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God’s Word for You

1 Chronicles 12:16-18 Truth or treachery

by Pastor Timothy Smith on Tuesday, December 5, 2023

16 Some of the sons of Benjamin and some of the sons of Judah also came to David in his stronghold. 17 David went out to meet them and said to them, “If it is in peace that you have come to me, to help me, then my heart is united with you. But if you have come to betray me to my enemies when my hands are free from violence, may the God of our fathers see it and judge you.” 18 Then the Spirit came upon Amasai, chief of the Thirty, and he said: “We are yours, O David! We are with you, O son of Jesse! Peace, peace to you, and peace to those who help you, for your God has helped you.” So David received them and made them leaders of his raiding bands.

Friend or foe? David went out as men from Saul’s tribe came to join him. There were also men of Judah that came at the same time, but David was without a doubt concerned about those men of Benjamin. Was this a trick by Saul? Was it a chance to bring an enemy into David’s stronghold? David insists on his own innocence in whatever was about to happen.

But one of the men, a man named Amasai, spoke up with a bold answer. His name means “Burden,” or “My burden.” It is related to the word “burden” or “oracle” often used by the prophets (Nahum 1:1; Isaiah 13:1; Jeremiah 17:21; Zechariah 8:23 or 9:1; Malachi 1:1). Who was this Amasai? There is no man with his name in either of the lists of the Thirty. Could he be Amasa (2 Samuel 20:4), or Abishai (1 Samuel 26:7)? There was another man from Benjamin, Ithai, who was one of the Thirty. Could they be the same man? Whether he was one of these or someone else, he was the one to speak up.

The Spirit, that is, the Holy Spirit, came upon this man to speak a blessing to David. Before we listen to his precise words, consider the placement of this incident in this book, and the reason it is included. David was at this time living in a remote city of Judah, Ziklag, which had fallen under the dominion of the Philistine king of Gath (or this might have been the stronghold of Adullam). David was at this time just a captain of Saul’s army, having defected over to the Philistines to avoid capture by Saul, but still fighting mightily for the sake of Israel. The Philistines were preparing to attack Saul, and although David was willing to go along, he was spared from that choice by the other Philistine kings and commanders, who didn’t trust him. So, back at his base, David is met by men from Saul’s own tribe. This did not seem to be going perfectly for David.

But that was the situation with Israel when Chronicles was, well, chronicled. The nation had been deported, and then returned, and now was facing various disappointments and challenges, but God was with them. They might not have everything they felt they should have, but they had what they needed most: God himself. His hand was with them. While such prophesies and utterances from the Lord usually came through the prophets, this one fell upon a soldier! The Lord’s holy will is not always carried out the way we might think best, but the way the Lord needs things to happen.

So now, we will listen to Amasai:

“We are yours, O David! We are with you, O son of Jesse!” The use of David’s father’s name was something that David’s enemies tended to do, such as Saul (1 Samuel 20:27, 22:7) and Nabal (1 Samuel 25:10). But here a friend addresses David to honor his father and, through this, to honor David.

“Peace, peace to you, and peace to those who help you, for your God has helped you.” This shows us that these defectors were not just men who preferred David to Saul. They weren’t tired of Saul as king. They had heard the word of the Lord, and they were here because God was behind every success and victory that David won. God was on David’s side. God was giving David the help that only God can truly give.

Notice also the threefold “Peace, peace… and peace” of the Spirit’s message through this mighty man. How often God gives us a hint of his triune nature! This is expressed almost in terms of an inheritance: Peace to those who help David, because David enjoys a double share of peace like a firstborn son (Deuteronomy 21:17).

David was so overwhelmed by this blessing that he did not only allow them into his stronghold and into his fighting force, but he made these men leaders of some of his raiders.

What blessings God gives to those who put their faith in him! He gives us the physical blessings that we need for body and for life. He supplies a way out of difficulties apart from sin. He enriches us with spiritual blessings that strengthen our faith. And he deepens our faith by fulfilling his word, his promises, and the testimonies about him in the Scriptures. Without belief in his Scriptures, no one truly believes in God. For if a man says he loves God but does not give any credence to the account of Jesus’ ministry, passion, suffering, death and resurrection, then that man has no footing in the truth. He thinks the truth is something for his own reasoning, and not in the historical account of Jesus our Lord. For “the prophetic and apostolic writings of the Old and New Testaments are the only rule and norm according to which all doctrines and teachers alike must be appraised and judged” (Formula of Concord). 4

This is most certainly true.

In Christ,
Pastor Timothy Smith

Pastor Tim Smith
About Pastor Timothy Smith
Pastor Smith serves St. Paul’s Lutheran Church in New Ulm, Minnesota. To receive God’s Word for You via e-mail, please visit the St. Paul’s Lutheran Church website.


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