The children of Judah that bore shield and spear were six thousand and eight hundred, ready armed to the war.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)The sons of Judah.—The following list proceeds from south to north, and then passes over to the trans-Jordanic tribes.
That bare shield and spear.—Comp. 1Chronicles 12:8.
Ready armed to the war.—Equipped for war fare. The tribe of Judah, which had acknowledged the sovereignty of David for the last seven years, had no need to appear in full force on the occasion of his recognition by the other tribes.
In the list which follows such points as
(1) The large mumber sent by the trans-Jordanic tribes;
(2) The large numbers from Zebulon, Asher, Naphtali, and Dan, all tribes somewhat remote, and generally speaking undistinguished;
(3) The small size of the contingent from Judah, which is generally represented as numerically superior to every other tribe, and which might have been expected to be especially zealous on behalf of its own prince and tribesman; throw some doubt upon the numbers, which may be suspected of having in some instances undergone corruption.
23. these are the numbers of the bands … that came to David to Hebron—after the death of Ish-bosheth (see on 2Sa 5:1).
to turn the kingdom of Saul to him, according to the word of the Lord—(1Ch 10:14; 11:3, 10). The account commences with the southern tribes, Levi being associated with Judah and Simeon, as the great majority of the leading men in this tribe resided in Judah; and, after recounting the representatives of the northern tribes, it concludes with those on the east of Jordan.
and came to David to Hebron; after the death of Ishbosheth and Abner, and when David had reigned seven years in Hebron:
to turn the kingdom of Saul to him; to transfer it to him and his family:
according to the word of the Lord; by Samuel, which they were acquainted with; and the number of those of the children of Judah, who made him their king already, and so there was the less need of a numerous appearance of them, were 6800 armed men, 1 Chronicles 12:24, of the tribe of Simeon, valiant men, 7100, 1 Chronicles 12:25, of the children of Levi 4600, 1 Chronicles 12:26, of the Aaronites or priests, with Jehoiada the son of Benaiah, according to Jarchi and Kimchi, at the head of them, 3700, 1 Chronicles 12:27, besides Zadok, a young man of the line of Eleazar, who was made high priest in the time of Solomon, who brought with him twenty two captains, 1 Chronicles 12:28 the heads of the courses of the priests, which were afterwards twenty four, 1 Chronicles 24:4 of the tribe of Benjamin, the kindred of Saul, the greatest part of whom had been sticklers for the continuance of the kingdom in the family of Saul, 3000, 1 Chronicles 12:29, of the tribe of Ephraim, valiant men, 20,800, 1 Chronicles 12:30, of the half tribe of Manasseh on this side Jordan, whose names were pricked down, being given, to make David king, 18,000, 1 Chronicles 12:31, and of the tribe of Issachar, two hundred of the heads of them; men of knowledge and understanding, either in chronology or astrology, or in the proper seasons for husbandry, or for the fixing the beginning of years and months, and the intercalation of them, for keeping the several festivals; or rather were men of prudence and wisdom, and knew that this was the proper time for making David king, Ishbosheth and Abner his general being dead; and as they were men in high esteem for their parts and abilities, their brethren were at their beck and command, 1 Chronicles 12:30, and of the tribe of Zebulun, warlike men, skilful in war, and well armed, 50,000 men; and their numerous appearance showed that they were hearty and sincere, being the greatest number of all the tribes, 1 Chronicles 12:33, and of the tribe of Naphtali, 1000 captains, and with them armed men, 37,000, 1 Chronicles 12:34 and of the tribe of Dan, men skilled in war, 28,600, 1 Chronicles 12:35 and of the tribe of Asher, warlike men, 40,000, 1 Chronicles 12:36 and of the Reubenites, Gadites, and half tribe of Manasseh, on the other side Jordan, military men, well armed, 120,000, 1 Chronicles 12:37, which in all made 348,800 men, and upwards.The children of Judah that bare shield and spear were six thousand and eight hundred, ready armed to the war.
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)24. The children of Judah, etc.] The list which follows suggests two questions, (1) Whence did the Chronicler derive it? (2) Are the statements of numbers contained in it trustworthy?
In answer to the first question it may be confidently said that the list as it stands is the composition of the Chronicler himself, for the syntax and vocabulary of the passage are his. Its statements may, however, be based on those of some ancient document. As to the second question it must be confessed that the numbers given to the Northern tribes, especially the trans-Jordanic tribes, are surprisingly large, especially when compared with those of the Southern; thus while the totals of Judah, Simeon, Levi, and Benjamin taken together amount to 25,200 warriors, those of Zebulun, Naphtali, Dan, and Asher amount to 155,600. Yet compare the numbers given in 2 Samuel 24:9 (800,000 men in Israel who drew sword).Verses 24, 25. - David had already found friends and adherents in these two southern tribes of Judah and Simeon. Judges 6:34. Usually יהוה or אלהים is found with this expression (2 Chronicles 24:20), and here also the Spirit of God is meant; and אלהים is omitted only because all that was of importance here was to show that the resolution announced by Amasai was an effect of higher spiritual influence. לך, to thee, David (do we belong), thine are we. עמּך, "with thee," sc. will we remain and fight. "Peace be to thee, and peace be to thy helpers; for thy God helpeth thee." עזרך, He has helped thee in the fortunate combats in which you have heretofore been engaged (1 Samuel 18:12.), and He will help still further. David thereupon received them and made them captains of his band. הגּדוּד, the warrior-band, which had gathered round David, and were still gathering round him, 1 Samuel 22:2; 1 Samuel 27:8, cf. also 1 Chronicles 12:21; 1 Samuel 30:8, 1 Samuel 30:15, 1 Samuel 30:23, etc.
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