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

Old & New Testament Restoration CommentaryRestoration Commentary

Introduction

First Chronicles Chapter 20

1 Chronicles 20:1 "And it came to pass, that after the year was expired, at the time that kings go out [to battle], Joab led forth the power of 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 destroyed it."

It appears, that the army, that was beseiged in the city, was never destroyed in the last lesson. David had led the army against the Syrians and defeated them, but the Ammonites had not been destroyed. A year had passed and in the spring, the army, led by Joab, attacked the Ammonites who were scattered throughout the country side. The Joab attacked Rabbah. It appears, there was victory over the city, as well.

1 Chronicles 20:2 "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."

We know, from the last lesson, these people were wealthy. They had sent 3,000,000 shekels of silver to hire soldiers to fight for them. A talent is speaking of 125 pounds. That is a lot of gold. It is also too heavy for a person to wear on his head. I would think that several of his men held it on his head. The crown was, probably, on a statue, or idol, of some kind. The main message, here, is that there was great wealth in this city which David and his men took as spoil.

1 Chronicles 20:3 "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."

The Ammonites were so cruel themselves, is possibly the reason for the cruelty of David here. They brutally killed these people is enough to say about this. The Ammonites had caused their own children to be killed by walking through the fire in sacrifice to their false god.

1 Chronicles 20:4 "And it came to pass after this, that there arose war at Gezer with the Philistines; at which time Sibbechai the Hushathite slew Sippai, [that was] of the children of the giant: and they were subdued."

Gezer, in other places, is spoken of as Gob, and in another place as Gath. It was located about 18 miles northeast of Jerusalem. The Philistines were constantly an enemy. Sibbechai was a prominent family of Judah, the Zarhites. Sippai was from the family of giants. He was a Philistine. Sippai is the same as Saph. The message, here, is that Sibbechai killed Sippai.

1 Chronicles 20:5 "And there was war again with the Philistines; and Elhanan the son of Jair slew Lahmi the brother of Goliath the Gittite, whose spear staff [was] like a weaver’s beam."

The giant, Goliath, was a huge man, but it took only one stone from the sling of David to topple him. The fact that a man of great stature gets in a battle with a small man, does not necessarily mean the giant will win. We see Elhanan killing the brother of Goliath here. We may assume he was great in size, as well. The strength of Almighty God in David and in Elhanan, was what killed the giants. A small man full of the LORD, had great power. Physical strength is not what wins battles. It is not the size of the man in the battle, but the size of the heart in the man that wins.

1 Chronicles 20:6 "And yet again there was 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 the son of the giant."

Not only was he unnatural, with his 24 fingers and toes, but was, possibly, clumsy, as well. Great size makes it difficult to move around very quickly. He was frightening to look at, but not very agile in battle.

1 Chronicles 20:7 "But when he defied Israel, Jonathan the son of Shimea David’s brother slew him."

Jonathan was the nephew of David and, probably, had heard many times how David had slain the giant. This, probably, gave him the courage to come against the giant. This giant defied Israel as Goliath had done, And David’s nephew, Jonathan, killed him.

1 Chronicles 20:8 "These were born unto the giant in Gath; and they fell by the hand of David, and by the hand of his servants."

The giant, and all 4 of his sons, were slain by David and those who served David. Jonathan was mentioned, in particular, as killing one of them. We do not know whether David actually killed any of the sons, or whether his men did it. Either way, it would be credited to David.

1 Chronicles 20 Questions

1. How much time elapsed from the last lesson to the time of this lesson?

2. Who had defeated the Syrians?

3. What time of year was this speaking of?

4. Who smote Rabbah?

5. How much did the king of Ammon’s crown weigh?

6. How many pounds is that?

7. Whose head was it placed on?

8. David and his men brought __________ spoil out of the city.

9. What terrible death was inflicted upon the people?

10. What terrible thing had these Ammonites done to their own children?

11. There arose war at Gezer with the ______________.

12. Who did Sibbechai kill?

13. What are some other names for Gezer?

14. Where was it located?

15. What family was Sibbechai from?

16. Sippai was from what family?

17. Sippai was the same as _________.

18. Who slew Lahmi?

19. 1 Chronicles 20:5, says Lahmi was whom?

20. Goliath was toppled by what?

21. How many fingers and toes did the giant, in 1 Chronicles 20:6, have?

22. Who killed the giant in 1 Chronicles 20:7?

23. The family of the giant fell by whom?

Verses 1-3

1Ch 20:1-3

1 Chronicles 20:1-3

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 11:1,2 Samuel 12:26; 2 Samuel 12:30-31;. 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.

E.M. Zerr:

1 Chronicles 20:1-2. This corresponds with the account in 2 Samuel 11:1, but nothing is said here about the affair with Bath-sheba and her husband, although it is the same period. After the year was expired means the time of year had come when the kings waged a campaign of war. David was the king and hence was commander-in-chief of all the forces. He directed Joab, his general of highest rank, to lead the army out in the war with the Ammonites, while he, the king, tarried at home. It was at this time that David had his affair with Bath-sheba. At that time Joab attacked the royal city of Rabbah and captured the king. As a loyal subordinate, Joab turned the conquest over to his chief, who took the crown from the head of the captured king. This crown weighed 100 pounds, made of gold. It was set upon David’s head means the jewel of precious stones was placed on his head, not the heavy crown. There was much other valuable material in the royal city of the Ammonites, and David took possession of That.

1 Chronicles 20:3. Them is not in the original and should not have been in the translation for it conveys a false impression. The verse means that David made these people work for him by using cutting tools and other implements of iron.

Verses 4-8

1Ch 20:4-8

1 Chronicles 20:4-8

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 for 2Samuel. ritical 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.

E.M. Zerr:

1 Chronicles 20:4. While on the subject of the Israelite successes, the historian tells of the fight that Sibbechai, one of David’s guard, had with the Philistines at Gezer. He slew a member of one of the group of giants, which brought the enemy under there.

1 Chronicles 20:5. This verse singles out another personal encounter with the giant forces. A brother of the noted Goliath was the personal contestant this time. The mentioning of the weight of his spear handle was to give some idea of the strength and size of the Philistine; that he was no ordinary antagonist.

1 Chronicles 20:6-8. These men of the Philistines were abnormally large and strong. The description of them was given that we might have an idea that no force amounts to much when arrayed against the servants of the Lord.

Bibliographical Information
"Commentary on 1 Chronicles 20". "Old & New Testament Restoration Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/onr/1-chronicles-20.html.
 
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