Ezra continues his tribute to the warriors who served during the time of King Saul and King David. This chapter is shorter than the stories we read about the two kings and their great conflict in 1 Samuel, yet it expands on a few things we may not have realized while reading those stories. For one, I was astonished at how many people joined David after he was anointed Israel’s true and next king. Many of Saul’s own relatives (from the tribe of Benjamin) swore their allegiance to David, and according to the text in my NLT version, they were labeled as defectors. That’s serious business. I was amazed at the numbers of troops and warriors who joined David’s team. Just look at them! I didn’t count, but I estimated about 300,000 in all! And that doesn’t even include the soldiers’ families. I’m talking population here, more than warriors, because I flipped back to compare them to the number of Israelites who returned to Jerusalem after being exiled
to Babylon way, way, way after David’s time. You can find the number of the remnants in Chapter 9, and it totals a little less than 3,000 families. So, you can kind of assume, as I did in the post for Chapter 9, that there were about 10,000-ish people who returned to Israel. That’s small potatoes compared to the more than 300,000 people who occupied the land at one time. And remember, many Israelites remained loyal to Saul, so we’re only getting about half the picture of the population of Israel during King David and King Saul’s time.
We also get a brief glimpse of the Holy Spirit being around in those days in verse 18. My text says, “Then the Spirit came upon Amasai, the leader of the Thirty, … “. I don’t have much to say other than I noticed it and underlined it. I love when I realize that the Holy Spirit was present as much then as He is now.
Writing prompt: back to the future
Go back to 1 Samuel. Now, read any chapter you fancy, and write about it, trying to mimic Ezra’s writing style.