1 Chronicles 19 (New Living Translation)
David Defeats the Ammonites
1 Some time after this, King Nahash of the Ammonites died, and his son Hanun became king. 2David said, “I am going to show loyalty to Hanun because his father, Nahash, was always loyal to me.” So David sent messengers to express sympathy to Hanun about his father’s death.
But when David’s ambassadors arrived in the land of Ammon, 3 the Ammonite commanders said to Hanun, “Do you really think these men are coming here to honor your father? No! David has sent them to spy out the land so they can come in and conquer it!” 4 So Hanun seized David’s ambassadors and shaved them, cut off their robes at the buttocks, and sent them back to David in shame.
Free Hebrew men wore beards; slaves were clean shaven. And the short robes exposed their nakedness. This treatment was humiliation upon humiliation, and by doing it to David’s ambassadors, the Ammonites were in effect doing it to David.
5 When David heard what had happened to the men, he sent messengers to tell them, “Stay at Jericho until your beards grow out, and then come back.” For they felt deep shame because of their appearance.
6 When the people of Ammon realized how seriously they had angered David, Hanun and the Ammonites sent 75,000 pounds of silver to hire chariots and charioteers from Aram-naharaim, Aram-maacah, and Zobah. 7 They also hired 32,000 chariots and secured the support of the king of Maacah and his army. These forces camped at Medeba, where they were joined by the Ammonite troops that Hanun had recruited from his own towns. 8 When David heard about this, he sent Joab and all his warriors to fight them. 9 The Ammonite troops came out and drew up their battle lines at the entrance of the city, while the other kings positioned themselves to fight in the open fields.
Ammonites in front of them, Ammonites back of them — not a comfortable position for the Israelite general!
10 When Joab saw that he would have to fight on both the front and the rear, he chose some of Israel’s elite troops and placed them under his personal command to fight the Arameans in the fields. 11 He left the rest of the army under the command of his brother Abishai, who was to attack the Ammonites. 12 “If the Arameans are too strong for me, then come over and help me,” Joab told his brother. “And if the Ammonites are too strong for you, I will help you. 13 Be courageous! Let us fight bravely for our people and the cities of our God. May the Lord’s will be done.”
I think I need to put Joab’s speech on my mirror to read every morning!
“Be courageous!” This is a choice we can make each day. We can “be strong in the Lord and the power of his might” (Eph. 6:10).
“Fight bravely!” Consider the things that are at stake: nothing less than the Kingdom of God on earth and in heaven!
“May the Lord’s will be done!” Trust God. His love in Jesus Christ and his power in the Holy Spirit will accomplish his great purposes even through us!
“Be strong and take courage” — and enjoy the babies!
14 When Joab and his troops attacked, the Arameans began to run away. 15 And when the Ammonites saw the Arameans running, they also ran from Abishai and retreated into the city. Then Joab returned to Jerusalem.
16 The Arameans now realized that they were no match for Israel, so they sent messengers and summoned additional Aramean troops from the other side of the Euphrates River. These troops were under the command of Shobach, the commander of Hadadezer’s forces.
17 When David heard what was happening, he mobilized all Israel, crossed the Jordan River, and positioned his troops in battle formation. Then David engaged the Arameans in battle, and they fought against him. 18 But again the Arameans fled from the Israelites. This time David’s forces killed 7,000 charioteers and 40,000 foot soldiers, including Shobach, the commander of their army. 19 When Hadadezer’s allies saw that they had been defeated by Israel, they surrendered to David and became his subjects. After that, the Arameans were no longer willing to help the Ammonites.
1 Chronicles 20 (New Living Translation)
David Captures Rabbah
1In the spring of the year, when kings normally go out to war, Joab led the Israelite army in successful attacks against the land of the Ammonites. In the process he laid siege to the city of Rabbah. However, David stayed behind in Jerusalem.
And what happened when David stayed behind in Jerusalem? Oh, baby.
In fact, the account in 2 Samuel 12:26-31 tells us that Joab himself did not win this battle over Rabbah. He fought the Ammonites to a stalemate and then called for David to help, after his sin with Bathsheba and subsequent repentance. Then, 2 Samuel 12:29 tells us, David gathered all the people together and went to Rabbah. This was the final phase of David’s restoration. He went back to doing what he should have done all along – leading Israel out to battle, instead of remaining in Jerusalem. This means that David was in victory once again. His sin did not condemn him to a life of failure and defeat. There was chastisement for David’s sin, but it did not mean that his life was ruined.
2 When David arrived at Rabbah, he removed the crown from the king’s head, and it was placed on his own head. The crown was made of gold and set with gems, and he found that it weighed seventy-five pounds. David took a vast amount of plunder from the city. 3 He also made slaves of the people of Rabbah and forced them to labor with saws, iron picks, and iron axes. That is how David dealt with the people of all the Ammonite towns. Then David and all the army returned to Jerusalem.
Rabbah was the capital of the Ammonites and is the site of modern Amman in Jordan. I had an aunt and uncle who lived in Amman for five years; he worked for Boeing. I visited them there just a couple months before they returned home. When I asked my aunt what she would miss most about Amman, she replied, “Beige.”
Battles against Philistine Giants
4After this, war broke out with the Philistines at Gezer. As they fought, Sibbecai from Hushah killed Saph, a descendant of the giants, and so the Philistines were subdued. 5 During another battle with the Philistines, Elhanan son of Jair killed Lahmi, the brother of Goliath of Gath. The handle of Lahmi’s spear was as thick as a weaver’s beam!
6 In another battle with the Philistines at Gath, they encountered a huge man with six fingers on each hand and six toes on each foot, twenty-four in all, who was also a descendant of the giants. 7 But when he defied and taunted Israel, he was killed by Jonathan, the son of David’s brother Shimea.
8 These Philistines were descendants of the giants of Gath, but David and his warriors killed them.
The account of David’s wars in chapters 18-20 is drawn from various parts of 2 Samuel, chs. 8-21. The unity of theme that is thus achieved is a result of the omission of a large amount of material in 2 Samuel. There, the Ammonite war, for example (2 Sam. chs 10-11), is primarily a backcloth for the story of David’s adultery with Bathsheba and related murder of Uriah. Those actions in turn spark off a series of events which are far from glorifying to the house of David (mainly Ammon’s rape of Tamar, ch. 13, and Absalom’s rebellion, chs. 15ff.). The omission of this block of material is as instructive as that which is included for it shows that Chronicles is determined to develop the theme of David’s positive contribution to the establishment of God’s kingdom in Israel, a purpose which would not have been served by the inclusion of evidence of his deficiencies. All this is dramatic evidence of God’s willingness to use even the most inconstant of people in his service.
Christians often become obsessed by their failures. It is a measure of the grace of God that he is willing to put the best interpretation upon the most vacillating life of faith.
–J. G. McConville
New Living Translation (NLT) Holy Bible. New Living Translation copyright© 1996, 2004, 2007 by Tyndale House Foundation. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers Inc., Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved.