When there are two leaders both claiming to be King, it can be terrible times. Worse in some places where choosing sides meant becoming an enemy of the other, and even a potential death sentence.
This was the case when Saul drove out David. Saul had banned David from his presence (1 Chr 12:1), but many of the people understood that he was the anointed of God to lead Israel when the time was right. People were in a precarious decision on whether they were to give their allegiance to Saul, or to David. And honestly whenever that happens in any nation in history, the big decision is where will the military align it’s allegiance?
The initial group of people to rally around David where the malcontents (1 Sam 22:2). They were misfits but they were loyal. But when David was in Ziklag after being banned by Saul, soldiers began to put their allegiance with David.
First it was a group of warriors who came from all over and could shoot arrows from a bow and sling stones with both their right and left hands. Their names are listed here. Then some Gadites defected to David at his stronghold and they were experts with shield and spear. They were mighty warriors in their own right, with the least of them capable of taking on 100 and the greatest of them a match for 1000 (1 Chr 12:14-15).
Next were the Benjamines and men from Judah who became leaders of his troops. Then “some Manassites defected to David when he with the Philistines to fight Saul” 1 Chr 12:19). They were “all brave warriors and commanders” (1 Chr 12:21).
Then without effort from David at all, might men of valor and skill came to David. It was like a flood of warriors:
“At that time, men came day after day to help David until there was a great army, like an army of God” (1 Chr 12:22).
When David was in Hebron it continued. The best and most skilled warriors from the various tribes defected and committed their allegiance to David. This included even men of Issachar who “understood the times and knew what Israel should do” (1 Chr 12:32).
All of these men came to serve under David. They came to him “determined to make David king over all Israel” (1 Chr 12:38).
If that wasn’t enough, the LORD also provided for them logistically.
“In addition, their neighbors from as far away as Issachar, Zebulun, and Naphtali came and brought food on donkeys, camels, mules and oxen–abundant provisions of flour, fig cakes, raisins, wine and oil, oxen and sheep” (1 Chr 12:40).
It was just crazy. God added soldiers and even made sure there was provision. Certainly the LORD’s hand was upon David.
“Indeed, there was joy in Israel” (1 Chr 12:40).
David was just a man running from Saul. But God had chosen him to lead. And without effort on his part, an army was given to him and the means to take care of that army. And not just any army but the very best soldiers, the most courageous leaders, mighty men, wise men and more.
Where God is blessing and it is His will, he will make the way of provision.