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Joab's conquest of the children of Ammon was complete. They were despoiled of their possessions and reduced to servitude. There is practically no doubt that this is the meaning of the story as it is written here. In the Revised Version, verse 1 Chronicles 20:3, if the italicized word "them" is omitted, this sense is at once apparent. The people were put to the menial work of cutting with saws, with harrows, and with axes. The last mention of David's wars by the chronicler occupies the latter half of this chapter. It tells of the defeat of the Philistines at Gezer.
There is a statement in the first verse which is full of significance. "But David tarried at Jerusalem." That is the only reference in this Book to the most awful sin and failure of David's career. Its insertion would have no meaning in the purpose of this Book, but we ought not to allow ourselves to forget the warning it affords. Nothing is more subtly dangerous to the man of faith than to remain inactive when the business of God demands that he be out on the field of conflict. How many have found the place of ease to be of deadliest peril when the enterprises of God were calling them to strenuous endeavor. It is a very old adage, and very simple, and we are inclined to smile at it, but it is well to remember, not only in childhood, but to the end of the pathway, that Satan finds some mischief still For idle hands to do.
If I ought to be at Rabbah with the army, and am not, some Bathsheba waits to work my ruin.
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Morgan, G. Campbell. "Commentary on 1 Chronicles 20". "Morgan's Exposition on the Bible". https://www.studylight.org/
the Week of Proper 15 / Ordinary 20