Now these are they that came to David to Ziklag, while he yet kept himself close because of Saul the son of Kish: and they were among the mighty men, helpers of the war.
while he yet, etc
Heb. being yet shut up. Sometimes, in the East, when a successful prince endeavoured to extirpate the preceding royal family, some of them escaped the slaughter, and secured themselves in an impregnable fortress, or in a place of great secrecy; while others have been known to seek an asylum in a foreign county, from when they have occasioned, from time to time, great anxiety and great difficulties to the usurper of the crown. The expression shut up, so often applied to the extermination of eastern royal families. (De 32:32. 1 Ki 14:10; 21:21. 2 Ki 9:8; 14:26,) strictly speaking, refers to the two first of these cases; but the term may be used in a more extensive sense, for those who, by retiring into deserts, or foreign countries, preserve themselves from being slain by the men who usurp the dominions of their ancestors. Thus the term is here applied to David, though he did not shut himself up, strictly speaking, in Ziklag. It is described as a town in the country, and was probably an unwalled town; and it is certain that he did not confine himself to it, but, on the contrary, was continually making excursions from thence.
They were armed with bows, and could use both the right hand and the left in hurling stones and shooting arrows out of a bow, even of Saul's brethren of Benjamin.
The chief was Ahiezer, then Joash, the sons of Shemaah the Gibeathite; and Jeziel, and Pelet, the sons of Azmaveth; and Berachah, and Jehu the Antothite,
or, Hasmaah. Gibeathite.
And Ismaiah the Gibeonite, a mighty man among the thirty, and over the thirty; and Jeremiah, and Jahaziel, and Johanan, and Josabad the Gederathite,
a mighty man
And Joelah, and Zebadiah, the sons of Jeroham of Gedor.
And of the Gadites there separated themselves unto David into the hold to the wilderness men of might, and men of war fit for the battle, that could handle shield and buckler, whose faces were like the faces of lions, and were as swift as the roes upon the mountains;
into the hold
Heb. of the host. handle.
as swift as the roes upon the mountains
Heb. as the roes upon the mountains to make haste.
These were of the sons of Gad, captains of the host: one of the least was over an hundred, and the greatest over a thousand.
one of the least was over an hundred, and the greatest over a thousand
or, one that was least could resist an hundred, the greatest a thousand.
These are they that went over Jordan in the 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.
it had overflown
Heb. it had filled over.
And there came of the children of Benjamin and Judah to the hold unto David.
And David went out to meet them, and answered and said unto them, If ye be come peaceably unto me to help me, mine heart shall be knit unto you: but if ye be come to betray me to mine enemies, seeing there is no wrong in mine hands, the God of our fathers look thereon, and rebuke it.
to meet them
Heb. before them. If ye be come.
or, violence. God.
Then the spirit came upon Amasai, who was chief of the captains, and he said, Thine are we, David, and on thy side, thou son of Jesse: peace, peace be unto thee, and peace be to thine helpers; for thy God helpeth thee. Then David received them, and made them captains of the band.
came upon Amasai
Heb. clothed Amasai.
Thine are we.
and on they side
captains of the band
And there fell some of Manasseh to David, when he came with the Philistines against Saul to battle: but they helped them not: for the lords of the Philistines upon advisement sent him away, saying, He will fall to his master Saul to the jeopardy of our heads.
when he came
to the jeopardy of our heads
Heb. on our heads.
As he went to Ziklag, there fell to him of Manasseh, Adnah, and Jozabad, and Jediael, and Michael, and Jozabad, and Elihu, and Zilthai, captains of the thousands that were of Manasseh.
As he went
These captains of Manasseh seem to have met David as he was returning from the army of the Philistines to Ziklag. It is probable that they did not bring their companies with them; yet they both assured him of future assistance, and very seasonably helped him against the Amalekites who had spoiled Ziklag.
And they helped David against the band of the rovers: for they were all mighty men of valour, and were captains in the host.
against the band
or, with a band.
For at that time day by day there came to David to help him, until it was a great host, like the host of God.
day by day
like the host of God
That is, says the Targumist, a very numerous army, like the army of the angel of God.
And these are the numbers of the bands that were ready armed to the war, and came to David to Hebron, to turn the kingdom of Saul to him, according to the word of the LORD.
A. M. 2956. B.C. 1048. An. Ex. Is. 433. the numbers
or, captains, or men. Heb. heads. came to David. Some learned men understand this as relating to the time when David was make king over Judah, on his first coming to Hebron: but it seems wholly to refer to his being made king over all Israel, after the death of Ishbosheth; for there was no such union or assembly of the several tribes on the former occasion, as is here described.
The children of Judah that bare shield and spear were six thousand and eight hundred, ready armed to the war.
And Jehoiada was the leader of the Aaronites, and with him were three thousand and seven hundred;
And Zadok, a young man mighty of valour, and of his father's house twenty and two captains.
And of the children of Benjamin, the kindred of Saul, three thousand: for hitherto the greatest part of them had kept the ward of the house of Saul.
the greatest part of them
Heb. a multitude of them.
And of the children of Ephraim twenty thousand and eight hundred, mighty men of valour, famous throughout the house of their fathers.
Heb. men of names.
And of the half tribe of Manasseh eighteen thousand, which were expressed by name, to come and make David king.
the half tribe
And of the children of Issachar, which were men that had understanding of the times, to know what Israel ought to do; the heads of them were two hundred; and all their brethren were at their commandment.
understanding of the times
That is, as the following words indicate, intelligent men, who understood the signs of the times, well versed in political affairs, and knew what was proper to be done in all the exigencies of human life; and who now perceived that it was both the duty and political interest of Israel to advance David to the throne.
Of Zebulun, such as went forth to battle, expert in war, with all instruments of war, fifty thousand, which could keep rank: they were not of double heart.
expert in war
or, rangers of battle, or ranged in battle. keep rank. or, set the battle in array. they were not of double heart. Heb. they were without a heart and a heart. That is, they were all sincerely affected towards David, though so numerous.
And of Asher, such as went forth to battle, expert in war, forty thousand.
expert in war
or, keeping their rank.
And on the other side of Jordan, of the Reubenites, and the Gadites, and of the half tribe of Manasseh, with all manner of instruments of war for the battle, an hundred and twenty thousand.
the other side
All these men of war, that could keep rank, came with a perfect heart to Hebron, to make David king over all Israel: and all the rest also of Israel were of one heart to make David king.
with a perfect heart
The meaning of this expression may be inferred from that of a double heart in ver. 33. If a double heart be expressive of insincerity or duplicity, a perfect heart, which seems to be put in opposition to it, must signify a sincere, faithful, and entire attachment.
all the rest
And there they were with David three days, eating and drinking: for their brethren had prepared for them.
eating and drinking
Moreover they that were nigh them, even unto Issachar and Zebulun and Naphtali, brought bread on asses, and on camels, and on mules, and on oxen, and meat, meal, cakes of figs, and bunches of raisins, and wine, and oil, and oxen, and sheep abundantly: for there was joy in Israel.
The Septuagint reads [ ] "brought (to) them" which is probably correct; the Hebrew lahem, "to them" might be easily mistaken for lechem, "bread." The passage will then read, "bought them on asses, on camels, and on mules, and on oxen, meat, meal, cakes of figs," etc., which renders the introduction of and unnecessary. From the mention of oil, figs, and raisins, Mr. Harmer thinks that this assembly was held in autumn.
or, victual of meal. cakes of figs.