One Chronicles Twenty

by Dr. Henry M. Morris

(taken from the Defender's Study Bible)

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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.

David tarried at Jerusalem. The events associated with Uriah and Bathsheba took place during the time of David's tarrying at Jerusalem (2 Samuel 11:1-12:25). Thus the Chronicler's account jumps from the time when Joab besieged Rabbah (2 Samuel 11:1) to the destruction of Rabbah (2 Samuel 12:26). He apparently wished to spare his readers returning from their Babylonian exile from dwelling too much on this unsavory event in the career of their great ancestral king David.

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.

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.

cut them with saws. Whether this refers to a cruel and systematic murder of the Ammonites seems unlikely. The terminology may be a colloquialism for putting them to hard labor.

harrows. See note on 2 Samuel 12:31.

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.

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.

brother of Goliath. See note on 2 Samuel 21:19. Several children of “the giant” are mentioned in 1 Chronicles 20:4, 6, 8. Whether this was a single giant or a generic term for a remnant tribe of giants still surviving in this former land of giants is not clear.

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.

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

Jonathan. Jonathan was a nephew of David. Shimea, his father, was an older brother of David (1 Chronicles 2:13). It seems possible that he was named after Saul's son and David's friend Jonathan.

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.