According to 1 Chronicles 12 some Levites went to join David in his fight against raiding parties and turning the kingdom over to him.

1 Chronicles 12:26 NIV

26 from Levi—4,600, 27 including Jehoiada, leader of the family of Aaron, with 3,700 men, 28 and Zadok, a brave young warrior, with 22 officers from his family;

In the previous narrative the Levites had been set aside doing work of the tabernacle

Numbers 3:5-9 NIV

5 The Lord said to Moses, 6 “Bring the tribe of Levi and present them to Aaron the priest to assist him. 7 They are to perform duties for him and for the whole community at the tent of meeting by doing the work of the tabernacle. 8 They are to take care of all the furnishings of the tent of meeting, fulfilling the obligations of the Israelites by doing the work of the tabernacle. 9 Give the Levites to Aaron and his sons; they are the Israelites who are to be given wholly to him.[a

Did the Levites participate in David's wars?

1 Answer 1


Just a chapter earlier, 1 Chronicles 11 describes David becomes king over Israel and David conquers Jerusalem. Then it starts to list David’s mighty warriors and continues to chapter 12 and list more tribes. It is in this context that we find in 1 Chronicles 12:

23These are the numbers of the men armed for battle who came to David at Hebron to turn Saul’s kingdom over to him, as the Lord had said:

24from Judah, carrying shield and spear—6,800 armed for battle;

25from Simeon, warriors ready for battle—7,100;

26from Levi—4,600, 27including Jehoiada, leader of the family of Aaron, with 3,700 men, 28and Zadok, a brave young warrior, with 22 officers from his family;

The question is this: Did David use the Levites to combat Saul's soldiers or to conquer Jerusalem as regular army deployments?

I don't think so because David didn't need them to. The primary purpose of these martial Levites is described earlier in chapter 9:

19 Shallum son of Kore, the son of Ebiasaph, the son of Korah, and his fellow gatekeepers from his family (the Korahites) were responsible for guarding the thresholds of the tent just as their ancestors had been responsible for guarding the entrance to the dwelling of the LORD.

These guarding duties are consistent with Numbers 3:5-9.

Did the Levites fight in David's wars?

No, I don't think so, at least not as a regular routine service. These armed Levites were assigned to protect the tabernacle from intruders, domestic or foreign.

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