1 Chronicles 11


Barnes, in his commentary, gives us a useful summary of this chapter.

‘This chapter runs parallel with 2 Samuel 5:1-10 as far as 1 Chronicles 11:9, after which it is to be compared with 2 Samuel 23:8-39 as far as 1 Chronicles 11:40, the remainder 1 Chronicles 11:41-47 being an addition, to which Samuel has nothing corresponding.’

David Becomes King Over Israel

‘All Israel came together to David at Hebron and said, “We are your own flesh and blood. In the past, even while Saul was king, you were the one who led Israel on their military campaigns. And the LORD your God said to you, ‘You will shepherd my people Israel, and you will become their ruler.’” When all the elders of Israel had come to King David at Hebron, he made a covenant with them at Hebron before the LORD, and they anointed David king over Israel, as the LORD had promised through Samuel.’ 1 Chronicles 11:1-3

This chapter deals with the early days of David, but a full account is found in 2 Samuel 5:1-10. Anyone who wants to rule, must have the people behind them and so, after Saul had died, 1 Chronicles 10:1-7, David gains the loyalty from Israel, after they declare that they are his flesh and blood.

David proceeds to make a covenant with the elders of Israel at Hebron to demonstrate that he would rule according to God’s ways, which was prophesied by Samuel, 1 Samuel 13:14 / 1 Samuel 16:11-13.

After being anointed, he now becomes their king. This was now the third time David had been anointed as king. Samuel anointed him as king when David was very young, 1 Samuel 16:1-13, and the tribe of Judah anointed him as king the second time when Saul died, 2 Samuel 2:4.

David Conquers Jerusalem

‘David and all the Israelites marched to Jerusalem (that is, Jebus). The Jebusites who lived there said to David, “You will not get in here.” Nevertheless, David captured the fortress of Zion—which is the City of David. David had said, “Whoever leads the attack on the Jebusites will become commander-in-chief.” Joab son of Zeruiah went up first, and so he received the command. David then took up residence in the fortress, and so it was called the City of David. He built up the city around it, from the terraces to the surrounding wall, while Joab restored the rest of the city. And David became more and more powerful, because the LORD Almighty was with him.’ 1 Chronicles 11:4-9

In an effort to unite the surrounding nations, David and the Israelites march to Jebus, that is, Jerusalem, 2 Samuel 5:6-10. The Jebusites were a Canaanite people, Genesis 10:15-16, and they occupied Jebus since the Israelites had entered Palestine over 400 years before, Joshua 15:8 / Joshua 15:63 / Judges 1:21.

The king of this city who was Araunah, 2 Samuel 24:18, and since the city was on the border between the land allotted to Judah and Benjamin, neither tribe took the city from the Jebusites, Judges 1:8 / Judges 1:21.

David eventually took the city, but the Jebusites remained in the area until the days of Solomon, who eventually subjected the Jebusites to forced labour, 1 Kings 9:20-21.

Joab, the son of Zeruiah was already the captain of David’s armies, however, David said that whoever leads the attack against the Jebusites would become commander-in-chief. It appears that Joab wanted didn’t want to lose his position to anyone else and so, leads the charge, enters Jerusalem and holds his position.

Jerusalem became the capital city of David’s kingdom and he went on and became great. The reason he became grate was simply because god was with him.

David’s Mighty Warriors

‘These were the chiefs of David’s mighty warriors—they, together with all Israel, gave his kingship strong support to extend it over the whole land, as the LORD had promised—this is the list of David’s mighty warriors: Jashobeam, a Hakmonite, was chief of the officers; he raised his spear against three hundred men, whom he killed in one encounter. Next to him was Eleazar son of Dodai the Ahohite, one of the three mighty warriors. He was with David at Pas Dammim when the Philistines gathered there for battle. At a place where there was a field full of barley, the troops fled from the Philistines. But they took their stand in the middle of the field. They defended it and struck the Philistines down, and the LORD brought about a great victory. Three of the thirty chiefs came down to David to the rock at the cave of Adullam, while a band of Philistines was encamped in the Valley of Rephaim. At that time David was in the stronghold, and the Philistine garrison was at Bethlehem. David longed for water and said, “Oh, that someone would get me a drink of water from the well near the gate of Bethlehem!” So the Three broke through the Philistine lines, drew water from the well near the gate of Bethlehem and carried it back to David. But he refused to drink it; instead, he poured it out to the LORD. “God forbid that I should do this!” he said. “Should I drink the blood of these men who went at the risk of their lives?” Because they risked their lives to bring it back, David would not drink it. Such were the exploits of the three mighty warriors. Abishai the brother of Joab was chief of the Three. He raised his spear against three hundred men, whom he killed, and so he became as famous as the Three. He was doubly honoured above the Three and became their commander, even though he was not included among them. Benaiah son of Jehoiada, a valiant fighter from Kabzeel, performed great exploits. He struck down Moab’s two mightiest warriors. He also went down into a pit on a snowy day and killed a lion. And he struck down an Egyptian who was five cubits tall. Although the Egyptian had a spear like a weaver’s rod in his hand, Benaiah went against him with a club. He snatched the spear from the Egyptian’s hand and killed him with his own spear. Such were the exploits of Benaiah son of Jehoiada; he too was as famous as the three mighty warriors. He was held in greater honour than any of the Thirty, but he was not included among the Three. And David put him in charge of his bodyguard. The mighty warriors were: Asahel the brother of Joab, Elhanan son of Dodo from Bethlehem, Shammoth the Harorite, Helez the Pelonite, Ira son of Ikkesh from Tekoa, Abiezer from Anathoth, Sibbekai the Hushathite, Ilai the Ahohite, Maharai the Netophathite, Heled son of Baanah the Netophathite, Ithai son of Ribai from Gibeah in Benjamin, Benaiah the Pirathonite, Hurai from the ravines of Gaash, Abiel the Arbathite, Azmaveth the Baharumite, Eliahba the Shaalbonite, the sons of Hashem the Gizonite, Jonathan son of Shagee the Hararite, Ahiam son of Sakar the Hararite, Eliphal son of Ur, Hepher the Mekerathite, Ahijah the Pelonite, Hezro the Carmelite, Naarai son of Ezbai, Joel the brother of Nathan, Mibhar son of Hagri, Zelek the Ammonite, Naharai the Berothite, the armor-bearer of Joab son of Zeruiah, Ira the Ithrite, Gareb the Ithrite, Uriah the Hittite, Zabad son of Ahlai, Adina son of Shiza the Reubenite, who was chief of the Reubenites, and the thirty with him, Hanan son of Maakah, Joshaphat the Mithnite, Uzzia the Ashterathite, Shama and Jeiel the sons of Hotham the Aroerite, Jediael son of Shimri, his brother Joha the Tizite, Eliel the Mahavite, Jeribai and Joshaviah the sons of Elnaam, Ithmah the Moabite, Eliel, Obed and Jaasiel the Mezobaite.’ 1 Chronicles 11:10-47

Because David successfully united the nations around him, this encouraged many men who were very capable of fighting to join his army. The parallel passages are found in 2 Samuel 23:8-39.

These mighty warriors united themselves with David while Saul was still reigning and they influenced the lives of the people when David eventually ascended to the throne in Jerusalem.

Barnes, in his commentary, says the following concerning the chief of the captains, 2 Samuel 23:8.

‘Jashobeam was the commander of the first monthly course of 24,090 soldiers, 1 Chronicles 27:2. He is probably the warrior of the name who joined David at Ziklag, 1 Chronicles 12:6.’

Eleazar the son of Dodo, the Ahohite, was a man who was with David when they taunted the Philistines. Even though the Israelites retreated, Eleazar stood his ground and struck down the Philistines till his hand grew tired and froze to the sword, 2 Samuel 23:10.

David earlier, spent time in the cave of Adullam with some of his men, whilst hiding from Saul, 1 Samuel 22:1-2. Here, in Chronicles, the verses appear to describe an event which happened just before or just after the battle against the Philistines when David went back to that cave.

Barnes, in his commentary, says the following.

‘The list of names here given in 1 Chronicles 11:26-32, corresponds generally with that in 2 Samuel 23:24-39, but presents several remarkable differences.’

1. The number in Chronicles is 47, the number in Samuel is 31.

2. Four names in the list of Chronicles are not in Samuel.

3. Five names in Samuel are not in Chronicles.

4. Many of the other names, both personal and local, vary in the two lists.

‘It is quite possible that the two lists varied to some extent originally. The writer of Chronicles distinctly states that he gives the list as it stood at the time of David’s becoming king over all Israel, 1 Chronicles 11:10. The writer of Samuel does not assign his list to any definite period of David’s reign, but probably delivers it to us as it was constituted at a later date. It is quite possible therefore that the names which occur only in Chronicles are those of persons who had died or quitted the army before the other list was made out, and that the new names in Samuel are the names of those who had taken their places, 2 Samuel 23:39.’

Notice when the men brought David water from a well, he refused to drink it. His men had risked their lives to bring David a drink of water from the well but he refused to drink it because he wanted to identify with them.

Abishai, the brother of Joab becomes a national hero for killing three hundred men with his spear. As we can imagine, this is only going to encourage the rest of David’s men to be courageous as him. He truly was a good example to others, as he is mentioned elsewhere for being such, 1 Samuel 26:6-9 / 2 Samuel 3:30 / 2 Samuel 10:10-14.

Asahel, is also mentioned in 2 Samuel 2:18-23, sadly, he was killed in battle by Abner, who was the commander of Ish-Bosheth’s armies.

Uriah the Hittite was the husband of Bathsheba, whom David put on the front line, 2 Samuel 11:15-17, in an effort to covers his sin with Bathsheba.

Coffman, in his commentary, says the following.

‘The main list of David’s Mighty Men actually ends with Uriah the Hittite, 1 Chronicles 11:41a. There are thirty-one names, compared with exactly thirty in 2 Samuel 23:24-39. There are some variations in names and spelling. Beginning with 1 Chronicles 11:41b, sixteen other names are listed. These could have been others associated at one  time or another with the ‘thirty’, or the Chronicler may have added them to emphasize the representatives of trans-Jordan who aided the cause of David. There are many such questions which shall remain unanswered.’

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