1 Chronicles 12

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Read 1 Chronicles 12

Warriors Join David

12 These were the men who came to David at Ziklag, while he was banished from the presence of Saul son of Kish (they were among the warriors who helped him in battle; they were armed with bows and were able to shoot arrows or to sling stones right-handed or left-handed; they were relatives of Saul from the tribe of Benjamin):

Ahiezer their chief and Joash the sons of Shemaah the Gibeathite; Jeziel and Pelet the sons of Azmaveth; Berakah, Jehu the Anathothite,and Ishmaiah the Gibeonite, a mighty warrior among the Thirty, who was a leader of the Thirty; Jeremiah, Jahaziel, Johanan, Jozabad the Gederathite, Eluzai, Jerimoth, Bealiah, Shemariah and Shephatiah the Haruphite; Elkanah, Ishiah, Azarel, Joezer and Jashobeam the Korahites; and Joelah and Zebadiah the sons of Jeroham from Gedor.

Some Gadites defected to David at his stronghold in the wilderness. They were brave warriors, ready for battle and able to handle the shield and spear. Their faces were the faces of lions, and they were as swift as gazelles in the mountains.

Ezer was the chief,

Obadiah the second in command, Eliab the third,

10 Mishmannah the fourth, Jeremiah the fifth,

11 Attai the sixth, Eliel the seventh,

12 Johanan the eighth, Elzabad the ninth,

13 Jeremiah the tenth and Makbannai the eleventh.

14 These Gadites were army commanders; the least was a match for a hundred, and the greatest for a thousand. 15 It was they who crossed the Jordan in the first month when it was overflowing all its banks, and they put to flight everyone living in the valleys, to the east and to the west.

16 Other Benjamites and some men from Judah also came to David in his stronghold. 17 David went out to meet them and said to them, “If you have come to me in peace to help me, I am ready for you to join me. But if you have come to betray me to my enemies when my hands are free from violence, may the God of our ancestors see it and judge you.”

18 Then the Spirit came on Amasai, chief of the Thirty, and he said:

“We are yours, David!
    We are with you, son of Jesse!
Success, success to you,
    and success to those who help you,
        for your God will help you.”

So David received them and made them leaders of his raiding bands.

19 Some of the tribe of Manasseh defected to David when he went with the Philistines to fight against Saul. (He and his men did not help the Philistines because, after consultation, their rulers sent him away. They said, “It will cost us our heads if he deserts to his master Saul.”) 20 When David went to Ziklag, these were the men of Manasseh who defected to him: Adnah, Jozabad, Jediael, Michael, Jozabad, Elihu and Zillethai, leaders of units of a thousand in Manasseh. 21 They helped David against raiding bands, for all of them were brave warriors, and they were commanders in his army. 22 Day after day men came to help David, until he had a great army, like the army of God.

Others Join David at Hebron

23 These are the numbers of the men armed for battle who came to David at Hebron to turn Saul’s kingdom over to him, as the Lord had said:

24 from Judah, carrying shield and spear—6,800 armed for battle;

25 from Simeon, warriors ready for battle—7,100;

26 from Levi—4,600, 27 including Jehoiada, leader of the family of Aaron, with 3,700 men, 28 and Zadok, a brave young warrior, with 22 officers from his family;

29 from Benjamin, Saul’s tribe—3,000, most of whom had remained loyal to Saul’s house until then;

30 from Ephraim, brave warriors, famous in their own clans—20,800;

31 from half the tribe of Manasseh, designated by name to come and make David king—18,000;

32 from Issachar, men who understood the times and knew what Israel should do—200 chiefs, with all their relatives under their command;

33 from Zebulun, experienced soldiers prepared for battle with every type of weapon, to help David with undivided loyalty—50,000;

34 from Naphtali—1,000 officers, together with 37,000 men carrying shields and spears;

35 from Dan, ready for battle—28,600;

36 from Asher, experienced soldiers prepared for battle—40,000;

37 and from east of the Jordan, from Reuben, Gad and the half-tribe of Manasseh, armed with every type of weapon—120,000.

38 All these were fighting men who volunteered to serve in the ranks. They came to Hebron fully determined to make David king over all Israel. All the rest of the Israelites were also of one mind to make David king. 39 The men spent three days there with David, eating and drinking, for their families had supplied provisions for them. 40 Also, their neighbors from as far away as Issachar, Zebulun and Naphtali came bringing food on donkeys, camels, mules and oxen. There were plentiful supplies of flour, fig cakes, raisincakes, wine, olive oil, cattle and sheep, for there was joy in Israel.

Go Deeper

The purpose of this book is not just to repeat the stories of Samuel and Kings, but to set the stage to tell of the future hope of a Messianic king who would one day restore all things. Following the genealogies is the death of Saul, his failure as king, and the anointing of King David. The book transitions from the line of David to the reign of David. David’s reign was full of triumphs and tragedies, but overall he was Israel’s most celebrated king. Chronicles depicts David in a positive light and tells the more heroic stories throughout his life. Chapter 12 continues from the previous chapter listing out David’s army and the mighty men who joined him in battle. 

The author of Chronicles categorizes David’s men into three different groups: the chiefs of David’s warriors (11:10-25), David’s warriors (11:26-47), and the warriors who joined David at Ziklag (12:1-22) and Hebron (12:23-40). Ziklag was a town in southern Judah. When Saul was the king of Israel, Ziklag was under Philistine control. Saul spent much of his time seeking to kill David. David proved that he was a man after God’s own heart and did not kill Saul, but waited for his appointed time. After the death of the prophet Samuel, David fled to Ziklag with six-hundred men (1 Samuel 27). While David was there, the Philistine king of Gath granted him the city of Ziklag. David ruled over this city for sixteen months until the death of Saul, and it became his military base. David then was anointed king of Judah and resided in a city called Hebron. 

This chapter lists different groups of warriors who supported David during that time. They were the Benjaminites, the Gadites, the Manassites, and the numbers from the tribes who made David king at Hebron. These men were characterized as “brave warriors, ready for battle and able to handle the shield and spear” (v. 8). They were men who day after day “came to help David, until he had a great army, like the army of God” (v. 22). This is a list of loyal warriors who were dedicated to sticking by David’s side. We learn from this that David was a leader worth following. These men recognized characteristics of David that made them want to rally around him. There was joy in Israel because of him (v. 40). They were all in.  

This chapter shows us the overwhelming support and unity around King David. It is important to understand the context in which this book was written. The chronicles were historical accounts of events that took place. It was looking back on what had already happened in the history of the nation of Israel. At the time this was written, Israel had already returned from seventy years of captivity in Babylon following the decree of Cyrus. We learn from the books of Nehemiah and Ezra that things were not going well for them. There was a need for unity amongst the people. The author’s purpose was to remind the people of God’s faithfulness and the hope of a future Messianic King that would come through the line of David. The stories of David in the past pointed to a future hope for the people. God was going to restore all things through his line. 


  1. What is something that stands out to you about this chapter?  
  2. What do you know about David in the Bible? What were some of his successes and failures as a leader?
  3. Who are the people in your life that would metaphorically “go to battle” for you?

Keep Digging

Interested in learning more about the “mighty men” of David? Check out this article from GotQuestions.org to learn more about them!

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2 thoughts on “1 Chronicles 12”

  1. Ella Snodgrass

    What stands out to me in this chapter is that what God calls us to do, he equips us to carry out. He raised David up from a young shepherd boy tending sheep and empowered him with the power and ability to lead. Warriors seemed to come out of nowhere to support David on his mission, even deserters of Saul’s own tribe. Warriors with varied abilities like archers and slingers with specific talents rallied behind David. God was literally raising up a leader and an army to accomplish his plan. V22 says “Day after day more men joined David until he had a great army, like the army of God.” As believers when we face hardships and battles, we can be empowered to persevere knowing that “If God be for us, who can be against us? He that spared not his own Son, but delivered him up for us all, how shall he not with him freely give us all things? (Romans 8:31-32) The most important decision to determine is whose side we are on? The Lord’s army or the enemy of our souls?

  2. BUT GOD had plans for David. He had a whole army getting ready to rise up for such a time as this. Timing, His timing, is always best. Being led by the Holy Spirit to know, to hear, to obey. We are to come together as fellow believers in Christ to stand together in the battles that come our way. We are love to each other as Christ loves us .We love because he first loved us. (1 John 4:19) We may not know our battle, or we may be in a major battle at this moment BUT GOD has raised up an army for us. Romans 15:30 I urge you, brothers and sisters, by our Lord Jesus Christ and by the love of the Spirit, to join me in my struggle by praying to God for me. When someone pops in your mind pray for them first and text or call them to check on them, the Holy Spirit is working. Have a list of people that you know need prays (which is us all) and rotate through them. We may not be able to help people in a moment by doing something tangible but we can PRAY and that is better than most anything because it is spiritual warfare. “For though we live in the world, we do not wage war as the world does. The weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world. On the contrary, they have divine power to demolish strongholds. We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.” 2 Cor. 10:3-5. We are David’s for such a time as this.

    God thank You for Holy Spirit and communication with You. Thank You for being able to be a warrior for others through pray. Thank You for placing people in my mind throughout the day for me to pray for. God even when I do not know their troubles or trials You do and I can just lift them up and let You do the fighting in Jesus name amen

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