David's Messengers, Sent to Comfort Hanun, Are
2. Then said David, I will show kindness unto
Hanun the son of Nahash, as his father showed kindness unto
me—It is probable that this was the Nahash against whom Saul
waged war at Jabesh-gilead (1Sa 11:11).
David, on leaving Gath, where his life was exposed to danger, found an
asylum with the king of Moab; and as Nahash, king of the Ammonites, was
his nearest neighbor, it may be that during the feud between Saul and
David, he, through enmity to the former, was kind and hospitable to
3. the princes of the children of Ammon said unto
Hanun—Their suspicion was not warranted either by any overt
act or by any cherished design of David: it must have originated in
their knowledge of the denunciations of God's law against them (De 23:3-6), and of David's policy in
steadfastly adhering to it.
4. Hanun took David's servants, and shaved off the
one half of their beards—From the long flowing dress of the
Hebrews and other Orientals, the curtailment of their garments must
have given them an aspect of gross indelicacy and ludicrousness.
Besides, a knowledge of the extraordinary respect and value which has
always been attached, and the gross insult that is implied in any
indignity offered, to the beard in the East, will account for the shame
which the deputies felt, and the determined spirit of revenge which
burst out in all Israel on learning the outrage. Two instances are
related in the modern history of Persia, of similar insults by kings of
haughty and imperious temper, involving the nation in war; and we need
not, therefore, be surprised that David vowed revenge for this wanton
and public outrage.
5. Tarry at Jericho—or in the
neighborhood, after crossing the fords of the Jordan.
2Sa 10:6-14. The Ammonites
6-14. when the children of Ammon saw that they
stank before David—To chastise those insolent and
inhospitable Ammonites, who had violated the common law of nations,
David sent a large army under the command of Joab, while they, informed
of the impending attack, made energetic preparations to repel it by
engaging the services of an immense number of Syrian mercenaries.
Beth-rehob—the capital of the
low-lying region between Lebanon and Anti-Lebanon.
Zoba—(see on 2Sa
of king Maacah—His territories lay on
the other side of Jordan, near Gilead (De 3:14).
Ish-tob—that is, "the men of
Tob"—the place of Jephthah's marauding adventures (see also 1Ch 19:6;
Ps 60:1, title). As the
Israelite soldiers poured into the Ammonite territory, that people met
them at the frontier town of Medeba (1Ch 19:7-9), the native troops covering the city,
while the Syrian mercenaries lay at some distance encamped in the
fields. In making the attack, Joab divided his forces into two separate
detachments—the one of which, under the command of his brother,
Abishai, was to concentrate its attack upon the city, while he himself
marched against the overwhelming host of mercenary auxiliaries. It was
a just and necessary war that had been forced on Israel, and they could
hope for the blessing of God upon their arms. With great judgment the
battle opened against the mercenaries, who could not stand against the
furious onset of Joab, and not feeling the cause their own, consulted
their safety by flight. The Ammonites, who had placed their chief
dependence upon a foreign aid, then retreated to entrench themselves
within the walls of the town.
14. So Joab returned and came to
Jerusalem—Probably the season was too far advanced for
entering on a siege.
2Sa 10:15-19. The Syrians
16. Hadarezer sent and brought out the Syrians
that were beyond the river—This prince had enjoyed a
breathing time after his defeat (2Sa 8:3). But alarmed at the increasing power
and greatness of David, as well as being an ally of the Ammonites, he
levied a vast army not only in Syria, but in Mesopotamia, to invade the
Hebrew kingdom. Shobach, his general, in pursuance of this design, had
marched his troops as far as Kelam, a border town of eastern Manasseh,
when David, crossing the Jordan by forced marches, suddenly surprised,
defeated, and dispersed them. As a result of this great and decisive
victory, all the petty kingdoms of Syria submitted and became his
tributaries (see on 1Ch 19:1).