1 Chronicles 20


David Captures Rabbah

      • In the spring, the time of year when kings go out to war, Joab led the army and destroyed the Ammonites’ land. He went and besieged Rammah, but David stayed in Jerusalem. Joab defeated Rabbah and tore it down. David took the crown from their king’s head, and it was placed on David’s head. The crown weighed 75 pounds of gold and had a precious stone set in it. He took a large amount of plunder from the city, brought out the people who were in it, and sawed them with saws, and cut them with iron picks, and axes. David did this to all the Ammonite cities, then David and all his troops returned to Jerusalem.

        • NLT Illustrated Study Bible points out, “This war against the Ammonites was the context of David’s sin with Bathsheba (2 Sam 11:2 – 12:25), which the Chronicler omits.”

        • Most will notice that the rendering I have opted to go with for v. 3 is quite different than the rendering most translations opt for. The interested reader may refer to my notes for 2 Samuel 12 for a detailed explanation. The abridged version is that most translations are departing from the Masoretic text here, both in 2 Samuel 11 and in 1 Chronicles 20, which clearly indicate torture rather than conscription to labor. Therefore, the case for scribal error is difficult to endorse, and it is certainly easy to understand why others would want to both create (in reference to alternative manuscript renderings in antiquity) and side with (in reference to modern day translations) the much more palatable labor conscription. These factors have resulted in my opting for what seems more likely to be the reading of the original text based on the factors discussed.

The Philistine Giants

      • Later, there was a war with the Philistines at Gezer. At that time Sibbekai, who was from Hushah, killed Sippai, who was a descendant of the giants, and the Philistines were subdued.

        • NET Bible mentions two textual notes. Regarding the place of the battle, “The parallel text in 2 Sam 21:18 identifies this site as ‘Gob.’” With respect to the name “Sippai,” “The parallel text in 2 Sam 21:18 has the variant spelling ‘Saph.’”

      • In another battle with the Philistines, Jair’s son Elhanan killed the brother of Goliath, who was from Gath. Goliath’s brother had a spear with a shaft as big as the crossbeam of a weaver’s loom.

        • Some may recall that there are textual issues with this text both here and in the parallel account in 2 Sam 21 which has resulted in quite a lot of debate and an example of a very popular “Bible contradiction” claim regarding who killed Goliath. The interested reader may refer to the notes from that chapter for a detailed explanation. However, I will merely re-state NET Bible’s explanation of the textual issues which adequately resolve the problem:

          • The Hebrew text as it stands reads, ‘Elhanan son of Jaare-Oregim the Bethlehemite killed Goliath the Gittite.’ Who killed Goliath the Gittite? According to 1 Sam 17:4-58 it was David who killed Goliath, but according to the MT of 2 Sam 21:19 it was Elhanan who killed him. Many scholars believe that the two passages are hopelessly at variance with one another. Others have proposed various solutions to the difficulty, such as identifying David with Elhanan or positing the existence of two Goliaths. But in all likelihood the problem is the result of difficulties in the textual transmission of the Samuel passage. The parallel passage in 1 Chr 20:5 reads, ‘Elhanan son of Jair killed Lahmi the brother of Goliath.’ Both versions are textually suspect. The Chronicles text appears to have misread ‘Bethlehemite (… bet hallakhmi) as the accusative sign followed by a proper name… (ʾet lakhmi). (See the note at 1 Chr 20:5.) The Samuel text appears to have misread the word for ‘brother’ (…ʾakh) as the accusative sign (… ʾet), thereby giving the impression that Elhanan, not David, killed Goliath. Thus in all probability the original text read, ‘Elhanan son of Jair the Bethlehemite killed the brother of Goliath.’”

      • In yet another battle, which took place in Gath, there was a huge man who had six fingers on each hand and six toes on each foot- 24 in all! He was also a descendant of the giants. When he taunted Israel, Jonathan, who was the son of David’s brother Shimea, killed him.

      • These were descendants of the giants of Gath, and David and his men killed them.

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