1 Chronicles 20:1. This chapter, containing such other warlike exploits belonging to David's reign as the writer of Chronicles thinks it important to put on record, is to be compared with the passages of Samuel noted in the marginal references. (Barnes.)
Joab smites the city of Rabbah; and David puts the crown of its king upon his own head, and treats the people of the city with great rigour, 1-3. First battle with the Philistines, 4. Second battle with the Philistines, 5. Third battle with the Philistines, 6, 7. In these battles three giants are slain, 8. (Clarke)
Ver. 1. thru Ver. 3.
How the army of the Ammonites and their allies was routed in the field we read in the foregoing chapters. Here we have the destruction of Rabbah, the metropolis of their kingdom (#1Ch 20:1), the putting of their king's crown upon David's head (#1Ch 20:2), and the great severity that was used towards the people, #1Ch 20:3. Of this we had a more full account in 2 Samuel 11-12, and cannot but remember it by this sad token, that while Joab was besieging Rabbah David fell into that great sin in the matter of Uriah. But it is observable that, though the rest of the story is repeated, that is not: a hint only is given of it, in those words which lie here in a parenthesisBut David tarried at Jerusalem. If he had been abroad with his army, he would have been out of the way of that temptation; but, indulging his ease, he fell into uncleanness. Now, as the relating of the sin David fell into is an instance of the impartiality and fidelity of the sacred writers, so the avoiding of the repetition of it here, when there was a fair occasion given to speak of it again, is designed to teach us that, though there may be a just occasion to speak of the faults and miscarriages of others, yet we should not take delight in the repetition of them. That should always be looked upon as an unpleasing subject which, though sometimes one cannot help falling upon, yet one would not choose to dwell upon, any more than we should love to rake in a dunghill. The persons, or actions, we can say no good of, we had best say nothing of.
Vv. 1-3, there is no mention of David's sin with Bathsheba, only that he tarried at Jerusalem when he should have been in battle, 2 Samuel 11.
Chronicles gives God's view of what is taking place in Israel, and here, we see that David's sin had been forgiven and forgotten by the Lord. I point out in chapter 15 that David was identified as a man after God's own heart. By that, we do not mean that God overlooked David's sin, nor that David was sinless. Rather, we mean that when sin was pointed out to David, he dealt with it, sought forgiveness, and changed.
Thus anyone can be a man after God's own heart by simply being willing to confront and confess sin, and turn from it.
First, David tarried at Jerusalem, abandoning his army to fight without him. With the ease and idleness on his hands, he fell into sin.
The saying is not far off "Idle hands are the devil's workshop". David's hands were idle, and he fell.
Note the rapid growth of the social acceptance of sin in our day. Could that growth be attributed to the access of time on our hands. God established a six day work week, probably from daylight to dark. Can we violate that timetable without bad results.
Second, concerning Saul's death, David said, Tell it not in Gath, publish it not in the streets of Askelon; lest the daughters of the Philistines rejoice, lest the daughters of the uncircumcised triumph. 2 Samuel 1:20.
We should not rejoice when one falls who bears the name "Christian". For it only gives the pagans cause to rejoice, and say, "I told you so".
Third, 1 Corinthians 10:12 Wherefore let him that thinketh he standeth take heed lest he fall. The passage speaks for itself. Did David become too confident?
Fourth, if we do not join in the battle with God's people against the world, flesh and the devil, we will pay the price. David paid the price with his family, which is what I have seen many times over, 2 Samuel 12:14. However, there has been a theory around for years that says you place your family on the shelf while you go do battle with the enemy. That is just as bad as not doing battle at all.
Fifth, Israel's army was successful in conquering the enemies. However, the victory they obtained was not at all a sign of God overlooking David's sin, as might be assumed from the text.
Ecclesiastes 8:11 Because sentence against an evil work is not executed speedily, therefore the heart of the sons of men is fully set in them to do evil.
I really do not think that David felt like he would get away with the sin after it was pointed out and he repented. But men do think that because the results of their sins do not catch up with them quickly, they have avoided the results.
Sixth, it is also beyond me how David could do the sin and not be stricken with his conscience. However, the Spirit was not indwelling before He was sent back by Christ, John 16:8, 13. Thus he was not present to convict of sin as He is now, so we cannot really understand how He worked back then.
1. We do not read of giants among the Israelites as we do of the giants among the Philistines. There were giants of Gath, but not giants of Jerusalem. God's kingdom grows by usefulness, not by physical size. It is the Davids not the Goliaths who will advance the kingdom, for Davids must depend upon the Lord.
2. The servants of David were men of ordinary stature, but were too much for the giants of Gath in every encounter. They had God on their side, and He takes pleasure in humbling lofty looks, and shaming the giants that are in the earth; He did before the flood, and He speciallizes in doing so after Christ, 1 Corinthians 1:26ff.
We must not get discouraged when great men of the world are against us or against the kingdom of the Lord and His Christ, for we have "God with us". What good will an extra finger on each hand and an extra toe on each foot when the wicked attempt to overthrow the Lord and His Christ, Psalms 2?
3. The 3 giants defied Israel, and were made to pay for their audacity. Those who reproach God and the Israel of God are marked by God for ruin. God will do great things rather than suffer the enemy to behave themselves proudly. Like David's victories and exaltation, the Son of David's victories and worldly exaltation are gradual. We do not yet see all things put under him, but we will:
Hebrews 2:8 Thou hast put all things in subjection under his feet. For in that he put all in subjection under him, he left nothing that is not put under him. But now we see not yet all things put under him. (Also, 1 Cor. 15:25, 27.)
The enemies of God will be triumphed over, including death.
1 Corinthians 15:26 The last enemy that shall be destroyed is death.