Commentary On 1 Chronicles 20
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Commentary On 1 Chronicles 20

In the sphere of biblical exegesis and hermeneutics, each chapter presents a treasure trove of spiritual, historical, and theological insights. The Book of 1 Chronicles, particularly Chapter 20, is no exception.

This chapter forms an integral part of the narrative record concerning King David’s reign, epitomizing his military prowess, the victories gained, and the challenges faced.

Within the broader context of Chronicles, it lays substantial groundwork for understanding how the Israelites built, defended, and expanded their kingdom under David’s rule.

This article provides a detailed, multifaceted commentary on 1 Chronicles Chapter 20, aiming to unpack the text cognizant of its original historical setting and the broader framework of Biblical revelation.

From exploring significant narrative elements such as David’s war against the Ammonites (1 Chronicles 20:1; 2 Samuel 11:1) to evaluating themes of power, faith, and divine intervention, this commentary seeks to engage these profound texts in a manner that both respects their original context and finds their enduring relevance for people of faith today.

Commentary on 1 chronicles 20

An Overview of the Dramatic Events in 1 Chronicles Chapter 20

The twentieth chapter of the first book of Chronicles in the Bible brings forward some dramatic and memorable events featuring King David and his military exploits. It paints a vivid picture of the Israelite king’s conquests, his courage in the face of daunting odds, and his prevailing faith in God.

The first event is a wondrous victory over the Ammonites. At the onset of a new year, a time when kings traditionally went to war, David sent Joab and his servicemen to battle the Ammonites. They successfully besieged Rabbah and overpowered it.

Interestingly, David himself didn’t participate in the initial phase of this war but joined later to lead the final conquest (1 Chronicles 20:1-2).

His late arrival didn’t diminish his role and the triumph was accredited to him. David exhibited character in victory, he didn’t take personal advantage of the war spoils but brought them before the Lord, setting a powerful case of righteous leadership and complete dependence on God.

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Another dramatic event showcased in the chapter is the slaying of three giants. Remarkably, these were not by David, but by his warriors (1 Chronicles 20:4-8). One of them, Elhanan son of Jair, killed Lahmi, the brother of Goliath the Gittite.

These notable victories over giants reassure God’s help and protection when confronted with seemingly insurmountable challenges. This could be seen as a metaphor – that with God’s help, the ‘giants’ in our lives can also be defeated.

This overview of 1 Chronicles Chapter 20 offers a glimpse into the victories and strength found in faith and dependence on God. It provides a valuable lesson not just for leaders, but for anyone facing their own battles; reminding us that with trust in God, we have the ability to emerge victorious.

Die-hard Faith: Unearthing the Symbolic Significance of David’s Battles

The brilliant narrative arc of David is often characterized by his courage and heroic feats in battles, but it is his unyielding faith that serves as the bedrock of his strength.

The book of 1 Samuel 17:37 underscores this, where David conveys, “the Lord who delivered me from the paw of the lion and from the paw of the bear will deliver me from the hand of this Philistine.”

It reveals that David ascribes his previous victories not to his personal prowess but to the divine intervention of God. Every combat account is a testament to his unwavering devotion, an ode to a faith that never wavers even in the face of seemingly insurmountable odds.

An analysis of these textual battles brings forth deeply embedded symbolic significance in each. A noteworthy illustration is the iconic David and Goliath conflict; David, a mere shepherd boy in the natural, finds victory over the warrior giant Goliath.

The confrontation serves as an enduring metaphor that accentuates not the physical disparity, but the invincible might of faith. The power it holds when entrusted into God’s hand: 1 Samuel 17:47 “…for the battle is the Lord’s, and he will give all of you into our hands.”

The decisive face-off between David and King Saul can also be evaluated through an interpretative lens. David’s restraint from killing Saul, even when he had the opportunity, resonates strongly.

His respect for God’s anointed as evidenced from 1 Samuel 24:6, “…he said to his men, The Lord forbid that I should do this thing to my master, the Lord’s anointed, to stretch out my hand against him, seeing he is the anointed of the Lord.”

This act of obedience, eschewing personal vindictive disposition, underlines the ardency of David’s faith. The battles of David are more than mere historical accounts; they are intricately layered ovations to an untiring faith that wielded divine results.

Analysis of David’s Military Successes as Foretold in 1 Chronicles 20:1-3

The scripture 1 Chronicles 20:1-3 provides a compelling narrative on King David’s military successes. This passage encapsulates the strength and resilience demonstrated by King David in his conquests.

It further clarifies how his victories were not merely the result of his abilities and strategic skills, but significantly ascribed to divine intervention and favor.

The scriptures narrate how David captured Rabbah and took away its crown, subduing the Ammonites and imposing severe conscription. An in-depth interpretation of these actions carries profound messages.

  • David’s capture of Rabbah: This signifies his ability to triumph over formidable enemies, courtesy of the divine power that strengthened him.
  • Taking away the crown: A symbol of authority, David taking the crown illustrates divine empowerment to destabilize ungodly dominations.
  • Subduing the Ammonites: This signifies the power to overcome and take control of territories that oppose the Kingdom of God.
  • Imposing severe conscription: This denotes the authority delegated by God to institute discipline and ensure compliance among conquered territories.

According to 1 Chronicles 20:1, the victory was sealed during the spring season, “at the time when kings go off to war”. Here, again, we witness divine scheduling at play. God orchestrated this victory at the perfect time, illustrating how He takes control of seasons and times in bringing about successes.

Thus, David’s military success, as foretold in 1 Chronicles 20:1-3, hinges much on his unwavering faith in God, total understanding of divine timing, and willingness to be used as an instrument in God’s divine plan for His people.

Biblical Portrayal of Giants: A Discussion on the Descendants of Rapha (1 Chronicles 20:4-8)

The Roots of the Rapha
The descents of Rapha, a branch of the giant clans are depicted in 1 Chronicles 20:4-8.

Rapha in Hebrew means ‘to heal or make whole’, suggesting a certain level of stature, and they were one of the several tribes of giants mentioned in the Bible along with the Anakim and the Rephaites. The Rapha were of an incredible size and strength and were deemed as formidable opponents.

The Encounters with the Giants
Among the key encounters with these giants are noteworthy battles fought by King David and his warriors.

The Bible gives account in 1 Chronicles 20:4-8 where it says,

“And after this there arose war with the Philistines at Gezer. Then Sibbeai the Hushathite struck down Sippai, who was one of the descendants of the giants, and the Philistines were subdued. And there was again war with the Philistines, and Elhanan the son of Jair struck down Lahmi the brother of Goliath the Gittite, the shaft of whose spear was like a weaver’s beam. And there was again war at Gath, where there was a man of great stature, who had six fingers on each hand, and six toes on each foot, twenty-four in number, and he also was descended from the giants”.

In this scripture, David’s soldiers managed to defeat these giants, ultimately leading to the eradication of these tribes.

The Significance of the Giants in the Biblical Narrative
In the biblical narrative, the giants were often portrayed as a sign of chaos and disorder, standing in direct opposition to God’s order. In many instances, they were used to demonstrate God’s power and sovereignty.

When David or his soldiers fought against the descendants of Rapha, this was symbolic of God’s people triumphing over the forces of chaos and evil, demonstrating God’s ultimate supremacy.

The eventual demise of these giant tribes is seen as proof of God’s favor upon his chosen people and his ability to vanquish all forms of disorder and rebellion.

Extracting Life Lessons from David’s Absence from the Battlefront (1 Chronicles 20:2-3)

David, the greatest king of Israel, is known for his courage and valor in battle. However, in 1 Chronicles 20:2-3, he was conspicuously absent from the battlefront. This gives us a fascinating study; extracting life lessons from David’s behavior during this time.

Just because he was not physically present, we shouldn’t presume that he was detached or indifferent to the ongoing war. Instead, he was focusing on consolidating and strengthening his position internally, leading Israel to better stability and prosperity.

Here we see that sometimes stepping back is not a sign of weakness but wisdom in understanding where one can make the most significant impact.

David’s absence from the battlefield can be viewed as an indication of his faith in God and the ability of his men, effectively delegating responsibilities. David understood the value of shared leadership, entrusting his men with the combat.

The Bible states in Exodus 18:21, “But select capable men from all the people—men who fear God, trustworthy men who hate dishonest gain—and appoint them as officials over thousands, hundreds, fifties, and tens.

David lived this verse, reminding us to delegate tasks wisely and trust those whom we have empowered, believing that God is at work in them too.

  • Knowing when to step back: David knew when it was time to step back and allow others to shine, emphasizing the importance of discernment.
  • Delegating tasks wisely: David’s example teaches us the importance of delegation and trusting others.
  • Trusting in God’s Providence: Despite withdrawing from the battlefront, David had faith in God to deliver victory, instilling in us a strong sense of trust in God’s timing and will.

In conclusion, despite being touted as a warrior king, David’s absence from the battlefront in 1 Chronicles 20:2-3 gives us valuable life lessons. Knowing when to step back and trust in others and God’s providence is a critical aspect of leadership and personal growth which David demonstrates.

Therefore, the next time we feel the need to be present in every fight or task, let’s remember David’s wisdom in stepping back and have faith in God’s empowerment of others.


In conclusion, our journey through 1 Chronicles Chapter 20 underlines the timeless truth of God’s sovereignty and steadfast love. The various narratives of David’s victories emphasize the reality of God’s providence and protection over His people.

Regardless of the size or nature of our battles, whether as immense as the Ammonite armies or as personal as the giant descendants of the Rapha, we are assured of God’s intervention, invoking the triumph of David – “And David inquired of God, saying, “Shall I go up against the Philistines? Will You deliver them into my hand?” The Lord said to him, “Go up, for I will deliver them into your hand.” (1 Chronicles 14:10, NKJV)

As we apply this chapter into our own lives, may we remember that our victories are God’s victories, our battles are fought by a God who never loses.

We are not merely students of history as we delve into the heart of Chronicles, but active participants in the drama of redemption, learning how to behold our God in all His unconditional love, abounding grace and unquenchable victory.

This chapter serves as a profound reminder that no matter what we might encounter in life, there is a God who fights for us, with us, and never against us.

We trust the commentary on 1 Chronicles Chapter 20 provided a deeper understanding for you. Let these lessons serve as reminders not merely to know God’s word, but to be doers of it, ultimately leading us closer to becoming more Christ-like in our daily life.

Pastor duke taber
Pastor Duke Taber

Pastor Duke Taber

All articles have been written or reviewed by Pastor Duke Taber.
Pastor Duke Taber is an alumnus of Life Pacific University and Multnomah Biblical Seminary.
He has been in pastoral ministry since 1988.
Today he is the owner and managing editor of 3 successful Christian websites that support missionaries around the world.
He is currently starting a brand new church in Mesquite NV called Mesquite Worship Center, a Non-Denominational Spirit Filled Christian church in Mesquite Nevada.