David’s Early Followers. 1The following men came to David in Ziklag while he was still under banishment from Saul, son of Kish; they, too, were among the warriors who helped him in his battles.a 2They were archers who could use either the right or the left hand, both in slinging stones and in shooting arrows with the bow. They were some of Saul’s kinsmen, from Benjamin. 3Ahiezer was their chief, along with Joash, both sons of Shemaah of Gibeah; also Jeziel and Pelet, sons of Azmaveth; Beracah; Jehu, from Anathoth;b 4Ishmaiah the Gibeonite, a warrior among the Thirty, and over the Thirty; 5Jeremiah; Jahaziel; Johanan; Jozabad from Gederah; 6Eluzai; Jerimoth; Bealiah; Shemariah; Shephatiah the Haruphite; 7Elkanah, Isshiah, Azarel, Joezer, and Jashobeam, who were Korahites; 8Joelah and Zebadiah, sons of Jeroham, from Gedor.
9Some of the Gadites also went over to David when he was at the stronghold in the wilderness. They were valiant warriors, experienced soldiers equipped with shield and spear, fearsome as lions, swift as gazelles on the mountains.c 10Ezer was their chief, Obadiah was second, Eliab third, 11Mishmannah fourth, Jeremiah fifth, 12Attai sixth, Eliel seventh, 13Johanan eighth, Elzabad ninth, 14Jeremiah tenth, and Machbannai eleventh. 15These Gadites were army commanders, the lesser over hundreds and the greater over thousands. 16It was they who crossed over the Jordan in the first month, when it was overflowing both its banks, and chased away all who were in the valleys to the east and to the west.
17Some Benjaminites and Judahites also came to David at the stronghold. 18David went out to meet them and addressed them in these words: “If you come peacefully, to help me, I am of a mind to have you join me. But if you have come to betray me to my enemies though my hands have done no wrong, may the God of our ancestors see and punish you.”
19Then a spirit clothed Amasai, the chief of the Thirty, and he answered David:
“We are yours, O David,
we are with you, son of Jesse.
Peace, peace to you,
and peace to him who helps you;
may your God be your helper!”
So David received them and placed them among the leaders of his troops.
20Men from Manasseh also deserted to David when he came with the Philistines to battle against Saul. However, he did not help the Philistines, for their lords took counsel and sent him home, saying, “At the cost of our heads he will desert to his master Saul.” 21As he was returning to Ziklag, therefore, these deserted to him from Manasseh: Adnah, Jozabad, Jediael, Michael, Jozabad, Elihu, and Zillethai, chiefs of thousands of Manasseh.* 22They helped David by taking charge of his troops, for they were all warriors and became commanders of his army. 23And from day to day men kept coming to David’s help until there was a vast encampment, like God’s own encampment.
The Assembly at Hebron. 24This is the muster of the detachments of armed troops that came to David at Hebron to bring Saul’s kingdom over to him, as the LORD had ordained. 25* Judahites bearing shields and spears: six thousand eight hundred armed troops. 26Of the Simeonites, warriors fit for battle: seven thousand one hundred. 27Of the Levites: four thousand six hundred, 28along with Jehoiada, leader of the line of Aaron, with another three thousand seven hundred, 29and Zadok, a young warrior, with twenty-two princes of his father’s house. 30Of the Benjaminites, the kinsmen of Saul: three thousand—until this time, most of them had kept their allegiance to the house of Saul. 31Of the Ephraimites: twenty thousand eight hundred warriors, men renowned in their ancestral houses. 32Of the half-tribe of Manasseh: eighteen thousand, designated by name to come and make David king. 33Of the Issacharites, their chiefs who were endowed with an understanding of the times and who knew what Israel had to do: two hundred chiefs, together with all their kinsmen under their command. 34From Zebulun, men fit for military service, set in battle array with every kind of weapon for war: fifty thousand men rallying with a single purpose. 35From Naphtali: one thousand captains, and with them, armed with shield and lance, thirty-seven thousand men. 36Of the Danites, set in battle array: twenty-eight thousand six hundred. 37From Asher, fit for military service and set in battle array: forty thousand. 38From the other side of the Jordan, of the Reubenites, Gadites, and the half-tribe of Manasseh, men equipped with every kind of weapon of war: one hundred and twenty thousand.
39All these soldiers, drawn up in battle order, came to Hebron with the resolute intention of making David king over all Israel. The rest of Israel was likewise of one mind to make David king. 40They remained with David for three days, eating and drinking, for their relatives had prepared for them. 41Moreover, their neighbors from as far as Issachar, Zebulun, and Naphtali came bringing food on donkeys, camels, mules, and oxen—provisions in great quantity of meal, pressed figs, raisins, wine, oil, oxen, and sheep. For there was rejoicing in Israel.
* [12:21] See note on 27:1–15.
* [12:25–38] The Chronicler here takes the brief account of David’s installation as king in 2 Sm 5:1–3 (= 1 Chr 11:1–3) and expands it in line with his exaltation of David and his dynasty.
b. [12:3] 1 Chr 27:12.