2 Samuel 10
-After David had shown his kindness to the house of Saul and blessed Mephibosheth, the king of the Ammonites (people living east of the Jordan) died. Hanun, King Nahash of Ammon’s son, became the newly crowned king. David sincerely wanted to show kindness to him just as Nahash, his father, had shown kindness to him in years past. So King David sent some of his servants to console Hanun concerning the loss of his father. They were truly offering support. However, in a huge miscalculation in judgment, the princes of Ammon convinced their king that David had mischievously sent these servants as spies to search out the city so that they could overthrow it. Therefore, Hanun took these Israelites and embarrassed them greatly. He had their beards shaved off half-way and cut their garments off in the middle as far up as their hips. Then he sent them away in shame (2 Samuel 10:1-4).
-When they told David what had transpired, he sent to meet them in Jericho, before they came all the way back to Jerusalem. David verified every action and intention. The king instructed them to remain at Jericho until their beards had fully grown back, and then they were to return to Jerusalem, to the king’s presence (2 Samuel 10:5).
-It did not take long for Ammon to realize that they had now become odious in David’s sight. They escalated things and began to prepare for a war by hiring the Arameans of Beth-rehob and of Zobah. 20,000 foot soldiers were hired along with the king of Maacah with his 1,000 men. Also coming aboard on their side were the men of Tob. They added 12,000 men to the total alliance. This was indeed a sizeable force now gathering themselves against the nation of Israel. Trouble loomed. When David heard of this activity, he decisively sent for his commander Joab and all the Israeli army, the mighty men. “The sons of Ammon came out and drew up in battle array at the entrance of the city (Rabbah).” They had the Arameans, the men of Tob and Maacah stay by themselves out in the field. Joab perceptively noticed that the battle was set against him in front and to the rear. At that point he selected all the choice men of Israel and arrayed them against the Arameans, who were out in the field and left more unprotected. The remainder of the Israelis who were with him were placed in the hand of his brother, Abishai, and arrayed against the sons of Ammon. An agreement was made between the brothers that if either conflict became too great for them, they would come to the others’ rescue and help out. A final exhortation to be strong and courageous was given by Joab for the sake of their people, their cities, and their God. They prayed for the LORD to do what was good in His sight, and then they drew near into battle. As this happened, the Arameans fled from before them. When the sons of Ammon, who were in the city, saw the Arameans fleeing, they also fled before Abishai and entered into the protection of their city. “Then Joab returned from fighting against the sons of Ammon and came to Jerusalem (2 Samuel 10:6-14).”
-When the Arameans realized that they had been defeated by Israel, they reassembled and gathered themselves at Helam, which was northeast of where they had helped Ammon in Rabbah. Hadadezer, who had previously been defeated by David (2 Samuel 8:3-10), at this time sent and brought out the Arameans who were beyond the Euphrates River to Helam with his commander, Shobach, leading them. When King David became aware of this activity, he again took bold and decisive action. He gathered all of Israel and crossed the Jordan coming to Helam. The Arameans arrayed again for battle in this rematch to meet David and the armies of the Living God. They fought against him, but lost again fleeing before Israel. 700 charioteers and 40,000 horsemen of the Arameans were struck down in this brilliantly orchestrated display of the LORD’s power, and the commander, Shobach, was killed there as well. “When all the kings, servants of Hadadezer, saw that they were defeated by Israel, they made peace with Israel and served them. So the Arameans feared to help the sons of Ammon anymore (2 Samuel 10:15-19).”
-*Application* A couple of things we should learn from this experience in Scripture. First, don’t let suspicion rule your discernment in matters. David had intended to show kindness, and distrustful reactions that were not reality ended up plunging a country into war. Secondly, we have to be careful as to who we ally ourselves with in life. The Arameans, and others, ended up losing power, prestige, and peace because they wanted to retaliate for a previous failure. They would have been better suited if they had not gone with the sons of Ammon in the first place. Pride will cause us to make rash and ungodly decisions that hurt us in the end. Seek the LORD, His wisdom, and His guidance for all alliances and decisions. A final thought today for we as humans; we will serve the LORD one way or another. It’s better to ally with Him sooner rather than later.
Verse to Memorize: 2 Samuel 10:19