Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary
Then all Israel gathered themselves to David unto Hebron, saying, Behold, we are thy bone and thy flesh.
1Ch 11:1-3. David Made King.
1. Then all Israel gathered themselves to David unto Hebron—This event happened on the death of Ish-bosheth (see on 2Sa 5:1). The convention of the estates of the kingdom, the public and solemn homage of the representatives of the people, and the repeated anointing of the new king in their presence and by their direction, seem to have been necessary to the general acknowledgment of the sovereign on the part of the nation (compare 1Sa 11:15).
And moreover in time past, even when Saul was king, thou wast he that leddest out and broughtest in Israel: and the LORD thy God said unto thee, Thou shalt feed my people Israel, and thou shalt be ruler over my people Israel.
Therefore came all the elders of Israel to the king to Hebron; and David made a covenant with them in Hebron before the LORD; and they anointed David king over Israel, according to the word of the LORD by Samuel.
And David and all Israel went to Jerusalem, which is Jebus; where the Jebusites were, the inhabitants of the land.
1Ch 11:4-9. He Wins the Castle of Zion from the Jebusites by Joab's Valor.
4. David and all Israel went to … Jebus—(See on 2Sa 5:6).
And the inhabitants of Jebus said to David, Thou shalt not come hither. Nevertheless David took the castle of Zion, which is the city of David.
And David said, Whosoever smiteth the Jebusites first shall be chief and captain. So Joab the son of Zeruiah went first up, and was chief.
And David dwelt in the castle; therefore they called it the city of David.
And he built the city round about, even from Millo round about: and Joab repaired the rest of the city.
8. Joab repaired the rest of the city—David built a new town to the north of the old one on Mount Zion; but Joab was charged with a commission to restore the part that had been occupied by the ancient Jebus, to repair the breaches made during the siege, to rebuild the houses which had been demolished or burned in the sacking of the town, and to preserve all that had escaped the violence of the soldiery. This work of reconstruction is not noticed elsewhere [Calmet].
So David waxed greater and greater: for the LORD of hosts was with him.
These also are the chief of the mighty men whom David had, who strengthened themselves with him in his kingdom, and with all Israel, to make him king, according to the word of the LORD concerning Israel.
1Ch 11:10-47. A Catalogue of His Worthies.
10. These … are the chief of the mighty men—(See on 2Sa 23:8). They are here described as those who held strongly with him (Margin) to make him king, &c. In these words the sacred historian assigns a reason for introducing the list of their names, immediately after his account of the election of David as king, and the conquest of Jerusalem; namely, that they assisted in making David king. In the original form of the list, and the connection in which it occurs in Samuel, there is no reference to the choice of a king; and even in this passage it is only in the clause introduced into the superscription that such a reference occurs [Keil].
And this is the number of the mighty men whom David had; Jashobeam, an Hachmonite, the chief of the captains: he lifted up his spear against three hundred slain by him at one time.
11-13. Jashobeam, an Hachmonite—or, "son of Hachmoni." He is called also son of Zabdiel (1Ch 27:2), so that, strictly speaking, he was the grandson of Hachmoni (compare 1Ch 27:32).
lifted up his spear against three hundred slain by him at one time—The feat is said (2Sa 23:8) to have been a slaughter of eight hundred in one day. Some endeavor to reconcile the statements in that passage and in this by supposing that he slew eight hundred on one occasion and three hundred on another; while others conjecture that he attacked a body of eight hundred, and, having slain three hundred of them, the rest fled [Lightfoot].
And after him was Eleazar the son of Dodo, the Ahohite, who was one of the three mighties.
12. the three mighties—Only two are mentioned; namely, Jashobeam and Eleazar—the third, Shammah (2Sa 23:11), is not named in this passage.
He was with David at Pasdammim, and there the Philistines were gathered together to battle, where was a parcel of ground full of barley; and the people fled from before the Philistines.
13. He was with David at Pas-dammim—It was at the time when he was a fugitive in the wilderness, and, parched with thirst under the burning heat of noonday, he wistfully thought of the cool fountain of his native village [2Sa 23:15; 1Ch 11:17]. This is a notice of the achievement, to which Eleazar owed his fame, but the details are found only in 2Sa 23:9-11, where it is further said that he was aided by the valor of Shammah, a fact corroborated in the passage before us (1Ch 11:14), where it is recorded of the heroes, that "they set themselves in the midst of that parcel." As the singular number is used in speaking of Shammah (2Sa 23:12), the true view seems to be that when Eleazar had given up from exhaustion, Shammah succeeded, and by his fresh and extraordinary prowess preserved the field.
barley—or lentils (2Sa 23:11). Ephes-dammim was situated between Shocoh and Azekah, in the west of the Judahite territory. These feats were performed when David acted as Saul's general against the Philistines.
And they set themselves in the midst of that parcel, and delivered it, and slew the Philistines; and the LORD saved them by a great deliverance.
Now three of the thirty captains went down to the rock to David, into the cave of Adullam; and the host of the Philistines encamped in the valley of Rephaim.
15-19. David longed, and said, Oh that one would give me drink … of the well of Beth-lehem—(See on 2Sa 23:15). This chivalrous act evinces the enthusiastic devotion of David's men, that they were ready to gratify his smallest wish at the risk of their lives. It is probable that, when uttering the wish, David had no recollection of the military posted at Beth-lehem. It is generally taken for granted that those who fought a way to the well of Beth-lehem were the three champions just mentioned [see on 1Ch 11:13]. But this is far from being clear. On the contrary, it would seem that three different heroes are referred to, for Abishai (1Ch 11:20) was one of them. The camp of the Philistines was in the valley of Rephaim (1Ch 11:15), which lay on the west of Jerusalem, but an outpost was stationed at Beth-lehem (1Ch 11:16), and through this garrison they had to force a passage.
And David was then in the hold, and the Philistines' garrison was then at Bethlehem.
And David longed, and said, Oh that one would give me drink of the water of the well of Bethlehem, that is at the gate!
And the three brake through the host of the Philistines, and drew water out of the well of Bethlehem, that was by the gate, and took it, and brought it to David: but David would not drink of it, but poured it out to the LORD,
And said, My God forbid it me, that I should do this thing: shall I drink the blood of these men that have put their lives in jeopardy? for with the jeopardy of their lives they brought it. Therefore he would not drink it. These things did these three mightiest.
And Abishai the brother of Joab, he was chief of the three: for lifting up his spear against three hundred, he slew them, and had a name among the three.
Of the three, he was more honourable than the two; for he was their captain: howbeit he attained not to the first three.
21. howbeit he attained not to the first three—(See on 2Sa 23:19).
Benaiah the son of Jehoiada, the son of a valiant man of Kabzeel, who had done many acts; he slew two lionlike men of Moab: also he went down and slew a lion in a pit in a snowy day.
22. Benaiah … of Kabzeel—a town in the south of Judah (Jos 15:21; Ne 11:25). It is said that "he had done many acts," though three only are mentioned as specimens of his daring energy and fearless courage.
slew two lionlike men of Moab—literally, "lions of God," that is, great lions or champions. This gallant feat was probably achieved in David's hostile invasion of Moab (2Sa 8:2).
also he went down and slew a lion in a pit in a snowy day—probably a cave into which Benaiah had taken refuge from the snowstorm, and in which he encountered a savage lion which had its lair there. In a spacious cave the achievement would be far greater than if the monster had been previously snared or cabined in a pit.
And he slew an Egyptian, a man of great stature, five cubits high; and in the Egyptian's hand was a spear like a weaver's beam; and he went down to him with a staff, and plucked the spear out of the Egyptian's hand, and slew him with his own spear.
23. he went down—the ordinary phraseology for expressing an engagement in battle. The encounter of Benaiah with this gigantic Egyptian reminds us, in some respects, of David's combat with Goliath. At least, the height of this giant, which was about eight feet, and his armor, resembled his of Gath.
with a staff—that is, having no other weapon in his hand than his walking stick.
These things did Benaiah the son of Jehoiada, and had the name among the three mighties.
Behold, he was honourable among the thirty, but attained not to the first three: and David set him over his guard.
25. David set him over his guard—the Cherethites and Pelethites that composed the small bodyguard in immediate attendance on the king.
Also the valiant men of the armies were, Asahel the brother of Joab, Elhanan the son of Dodo of Bethlehem,
26. Also the valiant men of the armies—This was the third degree of military rank, and Asahel was their chief; the names of few of those mentioned are historically known.
Shammoth the Harorite, Helez the Pelonite,
27. Shammoth—Between this name and Hebez, that of Elikah has evidently fallen out, as we may see (2Sa 23:25, 26) [Bertheau].
Ira the son of Ikkesh the Tekoite, Abiezer the Antothite,
Sibbecai the Hushathite, Ilai the Ahohite,
Maharai the Netophathite, Heled the son of Baanah the Netophathite,
30. Maharai—chief of the detachment of the guards who attended on the king in the tenth month, January (1Ch 27:13; 2Sa 23:28).
Ithai the son of Ribai of Gibeah, that pertained to the children of Benjamin, Benaiah the Pirathonite,
Hurai of the brooks of Gaash, Abiel the Arbathite,
Azmaveth the Baharumite, Eliahba the Shaalbonite,
The sons of Hashem the Gizonite, Jonathan the son of Shage the Hararite,
Ahiam the son of Sacar the Hararite, Eliphal the son of Ur,
Hepher the Mecherathite, Ahijah the Pelonite,
Hezro the Carmelite, Naarai the son of Ezbai,
Joel the brother of Nathan, Mibhar the son of Haggeri,
Zelek the Ammonite, Naharai the Berothite, the armourbearer of Joab the son of Zeruiah,
39. Naharai—armorbearer to Joab (2Sa 23:37). The non-occurrence of Joab's name in any of the three catalogues is most probably to be accounted for by the circumstance that his office as commander-in-chief raised him to a position superior to all these orders of military knighthood.
Ira the Ithrite, Gareb the Ithrite,
Uriah the Hittite, Zabad the son of Ahlai,
41. Uriah the Hittite—The enrolment of this name in such a list, attesting, as it does, his distinguished merits as a brave and devoted officer, aggravates the criminality of David's outrage on his life and honor. The number of the names at 1Ch 11:26-41 (exclusive of Asahel and Uriah, who were dead) is thirty, and at 1Ch 11:41-47 is sixteen—making together forty-eight (see on 1Ch 27:1-34). Of those mentioned (1Ch 11:26-41), the greater part belonged to the tribes of Judah and Benjamin; the sixteen names (1Ch 11:41-47) are all associated with places unknown, or with cities and districts on the east of the Jordan. The northern tribes do not appear to have furnished any leaders [Bertheau].
Adina the son of Shiza the Reubenite, a captain of the Reubenites, and thirty with him,
Hanan the son of Maachah, and Joshaphat the Mithnite,
Uzzia the Ashterathite, Shama and Jehiel the sons of Hothan the Aroerite,
Jediael the son of Shimri, and Joha his brother, the Tizite,
Eliel the Mahavite, and Jeribai, and Joshaviah, the sons of Elnaam, and Ithmah the Moabite,
Eliel, and Obed, and Jasiel the Mesobaite.