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II Samuel 10; I Chronicles 19; Psalms 20 Listen
II Samuel 10
I Chronicles 19
|1 And it came to pass after this, that the king of the children of Ammon died, and Hanun his son reigned in his stead.
2 Then said David, I will shew kindness unto Hanun the son of Nahash, as his father shewed kindness unto me. And David sent to comfort him by the hand of his servants for his father. And David’s servants came into the land of the children of Ammon.
3 And the princes of the children of Ammon said unto Hanun their lord, Thinkest thou that David doth honour thy father, that he hath sent comforters unto thee? hath not David rather sent his servants unto thee, to search the city, and to spy it out, and to overthrow it?
4 Wherefore Hanun took David’s servants, and shaved off the one half of their beards, and cut off their garments in the middle, even to their buttocks, and sent them away.
5 When they told it unto David, he sent to meet them, because the men were greatly ashamed: and the king said, Tarry at Jericho until your beards be grown, and then return.
6 And when the children of Ammon saw that they stank before David, the children of Ammon sent and hired the Syrians of Bethrehob, and the Syrians of Zoba, twenty thousand footmen, and of king Maacah a thousand men, and of Ishtob twelve thousand men.
7 And when David heard of it, he sent Joab, and all the host of the mighty men.
8 And the children of Ammon came out, and put the battle in array at the entering in of the gate: and the Syrians of Zoba, and of Rehob, and Ishtob, and Maacah, were by themselves in the field.
9 When Joab saw that the front of the battle was against him before and behind, he chose of all the choice men of Israel, and put them in array against the Syrians:
10 And the rest of the people he delivered into the hand of Abishai his brother, that he might put them in array against the children of Ammon.
11 And he said, If the Syrians be too strong for me, then thou shalt help me: but if the children of Ammon be too strong for thee, then I will come and help thee.
12 Be of good courage, and let us play the men for our people, and for the cities of our God: and the LORD do that which seemeth him good.
13 And Joab drew nigh, and the people that were with him, unto the battle against the Syrians: and they fled before him.
14 And when the children of Ammon saw that the Syrians were fled, then fled they also before Abishai, and entered into the city. So Joab returned from the children of Ammon, and came to Jerusalem.
15 And when the Syrians saw that they were smitten before Israel, they gathered themselves together.
16 And Hadarezer sent, and brought out the Syrians that were beyond the river: and they came to Helam; and Shobach the captain of the host of Hadarezer went before them.
17 And when it was told David, he gathered all Israel together, and passed over Jordan, and came to Helam. And the Syrians set themselves in array against David, and fought with him.
18 And the Syrians fled before Israel; and David slew the men of seven hundred chariots of the Syrians, and forty thousand horsemen, and smote Shobach the captain of their host, who died there.
19 And when all the kings that were servants to Hadarezer saw that they were smitten before Israel, they made peace with Israel, and served them. So the Syrians feared to help the children of Ammon any more.
|1 Now it came to pass after this, that Nahash the king of the children of Ammon died, and his son reigned in his stead.
2 And David said, I will shew kindness unto Hanun the son of Nahash, because his father shewed kindness to me. And David sent messengers to comfort him concerning his father. So the servants of David came into the land of the children of Ammon to Hanun, to comfort him.
3 But the princes of the children of Ammon said to Hanun, Thinkest thou that David doth honour thy father, that he hath sent comforters unto thee? are not his servants come unto thee for to search, and to overthrow, and to spy out the land?
4 Wherefore Hanun took David’s servants, and shaved them, and cut off their garments in the midst hard by their buttocks, and sent them away.
5 Then there went certain, and told David how the men were served. And he sent to meet them: for the men were greatly ashamed. And the king said, Tarry at Jericho until your beards be grown, and then return.
6 And when the children of Ammon saw that they had made themselves odious to David, Hanun and the children of Ammon sent a thousand talents of silver to hire them chariots and horsemen out of Mesopotamia, and out of Syriamaachah, and out of Zobah.
7 So they hired thirty and two thousand chariots, and the king of Maachah and his people; who came and pitched before Medeba. And the children of Ammon gathered themselves together from their cities, and came to battle.
8 And when David heard of it, he sent Joab, and all the host of the mighty men.
9 And the children of Ammon came out, and put the battle in array before the gate of the city: and the kings that were come were by themselves in the field.
10 Now when Joab saw that the battle was set against him before and behind, he chose out of all the choice of Israel, and put them in array against the Syrians.
11 And the rest of the people he delivered unto the hand of Abishai his brother, and they set themselves in array against the children of Ammon.
12 And he said, If the Syrians be too strong for me, then thou shalt help me: but if the children of Ammon be too strong for thee, then I will help thee.
13 Be of good courage, and let us behave ourselves valiantly for our people, and for the cities of our God: and let the LORD do that which is good in his sight.
14 So Joab and the people that were with him drew nigh before the Syrians unto the battle; and they fled before him.
15 And when the children of Ammon saw that the Syrians were fled, they likewise fled before Abishai his brother, and entered into the city. Then Joab came to Jerusalem.
16 And when the Syrians saw that they were put to the worse before Israel, they sent messengers, and drew forth the Syrians that were beyond the river: and Shophach the captain of the host of Hadarezer went before them.
17 And it was told David; and he gathered all Israel, and passed over Jordan, and came upon 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.
18 But the Syrians fled before Israel; and David slew of the Syrians seven thousand men which fought in chariots, and forty thousand footmen, and killed Shophach the captain of the host.
19 And when the servants of Hadarezer saw that they were put to the worse before Israel, they made peace with David, and became his servants: neither would the Syrians help the children of Ammon any more.
The Ammonites were descendants, by incest, from Abrahams nephew Lot (Genesis 19:30-38, see notes). As such, God made provisions for their protection from the Israelites - a kindness they never seemed to be able to accept. All the way back to the preparation for Moses and company to enter Canaan from the east, God had instructed Israel to spare the Ammonites; notice Deuteronomy 2:19 (see notes), "And when thou comest nigh over against the children of Ammon, distress them not, nor meddle with them: for I will not give thee of the land of the children of Ammon any possession; because I have given it unto the children of Lot for a possession." That's great - a free pass! However, that whole ugly episode with Balaam (Numbers 22-31, see notes) being hired to curse the whole nation of Israel was the brain child of the Ammonites and Moabites (Deuteronomy 23:3-4, see notes). They flexed their muscles again against Israel years later while Jephthah was judge in Judges 11 (see notes); as a result they were soundly defeated by Israel (Judges 11:33). All they had to do is just leave Israel alone, and Israel would have left them alone. They just couldn't seem to bring themselves to do that.
Verse 2 (of both accounts) indicates that Ammonite King Nahash had previously shown kindness to David. We're not told the details of that kindness in scripture, but King Saul's first recorded act as King of Israel was to do battle against King Nahash when this Ammonite king wanted to gouge out the right eyes of all the men of Jabesh in I Samuel 11 (see notes) as one of the conditions of a treaty with them. Saul and his new Israeli army gave the Ammonites a proper thrashing at that time. There's no doubt that King Nahash and King Saul would have been sworn enemies after that incident. It is therefore reasonable to assume that Nahash would have taken every opportunity to assist David as he was a fugitive from Saul later on.
So...here we go; these pesky Ammonites are at it again! When the Ammonite king (Nahash) died, David sought to show kindness to the new king (Hanun) after the death of his Dad by sending some ambassadors to see if he could help out somehow. However, the impressionable son who took over as king mistrusted David's overtures of friendship. Then...the ultimate insult - suspecting evil intent, the new king of the Ammonites is advised by his not-so-bright advisors to humiliate David's ambassadors by shaving off half their beards (a severe oriental insult) and cutting off their garments at the waist (exposing their...well...you know); they sent them away in that humiliating condition. David meets up with his ambassadors in Jericho; they were ashamed to come home, and David allows them to stay deployed until their beards grow back.
I like II Samuel 10:6 which starts out, "And when the children of Ammon saw that they stank before David..." David doesn't think the beard prank is amusing, and his goodwill has its limits. Realizing what a great error in judgment he had made, the king of the Ammonites goes out and hires a mercenary army (from among several Syrian tribes) for his ill-conceived aggression against Israel. The stage is set for a great battle campaign. Imagine Joab's surprise when he discovers he's not fighting just one army, but two (or actually...several). In fact, they surround David's army headed by Joab, but Joab divides his army up into divisions and fights all the fronts simultaneously with his brother, Abishai, commanding the other division; he soundly defeats all the enemy armies. Joab then calls David to the front to be part of the final kill. At the end of the battle, over 40,000 Syrians were dead and the Syrians were subjects of David's Kingdom. And...all of this happened because the Ammonite king cut off the robes and half-shaved the beards of David's ambassadors. Now that's an expensive shave!
Incidentally, one of the mercenary Syrian armies was headed up by Hadarezer. He had fought against David back in II Samuel 8 (see notes) and was soundly defeated. Perhaps that is why Joab has David come to the front against this pesky Hadarezer for a second thrashing.
We'll put our trust in God (Psalm 20)
To the chief Musician, A Psalm of David.
1 The LORD hear thee in the day of trouble; the name of the God of Jacob defend thee;
2 Send thee help from the sanctuary, and strengthen thee out of Zion;
3 Remember all thy offerings, and accept thy burnt sacrifice; Selah.
4 Grant thee according to thine own heart, and fulfil all thy counsel.
5 We will rejoice in thy salvation, and in the name of our God we will set up our banners: the LORD fulfil all thy petitions.
6 Now know I that the LORD saveth his anointed; he will hear him from his holy heaven with the saving strength of his right hand.
7 Some trust in chariots, and some in horses: but we will remember the name of the LORD our God.
8 They are brought down and fallen: but we are risen, and stand upright.
9 Save, LORD: let the king hear us when we call.
The subtitle attributes this Psalm to David. It's in the form of a prayer and could have been in preparation for battle. The pronouns "thee," "thy" and thine (or "you") are references to the anointed king, David, as seen in verse 6. I particularly like verse 7, "Some trust in chariots, and some in horses: but we will remember the name of the LORD our God." Others may trust in military might. We're trusting in God.
"Zion" is David's alternate name for "Jerusalem."