David's Messengers, Sent to Comfort Hanun, Are
1. after this—This phrase seems to
indicate that the incident now to be related took place immediately, or
soon after the wars described in the preceding chapter. But the
chronological order is loosely observed, and the only just inference
that can be drawn from the use of this phrase is, that some farther
account is to be given of the wars against the Syrians.
Nahash the king of the children of Ammon
died—There had subsisted a very friendly relation between
David and him, begun during the exile of the former, and cemented,
doubtless, by their common hostility to Saul.
3. are not his servants come unto thee for to
search?—that is, thy capital, Rabbah (2Sa 10:3).
4, 5. shaved them—not completely, but
only the half of their face. This disrespect to the beard, and indecent
exposure of their persons by their clothes being cut off from the
girdle downwards, was the grossest indignity to which Jews, in common
with all Orientals, could be subjected. No wonder that the men were
ashamed to appear in public—that the king recommended them to
remain in seclusion on the border till the mark of their disgrace had
disappeared—and then they might, with propriety, return to the
1Ch 19:6-15. Joab and
Abishai Overcome the Ammonites.
6. when the children of Ammon saw that they had
made themselves odious to David—One universal feeling of
indignation was roused throughout Israel, and all classes supported the
king in his determination to avenge this unprovoked insult on the
Hanun … sent a thousand talents of
silver—a sum equal to £342,100, to procure the services
of foreign mercenaries.
chariots and horsemen out of Mesopotamia …
Syria-maachah, and … Zobah—The Mesopotamian troops did
not arrive during this campaign (1Ch 19:16). Syria-maachah lay on the north of the
possessions of the trans-jordanic Israelites, near Gilead.
Zobah—(see on 1Ch
7. So they hired thirty and two thousand
chariots—Hebrew, "riders," or "cavalry," accustomed to
fight either on horseback or in chariots, and occasionally on foot.
Accepting this as the true rendering, the number of hired auxiliaries
mentioned in this passage agrees exactly with the statement in 2Sa 10:6: twenty thousand (from Syria),
twelve thousand (from Tob), equal to thirty-two thousand, and one
thousand with the king of Maachah.
8. David … sent Joab, and all the host of
the mighty men—All the forces of Israel, including the great
military orders, were engaged in this war.
9-15. children of Ammon … put the battle in
array before the gate of the city—that is, outside the walls
of Medeba, a frontier town on the Arnon.
the kings that were come were by themselves in
the field—The Israelitish army being thus beset by the
Ammonites in front, and by the Syrian auxiliaries behind, Joab resolved
to attack the latter (the more numerous and formidable host), while he
directed his brother Abishai, with a suitable detachment, to attack the
Ammonites. Joab's address before the engagement displays the faith and
piety that became a commander of the Hebrew people. The mercenaries
being defeated, the courage of the Ammonites failed; so that, taking
flight, they entrenched themselves within the fortified walls.
1Ch 19:16-19. Shophach Slain
16. And when the Syrians saw that they were put to
the worse before Israel—(See on 2Sa
18. David slew of the Syrians seven thousand
men—(Compare 2Sa 10:18,
which has seven hundred chariots). Either the text in one of the books
is corrupt [Keil, Davidson], or the accounts must be combined, giving
this result—seven thousand horsemen, seven thousand chariots, and
forty thousand footmen [Kennicott, Houbigant, Calmet].