2 Samuel 10

Listen to 2 Samuel 10

David Defeats Ammon and Syria

1 1After this the king of the Ammonites died, and Hanun his son reigned in his place.
2 And David said, "I will deal loyally[a] with Hanun the son of 2Nahash, as his father dealt loyally with me." So David sent by his servants to console him concerning his father. And David's servants came into the land of the Ammonites.
3 But the princes of the Ammonites said to Hanun their lord, "Do you think, because David has sent comforters to you, that he is honoring your father? Has not David sent his servants to you to search the city and to spy it out and to overthrow it?"
4 So Hanun took David's servants and shaved off half the beard of each and cut off their garments in the middle, 3at their hips, and sent them away.
5 When it was told David, he sent to meet them, for the men were greatly ashamed. And the king said, "Remain at Jericho until your beards have grown and then return."
6 When the Ammonites saw that they had become a stench to David, the Ammonites sent and hired the Syrians of 4Beth-rehob, and 5the Syrians of Zobah, 20,000 foot soldiers, and the king of 6Maacah with 1,000 men, and the men of 7Tob, 12,000 men.
7 And when David heard of it, he sent Joab and all the host of 8the mighty men.
8 And the Ammonites came out and drew up in battle array at the entrance of the gate, and 9the Syrians of Zobah and of Rehob and 10the men of Tob and Maacah were by themselves in the open country.
9 When Joab saw that the battle was set against him both in front and in the rear, he chose some of the best men of Israel and arrayed them against the Syrians.
10 The rest of his men he put in the charge of Abishai his brother, and he arrayed them against the Ammonites.
11 And he said, "If the Syrians are too strong for me, then you shall help me, but if the Ammonites are too strong for you, then I will come and help you.
12 11Be of good courage, and 12let us be courageous for our people, and for the cities of our God, and 13may the LORD do what seems good to him."
13 So Joab and the people who were with him drew near to battle against the Syrians, and they fled before him.
14 And when the Ammonites saw that the Syrians fled, they likewise fled before Abishai and entered the city. Then Joab returned from fighting against the Ammonites and came to Jerusalem.
15 But when the Syrians saw that they had been defeated by Israel, they gathered themselves together.
16 And Hadadezer sent and brought out the Syrians who were beyond 14the Euphrates.[b] They came to Helam, with 15Shobach the commander of the army of Hadadezer at their head.
17 And when it was told David, he gathered all Israel together and crossed the Jordan and came to Helam. The Syrians arrayed themselves against David and fought with him.
18 And the Syrians fled before Israel, and David killed of the Syrians the men of 700 chariots, and 40,000 horsemen, and wounded 16Shobach the commander of their army, so that he died there.
19 And when all the kings who were servants of Hadadezer saw that they had been defeated by Israel, they made peace with Israel 17and became subject to them. So the Syrians were afraid to save the Ammonites anymore.

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.

Cross References 17

  • 1. For ver. 1-19, see 1 Chronicles 19:1-19
  • 2. 1 Samuel 11:1
  • 3. [Isaiah 20:4]
  • 4. Judges 18:28
  • 5. 2 Samuel 8:3, 5
  • 6. [Joshua 13:11, 13]
  • 7. Judges 11:3, 5
  • 8. 2 Samuel 23:8
  • 9. [See ver. 6 above]
  • 10. [See ver. 6 above]
  • 11. See Deuteronomy 31:6
  • 12. 1 Samuel 4:9; [1 Corinthians 16:13]
  • 13. 1 Samuel 3:18
  • 14. [2 Samuel 8:3]
  • 15. [1 Chronicles 19:16]
  • 16. [1 Chronicles 19:18]
  • 17. 2 Samuel 8:6

Footnotes 2

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

The English Standard Version is published with the permission of Good News Publishers.