1 Chronicles 18:1; 1 Chronicles 18:2–21:17

David Defeats His Enemies

18 aAfter this David defeated the Philistines and subdued them, and he took Gath and its villages out of the hand of the Philistines.


And he defeated Moab, and the Moabites became servants to David and brought tribute.

David also defeated bHadadezer king of cZobah-Hamath, as he went to set up his monument1 at the river Euphrates. And David took from him 1,000 chariots, d7,000 horsemen, and 20,000 foot soldiers. And David hamstrung all the chariot horses, but left enough for 100 chariots. And when the Syrians of Damascus came to help Hadadezer king eof Zobah, David struck down 22,000 men of the Syrians. Then David put garrisons2 in Syria of Damascus, and the Syrians became servants to David and brought tribute. And the Lord gave victory to David3 wherever he went. And David took the shields of gold that were carried by the servants of Hadadezer and brought them to Jerusalem. And from fTibhath and from Cun, cities of Hadadezer, David took a large amount of bronze. gWith it Solomon made the bronze sea and the pillars and the vessels of bronze.

When hTou king of Hamath heard that David had defeated the whole army of Hadadezer, king eof Zobah, 10 he sent his son iHadoram to King David, to ask about his health and to bless him because he had fought against bHadadezer and defeated him; for bHadadezer had often been at war with Tou. And he sent all sorts of articles of gold, of silver, and of bronze. 11 These also King David dedicated to the Lord, together with the silver and gold that he had carried off from all the nations, from jEdom, Moab, the Ammonites, the Philistines, and Amalek.

12 And kAbishai, the son of Zeruiah, killed 18,000 Edomites in the Valley of Salt. 13 Then he put garrisons in Edom, and all the Edomites became David’s servants. And the Lord gave victory to David wherever he went.

David’s Administration

14 So David reigned over all Israel, and he administered justice and equity to all his people. 15 And lJoab the son of Zeruiah was over the army; and Jehoshaphat the son of Ahilud was recorder; 16 mand Zadok the son of Ahitub and nAhimelech the son of Abiathar were priests; and oShavsha was secretary; 17 and Benaiah the son of Jehoiada was over the Cherethites and the Pelethites; and David’s sons were the pchief officials in the service of the king.

The Ammonites Disgrace David’s Men

19 qNow after this Nahash the king of the Ammonites died, and his son reigned in his place. And David said, I will deal kindly with Hanun the son of Nahash, for his father dealt kindly with me. So David sent messengers to console him concerning his father. And David’s servants came to the land of the Ammonites to Hanun to console him. But the princes of the Ammonites said to Hanun, Do you think, because David has sent comforters to you, that he is honoring your father? Have not his servants come to you to search and to overthrow and to spy out the land? So Hanun took David’s servants and shaved them and cut off their garments in the middle, at their hips, and sent them away; and they departed. When David was told concerning the men, he sent messengers to meet them, for the men were greatly ashamed. And the king said, Remain at Jericho until your beards have grown and then return.

When the Ammonites saw that they had become a stench to David, Hanun and the Ammonites sent 1,000 talents4 of silver to hire chariots and horsemen rfrom Mesopotamia, from Aram-maacah, and from sZobah. They hired 32,000 chariots and the king of Maacah with his army, who came and encamped before tMedeba. And the Ammonites were mustered from their cities and came to battle. When David heard of it, he sent Joab and all the army of the mighty men. And the Ammonites came out and drew up in battle array at the entrance of the city, and the kings who had come were by themselves in the open country.

Ammonites and Syrians Defeated

10 When Joab saw that the battle was set against him both in front and in the rear, he chose some of the best men of Israel and arrayed them against the Syrians. 11 The rest of his men he put in the charge of uAbishai his brother, and they were arrayed against the Ammonites. 12 And he said, If the Syrians are too strong for me, then you shall help me, but if the Ammonites are too strong for you, then I will help you. 13 Be strong, and let us use our strength for our people and for the cities of our God, and may the Lord do what seems good to him. 14 So Joab and the people who were with him drew near before the Syrians for battle, and they fled before him. 15 And when the Ammonites saw that the Syrians fled, they likewise fled before uAbishai, Joab’s brother, and entered the city. Then Joab came to Jerusalem.

16 But when the Syrians saw that they had been defeated by Israel, they sent messengers and brought out the Syrians who were beyond the Euphrates,5 with vShophach the commander of the army of wHadadezer at their head. 17 And when it was told to David, he gathered all Israel together and crossed the Jordan and came to them and drew up his forces against them. And when David set the battle in array against the Syrians, they fought with him. 18 And the Syrians fled before Israel, and David killed of the Syrians the men of x7,000 chariots and 40,000 xfoot soldiers, and put to death also vShophach the commander of their army. 19 And when the servants of wHadadezer saw that they had been defeated by Israel, they made peace with David and became subject to him. So the Syrians were not willing to save the Ammonites anymore.

The Capture of Rabbah

20 yIn the spring of the year, the time when kings go out to battle, Joab led out the army and ravaged the country of the Ammonites and came and besieged Rabbah. But David remained at Jerusalem. And zJoab struck down Rabbah and overthrew it. aAnd David took the crown of their king from his head. He found that it weighed a talent6 of gold, and in it was a precious stone. And it was placed on David’s head. And he brought out the spoil of the city, a very great amount. And he brought out the people who were in it and set them to labor7 bwith saws and iron picks and axes.8 And thus David did to all the cities of the Ammonites. Then David and all the people returned to Jerusalem.

Philistine Giants Killed

cAnd after this there arose war with the Philistines at Gezer. Then Sibbecai the Hushathite struck down Sippai, who was one of the descendants of the giants, and the Philistines were subdued. And there was again war with the Philistines, and Elhanan the son of dJair struck down Lahmi dthe brother of Goliath the Gittite, the shaft of whose spear was like a weaver’s beam. And there was again war at Gath, where there was a man of great stature, who had six fingers on each hand and six toes on each foot, twenty-four in number, and he also was descended from the giants. And when he taunted Israel, Jonathan the son of eShimea, David’s brother, struck him down. These were descended from the giants in Gath, and they fell by the hand of David and by the hand of his servants.

David’s Census Brings Pestilence

21 fThen gSatan stood against Israel and incited David to number Israel. So David said to Joab and the commanders of the army, Go, number Israel, from Beersheba to Dan, and bring me a report, that I may know their number. But Joab said, May the Lord add to his people a hundred times as many as they are! Are they not, my lord the king, all of them my lord’s servants? Why then should my lord require this? Why should it be a cause of guilt for Israel? But the king’s word prevailed against Joab. So Joab departed and went throughout all Israel and came back to Jerusalem. And Joab gave the sum of the numbering of the people to David. In all Israel there were h1,100,000 men who drew the sword, and in Judah h470,000 who drew the sword. iBut he did not include Levi and Benjamin in the numbering, for the king’s command was abhorrent to Joab.

But God was displeased with this thing, and he struck Israel. And David said to God, I have sinned greatly in that I have done this thing. But now, please jtake away the iniquity of your servant, for I have acted very foolishly. And the Lord spoke to Gad, David’s kseer, saying, 10 Go and say to David, Thus says the Lord, Three things I offer you; choose one of them, that I may do it to you. 11 So Gad came to David and said to him, Thus says the Lord, Choose what you will: 12 either lthree years of famine, or three months of devastation by your foes while the sword of your enemies overtakes you, or else three days of the sword of the Lord, pestilence on the land, with the angel of the Lord destroying throughout all the territory of Israel. Now decide what answer I shall return to him who sent me. 13 Then David said to Gad, I am in great distress. Let me fall into the hand of the Lord, for his mercy is very great, but do not let me fall into the hand of man.

14 So the Lord sent a pestilence on Israel, and 70,000 men of Israel fell. 15 And God sent the angel to Jerusalem to destroy it, but as he was about to destroy it, the Lord saw, and he mrelented from the calamity. And he said to the angel who was working destruction, It is enough; now stay your hand. And the angel of the Lord was standing by the threshing floor of Ornan the Jebusite. 16 And David lifted his eyes and saw the angel of the Lord standing between earth and heaven, and in his hand a drawn sword stretched out over Jerusalem. Then David and the elders, nclothed in sackcloth, fell upon their faces. 17 And David said to God, Was it not I who gave command to number the people? It is I who have sinned and done great evil. But these sheep, what have they done? Please let your hand, O Lord my God, be against me and against my father’s house. But do not let the plague be on your people.