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1 Chronicles 11


(LXX versing)
David Made King Over All Israel David Made King Over All Israel The Accession of David David Becomes King of Israel and Judah David is Anointed King of Israel
11:1-3 11:1-3 11:1-3 11:1-3 11:1-3
Jerusalem, Capital City The City of David The Capture of Jerusalem The Capture of Jerusalem
11:4-9 11:4-9 11:4-9 11:4-9 11:4-9
David's Mighty Men The Mighty Men of David List of David's Mighty Warriors David's Famous Soldiers Champions
11:10-11 11:10-11 11:10-11 11:10 11:10-11
11:12-14 11:12-14 11:12-14 11:12-14
11:15-19 11:15-19 11:15-19 11:15-19 11:15-19
11:20-21 11:20-21 11:20-21 11:20-21 11:20-21
11:22-25 11:22-25 11:22-25 11:22-25 11:22-25
11:26-47 11:26-47 11:26-47 11:26-47

READING CYCLE THREE (see "Bible Interpretation Seminar")


This is a study guide commentary, which means that you are responsible for your own interpretation of the Bible. Each of us must walk in the light we have. You, the Bible, and the Holy Spirit are priority in interpretation. You must not relinquish this to a commentator.

Read the chapter in one sitting. Identify the subjects. Compare your subject divisions with the five translations above. Paragraphing is not inspired, but it is the key to following the original author's intent, which is the heart of interpretation. Every paragraph has one and only one subject.

  1. First paragraph
  2. Second paragraph
  3. Etc.


  1. This chapter begins the account of David becoming king over "all Israel." This becomes a key theme. God will restore "all Israel" (i.e., post-exilic and eschatological).

  2. The majority of this chapter deals with the exploits of David's mighty men of valor (i.e., his private mercenary army, cf. 2 Samuel 23).


1Then all Israel gathered to David at Hebron and said, "Behold, we are your bone and your flesh. 2In times past, even when Saul was king, you were the one who led out and brought in Israel; the Lord your God said to you, 'You shall shepherd My people Israel, and you shall be prince over My people Israel.'" 3So all the elders of Israel came to the king at Hebron, and David made a covenant with them in Hebron before the Lord; and they anointed David king over Israel, according to the word of the Lord through Samuel.

11:1-9 This information comes from 2 Samuel 5:1-10.

11:1 This is also recorded in 2 Samuel 5. The "all Israel" is a key phrase. David had become king of Judah but not Israel (i.e., the northern tribes). Saul's remaining son, Ish-bosheth, had been made king of Israel by Abner (cf. 2 Samuel 2).

11:2 "you were the one who led out and brought in Israel" This is an idiom for military leadership.

▣ "shepherd" This VERB (BDB 944, KB 1258, Qal IMPERFECT is used of YHWH. It was an ANE title of kingship.

The opening line of Ps. 23:1 is literally "YHWH is the one shepherding me." The only VERBAL is the Qal ACTIVE PARTICIPLE (BDB 944, KB 1258). The concept of YHWH as Shepherd was a royal title in the ANE (i.e., Hammurabi). In the OT it is used in the sense of

  1. a description ‒ Ps. 78:52; Ezek. 34:11-13
  2. a covenant title ‒ Ps. 80:1
  3. a metaphor ‒ Isa. 40:11; Jer. 31:10
  4. the Messiah as Shepherd ‒ John 10:11; 1 Peter 2:25

It is such powerful imagery because of

  1. the close and constant presence of the shepherd with the sheep
  2. the sheep's need of an ever-present caretaker and protector

▣ "prince" This NOUN (BDB 617) is a royal title used of the kings of Israel.

  1. Saul ‒ 1 Sam. 9:16; 10:1
  2. David ‒ 1 Sam. 13:14; 25:30; 2 Sam. 5:2; 6:21; 7:8; 1 Chr. 17:7; 2 Chr. 6:5
  3. Solomon ‒ 1 Chr. 29:22
  4. Messianic ‒ Isa. 55:4; Ezek. 34:24; 37:24-25

▣ "My people Israel" YHWH is the true Shepherd and King. These are His covenant people.

11:3 "elders" See SPECIAL TOPIC: ELDER.

▣ "to the king at Hebron" TeThe Chronicler does not mention David being king over only part of Judah for a period (cf 1 Chr. 3:4).



▣ ""according to the word of the Lord through Samuel" This is literally "by the hand of Samuel." "Hand" is used idiomatically. This refers specifically to 1 Samuel 16.

God spoke to His people in several ways.

  1. historic events
  2. visions, dreams
  3. theophanies
  4. Urim and Thummim
  5. prophets, cf. 1 Chr. 11:3,10
  6. written records of His revelation (i.e., the Bible)




SPECIAL TOPIC: THE BIBLE (it's uniqueness and inspiration)

4Then David and all Israel went to Jerusalem (that is, Jebus); and the Jebusites, the inhabitants of the land, were there. 5The inhabitants of Jebus said to David, "You shall not enter here." Nevertheless David captured the stronghold of Zion (that is, the city of David). 6Now David had said, "Whoever strikes down a Jebusite first shall be chief and commander." Joab the son of Zeruiah went up first, so he became chief. 7Then David dwelt in the stronghold; therefore it was called the city of David. 8He built the city all around, from the Millo even to the surrounding area; and Joab repaired the rest of the city. 9David became greater and greater, for the Lord of hosts was with him.



▣ "Zion" See Special Topic above.

Jerusalem was built on seven hills; one of them, on which David built his palace, was Zion. It became a designation for the entire city. Here an editor added "(that is, the city of David)."

11:7 "the stronghold" There seems to be a distinction between

  1. the city of Jebus
  2. the stronghold within the city, which was captured many years after the city itself (cf. Jos. 15:63; Jdgs. 1:21; 2 Sam. 5:7)

11:8 "the Millo" This (BDB 571) may refer to the repair of the terraces by "filling in" the dirt (cf. 2 Sam.5:9; 1 Kgs. 9:15,24; 11:27; 2 Chr. 32:5). The Millo may have supported the foundations of David's palace on the hill called "Zion."

NASB, NKJV, NRSV  "repaired"
TEV, NJB  "restored"
JPSOA  "rebuilt"
REB  "reconstructed"

This is the common term for "life" (BDB 310, KB 309, Piel IMPERFECT). It usually refers to humans or animals. Only here it relates to the repair of fortifications of Jerusalem and in Neh. 4:2 to the rebuilding of a protective outer wall of Jerusalem.

11:9 "David became greater and greater" This is a Hebrew idiom. "David continued to continue to become powerful" (BDB 229, Qal IMPERFECT plus BDB 229, Qal INFINITIVE ABSOLUTE CONJUNCTION, BDB 229, Qal INFINITIVE ABSOLUTE). David's greatness expanded because YHWH was with him.

▣ "the Lord of hosts" David's greatness was because the Lord of hosts was with him (cf. 1 Chr. 12:18).


10Now these are the heads of the mighty men whom David had, who gave him strong support in his kingdom, with all Israel, to make him king, according to the word of the Lord concerning Israel. 11These constitute the list of the mighty men whom David had: Jashobeam, the son of a Hachmonite, the chief of the thirty; he lifted up his spear against three hundred whom he killed at one time.

11:10-41 This information comes from 2 Sam. 23:8-39.

11:10 "these are the heads of the mighty men" These mercenary warriors of David are structured into

  1. the three, 1 Chr. 11:12,18,20,24,25,42; related to 1 Chr. 11:17-19
  2. the thirty, 1 Chr. 11:11,15,20,25,42
  3. the second rank of the three, 1 Chr. 11:21
  4. the chief of the thirty, 1 Chr. 11:11,20

They came from several tribes to reinforce the "all Israel" theme.

The exploits of these men are told by Josephus in Antiq. 7.3.1,2 and 7.12.4.

11:11 "Jashobeam" He has often been identified as "Josheb-basshebeth" of 2 Sam. 23:8, but this is uncertain. The only connection is that the next person listed is also listed in 2 Sam. 23:9 (1 Chr. 11:12). If it is the same person, the name and numbers are different from 2 Samuel.

12After him was Eleazar the son of Dodo, the Ahohite, who was one of the three mighty men. 13He was with David at Pasdammim when the Philistines were gathered together there to battle, and there was a plot of ground full of barley; and the people fled before the Philistines. 14They took their stand in the midst of the plot and defended it, and struck down the Philistines; and the Lord saved them by a great victory.

11:12 "Dodo" In 1 Chr. 27:4 it is "Dodai," but "Dodo" in 2 Sam. 23:9.

11:13 "Pasdammim" This is a location in Judah, sixteen miles southwest of Jerusalem (cf. 1 Sam. 17:1, "Ephes-dammin").

▣ "barley" 2 Samuel 23:11 has "lentils."

11:14 "saved" In the OT the VERB (BDB 446, KB 448, Hiphil IMPERFECT with waw) means physical deliverance.


15Now three of the thirty chief men went down to the rock to David, into the cave of Adullam, while the army of the Philistines was camping in the valley of Rephaim. 16David was then in the stronghold, while the garrison of the Philistines was then in Bethlehem. 17David had a craving and said, "Oh that someone would give me water to drink from the well of Bethlehem, which is by the gate!" 18So the three broke through the camp of the Philistines and drew water from the well of Bethlehem which was by the gate, and took it and brought it to David; nevertheless David would not drink it, but poured it out to the Lord; 19and he said, "Be it far from me before my God that I should do this. Shall I drink the blood of these men who went at the risk of their lives? For at the risk of their lives they brought it." Therefore he would not drink it. These things the three mighty men did.

11:15 "the cave of Adullam" This account is recorded in 1 Sam. 22:1; 2 Sam. 23:13-17.


11:17 "craving" This VERB (BDB 16, KB 20, Hithpael IMPERFECT with waw) usually denotes a bad desire (i.e., lust, power, fame), but here and in 2 Sam. 23:15, it is neutral. Still, this off-the-cuff remark could have had negative consequences (cf. 1 Chr. 11:18).

11:18 "poured it out to the Lord" This was a spontaneous offering. David also offered a sacrifice in 2 Sam. 24:25 to stop a plague. This is surprising because Saul is condemned for offering a sacrifice without waiting for Samuel (cf. 1 Sam. 13:8-14). The only difference seems to be the motive.

  1. Saul was impatient
  2. David was spontaneous

20As for Abshai the brother of Joab, he was chief of the thirty, and he swung his spear against three hundred and killed them; and he had a name as well as the thirty. 21Of the three in the second rank he was the most honored and became their commander; however, he did not attain to the first three.

11:20 "Abshai" In 2 Sam. 23:18 this is "Abishai." This was the brother of David's military commander, Joab (cf. 1 Chr. 11:6). The MT has "chief of three" (cf. 1 Chr. 11:21); NASB has "thirty," following the LXX.

▣ "and he had a name" The MT has "and not a name," but the Masoretic scholars (Qere) read it as "he" and not "not." This is followed by the LXX and Vulgate.

11:21 There is some confusion about the phrase in the MT, "among the two." The NASB sees it as "in the second rank," meaning he was very well honored but not part of the elite "three" (1 Chr. 11:17-19).

22Benaiah the son of Jehoiada, the son of a valiant man of Kabzeel, mighty in deeds, struck down the two sons of Ariel of Moab. He also went down and killed a lion inside a pit on a snowy day. 23He killed an Egyptian, a man of great stature five cubits tall. Now in the Egyptian's hand was a spear like a weaver's beam, but he went down to him with a club and snatched the spear from the Egyptian's hand and killed him with his own spear. 24These things Benaiah the son of Jehoiada did, and had a name as well as the three mighty men. 25Behold, he was honored among the thirty, but he did not attain to the three; and David appointed him over his guard.

NASB, NRSV, JPSOA  "two sons of Ariel"
NKJV  "two lion-like heroes"
TEV  "two great warriors"
NJB  "two formidable"
REB, JB  "two champions"
LXX  "two Ariel"

The LXX of 2 Sam. 23:20 is followed by NASB. The MT is more like NKJV. There is a play on "Ariel" (BDB 72) and "lion" (BDB 71).

In the ANE killing a lion was a great act of courage (cf. Samson, Jdgs. 14:5-7; David, 1 Sam. 17:34-37; Benaiah, 2 Sam. 23:20; and here). This greatly enhanced a person's reputation.

11:23 "a man of great stature five cubits tall" A cubit is about 18", so this refers to a person about 7'5". This might refer to "the valley of Rephaim (giants)" in 1 Chr. 11:15.

This Egyptian is described in similar terms to Goliath, the Philistine giant whom David killed (cf. 1 Samuel 17).


▣ "a spear like a weaver's beam" This is a common idiom for an unusually large spear (i.e., Goliath, 1 Sam. 17:7; 2 Sam. 21:19; Elhanan, Goliath's brother, 1 Chr. 20:5).

NASB, NKJV  "his guard"
NRSV, TEV, NJB, JPSOA  "his body-guard"
REB  "his household"
LXX  "his paternal family"
Rotherham  "audience-chamber"

This NOUN (BDB 1036, KB 649) can mean

  1. bodyguard
  2. obligated by an oath

26Now the mighty men of the armies were Asahel the brother of Joab, Elhanan the son of Dodo of Bethlehem, 27Shammoth the Harorite, Helez the Pelonite, 28Ira the son of Ikkesh the Tekoite, Abiezer the Anathothite, 29Sibbecai the Hushathite, Ilai the Ahohite, 30Maharai the Netophathite, Heled the son of Baanah the Netophathite, 31Ithai the son of Ribai of Gibeah of the sons of Benjamin, Benaiah the Pirathonite, 32Hurai of the brooks of Gaash, Abiel the Arbathite, 33Azmaveth the Baharumite, Eliahba the Shaalbonite, 34the sons of Hashem the Gizonite, Jonathan the son of Shagee the Hararite, 35Ahiam the son of Sacar the Hararite, Eliphal the son of Ur, 36Hepher the Mecherathite, Ahijah the Pelonite, 37Hezro the Carmelite, Naarai the son of Ezbai, 38Joel the brother of Nathan, Mibhar the son of Hagri, 39Zelek the Ammonite, Naharai the Berothite, the armor bearer of Joab the son of Zeruiah, 40Ira the Ithrite, Gareb the Ithrite, 41Uriah the Hittite, Zabad the son of Ahlai, 42Adina the son of Shiza the Reubenite, a chief of the Reubenites, and thirty with him, 43Hanan the son of Maacah and Joshaphat the Mithnite, 44Uzzia the Ashterathite, Shama and Jeiel the sons of Hotham the Aroerite, 45Jediael the son of Shimri and Joha his brother, the Tizite, 46Eliel the Mahavite and Jeribai and Joshaviah, the sons of Elnaam, and Ithmah the Moabite, 47Eliel and Obed and Jaasiel the Mezobaite.

11:26 "Asahel the brother of Joel" The account of Abner killing Asahel and starting a family feud between Joab and Abner, recorded in 2 Samuel 2-3, is completely ignored.

11:27 "Shammoth the Harorite" This man goes by several designations.

  1. Shammah. . .a Hararite, 2 Sam. 23:11,33
  2. Shammah the Harodite, 2 Sam. 23:25

There have been several theories about "Hararite."

  1. a location in the south of Judah (Amarna Letters)
  2. a location in the Negev (Albright)
  3. from a Hebrew word for mountain, "har," therefore, mountain dwellers (Gesenius)

▣ "Pelonite"In 2 Sam. 23:26 he is called "Paltite."

11:29 "Sibbecai" In 2 Sam. 23:27 he is called "Mebunnai."

▣ "Ilai" In 2 Sam. 23:28 he is called "Zalmon."

11:32 "Hurai" In 2 Sam. 23:30 he is called "Hiddai."

▣ "Abiel" In 2 Sam. 23:31 he is called "Abialbon."

11:34 "Hashem" In 2 Sam. 23:32 he is called "Jashen" (also LXX).

11:35 "Sacar" In 2 Sam. 23:35 he is called "Sharar."

11:37 "Naarai" In 2 Sam. 23:35 he is called "Paarai the Arbite."

11:41 "Uriah the Hittite" This is the last name in the list of 2 Sam. 23:39. This was Bathsheba's Hurrian husband and faithful military follower of David. David took his wife and had him killed (2 Samuel 11).

The origin of the remaining names is uncertain. Surely over David's long reign some of these elite soldiers died and were replaced.

11:44 "Jeiel" This is the Qere, the Kethiv is "Jeuel."


This is a study guide commentary which means that you are responsible for your own interpretation of the Bible. Each of us must walk in the light we have. You, the Bible, and the Holy Spirit are priority in interpretation. You must not relinquish this to a commentator.

These discussion questions are provided to help you think through the major issues of this section of the book. They are meant to be thought-provoking, not definitive.

  1. Why does Chronicles leave out so much of the historical information found in Samuel?
  2. Why was the meeting at Hebron so theologically significant?
  3. 1 Chronicles 11:3 mentions "the word of the Lord"; to what revelation does this refer?
  4. Explain the relationship between Jebus and Zion.
  5. Why is so much space given to David's mighty men?
  6. Who are the Rephaim?

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