... I come across a passage of Scripture which really stands out in my mind. Such is the case with the Scripture which follows:
I Chronicles 12:23 ¶ "And these are the numbers of the bands that were ready armed to the war, and came to David to Hebron, to turn the kingdom of Saul to him, according to the word of the LORD.
24 The children of Judah that bare shield and spear were six thousand and eight hundred, ready armed to the war.
25 Of the children of Simeon, mighty men of valour for the war, seven thousand and one hundred.
26 Of the children of Levi four thousand and six hundred.
27 And Jehoiada was the leader of the Aaronites, and with him were three thousand and seven hundred;
28 And Zadok, a young man mighty of valour, and of his father’s house twenty and two captains.
29 And of the children of Benjamin, the kindred of Saul, three thousand: for hitherto the greatest part of them had kept the ward of the house of Saul.
30 And of the children of Ephraim twenty thousand and eight hundred, mighty men of valour, famous throughout the house of their fathers.
31 And of the half tribe of Manasseh eighteen thousand, which were expressed by name, to come and make David king.
32 And of the children of Issachar, which were men that had understanding of the times, to know what Israel ought to do; the heads of them were two hundred; and all their brethren were at their commandment.
33 Of Zebulun, such as went forth to battle, expert in war, with all instruments of war, fifty thousand, which could keep rank: they were not of double heart.
34 And of Naphtali a thousand captains, and with them with shield and spear thirty and seven thousand.
35 And of the Danites expert in war twenty and eight thousand and six hundred.
36 And of Asher, such as went forth to battle, expert in war, forty thousand.
37 And on the other side of Jordan, of the Reubenites, and the Gadites, and of the half tribe of Manasseh, with all manner of instruments of war for the battle, an hundred and twenty thousand.
38 All these men of war, that could keep rank, came with a perfect heart to Hebron, to make David king over all Israel: and all the rest also of Israel were of one heart to make David king."
Here are some thoughts on this.
At this time, David was beginning the process of consolidating the nation under his rule - a process which would take some time. The list is an accounting of those fighting men who pledged their loyalty to him and joined up with him. I find several things of particular interest. First that this is not a standing army, as many nations boast of today. Rather, it is a collection of family militias. Each tribe was responsible for it's own basic protection except in instances of a tribe being outnumbered or there was a collective need for increased military presence. Note in the first verse cited that: "...they were armed ready to the war..." None of these showed up empty-handed.
Next, verses 26, 27, and 28 are of special interest to me and I would hope they are to other clergy. The tribe of Levi provided the priests for the nation. They were the religious leaders of that day in Israel. Armed, trained, and ready to the war. That has quite a contrast to today. Since the Civil War, it has been declared that clergy would be unarmed and considered non-combatants.(Such silliness.) Jehoiada was leader of the Aaronite fighters. Aaron being the first-ever priest when Moses lead the Israelites out of Egypt. Zadok another descendant who would later become priest during David's reign. From Zadok's family came 22 captains - leaders of men in warfare. They weren't placed there for performing the sacraments nor for the morale/welfare of others. Making up just slightly over 2.5% of the over all number, they were there nevertheless.
The 200 men of Issachar(v. 32) reveal something else, in my mind. Every military needs strategists, tacticians and those schooled in logistics. It's my belief that these 200 did just that. And they had a multitude at their disposal to aid in whatever effort.
Finally, there are the 50,000 from Zebulon's tribe - v. 33. Expertise comes from training and experience. These were those who went to war and came home to tell about it. They were cross-trained in the several implements of war of their day. Among them would be shield, sword, spear, sling, bow & arrow. Multi-talented men. Versatile men. Men who could adapt and could and did follow orders; men who knew that they needed to stand their ground for themselves as well as the men around them. These were men with a singular focus: winning or dying. They put victory over the enemy above everything else. They were convinced that they would be the ones "going home safe" at the end of the battle. Men like I want at my side when the free exchange of ideas is in full technicolor. Men that I would make every effort to emulate.
Get skills. Get defenses. Get comms. Get singularly focused. Get ready to the war.
BTW, my ecclesiastical friend - that applies to you too.
Prepping Preacher Chaplain IIIPSA