Today: [1 Chronicles Twenty] Ammon is Subdued – Giants are Slain. In this chapter we find David again remaining behind while a further campaign against Ammon is carried out by Joab. The capital city of Rabbah is besieged and conquered and much spoil is brought out to David. The city of Gath one of the 5 ruling cities of the Philistines is also taken and the remaining relatives of Goliath are slain by David’s mighty men. Just as David slew giants now the dispatching of such formidable warriors is a common thing in David’s army. This is our heritage as well as Jesus promised us that things He did we would do and greater works besides!
[1Ch 20:1-8 KJV] 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. 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.
In this brief chapter we find the war with the children of Ammon is ongoing. The spring of the year in ancient times and in modern times as well is a usual time for nations to go out to war. During the winter even in arid climates the cold and other factors make it difficult for campaigning in battle. In the campaign against Rabbah Joab leads the army without David. In the previous chapter David sent Joab out as well and apparently this is a choice that is to David’s liking for he stays behind in this conflict as well. David’s reasons for doing may not have taken into account that in the initial conflict with Hanun of Ammon Joab’s victories were not decisive and David had to come out eventual to settle the matter with finality. Whatever the case may be David’s choice to remain behind is ominous in view of the matter with Bathsheba which will shortly come to pass.
The first war with the Ammonites was fought in Israelite territory but now Joab takes the fight to Rabbah the capital of Ammon. The name of the city means “greatness of the the people”. Ammon descends from on of Lot’s sons born to him of his daughters. Ammon’s name means “congregation or association”. Though they were kindred nations the Ammonites despised Israel and battled often against them. As a metaphor Ammon represents the “crowd mentality” or “going with the crowd”. In spiritual things the maxim “bigger is better” is not always true. In Christian culture we can become obsessed with numbers and large congregations. We feel if our meetings are small with only a few people that there is something wrong and we are compeled perhaps to seek out a larger congregation in fact if we are not discerning we are thinking with an Ammonite mentality which is rooted in the reason Lot chose to live in Sodom rather than remaining faithfully at Abraham’s side.
There are worse things that remaining in a small, unremarkable setting. Lot found that out when he was insecure and uncomfortable with his uncle Abraham and thought the best idea was the excitement, activity and commerce of populous Sodom was more to his liking. The crowd mentality – the desire or obsession with numerical superiority is rooted in a spirit that makes Sodom a possibility. The church decries the LGBT lifestyle and obnoxious to God but the church itself many times carries out an enforced sameness in its ranks – requiring as Ammon’s name suggests that all believers think alike and “associate” alike with great emphasis on discouraging individualism or variety of perspectives. So in judging so harshly the LGBT demographic we would do well to remember the biblical observation “as face answers face in a glass so the heart of man answers the heart of man” (Proverbs 27:19).
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. 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. 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.
Joab conquers Rabbah and puts the king’s crown on David’s head. Abraham likewise conquered the plains of Sodom and afterward met with Melchisedek. David chastens the people apparently with great tortures. Scholars looking closely at this passage suggest the lanuage is more accurately translated that David put them TO the ax and harrow as laborers rather than brutally torturing an entire population which would not have been compatible with David’s character.
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. 7 But when he defied Israel, Jonathan the son of Shimea David’s brother slew him. 8 These were born unto the giant in Gath; and they fell by the hand of David, and by the hand of his servants.
After the Ammonite defeat we find that the armies of Israel enter into battle with Gath and kill three giants there as David did Goliath of old. We see then that Israel can kill giants just as David could. David was remarkable in this feat in his day but through his leadership it becomes a common thing for those he led and influenced to perform such feats. This speaks to us regarding the words of Jesus:
[Jhn 14:12 KJV] 12 Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that believeth on me, the works that I do shall he do also; and greater [works] than these shall he do; because I go unto my Father.
Remember that these giants were from Gath as Goliath was also. Therefore we conclude that these men were Goliath’s kinsmen who no doubt were keen to exact revenge upon Israel for the death of Goliath but suffered the same fate. Likewise as these giants hated David and all people associated with David so the enemy of our souls so hated Christ and yet hates us – but his fate will be the same as the giants of Gath at the hands of faithfilled warriors of our David – king Jesus!
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