Scripture reading – 1 Chronicles 27

We have concluded the historian’s record of David’s census of the Levite tribe (1 Chronicles 23-26). The king had assigned men and their families to minister in the Temple and other matters related to their spiritual offices. Having completed the important task of organizing the tribe of Levi, David’s focus shifted to the matter of his military organization.

1 Chronicles 27


The Organization of Israel’s Army and the Tribal Leaders (1 Chronicles 27:1-24)

Today’s Scripture reading records the divisions and organization of the men who were leaders in David’s army (1 Chronicles 27:1-15). There were twelve divisions, each consisting of 24,000 men, and a leader was named for each. In addition, the princes, or rulers, who served as leaders of the tribes of Israel were named (1 Chronicles 27:16-22). There were two exceptions, for neither the tribes of Gad or Asher were listed.

1 Chronicles 27:23-24 served as a reminder of an earlier census when David had numbered only men who were twenty years and older (1 Chronicles 27:23a). The king, having received a promise from the LORD that Israel would be without number (“like to the stars of the heavens”), had not counted those who were younger than twenty years. At that time, however, Joab questioned the king’s purpose for numbering the people (1 Chronicles 21:3). Nevertheless, 24Joab the son of Zeruiah began to number” (1 Chronicles 27:24), though he refused to number the men of Levi and Benjamin (1 Chronicles 21:6). Because he numbered the people without the LORD’s blessing, David invited God’s wrath “for it [had fallen] against Israel; neither was the number put in the account of the chronicles of king David” (1 Chronicles 27:24).

David’s Wealth and the Officers of His Court (1 Chronicles 27:25-34)


David became a man of vast wealth and wisely appointed men over his treasures, fields, vineyards, and herds, whom he trusted with all he owned (1 Chronicles 27:25-31).

The closing verses list David’s trusted counselors (27:32-34). Among them was Ahithophel, a counselor to the king who was Bathsheba’s grandfather. He had aligned himself with David’s son Absalom (2 Samuel 15:31; 2 Samuel 16:23), and when the insurrection failed, he hanged himself (2 Samuel 17). Nevertheless, Ahithophel was named among David’s great men (1 Chronicles 27:33).

Closing thoughts –

In our study of the Scriptures, we have followed David’s life from when he was a shepherd to his last days when he had become a powerful and wealthy king. He remembered his humble beginning and that the LORD had chosen and taken him from herding sheep to leading a great nation and people. Yet, the mention of Ahithophel (1 Chronicles 27:33-34) reminds us that the most extraordinary men can allow sinful passions to cast a shadow of sorrows over their lives and successes.

Nevertheless, though David surrounded himself with counselors who were wise and powerful, he found his greatest joy and counsel in God’s Word.

Where, or to whom, do you turn for counsel?

Psalm 119:24 – “Thy testimonies [i.e., words, laws, commandments] also are my delight and my counsellers.”

Questions to consider –

1) How many divisions constituted Israel’s army? (1 Chronicles 27:1-15)

2) How long did each division serve in their course? (1 Chronicles 27:1)

3) What men were excluded from David’s census? (1 Chronicles 27:23)

4) Who was the general of David’s army? (1 Chronicles 27:34)

Copyright © 2023 – Travis D. Smith

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