War with Philistine Giants
1 Then it happened at the end of the year, (a)at the time when kings go out to battle, Joab led out the army and ravaged and devastated the land of the Ammonites, and came and besieged Rabbah. But David stayed at Jerusalem [with Bathsheba]. Joab struck Rabbah and overthrew it.(A) 2 David took the crown of their king from his head and found that it (b)weighed a talent of gold and that there was a precious stone in it; so it was set on David’s head. He also brought a very great amount of spoil (plunder) out of the city [of Rabbah]. 3 He brought out the people who were in it, and (c)put them [to work] with saws, iron picks, and axes. David dealt in this way with all the Ammonite cities. Then David and all the people returned to Jerusalem.
4 Now 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 (d)giants, and they were subdued. 5 There was war again with the Philistines, 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. 6 Again 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. 7 When he taunted Israel, Jonathan the son of Shimea, David’s brother, killed him. 8 These were descended from the giants in Gath, and they fell by the hand of David and by the hand of his servants.
a. 1 Chronicles 20:1: I.e. after the spring harvest.
b. 1 Chronicles 20:2: A crown of this weight would have been practical only for ceremonial display.
c. 1 Chronicles 20:3: MT reads cut with saws, but the parallel passage (2 Sam 12:31) reads put them to [work with] the saws, which can mean “put to work.” Due to the brutality implied by the reading cut, most expositors prefer to reject it as an early scribal error for put, which is possible because the two Hebrew verb forms closely resemble each other. If the MT reading is in fact an error, it may have escaped detection due to its juxtaposition with saws.
d. 1 Chronicles 20:4: Heb Rephaim, and so in vv 6, 8.