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Bible Commentaries
1 Chronicles 20

Kingcomments on the Whole BibleKingcomments

Verses 1-3

David Conquers Rabbah

The history of Joab’s conquest of Rabbah is also described in 2 Samuel 11-12. The words of 1 Chronicles 20:1 here we also read in 2 Samuel 11 (2 Samuel 11:1). In the section of 2 Samuel 11:2-12:25 the sin of David is then written with Bathsheba. We find nothing about that here. From 2 Samuel 12:26 onwards it is further described what we read here in 1 Chronicles 20 from 1 Chronicles 20:2.

That has to do with God’s intention with the books of Chronicles. In these books God describes the history of His people and of His own as it proceeds according to His purpose. Therefore, in the books of Chronicles the weaknesses and sins of the believers are often ignored. That fits with this book, because we see in it the fulfillment of the ways and thoughts of God in the house of His chosen king.

In the story of the conquest of Rabbah, the emphasis is on the reign of David (1 Chronicles 20:2-Leviticus :). Joab besieges Rabbah, but for the rest we see what David does. He takes the crown of the defeated enemy. This crown represents a great value. This crown is put on his head. It refers to the appearance of the Lord Jesus to accept His dominion. When that moment is there, He will appear, with “on His head many diadems” (Revelation 19:12).

Verses 4-8

Victories Over the Philistines

That this is about the majesty and splendor of David in his reign, we also see in the victories over some Philistine giants. In 2 Samuel these victories are only described in 2 Samuel 21 (2 Samuel 21:15-Song of Solomon :), but here they are mentioned immediately after the victory over the Ammonites and Rabbah. The Philistine giants mentioned here are defeated by some of David’s heroes. This marks the high point of David’s reign.

In Scripture, giants are always connected with evil, man’s revolt against God. A giant is the symbol of pride and arrogance. A giant is opposite to the small and humble, in which God is pleased and where He dwells. The giant is a picture of satanic deception, as we see in Goliath. In the giants who are the enemies of David here, we can see misleading, violent powers, living in a system of error, as the Philistines represent. It has to do with “the mystery of lawlessness” (2 Thessalonians 2:7) which works in the time of Christianity and manifests itself ever more clearly.

Sibbecai (1 Chronicles 20:4) is one of David’s commanders (1 Chronicles 27:11) and is mentioned in the list of David’s mighty men (1 Chronicles 11:29). The list does not mention any special act by him. One of his actions is mentioned here. He defeats the giant Sippai with the additional effect that all Philistines are subdued. To defeat that one is like to defeat all. This can also be seen in the defeat of Goliath by David (1 Samuel 17:51-1 Thessalonians :).

Elhanan (1 Chronicles 20:5) is also mentioned in the list of David’s mighty men (1 Chronicles 11:26). He defeats a Philistine giant who is firstly a brother of Goliath and secondly, like Goliath, has a spear like a weaver’s beam (1 Samuel 17:7). Elhanan is not impressed and defeats him. He follows the example of his king and kills Goliath’s brother.

The third Philistine giant is defeated by Jonathan (1 Chronicles 20:6-Judges :). Jonathan means ‘gift of the LORD’. The ultimate gift of God is the Lord Jesus. He will throw the beast from the book of Revelation, to which this Philistine giant refers, the dictator of the united Europe, together with his ally, the antichrist or false prophet in Israel, into hell (Revelation 19:20). This giant is characterized by the number six (1 Chronicles 20:6). That is also the number that characterizes the beast that comes out of the earth. We read from him that the number of his name is the number “of a man; and his number is six hundred and sixty-six” (Revelation 13:17-Job :).

The special feature of this giant is still said to be that he taunts Israel. He roars in pride against the people of God. That is a characteristic of the other beast from Revelation 13, the beast from the sea. From that beast we read that “he opens his mouth in blasphemies against … those who dwell in heaven”, that is to say against God’s people.

The giants who are killed fall “by the hand of David and by the hand of his servants” (1 Chronicles 20:8). While it is in fact some of David’s mighty men who kill the giants (1 Chronicles 20:4-Judges :), it is also said that they fall through David’s hand. Here we see behind the performance of the mighty men the great heroic deed of David. David has killed the great giant Goliath. The mighty men follow in his footsteps and do what he did. Their deeds show what David has done. In the same way, we can be more than victors over our enemies by Him Who has gained the great victory over the archenemy of God and His own.

Bibliographical Information
de Koning, Ger. Commentaar op 1 Chronicles 20". "Kingcomments on the Whole Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/kng/1-chronicles-20.html. 'Stichting Titus' / 'Stichting Uitgeverij Daniël', Zwolle, Nederland. 2021.
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