Now the children of Israel after their number, to wit, the chief fathers and captains of thousands and hundreds, and their officers that served the king in any matter of the courses, which came in and went out month by month throughout all the months of the year, of every course were twenty and four thousand.
the chief fathers
The patriarchs, chief generals, or generals of brigade. This enumeration is widely different from that of the preceding. In that, we have the order and course of the priests and Levites, in their ecclesiastical ministrations: in this, we have the account of the order of the civil service, what related simply to the political state of the king and kingdom. Twenty-four persons, chosen out of David's worthies, each of whom had a second, were placed over 24,000 men, who all served a month at a time, in turn; 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 24,000, 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, bring into the field 12 times 24,000 or 288,000 fighting men, independently of the 12,000 officers, which made in the whole an effective force of 300,000 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.
Over the first course for the first month was Jashobeam the son of Zabdiel: and in his course were twenty and four thousand.
Adino the Eznite
Of the children of Perez was the chief of all the captains of the host for the first month.
And over the course of the second month was Dodai an Ahohite, and of his course was Mikloth also the ruler: in his course likewise were twenty and four thousand.
The third captain of the host for the third month was Benaiah the son of Jehoiada, a chief priest: and in his course were twenty and four thousand.
Or, "Benaiah, the son of Jehoiada the chief priest:" it was Jehoiada, and not Benaiah, who was a priest.
or, principal officer.
This is that Benaiah, who was mighty among the thirty, and above the thirty: and in his course was Ammizabad his son.
The fourth captain for the fourth month was Asahel the brother of Joab, and Zebadiah his son after him: and in his course were twenty and four thousand.
The fifth captain for the fifth month was Shamhuth the Izrahite: and in his course were twenty and four thousand.
If this person was the same as Shammoth the Hararite, or Shammah the Harodite, it is probable that he took the denomination Izrahite, from one of his progenitors of the name Izrah, and derived the other from the place of his residence.
Shammoth the Hararite
Shammah the Harodite
The sixth captain for the sixth month was Ira the son of Ikkesh the Tekoite: and in his course were twenty and four thousand.
The seventh captain for the seventh month was Helez the Pelonite, of the children of Ephraim: and in his course were twenty and four thousand.
The eighth captain for the eighth month was Sibbecai the Hushathite, of the Zarhites: and in his course were twenty and four thousand.
The ninth captain for the ninth month was Abiezer the Anetothite, of the Benjamites: and in his course were twenty and four thousand.
The tenth captain for the tenth month was Maharai the Netophathite, of the Zarhites: and in his course were twenty and four thousand.
The eleventh captain for the eleventh month was Benaiah the Pirathonite, of the children of Ephraim: and in his course were twenty and four thousand.
The twelfth captain for the twelfth month was Heldai the Netophathite, of Othniel: and in his course were twenty and four thousand.
Furthermore over the tribes of Israel: the ruler of the Reubenites was Eliezer the son of Zichri: of the Simeonites, Shephatiah the son of Maachah:
These persons, called "princes of the tribes," in ver. 22, and ch. 28:1, appear to have been civil rulers over their several tribes, and honorary men, without pay, not unlike the lords lieutenants of our counties. In this enumeration there is no mention of the tribes of Gad and Asher, probably because they were joined to the neighbouring tribes; or perhaps, the account of these has been lost from the register.
Of the Levites, Hashabiah the son of Kemuel: of the Aaronites, Zadok:
of the Aaronites
Of Judah, Elihu, one of the brethren of David: of Issachar, Omri the son of Michael:
If Elihu be not a mistake for Eliab, it is probable that he was called by both names.
Of the half tribe of Manasseh in Gilead, Iddo the son of Zechariah: of Benjamin, Jaasiel the son of Abner:
But David took not the number of them from twenty years old and under: because the LORD had said he would increase Israel like to the stars of the heavens.
David took not
It seems probable, from this passage, that Joab began, by David's order, to number the children, as well as adults, but was prevented from finishing the account, probably because the plague had begun. The numbering of the effective men might have been deemed a political expedient; but pride and ostentation alone could dictate the numbering of minors and infants, especially as God had pronounced the seed of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, innumerable.
he would increase
Joab the son of Zeruiah began to number, but he finished not, because there fell wrath for it against Israel; neither was the number put in the account of the chronicles of king David.
began to number
was the number put
Heb. ascended the number.
And over the king's treasures was Azmaveth the son of Adiel: and over the storehouses in the fields, in the cities, and in the villages, and in the castles, was Jehonathan the son of Uzziah:
And over the vineyards was Shimei the Ramathite: over the increase of the vineyards for the wine cellars was Zabdi the Shiphmite:
the increase of the vineyards
Heb. that which was of the vineyards.
And over the olive trees and the sycomore trees that were in the low plains was Baalhanan the Gederite: and over the cellars of oil was Joash:
the sycamore trees
The Hebrew shikmin, Syriac shekmo, and Arabic jummeez, is the [sykomoros] or sycomore, of the Greeks, so called from [sykos] a fig-tree, and [moros] a mulberry- tree, because it resembles the latter in its leaves, and the former in its fruits. "The sycamore," says Mr. Norden, "is of the height of a beech, and bears its fruit in a manner quite different from other trees: it has them on the trunk itself, which shoots out little sprigs, in form of grape stalks, at the end of which grow the fruit close to one another, almost like a cluster of grapes. The tree is always green, and bears fruit several times in the year, without observing any certain seasons; for I have seen some sycamores that have given fruit two months after others. The fruit has the figure and smell of real figs, but is inferior to them in the taste, having a disgusting sweetness. Its colour is a yellow, inclining to an ochre, shadowed by a flesh colour. In the inside it resembles the common figs, excepting that it has a blackish colouring with yellow spots. This sort of tree is pretty common in Egypt; the people, for the greater part, live on its fruit, and think themselves well regaled when they have a piece of bread, a couple of sycamore figs, and a pitcher of water."
And over the herds that fed in Sharon was Shitrai the Sharonite: and over the herds that were in the valleys was Shaphat the son of Adlai:
Over the camels also was Obil the Ishmaelite: and over the asses was Jehdeiah the Meronothite:
Also Jonathan David's uncle was a counsellor, a wise man, and a scribe: and Jehiel the son of Hachmoni was with the king's sons:
son of Hachmoni
And Ahithophel was the king's counsellor: and Hushai the Archite was the king's companion:
And after Ahithophel was Jehoiada the son of Benaiah, and Abiathar: and the general of the king's army was Joab.