War with the Ammonites.
VERSE 1. After this, Nahash the king of the children of Ammon died, and his son reigned in his place.
VERSE 2. David said, “I will show kindness to Hanun the son of Nahash, because his father showed kindness to me.” So David sent messengers to comfort him concerning his father. David’s servants came into the land of the children of Ammon to Hanun to comfort him.
I will show kindness to Hanun. David has kindly motives.
VERSE 3. But the princes of the children of Ammon said to Hanun, “Do you think that David honors your father, in that he has sent comforters to you? Haven’t his servants come to you to search, to overthrow, and to spy out the land?”
the princes of the children of Ammon. They give advice to Hanun. Their advice is based on fear.
Paranoia wins. War ensues.
Sowing fear into the population is a common tactic of politicians. When people are afraid, they become eager for a outspoken leader who will protect them.
VERSE 4. So Hanun took David’s servants, shaved them, and cut off their garments in the middle at their buttocks, and sent them away.
shaved them. This would have shamed the warriors.
cut off their garments in the middle at their buttocks. This would have shamed the warriors.
VERSE 5. Then some people went and told David how the men were treated. He sent to meet them; for the men were greatly humiliated. The king said, “Stay at Jericho until your beards have grown, and then return.”
VERSE 6. When the children of Ammon saw that they had made themselves odious to David, Hanun and the children of Ammon sent one thousand talents of silver to hire chariots and horsemen out of Mesopotamia, out of Aram-maacah, and out of Zobah.
one thousand talents. A talent is about 30 kilograms or 66 pounds, so 1000 talents is about 30 metric tons.
hire chariots and horsemen out of Mesopotamia. Hanun hired the Arameans of Mesopotamia.
VERSE 7. So they hired for themselves thirty-two thousand chariots, and the king of Maacah with his people, who came and encamped near Medeba. The children of Ammon gathered themselves together from their cities, and came to battle.
2 Samuel 10:6. When the children of Ammon saw that they had become odious to David, the children of Ammon sent and hired the Syrians of Beth Rehob, and the Syrians of Zobah, twenty thousand footmen, and the king of Maacah with one thousand men, and the men of Tob twelve thousand men.
he sent Joab. Joab will command the army.
VERSE 9. The children of Ammon came out, and put the battle in array at the gate of the city; and the kings who had come were by themselves in the field.
VERSE 10. Now when Joab saw that the battle was set against him before and behind, he chose some of all the choice men of Israel, and put them in array against the Syrians.
VERSE 11. The rest of the people he committed into the hand of Abishai his brother; and they put themselves in array against the children of Ammon.
VERSE 12. He said, “If the Syrians are too strong for me, then you are to help me; but if the children of Ammon are too strong for you, then I will help you.
VERSE 13. Be courageous, and let’s be strong for our people and for the cities of our God. May the LORD do that which seems good to him.”
Deuteronomy 31:6. Be strong and courageous. Don’t be afraid or scared of them; for the LORD your God himself is who goes with you. He will not fail you nor forsake you.”
Joshua 1:9. Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be terrified; do not be discouraged, for the LORD your God will be with you wherever you go. (NIV translation)
1 Chronicles 19:13. Be courageous, and let’s be strong for our people and for the cities of our God. May the LORD do that which seems good to him.
VERSE 14. So Joab and the people who were with him came near to the front of the Syrians to the battle; and they fled before him.
they fled before him. The Israelites made a very bold move, advancing toward the Syrian army.
To everybody’s surprise, the Syrian army fled!
VERSE 15. When the children of Ammon saw that the Syrians had fled, they likewise fled before Abishai his brother, and entered into the city. Then Joab came to Jerusalem.
they likewise fled. Even the Ammonites fled from Israel!
VERSE 16. When the Syrians saw that they were defeated by Israel, they sent messengers and called out the Syrians who were beyond the River, with Shophach the captain of the army of Hadadezer leading them.
the River. Or “the Euphrates River.”
VERSE 17. David was told that, so he gathered all Israel together, passed over the Jordan, came to them, and set the battle in array against them. So when David had put the battle in array against the Syrians, they fought with him.
VERSE 18. The Syrians fled before Israel; and David killed of the Syrian men seven thousand charioteers and forty thousand footmen, and also killed Shophach the captain of the army.
David is credited with a massive slaughter:
- seven thousand charioteers
- forty thousand footmen
- Shophach the captain of the army
VERSE 19. When the servants of Hadadezer saw that they were defeated by Israel, they made peace with David and served him. The Syrians would not help the children of Ammon any more.
they made peace with David and served him. The Arameans make themselves vassals to Israel.
Unless otherwise noted, all Bible quotations on this page are from the World English Bible and the World Messianic Edition. These translations have no copyright restrictions. They are in the Public Domain.