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The Men Who Helped David Become King

12 These are the men who came to David at Ziklag when he was banished by Saul, son of Kish. They were among the soldiers who went into battle with David. They were armed with bows and could sling stones or shoot arrows with either their right or their left hands. They were Saul’s relatives, from the tribe of Benjamin. Ahiezer was the leader, then Joash (they were the sons of Shemaah from Gibeah), Azmaveth’s sons Jeziel and Pelet, Beracah and Jehu from Anathoth, Ishmaiah from Gibeon (one of the thirty fighting men and one of their leaders),[a] Jeremiah, Jahaziel, Johanan, and Jozabad from Gederah, Eluzai, Jerimoth, Bealiah, Shemariah, and Shephatiah from Haruph, Elkanah, Isshiah, Azarel, Joezer, and Jashobeam (Korah’s descendants), and Joelah and Zebadiah, Jeroham’s sons from Gedor.

Some men left Gad to join David at the fortified camp in the desert. They were warriors, trained soldiers, able to fight with shields and spears. They looked like lions and were as fast as gazelles on the hills. Ezer was the first of these soldiers. The second was Obadiah. The third was Eliab. 10 The fourth was Mishmannah. The fifth was Jeremiah. 11 The sixth was Attai. The seventh was Eliel. 12 The eighth was Johanan. The ninth was Elzabad. 13 The tenth was Jeremiah. The eleventh was Machbannai. 14 These descendants of Gad were army officers. The least able one was in command of 100 men, and the best one was in command of 1,000. 15 In the first month of the year, these men crossed the Jordan River when it was flooding its banks. They chased away all the people in the valleys to the east and west.

16 Some of the men of Benjamin and Judah came to David at the fortified camp. 17 David went to meet them. He told them, “If you’ve come to help me as friends would, then you may join me. But if you’ve come to betray me to my enemies, even though I haven’t committed a crime, may the Elohim of our ancestors see this and judge you.”

18 Then the Ruach gave Amasai, the leader of the thirty, the strength to say,

“We are yours, David.
We are with you, son of Jesse.
    Success, success to you!
    Success to those who help you,
        because your Elohim is helping you.”

So David welcomed them and made them officers over his troops.

19 Some men from Manasseh had deserted Saul’s army to join David when he went with the Philistines to attack Saul. (However, David didn’t help the Philistines because their rulers sent him away after considering the matter. They said, “It will cost us our heads when he deserts and joins his master Saul.”) 20 When David went to Ziklag, these men from Manasseh deserted to join him: Adnah, Jozabad, Jediael, Michael, Jozabad, Elihu, and Zillethai. Each one was an officer over 1,000 men in Manasseh. 21 They helped David fight raiding parties because they were all warriors, commanders in the army. 22 From day to day, men came to help David until he had an army as large as Elohim’s army.

23 These are the numbers of the men equipped for war. The men joined David at Hebron to turn Saul’s kingship over to David, as Yahweh had said.

24 From Judah’s descendants there were 6,800 men equipped for war. They carried shields and spears.

25 From Simeon’s descendants there were 7,100 warriors.

26 From Levi’s descendants there were 4,600 27 as well as Jehoiada (leader of Aaron’s families). With him there were 3,700 men, 28 and Zadok, a young warrior from whose family came 22 officers.

29 From Benjamin’s descendants, Saul’s relatives, there were 3,000 men, though most of them remained loyal to Saul’s family. 30 From Ephraim’s descendants there were 20,800 warriors who were famous among their families.

31 From half of the tribe of Manasseh there were 18,000 who had been designated by name to make David king.

32 From Issachar’s descendants there were 200 leaders who understood the times and knew what Israel should do. Their relatives were under their command.

33 From Zebulun there were 50,000 experienced soldiers. They were equipped for battle with every kind of weapon. Their loyalty was unquestioned.[b]

34 From Naphtali there were 1,000 commanders. With them were 37,000 who fought with shields and spears.

35 From Dan there were 28,600 ready for battle.

36 From Asher there were 40,000 experienced soldiers ready for battle.

37 From the east side of the Jordan River, from Reuben, Gad, and half the tribe of Manasseh, there were 120,000 soldiers ready to fight with all kinds of weapons.

38 All of these soldiers, who were prepared for battle, came with a single purpose to Hebron—to make David king of all Israel. The rest of Israel also had agreed to make David king. 39 They ate and drank with David for three days because their relatives in Judah had provided enough for them. 40 Also, their neighbors as far as the territories of Issachar, Zebulun, and Naphtali brought food on donkeys, camels, mules, and oxen. There was plenty of flour, fig cakes, raisins, wine, olive oil, cattle, and sheep, because Israel was celebrating.


  1. 1 Chronicles 12:4 1 Chronicles 12:4b–40 in English Bibles is 1 Chronicles 12:5–41 in the Hebrew Bible.
  2. 1 Chronicles 12:33 Hebrew meaning of this sentence uncertain.

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