Rabbah Besieged by Joab, Spoiled by David, and
the People Tortured.
1. at the time when kings go out to
battle—in spring, the usual season in ancient times for
entering on a campaign; that is, a year subsequent to the Syrian
Joab led forth the power of the army, and wasted
the country … of Ammon—The former campaign had been
disastrous, owing chiefly to the hired auxiliaries of the Ammonites;
and as it was necessary, as well as just, that they should be severely
chastised for their wanton outrage on the Hebrew ambassadors, Joab
ravaged their country and invested their capital, Rabbah. After a
protracted siege, Joab took one part of it, the lower town or "city of
waters," insulated by the winding course of the Jabbok. Knowing that
the fort called "the royal city" would soon fall, he invited the king
to come in person, and have the honor of storming it. The knowledge of
this fact (mentioned in 2Sa 12:26)
enables us to reconcile the two statements—"David tarried at
Jerusalem" (1Ch 20:1),
and "David and all the people returned to Jerusalem" (1Ch 20:3).
2. David took the crown of their king …, and
found it to weigh a talent of gold—equal to one hundred
twenty-five pounds. Some think that Malcom, rendered in our
version "their king," should be taken as a proper name, Milcom or
Molech, the Ammonite idol, which, of course, might bear a heavy weight.
But, like many other state crowns of Eastern kings, the crown got at
Rabbah was not worn on the head, but suspended by chains of gold above
precious stones—Hebrew, a
"stone," or cluster of precious stones, which was set on David's
3. cut them with saws, &c.—The
Hebrew word, "cut them," is, with the difference of the final
letter, the same as that rendered "put them," in the parallel passage
of Samuel [2Sa 12:31];
and many consider that putting them to saws, axes, and so forth, means
nothing more than that David condemned the inhabitants of Rabbah to
hard and penal servitude.
Three Overthrows of the Philistines and Three
4. war at Gezer—or Gob (see 2Sa 21:18-22).