1 Chronicles 27:1

Army Divisions

1 This is the list of the Israelites—heads of families, commanders of thousands and commanders of hundreds, and their officers, who served the king in all that concerned the army divisions that were on duty month by month throughout the year. Each division consisted of 24,000 men.

Read 1 Chronicles 27:1 Using Other Translations

Now the children of Israel after their number, to wit, the chief fathers and captains of thousands and hundreds, and their officers that served the king in any matter of the courses, which came in and went out month by month throughout all the months of the year, of every course were twenty and four thousand.
This is the number of the people of Israel, the heads of fathers' houses, the commanders of thousands and hundreds, and their officers who served the king in all matters concerning the divisions that came and went, month after month throughout the year, each division numbering 24,000:
This is the list of Israelite generals and captains, and their officers, who served the king by supervising the army divisions that were on duty each month of the year. Each division served for one month and had 24,000 troops.

What does 1 Chronicles 27:1 mean?

John Gill's Exposition of the Bible
1 Chronicles 27:1

Now the children of Israel after their number
Not the whole body of the people, but the militia of the nation; for after the account of the division of the priests and Levites into courses, follows an account of the militia of the nation, being divided also into monthly courses; which, though done in the beginning of David's reign, as Kimchi and Jarchi observe, yet is here related; and that it was so soon is clear from the instance of Asahel, who was killed while David was king in Hebron, ( 1 Chronicles 27:7 ) to wit,

the chief fathers;
the chief men in the tribes, the princes of them, not the natural fathers of the soldiers in each course, as a learned man suggests F9: since it can never be thought that such a number sprung from those as made a course of 24,000; for they are distinct from the captains and officers after mentioned, under which the soldiers were; besides, why should they be called "chief fathers?" these, no doubt, were the general officers or princes, under which the captains and inferior officers were:

and captains of thousands and hundreds;
in the several tribes:

and their officers;
that were under them:

that served the king in any matter of the courses, which came in and
went out month by month, throughout all the months of the year;
by which it appears that the militia of the kingdom was divided into twelve courses, which served each month by turns; when one went out another came in; by which means the king was well supported and guarded, and had an army at once at command upon any insurrection or war that might arise; and each course serving but one month in a year, it was no great burden upon them, even if they maintained themselves, since they were at leisure, the other eleven months, to attend to their business; and especially if it was, as Jarchi observes, that not the poor but the rich were selected for this service:

of every course were twenty and four thousand;
so that the twelve courses amounted to 288,000 men.


FOOTNOTES:

F9 Delaney's Life of King David, vol. 1. p. 319.
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