The Philistine battles (1 Chr 20:4-20:8)

“After this, war broke out with the Philistines at Gezer. Then Sibbecai the Hushathite killed Sippai, who was one of the descendants of the giants. The Philistines were subdued. Again there was war with the Philistines. Elhanan son of Jair killed Lahmi the brother of Goliath the Gittite. The shaft of his spear was like a weaver’s beam. Again there was war at Gath, where there was a man of great size, who had six fingers on each hand, and six toes on each foot, twenty-four in number. He also was descended from the giants. When he taunted Israel, Jonathan son of Shimea, King David’s brother, killed him. These were descended from the giants in Gath. They fell by the hand of King David and his servants.”

This time, the biblical chronicler loosely follows 2 Samuel, chapter 21. The battle here is at Gezer and not Gob.   Sibbecai was one of King David’s leaders in his army. He killed this giant Philistine called Sippai or Saph as he was called in 2 Samuel, which is the only mention of him. It seems that the Philistines had a lot of giants. Elhanan, another of King David’s warriors, killed a giant named Lahmi, the brother of Goliath the Gittite in a separate battle. Here Elhanan killed the brother of Goliath, but in 2 Samuel, it is Goliath who he killed. Was this chronicler trying to clean up the story since the young King David had supposedly killed Goliath? Gath was a Philistine stronghold city. There was an unnamed giant there who had six fingers on each hand and six toes on each foot. He too was descendent from the giants. When he taunted King David, Jonathan, King David’s nephew, killed him. These Philistines always seem to be fighting with King David. They seem to lose all the time, but they never go away. They are never annihilated like some other groups. They never give up. Even here it is only a few warriors and a few battles.

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