1 Chronicles 12:14
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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(14) 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.

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.The marginal rendering is preferable. (Compare Leviticus 26:8). 14. one of the least was over an hundred, and the greatest over a thousand—David, while at Ziklag, had not so large an amount of forces as to give to each of these the command of so many men. Another meaning, therefore, must obviously be sought, and excluding was, which is a supplement by our translators, the import of the passage is, that one of the least could discomfit a hundred, and the greatest was worth a thousand ordinary men; a strong hyperbole to express their uncommon valor. Not that they brought now so many men with them; but either,

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.

These were of the sons of Gad, captains of the host,.... Of the militia in their own country, and of the men they brought with them; or they were such afterwards in David's army:

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.
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 12:14הצּבא ראשׁי, heads of the war-host, i.e., chief warriors, not leaders of the host. וגו למאה אחד, "one for a hundred, (viz.) the small and the greater for a thousand," i.e., the smaller (weaker) could cope with a hundred, the stronger with a thousand men; cf. Leviticus 26:8. This, which is the only correct interpretation, is that received by Bertheau and the older Jewish commentators. The Vulgate, on the contrary, translates, novissimus centum militibus praeerat et maximus mille, which is inadmissible, for in that case על must have been used instead of ל. The אחד belongs to both the clauses which it precedes, to הקּטן and to הגּדול, and is placed immediately before למאה to emphasize the contrast between one and a hundred. In 1 Chronicles 12:15 we have a proof of their valour, in an account of a bold exploit performed by them. In the first month of the year, that is, in spring, when the Jordan overflows all its banks, they crossed the river and put to flight all the dwellers in the valleys towards the east and towards the west. This happened, probably, when they separated themselves from their brethren and went over to David, when they must have had to cut their way through the adherents of Saul (Berth.). The Piel מלּא with על denotes to make full, to make to run over, in the signification to overflow. The Kethibh גּדיתיו comes from גּדיה elsewhere only the plural גּדתיו, so also here in the Keri. In the dry summer season the Jordan may be crossed by wading at various points (fords); while in spring, on the contrary, when it is so swollen by the melting snows of Lebanon, that in some parts it overflows its banks, it is very dangerous to attempt to cross. See on Joshua 3:15. העמקים, "the valleys," for the inhabitants of the valleys.
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