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ι.David’s Wars and Officers of State, especially his Victorious Battles with the Ammonites and the Philistines: 1 Chronicles 18-20
1 Chronicles 18:1 And after this it came to pass, that David smote the Philistines, and subdued them, and took Gath and her daughters out of the hand of the Philistines. 2And he smote Moab; and the Moabites became David’s servants, and brought gifts.
3And David smote Hadadezer1 king of Zobah towards Hamath, as he went to set up his sign at the river Euphrates. 4And David took from him a thousand chariots, and seven thousand horsemen, and twenty thousand footmen: and 5David lamed all the teams, but reserved of them a hundred teams. And the Syrians of Damascus2 came to help Hadadezer king of Zobah; and David slew 6of the Syrians twenty and two thousand men. And David put [men3] in Syria Damascus; and the Syrians became David’s servants, and brought gifts: and the Lord preserved David wherever he went. 7And David took the arms of gold that were on the servants of Hadadezer, and brought them to Jerusalem. 8And from Tibhath and from Chun, cities of Hadadezer, David took very much brass, of which Solomon made the brazen sea, and the pillars, and the brazen vessels.
9And Tou king of Hamath heard that David had smitten all the host of Hadadezer king of Zobah. And 10he sent Hadoram his son to King David, to greet him and to bless him, because he had fought against Hadadezer and smitten him; for Tou was at war with Hadadezer; and [with him] all manner11of vessels of gold, and silver, and brass. These also King David dedicated unto the Lord, with the silver and the gold that he had taken from all the nations, from Edom, and from Moab, and from the sons of Ammon, and from the Philistines, and from Amalek.
12And Abshai the son of Zeruiah slew of Edom in the valley of salt eighteen thousand. 13And he put garrisons in Edom; and all the Edomites became servants of David: and the Lord preserved David wherever he went.
14And David reigned over all Israel, and executed judgment and justice for all his people. 15And Joab the son of Zeruiah was over the host; and Jehoshaphat the son of Ahilud was recorder. 16And Zadok the son of Ahitub, and Abimelech4 the son of Abiathar, were priests; and Shavsha was scribe. 17And Benaiah the son of Jehoiada was over the Cherethi and Pelethi; and David’s sons were the chief beside the king.
1 Chronicles 19:1 And it came to pass after this, that Nahash king of the sons of Ammondied, and his son reigned in his stead. 2And David said, I will show kindness unto Hanun the son of Nahash, because his father showed kindness to me; and David sent messengers to comfort him concerning his father: and the servants of 3David came to the land of the sons of Ammon, to Hanun, to comfort him. And the princes of the sons of Ammon said to Hanun: Thinkest thou that David doth honour thy father, that he hath sent comforters unto thee ? are not his servants come to thee to search and to turn over, and to spy out the land? 4And Hanun took David’s servants, and shaved them, and cut off half their 5garments by the breech, and sent them away. And they went, and they told David about the men, and he sent to meet them; for the men were greatly ashamed: and the king said, Tarry at Jericho until your beard be grown, and then return.
6And the sons of Ammon saw that they had made themselves stink with David: and Hanun and the sons of Ammon sent a thousand talents of silver to hire them chariots and horsemen out of Mesopotamia, and out of Syria-maachah, and7out of Zobah. And they hired them thirty and two thousand chariots, and the king of Maachah and his people; and they came and pitched before Medeba: and the sons of Ammon gathered together from their cities, and came to battle. 8, 9And David heard,, and sent Joab, and all the host of the mighty men. And the sons of Amnion came out, and set the battle in array at the gate of the city; and the kings that were come stood by themselves in the field.
10And Joab saw that the battle was directed against him before and behind; and he chose out of all the choice in Israel, and drew up against the Syrians. 11And the rest of the people he gave into the hand of Abshai his brother, and they drew up against the sons of Ammon. 12And he said, If the Syrians be too strong for me, then thou shalt come to my help; and if the sons of Ammon be 13too strong for thee, then I will help thee. Be courageous, and let us do valiantly for our people and for the cities of our God; and the Lord do that which is good 14in His sight. And Joab, and the people that were with him, drew nigh before 15the Syrians to the battle; and they fled before him. And the sons of Ammon saw that the Syrians fled, and they also fled before Abshai his brother, and went into the city; and Joab went to Jerusalem.
16And when the Syrians saw that they were smitten before Israel, they sent messengers, and drew forth the Syrians that were beyond the river; and Shophach, captain of the host of Hadadezer, went before them. 17And it was told David; and he gathered all Israel, and passed the Jordan, and came to them,5 and drew up against them; and David drew up against the Syrians for battle, 18and they fought with him. And the Syrians fled before Israel; and David slew of the Syrians seven thousand teams, and forty thousand footmen; and he killed Shophach, captain of the host. 19And when the servants of Hadadezer saw that they were smitten before Israel, they made peace with David, and served him; and the Syrians would not help the sons of Ammon any more.
1 Chronicles 20:1.And it came to pass, when the year was ended, at the time when the kings go out, that Joab led forth the strength of the host, and wasted the land of the sons of Ammon, and came and besieged Rabbah; but David tarried in Jerusalem; and Joab smote Rabbah, and destroyed it. 2And David took the crown of their king from his head, and found it in weight a talent of gold, and set with precious stones; and it was put upon David’s head, and he brought very much spoil out of the city. 3And he brought out the people that were in it, and cut them with saws, and iron threshing-carts and saws;6 and so David did to all the cities of the sons of Ammon; and David returned with all the people to Jerusalem.
4And it came to pass after this, that a war arose at Gezer with the Philistines; then Sibbecai the Hushathite slew Sippai, one of the sons of Rapha; and they were subdued. 5And there was a war again with the Philistines; and Elhanan the son of Jair slew Lachmi, brother of Goliath the Gittite; and his 6spear’s staff was like a weaver’s beam. And again there was war in Gath, where was a man of [great] stature, and his fingers were six and six, twenty and four 7[in all]; and he also was born to Rapha. And he reproached Israel; and Jonathan the son of Shima, David’s brother, slew him. 8These were born to Rapha in Gath; and they fell by the hand of David, and by the hand of his servants.
Preliminary Remark.—The present group of war reports runs parallel to four sections of 2 Samuel, separated from one another by other accounts. To the present summary accounts of the victorious warfare of David with all surrounding enemies in general, in 1 Chronicles 18:0, corresponds 2 Samuel 8:0; to the more copious description of the peculiarly difficult war with Ammon, in 1 Chronicles 19:0, corresponds 2 Samuel 10:0; the close of this war, described in 1 Chronicles 20:1-3, by the taking of Rabbah, has its parallel in 2 Samuel 12:26-31; the shorter reports of the several heroic acts of David’s warriors in conflict with giants from the land of the Philistines, 1 Chronicles 20:4-8, corresponds with the section 2 Samuel 21:18-22. The statements of 2 Samuel coming between these sections (namely 1 Chronicles 9:0 and 1Ch 11:1-12; 1 Chronicles 11:25; but also 1 Chronicles 13, 14-18) are particulars from the private life and domestic history of David, which the Chronist, in conformity with his plan, neither could nor would take up.
1. General Report of David’s Victorious Wars with his Neighbours: 1 Chronicles 18:1-13. 1 Chronicles 18:1 treats of the victories over the Philistines.—And took Gath and her daughters out of the hand of the Philistines. This statement is surprising, because 2 Samuel 8:1 has the more general and withal poetical expression: “and David took the arm-bridle from the hand of the Philistines”( מֶתֶג הָאַמָּה for גַּת וּבְנֹתֶיהָ). To assume a purely arbitrary change of text on the part of ourauthor is questionable; and against, at least, a passing seizure of the metropolis Gath with its daughter towns (1 Chronicles 7:28) by David, it can scarcely be maintained that in Solomon’s time Gath was again an independent city under its own king.
1 Chronicles 18:2. And the Moabites became David’s servants, and brought gifts, in short, became tributary subjects (1 Chronicles 18:6). Why our author has omitted the notice, following here in 2 Samuel 8:2, of the severe handling of the Moabites by David, is uncertain. It scarcely rests on an apologetic tendency in favour of David; comp. in 1 Chronicles 20:3 the account of the cruel punishment of Rabbath Ammon. Moreover, this war of David with Moab seems to be that in which Benaiah slew the two sons of the king of Moab, 1 Chronicles 11:22.
1 Chronicles 18:3-8. The War with Hadadezer of Zobah.—King of Zobah towards Hamath. This closer determination of the situation of Zobah (חֲמָתָה), which is peculiar to our text, places it pretty far north, not far from Hamath, the later Epiphania, on the Orontes; scarcely Haleb or Nisibis, both of which lay farther north than Hamath, and can scarcely, from an Israelitish point of view, be described as lying “towards Hamath” (against the Rabbis of the middle ages on the one hand, and J. D. Mich on the other). Zobah is perhaps = Zabe of Ptolemy; at all events, it is to be sought north or north-east of Damascus (with Ew., Then., Berth., etc.).7 On the spelling peculiar to Chronicles and 2 Samuel 10:16-19, Hadarezer (Sept. ’Αδρααζάρ) see Crit. Note.—As he went to set up his sign at the river Euphrates, to establish his power (properly “hand”) there; comp. 1 Samuel 15:12. Whether these words refer to David or Hadadezer is doubtful; the latter (which J. H. Mich., Ew., Berth., etc., assume) may be the more probable, on account of the mention of David as subject at the beginning of the following verse. The various reading in 2 Samuel 8:3 : לְהָשִׁיב יָדוֹ, “to turn his hand,” is perhaps to be amended from our passage, as it gives a less suitable sense.
1 Chronicles 18:4. And David took from him a thousand chariots, and seven thousand horsemen, and twenty thousand footmen. For this 2 Samuel 8:4 has “1700 horsemen and 20,000 footmen,” perhaps defectively; after אֶלֶף, and before וּשְׁבַע־מְאוֹת, it appears necessary to insert רֶכֶב there, for which also the Sept. speaks. Yet comp. Wellh. on this passage, who questions the insertion of רֶכֶב, on account of the close of the verse.—And David lamed all the teams, but reserved of them a thousand teams, for his own use; in fact, therefore, he lamed only 900. For this custom of laming (עִקֵּר) war-horses, comp. Joshua 11:6; Joshua 11:9.
1 Chronicles 18:6. And David put in Syria Damascus, men, soldiers, garrison troops. From 2 Samuel 8:6 and 1 Chronicles 18:13 of our chapter the word נְצִיבִים appears to have fallen out after וַיָּשֶׂם דָּוִיד; comp. also 1 Chronicles 13:3; 1 Samuel 10:5.
1 Chronicles 18:7. And David took the arms (or equipments) of gold,שִׁלְטֵי־הַזָּהָב; so rightly the moderns, instead of the golden collars (κλοιοί) of the Sept., the quivers (pharetrœ) of the Vulg., and the golden shields of the Chald., of some Rabbis, and of Luther.—Which were on the servants of Hadadezer, his military servants, soldiers. On the addition of the Sept., in 2 Samuel 8:7 relative to the later capture and carrying away of these golden arms by Shishak of Egypt, under Rehoboam, comp. the expositors of that passage.
1 Chronicles 18:8. And from Tibhath and from Chun, etc. Tibhath (טִבְחַת), or, as it is perhaps to be read, Tebah (טֶבַח, for which, 2 Samuel 8:0, stands erroneously בֶּטַח), appears to be identical with the family mentioned, Genesis 22:24, among the descendants of Nahor; whether it be the present Taibeh, on the caravan road between Aleppo and the Euphrates, is questionable. In place of בּוּן 2 Samuel gives בֵּרֹתַי(= Barathena, Ptol. v. 19? or בְּרֹתָה, Ezekiel 47:16?). On what this diversity of name rests, whether on the corruption of the original בֵּרֹתַי into כּוּן, as Berth. thinks, or on a double name of the place in question, must remain doubtful.—Of which Solomon made the brazen sea, and the pillars, and the brazen vessels. These words, wanting in 2 Samuel 8:8 in the Masoretic text, are perhaps to be restored according to our passage, and according to the Sept. and Vulg.
1 Chronicles 18:9-11. Embassy and Present of Tou King of Hamath to David. In the parallel account, 2 Samuel 8:9-12, this Tou is called Toi (תֹּעִי)
1 Chronicles 18:10. And he sent Hadoram his Song of Solomon 2:0Song of Solomon 2:0 Samuel: “Joram,” at all events incorrect, as a name compounded with יְהוָֹה would scarcely have suited a member of a Syrian royal house; and the Sept. gives there ’Ιεδδουράμ(here’Αδουράμ)—To greet him, to wish him health. So is לִשְׁאָל־לוֹ לְשָׁלוֹם to be taken, according to the parallel passages, as Genesis 43:27, not, with the Sept. and Vulg., in the sense of a prayer for peace (ut postulant ab eo pacem).—For Ton was at war with Hadadezer, literally, “For Hadadezer was a man of wars of Tou,” a constant assailant and adversary to him; comp. 1 Chronicles 28:3; Isaiah 42:13. After these words, which form a parenthetical explanation to the foregoing, follows the wider object of וַיִּשְׁלַח: “and all manner of vessels of gold and silver and brass,” which Luther erroneously refers to 1 Chronicles 18:11.
1 Chronicles 18:11. With the silver and the gold that he had taken. For אֲשֶׁר נָשָׂא 2 Samuel presents אֲשֶׁר הִקְדִּישׁ, perhaps the original form.—From all the nations . . . and from Amalek. In 2 Samuel a more complete and probable text is found (in which, besides, מֵאֱדֹם is to be read for מֵאֲרָם.
1 Chronicles 18:12-13. Abshai’s Victory over the Edomites in the Valley of Salt.—And Abshai . . . slew of Edom (literally, “slew Edom”) in the valley of salt, 18,000 men. In Bertheau’s combination of the very different reading in 2 Samuel 8:13 with our passage, for “Abshai son of Zeruiah” would have to be read “Joab, etc.,” and after “slew of Edom” would have fallen out the words “when he (Joab) returned from the conquest of Aram.” Otherwise Ew., Then., Wellh., Keil, etc., the latter of whom upholds the statement of Chronicles, that Abshai gained this victory, by reference to 1 Chronicles 10:10 ff. of our book (where Abshai appears as commander under his brother Joab), and declares it consistent as well with Psalms 60:2 as with 1 Kings 11:15.
1 Chronicles 18:14. And all the Edomites became servants of David. For this 2 Samuel has more fully, and perhaps originally: “and in all Edom he appointed officers; and all the Edomites became David’s servants.”
2. David’s Officers of State: 1 Chronicles 18:14-17,—a list in 2 Samuel 8:0 also appended to the above summary war reports ( = 2 Samuel 8:15-18), that was certainly found here in the old common sources of both authors, introduced by the general remark on the ability and excellence of the government of David (1 Chronicles 18:14).
1 Chronicles 18:15. For Joab, comp. on 1 Chronicles 2:16.—Jehoshaphat the son of Ahilud was recorder.מַזְכִּיר, properly “remembrancer,” that is, not annalist (Sept. ὁ ἐπὶ τῶν ὑπομνημάτων Vulg. a commentariis), but chancellor, who makes to the king a report of all that takes place in the kingdom, and conveys his commands; comp. the magister memoriœ of the later Romans, and the Waka Nuvis in the Persian court (Chardin, Voyages, v. p. 258).
1 Chronicles 18:16. For Zadok, comp. on 1Ch 5:30 ff.—Abimelech the son of Abiathar. For אבימלךְ is certainly to be read, with the Sept., Vulg., and 2 Samuel 8:17, אחימלךְ; for so is this priest called in 1 Chronicles 24:3; 1 Chronicles 24:6; 1 Chronicles 24:31, where he is likewise named as the representative of Ithamar with Zadok of Eleazar, and where he appears as the son of Abiathar. That Abiathar’s father was also called Ahimelech, 1 Samuel 22:20, does not warrant the assumption that in our passage, as in 24, there is an exchange of the father and the son; and thus a transposition of the names into “Abiathar the son of Ahimelech” is necessary (as Movers, Then., Ew., Wellh. think). Rather is our Ahimelech to be regarded as a son of the same name with his grandfather, according to the known Hebrew custom, who, even during his father’s lifetime, acted in the priestly office. Comp. the frequent recurrence of the grandfather’s name in the grandson in 1Ch 5:30–41.—And Shavsha was scribe, that is, secretary of state. This Shavsha (Luth. “Sausa”) is called in 1 Kings 4:3 Shisha (שִׁישָׁא, differing only in spelling from שִׁוְשָׁא), but in 2 Samuel 20:25&שְׁוָא שְׁיָא) If 2 Samuel 8:17 exhibits שְׂרָיָה, this is to be considered, perhaps, an error of the pen.
1 Chronicles 18:17. And Benaiah . . . was over the Cherethi and the Pelethi. So also 2 Samuel 8:18, with the more correct reading עַל הַכְּרֵתי for וְהַכְּרֵ׳, as in 2 Samuel 20:23. That “Cherethi and Pelethi” denote the two divisions of the royal guard (the σωματοφύλακες, Joseph. Antiq.vii. 5. 4) is undoubted, though, with Gesen., Then., Bähr (on 1 Kings 1:36), Keil, etc., the former name be explained by confossores, lictores, executioners, the latter by celeres, ἄγγαροι, runners (couriers), and thus both appellatively, for which the passages 1 Kings 2:25, 2 Kings 11:1 appear to speak, or though (with Lakemacher, Movers, Ew., Berth., Hitz., etc.) they be regarded as the nationalities of the Cretans (Carians) and the Philistines. Comp. the latest discussion of this controversy by J. G. Müller (Die Semiten in ihrem Verhaltniss zu Chamiten und Japhetiten, 1872, p. 263 ff.), who decides for the latter interpretation. For Benaiah, comp. also 1 Chronicles 11:22 ff.—And David’s sons were the chief beside the king, the next to him. In 2 Samuel 8:18 the ancient term כֹּהֲנִים, privy counsellors, is chosen to designate the high rank of the royal princes (comp. 1 Kings 4:5).
3. The War with Ammon and Syria: 1 Chronicles 19:1 to 1 Chronicles 20:3; comp. 2 Samuel 10:0.—And it came to pass after this. The loose form of connection וַֽיְהִי אַֽחֲרֵי כֵן serves sometimes to introduce new reports, even if there be no strict chronological order, or if, as here (comp. 1 Chronicles 18:3-5 with 1 Chronicles 19:16 ff.), that which is to be related has been partly mentioned before. Comp. for example, 2Sa 8:1; 2 Samuel 10:1; 2 Samuel 13:1. For the Ammonite king Nahash, and his war with Saul, see 1 Samuel 11:0.—And his son reigned in his stead. The following certainly shows that this son was called Hanun; yet the name חָנוּן, from 2 Samuel 10:1, appears to have originally stood in the text after בְּנוֹ, as inversely there, the omitted name נָחָשׁ must apparently be supplied from our passage.
1 Chronicles 19:3. Thinkest thou that David doth honour thy father? literally, “Does David honour thy father in thine eyes?” The emphasis in this question rests on the notion of honouring, of which the questioners doubt whether it really forms the object of David’s embassy.—To search and to turn over (turn up side down, examine thoroughly), and to spy out the land. This sentence is also in Hebrew a question, but, as an affirmative answer is expected, introduced, not with הֲ, but with ׃הֲלֹא “Are they not come to search, etc.?” In 2 Samuel 10:3, the sentence runs somewhat different, so that riot the land (הארץ), but the city (הָעִיר), is the object of the verbs, and the הָפַךְ removed to the end has the sense, not of turning over, but of destroying. But it is scarcely necessary to change our text accordingly (against Berth.).
1 Chronicles 19:4. And shaved them. 2 Samuel more exactly: “shaved off the half (the one side) of their beard.”—And cut off half their garments by the breech.הַמִּפְשָׂעָה, properly, “the step, the step-region in the middle of the body,” here euphemistic for שְׁתוֹת, nates, which is used in 2 Samuel.
1 Chronicles 19:5. And they went. This is wanting in 2 Samuel, but not therefore to be erased as superfluous (against Berth.).—And the king said, Tarry at Jericho. So far they were then come on their way to Jerusalem. The following “then return” is naturally completed by adding “to Jerusalem” or “hither.”
1 Chronicles 19:6. That they had made themselves stink with David, had drawn his hatred on them. For the Hithp. התבאשׁו 2 Samuel has the Niph. of the same verb, in the same reflexive sense.—Hanun . . . sent a thousand talents of silver to hire, etc. The statement that this hiring of auxiliaries took place is wanting in 2 Samuel, but is certainly genuine.—For Mesopotamia = Aram-naharaim, 2 Samuel names, as the first of the countries from which Hanun hired his auxiliaries, Aram-beth-rehob, which can scarcely be only another name of Mesopotamia (as some ancients have assumed, identifying the city Beth-rehob with Rehobath, now Rahabe, on the Euphrates, Genesis 36:37), but the kingdom or territory of Beth-rehob, a Syrian city, Numbers 13:21, Judges 18:28, lying south of Hamath. For the following name, Aram-Maachah, 2 Samuel 10:0. (as 1 Chronicles 19:7 of our ch.) has only Maachah (on which region, bordering northward on the trans-jordanic Palestine, comp. Deuteronomy 3:14; Joshua 12:5; Joshua 13:11). On the contrary, Zobah is there called more fully: Aram-Zobah (comp. on 1 Chronicles 18:3).
1 Chronicles 19:7. And they hired them 32,000 chariots, that is, chariots with riders, רֶּכֶב וּפָרָשִׁים, as the foregoing verse shows. The number 32,000 agrees substantially with the deviating statement in 2 Samuel, in which these auxiliaries appear rather as footmen, and, indeed, consisting of 20,000 footmen from Aram and Aram-beth-rehob, 1000 men from Maachah, and 12,000 men from the kingdom of Tob (Judges 11:3), which latter our author has left undistinguished.—And they came and pitched before Medeba, the city of the tribe of Reuben mentioned Joshua 13:16, two miles (about nine English miles) south-east of Heshbon. This statement as well as the following, relative to the simultaneous assembling of the Ammonite troops, is wanting in 2 Samuel 10:0, but was found no doubt in the old sources used by our writer, in common with the author of the books of Samuel.
1 Chronicles 19:8. And all the host of the mighty. Different, but merely in expression, from 2 Samuel: “the whole host, the mighty men.”
1 Chronicles 19:9. And the sons of Ammon . . . at the gate of the city, before the gates of Rabbah, their capital. This reading: פֶּתַח הָעִיר, is to be preferred, as clearer than that in 2 Samuel 10:0:1פֶּתַח הַשַּׁעַר, “at the gate, outside the gate.”
1 Chronicles 19:10. And Joab saw that the battle was directed against him before and behind, literally, “that the face of the battle ( = the front of the line) was before and behind him:” that before him stood the Ammonites, and in his rear the Syrians. Opposite the latter, as the stronger foe, Joab took his ground, while, 1 Chronicles 19:11, he entrusted the engagement with the Ammonites to his brother Abshai.
1 Chronicles 19:13. For our people, and for the city of our God: that these may not fall into the hands of the heathen, and from cities of the Lord become cities of idols.
1 Chronicles 19:15. And went into the city, fled into their capital Rabbah, while Joab first returned to Jerusalem, reserving the siege and capture of this strong fortress for the following campaign.
1 Chronicles 19:16-19. The Conquest of the Syrians allied with the Ammonites.—They sent messengers, and drew forth the Syrians that were beyond the river Euphrates, the Mesopotamians, who must have been somehow subject to Hadadezer, and laid under tribute; comp. 2 Samuel 10:16.
1 Chronicles 19:17. And came to them. Instead of this notice, which is superfluous, along with the following words: “and drew up against them,” should be read, with 2 Samuel 10:16 (see Crit. Note): “and he came to Helam.” This elsewhere not occurring local name חֵילָם or חֵלָאם (Sept.Αἰλάμ, Vulg. Helam) the Chronist quite omits in its first place (in 2 Samuel 10:16 = 1 Chronicles 19:16 of our ch.), and changes it the second time, whether intentionally or not, into אליהם. Comp. Joseph. Antiq.vii. 6, 3, where the name is regarded as a proper name of a king beyond the Euphrates, the master of the general Shophach (Sabekos). It is, moreover, not impossible that the local name Helam corresponds to the Alamatha on the Euphrates in Ptolem. 1 Chronicles 15:5, in which case 1 Chronicles 18:3 might be combined with our passage, if the same war with Hadadezer and the Syrians be spoken of there as here.
1 Chronicles 19:18. And David slew of the Syrians 7000 teams (chariot horses) and 40,000 footmen. On the contrary, 2 Samuel has 700 teams and 40,000 horsemen. Perhaps the smaller number of teams in 2 Samuel and the designation of the 40,000 as footmen in our text deserve the preference; comp. Wellh. p. 180.
1 Chronicles 19:19. And when the servants of Hadadezer, here not his warriors, but his allies or subject kings (vassals); comp. 2 Samuel 10:19 : כָּל הַמְּלָכִים עַבְדֵי הֲדַדְעֶזֶו.—
1 Chronicles 20:1-3. The Siege and Conquest of Rabbah, here more briefly related than in 2 Samuel 11:1; 2 Samuel 12:26-31, and therefore without any reference to the death of Uriah.—When the year was ended, at the time when the kings go out, in the spring, as most suitable for re-opening the campaign. The last described battle with the Syrians appears accordingly to have fallen in the autumn of the previous year.—Joab led forth the strength of the host; more circumstantially 2 Samuel 11:1 : “David sent Joab, and his servants with him, and all Israel.” On חֵיל הַצָּבָא, comp. the similar חֵיל צָבָא, 2 Chronicles 26:13.—And Joab smote Rabbah, and destroyed it, properly, pulled it down; comp. Ezekiel 16:39; Ezekiel 26:4; Ezekiel 26:12; Lamentations 2:2; Lamentations 2:17. Compared with 2 Samuel 12:26 ff, where it is reported that Joab first only took the so-called city of waters, but called King David to the taking of the proper fortress (citadel, acropolis), that the honour of completing the conquest and destruction of the city might be his, the present report appears brief and summary.
1 Chronicles 20:3. And cut them with saws, and iron threshing-carts and saws.וַיָּשַׂר, ἅπ. λεγ., from the root שׂוּר, “cut”; comp. מַשּׂוֹר “saw,” from the cognate root נשׂר. In 2 Samuel 12:31, וַיָּשֶׂם is perhaps only an error of the pen for וַיָּשַׂר or וַֽיְשׂרֵם (Böttcher).—For וּבַמְּגֵרוֹת, as in 2 Samuel, וּבְמַגְזְרוֹת, “and with scythes” (or like iron-cutting instruments, scarcely “wedges,” as Luther, or “axes,” as Kamph., thinks), is perhaps to be read. A twofold mention of saws, first in the sing., then in plur., would be an intolerable tautology. Moreover, this cutting and grinding of the vanquished Ammonites with iron saws, threshing sledges, and the like, is in itself horrible and barbarous enough (comp. Proverbs 20:26; Amos 1:3); and we need not assume that the Chronist intentionally, and from an apologetic tendency, passed over a still more horrid kind of punishment then inflicted on the vanquished Ammonites, burning in tile-kilns (2 Samuel 12:31); comp. on 1 Chronicles 18:2.
4. Appendix: Briefer Report of the Heroic Deeds of some of David’s Warriors in the Conflict with Philistine Giants: 1 Chronicles 20:4-8.—This report is also treated as an appendix in 2 Samuel, where it is found quite at the end of the history of David, 1 Chronicles 21:15-22, and, indeed, enlarged by a fourth heroic deed (1 Chronicles 21:15-17), there related in the first place, but here wanting—the dangerous conflict of David with the giant Ishbi-benob, whom Abshai at length slew. It appears as if the Chronist had omitted this story intentionally, because it might have lessened the military fame of David. Comp. Lightfoot, Chronol. V. T. p. 1Chr 68: lllud prœlium, in quo David in periculum venit et unde decore et illœsus prodire non potuit, omissum est; as Starke: “The dangerous combat of David with Ishbi is not mentioned here, as the book of Chronicles, as some remark, conceals or passes over the shame of the saints; whence also nothing occurs here of the adultery and murder by David, or of the idolatry of Solomon.”
1 Chronicles 20:4. And it came to pass after this. This formula stood here originally not so unconnected as in 1 Chronicles 19:1; but the event to which it referred, 2 Samuel 21:18, was that history of the combat with Ishbi which is intentionally omitted by our author, on which account the formula does not now appear very suitable.—A war arose at Gezer.וַתַּֽעֲמֹד (perhaps arising out of וַתְּהִי עוֹד, 2 Samuel 21:18), here = וַתָּקָם, according to later usage. For Gezer (in the tribe of Ephraim, to the south-west, near the north border of the Philistines), sec 1 Chronicles 7:28. For בְּגֶזֶר, moreover, we should apparently (2 Samuel 21:18) read בְּגֹב, or perhaps בְּנֹב; that passage is not inversely to be amended from ours (against Berth.).—Then Sibbecai the, Hushathite (one of David’s Gibborim; see 1 Chronicles 11:29 and 1 Chronicles 27:11) slew Sippai, one of the sons of Rapha, one of the Rephaites or descendants of Rapha, that gigantic tribe that before the invasion of the Philistines inhabited the south-west of Canaan, and of which several families of gigantic size still lived among the Philistines; comp. Joshua 11:22; Deuteronomy 2:6; Deuteronomy 2:23.—And they were subdued, namely, by the conquest of this giant; comp. Judges 11:33; 1 Samuel 7:13. The absence of this remark in 2 Samuel does not make its originality suspicious.
1 Chronicles 20:5. And there was a war again with the Philistines, namely, 2 Samuel 21:19, at Gob (or Nob), and so at the same place as the former.—Elhanan the son of Jair slew Lachmi, brother of Goliath the Gittite. According to this certainly original reading is the defective text, 2 Samuel 21:19 : “Elhanan the son of Jaare-oregim, a Bethlehemite, slew Goliath the Gittite,” to be amended (with Piscat., Cleric, Mich., Mov., Then., Keil, Wellh.). “The form יערי, instead of יָעִרי of Chronicles, would be caused by the following ארגים, the accidental insertion of which from the line underneath is easily understood” (Wellh.). Besides, the here quite unexplained mention of the celebrated captain of David, Elhanan of Bethlehem (1 Chronicles 11:26), will have occasioned a change of אֶת־לַחְמִי into בית הלמי. Accordingly, the question started by Berth., as defender of the originality of the text of Samuel: “Have there been two Goliaths?” falls to the ground as an idle one.
1 Chronicles 20:6 ff. The Last of the Four Heroic Deeds.—Where was a man of (great) stature:אִישׁ מִדָּה = the אִישׁ מִדִּין, vir mensurarum, in 2 Samuel.—And his fingers were, six and six (namely, on the hands and the feet, therefore in all), twenty and four. Comp. the sedigiti mentioned by Plin. . H. N. xi. 43; also Trusen, Sitten, Gebräuche, and Krankheiten der alten Hebräer, p. 198 f.; Carlisle, “An account of a family having hands and feet with supernumerary fingers and toes” (in Philos. Transac. 1814, part 1, p. 94); Rosbach, Diss, de numiero digitorum adaucto, Bonn 1838; Blasius, Fall von Ueberzahl der Zehen, in Siebold’s Journ. für Geburtshülfe, vol. xiii. Art. 1; also Lond. Medic. Gaz. vol. xiv. Apr. 1834, and Friedrich, Zur Bibel, i. p. 298 f. Recently the well-known Arabian traveller F. v. Maltzan, in the Berlin Anthropological Society, reported as follows: “Among the Himyarites (in South Arabia), in the dynasty of Forli, the six fingers are hereditary, and the pride of the ruler and the people. Indeed, this property of six fingers, a sign of bodily or, if not bodily, of mental strength among the Arabs, is still kept up artificially, as the six-fingered princes of the reigning house are allowed to marry only six-fingered members of the family, to avoid as much as possible the appearance of five fingers. In short, the twenty-four fingers and toes of the ruler are the pride of the country; and any one out of the country might prove his nearer or further connection with the ruling house by a greater or smaller superfluity of fingers” (Correspondence Sheet of the German Society for Anthropology, Ethnol., etc., 1872, No. 8, p. 60).
1 Chronicles 20:7. Jonathan the son of Shima, David’s brother, Slew him. Comp., on this Shima, 1 Chronicles 2:13.
1 Chronicles 20:8. These were born.אֵל for אֵלֶּה is an archaism, that occurs eight times in the Pentateuch, but always with the article (הָאֵל), and stands only here without it, for which reason it appears suspicious; the following נוּלְּדוּ also probably contains an error; comp. the regular אֵלֶה יֻלְּדוּ in 2 Samuel 21:22, Where it is preceded by the number “four” (Which is naturally omitted by the Chronist).—And they fell by the hand of David, and by the hand of his servants, namely, by David’s hand in a mediate way, as he was the supreme commander and military chief of the victorious Israelites, but immediately by the hand of his so-called servants or heroes. The whole remark forms a concluding subscription, that appears no less suitable in our passage than in 2 Samuel 21:22 (against Berth.).
 הֲדַדְיעְזֶר is the Kethib in all passages of our chapter, but the Keri: הֲדַרְעֶזֶר (so in 2 Samuel 10:16-19). The first form, the more usual in the books of Samuel and Kings, is also the more original, because הֲדַד, a Syrian idol name, occurs in other Syrian proper names.
Properly Darmascus (דַּרְמֶשֶׂק—so here and 1 Chronicles 18:6, also 2Ch 16:2; 2 Chronicles 24:23, without variation; elsewhere always דַּמֶּשֶׂק).
After וַיָּשֶׂם דָּוִיד there seems to have fallen out נְצִיבִים; comp. Sept. (φρουράν) and Vulg. (milites), and see Exeg. Expl.
For אבימלך read rather (with the Sept., Vulg., and 1 Chronicles 24:3; 1 Chronicles 24:6) אֲחִימֶלֶךְ.
For וַיָּבֹא אֲלֵהֶם the text in Samuel (2 Samuel 10:17) has וַיָּבֹא חֶלָאמָה, “and went to Helam,” perhaps more correct and original (comp. Exeg. Expl.), though all translations and mss. conform the אֲלֵיהֶם of our passage.
Rather, perhaps, “and scythes,” as for וּבַמְּגֵרוֹת is (with 2 Samuel 12:31) no doubt וּבְמַגְזְרוֹת to be read.
Recently Th. Bischoff (Das Ausland, 1873, p. 136) thinks he has found the ruins of Zobah south-east of Aleppo, near the salt lake Jabul. He appears to mean the same ruins which J. W. Helfer (Helfer’s Reisen in Vorderasien, by Countess Pauline Nostitz, Leipz. 1873, i. p. 174 ff.) saw in 1830.
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Lange, Johann Peter. "Commentary on 1 Chronicles 18". "Commentary on the Holy Scriptures: Critical, Doctrinal, and Homiletical". https://www.studylight.org/
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