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20 In the spring, at the time when kings normally conduct wars,[a] Joab led the army into battle and devastated the land of the Ammonites. He went and besieged Rabbah, while David stayed in Jerusalem. Joab defeated Rabbah and tore it down. David took the crown from the head of their king[b] and wore it[c] (its weight was a talent[d] of gold and it was set with precious stones). He took a large amount of plunder from the city. He removed the city’s residents and made them labor with saws, iron picks, and axes.[e] This was his policy[f] with all the Ammonite cities. Then David and all the army returned to Jerusalem.

Battles with the Philistines

Later there was a battle[g] with the Philistines in Gezer.[h] At that time Sibbekai the Hushathite killed Sippai,[i] one of the descendants of the Rephaim, and the Philistines[j] were subdued.

There was another battle with the Philistines in which Elhanan son of Jair the Bethlehemite killed the brother of Goliath the Gittite,[k] whose spear had a shaft as big as the crossbeam of a weaver’s loom.[l]

In a battle in Gath[m] there was a large man who had six fingers on each hand and six toes on each foot—twenty-four in all! He too was a descendant of Rapha. When he taunted Israel, Jonathan son of Shimea,[n] David’s brother, killed him.

These were the descendants of Rapha who lived in Gath; they were killed[o] by the hand of David and his soldiers.[p]


  1. 1 Chronicles 20:1 tn Heb “and it was at the time of the turning of the year, at the time of the going out of kings.”
  2. 1 Chronicles 20:2 tc The translation follows the MT, which reads “of their king”; the LXX and Vulgate read “of Milcom” (cf. 1 Kgs 11:5). Milcom, also known as Molech, was the god of the Ammonites.
  3. 1 Chronicles 20:2 tn Heb “and it was on the head of David.”
  4. 1 Chronicles 20:2 sn See the note on the word “talents” in 19:6.
  5. 1 Chronicles 20:3 tc The Hebrew text reads “saws,” but since saws were just mentioned, it is preferable to emend מְגֵרוֹת (megerot, “saws”) to מַגְזְרוֹת (magzerot, “axes”).
  6. 1 Chronicles 20:3 tn Heb “and so he would do.”
  7. 1 Chronicles 20:4 tn Heb “battle stood.”
  8. 1 Chronicles 20:4 tn The parallel text in 2 Sam 21:18 identifies this site as “Gob.”
  9. 1 Chronicles 20:4 tn The parallel text in 2 Sam 21:18 has the variant spelling “Saph.”
  10. 1 Chronicles 20:4 tn Heb “they”; the referent (the Philistines) has been specified in the translation for clarity.
  11. 1 Chronicles 20:5 tc The Hebrew text reads, “Elchanan son of Jair killed Lachmi the brother of Goliath the Gittite.” But it is likely that the accusative marker in front of לַחְמִי (lakhmi, “Lachmi”) was originally בֵּית (bet), and that אֶת־לַחְמִי (ʾet lakhmi) should be emended to בֵּית הַלַּחְמִי (bet hallakhmi, “the Bethlehemite”). See 2 Sam 21:19.
  12. 1 Chronicles 20:5 tc See tc note on the parallel passage in 2 Sam 21:19.
  13. 1 Chronicles 20:6 tn Heb “and there was another battle, in Gath.”
  14. 1 Chronicles 20:7 tn The parallel text in 2 Sam 21:21 has the variant spelling “Shimeah.”
  15. 1 Chronicles 20:8 tn Heb “they fell.”
  16. 1 Chronicles 20:8 tn Heb “his servants.”