I Chronicles – Chapter 11

If The Crown Fits...

By Rabbi Jack Abramowitz

David had ruled over Judah for seven years, when representatives of all the Tribes came to him in Hebron and crowned him king over the entire nation. (The delegation included representatives from Saul’s Tribe, Benjamin; even they acknowledged David’s rule.) The people recognized that G-d had appointed David to lead the entire nation, not just his own Tribe, so they anointed him king over them, just as the prophet Samuel had done.

David returned with the people to Jerusalem, which had then contained a Jebusite stronghold. The Jebusites taunted David that he would not be able to conquer them, so he promised a promotion to the first of his soldiers to fell one of the enemies. Yoav, one of David’s officers, accomplished this, so David made him a chief. The conquered fortress became known as “The City of David.” Together, David and Yoav built up the city of Jerusalem.

At this point, we are told that G-d was with David, who thrived in his role as king. In verses 11-47 (i.e., the rest of the chapter), we are given a list of David’s mightiest warriors, similar to the list provided in II Samuel chapter 23. As we’ve come to expect, there is some variation among the names, plus the last few verses are unique to the version of the list found in this Book.

One discrepancy involves a battle with the Philistines by a certain field. The accounts in Chronicles vary in the warrior credited, the exact location and even in the crop in the field. While it is possible to reconcile each of these, it is also possible to assume that the two accounts are discussing different (albeit superficially similar) skirmishes.

This chapter also recounts the incident in which David’s forces were facing the enemy near his hometown of Bethlehem. When David longed for some water from his boyhood well, three of his officers risked capture to acquire it for him. David could not bring himself to drink water obtained through such selfless bravery, so he poured it out as a libation to G-d.

The deeds of the various warriors are recapped here. One of the most noteworthy is Benayah, who fought a lion in a pit, in the snow. He also faced a huge Egyptian warrior. Benayah was only armed with a staff but he managed to seize the enemy’s spear and kill him with it.

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