Dave Burnette's Commentary

1 Chronicles Chapter 12

Written By: God through Inspiration
Penned By: Ezra
Date Penned: (430 BC)
Overview: A History of God's Chosen People (c 1-29)
Theme: The Reign of David (c 10-29)
Message: Warriors Join David (v 1-40)

1 Chronicles 12 Commentary 

(12:1) Great Warriors - David surrounded himself with great warriors- the best of the Israelite army. What qualities made them worthy to be David's warriors and servants? (1) They had practiced long and hard to perfect their skills (with bow, sling, and spear); (2) they were mentally tough and determined ("whose faces were like the faces of lions"; 12:8); (3) they were physically in shape ("as swift as the roes [deer]"; 12:8); and (4) they were dedicated to serving God and David. Weak leaders are easily threatened by competent subordinates, but strong leaders surround themselves with the best people for the task. Able and competent followers do not intimidate them.

(12:1) The Tribe of Benjamin Joins David - All the warriors mentioned here were from the tribe of Benjamin. Even members of Saul's own tribe (1 Samuel 9;1-2) were deserting him to help David become king over all Israel. It was clear to them that God had chosen David to be Israel's next leader.

(12:1) Achish Gives Ziklag to David -  Ziklag was a city in Philistia where David had gone to hide from Saul. Achish, the Philistine ruler of the area, was happy to have a famous Israelite warrior defect to his land. He did not know, however, that David was only pretending to be loyal. Achish gave the city of Ziklag to David, his family, and his army (1 Samuel 27:5-7). David's whereabouts were not a great secret, and many loyal followers joined him there.

(12:2) The Sling - Archers and slingers had special weapons. The sling was unassuming in appearance but deadly in battle. A shallow leather pouch with a cord of leather or goats' hair attached to each side, the sling was whirled around the slinger's head. When one side was released, it sent a stone to its target. By this point, the bow and arrow had been in use for thousands of years. Arrowheads were made of stone, wood, or bone because the Philistines still had a monopoly on metalworking (1 Samuel 13:19-20). Arrow shafts were made of reed or wood, and bowstrings were made of animal gut.

(12:8) The Weapons of that Day - While the men of Benjamin were expert archers and slingers, the warriors of Gad were experts with the shield and spear. Israelite spears had wooden shafts with spearheads of bone or stone and were often thrown through the air toward their mark. The Philistines' spears had bronze shafts and iron spearheads, and their shields were made of wood and overlaid with leather. Large shields were often carried by armour bearers, whose main task was to protect their assigned warriors.

(12:18) The Holy Spirit in the Old Testament - How did the Holy Spirit work in Old Testament times? When an important job needed to be done, God would choose a person to do it, and the Spirit would give that person the needed power and ability. The Holy Spirit gave Bezaleel artistic ability (Exodus 31:1-5), Jephthah military prowess (Judges 11:29), David power to rule (1 Samuel 16:13), and Zechariah an authoritative word of prophecy (2 Chronicles 24:20). Here the Holy Spirit came upon Amasai, one of David's warriors. In the Old Testament, the Spirit came upon individuals in order to accomplish specific goals. Beginning at Pentecost, however, the Spirit came upon all believers, not only to empower us to do God's will, but also to dwell in us day by day (Acts 2:1-21). As a believer in Jesus Christ, you will experience the Holy Spirit's ongoing work in your life as well as special times of filling for God's purposes. Expect God's Spirit to work in and through you.

(12:22) The Host of God - David had gathered around him "a great host, like the host of God." Men were drawn to David by the reputation of his mighty warriors, the news of their victories, and their desire to see God's will done in making David king. People are often drawn to a great cause and the brave, determined people who support it. As believers, we have the greatest cause- the salvation of other people. If we are brave, determined, and faithful, others will be drawn to work with us.

(12:26-20) The Levites - God had said that the Levites were to be exempt from military service (Numbers 1:47-50). So why then are they listed as part of David's army? Although these men were exempt from the draft, they strongly supported David and volunteered their services to help install him as king.

(12:32) 200 Leaders from Issachar - The 200 leaders from the tribe of Issachar "had understanding of the times." As a result, their knowledge and judgment provided needed help in making decisions for the nation. For leaders in the church today, it is equally necessary to know what is happening in society in order to plan the best courses of action. Knowledge of current events, trends, and needs helps us understand people's thoughts and attitudes. This gives us information to help us make wise decisions for the church and show people that God's message is relevant to their lives.

(12:38) 300,000 Men - These troops totaled more than 300,000 men. Their single purpose was to show overwhelming support for David and make him king. God had drawn these men together and had focused their energy on a single purpose; they were "of one heart." Churches and organizations often dilute their energy by trying to go in too many directions. Instead, we should ask God to narrow our focus to one central purpose- one that will build up the church and glorify God. Like David's army, churches and other Christian groups should be of one heart.

(12:40) A Joyful Nation - The people were ready for change. They had suffered under Saul's leadership because of his disobedience to God (see 10:13). They were so overjoyed with David's coronation that they contributed lavishly to the celebration. It is good to give generously for celebration and joyous worship. God is the author of joy, and he will join us in our celebrations.


Dave Burnette's Life Application

A Warrior for the Lord


Each day we walk through the Bible chapter by chapter making an application of our text to help us grow in the Lord. Many applications can be made from each day's text. Today we continue in the book of 1 Chronicles with Chapter 12. In our text today we see the warriors join David's army. What catches my eye are the qualities that made up these mighty men of valor. These warriors practiced long and hard to perfect their skills, they were mentally tough, physically in shape, and dedicated to servicing God. In making application for us to be might men of God we too need to posses these qualities. We need to be skilled in our Bible knowledge, humble and prayerful before the Lord, having our bodies yielded and under subjection to the Lord, while being dedicated to the Lord's will. If we follow these principles we ill be able to stand and fight against the enemy. How about you? Do you fill these qualifications to be used of the Lord as a warrior for His Will? Let us learn from our text today and be a warrior for the Lord by knowing God's Word, placing ourselves under His authority with dedication to be used of the Lord to fight the enemy and be mighty men of valor.


1 Chronicles 12

1 Chronicles 12

 1Now these are they that came to David to Ziklag, while he yet kept himself close because of Saul the son of Kish: and they were among the mighty men, helpers of the war.

 2They were armed with bows, and could use both the right hand and the left in hurling stones and shooting arrows out of a bow, even of Saul's brethren of Benjamin.

 3The chief was Ahiezer, then Joash, the sons of Shemaah the Gibeathite; and Jeziel, and Pelet, the sons of Azmaveth; and Berachah, and Jehu the Antothite.

 4And Ismaiah the Gibeonite, a mighty man among the thirty, and over the thirty; and Jeremiah, and Jahaziel, and Johanan, and Josabad the Gederathite,

 5Eluzai, and Jerimoth, and Bealiah, and Shemariah, and Shephatiah the Haruphite,

 6Elkanah, and Jesiah, and Azareel, and Joezer, and Jashobeam, the Korhites,

 7And Joelah, and Zebadiah, the sons of Jeroham of Gedor.

 8And of the Gadites there separated themselves unto David into the hold to the wilderness men of might, and men of war fit for the battle, that could handle shield and buckler, whose faces were like the faces of lions, and were as swift as the roes upon the mountains;

 9Ezer the first, Obadiah the second, Eliab the third,

 10Mishmannah the fourth, Jeremiah the fifth,

 11Attai the sixth, Eliel the seventh,

 12Johanan the eighth, Elzabad the ninth,

 13Jeremiah the tenth, Machbanai the eleventh.

 14These were of the sons of Gad, captains of the host: one of the least was over an hundred, and the greatest over a thousand.

 15These are they that went over Jordan in the first month, when it had overflown all his banks; and they put to flight all them of the valleys, both toward the east, and toward the west.

 16And there came of the children of Benjamin and Judah to the hold unto David.

 17And David went out to meet them, and answered and said unto them, If ye be come peaceably unto me to help me, mine heart shall be knit unto you: but if ye be come to betray me to mine enemies, seeing there is no wrong in mine hands, the God of our fathers look thereon, and rebuke it.

 18Then the spirit came upon Amasai, who was chief of the captains, and he said, Thine are we, David, and on thy side, thou son of Jesse: peace, peace be unto thee, and peace be to thine helpers; for thy God helpeth thee. Then David received them, and made them captains of the band.

 19And there fell some of Manasseh to David, when he came with the Philistines against Saul to battle: but they helped them not: for the lords of the Philistines upon advisement sent him away, saying, He will fall to his master Saul to the jeopardy of our heads.

 20As he went to Ziklag, there fell to him of Manasseh, Adnah, and Jozabad, and Jediael, and Michael, and Jozabad, and Elihu, and Zilthai, captains of the thousands that were of Manasseh.

 21And they helped David against the band of the rovers: for they were all mighty men of valour, and were captains in the host.

 22For at that time day by day there came to David to help him, until it was a great host, like the host of God.

 23And these are the numbers of the bands that were ready armed to the war, and came to David to Hebron, to turn the kingdom of Saul to him, according to the word of the LORD.

 24The children of Judah that bare shield and spear were six thousand and eight hundred, ready armed to the war.

 25Of the children of Simeon, mighty men of valour for the war, seven thousand and one hundred.

 26Of the children of Levi four thousand and six hundred.

 27And Jehoiada was the leader of the Aaronites, and with him were three thousand and seven hundred;

 28And Zadok, a young man mighty of valour, and of his father's house twenty and two captains.

 29And of the children of Benjamin, the kindred of Saul, three thousand: for hitherto the greatest part of them had kept the ward of the house of Saul.

 30And of the children of Ephraim twenty thousand and eight hundred, mighty men of valour, famous throughout the house of their fathers.

 31And of the half tribe of Manasseh eighteen thousand, which were expressed by name, to come and make David king.

 32And of the children of Issachar, which were men that had understanding of the times, to know what Israel ought to do; the heads of them were two hundred; and all their brethren were at their commandment.

 33Of Zebulun, such as went forth to battle, expert in war, with all instruments of war, fifty thousand, which could keep rank: they were not of double heart.

 34And of Naphtali a thousand captains, and with them with shield and spear thirty and seven thousand.

 35And of the Danites expert in war twenty and eight thousand and six hundred.

 36And of Asher, such as went forth to battle, expert in war, forty thousand.

 37And on the other side of Jordan, of the Reubenites, and the Gadites, and of the half tribe of Manasseh, with all manner of instruments of war for the battle, an hundred and twenty thousand.

 38All these men of war, that could keep rank, came with a perfect heart to Hebron, to make David king over all Israel: and all the rest also of Israel were of one heart to make David king.

 39And there they were with David three days, eating and drinking: for their brethren had prepared for them.

 40Moreover they that were nigh them, even unto Issachar and Zebulun and Naphtali, brought bread on asses, and on camels, and on mules, and on oxen, and meat, meal, cakes of figs, and bunches of raisins, and wine, and oil, and oxen, and sheep abundantly: for there was joy in Israel.