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God’s Word for You

1 Chronicles 12:19-22 They fell in with him

by Pastor Timothy Smith on Wednesday, December 6, 2023

19 Also, Manasseh fell in with David when he went with the Philistines to fight against Saul. He and his men did not help the Philistines because, after consultation, their rulers sent him away. They said, “It will cost us our heads if he deserts to his master Saul.” 20 When David went to Ziklag, these were the men of Manasseh who defected to him: Adnah, Jozabad, Jediael, Michael, Jozabad, Elihu and Zillethai, leaders of units of a thousand in Manasseh. 21 They helped David against raiding bands, for all of them were brave warriors, and they were commanders in his army. 22 Every day men came to help David, until he had a great army, like an army of God.

These verses do not require much explaining. Another group, this one from Manasseh, also “fell in” with David during the 18 months when he governed Ziklag before Saul’s death. This was on account of the opposition by the Philistine commanders to having David with them when they made war on Saul. They were far more concerned about David behind them than Saul ahead of them, and Achish, the King of Gath, sent David and his men away.

The seven colonels (leaders of a thousand) are named, and they were the leaders of the men of Manasseh within David’s ranks. There is also the mention of the daily trickle of men that joined David at Ziklag, increasing his army, little by little, from around 400 men (1 Samuel 22:2) to more than 600 (1 Samuel 30:9).

Many commentators, ancient and modern, are convinced that the raiding bands in verse 21 is a reference to the Amalekites that continued to be a problem in the area and that “they” in verse 21 refers to these new troops from Manasseh. Their raiding bands even sacked and burned Ziklag when David was away (1 Samuel 30:1-2), and captured the wives of David’s mighty men, including David’s two wives, Ahinoam and Abigail. When David sought help from the Lord, he was told to pursue them, and he recaptured “everything the Amalekites had taken, including his two wives” (1 Samuel 30:18).

As we see more and more Israelites flocking to David, we can easily be reminded of the Israelites who flocked to Jesus for healing and to listen to his preaching. “Large crowds came to him, bringing the lame with them, the crippled, the blind, the mute, and many others. They laid them at his feet and he healed them, so that the crowd was amazed when they saw the mute speaking, the crippled healed, the lame walking, and the blind seeing; and they glorified the God of Israel” (Matthew 15:30-31).

Like the warriors who left Saul and fell in with David, those people in the hills of Galilee turned away from the false teachings of the Pharisees and even worse unbelief of the Sadducees. They were hungry and thirsty for the true word of God. They ached to hear the gospel. Maybe it was that the Pharisees put on a great show with the most wonderful music of the day, long prayers off the cuff and an overall feeling of beauty. But where was the forgiveness of sins? “Hear and obey Christ!” Luther said. “This is the greatest service of God. Nothing else counts. For do what we will, what God has in heaven is better and more beautiful than anything we can do. Otherwise Saul would have delighted him, but God said, ‘Your worship is only an annoyance,’ although it was a beautiful service” (LW 54, Table Talk, p. 84). A man can have a deep and thorough knowledge of the Bible, but if he denies the things of faith and the simple presence of Jesus in the Sacrament, or if he rejects forgiveness in the body and blood of Christ, what does he have apart from a college degree? Little baptized children are better off than he is, and may God spare them from his thorny and wandering faith!

Just as the quality of the warriors who gathered around David made them like “an army of God” even though their numbers were small, so also it is our faith that counts, not our numbers—“faith expressing itself in love” (Galatians 5:6). Jesus said: “Do not be afraid, little flock, for your Father has been pleased to give you the kingdom” (Luke 12:32).

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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