The chapter begins by listing the soldiers who join David’s forces at the fortress in Ziklag. Another list enumerates the soldiers who anointed David in Hebron.
The soldiers who join David are described in metaphoric terms: “They had the appearance of lions, and were as swift as gazelles upon the mountains!” (v. 9)
III. Important Verses
vv. 1-2: The following joined David at Ziklag while he was still in hiding from Saul son of Kish; these were the warriors who gave support in battle; they were armed with the bow and could use both right hand and left hand to sling stones or shoot arrows with the bow; they were kinsmen of Saul from Benjamin.
vv. 17-18: Some of the Benjaminites and Judahites came to the stronghold to David, and David went out to meet them, saying to them, “If you come on a peaceful errand, to support me, then I will make common cause with you, but if to betray me to my foes, for no injustice on my part, then let the God of our fathers take notice and give judgment.”
v. 23: Day in day out, people came to David to give him support, until there was an army as vast as the army of God.
v. 39: All these, fighting men, manning the battle line with whole heart, came to Hebron to make David king over all Israel. Likewise, all the rest of Israel was of one mind to make David king.
1-8. Benjaminites who joined David
9-16. Gadites who joined David
17-19. Supporters from Benjamin and Judah
20-22. Manassites who joined David
24-41. The soldiers who anointed David at Hebron
The first half of the chapter gives a list of the warriors who joined David at the fortress of Ziklag. Where is Ziklag? Kotter writes: “Ziklag has often been identified with Tell el-Khuweilfeh (Tel Halif; M.R. 137087), a large mound approximately 15 km NE of Beer-sheba (eg., IDB 4: 957). However, its geographical position raises some difficulty with this identification since it appears to lie within the territory of Judah rather than that of the Philistines (ISBE 4: 1196). It would seem that an Iron Age site further to the W, more within the area of Philistine domination, would be a better candidate. One mound which fits this description (Oren 1982) is Tell esh-Sharia (M.R. 119088), along the NahΩal Gerar approximately 25 km SE of Gaza and 17 km due W of Tell el-Khuweilfeh. Strata of the appropriate periods for historical Ziklag have been uncovered in recent excavations, including indications of a substantial Philistine presence in the later part of the Iron I period (Oren 1982: 163; see further below). Continuing work at these sites, and other nearby Iron Age mounds, will no doubt clarify our picture of this region during the early part of the Iron Age.” (ABD VI, p. 1090)
VI. Works Used
(see “Commentaries” page)
Kotter, Wade R. “Ziklag” in the Anchor Bible Dictionary vol. 6, 1090-1091.
De Vries, Simon J. “1 and 2 Chronicles,” The Forms of Old Testament Literature vol. 11 (Grand Rapids, Michigan: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Co., 1989).
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