This chapter gives an account of those that came to David at different times, and joined and assisted him both before the death of Saul, and when persecuted by him, and after he was made king of Judah in Hebron, and before he was king of all Israel, in order to it; of the Benjaminites that came to him when at Ziklag, #1Ch 12:1-7 of the Gadites that came to him when in the hold, #1Ch 12:8-15 of some of Judah and Benjamin, who came to him in the same place, #1Ch 12:16-18, and of the Manassites at the time he came with the Philistines against Saul, #1Ch 12:19-22 and the number of the several tribes are given, that came to him at Hebron to make him king over all Israel, #1Ch 12:23-40. (Gill)
V. 2, a point is made to mention that even some of Saul's brethren united with David.
V. 15, they swam the flooded river Jordan to get to David.
It will cost us to serve the Son of David, like one swimming up stream against the social currents.
V. 17, David questions them about where their loyalty was going to be.
We are either on the Lord's side, or we are not.
The only time we will be able to serve Him is in the here and now.
He placed any chance of false brethren in the hands of the Lord the God of our fathers look thereon, and rebuke. We cannot see the hearts of others; all we can do is take what precautions humanly possible, and then put our protection in His hands.
V. 20, Ziklag where some of Manasseh joined him to help recover what the spoilers took. See notes in chapter 10.
V. 22, a great many strong, mighty and courageous men joined with David. Not only had David shown himself a man worthy of being followed, but God moved in their hearts to unite with him.
I would have a problem following someone who lied as did David to Achish, so he could hide from Saul. However, I do not know what I would have done in a similar situation. I suppose a good example would be joining with the ungodly "powers that be" today, telling then whatever they want to hear, and then working to protect the godly from the evil efforts of those "powers".
V. 23, the goal of these men was to turn the kingdom of Saul to David, according to the word of the Lord.
V. 29, amidst the accounting of the many who united with David, we are told of some from within even the ward of the house of Saul who united with David. God sent men to David from the very heart of the enemy, though David did not consider Saul an enemy.
Not near as many as from other tribes came to David from Benjamin, Saul's tribe, maybe because of their 1) affection for their own tribe, 2) jealousy for the honour it had for producing King Saul, or maybe 3) a hope of having the house of Saul, and of Benjamin, exalted again.
What reason keeps us from humbling ourselves, and joining with the house of David?
V. 32, Issacar had only 200 men, but they were wise men:
Ver. 32. Understanding of the times; either,
1. Skill in the stars, and several seasons and changes of the air; which might be of good use in husbandry, to which this tribe was addicted #Ge 49:14 De 33:18. Or rather,
2. Political prudence to discern and embrace the fit seasons for all actions; as appears,
1. From the following words,
to know what, not only their own tribe, but all Israel ought to do.
2. By the great authority and command which they had over all their brethren upon this account, as it here follows.
3. Because this is so considerable a circumstance in all human, and especially in public, affairs, that the success or disappointment of them depends very much upon the right or wrong timing of them, and therefore this is a very fit expression to signify their great prudence. And particularly they showed this point of their wisdom at this time; for as they had adhered to Saul whilst he lived, as knowing the time was not yet come for David to take possession of the kingdom; and as they could not join themselves to David whilst Abner lived, and was potent, and had the command of the other tribes, wherewith they were encompassed; so as soon as he was dead, and they had opportunity to declare themselves, they owned David for their king.
4. By the like use of this phrase, #Es 1:13. (Pool)
V. 33, Of Zebulun. 50,000 was a large number; however, they were well disciplined experts in war (could keep rank in the time of battle), and they were all united in supporting David (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. (TSK, Online Bible)
V. 36, it is also mentioned that those of Asher who came to David were expert in war.
V. 38, there was now a total of 322,222 with David. (Geneva)
It is said of most of these that they were mighty men of valour (#1Ch 12:25,28,30), of others that they were expert in war (#1Ch 12:35,36), and of them all that they could keep rank, #1Ch 12:38. They had a great deal of martial fire, and yet were governable and subject to the rules of orderwarm hearts but cool heads. (MH)
Three types of men: 1) men of valour, 2) experts in war, and 3) all could keep rank. Some were experts with the bow, some with the spear and some with the sling, but they all were disciplined men of war who were united for one cause to make David king.
The application here is easily seen: There are all kinds of people, talents and abilities in the kingdom of God. We are not to covet the gifts and abilities of others, but do the best we can with what God has given us. Though there are innumerable (the number of the stars or the sand of the sea) numbers who claim the name of Christ, we are each one to develop our ability for the warfare we are involved in. The goal of our warfare is to make Jesus king in the hearts of men. And as king of individuals, He will be king of their societies and nations as they work out the implications of that kingship.
All classes of people, intellectuals (v. 32) and warriors, joined together as of one heart to make David king. There was no jealousy nor rivalry as each person did what he could do to establish David's kingdom.
Vv. 39, 40, there was great rejoicing, though not for David being king, for he was not yet in that place. So the rejoicing was for being of one mind, having the common goal.
The food problem would have been quite large, feeding 322,222 men of war for a three day feast, not counting those who might be hanging around the camp.
For there was joy in Israel. The joy freed up the purse strings, for the food was not free. Many people had to make joyful offerings of the food.