1Chronicles 11:1 ¶ Then all Israel gathered themselves to David unto Hebron, saying, Behold, we are thy bone and thy flesh.
1Chronicles 11:2 And moreover in time past, even when Saul was king, thou wast he that leddest out and broughtest in Israel: and the LORD thy God said unto thee, Thou shalt feed my people Israel, and thou shalt be ruler over my people Israel.
1Chronicles 11:3 Therefore came all the elders of Israel to the king to Hebron; and David made a covenant with them in Hebron before the LORD; and they anointed David king over Israel, according to the word of the LORD by Samuel.
These verses are basically a repeat of 2Samuel 5:1-3.
After ruling for 7.5 years in Judah…
2 Samuel 2:11 “And the time that David was king in Hebron over the house of Judah was seven years and six months.”
…the leaders of the rest of the tribes of Israel came to David in Hebron to make him their king. They first presented themselves as brothers—all children of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. They noted that even when Saul was king, David had established himself as a great military leader. Interestingly, they then admitted that they knew that it was the LORD’s will for David to be their leader and protector. (So why had they not made him king after Saul’s death in the first place?)
Interesting note: The word for “feed” in verse two references tending a flock. David’s early days were spent as a shepherd for his father’s flocks. His days as the king of Israel would be spent as shepherd of his Heavenly Father’s flocks.
1Chronicles 11:4 And David and all Israel went to Jerusalem, which is Jebus; where the Jebusites were, the inhabitants of the land.
1Chronicles 11:5 And the inhabitants of Jebus said to David, Thou shalt not come hither. Nevertheless David took the castle of Zion, which is the city of David.
Guzik provides this note on Jerusalem: “To this point Jerusalem was a small Canaanite city in the center of Israel. Some 400 years after God commanded Israel to take the whole land, this city was still in Canaanite hands.”
Though we aren’t given any of David’s reasoning, he wanted to make Jerusalem his capital. The IVP Old Testament Commentary adds some insight: “The city is strategically located along an east-west road that runs from the fords of the Jordan near Jericho to the coastal highway. It is also by the most significant north-south road that runs through the hill country from Beersheba to Beth Shan. Its location is also strategic because of its position by the border between Judah and Benjamin. The deep valleys on the east and west of the ridge and the reliable water supply found at the Gihon spring combined to make the location defensible and desirable.”
To make Jerusalem his capital, David had to conquer the Jebusites that were living there. 2Samuel tells us that the Jebusites felt so secure behind their walls that they taunted David,. They declared that even the blind and lame of their city could prevent him from conquering their city.
JFB provides some insight regarding this taunt: “To understand the full meaning and force of this insulting taunt, it is necessary to bear in mind the depth and steepness of the valley of Gihon, and the lofty walls of the ancient Canaanitish fortress.”
2 Samuel 5:6 “And the king and his men went to Jerusalem unto the Jebusites, the inhabitants of the land: which spake unto David, saying, Except thou take away the blind and the lame, thou shalt not come in hither: thinking, David cannot come in hither.”
1Chronicles 11:6 And David said, Whosoever smiteth the Jebusites first shall be chief and captain. So Joab the son of Zeruiah went first up, and was chief.
David challenged his men. He declared that whoever was the first one to lead an attack on the Jebusites would become his top military commander. His nephew Joab, son of his sister Zeruiah, successfully answered that challenge. The NIV Commentary notes that he did this by: “…ascending a concealed watershaft from the Gihon spring so as to end up within the city walls.” This statement is supported by some of the other translations.
NRSV - 2 Samuel 5:8 “David had said on that day, ‘Whoever would strike down the Jebusites, let him get up the water shaft to attack the lame and the blind, those whom David hates.’”
NASB - 2 Samuel 5:8 “David said on that day, ‘Whoever would strike the Jebusites, let him reach the lame and the blind, who are hated by David’s soul, through the water tunnel.’”
ESV - 2 Samuel 5:8 “And David said on that day, ‘Whoever would strike the Jebusites, let him get up the water shaft to attack ‘the lame and the blind,’ who are hated by David’s soul.’”
CJB - 2 Samuel 5:8 “What David said on that day was, ‘In order to attack the Y’vusi, you have to climb up [from the spring outside the city] through the water tunnel.’”
1Chronicles 11:7 And David dwelt in the castle; therefore they called it the city of David.
1Chronicles 11:8 And he built the city round about, even from Millo round about: and Joab repaired the rest of the city.
1Chronicles 11:9 So David waxed greater and greater: for the LORD of hosts was with him.
David took up residence in the fort, and the area became known as the city of David. He then built the city all around the fort, starting at Millo (the supporting terraces to the surrounding wall); while Joab built up and repaired the rest of the city.
JFB provides this note from Calmet: “David built a new town to the north of the old one on Mount Zion; but Joab was charged with a commission to restore the part that had been occupied by the ancient Jebus, to repair the breaches made during the siege, to rebuild the houses which had been demolished or burned in the sacking of the town, and to preserve all that had escaped the violence of the soldiery. This work of reconstruction is not noticed elsewhere.”
David’s influence became stronger and stronger because the LORD of hosts, the armies of heaven, was with him.
The LORD is referenced this way at least 235 times in scripture. It is a comforting reminder to the believer that there are spiritual forces fighting on our behalf at the command of the LORD. This is pictured different times in the scriptures; e.g., when Elisha was surrounded by the enemy (2Kings 6) and when the angel was sent to Daniel with a message (Daniel 9).
1Chronicles 11:10 ¶ These also are the chief of the mighty men whom David had, who strengthened themselves with him in his kingdom, and with all Israel, to make him king, according to the word of the LORD concerning Israel.
At this point, the writer begins a section about David’s “mighty men,” those who had pushed for David to become king and held the highest positions in his court. Point is made again that these men knew that it was the LORD’s will for David to become king.
1Chronicles 11:11 And this is the number of the mighty men whom David had; Jashobeam, an Hachmonite, the chief of the captains: he lifted up his spear against three hundred slain by him at one time.
Chief among his mighty men was Jashobeam (called Adino in Samuel), an Hachmonite. Once he had killed 300 men with his spear in a single battle. It should be noted that there is a discrepancy in the number killed with the account in Samuel where it is stated that he killed 800.
2 Samuel 23:8 “These be the names of the mighty men whom David had: The Tachmonite that sat in the seat, chief among the captains; the same was Adino the Eznite: he lift up his spear against eight hundred, whom he slew at one time.”
This is bound to be a copy error—either number would be a tremendous feat. Some commentators note that the number in Samuel is probably correct.
1Chronicles 11:12 And after him was Eleazar the son of Dodo, the Ahohite, who was one of the three mighties.
1Chronicles 11:13 He was with David at Pasdammim, and there the Philistines were gathered together to battle, where was a parcel of ground full of barley; and the people fled from before the Philistines.
1Chronicles 11:14 And they set themselves in the midst of that parcel, and delivered it, and slew the Philistines; and the LORD saved them by a great deliverance.
Second in command was Eleazar, son of Dodo, the Ahohite; he was one of the top three of the mighty men. He once fought with David to protect a field full of barley from being confiscated by the Philistines; the people had fled in fear. It is emphasized that the LORD gave them the victory. The record in Samuel adds the following.
2 Samuel 23:9–10 “And after him was Eleazar the son of Dodo the Ahohite, one of the three mighty men with David, when they defied the Philistines that were there gathered together to battle, and the men of Israel were gone away: He arose, and smote the Philistines until his hand was weary, and his hand clave unto the sword: and the LORD wrought a great victory that day;”
1Chronicles 11:15 Now three of the thirty captains went down to the rock to David, into the cave of Adullam; and the host of the Philistines encamped in the valley of Rephaim.
1Chronicles 11:16 And David was then in the hold, and the Philistines’ garrison was then at Bethlehem.
1Chronicles 11:17 And David longed, and said, Oh that one would give me drink of the water of the well of Bethlehem, that is at the gate!
1Chronicles 11:18 And the three brake through the host of the Philistines, and drew water out of the well of Bethlehem, that was by the gate, and took it, and brought it to David: but David would not drink of it, but poured it out to the LORD,
1Chronicles 11:19 And said, My God forbid it me, that I should do this thing: shall I drink the blood of these men that have put their lives in jeopardy? for with the jeopardy of their lives they brought it. Therefore he would not drink it. These things did these three mightiest.
The writer now relates an incident that shows the courage and commitment to David of his mighty men. David was staying in the stronghold at the cave of Adullam when the three of his 30 captains came to see him. The Philistine army was camped in the valley of Rephaim by Bethlehem. David expressed his desire for just one drink from the well that was at the gate to the city of Bethlehem, his hometown. The three mighty men proceeded to get through the Philistine camp and get some water to bring back to David. Much to their surprise I am sure, David refused to drink the water; he pour it out as an offering before the LORD. I like the way the CJB words it: “My God forbid that I should do such a thing! Am I to drink the blood of these men who went and put their lives in jeopardy? They risked their lives to bring it!”
1Chronicles 11:20 And Abishai the brother of Joab, he was chief of the three: for lifting up his spear against three hundred, he slew them, and had a name among the three.
1Chronicles 11:21 Of the three, he was more honourable than the two; for he was their captain: howbeit he attained not to the first three.
Abishai, brother of Joab, was another nephew of David’s. Though the wording is confusing, it seems he was chief of the next three of the mighty men. He was noted for killing 300 with his spear. A search of the scripture for Abishai reminds of the time that he volunteered to go with David into Saul’s camp when they stole Saul’s spear and his cruse of water (see 1Samuel 26). Previous studies revealed that he and his brother Joab disobeyed David more than once for reasons they considered justified in protecting him and dispensing justice.
It seems that the historian has forgotten to name the third of the top three. He includes his name, however, in chapter 23 of 2Samuel—Shammah the son of Agee the Hararite.
2 Samuel 23:11–12 “And after him was Shammah the son of Agee the Hararite. And the Philistines were gathered together into a troop, where was a piece of ground full of lentiles: and the people fled from the Philistines. But he stood in the midst of the ground, and defended it, and slew the Philistines: and the LORD wrought a great victory.”
1Chronicles 11:22 Benaiah the son of Jehoiada, the son of a valiant man of Kabzeel, who had done many acts; he slew two lionlike men of Moab: also he went down and slew a lion in a pit in a snowy day.
1Chronicles 11:23 And he slew an Egyptian, a man of great stature, five cubits high; and in the Egyptian’s hand was a spear like a weaver’s beam; and he went down to him with a staff, and plucked the spear out of the Egyptian’s hand, and slew him with his own spear.
1Chronicles 11:24 These things did Benaiah the son of Jehoiada, and had the name among the three mighties.
1Chronicles 11:25 Behold, he was honourable among the thirty, but attained not to the first three: and David set him over his guard.
Benaiah, son of Jehoida who was the son of a valiant man of Kabzeel, was yet another of the top mighty men. He was known for killing two heroes (from the Hebrew) of Moab and for killing a lion in a pit on a snowy day. He had also killed a 7.5’ tall Egyptian that carried a heavy spear. Using a staff as his weapon, he was able to take the spear away from the Egyptian and kill him with his own spear. It is noted that, along with Abishai, he was in the second rank of the top men. David appointed Benaiah as chief over his bodyguards.
Research indicates that weaver’s beams are the two strong beams that are at the top and bottom of a weaver’s loom that brace it. In biblical times they measured 2-2.5 inches in diameter.
The chapter closes with a listing of the rest of David’s mighty men. I counted 47 more along with those previously named; the group has grown from the initial 30. The listing in 2Samuel 23 ends with Uriah the Hittite (v41), the warrior whom David had killed so he could marry Bathsheba.
1Chronicles 11:26 Also the valiant men of the armies were, Asahel the brother of Joab, Elhanan the son of Dodo of Bethlehem,
1Chronicles 11:27 Shammoth the Harorite, Helez the Pelonite,
1Chronicles 11:28 Ira the son of Ikkesh the Tekoite, Abiezer the Antothite,
1Chronicles 11:29 Sibbecai the Hushathite, Ilai the Ahohite,
1Chronicles 11:30 Maharai the Netophathite, Heled the son of Baanah the Netophathite,
1Chronicles 11:31 Ithai the son of Ribai of Gibeah, that pertained to the children of Benjamin, Benaiah the Pirathonite,
1Chronicles 11:32 Hurai of the brooks of Gaash, Abiel the Arbathite,
1Chronicles 11:33 Azmaveth the Baharumite, Eliahba the Shaalbonite,
1Chronicles 11:34 The sons of Hashem the Gizonite, Jonathan the son of Shage the Hararite,
1Chronicles 11:35 Ahiam the son of Sacar the Hararite, Eliphal the son of Ur,
1Chronicles 11:36 Hepher the Mecherathite, Ahijah the Pelonite,
1Chronicles 11:37 Hezro the Carmelite, Naarai the son of Ezbai,
1Chronicles 11:38 Joel the brother of Nathan, Mibhar the son of Haggeri,
1Chronicles 11:39 Zelek the Ammonite, Naharai the Berothite, the armourbearer of Joab the son of Zeruiah,
1Chronicles 11:40 Ira the Ithrite, Gareb the Ithrite,
1Chronicles 11:41 Uriah the Hittite, Zabad the son of Ahlai,
1Chronicles 11:42 Adina the son of Shiza the Reubenite, a captain of the Reubenites, and thirty with him,
1Chronicles 11:43 Hanan the son of Maachah, and Joshaphat the Mithnite,
1Chronicles 11:44 Uzzia the Ashterathite, Shama and Jehiel the sons of Hothan the Aroerite,
1Chronicles 11:45 Jediael the son of Shimri, and Joha his brother, the Tizite,
1Chronicles 11:46 Eliel the Mahavite, and Jeribai, and Joshaviah, the sons of Elnaam, and Ithmah the Moabite,
1Chronicles 11:47 Eliel, and Obed, and Jasiel the Mesobaite.