1 Chronicles 12:34 recorded that 1000 commanders from Naphtali joined David, bringing 37,000 troops with them. That means that each commander only brought an average of 37 people with them. Why is this?

What does a "commander" indicate in this case? Were these low-ranking officers, or were they not able to convince all of their men to defect to David? Why did they bring so few people with them?

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    The modern equivalent would be that of a platoon.
    – Lucian
    Commented Feb 6, 2018 at 4:46

1 Answer 1


Of course, we only know what is said, but I will provide my thoughts.

The captains likely had training in battle tactics and the shield and spear bearers refer to soldiers. This would be the equivalent of the USA having their own foot soldiers sent from each state, but the captains all being sent from New York, because that is where the West Point military academy is. These leaders may have helped lead all the soldiers, not just the 37,000 spearmen.

Alternatively, It may indicate that the captains all came with their own general infantry, each with a few hundred to a few thousand under them, and the spear and shield battalion was their own "special forces" not under those 1000 captains.

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