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1 Chronicles Chapter Twenty-seven                            


1 Chronicles 27

Chapter Contents

David's military force. (1-15) Princes and officers. (16-34)

Commentary on 1 Chronicles 27:1-15

(Read 1 Chronicles 27:1-15)

In the kingdoms of this world readiness for war forms a security for peace; in like manner, nothing so much encourages Satan's assaults as to be unwatchful. So long as we stand armed with the whole armour of God, in the exercise of faith, and preparation of heart for the conflict, we shall certainly be safe, and probably enjoy inward peace.

Commentary on 1 Chronicles 27:16-34

(Read 1 Chronicles 27:16-34)

The officers of the court, or the rulers of the king's substance, had the oversight and charge of the king's tillage, his vineyards, his herds, his flocks, which formed the wealth of eastern kings. Much of the wisdom of princes is seen in the choice of their ministry, and common persons show it in the choice of their advisers. David, though he had all these about him, preferred the word of God before them all. Thy testimonies are my delight and my counsellors.

── Matthew HenryConcise Commentary on 1 Chronicles


1 Chronicles 27

Verse 1

[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.

Officers — The standing militia of Israel as it was settled under their several officers.

Of courses — In all the business wherein the king had occasion for these persons who were to attend him by turns.

Came in, … — who being armed and mustered, and to wait upon the king, at Jerusalem or other places, as the king should see fit. By this order near three hundred thousand of his people were instructed and exercised in the use of their arms, and fitted for the defence of their king and kingdom when it should be needful, and in the mean time sufficient provision was made against any sudden tumults or irruptions of enemies. And this monthly course was contrived that the burden of it might be easy and equally distributed among the people.

Verse 16

[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:

The ruler — These were the princes of the tribes, the constant rulers of the tribes; who seem to have had a superior power to these twenty four captains, and therefore are named before them, being probably the king's chief counsellors and assistants in the great affairs of his kingdom.

Verse 22

[22] Of Dan, Azareel the son of Jeroham. These were the princes of the tribes of Israel.

Tribes — Of the most of the tribes, not of all: for Gad is omitted, probably because that tribe was joined with the Reubenites under one prince.

Verse 23

[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.

Because — And therefore to number them all both above and under twenty years old, had been both an infinite trouble and a tempting of God, or a questioning the truth of his promises.

Verse 27

[27] And over the vineyards was Shimei the Ramathite: over the increase of the vineyards for the wine cellars was Zabdi the Shiphmite:

Vineyards — Over the workmen and labourers in the vineyards; as the next officer is over the fruit of the vineyards. In like manner, one man was over the labourers in the fields, verse 26, and another over the fruits of the fields put into stores.

Verse 31

[31] And over the flocks was Jaziz the Hagerite. All these were the rulers of the substance which was king David's.

All these — It is observable, here are no officers for state, none for sport, no master of the ceremonies, or of the bounds, but all for substance, agreeable to the simplicity and plainness of those times. David was a great soldier, a great scholar, and a great prince; and yet a great husband of his estate. Those magistrates who would have their subjects industrious, must themselves be examples of application to business.

Verse 32

[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:

A scribe — Either one learned in the laws of God, which were also the laws of the land, or, the king's secretary.

King's sons — As their tutor or governour.

Verse 33

[33] And Ahithophel was the king's counsellor: and Hushai the Archite was the king's companion:

Counsellor — The person whose counsel in matters of state the king most prized and followed.

Companion — Or his friend, 2 Samuel 15:37, the person whom he trusted with his secrets, and whose conversation was most pleasant and acceptable to him. Observe, A cunning man was his counsellor: but an honest man was his friend.

Verse 34

[34] And after Ahithophel was Jehoiada the son of Benaiah, and Abiathar: and the general of the king's army was Joab.

After Ahithophel — After his death, these were his chief counsellors.

── John WesleyExplanatory Notes on 1 Chronicles


27 Chapter 27


Verses 1-34

1 Chronicles 27:1-34

Now the children of Israel.

Wisdom, kindness, and folly

In reading this chapter we are struck with three features of David’s rule.

1. The presence of royal wisdom in--

1. Securing the safety of his kingdom by a sufficient militia without sustaining a burdensome standing army. One month’s practice in the year would suffice to maintain their soldierly qualities without seriously interfering with their civil pursuits (1 Chronicles 27:1).

2. Adopting the system of promotion by merit. In the list of captains (1 Chronicles 27:2-15) we meet with names of men that had distinguished themselves by their courage and capacity, and who had “earned their promotion.” Favouritism is a ruinous policy, and fatal to kings and ministers.

3. Limiting his own personal requirements to a moderate demand. David lived as became such a king as he was, but he did not indulge in a costly and oppressive “civil list” (see 1 Chronicles 27:25-31).

4. Choosing so sagacious a counsellor as Ahithophel (2 Samuel 17:1-8; 2 Samuel 17:14), and so true and brave a friend as Hushai (2 Samuel 17:7-14).

2. The presence of personal kindness. Although David acted, most wisely, on the principle that the highest posts should be reserved for the most capable men and those who “deserved well of their country,” yet he did not neglect his own kindred in the hour of his opportunity. We find, amongst others of the foremost men, the names of his relatives, Asahel (1 Chronicles 27:7); Jonathan, his uncle (1 Chronicles 27:32); Joab (1 Chronicles 27:34).

3. The presence of royal folly. We are reminded here of the grievous error, the disastrous departure from rectitude, when, notwithstanding the wise counsel and somewhat strenuous opposition of Joab, he insisted on numbering the people (1 Chronicles 27:23-24). Regarding the folly of the king, we learn--

I. That human nature, even at its best, bears the stain of imperfection. Therefore--

1. Let us conclude that there is certain to be something in ourselves which needs to be corrected.

2. Let us not be hasty in estimating the character of others. Regarding David’s kindness we learn--

II. That we do well to use our own elevation to serve our kindred. Nepotism is a crime as well as a sin, but, when other things are equal, and when opportunity offers, we should surely remember those whom, by the ties of affinity, God commends to our kindness, and those whom, by profession of friendship in earlier and humbler days, we promised to assist. And in view of the king’s wisdom, we may learn--

III. That goodness and wisdom together are a source of incalculable benefit. David without his devoutness would have been nothing to his country or his kind; without his wisdom he would have been little more. Piety and prudence together are a power for God and man. (W. Clarkson, B. A.)

──The Biblical Illustrator