I Chronicles 20


The contents of this chapter are all to be found in the work of Samuel, but

woven in, in very different places. The cause of the first considerable

difference of this kind is in connection with the occurrence of what would

have seemed a mere casual detail of expression in our first verse, “But

David tarried at Jerusalem,” at which same statement, however, the writer

of Samuel halts, to append all that then happened with David in the

disastrous matter of Bathsheba and Uriah, occupying nearly two whole

chapters (II Samuel 11:2-12:25) — a history not recorded at all by the

Chronicle compiler. Why David tarried at Jerusalem, and how far he did so

legitimately and in harmony with the necessities of government, we know

not, but certain it is, he was tempted to make the unhappiest use of his

tarrying at Jerusalem.”


1 “And it came to pass, that after the year was expired, at the time that

kings go out to battle, Joab led forth the power of the army, and

wasted the country of the children of Ammon, and came and

besieged Rabbah. But David tarried at Jerusalem. And Joab smote

Rabbah, and destroyed it.”  The fifteenth verse of the previous chapter stated

that the discomfited Ammonites “fled… and entered into the city,” i.e. into

Rabbah.  Hither we now learn that, by the command of David (IISamuel 11:1),

Joab, at the “return of the year,” i.e. probably at the return of spring

(Exodus 23:16; 34:22), brings the power of the army, and, after

ravaging the country surrounding it, sits down to besiege Rabbah itself.

The series of feasts, beginning in spring and ending in autumn, regulated

the year. The sacred year began with the new moon that became full next

after the spring equinox; but the civil year at the seventh new moon. This

one verse illustrates in four several instances at fewest the advantage of

having two versions of the same events, even though in this case in

comparatively immaterial respects.


  • We here read that Joab wasted the country of the children of

Ammon… and besieged Rabbah, in place of the less consistent

reading of II Samuel 11:1, “destroyed the children of Ammon, and

besieged Rabbah.”


  • We have here in the Hebrew the right word for “kings” (μykil;M]j"),

instead of the word for “angels” (μykial;m]j), as in the parallel place.


  • While we read here that Joab smote Rabbah, and destroyed it, the

parallel place, now shifted to II Samuel 12:27-29, tells of Joab’s

generosity (if it were this, and not fear or possibly somewhat tardy

obedience to strict commands given on his commission), in his message

to David, to repair to the spot immediately and share the glory of the

reduction of the city, or be its nominal captor.


  • And, once more, while we read here that Joab smote Rabbah, and

destroyed it, and yet read in the parallel place of the delay and the visit

of David (with which the very first clause of our v. 2, “And David took,”

etc., is in perfect accord) and of David’s nominal taking of the city, we

find probably the just and inartificial explanation of all this in II Samuel

12:26-29. There we read more particularly that Joab sent word he had

taken the “city of waters,” i.e. tie lower part of the city (where a stream

had its source, and no doubt supplied the city with water), which was

very likely the key of the whole position,and called upon David to come

up and “encamp against the city and take it,” i.e. the city, or citadel, which

stood upon the heights north of the stream. Glimpses of this kind may

suffice to convince us how rapidly a text, really correct, would melt away

for us a very large proportion of the whole number of the lesser obstacles

which often impede our path in the historical books of the Old Testament.

At the time that kings go out. It was no doubt the case that, even in

Palestine, the winter was often a period of enforced inactivity. Rabbah.

The punishment of Ammon for the treatment of David’s well-intended

embassy of condolence is now about to be completed. The familiar root

of Rabbah signifies multitudinous number, and, resulting thence, the

greatness of importance. It was the chief city of the Ammonites, if not

their only city of importance enough for mention. In five passages its

connection with Ammon is coupled with its name (Deuteronomy 3:11;

II Samuel 12:26; 17:27; Jeremiah 49:2; Ezekiel 21:20), Rabbah of the

children of Ammon.” It has been conjectured to be the Ham of the

Zuzim, or the Ashteroth Karnaim of the Rephaim (Genesis 14:5), of

which latter theory there is some interesting evidence of a corroborating

tendency at all events (see Smith’s ‘Bible Dictionary,’ 2:985). Rabbah

is the proper spelling of the word, except when in a constructive state,

as in the above phrase. The relations of Moab and Ammon with Israel

are full of interest.  After the overthrow of Og, King of Bashan

(Numbers 21:33), “Moab and Ammon still remained independent allies

south and cast of the Israelite settlements. Both fell before David —

Moab, evidently the weaker, first; Ammon not without a long resistance,

which made the siege and fall of its capital, Rabbah-ammon, the crowning

act of David’s conquests. The ruins which now adorn the ‘royal city’ are

of a later Roman date; but the commanding position of the citadel remains;

and the unusual sight of a living stream abounding in fish (II Samuel 12:27;

Isaiah 16:2) marks the significance of Joab’s song of victory, ‘I have fought

against Rabbah, and have taken the city of waters’” (Stanley’s ‘Sinai and

Palestine,’ 323, edit. 1866).



One Cunning Bosom Sin (v.1)


“But David tarried at Jerusalem.” There is not so much as the suggestion

of any evidence from which we could justify the inference that David, in

thus “tarrying at Jerusalem,” was actuated by any wrong design, or was

laying himself open to the charge of neglect of duty, indifference to his high

responsibilities or inactivity. It is more probable that duty to his people in

the central seat of authority found him more in his place at Jerusalem than

in the field of battle. That which reads confessedly as a rather peremptory

style of summons on the part of Joab, in the fuller account of II Samuel

12:28, cannot be relied upon as any sufficient indication to the

disadvantage of David in such a direction. It is more naturally explainable

in other ways. Joab’s message at the crisis which affairs had somewhat

suddenly reached may have been either an act of obedience to strict orders

of imperial sort, or in yet nobler obedience to the instincts of strict loyalty.

The “tarrying at Jerusalem,” however, boded anything but good (II Samuel

11:1-2). The words of simplicity in which the mere historical fact is announced,

provoke inevitably the memory of other words, where it is written on page yet

more sacred, of the “greater Son” of David on a certain occasion, “And the

 child Jesus tarried behind at Jerusalem (Luke 2:43).  But beyond the

irresistible suggestion of the words, thought declines to go. There is no room

for comparison. The case is one the opposite of analogy.  And even contrast

should seem too gratuitous, and to threaten dishonor to the latter occasion,

breathing upon it with an unholy breath, and not with the breath of the Spirit

most holy. To this interval, anyway, belonged the greatest blots on all

the life of David, the sorest stains on his  scutcheon, and wounds that

went direct and deep to the soul. And we are taught here something in

general of the uncertainty, the untractableness of human nature; but may rather

take the instruction of the passage in this more particular form — the strength

and blinded headstrong way that “ONE CUNNING BOSOM SIN” has with it.



that David did not stay behind at Jerusalem in order to escape all work and

elude the activity of duty; granted that business of government, the

government of his city and his nation, occupied him; yet the very change of

occupation, and the fact that it was at home, was a rest. It was very

different from camp life and military superintendence. The hand that holds

the pen knows how great the change is, after it has been rather holding the

sword and wielding the sword for months, ay, for years past. The greatest

warrior, the most successful general, the bravest soldier must surely awhile

feel THE REPOSE SACRED AND DELICIOUS  which permits him

to sheathe the sword, forsake the field, and do the works of peace rather

than of war. Yet this privilege as soon as enjoyed is abused; this interval

as soon as given becomes the mournful and miserable occasion of




Nothing will ever divest home of its sacred claims. They dwell in it, they

haunt its retreats, they pervade its air. Not truer that “the heart knoweth

his own bitterness”(Proverbs 14:10),  than that home knoweth its own

ineffable sweetness. The nursery of purest affections, the school of sound

instruction, the point of departure for young ambition, the beacon of good

principle to the ends of the earth, the incentive to honorable effort and noble

exploit, and anon as age grows, the realm and very throne of most benign

authority,IT IS THIS HOME  which the cunning bosom sin of

 passion DISCREDITS, DISHONORS, DISGRACES ( and in our age,

DEFACES CY – 2012). David knew what the blessing of home was.

He often shows it by the way he speaks directly and indirectly of home and

of “father and mother.” But he knew the blessing yet more certainly by

evidence of the too reliable aphorism that we then first best know our

blessing WHEN IT IS TAKEN FROM US!   And for years the blessing

had been a lost one to David. How he hungered and thirsted and craved

for it! And now he has it, fearfully to desecrate it, because HE IS LED


WHAT HE FELT — reason and goodness and conscience ALL


(See II Samuel 11)



IS SMOTHERED BY IT. It is the metropolis of the country, but sacred

beyond the sacredness of any other metropolis, and to David beyond what

it was to any other king. How he thought of Jerusalem! How he spoke and

sang of it, with the joy that was growing brighter and brighter to perfect

day, and long before those strains which others sang to minor key, plaintive

wail, and exquisitely saddened memories! How much he had lately rejoiced in

it! What honor had been his to bring to it the ark! What glorious heart-stirring

festival of the whole kingdom had centered within its walls thereupon!  Place

 has ever bad its quantum of influence. The hardest heart and most callous

insensibility will be touched by it. The tender heart and sensitive nature will be

responsive to it as to but a lower grade of inspiration.  And now, almost for

the first  time, David has the opportunity of surrendering himself to

the religion of the place, of giving undivided thanks and grateful

praise in the place, and enjoying in it some earnest of the Jerusalem

above. BUT NO,  lust smears the sight of his eye, which sees no

longer even the Jerusalem that is below, its fame and glory and pride.




To the hot fire of passion these are but as straws. They resist nothing at

all. They do serve to bystanders to increase the show of the disastrous,

destructive fire. The pride of imperial position and the throne stoop for

the time without a struggle, and come down from their exaltation to do

homage to creature-lust. So much, then, human nature has to say of itself,

and so little! So much we are taught do we ever need watchfulness and

prayer!  The high plateau of honor, glorious opportunity, religion,

 restfulness, and home enjoyment may be the accursed ground of

 our own worst  dereliction of duty, devotion, and even decency.

Unsafe when we are left to self, we are not more safe when we are left by

ourselves. “Let him alone” (said of Ephraim – Hosea 4:17) is the

darkest doom that even Divine judgment and justice can decree. But when

left alone (and that our wish and petition) only for an hour, we shall not be

safe, however secure, unless we can take back the words as Jesus on so

signal an occasion did, and say, “And yet I am not alone, for the Father

 is with me.” (John 16:32)


2 “And David took the crown of their king from off his head, and

found it to weigh a talent of gold,” -  Two difficulties present

themselves in this verse, viz. the reported weight of this crown, and the

uncertainty as to what head it was from which David took it. Whatever

was its weight, if David’s head was able to sustain it for a minute or two,

the head of the King of the Ammonites might also occasionally have borne

it. Yet it would scarcely be likely that the King of the Ammonites would

have so ponderous a crown (calculated at a weight of a hundred and

fourteen pounds Troy, or a little more or less than one hundredweight) as

one of ordinary wear, or that he would have one of extraordinary wear on

his head precisely at such a juncture. Both of these difficulties will remove

if we suppose that the Hebrew μK;l]m", instead of meaning their king, is

the name of the Ammonitish and Moabitish idol (i.q. Moloch), and which

we find (Authorized Version) in Zephaniah 1:5, and probably (though not

Authorized Version) in Jeremiah 49:1, 3, and Amos 1:15. The Septuagint

treats the word thus. The point, however, cannot be considered settled -

 and there were precious stones in it; and it was set upon David’s head:

and he brought also exceeding much spoil out of the city.”


3 “And he brought out the people that were in it, and cut them with

saws, and with harrows of iron, and with axes. Even so dealt David

with all the cities of the children of Ammon. And David and all the

people returned to Jerusalem.”  Cut them with saws (so Hebrews 11:37).

We have here the very doubtful (so far as regards its real signification) Hebrew

word rc"Y;w" (and he cut) instead of μc,Y;w" (he put). Probably it is nowhere

else used in the sense of “cutting,” if it is here. Its ordinary sense is to rule or

put into subjection. The parallel place (II Samuel 12:31) corrects, in the word

(Authorized Version) axes, our Hebrew text, which repeats the word for

saw, though putting it in the plural, and which thereby shows twOrgeM]b"W,

instead of twOrz]g]m"b]W. This last word means “Axes” or “scythes,” and is

from the root r"z"g;, to cut (II Kings 6:4). It is found only in II Samuel

12:31, though it should appear here also. There is a fourth severity of

punishment mentioned in the parallel place, that the people were “made to

pass through the brick-kilns,” a form of torture possibly suggested by the

own familiar cruelty of the Ammonites in “making their children to pass

through the fire to Moloch.” However, in harmony with what is above said

respecting the doubtfulness of the just signification of the verb rc"Y;w", much

uncertainty hangs over the interpretation of this verse. Instead of severity

and needless cruelty on the part of David, it may rather set forth that he

subjected them to hard tasks in connection with the cultivation of the soil

and with the making of bricks. The saws and harrows and axes (or scythes)

were awkward and unlikely weapons to be employed for the purpose of

inflicting torture, when the ordinary weapons of battle and warfare were

close at hand. This view, however, is contrary to the verdict, so far as the

above Hebrew verb is concerned, of Gesenius’s ‘Thesaurus,’ p. 1326, and

of Thenins, on this and the parallel passage. When such punishments were

of the nature of torture, the cruelty was in some cases extreme. “The

criminal was sometimes sawn asunder lengthwise; this was more especially

the practice in Persia. Isaiah, according to the Talmudists,, was put to

death in this wise by King Manasseh, ‘Sanhedrin,’ p. 103, c. 2; comp.

Justin’s dialogue with Trypho” (Jahn’s ‘Sacred Antiquities,’ p. 132, § 260,

7.). With saws. The word in the original is not in the plural. It occurs again

only in the parallel place (II Samuel 12:31) and in I Kings 7:9, both

times in the singular. The teeth of Eastern saws then and now usually

incline to the handle instead of from it. With harrows of iron. The only

harrow known to have been used at this time consisted of a thick block of

wood borne down by a weight, or on which a man sat, drawn over the

ploughed land by oxen (Isaiah 28:24-25; Job 39:10; Hosea 10:11),

and the root of the Hebrew word expresses the idea of crushing or

leveling the land. But our present word is very different, and is found only

here and in the parallel place, with the word “iron” accompanying it, so as

to be equivalent to a compound word, and appears to mean “sharp

instruments of iron,” or sharp threshing instruments. The use of the former

part of this phrase (I Samuel 17:18) for cheeses is the only other

instance of its occurrence. Saws should be “axes,” or “scythes,” as stated

above, though it is not any of the three more ordinary words for “axe” (see

Smith’s ‘Bible Dictionary,’ 1:142).



The Horrors of War (v.3)


All actions, both of nations and of individuals, should be judged in the light

of the prevailing standards and sentiments of the age in which they are

done. This is a most important principle, but it is a difficult one to apply

wisely; and it is one that may be easily misrepresented. Right can never be

other than right, and wrong can never be other than wrong. But custom

and sentiment give a temporary character to many actions which tend to

confuse our apprehension of their essential rightness or wrongness. Limited

knowledge also leads to the permission of things which advancing

civilization shows to be unworthy and even wrong. These points may be

illustrated from slavery, truthfulness, sense of the value of life, ideas of

property, and war. Another important consideration, which greatly helps to

explain Old Testament narratives, is that national judgments must of

necessity take national character. An old divine well says, “God can punish

individuals both in this life and in the next; but He only punishes nations

in this.” There are distinctly personal and individual sins, and there are as

distinctly national sins; wrong done by the rulers in the name of the people;

or a wrong spirit pervading the people; (“my people love to have it so”

(Jeremiah 5:31) or times when vice is permitted to run an unrestrained and

ruinous course. And such national sin Jehovah ever regards, using such

agencies as famine, plague, or war, for its due punishment. In this light the

Old Testament ever regards war; the aggressive force is always treated as the

executioner who carries out the Divine judgments. And it may be urged that

this is still the deeper view to take of war, and that it is quite consistent with

a clear recognition of the fact that such an aggressive force may act in mere

wilfullness, or in furtherance of wicked schemes of self-aggrandizement.

(Is it not a coincidence, that the Arab world, many connected with terrorism,

just happen to be in vogue at a time of the decline of Christianity in America?

- CY – 2012)  God makes the very “wrath of man” praise Him. (Psalm 76:10).

In treating the incidents of this chapter, it may be well to point out the distinction

between what usually happens under the excitements of a siege, and the deliberate

judgment that may be pronounced upon a conquered people.  When a city is

taken by storm, a scene of wild and awful rioting usually follows. Illustrate

also from the Roman siege of Jerusalem.


  • ANCIENT HORRORS OF WAR. Illustrate from different kinds of war

— wars of races, the young and strong pushing out the old and weak;

hardy mountain races occupying the cultured plains of the over-civilized

and effeminate; dynastic wars, occasioned by the rivalries of different

royal houses; sacred wars, such as the Crusades, to recover possession

of the Lord’s tomb; and wars of revenge, undertaken to clear off supposed

or real insults. Of this latter kind was the war with Ammon (see ch. 19.).

Modern ideas concerning war make it impossible for us to approve of the

treatment to which the conquered Ammonites were subjected. Some writers

have urged that David merely condemned the captives to severe bodily

labors, to hewing and sawing wood, to burning of bricks, and to working

in iron mines; but probably the more terrible translation of the language

must be accepted, in view of the common war-law of that stern age. And,

with its best mitigations, war must still be regarded as a dreadful thing.

(This was written, apparently, before the Civil War and World Wars

I and II – CY -2012).  The whole world sighs for the day when

the nations shall learn war no more.”  (Isaiah 2:4; Micah 4:3)


4 “And it came to pass after this, that there arose war at Gezer with

the Philistines; at which time Sibbechai the Hushathite slew Sippai,”-

For the Gezer (rz,g,) of this verse, the parallel place (II Samuel 21:18) shows

Gob (bwOg), a name not known, but which careless transcription may have

easily made out of the former. The Syriac Version, however, as well as the

Septuagint, has Gath in that verse as well as in the two verses following (Ibid.

vs.18-20), another name also easily interchangeable in Hebrew characters with

Gezer.  The “yet again” of our v. 6 would well accord with the supposition that

the conflict with the Philistines was at Gath, or at the same place, each of

the three times. Gezer belonged to Ephraim, and was situated to the north

of Philistia (ch.7:28; 14:16). Sibbechai (see also (ch.11:29; 27:11). Sippai.

In the parallel place spelt Saph. It is remarkable that, in the Peshito Syriac,

over Psalm 143, is found the inscription,” Of David, when he slew Asaph,

the brother of Gulyad, and thanksgiving that he had conquered.” that

was of the children of the giant: and they were subdued.” Of the children of

the giant. The Hebrew word for “giant,” rapha (always in these verses spelt

with a final aleph, but in the parallel verses always with he final), is here

(Authorized Version) translated. “The Rapha, a native of Gath, was the

forefather of the Canaanitish Rephaim, mentioned as early as Genesis 14:5;

15:20; Deuteronomy 2:11; 3:11; Joshua 12:4; 15:8; 17:15. The slaying of

Ishbi-benob (II Samuel 21:16) is not here given. It is also to be observed

that the lengthy account of Samuel, respecting Absalom and his rebellion

(II Samuel 13-21.) is not found here.


5 “And there was war again with the Philistines; and Elhanan the son

of Jair slew Lahmi the brother of Goliath the Gittite, whose spear

staff was like a weaver’s beam.” Elhanan the son of Jair. In Samuel Jair

appears as Jaare. This Elhanan is probably different from him of ch.11:26. There

is a strange confusion in the reading of this and its parallel verse. If our present

verse is to stand corrected by accepting from its parallel “the Bethlehemite

(II Samuel 21:19) in place of our Lamhi, then either we have no name given

for the brother of Goliath, the Gittite; or, if we drop the word “brother”

(changing the yja} of Chronicles into the tae of Samuel), and make Goliath

the Gittite the man slain by Elhanan, then of such a Goliath we know

nothing, and it is a most unlikely coincidence of name with the conquered

of David’s sling.. Kennicott’s seventy-eighth dissertation is occupied, and

ably, with the pros and cons of this question; and the curiosities of Jerome

on the passage may be found in his ‘Quaestiones Hebraicae.’ There seems

no sufficient reason to depart from our reading here, to which it were

preferable to adjust the reading in the parallel place, which exhibits almost

certainly a glaring corruption of text in another respect.


6 “And yet again there was war at Gath, where was a man of great

stature, whose fingers and toes were four and twenty, six on each

hand, and six on each foot and he also was the son of the giant.”

A man of… stature. The Hebrew text is hD;mi, as also in ch.11:23; and

(in the plural) in Numbers 13:32. An eccentric and probably corrupt form

appears in the parallel place (II Samuel 21:20). Pliny (‘Nat. Hist.,’2:43)

speaks of the Sedigiti, and places them in the family of Forli, among

the Himyarites.


7 “But when he defied Israel, Jonathan the son of Shimea David’s

brother slew him.”  Jonathan (see ch. 27:32; II Samuel 13:3,32; compare

ch.2:13), where it is probable that  nephew” should be read for “uncle”).

It is to be noticed that the name of this child of the giant, of twelve fingers and

twelve toes, is not mentioned. We are not compelled, therefore, to regard it

as remarkable that he of the fifth verse should not be named.



Strong in Body, and Strong in God (vs. 6-7)


Here are introduced to us “a man of great stature,” and of abnormal

development; a striking instance of mere bodily power: and a man who

could overcome this giant, by virtue of his loyalty to God and reliance on

His strength. It seems to be a fact that hugeness of body is usually

associated with dullness of mind. The quick-witted David is always more

than a match for the ponderous Goliath. It seems to be the fact — at least

under our present human conditions — that the culture of the mind tends

to ensure the frailty of the body. It seems to be now very difficult, if it may

not be called impossible, to gain and to keep the mens sana in corpore

sano (a healthy mind in a healthy body). Yet we should feel that both the body and

the soul are sacred trusts, and that we are responsible to God for the full and wise

and harmonious culture of them both. The “body is to be for the Lord”

(I Corinthians 6:13), and we are to “prosper even as our souls prosper”

(III John 1:2).  There are two principles by which our life should be toned.

We should seek to be:


  • STRONG IN BODY; that is, in the bodily powers and resources.

Applications may be made to health, vigor of frame, due control of

passions, and proper training of mental faculties. But it should be

shown that there are limitations to the success which we may reach

in these matters — limitations from constitutional peculiarities, from

hereditary tendencies, and from disabilities of circumstance. In this

each of us can but reach his best possible.


  • STRONG IN GOD; that is, in the higher moral capacities and forces.

In the culture of these there need be no qualifications or limitations.

Due training of these will ensure complete dominion over the bodily

powers and relations, so that all the lower faculties take their due place

of ministry or service. (God meant for the spirit to rule the body! – CY -

2012).  And this is the high ideal after which we all should strive —

the man, who is like the Man Christ Jesus, STRONG IN GOD and

therefore strong in body.


8 “These were born unto the giant in Gath;” - The parallel place

reads, “These four,,’ etc. The first of the four in view there is not

mentioned here. The account is given in II Samuel 21:15-17. And as it

was in that encounter that David himself played the chief part (though,

apparently, it was Abishai who dealt Ishbi-benob the fatal blow in

succouring” David), the notice of it would have seemed necessary to

complete fully the sense of the following clauses - “and they fell by the

hand of David, and by the hand of his servants.”  Still this, it may justly

be argued, may have been the very reason of the form of expression here chosen,

coupling David’s work and that of his servants. This brief summary in the last verse

of this chapter, as also in the last verse of the corresponding chapter, just serves to

reveal to us the nexus that bound together the three or four exploits for narration.

It consisted in the common descent of the four giant victims.



    The Wasting of the Ammonites, and David’s Wars with the Giants.

                                    (vs. 1-8)


The outrage inflicted on the Hebrew ambassadors was still further to be

avenged by David. Joab was sent out with the power of the army to waste

the country of the Ammonites. The former campaign had been disastrous

because of the hired auxiliaries of the Ammonites. Now the full strength of

David’s army was to be led forth to complete the ruin both of the people

and their land. “At the time that kings go out to battle,” i.e. spring-time,

the expedition set out. Having besieged the capital, Rabbah, and having

after a protracted siege taken the lower town, or “city of waters,” and

knowing that the royal city would soon fall, Joab invited King David to

come in person and have the honor of taking it himself (see II Samuel 12:26).

We are thus enabled to reconcile the two statements, that “David

tarried at Jerusalem(v. 1), and “David and all the people returned to

Jerusalem (v. 3). David took the king’s crown, and it was set on

David’s head. This crown weighed a talent, or one hundred and fourteen

pounds’ weight of gold. The crowns of Eastern kings were not usually

worn on the head (and could not have been in this case), but were

suspended by chains of gold over the throne. We again notice the cruelties

of war and especially of that time (v. 3). These are recorded, not for

example, but to deepen our sense of gratitude for the blessings which

Christianity has brought in introducing a humane mode of warfare. It may

also make us long for the time when “nations shall learn war no more”

(Micah 4:3), and when “righteousness shall cover the earth as the

waters cover the sea” (Isaiah 11:9; Habakkuk 2:14).  We see here David’s

victories over the giants. The “stripling” in God’s hand has overthrown kingdoms

and slain the giants of wickedness. In God’s hand “the worm Jacob shall thresh

the mountains” (Isaiah 41:14-16).  As we review David’s rise from the “stripling”

of the wilderness (I Samuel 17:56) to the highest place in the land, we may say,

“What hath God wrought!(Numbers 23:23) - “Not by might, nor by power,

but by my Spirit, saith the Lord of hosts” (Zechariah 4:6).  To the outward eye

of sense a man may be a “stripling,” and in his own eyes “a dead dog” and

a flea”  (I Samuel 24:14);  but it is such instruments God ever uses to accomplish

His mighty works and to advance His kingdom in the world. Gideon’s “lamps and

pitchers(Judges 7:15-22), Naaman’s “little maid” (II Kings 5:2-3), the widow’s

pot of oil” (I Kings 17:10-16), Jonah’s “worm” and “gourd” (Jonah 4:6-11),

and Samson’s “jawbone of an ass,” (Judges 15:15) — these God uses for in these

He can be glorified. Man’s might and power is passed by, for there is no room in

them for God to be glorified. If we are only low enough, only little enough, only

nothing before Him, He can and will use us; and the reason He has so often to

pass by the “vessel” is, that it is too full and not “fit for the Master’s use”

(II Timothy 2:21).  “God hath chosen the foolish things of the world to

confound the wise; and the weak things of the world to confound the

things that are mighty; and base things of the world, and things which

 are despised, hath God chosen, yea, and things which are not [too

contemptible to be named], to bring to nought things that are: that no flesh

should glory in His presence(I Corinthians 1:27-29).






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