Bible: 1 Chronicles 18-21

David Conquers the Neighboring Nations

18:1 Later David defeated the Philistines and subdued them. He took Gath and its surrounding towns 1  away from the Philistines. 2 

18:2 He defeated the Moabites; the Moabites became David’s subjects and brought tribute. 3 

18:3 David defeated King Hadadezer of Zobah as far as Hamath, when he went to extend his authority 4  to the Euphrates River. 5  18:4 David seized from him 1,000 chariots, 7,000 charioteers, 6  and 20,000 infantrymen. David cut the hamstrings of all but a hundred of Hadadezer’s 7  chariot horses. 8  18:5 The Arameans of Damascus came to help King Hadadezer of Zobah, but David killed 22,000 of the Arameans. 18:6 David placed garrisons in the territory of the Arameans of Damascus; 9  the Arameans became David’s subjects and brought tribute. The Lord protected 10  David wherever he campaigned. 11  18:7 David took the golden shields which Hadadezer’s servants had carried 12  and brought them to Jerusalem. 13  18:8 From Tibhath 14  and Kun, 15  Hadadezer’s cities, David took a great deal of bronze. (Solomon used it to make the big bronze basin called “The Sea,” 16  the pillars, and other bronze items.

18:9 When King Tou 17  of Hamath heard that David had defeated the entire army of King Hadadezer of Zobah, 18:10 he sent his son Hadoram 18  to King David to extend his best wishes 19  and to pronounce a blessing on him for his victory over Hadadezer, for Tou had been at war with Hadadezer. 20  He also sent various items made of gold, silver, and bronze. 21  18:11 King David dedicated these things to the Lord, 22  along with the silver and gold which he had carried off from all the nations, including 23  Edom, 24  Moab, the Ammonites, the Philistines, and Amalek.

18:12 Abishai son of Zeruiah 25  killed 18,000 Edomites in the Valley of Salt. 18:13 He placed garrisons in Edom, and all the Edomites became David’s subjects. The Lord protected 26  David wherever he campaigned. 27 

David’s Officials

18:14 David reigned over all Israel; he guaranteed justice for all his people. 28  18:15 Joab son of Zeruiah was commanding general of 29  the army; Jehoshaphat son of Ahilud was secretary; 18:16 Zadok son of Ahitub and Abimelech son of Abiathar were priests; Shavsha 30  was scribe; 18:17 Benaiah son of Jehoiada supervised 31  the Kerethites and Pelethites; and David’s sons were the king’s leading officials. 32 

David’s Campaign against the Ammonites

19:1 Later King Nahash of the Ammonites died and his son succeeded him. 19:2 David said, “I will express my loyalty 33  to Hanun son of Nahash, for his father was loyal 34  to me.” So David sent messengers to express his sympathy over his father’s death. 35  When David’s servants entered Ammonite territory to visit Hanun and express the king’s sympathy, 36  19:3 the Ammonite officials said to Hanun, “Do you really think David is trying to honor your father by sending these messengers to express his sympathy? 37  No, his servants have come to you so they can get information and spy out the land! 38  19:4 So Hanun seized David’s servants and shaved their beards off. 39  He cut off the lower part of their robes so that their buttocks were exposed 40  and then sent them away. 19:5 Messengers 41  came and told David what had happened to the men, so he summoned them, for the men were thoroughly humiliated. The king said, “Stay in Jericho 42  until your beards grow again; then you may come back.”

19:6 When the Ammonites realized that David was disgusted with them, 43  Hanun and the Ammonites sent 1,000 talents 44  of silver to hire chariots and charioteers from Aram Naharaim, Aram Maacah, and Zobah. 45  19:7 They hired 32,000 chariots, along with the king of Maacah and his army, who came and camped in front of Medeba. The Ammonites also assembled from their cities and marched out to do battle.

19:8 When David heard the news, he sent Joab and the entire army to meet them. 46  19:9 The Ammonites marched out and were deployed for battle at the entrance to the city, while the kings who had come were by themselves in the field. 19:10 When Joab saw that the battle would be fought on two fronts, he chose some of Israel’s best men and deployed them against the Arameans. 47  19:11 He put his brother Abishai in charge of the rest of the army and they were deployed against the Ammonites. 19:12 Joab 48  said, “If the Arameans start to overpower me, 49  you come to my rescue. If the Ammonites start to overpower you, 50  I will come to your rescue. 19:13 Be strong! Let’s fight bravely for the sake of our people and the cities of our God! The Lord will do what he decides is best! 51  19:14 So Joab and his men 52  marched toward the Arameans to do battle, and they fled before him. 19:15 When the Ammonites saw the Arameans flee, they fled before Joab’s 53  brother Abishai and withdrew into the city. Joab went back to Jerusalem. 54 

19:16 When the Arameans realized they had been defeated by Israel, they sent for reinforcements from beyond the Euphrates River, 55  led by Shophach the commanding general of Hadadezer’s army. 56  19:17 When David was informed, he gathered all Israel, crossed the Jordan River, 57  and marched against them. 58  David deployed his army against the Arameans for battle and they fought against him. 59  19:18 The Arameans fled before Israel. David killed 7,000 60  Aramean charioteers and 40,000 infantrymen; he also killed Shophach 61  the commanding general. 19:19 When Hadadezer’s subjects saw they were defeated by Israel, they made peace with David and became his subjects. The Arameans were no longer willing to help the Ammonites.

20:1 In the spring, at the time when kings normally conduct wars, 62  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. 20:2 David took the crown from the head of their king 63  and wore it 64  (its weight was a talent 65  of gold and it was set with precious stones). He took a large amount of plunder from the city. 20:3 He removed the city’s residents and made them do hard labor with saws, iron picks, and axes. 66  This was his policy 67  with all the Ammonite cities. Then David and all the army returned to Jerusalem.

Battles with the Philistines

20:4 Later there was a battle 68  with the Philistines in Gezer. 69  At that time Sibbekai the Hushathite killed Sippai, 70  one of the descendants of the Rephaim, and the Philistines 71  were subdued.

20:5 There was another battle with the Philistines in which Elhanan son of Jair the Bethlehemite killed the brother of Goliath the Gittite, 72  whose spear had a shaft as big as the crossbeam of a weaver’s loom. 73 

20:6 In a battle in Gath 74  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. 20:7 When he taunted Israel, Jonathan son of Shimea, 75  David’s brother, killed him.

20:8 These were the descendants of Rapha who lived in Gath; they were killed 76  by the hand of David and his soldiers. 77 

The Lord Sends a Plague against Israel

21:1 An adversary 78  opposed 79  Israel, inciting David to count how many warriors Israel had. 80  21:2 David told Joab and the leaders of the army, 81 Go, count the number of warriors 82  from Beer Sheba to Dan. Then bring back a report to me so I may know how many we have.” 83  21:3 Joab replied, “May the Lord make his army 84  a hundred times larger! My master, O king, do not all of them serve my master? Why does my master want to do this? Why bring judgment on Israel? 85 

21:4 But the king’s edict stood, despite Joab’s objections. 86  So Joab left and traveled throughout Israel before returning to Jerusalem. 87  21:5 Joab reported to David the number of warriors. 88  In all Israel there were 1,100,000 89  sword-wielding soldiers; Judah alone had 470,000 sword-wielding soldiers. 90  21:6 Now Joab 91  did not number Levi and Benjamin, for the king’s edict disgusted him. 21:7 God was also offended by it, 92  so he attacked Israel.

21:8 David said to God, “I have sinned greatly by doing this! Now, please remove the guilt of your servant, for I have acted very foolishly.” 21:9 The Lord told Gad, David’s prophet, 93  21:10 Go, tell David, ‘This is what the Lord says: “I am offering you three forms of judgment from which to choose. Pick one of them.”’ 94  21:11 Gad went to David and told him, “This is what the Lord says: ‘Pick one of these: 21:12 three 95  years of famine, or three months being chased by your enemies and struck down by their swords, 96  or three days being struck down by the Lord, during which a plague will invade the land and the Lord’s messenger will destroy throughout Israel’s territory.’ 97  Now, decide what I should tell the one who sent me.” 21:13 David said to Gad, “I am very upset! I prefer to be attacked by the Lord, for his mercy is very great; I do not want to be attacked by men! 98  21:14 So the Lord sent a plague through Israel, and 70,000 Israelite men died.

21:15 God sent an angel 99  to ravage 100  Jerusalem. As he was doing so, 101  the Lord watched 102  and relented from 103  his judgment. 104  He told the angel who was destroying, “That’s enough! 105  Stop now!” 106 

Now the Lord’s angel was standing near the threshing floor of Ornan 107  the Jebusite. 21:16 David looked up and saw the Lord’s messenger standing between the earth and sky with his sword drawn and in his hand, stretched out over Jerusalem. David and the leaders, covered with sackcloth, threw themselves down with their faces to the ground. 108  21:17 David said to God, “Was I not the one who decided to number the army? I am the one who sinned and committed this awful deed! 109  As for these sheep – what have they done? O Lord my God, attack me and my family, 110  but remove the plague from your people! 111 

21:18 So the Lord’s messenger told Gad to instruct David to go up and build 112  an altar for the Lord on the threshing floor of Ornan the Jebusite. 21:19 So David went up as Gad instructed him to do in the name of the Lord. 113  21:20 While Ornan was threshing wheat, he turned and saw the messenger, and he and his four sons hid themselves. 21:21 When David came to Ornan, Ornan looked and saw David; he came out from the threshing floor and bowed to David with his face 114  to the ground. 21:22 David said to Ornan, “Sell me the threshing floor 115  so I can build 116  on it an altar for the LordI’ll pay top price 117 so that the plague may be removed 118  from the people.” 21:23 Ornan told David, “You can have it! 119  My master, the king, may do what he wants. 120  Look, I am giving you the oxen for burnt sacrifices, the threshing sledges for wood, and the wheat for an offering. I give it all to you.” 21:24 King David replied to Ornan, “No, I insist on buying it for top price. 121  I will not offer to the Lord what belongs to you or offer a burnt sacrifice 122  that cost me nothing. 123  21:25 So David bought the place from Ornan for 600 pieces of gold. 124  21:26 David built there an altar to the Lord and offered burnt sacrifices and peace offerings. 125  He called out to the Lord, and the Lord 126  responded by sending fire from the sky and consuming the burnt sacrifice on the altar. 21:27 The Lord ordered the messenger 127  to put his sword back into its sheath.

21:28 At that time, when David saw that the Lord responded to him at the threshing floor of Ornan the Jebusite, he sacrificed there. 21:29 Now the Lord’s tabernacle (which Moses had made in the wilderness) and the altar for burnt sacrifices were at that time at the worship center 128  in Gibeon. 21:30 But David could not go before it to seek God’s will, for he was afraid of the sword of the Lord’s messenger.

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