1 Chronicles 20 talks about some key battles facing David and his mighty men. Scripture tells us the time is in the spring and it was “the time when kings go out to battle”. Weather and timing does matter, and at least during David’s time wars seemed to brew during the winter and then the battles began in the springtime. David has a very trustworthy right hand man who leads his army – Joab. He was a very effective commander and has led the troops to victory many times over the years. This time was no exception – they besieged Rabbah and overthrew it.
But one victory doesn’t really end anything. David “took the crown of their king from his head….and it was placed on David’s head”. It was a giant gold crown and had a precious stone in it. They also “brought out the spoil of the city, a very great amount”. These battles weren’t just about taking territory, but also the spoils of war. And David accumulated a lot of loot from the cities of the Ammonites. But it also involved getting labor – albeit slave labor – to do the work needed to support the kingdom. In this case David “brought out the people who were in it and set them to labor with saws and iron picks and axes”. Not a pretty picture for those captured, but how things happened during this time.
David’s men pretty well wiped out the Ammonites, but there was another battle just around the corner. Actually several battles with an age old enemy – the Philistines. You’ll recall that much earlier in life David rose to prominence with his victory over the giant Goliath as a boy with a sling shot. But now they have come again. First at Gezer where Sibbecai struck down Sippai who “was a descendant of the giants”.
Then comes the battle where Elhanan defeats Lahmi who was actually the brother of Goliath. Don’t think the Philistines didn’t have an axe to grind with David and his people. They wanted revenge. Scripture tells us that Goliath’s brother was also a giant and “the shaft of whose spear was like a weaver’s beam”. He was one big dude. There was yet another battle with them at Gath, this time involving a giant with 6 fingers and 6 toes on each of his hands and feet, so 24 in all. He “taunted Israel” just like Goliath had David, and Jonathan, who was David’s brother, struck him dead. God blessed the army of David and some of his mighty warriors so they defeated giants one after the other. With God, giants are no big deal. One plus God always wins!