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.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)These were.—Subscription.
Captains of the host.—Literally, heads of the host, i.e., chief warriors.
One of the least was over an hundred.—The margin is correct. David’s band at this time was about 600 strong. The rendering of the text is that of the Syr. and Vulg. The LXX. closely intimates the Heb. εἷς τοῖς ἑκατὸν μικρὸς κτλ. For the true meaning, comp. Deuteronomy 32:30; and Leviticus 26:8. The Heb. says: “One to a hundred, the little one; and the great one to a thousand.” This. too, is poetic, or, at least, rhetorical in character, and quite unlike the chronicler’s usual style.Leviticus 26:8).
1. They had hitherto been captains or colonels under Saul, or in the established militia or bands of their tribe. Or,
2. They were so afterwards under David, who for their valour and fidelity thus advanced them.
one of the least was over one hundred, and the greatest over thousand; not that they were so when they came, or brought over such a number of men with them under their command; but they were promoted by David, when he came to the throne, to be centurions and chiliarchs; according to Jarchi, the sense is, that the least of them would put to flight and pursue one hundred, and the greatest of them 1000, and so fulfilled the passage in Leviticus 26:8.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.
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)14. These … the host] R.V. These of the sons of Gad were captains of the host.
one of the least, etc.] R.V. he that was least was equal to an hundred, and the greatest to a thousand. Cp. Leviticus 26:8; Isaiah 30:17.Verse 14. - One of the least was over an hundred. This, evidently an incorrect translation, is easily superseded by the correct literal version, One to a hundred the little one, and the great one one to a thousand.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." 1 Chronicles 12:8. David's sojourn in the mountain hold falls in the first years of his flight from Saul, 1 Samuel 22:1. מצד, pointed with Pathach instead of with Kamets (מצד, cf. 1 Chronicles 12:16), on account of its intimate connection with מדבּרה, is synonymous with מצוּדה (1 Samuel 24:22, etc.). The addition מדבּרה, "towards the wilderness," shows that מצד denotes a mountain-top or mountain-fortress in the wilderness of Judah. If we compare the account in 1 Samuel 22-24, we learn that David at that time did not hide himself in one single definite mountain-fortress, but sought and found resting-places, now here, now there, in the wilderness, on the summits of the hills (cf. בּמּצדות בּמּדבּר, 1 Samuel 23:14; 1 Samuel 24:1); so that מצד here is to be understood, as המּצוּדה, 1 Samuel 24:3, also is, generally of the fastnesses in the mountains of Judah. At that time there gathered round David a great company of discontented and oppressed men, to the number of about 400, - men dissatisfied with Saul's rule, whose leader he became, and who soon amounted to 600 men (1 Samuel 22:2 and 1 Samuel 23:13). To these belong the Gadites, and the men out of Benjamin and Judah, whose adhesion to David is noticed in our verses. נבדּלוּ, they separated themselves from the other Gadites who were on Saul's side, "strong heroes," as in Joshua 8:3; cf. חיל גּבּורי, 1 Chronicles 5:24; 1 Chronicles 7:2, 1 Chronicles 7:9, etc. למּלחמה צבא אנשׁי, men for service in the host for the war, i.e., combatants practised in war. ורמח צנּה ערכי, preparing shield and spear, i.e., wielding shield and spear, practised in their use: the preparing of these weapons includes the handling of them. Instead of ורמח, Veneta and many of the older copies have וּמגן; but it is not supported by MS authority, and moreover is not congruous with the passage. Lions' faces their faces, i.e., lion-like in appearance, thoroughly warlike figures; cf. 2 Samuel 1:23. "As roes running swiftly on the mountains;" cf. 2 Samuel 2:18. This description of the strength and swiftness of these warriors recalls, as Bertheau remarks, the similar expressions used in the historical books concerning heroes of David's time. It has manifestly been drawn from the original documents, not added by the chronicler. In 1 Chronicles 12:9-13 the names are enumerated individually. עשׂר עשׁתּי, at the end of a series of ordinal numbers, denotes the eleventh; cf. 1 Chronicles 24:12.
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