1 Chronicles 12:15
These are they that went over Jordan in the first month, when it had overflowed all his banks; and they put to flight all them of the valleys, both toward the east, and toward the west.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
(15) When it had overflown.—A proof of their valour. They did not wait till summer had made the Jordan shallow, but crossed it in spring, when perilously swollen with the rains and the melted snows of Lebanon. (Comp. Joshua 3:15.)

In the first month,—March—April; in Heb, A bib or Nisan.

Had overflown.—Was fillıng or brimming over.

And they put to flight all . . . the valleys.Literally, and they made all the valleys flee: that is, their inhabitants, who were hostile to their enterprise, both to the sunrise and the sunset, or on both sides of the river.

1 Chronicles 12:15. These are they that went over Jordan, &c. — Namely, in Saul’s time, when, it seems, the enemies of the Israelites had made an inroad, and done some mischiefs to the Israelites beyond Jordan, to whose help these persons then came. When it had overflowed all its banks — As it commonly did about that time. Probably these, being men of great courage and dexterity, swam over Jordan, at the time here specified, through their ardent desire to help their brethren, and to fight with their enemies. And they put to flight all them of the valleys — The people that lived in the valleys or deserts beyond Jordan, who, it seems, when Saul was engaged against the Philistines, took that advantage to fall upon the Israelites beyond Jordan. Both toward the east and toward the west — Both the people that lived more eastward and remote from Jordan, and those that lived more westward and nearer to it.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.On the danger of the exploit, see the marginal reference note.

This passage 1 Chronicles 12:8-15 seems to be taken verbatim from an ancient source, the poetical expressions in 1 Chronicles 12:8, 1 Chronicles 12:14, being especially unlike the usual style of our author.

15. These are they that went over Jordan in the first month—that is, in spring, when the swollen river generally fills up the banks of its channel (see on [370]Jos 3:14; [371]Jos 4:19; [372]Jos 5:10).

they put to flight all them of the valleys—This was probably done at the time of their separating themselves and their purpose being discovered, they had to cut their passage through the opposing adherents of Saul, both on the eastern and western banks. The impossibility of taking the fords at such a time, and the violent rapidity of the current, make this crossing of the Jordan—in whatever way these Gadites accomplished it—a remarkable feat.

They that went over Jordan, to wit, in Saul’s time, when, it seems, the enemies of the Israelites had made an inroad, and done some mischiefs to the Israelites beyond Jordan, to whose help these then came.

When it had overflown all his banks; as it commonly did about that time. See Joshua 3:15 4:18 Jeremiah 49:19. This is noted either as a description of the time when this was done, it being usual with historians to note the circumstances of great actions; or as an aggravation of the fact. And possibly these, being men of great nimbleness and dexterity, did swim over Jordan, through their ardent desire to help their brethren, and to fight with their enemies.

All them of the valleys, i.e. the people that lived in the valleys or deserts beyond Jordan, who, as it seems, when Saul was engaged against the Philistines, took that advantage to fall upon the Israelites beyond Jordan.

Toward the east, and toward the west; either,

1. The people that lived more eastward, and remote from Jordan, and those who lived more westward, or nearer to it. Or,

2. Them made they fly several ways, some eastward, some westward, as they saw the way open for them. See Deu 28:7,25. These are they that went over Jordan in the first month,.... The month Nisan or Ab; as they must come over Jordan to come to David, since they dwelt on the other side of it:

when it had overflown all its banks; as it did at this time of the year, see Joshua 3:15 which is observed to show both the time of the year when they came over, and their zeal and ardour to assist David, and their boldness and intrepidity; fearless of danger, they threw themselves into Jordan, and swam over it, in all probability when the waters of it were so deep they could not ford it, and so rapid that they were in danger of being carried away with them:

and they put to flight all them of the valleys, both towards the east, and towards the west; who dwelt in the valleys, or plains of Jordan east and west; who seeing a number of men come over, took them for enemies, and fled, so Kimchi; or, as others think, these were the Philistines, who, on the defeat of Saul, took possession of the cities of Israel, in the valleys forsaken by them, 1 Samuel 31:7 or rather these were the Moabites or Arabs, who made incursions into the land of Israel for prey, the Gadites met with, when they came over Jordan.

These are they that went over Jordan in the {d} first month, when it had overflown all his banks; and they put to flight all them of the valleys, both toward the east, and toward the west.

(d) Which the Hebrews called Nisan, or Abib, containing half March and half April, when Jordan was wont to overflow its banks, read Jos 3:15.

EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
15. in the first month] In Nisan (the month of harvest) when the snow was melting and filling all streams; cp. Joshua 3:15.

all them of the valleys] i.e. all inhabitants of the valleys who in the interest of Saul sought to bar their march westward to join David.Verse 15. - In the first month. This corresponds with our end of March. The interesting incident of this verse is unrecorded in detail elsewhere (Joshua 3:15; Jeremiah 12:5; Jeremiah 49:19; Jeremiah 50:44). The Gadites, Benjamites, and men of Judah who joined themselves to David during his sojourn in the mountain fastness. - 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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