Scripture reading – Psalm 39; 2 Samuel 8

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Our Scripture reading continues in the Book of Psalms (Psalm 39) and returns to the historical narrative of the life of David (2 Samuel 8). Today’s devotional will be taken from 2 Samuel 8.

If a boy in Israel had been looking for a hero, he would have looked no further than King David. The king’s life was a testimony of what God can do with a man who loves the LORD law and commandments and is fully yielded to His will.

The first years of David’s reign were marked by continual success. When God denied him the opportunity to build a temple (2 Samuel 7:4-7), the king humbly accepted the rejection. He then set about extending Israel’s territory and securing the rule over his domain.

2 Samuel 8 – David’s Success


David’s Victory over the Philistines (2 Samuel 8:1) 

Confident in the LORD’s promises and obedient to His Laws and Commandments, David defeated one adversary after another (2 Samuel 8). The Philistines, who resided in territories to the west and south of Israel, were the first to fall to Israel (2 Samuel 8:1).

David’s Victory over Moab, Zobah (2 Samuel 8:2-4)

Eventually, a line of kings and kingdoms fell to Israel or began paying tribute to David. The Moabites, descendants of Lot who occupied land on the east side of the Jordan River, were the next to be conquered (2 Samuel 8:2). King Hadadezer of Zobah (2 Samuel 8:3), a capital city north of Damascus and whose lands occupied territories that included a portion of ancient Syria and reached to the Euphrates River, was dealt a harsh defeat. Hadadezer’s kingdom had boasted “a thousand chariots, and seven hundred horsemen, and twenty thousand footmen” (2 Samuel 8:4). After defeating his enemies, David had their chariot horses “houghed,” clipping their hamstring and thus preventing the horses from being used in battle again. (2 Samuel 8:4).

David’s Victory over Syria (2 Samuel 8:5-8, 13)

When the Syrians came to aid Hadadezer, David sorely defeated them. Israel slayed “of the Syrians two and twenty thousand men” (2 Samuel 8:5). The king then secured the land for Israel and placed “garrisons in Syria of Damascus: and the Syrians became servants to David, and brought gifts [paying Israel tribute]. And the Lord preserved David whithersoever he went” (2 Samuel 8:6). David brought the bounty of the spoils of war to Jerusalem, including “shields of gold that were on the servants of Hadadezer” (2 Samuel 8:7), and “exceeding much brass” that would later be used by Solomon to make vessels for the Temple (2 Samuel 8:8; 1 Chronicles 18:8).

David’s Victories over the Amalekites and Edomites (2 Samuel 8:12, 14)

Continuing his conquest, David defeated the Amalekites (2 Samuel 8:12) and Edomites (2 Samuel 8:14), who accepted servitude to David and Israel. 2 Samuel 8:13 observed that “David gat him a name,” for his reputation as a warrior king continued to grow (2 Samuel 8:13).

Closing thoughts 

What was the secret to David’s achievements? Was he successful because of his wisdom as a general and skills as a warrior on the battlefield? Was it the loyalty of his leaders (2 Samuel 8:16-18) or the size of his army that gave him success?

The secret to David’s successes and his military exploits was summed up in this: “The LORD preserved [saved; delivered; gave victory to] David whithersoever he went” (2 Samuel 8:6, 14). In turn, David proved himself to the LORD and all in his realm, for he “executed judgment and justice unto all his people” (2 Samuel 8:15).

From Egypt in the south to the Euphrates River in the east, David acquired the lands the LORD promised Israel as an inheritance for his kingdom. The king’s victories were part of God fulfilling His covenant promise to Abraham and his seed (Genesis 15:17-21; Deuteronomy 1:6-8; 11:24; 1 Kings 4:20-21).

Application – Everyone I have known longs to be successful and to enjoy the fruits of their success. Yet, how many reading this devotion are willing to follow David’s example, model humility, and walk faithfully in the ways of the LORD?   

David was a powerful king whose fame grew throughout his region of the world. Nevertheless, success did not deter him from his commitment to obey the LORD and execute righteous “judgment and justice” to his people (2 Samuel 8:15).

 Questions to ponder –

  • How did David ensure the Syrians could not use chariots in battle? (2 Samuel 8:4)
  • What did David do with the spoils of war? (2 Samuel 8:10-11)
  • How did the Scriptures describe David’s rule and judgment over Israel? (2 Samuel 8:15)

Copyright © 2023 – Travis D. Smith 

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