David’s Military Campaigns
Open Your Bible
1 Chronicles 18:1-17, 1 Chronicles 19:1-19, 1 Chronicles 20:1-8, Psalm 110:1-3
Scripture is full of fascinating nuggets of information, hidden gems buried in lengthy genealogies, and descriptions of ordinary battles. I love finding these glimpses of God’s humor and creativity. I always chuckle when I read John say he was faster than Peter (John 20:4) or Paul preaching for so long that someone fell asleep and fell right out of a window (Acts 20:9). There’s Balaam’s talking donkey (Numbers 22:28–30) and Methuselah who lived more than 900 years (Genesis 5:27). David once presented Saul with 200 foreskins (1Samuel 18:27), and Samson killed a thousand men with a donkey jawbone (Judges 15:16).
In today’s passage, there is a great nugget along these same lines: “there was a man of extraordinary stature with six fingers on each hand and six toes on each foot—twenty-four in all. He, too, was descended from the giant. When he taunted Israel, Jonathan son of David’s brother Shimei killed him” (1Chronicles 20:6–7).
The stories of David’s mighty battles have this incredibly detailed little parenthetical: a giant with twelve fingers and twelve toes is killed for taunting Israel. This giant was one of several mentioned toward the end of 1 Chronicles 20, which caps off a three-chapter list of battles David won.
“The LORD made David victorious wherever he went” (1Chronicles 18:6). And in this particular stretch of Scripture, it’s true. These accounts fall directly after God made his covenant with David, promising him that a king from David’s line would rule forever.
David and his armies defeated the Philistines, Moabites, Zobath, Arameans, and more. David tasted victory after victory. We know that David tasted failure after failure in other areas of his life (2 Samuel 11:27).
Life feels like that sometimes. A string of wins followed by deep challenges; perhaps one area of life is going well, and in another, you just can’t keep your head above water. But we are like David, anchored by a gift from God. David received a covenant blessing, and we have as well. When we believe in Jesus, our future—no matter life’s twists and turns—is guaranteed by His death on the cross and His defeat over the grave.
Just like David’s sins cost him victories in his life, our own sin leads us away from God and walking with Him. But in the end, our victory is secure. Because the promise that God made to David came true in Jesus Christ.