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Siege and Capture of Rabbah
In the spring of the year, the time when kings go out to battle, Joab led out the army, ravaged the country of the Ammonites, and came and besieged Rabbah. But David remained at Jerusalem. Joab attacked Rabbah, and overthrew it. 2David took the crown of Milcom from his head; he found that it weighed a talent of gold, and in it was a precious stone; and it was placed on David’s head. He also brought out the booty of the city, a very great amount. 3He brought out the people who were in it, and set them to work with saws and iron picks and axes. Thus David did to all the cities of the Ammonites. Then David and all the people returned to Jerusalem.
Exploits against the Philistines
4 After this, war broke out with the Philistines at Gezer; then Sibbecai the Hushathite killed Sippai, who was one of the descendants of the giants; and the Philistines were subdued. 5Again there was war with the Philistines; and Elhanan son of Jair killed Lahmi the brother of Goliath the Gittite, the shaft of whose spear was like a weaver’s beam. 6Again there was war at Gath, where there was a man of great size, who had six fingers on each hand, and six toes on each foot, twenty-four in number; he also was descended from the giants. 7When he taunted Israel, Jonathan son of Shimea, David’s brother, killed him. 8These were descended from the giants in Gath; they fell by the hand of David and his servants.
1Ch 20:1-3. Rabbah Besieged by Joab, Spoiled by David, and the People Tortured.
1. at the time when kings go out to battle—in spring, the usual season in ancient times for entering on a campaign; that is, a year subsequent to the Syrian war.
Joab led forth the power of the army, and wasted the country … of Ammon—The former campaign had been disastrous, owing chiefly to the hired auxiliaries of the Ammonites; and as it was necessary, as well as just, that they should be severely chastised for their wanton outrage on the Hebrew ambassadors, Joab ravaged their country and invested their capital, Rabbah. After a protracted siege, Joab took one part of it, the lower town or "city of waters," insulated by the winding course of the Jabbok. Knowing that the fort called "the royal city" would soon fall, he invited the king to come in person, and have the honor of storming it. The knowledge of this fact (mentioned in 2Sa 12:26) enables us to reconcile the two statements—"David tarried at Jerusalem" (1Ch 20:1), and "David and all the people returned to Jerusalem" (1Ch 20:3).
2. David took the crown of their king …, and found it to weigh a talent of gold—equal to one hundred twenty-five pounds. Some think that Malcom, rendered in our version "their king," should be taken as a proper name, Milcom or Molech, the Ammonite idol, which, of course, might bear a heavy weight. But, like many other state crowns of Eastern kings, the crown got at Rabbah was not worn on the head, but suspended by chains of gold above the throne.
precious stones—Hebrew, a "stone," or cluster of precious stones, which was set on David's head.
3. cut them with saws, &c.—The Hebrew word, "cut them," is, with the difference of the final letter, the same as that rendered "put them," in the parallel passage of Samuel [2Sa 12:31]; and many consider that putting them to saws, axes, and so forth, means nothing more than that David condemned the inhabitants of Rabbah to hard and penal servitude.
1Ch 20:4-8. Three Overthrows of the Philistines and Three Giants Slain.
4. war at Gezer—or Gob (see 2Sa 21:18-22).