Commentary Critical and Explanatory
on the Whole Bible
1-7. Now these are they that came to David to Ziklag--There are three
lists given in this chapter, arranged, apparently, according to the
order of time when the parties joined the standard of David.
while he yet kept himself close because of Saul--that is, when the
king's jealousy had driven him into exile from the court and the
It was during his retirement in that Philistine town that he was joined
in rapid succession by the heroes who afterwards contributed so much to
the glory of his reign.
2. of Saul's brethren of Benjamin--that is, of the tribe of Benjamin
but some of them might be relatives of the king. This movement to which
the parties were led, doubtless by the secret impulse of the Spirit,
was of vast importance to the cause of David, as it must have been
founded on their observation of the evident withdrawal of God's
blessing from Saul, and His favoring presence with David, to whom it
was universally known the Divine King of Israel had given the crown in
reversion. The accession of the Benjamites who came first and their
resolution to share his fortunes must have been particularly grateful
to David. It was a public and emphatic testimony by those who had
enjoyed the best means of information to the unblemished excellence of
his character, as well as a decided protest against the grievous wrong
inflicted by causelessly outlawing a man who had rendered such eminent
services to his country.
4. Ismaiah the Gibeonite--It appears that not only the Canaanites
who were admitted into the congregation
but people of the tribe of Benjamin, were among the inhabitants of
Gibeon. The mention of "the Gederathite," probably from Gederah
in the lowlands of Judah; of the Korhites
and of Gedor
a town in Judah, to the southwest of Beth-lehem (compare
shows that this first list contains men of Judah as well as Benjamin
8-13. of the Gadites there separated themselves unto David--that is,
from the service of Saul and from the rest of the Gadites who remained
steadfast adherents of his cause.
into the hold--or fortress, that is, of Ziklag, which was in the
wilderness of Judah.
whose faces were like the faces of lions, &c.--A fierce, lion-like
and great agility in pursuit
were qualities of the highest estimation in ancient warfare.
14. one of the least was over an hundred, and the greatest over a
thousand--David, while at Ziklag, had not so large an amount of forces
as to give to each of these the command of so many men. Another
meaning, therefore, must obviously be sought, and excluding was, which
is a supplement by our translators, the import of the passage is, that
one of the least could discomfit a hundred, and the greatest was worth
a thousand ordinary men; a strong hyperbole to express their uncommon
15. These are they that went over Jordan in the first month--that is,
in spring, when the swollen river generally fills up the banks of its
channel (see on
they put to flight all them of the valleys--This was probably done at
the time of their separating themselves and their purpose being
discovered, they had to cut their passage through the opposing
adherents of Saul, both on the eastern and western banks. The
impossibility of taking the fords at such a time, and the violent
rapidity of the current, make this crossing of the Jordan--in whatever
way these Gadites accomplished it--a remarkable feat.
16. the children of Benjamin and Judah--It is probable that the
Benjamites invited the Judahites to accompany them, in order to prevent
David being suspicious of them. Their anticipations, as the result
showed, were well founded. He did suspect them, but the doubts of David
as to their object in repairing to him, were promptly dispelled by
Amasai or Amasa, who, by the secret impulse of the Spirit, assured him
of their strong attachment and their zealous service from a unanimous
conviction that his cause was owned and blessed of God
19-22. there fell some of Manasseh--The period of their accession is
fixed as the time when David came with the Philistines against Saul to
but they helped them
20. As he went to Ziklag--If those Manassites joined him on his return
to Ziklag, after his dismissal from the Philistine army, then their
arrival took place before the battle of Gilboa could have been fought
Convinced of the desperate state of Saul's affairs, they abandoned him,
and resolved to transfer their allegiance to David. But some learned
men think that they came as fugitives from that disastrous field
[CALMET and EWALD].
captains of the thousands . . . of Manasseh--Those seven were
commanders of the large military divisions of their tribe.
21, 22. they helped David against the band--that is, the Amalekites
who had pillaged Ziklag in David's absence. This military expedition
was made by all his men
who, as David's early helpers, are specially distinguished from those
who are mentioned in the latter portion of the chapter.
22. the host of God--that is, a great and powerful army.
23. these are the numbers of the bands . . . that came to David to
Hebron--after the death of Ish-bosheth
to turn the kingdom of Saul to him, according to the word of the
(1Ch 10:14; 11:3, 10).
The account commences with the southern tribes, Levi being associated
with Judah and Simeon, as the great majority of the leading men in this
tribe resided in Judah; and, after recounting the representatives of
the northern tribes, it concludes with those on the east of Jordan.
27. Jehoiada, the leader of the Aaronites--not the high priest, for
that was Abiathar
but the leader of the Aaronite warriors, supposed to be the father of
29. Benjamin . . . three thousand--This small number shows the
unpopularity of the movement in this tribe; and, indeed, it is expressly
stated that the mass of the population had, even after Ish-bosheth's
death, anxiously endeavored to secure the crown in the family of Saul.
32. children of Issachar, . . . that had understanding of the
times, &c.--Jewish writers say that the people of this tribe were
eminent for their acquirements in astronomical and physical science; and
the object of the remark was probably to show that the intelligent and
learned classes were united with the military, and had declared for
33. Zebulun . . . could keep rank--that is, were more disciplined
soldiers than the rest.
not of double heart--Though their numbers were large, all were in a
high degree well affected to David.
38. all the rest also of Israel were of one heart to make David
king--that is, entertained a unanimous desire for his elevation.
39, 40. there they were with David three days, eating and
drinking--According to the statements made in the preceding verses,
the number of armed warriors assembled in Hebron on this occasion
amounted to three hundred thousand. Supplies of provisions were
abundantly furnished, not only by the people of the neighborhood, but
from distant parts of the country, for all wished the festivities to be
on a scale of liberality and magnificence suitable to the auspicious