1 Chronicles
1-3 David Conquers Rabbah 4-8 Victories over the Philistines
David Conquers Rabbah

1Then it happened in the spring, at the time when kings go out [to battle], that Joab led out the army and ravaged the land of the sons of Ammon, and came and besieged Rabbah. But David stayed at Jerusalem. And Joab struck Rabbah and overthrew it. 2David took the crown of their king from his head, and he found it to weigh a talent of gold, and there was a precious stone in it; and it was placed on David’s head. And he brought out the spoil of the city, a very great amount. 3He brought out the people who [were] in it, and cut [them] with saws and with sharp instruments and with axes. And thus David did to all the cities of the sons of Ammon. Then David and all the people returned [to] Jerusalem.

The history of Joab’s conquest of Rabbah is also described in 2 Samuel 11-12. The words of verse 11Then it happened in the spring, at the time when kings go out [to battle], that Joab led out the army and ravaged the land of the sons of Ammon, and came and besieged Rabbah. But David stayed at Jerusalem. And Joab struck Rabbah and overthrew it. here we also read in 2 Samuel 11 (2Sam 11:11Then it happened in the spring, at the time when kings go out [to battle], that David sent Joab and his servants with him and all Israel, and they destroyed the sons of Ammon and besieged Rabbah. But David stayed at Jerusalem.). 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 verse 22David took the crown of their king from his head, and he found it to weigh a talent of gold, and there was a precious stone in it; and it was placed on David’s head. And he brought out the spoil of the city, a very great amount..

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 (verses 2-32David took the crown of their king from his head, and he found it to weigh a talent of gold, and there was a precious stone in it; and it was placed on David’s head. And he brought out the spoil of the city, a very great amount.3He brought out the people who [were] in it, and cut [them] with saws and with sharp instruments and with axes. And thus David did to all the cities of the sons of Ammon. Then David and all the people returned [to] Jerusalem.). 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” (Rev 19:1212His eyes [are] a flame of fire, and on His head [are] many diadems; and He has a name written [on Him] which no one knows except Himself.).


Victories over the Philistines

4Now it came about after this, that war broke out at Gezer with the Philistines; then Sibbecai the Hushathite killed Sippai, one of the descendants of the giants, and they were subdued. 5And there was war with the Philistines again, and Elhanan the son of Jair killed Lahmi the brother of Goliath the Gittite, the shaft of whose spear [was] like a weaver’s beam. 6Again there was war at Gath, where there was a man of [great] stature who had twenty-four fingers and toes, six [fingers on each hand] and six [toes on each foot]; and he also was descended from the giants. 7When he taunted Israel, Jonathan the son of Shimea, David’s brother, killed him. 8These were descended from the giants in Gath, and they fell by the hand of David and by the hand of his servants.

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 (2Sam 21:15-2215Now when the Philistines were at war again with Israel, David went down and his servants with him; and as they fought against the Philistines, David became weary.16Then Ishbi-benob, who was among the descendants of the giant, the weight of whose spear was three hundred [shekels] of bronze in weight, was girded with a new [sword], and he intended to kill David.17But Abishai the son of Zeruiah helped him, and struck the Philistine and killed him. Then the men of David swore to him, saying, “You shall not go out again with us to battle, so that you do not extinguish the lamp of Israel.”18Now it came about after this that there was war again with the Philistines at Gob; then Sibbecai the Hushathite struck down Saph, who was among the descendants of the giant.19There was war with the Philistines again at Gob, and Elhanan the son of Jaare-oregim the Bethlehemite killed Goliath the Gittite, the shaft of whose spear was like a weaver’s beam.20There was war at Gath again, where there was a man of [great] stature who had six fingers on each hand and six toes on each foot, twenty-four in number; and he also had been born to the giant.21When he defied Israel, Jonathan the son of Shimei, David’s brother, struck him down.22These four were born to the giant in Gath, and they fell by the hand of David and by the hand of his servants.), 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” (2Thes 2:7a7For the mystery of lawlessness is already at work; only he who now restrains [will do so] until he is taken out of the way.) which works in the time of Christianity and manifests itself ever more clearly.

Sibbecai (verse 44Now it came about after this, that war broke out at Gezer with the Philistines; then Sibbecai the Hushathite killed Sippai, one of the descendants of the giants, and they were subdued.) is one of David’s commanders (1Chr 27:1111The eighth for the eighth month [was] Sibbecai the Hushathite of the Zerahites; and in his division [were] 24,000.) and is mentioned in the list of David’s mighty men (1Chr 11:2929Sibbecai the Hushathite, Ilai the Ahohite,). 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 (1Sam 17:51-5251Then David ran and stood over the Philistine and took his sword and drew it out of its sheath and killed him, and cut off his head with it. When the Philistines saw that their champion was dead, they fled.52The men of Israel and Judah arose and shouted and pursued the Philistines as far as the valley, and to the gates of Ekron. And the slain Philistines lay along the way to Shaaraim, even to Gath and Ekron.).

Elhanan (verse 55And there was war with the Philistines again, and Elhanan the son of Jair killed Lahmi the brother of Goliath the Gittite, the shaft of whose spear [was] like a weaver’s beam.) is also mentioned in the list of David’s mighty men (1Chr 11:2626Now the mighty men of the armies [were] Asahel the brother of Joab, Elhanan the son of Dodo of Bethlehem,). He defeats a Philistine giant who is firstly a brother of Goliath and secondly, like Goliath, has a spear like a weaver’s beam (1Sam 17:77The shaft of his spear was like a weaver’s beam, and the head of his spear [weighed] six hundred shekels of iron; his shield-carrier also walked before him.). 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 (verses 6-76Again there was war at Gath, where there was a man of [great] stature who had twenty-four fingers and toes, six [fingers on each hand] and six [toes on each foot]; and he also was descended from the giants.7When he taunted Israel, Jonathan the son of Shimea, David’s brother, killed him.). 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 (Rev 19:2020And the beast was seized, and with him the false prophet who performed the signs in his presence, by which he deceived those who had received the mark of the beast and those who worshiped his image; these two were thrown alive into the lake of fire which burns with brimstone.). This giant is characterized by the number six (verse 66Again there was war at Gath, where there was a man of [great] stature who had twenty-four fingers and toes, six [fingers on each hand] and six [toes on each foot]; and he also was descended from the giants.). 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” (Rev 13:17-1817and [he provides] that no one will be able to buy or to sell, except the one who has the mark, [either] the name of the beast or the number of his name.18Here is wisdom. Let him who has understanding calculate the number of the beast, for the number is that of a man; and his number is six hundred and sixty-six.).

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” (verse 88These were descended from the giants in Gath, and they fell by the hand of David and by the hand of his servants.). While it is in fact some of David’s mighty men who kill the giants (verses 4-74Now it came about after this, that war broke out at Gezer with the Philistines; then Sibbecai the Hushathite killed Sippai, one of the descendants of the giants, and they were subdued.5And there was war with the Philistines again, and Elhanan the son of Jair killed Lahmi the brother of Goliath the Gittite, the shaft of whose spear [was] like a weaver’s beam.6Again there was war at Gath, where there was a man of [great] stature who had twenty-four fingers and toes, six [fingers on each hand] and six [toes on each foot]; and he also was descended from the giants.7When he taunted Israel, Jonathan the son of Shimea, David’s brother, killed him.), 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.


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