1 Chronicles 11 Bible Commentary

Jamieson, Faussett, and Brown

(Read all of 1 Chronicles 11)

1Ch 11:1-3. DAVID MADE KING.

1. Then all Israel gathered themselves to David unto Hebron--This event happened on the death of Ish-bosheth (see on 2Sa 5:1). The convention of the estates of the kingdom, the public and solemn homage of the representatives of the people, and the repeated anointing of the new king in their presence and by their direction, seem to have been necessary to the general acknowledgment of the sovereign on the part of the nation (compare 1Sa 11:15).


4. David and all Israel went to . . . Jebus--(See on 2Sa 5:6).

8. Joab repaired the rest of the city--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 [CALMET].


10. These . . . are the chief of the mighty men--(See on 2Sa 23:8). They are here described as those who held strongly with him (Margin) to make him king, &c. In these words the sacred historian assigns a reason for introducing the list of their names, immediately after his account of the election of David as king, and the conquest of Jerusalem; namely, that they assisted in making David king. In the original form of the list, and the connection in which it occurs in Samuel, there is no reference to the choice of a king; and even in this passage it is only in the clause introduced into the superscription that such a reference occurs [KEIL].

11-13. Jashobeam, an Hachmonite--or, "son of Hachmoni." He is called also son of Zabdiel (1Ch 27:2), so that, strictly speaking, he was the grandson of Hachmoni (compare 1Ch 27:32).
lifted up his spear against three hundred slain by him at one time--The feat is said (2Sa 23:8) to have been a slaughter of eight hundred in one day. Some endeavor to reconcile the statements in that passage and in this by supposing that he slew eight hundred on one occasion and three hundred on another; while others conjecture that he attacked a body of eight hundred, and, having slain three hundred of them, the rest fled [LIGHTFOOT].

12. the three mighties--Only two are mentioned; namely, Jashobeam and Eleazar--the third, Shammah (2Sa 23:11), is not named in this passage.

13. He was with David at Pas-dammim--It was at the time when he was a fugitive in the wilderness, and, parched with thirst under the burning heat of noonday, he wistfully thought of the cool fountain of his native village [2Sa 23:15; 1Ch 11:17]. This is a notice of the achievement, to which Eleazar owed his fame, but the details are found only in 2Sa 23:9-11, where it is further said that he was aided by the valor of Shammah, a fact corroborated in the passage before us (1Ch 11:14), where it is recorded of the heroes, that "they set themselves in the midst of that parcel." As the singular number is used in speaking of Shammah (2Sa 23:12), the true view seems to be that when Eleazar had given up from exhaustion, Shammah succeeded, and by his fresh and extraordinary prowess preserved the field.
barley--or lentils (2Sa 23:11). Ephes-dammim was situated between Shocoh and Azekah, in the west of the Judahite territory. These feats were performed when David acted as Saul's general against the Philistines.

15-19. David longed, and said, Oh that one would give me drink . . . of the well of Beth-lehem--(See on 2Sa 23:15). This chivalrous act evinces the enthusiastic devotion of David's men, that they were ready to gratify his smallest wish at the risk of their lives. It is probable that, when uttering the wish, David had no recollection of the military posted at Beth-lehem. It is generally taken for granted that those who fought a way to the well of Beth-lehem were the three champions just mentioned [see on 1Ch 11:13]. But this is far from being clear. On the contrary, it would seem that three different heroes are referred to, for Abishai (1Ch 11:20) was one of them. The camp of the Philistines was in the valley of Rephaim (1Ch 11:15), which lay on the west of Jerusalem, but an outpost was stationed at Beth-lehem (1Ch 11:16), and through this garrison they had to force a passage.

21. howbeit he attained not to the first three--(See on 2Sa 23:19).

22. Benaiah . . . of Kabzeel--a town in the south of Judah (Jos 15:21; Ne 11:25). It is said that "he had done many acts," though three only are mentioned as specimens of his daring energy and fearless courage.
slew two lionlike men of Moab--literally, "lions of God," that is, great lions or champions. This gallant feat was probably achieved in David's hostile invasion of Moab (2Sa 8:2).
also he went down and slew a lion in a pit in a snowy day--probably a cave into which Benaiah had taken refuge from the snowstorm, and in which he encountered a savage lion which had its lair there. In a spacious cave the achievement would be far greater than if the monster had been previously snared or cabined in a pit.

23. he went down--the ordinary phraseology for expressing an engagement in battle. The encounter of Benaiah with this gigantic Egyptian reminds us, in some respects, of David's combat with Goliath. At least, the height of this giant, which was about eight feet, and his armor, resembled his of Gath.
with a staff--that is, having no other weapon in his hand than his walking stick.

25. David set him over his guard--the Cherethites and Pelethites that composed the small bodyguard in immediate attendance on the king.

26. Also the valiant men of the armies--This was the third degree of military rank, and Asahel was their chief; the names of few of those mentioned are historically known.

27. Shammoth--Between this name and Hebez, that of Elikah has evidently fallen out, as we may see (2Sa 23:25, 26) [BERTHEAU].

30. Maharai--chief of the detachment of the guards who attended on the king in the tenth month, January (1Ch 27:13; 2Sa 23:28).

39. Naharai--armorbearer to Joab (2Sa 23:37). The non-occurrence of Joab's name in any of the three catalogues is most probably to be accounted for by the circumstance that his office as commander-in-chief raised him to a position superior to all these orders of military knighthood.

41. Uriah the Hittite--The enrolment of this name in such a list, attesting, as it does, his distinguished merits as a brave and devoted officer, aggravates the criminality of David's outrage on his life and honor. The number of the names at 1Ch 11:26-41 (exclusive of Asahel and Uriah, who were dead) is thirty, and at 1Ch 11:41-47 is sixteen--making together forty-eight (see on 1Ch 27:1-34). Of those mentioned (1Ch 11:26-41), the greater part belonged to the tribes of Judah and Benjamin; the sixteen names (1Ch 11:41-47) are all associated with places unknown, or with cities and districts on the east of the Jordan. The northern tribes do not appear to have furnished any leaders [BERTHEAU].