2 Samuel 10

War with the Ammonites and Arameans

1 Some time later, the king of the Ammonites died, and his son Hanun succeeded him as king.
2 David said, "I'll be loyal to Nahash's son Hanun, just as his father was loyal to me." So David sent his servants with condolences concerning Hanun's father. But when David's servants arrived in Ammonite territory,
3 the Ammonite officials asked their master Hanun, "Do you really believe David is honoring your father because he has sent you condolences? Of course not! David has sent his servants to you to search the city, spy it out, and overthrow it."
4 So Hanun seized David's servants and shaved off their beards, cut off half their garments, from their buttocks down, and sent them off.
5 When this was reported to David, he sent men to meet them because they were completely ashamed. The king said, "Stay in Jericho until your beards have grown. Then you can come back."
6 When the Ammonites realized that they had offended David, they sent for and hired the Arameans of Beth-rehob and the Arameans of Zobah, totaling twenty thousand foot soldiers; the king of Maacah with one thousand soldiers; and twelve thousand soldiers from Tob.
7 When David heard this, he sent Joab with the entire army of warriors.
8 The Ammonites marched out and formed a battle line at the entrance to the city. The Arameans of Zobah and Rehob and the soldiers from Tob and Maacah remained in the countryside.
9 When Joab saw that the battle would be fought on two fronts, he chose some of Israel's finest warriors and deployed them to meet the Arameans.
10 The rest of the army Joab placed under the command of his brother Abishai. When they took up their positions to meet the Ammonites, Joab said,
11 "If the Arameans prove too strong for me, you must help me, and if the Ammonites prove too strong for you, I'll help you.
12 Be brave! We must be courageous for the sake of our people and the cities of our God. The LORD will do what is good in his eyes."
13 When Joab and the troops who were with him advanced into battle against the Arameans, they fled from him.
14 When the Ammonites saw that the Arameans had fled, they also fled from Abishai and retreated to the city. Then Joab returned from fighting the Ammonites and went to Jerusalem.
15 The Arameans saw that they had been defeated by Israel, so they regrouped.
16 Hadadezer sent for Arameans from beyond the Euphrates River. They came to Helam with Shobach leading them as commander of Hadadezer's army.
17 When this was reported to David he gathered all Israel, crossed the Jordan, and went to Helam. The Arameans formed battle lines against David and fought with him.
18 But the Arameans fled before Israel, and David destroyed seven hundred of their chariots and forty thousand horsemen. David wounded their army commander Shobach, and he died there.
19 When all the kings who served Hadadezer saw that they were defeated by Israel, they made peace with Israel and became their subjects. Never again would the Arameans come to the aid of the Ammonites.

2 Samuel 10 Commentary

Chapter 10

David's messengers ill-treated by Hanun. (1-5) The Ammonites defeated. (6-14) The Syrians defeated. (15-19)

Verses 1-5 Nahash had been an enemy to Israel, yet had showed kindness to David. David therefore resolves gratefully to return it. If a Pharisee gives alms in pride, though God will not reward it, yet he that receives the alms ought to return thanks for it. Those who bear ill-will to their neighbours, are resolved not to believe that their neighbours bear any good-will to them. There is nothing so well meant, but it may be ill interpreted, and is wont to be so, by men who love nobody but themselves. The best men must not think it strange if they are thus misrepresented. Charity thinketh no evil. According to the usages of those days and countries, Hanun treated David's ambassadors in the most contemptuous manner. David showed much concern for his servants. Let us learn not to lay unjust reproaches to heart; they will wear off, and turn only to the shame of those who utter or do them; while the reputation wrongfully hurt in a little time grows again, as these beards did. God will bring forth thy righteousness as the light, therefore wait patiently for him, ( psalms 37:6 psalms 37:7 ) .

Verses 6-14 They that are at war with the Son of David, not only give the provocation, but begin the war. God has forces to send against those that set his wrath at defiance, ( Isaiah 5:19 ) , which will convince them that none ever hardened his heart against God, and prospered. Christ's soldiers should strengthen one another's hands in their spiritual warfare. Let nothing be wanting in us, whatever the success be. When we make conscience of doing our duty, we may, with satisfaction, leave the event with God, assuredly hoping for his salvation in his own way and time.

Verses 15-19 Here is a new attempt of the Syrians. Even the baffled cause will make head as long as there is any life in it; the enemies of the Son of David do so. But now the promise made to Abraham, #Ge. 15:18 |, and repeated to Joshua, ( Joshua 1:4 ) , that the borders of Israel should extend to the river Euphrates, was performed. Learn hence, that it is dangerous to help those who have God against them; for when they fall, their helpers will fall with them.

Footnotes 1

  • [a]. LXX; MT half their beard

Chapter Summary


This chapter gives an account of the ill treatment of David's messengers to the king of Ammon, who were sent to condole the death of his father, and were basely used by him, which David resented, 2Sa 10:1-5; which the Ammonites perceiving prepared for war, and got the Syrians to be confederates with them; of which David being informed, sent Joab and Abishai into their country, 2Sa 10:6-8; who divided the army between them, and attacked the Ammonites and Syrians with great courage, and routed them both, and returned to Jerusalem, 2Sa 10:9-14; after which the Syrians gathered together again to fight with David, who went out to meet them, and got an entire conquest over them, and made them servants to him, 2Sa 10:15-19.

2 Samuel 10 Commentaries

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