The solemn processions (Ps 68:24-68:27)

“Your solemn processions are seen!

O God!

The processions

Of my God,

My King,

Into the sanctuary!

The singers are in front.

The musicians are last.

Between them are girls playing tambourines.

‘Bless God in the great congregation!

Yahweh!

O you who are of Israel’s fountain!’

There is Benjamin,

The least of them,

In the lead.

The princes of Judah are in a body.

The princes of Zebulun are there.

The princes of Naphtali are there.”

This is a description of a great procession into the Temple area. Yahweh is king and God. They head into the sanctuary area. The singers are in front with the musicians last, as girls with tambourines are in the middle. They are there to bless God who is the fountain and foundation of Israel. Only 4 tribes are mentioned, 2 from the north, Zebulun and Naphtali, and 2 from the south. Benjamin was the small tribe that King Saul had come from, while King David was from Judah. Thus the solemn march to the temple took place.

The Passover lamb (2 Chr 30:15-30:20)

“They slaughtered the Passover lamb on the fourteenth day of the second month. The priests and the Levites were ashamed. They sanctified themselves. They brought burnt offerings into the house of Yahweh. They took their accustomed posts according to the Law of Moses, the man of God. The priests dashed the blood that they received from the hands of the Levites. For there were many in the assembly who had not sanctified themselves. Therefore the Levites had to slaughter the Passover lamb for everyone who was not clean, to make it holy to Yahweh. A multitude of the people, many of them from Ephraim, Manasseh, Issachar, and Zebulun, had not cleansed themselves, yet they ate the Passover otherwise than as prescribed. But King Hezekiah prayed for them, saying.

‘The good Yahweh pardon all

Who set their hearts to seek God,

Yahweh the God of their ancestors,

Even though not in accordance

With the sanctuary’s rules of cleanness.’

Yahweh heard King Hezekiah. He healed the people.”

They celebrated the Passover on the 14th day of the 2nd month instead of the 1st month. There were problems with such a large collection of people. There were not enough priests so that Levites had to help out. Some of the northern tribe people were not purified and therefore unclean. King Hezekiah prayed that God would forgive those who were unclean. He was asking for a dispensation for those who came to the Passover unclean. Yahweh heard his voice. He healed his people.

The refusal of some of the northern tribes (2 Chr 30:10-30:14)

“So the couriers went from city to city through the country of Ephraim and Manasseh, and as far as Zebulun. However, they laughed at them. They scorned them. They mocked them. Only a few men from Asher, Manasseh, and Zebulun humbled themselves and came to Jerusalem. The hand of God was also on Judah to give them one heart to do what the king and the officials commanded by the word of Yahweh. Many people came together in Jerusalem to keep the festival of unleavened bread in the second month, a very great assembly. They set to work. They removed the altars that were in Jerusalem. All the altars for offering incense they took away and threw them into the Kidron valley.”

King Hezekiah had hoped that the fall of Samaria might contribute to the unification of Yahweh worship. However, most of the northern tribes scorned the messengers. Only a few from Asher, Manasseh, and Zebulun came to Jerusalem. However, the land of Judah responded more favorably. There was a great assembly in Jerusalem for the feast of the unleavened bread. They tore down all the altars of the high places of worship that were not to Yahweh. Once again, they brought them to the junk heap that was in the Kidron valley.

Various tribal leaders (1 Chr 27:16-27:22)

“Over the tribes of Israel,

For the Reubenites Eliezer son of Zichri was chief officer.

For the Simeonites, Shephatiah son of Maacah was chief officer.

For Levi, Hashabiah son of Kemuel was chief officer.

For Aaron, Zadok was chief officer.

For Judah, Elihu, one of David’s brothers was chief officer.

For Issachar, Omri son of Michael was chief officer.

For Zebulun, Ishmaiah son of Obadiah was chief officer.

For Naphtali, Jeremoth son of Azriel was chief officer.

For the Ephraimites, Hoshea son of Azaziah was chief officer.

For the half-tribe of Manasseh, Joel son of Pedaiah was chief officer.

For the half-tribe of Manasseh in Gilead, Iddo son of Zechariah was chief officer.

For Benjamin, Jaasiel son of Abner was chief officer.

For Dan, Azarel son of Jeroham was chief officer.

These were the leaders of the tribes of Israel.”

Notice first, that there is no leader for Gad or Asher. Aaron also had a separate leader. Although there are 10 different people with the name of (1) Eliezer, this son of Zichri is only mentioned here. Even though there are 7 different people with the name of (2) Shephatiah, this son of Maacah is only mentioned here. This (3) Hashabiah son of Kemuel may be the same as the Levite mentioned earlier in this book, but there were a lot of Levites with this name. (4) Zadok was the high priest. (5) Elihu was not really a blood brother of King David. There were 3 others with the name of (6) Omri, but this Omri was not a king. (7) Ishmaiah son of Obadiah may have been one of the “Thirty” warriors of David. (8) Jeremoth son of Azriel may have been one of the warriors mentioned in chapter 25. There were 3 other people with the name of Hoshea, including a king, but not this (9) Hoshea son of Azaziah. Although Joel was a popular name of over 14 people, including a prophet, this (10) Joel son of Pedaiah only appears here. 6 different biblical people have the name of Iddo, but this (11) Iddo son of Zechariah only appears here. There is only 1 other Jaasiel besides this (12) Jaasiel son of Abner. This (13) Azarel son of Jeroham may be the same one mentioned in chapter 25.

 

Resources for the army of David (1 Chr 12:38-12:41)

“All these warriors, arrayed in battle order, came to Hebron with full intent to make David king over all Israel. Likewise all the rest of Israel were of a single mind to make David king. They were there with David for three days, eating and drinking, for their kindred had provided for them. Also their neighbors, from as far as Issachar, Zebulun, and Naphtali came bringing food on donkeys, camels, mules, and oxen, abundant provisions of meal, cakes of figs, clusters of raisins, wine, oil, oxen and sheep, for there was joy in Israel.”

This gathering would have been close to a half-million people. Obviously, it only lasted a couple of days. Provisions came from all over, but especially from the northern tribes of Issachar, Zebulun, and Naphtali. They used all the animals of transportation, donkeys, camels, mules, and oxen. They had all kinds of meal, cakes, raisons, oil, and meat. This was a time of great jubilation in Hebron.

The twelve tribes of Israel contribute to David’s army (1 Chr 12:23-12:37)

“These are the numbers of the divisions of the armed troops, who came to David in Hebron, to turn the kingdom of Saul over to him, according to the word of Yahweh. The people of Judah bearing shield and spear were six thousand eight hundred armed troops. Of the Simeonites, mighty warriors, there were seven thousand one hundred. Of the Levites, there were four thousand six hundred. The prince Jehoiada, of the house of Aaron, had with him three thousand seven hundred. Zadok, a young man mighty in valor, had twenty-two commanders from his own father’s house. Of the Benjaminites, the kindred of Saul, there were three thousand, of whom the majority had hitherto kept their allegiance to the house of Saul. Of the Ephraimites there were twenty thousand eight hundred, mighty men of valor famous men in their fathers’ houses. Of the half-tribe of Manasseh there were eighteen thousand, who were expressly named to come and make David king. Of Issachar men who had understanding of the times, to know what Israel ought to do, there were two hundred chiefs, and all their kinsmen under their command. Of Zebulun fifty thousand seasoned troops came, equipped for battle with all the weapons of war, to help David with singleness of purpose. Of Naphtali there were a thousand commanders with whom were thirty-seven thousand men armed with shield and spear. Of the Danites there were twenty-eight thousand six hundred men equipped for battle. Of Asher there were forty thousand seasoned troops ready for battle. Of the Reubenites and Gadites and the half-tribe of Manasseh from beyond the Jordan, there were one hundred and twenty thousand men armed with all the weapons of war.”

Up to now, there was a lot about the leaders and officer, here there is remarkable gathering of ground troops. The numbers from the northern tribes and the east Jordan tribes are staggering unrealistic, equaling over 300,000 troops, while the southern tribes are small in comparison, around 20,000. In fact, it would have been difficult to sustain this large gathering of troops. Each tribe, including the Levites, contributed to the army of Israel with ground troops. Here are the numbers:

  • Judah = 6,800 troops
  • Simeonites = 7,100 troops
  • Levites = 4,600 troops
  • Benjaminites = 3,000 troops
  • Ephraimites = 20,800 troops
  • Half tribe of Manasseh = 18,000 troops
  • Issachar = 200 chiefs and their men
  • Zebulun = 50,000 troops
  • Naphtali = 1.000 commanders and 37,000 troops
  • Danites = 28,000 troops
  • Asher = 40,000 troops
  • Reubenites, Gadites, half tribe of Manasseh = 120,000 troops.

The dwelling place of the Merarite Levites (1 Chr 6:63-6:63)

“To the Merarites according to their families were allotted twelve towns out of the tribes of Reuben, Gad, and Zebulun.”

Merari was the 3rd son of Levi who received 12 towns on the east side of the Jordan River. Somehow Zebulun was included with this group, but they were on the west side of the Jordan. Once again, there is no mention of their names as in Joshua, chapter 21.


The descendents of Israel (1 Chr 2:1-2:2)

“These are the sons of Israel, Reuben, Simeon, Levi, Judah, Issachar, Zebulun, Dan, Joseph, Benjamin, Naphtali, Gad, and Asher.”

The first listing of the 12 tribes of Israel is found in Genesis, chapter 35, where they are listed by their mother so that you could understand where the 12 tribes came from. Incidentally here in this book Jacob is always called Israel, never Jacob. The opposite is true in Genesis, where they are generally called the sons of Jacob. Here in Chronicles, there is no mention of the four different wives of Jacob. Thus you had the 11 clans of Esau or Edom and the 12 tribes of Jacob or Israel. The twelve clans of Israel had 4 different mothers. Leah was the mother of six sons or half of the tribes with (1) Reuben, (2) Simeon, (3) Levi, (4) Judah, (5) Issachar, and (6) Zebulun. Rachel was the mother of (7) Joseph and (8) Benjamin. Bilhah was the mother of (9) Dan and (10) Naphtali. Zilpah was the mother of (11) Gad and (12) Asher. The two maid servants, Bilhah and Zilpah, contributed to a third of the house of Israel. More information about these people can be found in chapters 29 and 30 of Genesis.

Elon (Judg 12:11-12:12)

“After Ibzan, Elon the Zebulunite judged Israel. He judged Israel for ten years. Then Elon the Zebulunite died. He was buried at Aijalon in the land of Zebulun.”

Elon was from Zebulun also. He was judge for 10 years before he died. He is judge #10. He was buried in Aijalon, in Zebulun, which is different from the city that was given to Dan, a Levite city, where Benjamin and Ephraim also had some impact. What is interesting about these lesser known judges is how random they are. They do not seem to connect with each other. There is no mention of ‘the Spirit of Yahweh’ coming upon them. They also are judges for a short period of time.

Deborah (Judg 4:4-4:10)

“At that time Deborah a prophetess, wife of Lappidoth, was judging Israel. She used to sit under the palm of Deborah between Ramah and Bethel in the hill country of Ephraim. Israelites came up to her for judgment. She sent and summoned Barak son of Abinoam from Kedesh in Naphtali. She said to him. ‘Yahweh, the God of Israel, commands you to go take a position at Mount Tabor, bringing ten thousand from the tribe of Naphtali and the tribe of Zebulun. I will draw out Sisera, the general of Jabin’s army, to meet you by the Wadi Kishon with his chariots and his troops. I will give him into your hand.’ Barak said to her. ‘If you will go with me, I will go. But if you will not go with me, I will not go.’ She said. ‘I will surely go with you. Nevertheless, the road on which you are going will not lead to your glory, for Yahweh will sell Sisera into the hand of a woman.’ Then Deborah got up and went with Barak to Kedesh. Barak summoned Zebulun and Naphtali to Kedesh. Ten thousand warriors went up behind him. Deborah went up with him also.”

Deborah, a married woman prophet plays a major role here. This is a female judge, who is supposedly the 4th judge in Israel. She lived in Ephraim near Bethel. Barak was a warrior from Naphtali and not her husband. Barak wanted her to go with him. She said she would if he got the troops and let a women kill Sisera, the commander of Jabin’s army. He got 10,000 troops from Zebulun and Naphtali. So out they went to battle.