Lectionary Calendar
Monday, June 17th, 2024
the Week of Proper 6 / Ordinary 11
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Bible Commentaries
1 Chronicles 20

Coffman's Commentaries on the BibleCoffman's Commentaries

Verses 1-3

DAVID’S BARBAROUS TREATMENT OF THE AMMONITES;
MORE WAR WITH THE PHILISTINES;
MORE INFORMATION REGARDING THE GIANTS OF GATH;
TRAGIC END OF THE SIEGE OF RABBAH

“And it came to pass at the time of the return of the year, at the time when kings go out to battle, that Joab led forth the army, and wasted the country of the children of Ammon, and came and besieged Rabbah. But David tarried at Jerusalem. And Joab smote Rabbah, and overthrew it. And David took the crown of their king from off his head, and found in it the weight of a talent of gold; and there were precious stones in it; and it was set upon David’s head: and he brought forth the spoil of the city, exceeding much. And he brought forth the people that were therein, and cut them with saws and harrows of iron, and with axes. And thus did David to all the cities of the children of Ammon. And David and all the people returned to Jerusalem.”

These verses are parallel with 2 Samuel 11:1 and 2 Samuel 12:26; 2 Samuel 12:30-31; and our comments on what is written here are on pages 135, 163-166. We might add here that this chapter marks a terrible turning point in David’s life. Not only is there the matter of his torturing the Ammonites, but his adultery with Bathsheba, and his heartless murder of Uriah the Hittite and seventeen of his fellow-soldiers in a vain effort to hide his sin - all took place in connection with this siege of Rabbah. The bad days of David’s life began right here.

Verses 4-8

WAR WITH THE PHILISTINES; MORE ABOUT THE GIANTS

“And it came to pass after this, that there arose a war at Gezer with the Philistines: the Sibbecai the Hushathite slew Sippai of the sons of the giants; and they were subdued. And there was again war with the Philistines; and Elhanan the son of Jair slew Lahmi the brother of Goliath the Gittite, the staff of whose spear was like a weaver’s beam. And there was again war at Gath, where was a man of great stature, whose fingers and toes were four and twenty, six on each hand, and six on each foot; and he also was born unto the giant. And when he defied Israel, Jonathan the son of Shimea David’s brother slew him. These were born unto the giant in Gath; and they fell by the hand of David, and by the hand of his servants.”

There was not merely one Goliath (or giant); there was an entire family of them; and there is no reason whatever to question the accuracy of what the Chronicler has written here. (See my comments further on the Giants of Gath in my commentary on 2 Samuel, pp. 302-303.) Critical objections to the Chronicler’s report here are grounded in their prior hatred of the witness borne in the Chronicles to the authenticity of the Books of Moses. The Chronicler did not “create” this record of several giants; he merely reported the truth.

Bibliographical Information
Coffman, James Burton. "Commentary on 1 Chronicles 20". "Coffman's Commentaries on the Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/bcc/1-chronicles-20.html. Abilene Christian University Press, Abilene, Texas, USA. 1983-1999.
 
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