1Chronicles 27:1 ¶ 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.
Attention in this chapter turns to the military. The following verses identify the military officers that supervised the troops that served on a monthly rotating basis throughout the year. Divisions were comprised of 24,000 men that were assigned military duty each month. This would total a ready military of 288,000 men.
1Chronicles 27:2 Over the first course for the first month was Jashobeam the son of Zabdiel: and in his course were twenty and four thousand.
1Chronicles 27:3 Of the children of Perez was the chief of all the captains of the host for the first month.
1Chronicles 27:4 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.
1Chronicles 27:5 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.
1Chronicles 27:6 This is that Benaiah, who was mighty among the thirty, and above the thirty: and in his course was Ammizabad his son.
1Chronicles 27:7 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.
JFB provides this note on Asahel: “This officer having been slain at the very beginning of David’s reign [2 Samuel 2:23], his name was probably given to this division in honor of his memory, and his son was invested with the command.”
1Chronicles 27:8 The fifth captain for the fifth month was Shamhuth the Izrahite: and in his course were twenty and four thousand.
1Chronicles 27:9 The sixth captain for the sixth month was Ira the son of Ikkesh the Tekoite: and in his course were twenty and four thousand.
1Chronicles 27:10 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.
1Chronicles 27:11 The eighth captain for the eighth month was Sibbecai the Hushathite, of the Zarhites: and in his course were twenty and four thousand.
1Chronicles 27:12 The ninth captain for the ninth month was Abiezer the Anetothite, of the Benjamites: and in his course were twenty and four thousand.
1Chronicles 27:13 The tenth captain for the tenth month was Maharai the Netophathite, of the Zarhites: and in his course were twenty and four thousand.
1Chronicles 27:14 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.
1Chronicles 27:15 The twelfth captain for the twelfth month was Heldai the Netophathite, of Othniel: and in his course were twenty and four thousand.
1Chronicles 27:16 ¶ 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:
1Chronicles 27:17 Of the Levites, Hashabiah the son of Kemuel: of the Aaronites, Zadok:
1Chronicles 27:18 Of Judah, Elihu, one of the brethren of David: of Issachar, Omri the son of Michael:
1Chronicles 27:19 Of Zebulun, Ishmaiah the son of Obadiah: of Naphtali, Jerimoth the son of Azriel:
1Chronicles 27:20 Of the children of Ephraim, Hoshea the son of Azaziah: of the half tribe of Manasseh, Joel the son of Pedaiah:
1Chronicles 27:21 Of the half tribe of Manasseh in Gilead, Iddo the son of Zechariah: of Benjamin, Jaasiel the son of Abner:
1Chronicles 27:22 Of Dan, Azareel the son of Jeroham. These were the princes of the tribes of Israel.
This section of verses appears to be identifying the recognized leader or ruler of each of the tribes of Israel.
Gill provides this comment regarding the tribal leaders: “…all excepting Gad and Asher, who are omitted; perhaps he that was prince of the tribe of Reuben, or else of the half tribe of Manasseh beyond Jordan, was ruler of Gad and Asher; these lying between Zebulun and Naphtali, might be under the prince of one of them.”
1Chronicles 27:23 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.
1Chronicles 27:24 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.
This section makes reference to the incomplete census that David commanded be made and for which God’s wrath fell upon Israel. It is noted that the numbers were never entered in the king’s official records. It is also noted that the king learned from his experience and did not attempt to take a census of those 20 years and older that qualified for military service. (See notes on chapter 21.) He trusted the LORD to provide by greatly increasing the population as He had promised Abraham.
Genesis 15:1–5 “After these things the word of the LORD came unto Abram in a vision, saying, Fear not, Abram: I am thy shield, and thy exceeding great reward.
And Abram said, Lord GOD, what wilt thou give me, seeing I go childless, and the steward of my house is this Eliezer of Damascus? And Abram said, Behold, to me thou hast given no seed: and, lo, one born in my house is mine heir. And, behold, the word of the LORD came unto him, saying, This shall not be thine heir; but he that shall come forth out of thine own bowels shall be thine heir. And he brought him forth abroad, and said, Look now toward heaven, and tell the stars, if thou be able to number them: and he said unto him, So shall thy seed be.”
1Chronicles 27:25 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:
1Chronicles 27:26 And over them that did the work of the field for tillage of the ground was Ezri the son of Chelub:
1Chronicles 27:27 And over the vineyards was Shimei the Ramathite: over the increase of the vineyards for the wine cellars was Zabdi the Shiphmite:
1Chronicles 27:28 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:
1Chronicles 27:29 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:
1Chronicles 27:30 Over the camels also was Obil the Ishmaelite: and over the asses was Jehdeiah the Meronothite:
1Chronicles 27:31 And over the flocks was Jaziz the Hagerite. All these were the rulers of the substance which was king David’s.
This section is a listing of those given charge over King David’s property and possessions, including produce from the fields, vineyards, olive and sycomore trees, oil supplies, herds, camels, asses and flocks.
The Treasury of Scripture Knowledge had some interesting information on the sycomore tree quoting a Mr. Norden: “The sycamore 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.”
1Chronicles 27:32 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:
1Chronicles 27:33 And Ahithophel was the king’s counsellor: and Hushai the Archite was the king’s companion:
1Chronicles 27:34 And after Ahithophel was Jehoiada the son of Benaiah, and Abiathar: and the general of the king’s army was Joab.
Jonathan, David’s uncle, served the king as a wise counselor and scribe. Jehiel, son of Hachmoni, was acknowledged with the same respect as the king’s own sons. Ahithophel was the king’s chief counselor, Jeohiada the son of Benaiah was next followed by Abiathar who completed the inner circle of three. Hushai the Archite was the king’s personal companion and friend. Joab, his nephew, was the general of David’s army.
Sadly, we remember that Ahithophel eventually turned on David to support Absalom, and it was Hushai that helped save the day. (See journal on 2Samuel 16-17.)
I totally agree with Guzik’s comment on Joab: “Joab is one of the more complex characters of the Old Testament. He was fiercely loyal to David, yet not strongly obedient. He disobeyed David when he thought it was in David’s best interest, and he was cunning and ruthless in furthering his own position.”