Lange Commentary - 1 Chronicles 12:1 - 12:40

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Lange Commentary - 1 Chronicles 12:1 - 12:40


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This Chapter Verse Commentaries:

. Supplementary List of Brave Men who held to David during the Reign of Saul:

1Ch_12:1-22

1Ch_12:1.And these are they that came to David to Ziklag, while banished from Saul the son of Kish; and they were among the heroes, helpers of the war. 2Armed with bows, using both right hand and left with stones and with 3arrows on the bow:—Of the brethren of Saul of Benjamin. The chief Ahiezer and Joash, sons of Hashmaah the Gibeathite; and Jezuel and Pelet the 4sons of Azmaveth; and Berachah, and Jehu the Antothite. And Ishmaiah the Gibeonite, a hero among the thirty, and over the thirty; and Jeremiah, and Jahaziel, and Johanan, and Jozabad the Gederathite. 5Eluzai, and Jerimoth, 6and Bealiah, and Shemariah, and Shephatiah the Haruphite. Elkanah, 7and Ishiah, and Azarel, and Joezer, and Jashobam, the Korhites. And Joelah and Zebadiah the sons of Jeroham of Gedor.

8And of the Gadites, separated themselves unto David at the hold in the wilderness, valiant heroes, men of the host for battle, handling shield and spear, with faces like lions, and like roes on the mountains for swiftness. 9, 10Ezer the chief, Obadiah the second, Eliab the third. Mishmannah the 11, 12fourth, Jeremiah the fifth. Attai the sixth, Eliel the seventh. Johanan the eighth, Elzabad the ninth. 13Jeremiah the tenth, Machbannai the eleventh. 14These were of the sons of Gad, heads of the host: one for a hundred, the least, and the greatest for a thousand. 15These are they that went over Jordan in the first month, when it had overflown all its banks; and they put to flight all the valleys to the east and to the west.

16And there came of the sons of Benjamin and Judah to the hold unto David. 17And David went out before them, and answered and said unto them, If ye be come peaceably unto me to help me, my heart shall be at one with you; but if to betray me to my enemies, with no wrong in my hands, the God of 18our fathers look on and rebuke it. And the spirit came upon Amasai the chief of the thirty, Thine are we, David, and with thee, son of Jesse; peace, peace be to thee, and peace to thy helpers; for thy God helpeth thee; and David received them, and made them captains of the troop.

19And of Manasseh some fell to David, when he came with the Philistines against Saul to battle; but they helped him not: for on advisement, the lords of the Philistines sent him away, saying, At the peril of our heads he 20will fall to his master Saul. When he went to Ziklag, there fell to him of Manasseh, Adnah, and Jozabad, and Jediael, and Michael, and Jozabad, and Elihu, and Zillethai, captains of the thousands of Manasseh. 21And they helped David against the troop; for they were all valiant heroes, and they 22became captains in the host. For day by day they came to David to help him, until the camp was great, like a camp of God.

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. Supplementary Data concerning the Number of the Warriors who made David King in Hebron: 1Ch_12:23-40

23And these are the numbers of the heads of those armed for the host who came to David to Hebron, to turn the kingdom of Saul to him, according to 24the word of the Lord. The sons of Judah, bearing shield and spear, were 25six thousand and eight hundred, armed for the host. Of the sons of Simeon, 26valiant heroes for the host, seven thousand and one hundred. Of the sons of Levi, four thousand and six hundred. 27And Jehoiada was the leader of the Aaronites, and with him three thousand and seven hundred. 28And Zadok, a valiant young man, and his father’s house twenty and two captains. 29And of the sons of Benjamin, brethren of Saul, three thousand; for hitherto the most part of them kept the ward of the house of Saul. 30And of the sons of Ephraim, twenty thousand and eight hundred valiant heroes, famous men of their father-houses. 31And of the half-tribe of Manasseh, eighteen thousand, who were expressed by name, to come to make David king. 32And of the sons of Issachar, men having understanding of the times, to know what Israel had to do, their heads were two hundred, and all their brethren were at their 33command. Of Zebulun, those going to the host, ordering the battle with all weapons of war, fifty thousand, arraying themselves with a single heart. 34And of Naphtali, a thousand captains, and with them, with shield and spear, thirty and seven thousand. 35And of the Danites, ordering the battle, twenty and eight thousand and six hundred. 36And of Asher, those going to the host 37to order the battle, forty thousand. And beyond the Jordan, of the Reubenites, and the Gadites, and the half-tribe of Manasseh, with all weapons of war for the battle, a hundred and twenty thousand.

38All these men of war, keeping rank, came with true heart to Hebron to make David king over all Israel; and all the rest of Israel also were of one 39heart to make David king. And they were there with David three days eating 40and drinking; for their brethren had prepared for them. Moreover, they that were nigh them, even to Issachar, and Zebulun, and Naphtali, brought bread on asses, and on camels, and on mules, and on oxen, bread of meal, fig and raisin cakes, and wine, and oil, and oxen, and sheep abundantly; for there was joy in Israel.

EXEGETICAL

Preliminary Remark.—The whole of the twelfth chapter is peculiar to the Chronist. Standing after that which is related in 1Ch_11:4 ff., it has the nature of an appendix, in the form of several military lists referring to the force of David before and at his accession to the sole sovereignty. The first of these lists consists properly of three smaller ones—a. That of the Benjamites and Jews that came to David during his residence at Ziklag: 1Ch_12:1-7; b. That of the Gadites and some other men from Judah and Benjamin who passed over to him during his residence in the hold: 1Ch_12:8-18; c. That of the Manassites who joined themselves to David shortly before the battle with the Philistines, and the death of Saul at Gilboa: 1Ch_12:19-22. To these lists referring to the Sauline period is then subjoined that of the contingents from all the tribes present at the anointing in Hebron: 1Ch_12:23-40.

1. The Benjamites and Jews who came to Ziklag: 1Ch_12:1-7.—And these are they that came to David to Ziklag. Ziklag, belonging to the tribe of Simeon (1Ch_6:30; Jos_19:5), assigned by Achish to David as a residence, was in a site not certainly determined. The sojourn of David there until his anointing at Hebron lasted (1Sa_27:7) a year and four months.—While banished from Saul ( òåֹã òָöåּø ) that is, while his return to Israel as king was still hindered by Saul: inter Israelitas publice versari prohibitus (J. H. Michaelis).—And they were among the heroes, helpers of the wars. They belonged to the heroes who served and stood by him in his earlier wars; comp. 1Ch_12:17-18; 1Ch_12:21-22.

1Ch_12:2. Armed with bows, or “aiming with the bow;” not really different from bending the bow ( ãֹּøְëֵé ÷ֶùֶׁè ), 1Ch_8:40; comp. 2Ch_17:17 and Psa_78:9.—Using both right and left with stones (in slinging, Jdg_20:16) and with arrows on the bow, namely, to shoot and surely hit with them.—Of the brethren of Saul of Benjamin. The second restriction serves to explain the first: àֲçֵéÎùָׁàåּì do not mean near or blood relations. Comp. Gibeath-Saul, 1Sa_11:4, Isa_10:29, and as denoting the same place, Gibeath-Benjamin, 1Sa_10:16; 1Sa_15:34, or Gibeah of the sons of Benjamin, 1Ch_11:31.

1Ch_12:3. Sons of Hashmaah the Gibeathite, from the Gibeah of Benjamin just mentioned.

1Ch_12:4. And Ishmaiah the Gibeonite. That this Gibeonite (this Benjamite of Gibeon; comp. 1Ch_8:29, 1Ch_9:35, with 2Sa_21:2 ff.) Ishmaiah is described first as a hero among the thirty, and then as a leader over the thirty, may be explained by assuming a temporary command over this company. The absence of his name in 1 Chronicles 11, must be explained by this, that he was no longer alive at the time when this list was composed, and was therefore among the earliest members of the corps of the thirty.—And Jozabad the Gederathite; perhaps from Gederah (now Ghedera, one hour south-west of Jabneh), a Jewish locality in the Shephelah, Jos_15:36. That Jozabad, though coming from Gederah, belonged to some family of Benjamites dwelling there, is an unnecessary assumption of Keil. The following verses, especially the Geder, 1Ch_12:7, rather show that those here enumerated were by no means exclusively Benjamite.

1Ch_12:6. Elkanah . . . the Korhites. To think of another Korah as the ancestor of the Korhites than the known descendant of Levi is unnecessary; these may be Korhitic Levites settled in Benjamin who are here in question; and the names Elkanah and Azarel having a genuine Levitical ring, make it very probable that they are such; comp. Keil on the p. and Del. Psalter, p. 300. Yet it is possible that they may be descendants of the Jewish Korah mentioned ii. 43 (so Berth., Kamph., etc.).

1Ch_12:7. And Joelah . . . of Gedor, without doubt the Jewish city mentioned 1Ch_4:4, south-west of Bethlehem; so that here also non-Benjamites are included in the series, notwithstanding the announcement, 1Ch_12:2, which leads us to expect only Benjamites. Whether this contradiction between the announcement and the contents of the list arises from the whole series of names being greatly abridged and composed out of two originally distinct lists, one of pure Benjamites, and another containing Jews, as Berth, thinks, appears doubtful; comp. Keil, p. 134.

2. The Gadites and some other Jews and Benjamites who joined themselves to David while in the Hold: 1Ch_12:8-18.—a. The Gadites: 1Ch_12:8-15.—And of the Gadites (that is, of those belonging to the tribe of Gad, while the others adhered to Saul) separated themselves unto David at the hold in the wilderness. This was during the first year of his flight before Saul, 1Sa_22:1 ff.— ìַîְöַã îִãְáָּøָä (so pointed for ìָîְöָã î× , on account of the close connection of the two following words) denotes properly: “to the hold towards the wilderness.” A definite single hold ( = îְöָã îְöåּãָä ; comp. 1Ch_11:16) is here as little intended as in 1Ch_12:16, but rather the greater number of those holds of the wilderness of Judah (comp. áַּîִּãְáָּø áַּîְּöָãåֹú , 1Sa_23:14; 1Sa_24:1) in which David dwelt at that time; thus îöã is here general, as îְöåּãָä , 1 Sam. 24:23.—Men of the host for battle, practised in war; comp. 1Ch_7:11. On the following “handling ( òֹøְëֵé ) shield and spear,” comp. 1Ch_12:24 (“bearing shield and spear”) and Jer_46:3; for the comparison of the warriors with lions and roes, 2Sa_1:23; 2Sa_2:18. “The expressions in the description of their power and fleetness, 1Ch_12:8, remind us of such as are used in the historical books of heroes in the time of David, and are without doubt drawn from the source which our author here used” (Berth.).

1Ch_12:13. Machbannai the eleventh, literally, the eleven; comp. 1Ch_24:12.

1Ch_12:14. Heads of the host (so 1Ch_12:21 b), that is, chief warriors, not leaders.—One for a hundred the least, and the greatest for a thousand. The smallest of them was equal to one hundred other warriors, and the strongest to a thousand,—an expression of manifestly poetical colouring, reminding us of Lev_26:8 and of 1Sa_18:7; 1Sa_21:11, which our author certainly found in his source. The Sept, and the most of the older Rabbis rightly understood the passage, but the Vulg. wrongly: novissimus centum militibus prœerat et maximus mille, for which òַì instead of ìְ , and another order of words, should be expected.

1Ch_12:15. These are they that went over Jordan, at the time when they separated themselves from the other Gadites of the host of Saul, and were forced to break through this to reach David. Their flight fell “in the first month,” that is, in the spring, when the Jordan was greatly swollen, and had overflown its bank. So much greater was the heroic deed.—And put to flight all the valleys to the east and to the west, on both sides of the river, just as if its overflowing waters were not present. òî÷éí , properly “valleys,” here inhabitants of the valleys, Hitzig (Gesch. Isr. p. 29) conceives to be the name of a people, that occurs also Jer_49:4 (comp. Jer_47:5), and is identical with the Anakim, Jos_15:14, and with the Amorites—with the latter really, with the former even in name (?). See, on the contrary, Keil on Jer. p. 480.—b. The men of Benjamin and Judah: 1Ch_12:16-18.—And there came of the sons of Benjamin and Judah. The names of these other followers of David when persecuted by Saul the Chronist does not give, either because his source did not contain them, or because they may have been included for the most part in the lists already communicated in 1 Chronicles 11. Amasai only, the leader of this troop, is named.

1Ch_12:17. And David went out before them, or to meet them; comp. 1Ch_14:8.—My heart shall be at one with you. ìֵá ìְéָçַã , a phrase occurring only here, not essentially different from ìֵá àֶçָã , 1Ch_12:38 (comp. 1Ch_12:33).—But if to betray me to my enemies. øִîָּä , with accus, of the object, means, “to practise fraud on any one.” For the following, compare, on the one hand, Job_16:17, Isa_53:9; on the other hand, 2Ch_24:22. For the phrase: “the God of our fathers,” namely, of the patriarchs Abraham, etc., comp. Exo_3:13; Ezr_7:27; 2Ch_20:6; Mat_22:32.

1Ch_12:18. And (the) Spirit came upon Amasai the chief of thirty. Here, as in the parallel Jdg_6:34, the Spirit of God is meant (comp. 2Ch_24:20), as the principle of higher inspiration to great and bold deeds. The Amasai of our passage is perhaps not different from Amasa (with à instead of é at the end) the son of Abigail, sister of David, 1Ch_2:17, who, at a later period, in the time of Absalom, performed a not unimportant part as commander (first under Absalom, and then under David), till Joab murdered him (2Sa_17:25; 2Sa_19:14; 2Sa_20:4 ff.). Much less probable is the identity assumed by others of this Amasai with Abshai the brother of Joab (1Ch_2:16, 1Ch_11:20).—Thine are we, David, to thee we belong, and with thee, we hold, Notwithstanding this simple and obvious completion, the Sept, has wholly misunderstood the words ìê ãåéã åòîê , and made of them ðïñåýïõ êáὶ ὁ ëáüò óïõ .—For thy God helpeth thee. This òֲæָֽøְêָ refers to the past aid which David had received from God (1Sa_18:12 ff.), but also to the further aid in prospect, which was to be imparted to him in future.—And made them captains of the troop, appointed them leaders of the several divisions of his army,—that army ( ðְּãåּã ) of all kinds of people that had gathered about him; comp. 1Sa_22:2; 1Sa_27:8, etc.

3. The Seven Manassites who joined themselves to David before the Last Battle of Saul with the Philistines: 1Ch_12:19-22.—And of Manasseh some fell to David. ðָôַì òַì , as in 2Ki_25:11;1Sa_29:3; comp. ðָôַì àֶì at the close of the verse. For the historical situation, comp. 1Sa_29:2-11.—For on advisement, áòöä , on consultation, as Pro_20:18.—At the peril of our heads, literally, “for our heads, for the price of them;” comp. 1Sa_29:4.

1Ch_12:20. When he went to Ziklag, and thus before the great battle of Gilboa in which Saul fell; comp. 1Sa_29:11.—Captains of the thousands of Manasseh, of the great military divisions (regiments) into which the tribe of Manasseh was divided; comp. Num_31:14; Num_31:26; Num_27:1, and 1Ch_15:25.

1Ch_12:21. And they helped David against the troop, namely, his present foes, the Amalekites; comp. 1Sa_30:8; 1Sa_30:15, where the âְּãåּã here used (for which the Sept. perversely read a n. pr. Ãåääïýñ ) appears more definitely as the army of the Amalekites. Moreover, the seven here named Manassites only are the immediate and direct subject of the sentence, not all the heroes named from 1Ch_12:1 to 1Ch_12:20 (as Berth, thinks), though certainly the whole force of David (600 strong, 1Sa_30:9) was drawn out to fight with Amalek. But that by åְäֵîָּä only the seven Manassites can here be meant is shown by the following words: “and they became captains in the host,” which cannot apply to the whole troop.

1Ch_12:22. Until the camp was great, like a camp of God; comp. Gen_32:2 and phrases like mountains, cedars of God, Psa_36:7; Psa_80:11. The phrase is “only rhetorical, not idealizing or exaggerating” (Keil); it extends also clearly beyond the time when David had only 600 followers to the time when thousands, and then hundreds of thousands, followed him. The following description seizes the moment when out of the thousands of the first seven years of his reign at Hebron came the hundred thousands and more.

4. The Number of the Warriors who made David King over all Israel: 1Ch_12:23-40.—And these are the members of the heads of those armed for the host, or for military service (comp. Num_31:5; Jos_4:13). The “heads of those armed” are here not the captains or leaders (Vulg. principes exercitus, Berth., etc.), but the sums or masses of the warriors, as Jdg_7:16; Jdg_7:20; Jdg_9:34; Jdg_9:37; Jdg_9:44, 1Sa_11:11, or perhaps also the polls (Jdg_5:30); so that îִñְôַּø øָàùֵׁé would be the number of polls. For it cannot he proved (against Berth.) that only âֻּìְâֹìֶú , and not also øàù , can have this sense; and the following is not a list of leaders, but a poll list, that also originally bore this form, though the abbreviating changes of our author make it difficult to prove.—To turn the kingdom of Saul to him; comp. 1Ch_10:14, and for the following, 1Ch_11:3; 1Ch_11:10.

1Ch_12:24. The sons of Judah, bearing shield and spear; comp. on 1Ch_12:8. The enumeration begins with the two southern tribes, Judah and Simeon; next gives the priestly tribe of Levi, whose chief force lay at that time in and about Judah; and then, proceeding from south to north, names first the other western tribes, and then the three eastern ones.

1Ch_12:26. And Jehoiada was the leader of the Aaronites, literally, “the leader of Aaron,” that is, not the high priest (who was at that time Abiathar, 1Sa_23:9), but the head of the family of Aaron. Perhaps this was Jehoiada the father of Benaiah, 1Ch_6:22.

1Ch_12:28. And Zadok, a valiant young man, perhaps that descendant of Eleazar (5:34) whom Solomon, 1Ki_2:26, made high priest. That the house of this Zadok, at the time of David’s elevation, counted twenty-two chiefs or heads of families, proves how flourishing this branch of the Aaronites was at that time.

1Ch_12:29. And of the sons of Benjamin, brethren of Saul, three thousand. This number is indeed surprisingly small, but certainly original. The writer accounts for it also, first briefly, by the characteristic addition àֲçֵé ùָׁàåּì , then more fully by the remark, “for hitherto ( åְòַã äֵðָּä , as 1Ch_9:18) the most part of them kept the ward of Saul’s house;” that is, the most of them were still devoted to the interest of the kindred house of Saul ( ùָׁîַø îִùְׁîֶøֶú , as Num_3:38; comp. 1Ch_23:32; 2Ch_23:6), so that they turned to David only slowly, and when Ishbosheth was dead.

1Ch_12:30. Famous men of their father-houses, arranged according to their father-houses. The Ephraimites, on the whole, though their number was above 20,000, are called celebrated, famous men (comp. Gen_6:4), perhaps because they were distinguished by their warlike bravery, and had not merely a few able heroes or leaders.

1Ch_12:31. And of the half-tribe of Manasseh, the western half. The “being expressed by name” ( ðִ÷ְּáåּ áְּùֵׁîåֹú , as Num_1:17; 1Ch_16:41) points to the formation of a list by the tribe authorities, in which all those warriors of the tribe were entered who were chosen to take part in the elevation of the new king at Hebron. All the other tribes may have formed similar lists for this purpose.

1Ch_12:32. And of the sons of Issachar, men having understanding of the times, to know what Israel had to do. This applies, not to the whole tribe, but only to the 200 heads of their forces; and it denotes, not every kind of activity in astronomical or physical science (Chald., several Rabbis, Cleric), but only that those leaders “saw what was most advisable to be done in the condition of the times” (Starke), that they were prudentes viri, qui quid, quando et quomodo agendum esset, varia lectione (?) et usu rerum cognoscebant (L. Lavater). “Men understanding,” literally, knowing judgment, éåֹãְòֵé áִéðָä ; comp. 2Ch_2:12 and the similar éåֹãְòֵé ãַòַú , Dan_1:4. “ To know what Israel had to do,” in the present case, means to whom it had to apply as its king and supreme ruler. These men of Issachar were not dull and narrow “bony asses” (Gen_49:14), but prudent “judges of the signs of their time” (Mat_16:3).—And all their brethren were at their command. òַì ôִּéäֶí , literally, “by their month,” namely, guided; comp. Gen_41:40; Num_4:27; Deu_21:5.

1Ch_12:33. Ordering the battle with all weapons of war, practised in the conflict with all kinds of weapons; comp. 1Ch_12:6.—Arraying themselves with a single heart, literally, “and to band together with not heart and heart.” For åְìַֽòֲãֹø , with some critical evidence (see Crit. Note), to read åְìַֽòֲåֹø is unnecessary and untenable, from the recurrence of òãø in 1Ch_12:38. From this parallel passage, this verb must mean, “to take rank for war, to stand in order of battle.” For ìֵá åָìֵá , to denote double-mindedness or a divided heart, comp. Psa_12:3 and 1Ch_12:38; ìִáָá ùָׁìֵí and ìֵá àֶäֽã .

1Ch_12:38. All these men of war, keeping rank; Sept. ðáñáôáóóüìåíïé ðáñÜôáîéí . The change of òֹãְøֵé into òֹøְëֵé (see Crit. Note) is unnecessary, and as little demanded by òøêְ in 1Ch_12:33; 1Ch_12:35-36 as by îַֽòֲøָëָä ; comp. on 1Ch_12:33. “All these” points naturally to the whole troops enumerated from 1Ch_12:24 on.—And all the rest of Israel, etc. On ìá àçã , “one, united heart,” comp 2Ch_30:12.

1Ch_12:39. And they were there with David three days, eating and drinking. Comp, the festivals described 1Sa_30:16, 1Ki_1:25; 1Ki_1:40, etc., and also from the most recent oriental history; for example, the enormous feast (100,000 sheep and wethers, 20,000 oxen, 40,000 gallons honey-wine, etc.) that was given in connection with the elevation of Kassai to be emperor (negus) of Abyssinia (Feb. 1872).—For their brethren had prepared for them (victuals), namely, the Jews about Hebron. Comp. on this äֵëִéï , Gen_43:16; 2Ch_35:14, etc.

1Ch_12:40. Moreover, they that were nigh them (comp. Deu_13:8), all the neighbouring tribes of Judah on this side the Jordan; and not merely those immediately adjacent, but also the tribes in the middle, and some of those in the north of Palestine.—Brought bread (victuals) on asses, and camels, and mules, etc. Observe the purely epical character of the representation, that points to a very ancient historical source used by the Chronist.—Fig and raisin cakes. For the masses of dried figs ( ãְּáֵìִéí ) and raisins ( öִîֻּ÷ִéí ), as indispensable dainty additions to feasts, comp. 1Sa_25:18; 1Sa_30:12; Jer_40:10; Jer_40:12; Amo_8:1 f.; also Celsius, Hierobot. i. 377 ff.; Winer, Realw., Art. “Feigenbaum.’

Apologetic on 1Ch_12:23 ff.

With respect to the credibility of the numbers of our section, it is to be remarked in general, that the sum total of about 340,000 men, resulting from the data relative to the military contingents of the several tribes, agrees, on the whole, with other known data concerning the sum of the people of Israel equipped for war (for example, the 600,000 men in the time of Moses, the 800,000 Israelites and 500,000 Jews in the census of David), as, indeed, a full call of all those fit to bear arms could not be expected on the present occasion. On the contrary‚ the relation of the numbers in the several tribes presents much that is surprising. The strength of the three eastern tribes (120,000), exceeding a third of the sum total, and the likewise considerable strength of Zebulun (50,000), Naphtali (37,000), and Asher (40,000), seem to contrast in a manner scarcely conceivable with the small contingents of Judah, Simeon, Levi, and Benjamin. But—1. With regard to Benjamin, the ground of his only small share in the festivities at Hebron is expressly stated, and in a way entirely satisfactory, and admitting of no further objection. 2. The number of the Levites is, in 1Ch_12:27-28, not fully given, inasmuch as of the third division of them, the house of Zadok, only the number of the chiefs (22) and not that of the common order is stated (as in Issachar only the number of the chiefs or heads is expressed, 1Ch_12:32). 3. Of Judah and Simeon are certainly only comparatively very small numbers given, for this reason, that the warriors of this tribe had long since, seven years before, ranged themselves on the side of David, and therefore, in the review on the occasion of the solemnities of his anointing, did not need to be represented in their full military strength (which would have reached in itself to between 100,000 and 200,000 men). These warriors of Judah and Simeon had rather to act as commissaries, to make provision for the greater bodies of troops; and most of them were to be sought, not among the øָàùֵׁé äֶçָìåּõ ìַöָּáָä (1Ch_12:24-25 ff.), but among the àֲçֵéäֶí äַîֵּëִéðִéí 4. Yet highly surprising is the numerical relation of the middle and northern tribes west of the Jordan, namely, the smallness of Ephraim (20,800) beside Zebulun and Naphtali. “But if we consider that Ephraim, which had 40,500 men at the first census under Moses at Mount Sinai, had diminished to 32,500 at the second on the steppes of Moab, this tribe may not at this time have been very strong in men-at-arms, as it may have suffered and been weakened most of all the tribes in the last wars of Saul with the Philistines, and in the battles of Abner for the recovery of the region occupied by the Philistines for Ishbosheth. Moreover, perhaps Ephraim, in his jealousy of Judah, dating from the time of the Judges, might not be altogether inclined to make David king over all Israel. That, however, Zebulun and Naphtali are here so numerously represented, though they played no important part in the history of Israel, is not enough to cast suspicion on the numbers given. As Zebulun under Moses numbered 57,400, and afterwards 60,500, and Naphtali then 53,400, afterwards 45,400 men-at-arms (comp. Numbers 1-3. with Numbers 26), the former might send 50,000, the latter 37,000, men to David at, Hebron” (Keil). The subsequent smallness and insignificance of these tribes (comp Evangelical-Ethical Reflections on 1 Chronicles 1-9, No. 2, p. 92) is simply explained by their only imperfect restoration after the destruction of the kingdom of Israel by Shalmaneser.—The credibility of the data of our list cannot in general be doubted according to all this, that is, irrespective of particular corruptions of the text that are always to be admitted as possible. It would much more present matter for well-founded doubts if the numerical strength of the several tribes attested in it were exactly proportional to the data of Numbers regarding the early relations of the military divisions. The appearance of something surprising in the present numerical data speaks directly for their true historical origin, and imposes the greatest caution on the modern critic of the contents of our chapter, that exhibit so many traces of fresh originality and high antiquity. This also may perhaps be urged as a proof of the essentially unchanged transmission of the present documents from the author, that the tribe of Dan, which is elsewhere often omitted, as it seems intentionally, by the Chronist, is here expressly mentioned, and in no disparaging way; comp. 1Ch_12:35 with Introd. § 6, No. 1, p. 24, and with the remarks on 1Ch_6:46 and 1Ch_7:12.

Footnotes: 

Keri: Jeziel ( éְæִéàֵì ).

With åְòַì äַùְּׁìùִׁéí the fourth verse closes in the mss. and older editions, even that of R. Norzi, so that the whole chapter contains forty-one verses.

Keri: “the Hariphite” ( äַֽçֲøִéôִé ); comp. áְּðֵé çָøִéó , Neh_7:24.

For äַâְּãåּã is certainly to be read äַâְּãåֹø ; comp. 1Ch_4:4.

For åָøֹîַç the Bibl. Venet. Rabb. has åּîָâֵï : so some old prints, but not the mss.

The Kethib âִּãְéֹúָéå , if correct, would be the plur. of âִּãְéָä , and occur only here. With the Keri âְּãֹúָéå comp. Jos_3:15; Jos_4:18; Isa_8:8.

Kethib: äַùְּׁìåֹùִׁéí ; Keri, as usual: äַùָּׂìִéùִׁéí . The Sept. and Vulg. agree with the Kethib.

For åְìַֽòֲãֹø nine mss., the Sept. ( âïçèῆóáé ), and the Vulg. read åְìַֽòֲæֹø .

These mss. change òֹãְøֵé into òֹøְëֵé unnecessarily. See Exeg. Expl.

ùֵׁøִéú , defective for ùְׁàֵøִéú , occurring only here; hence some mss. have the scr. plena.



Namely, from
Judah,
6,800
men. ”
Simeon
7,100
men. ”
Levi,
4,600
men.
Also with
Jehoiada,
3,700
men (with 22 chiefs of the house of Zadok)
From
Benjamin,
3,000
men. ”
Ephraim,
20,800
men. ”
Half-Manasseh,
18,000
men. ”
Issachar,
?
men (200 chiefs “and all their brethren”). ”
From Zebulun,
50,000
men. ”
Naphrali,
37,000
men. (with 1000 chiefs). ”
Dan,
28,000
men. ”
Asher,
40,000
men.
From
the three eastern Tribes,
120,000
men.   Sum,
339,00
men (with 1222 cheifs and heads).