the commentary to 2 Samuel 23:24-39. This list, which is common to both books, begins with Asahel, a brother of Joab, who was slain by Abner in the war which he waged against David (2 Samuel 2:19-23), and concludes in the book of Samuel with Uriah the Hittite, so well known from 2 Samuel 11:3. (1 Chronicles 11:41), with whose wife David committed adultery. But to the continuation of the register which is found in 1 Chronicles 11:41-47 of our text, there is no parallel in the other writings of the Old Testament by which we might form an idea as to the correctness of the names. The individual names are indeed to be met with, for the most part, in other parts of the Old Testament, but denote other men of an earlier or later time. The names ידיעאל, 1 Chronicles 11:45, and אליאל, 1 Chronicles 11:46., are found also in 1 Chronicles 12:20, 1 Chronicles 12:11, among those of the valiant men who before Saul's death went over to David, but we cannot with any certainty ascertain whether the persons meant were the same. The expression שׁלשׁים ועליו (1 Chronicles 11:42) is also obscure, - "and to him in addition," i.e., together with him, thirty, - since the thought that with Adina the chief of the Reubenites, or besides him, there were thirty (men), has no meaning in this register. The lxx and the Vulgate read עליו, while the Syriac, on the contrary, makes use of the periphrasis, "And even he was a ruler over thirty heroes;" and Bertheau accordingly recommends the emendation השּׁלשׁים על, and thence concludes that the tribe of Reuben had thirty leaders in its army-a conjecture as bold as it is improbable. Were השּׁלשׁים על to be read, we could not but refer the words to the thirty heroes of 1 Chronicles 11:11, and hold Adina to be their leader, which could not be easily reconciled with 1 Chronicles 11:11. See on 1 Chronicles 12:4.

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