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Monday, June 24th, 2024
the Week of Proper 7 / Ordinary 12
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Bible Commentaries
1 Chronicles 20

Smith's Bible CommentarySmith's Commentary

Verses 1-8

By Chuck Smith

And it came to pass, after the year was expired, and the time that the kings go out to battle, Joab led forth the power of the army, and he wasted the country of the children of Ammon, and came and besieged Rabbah. But David tarried at Jerusalem. And Joab smote Rabbah, and destroyed it. And David took the crown of their king from off his head, and found it to weigh a talent of gold, and there were precious stones in it; and it was set upon David's head: and he brought also exceeding much spoil out of the city. And he brought out the people that were in it, and cut them with saws, and with harrows of iron, and with axes. Even so dealt David with all the cities of the children of Ammon. And David and all the people returned to Jerusalem ( 1 Chronicles 20:1-3 ).

Now there is seemingly a discrepancy in the story here. First of all, the time of year when they went out to war. There were times of the year which were better for fighting than other times of the year, and so they just had time. This is the time to go to war. They had appointed times for warfare. We just fight all the time, but in those days there were just certain periods, you know, get the crops all in, everything is all set. Now let's go out and fight for a while before the spring planting. And so the times for the war.

Now the seeming discrepancy is that Joab went out against the Ammonites, fought and defeated the city of Rabbah, and David stayed in Jerusalem. But then we have David returning to Jerusalem with the crown and the jewels of the crown upon his head. So we go back to Samuel for clarification, and we find in the book of Samuel that it gives us just a little fuller insight on this story, how that Joab went against the king of the Ammonites. He came to Rabbah and he saw that the city was delivered into his hand. In other words, he had more or less taken the city and he sent a message back to David and he said, "You know, the city is ready to fall. Come and lead the army in the actual capture of the city lest they say that Joab captured the city." And so it's a very magnanimous act on the part of Joab in sending to David to let David be the actual conqueror of the city. So David then went on and led the forces as the city of Rabbah fell to David, and they took the beautiful crown embedded with jewel that was worn by the king of Rabbah and put it then upon David's head. And David and all of them returned back to Jerusalem.

And so as often is the case, a seeming discrepancy of the Scripture has a very simple explanation. It is interesting how that so many people get all upset because they imagine there to be these contradictions in the Scripture and all. And they point out these things, but yet if you dig a little bit, you'll usually find an extremely simple explanation for the apparent difficulties that people are always finding in the Scripture. And this, of course, as I say is really told about in Second Samuel, chapter twelve, and the story is amplified a little bit more so we find out exactly what did happen.

Now in verses four through eight we have the final conquest of David over the Philistines and the slaying of some more of the giants, no doubt relatives to Goliath, and the one with the twenty-four fingers and toes. That is, six on each hand and six on each foot. That is not really too unusual a thing for a child to be born with six toes. They usually amputate it immediately upon birth and it makes no difference. It's just that it's sort of odd to have six toes and so they'll amputate the sixth one.


Bibliographical Information
Smith, Charles Ward. "Commentary on 1 Chronicles 20". "Smith's Bible Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/csc/1-chronicles-20.html. 2014.
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