1 Chronicles 27


An account of the twelve captains who were over the monthly

course of twenty-four thousand men; each captain serving one

month in turn, 1.

The names of the twelve, and the months in which they served,


The names of the rulers of the twelve tribes, 16-22.

The reasons why the whole number of Israel and Judah had not

been taken, 23, 24.

The persons who were over the king's property, treasures,

fields, flocks, &c., 25-31.

His officers of state, 32-34.


Verse 1. The chief fathers and captains of thousands] The

patriarchs, chief generals, or generals of brigade. This

enumeration is widely different from the preceding. In that, we

have the orders and courses of the priests and the Levites in

their ecclesiastical ministrations; in this, we have the account

of the order of the civil service, that which related simply to

the political state of the king and the kingdom. Twenty-four

persons, chosen out of David's worthies, each of whom had a

second, were placed over twenty-four thousand men, who all served

a month in turn at a time; and this was the whole of their service

during the year, after which they attended to their own affairs.

Thus the king had always on foot a regular force of twenty-four

thousand, who served without expense to him or the state, and were

not oppressed by the service, which took up only a twelfth part of

their time, and by this plan he could at any time, when the

exigency of the state required it, bring into the field twelve

times twenty-four thousand, or two hundred and eighty-eight

thousand fighting men, independently of the twelve thousand

officers, which made in the whole an effective force of three

hundred thousand soldiers; and all these men were prepared,

disciplined, and ready at a call, without the smallest expense to

the state or the king. These were, properly speaking, the militia

of the Israelitish kingdom. See Calmet.

Verse 2. First course for the first month] Instead of mentioning

first, second, third, &c., month, the Targum names them thus:

First month, Nisan; second, Aiyar; third, Sivan; fourth, Tammuz;

fifth, Ab; sixth, Elul; seventh, Tishri; eighth, Marchesvan;

ninth, Cisleu; tenth, Tebeth; eleventh, Shebat; twelfth, Adar. No

mention is made of a veadar or intercalary month.

Verse 5. Benaiah the son of Jehoiada, a chief priest] Why should

not this clause be read as it is in the Hebrew? "Benaiah, the son

of Jehoiada the priest, a captain; and in his course," &c. Or, as

the Targum has it, "The third captain of the host for the month

Sivan was Benaiah, the son of Jehoiada the priest, who was

constituted a chief." He is distinguished from Benaiah, the

Pirathonite, who was over the eleventh month. Some think that the

original word haccohen, which generally signifies priest,

should be translated here a principal officer; so the margin has

it. But, in the Old Testament, cohen signifies both prince

and priest; and translating it by the former removes the

difficulty from this place, for we well know that Benaiah never

was a priest.

Verse 7. Asahel the brother of Joab] This verse proves that the

division and arrangement mentioned above were made before David

was acknowledged king in Hebron; for Asahel, the brother of Joab,

who was fourth captain, was slain by Abner, while Ishbosheth

reigned over Israel at Mahanaim, 2Sa 2:19-23.

Verse 16. Over the tribes of Israel] In this enumeration there

is no mention of the tribes of Asher and Gad. Probably the account

of these has been lost from this register. These rulers appear to

have been all honorary men, without pay, like the lords

lieutenants of our counties.

Verse 24. Neither was the number put in the account] Joab did

not return the whole number; probably the plague began before he

had finished: or, he did not choose to give it in, as he had

entered on this work with extreme reluctance; and he did not

choose to tell the king how numerous they were.

Verse 25. - 31. Over the king's treasures] We see from these

verses in what the personal property of David consisted:-1.

Treasures, gold, silver, &c. 2. Goods and grain in castles, cities

villages, and in the fields. 3. Vineyards and their produce. 4.

Olive-trees and their produce. 6. Neat cattle, in different

districts. 6. Camels and asses: they had no horses. 7. Flocks,

sheep, goats, &c.

Verse 26. See Clarke on 1Ch 27:25.

Verse 27. See Clarke on 1Ch 27:25.

Verse 28. See Clarke on 1Ch 27:25.

Verse 29. See Clarke on 1Ch 27:25.

Verse 30. See Clarke on 1Ch 27:25.

Verse 31. See Clarke on 1Ch 27:25.

Verse 34. And after Ahithophel] The Targum is curious: "When

they went to war, they asked counsel of Ahithophel; and, after the

counsel of Ahithophel, they inquired by Urim and Thummim of

Jehoiada, the son of Benaiah, prince of the Sanhedrin, and chief

of the priesthood; and from Abiathar, the high priest. And after

they had inquired by Urim and Thummim, they went out to battle,

well armed with bows and slings; and Joab, the general of the

king's troops, led them on." It is worthy of remark, that Obil, an

Ishmaelite or Arab, was put over the camels, which is a creature

of Arabia; and that Jaziz, a Hagarene, (the Hagarenes were

shepherds by profession,) was put over the flocks: nothing went by

favour; each was appointed to the office for which he was best

qualified; and thus men of worth were encouraged, and the public

service effectually promoted.

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