DO THE MATH

Numbering Israel serves God at times, and not at others.  The organization of the armies is described below, but David was not encouraged to do his own census.  Monthly “courses” may be a rotation of duty assignments.  Our reserve units are rotated in and out of combat zones, but not on a monthly basis.  This is more like a peacetime guard rotation.

Now the children of Israel after their number, to wit, the chief fathers and captains of thousands and hundreds, and their officers that served the king in any matter of the courses, which came in and went out month by month throughout all the months of the year, of every course were twenty and four thousand.  Over the first course for the first month was Jashobeam the son of Zabdiel: and in his course were twenty and four thousand.  Of the children of Perez was the chief of all the captains of the host for the first month.  And over the course of the second month was Dodai an Ahohite, and of his course was Mikloth also the ruler: in his course likewise were twenty and four thousand.   The third captain of the host for the third month was Benaiah the son of Jehoiada, a chief priest: and in his course were twenty and four thousand.  This is that Benaiah, who was mighty among the thirty, and above the thirty: and in his course was Ammizabad his son.  The fourth captain for the fourth month was Asahel the brother of Joab, and Zebadiah his son after him: and in his course were twenty and four thousand.  The fifth captain for the fifth month was Shamhuth the Izrahite: and in his course were twenty and four thousand.  The sixth captain for the sixth month was Ira the son of Ikkesh the Tekoite: and in his course were twenty and four thousand.  The seventh captain for the seventh month was Helez the Pelonite, of the children of Ephraim: and in his course were twenty and four thousand.  The eighth captain for the eighth month was Sibbecai the Hushathite, of the Zarhites: and in his course were twenty and four thousand.  The ninth captain for the ninth month was Abiezer the Anetothite, of the Benjamites: and in his course were twenty and four thousand.  The tenth captain for the tenth month was Maharai the Netophathite, of the Zarhites: and in his course were twenty and four thousand.  The eleventh captain for the eleventh month was Benaiah the Pirathonite, of the children of Ephraim: and in his course were twenty and four thousand.  The twelfth captain for the twelfth month was Heldai the Netophathite, of Othniel: and in his course were twenty and four thousand.  1 Chronicles 27:1-15

Each tribe has its leaders as described here.  They represent a large standing army in David’s service.

Furthermore over the tribes of Israel: the ruler of the Reubenites was Eliezer the son of Zichri: of the Simeonites, Shephatiah the son of Maachah:  Of the Levites, Hashabiah the son of Kemuel: of the Aaronites, Zadok:  Of Judah, Elihu, one of the brethren of David: of Issachar, Omri the son of Michael:  Of Zebulun, Ishmaiah the son of Obadiah: of Naphtali, Jerimoth the son of Azriel:  Of the children of Ephraim, Hoshea the son of Azaziah: of the half tribe of Manasseh, Joel the son of Pedaiah:  Of the half tribe of Manasseh in Gilead, Iddo the son of Zechariah: of Benjamin, Jaasiel the son of Abner:  Of Dan, Azareel the son of Jeroham. These were the princes of the tribes of Israel.  1 Chronicles 27:16-22

However the books of the kings record the wrath David encountered for his counting of the armies.  So these Chronicles omit the numbers in recognition of this error.

But David took not the number of them from twenty years old and under: because the LORD had said he would increase Israel like to the stars of the heavens.  Joab the son of Zeruiah began to number, but he finished not, because there fell wrath for it against Israel; neither was the number put in the account of the chronicles of king David.  And over the king’s treasures was Azmaveth the son of Adiel: and over the storehouses in the fields, in the cities, and in the villages, and in the castles, was Jehonathan the son of Uzziah:  And over them that did the work of the field for tillage of the ground was Ezri the son of Chelub:  And over the vineyards was Shimei the Ramathite: over the increase of the vineyards for the wine cellars was Zabdi the Shiphmite:  And over the olive trees and the sycomore trees that were in the low plains was Baalhanan the Gederite: and over the cellars of oil was Joash:  And over the herds that fed in Sharon was Shitrai the Sharonite: and over the herds that were in the valleys was Shaphat the son of Adlai:  Over the camels also was Obil the Ishmaelite: and over the asses was Jehdeiah the Meronothite:  And over the flocks was Jaziz the Hagerite. All these were the rulers of the substance which was king David’s.  1 Chronicles 27:23-31

The station and responsibilities of all these leaders is reported here.  Names became familiar for their actions in the earlier reports, now we see more about their normal daily duties.

Also Jonathan David’s uncle was a counsellor, a wise man, and a scribe: and Jehiel the son of Hachmoni was with the king’s sons:  And Ahithophel was the king’s counsellor: and Hushai the Archite was the king’s companion:  And after Ahithophel was Jehoiada the son of Benaiah, and Abiathar: and the general of the king’s army was Joab. 1 Chronicles 27:32-34

Family is our blood and community.  They are often absorbed in their own urgencies and unaware of how they affect others in their families and immediate community.  In close company we can annoy others without recognizing the cause of their anger.  We may get short with those who cannot see how they offend us. 

This chronicle reveals where people were when their role in the great play of life begins to unfold.  We who have faith in Yeshua should have confidence to endure offense as part of our mission to help others find eternal life.  These Old Testament souls were not equipped with the same confidence that our salvation offers.  All will depart from normal duties and fall short of perfection in attempting to earn righteousness. 

We can identify with the human path they follow as their adventures unfold, and we are assured that they found an offer of redemption from the same Messiah we have received.

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