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Series Theme: FRAMEWORKS: 2 Samuel

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FRAMEWORKS: 2 Samuel 10: Victory over the Ammonites & Arameans



v.1-4 David's men abused when bringing sympathy

v.5-7 David goes to war

v.8-12 Joab divides his men

v.13-16 Victory is theirs

v.17-19 David joins in and has victory



v.1-4 David's men abused when bringing sympathy


v.1 In the course of time, the king of the Ammonites died, and his son Hanun succeeded him as king. 

v.2 David thought, “I will show kindness to Hanun son of Nahash, just as his father showed kindness to me.” So David sent a delegation to express his sympathy to Hanun concerning his father. When David's men came to the land of the Ammonites, 

v.3 the Ammonite commanders said to Hanun their lord, “Do you think David is honouring your father by sending envoys to you to express sympathy? Hasn't David sent them to you only to explore the city and spy it out and overthrow it?” 

v.4 So Hanun seized David's envoys, shaved off half of each man's beard, cut off their garments at the buttocks, and sent them away. 


[Notes: The suspicions and petty rivalries that existed in the region are revealed in this incident. The Ammonites lived to the east of the tribal region of Gad that was east of the Jordan. In his days as a guerilla fighter, David had left Gath (1 Sam 22:1) and then had taken his parents to Moab for protection. He was clearly at the time in good standing with Moab and as Ammon was nearby, it would appear that at that time, because of his opposition to Saul, he had also been friendly with Nahash, king of the Ammonites. Now Nahash has died, and as is so often the case with friendly nations, Davis sends a delegation to express his sympathy for the death. However the army commanders of Hanun are petty minded and suspicious and so deliberately mock and demean the delegation, in as crass an act of diplomacy as can be imagined.]



v.5-7 David goes to war


v.5 When David was told about this, he sent messengers to meet the men, for they were greatly humiliated. The king said, “Stay at Jericho till your beards have grown, and then come back.” 

v.6 When the Ammonites realized that they had become obnoxious to David, they hired twenty thousand Aramean [Syrian] foot soldiers from Beth Rehob and Zobah, as well as the king of Maakah [a small Syrian kingdom in the north] with a thousand men, and also twelve thousand men from Tob. 

v.7 On hearing this, David sent Joab out with the entire army of fighting men. 


[Notes: The news of this abuse of international relations gets back to David and so he sends messages to his men, to spare their embarrassment, to stay at Jericho, a town on the return journey from Ammon, to the west of the Jordan, until they could return him without risking being mocked. The Ammonites realise the folly of their actions and the likely repercussions and so hire themselves an army from the Arameans (Syria) in the north. David takes this as an outright act of aggression and having cleared his land of their enemies, he has no fear of going against this threat.]



v.8-12 Joab divides his men

v.8 The Ammonites came out and drew up in battle formation at the entrance of their city gate, while the Arameans of Zobah and Rehob and the men of Tob and Maakah were by themselves in the open country. 

v.9 Joab saw that there were battle lines in front of him and behind him; so he selected some of the best troops in Israel and deployed them against the Arameans. 

v.10 He put the rest of the men under the command of Abishai his brother and deployed them against the Ammonites. 

v.11 Joab said, “If the Arameans are too strong for me, then you are to come to my rescue; but if the Ammonites are too strong for you, then I will come to rescue you. 

v.12 Be strong, and let us fight bravely for our people and the cities of our God. The LORD will do what is good in his sight.” 


[Notes: Joab who is leading Israel's force, finds the enemy in two groups both before him and behind him, so sends his crack-troops against one group while the rest attack the others. If one part of the army is too weak, the others will come to support them.]



v.13-16 Victory is theirs


v.13 Then Joab and the troops with him advanced to fight the Arameans, and they fled before him. 

v.14 When the Ammonites realized that the Arameans were fleeing, they fled before Abishai and went inside the city. So Joab returned from fighting the Ammonites and came to Jerusalem. 

v.15 After the Arameans saw that they had been routed by Israel, they regrouped. 

v.16 Hadadezer had Arameans brought from beyond the Euphrates River; they went to Helam, with Shobak the commander of Hadadezer's army leading them. 


[Notes: When they see they are not strong enough, as Joab defeats the Arameans and simply returns home, Hadadezer [king of Zobah in the north] sends for reinforcements and it is probable that he saw this as an opportunity to get back at David after having been defeated by him earlier – see 2 Sam 8.]



v.17-19 David joins in and has victory


v.17 When David was told of this, he gathered all Israel, crossed the Jordan and went to Helam. The Arameans formed their battle lines to meet David and fought against him. 

v.18 But they fled before Israel, and David killed seven hundred of their charioteers and forty thousand of their foot soldiers. He also struck down Shobak the commander of their army, and he died there. 

v.19 When all the kings who were vassals of Hadadezer saw that they had been routed by Israel, they made peace with the Israelites and became subject to them. So the Arameans were afraid to help the Ammonites anymore.


[Notes: The word gets back to David of these reinforcements coming from the north and east and so goes out and defeats them. The kings of the north sue for peace with David. The Ammonites, as we will see [12:26] are still opposing Israel and the fighting against them acts as the backdrop for what happens in the next two chapters.]