Scripture reading – 2 Samuel 10; 1 Chronicles 19

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Today’s Scripture reading consists of two passages but one event. 2 Samuel 10 and 1 Chronicles 19 are focused on the same historical incident. I am choosing 2 Samuel 10 as the focus passage for today’s Bible study.

The phrase, “and it came to pass after this” (10:1a), begs a brief recap of events that precede our study in 2 Samuel 10. Now David inquired if any man of King Saul’s household was still alive. When he received the news that there was one lone survivor, Mephibosheth, Jonathan’s son (2 Samuel 9:5), he summoned him to appear before him. Then, fulfilling his covenant to bless Jonathan’s lineage, David graciously invited Mephibosheth to “eat continually at the king’s table” (2 Samuel 9:7, 10, 13) with his sons. Mephibosheth, though lame, was once again privileged to live as a prince in Israel.

An Act of Humiliation and Disgrace (2 Samuel 10:1-4)

What came to pass? (2 Samuel 10:1a) David received news that “Nahash the king of the children of Ammon died, and his son reigned in his stead” (1 Chronicles 19:1). The king remembered a past kindness shown to him by Nahash. He felt it behooved him to send ambassadors and extend sympathy and condolences to Hanun, Nahash’s son and heir (2 Samuel 10:2).

David’s servants came “into the land of the children of Ammon” (2 Samuel 10:2).  However, Ammonite counselors convinced Hanun that David had not sent ambassadors but spies to discover the nation’s weaknesses (2 Samuel 10:3). Trusting his counselors and failing to examine the Israelite men himself, Hanun betrayed David’s trust and humiliated the Israelite men, shaving half their beards, and cutting off their robes (2 Samuel 10:4).

A Provocation of War (2 Samuel 10:5-14)

Because they were agents of his rule and government, the humiliation of his ambassadors to Ammon was a personal affront to the king (2 Samuel 10:5). David was infuriated when he learned of the ill-treatment suffered by his ambassadors (2 Samuel 10:6). When the Ammonites learned that David was incensed, they hired Syrian mercenaries to prepare to war against Israel (2 Samuel 10:6).

Learning the Ammonites had engaged Syrian warriors, David commanded Joab to gather the “host of the mighty men” of Israel and go to war against the Ammonites and their Syrian mercenaries (2 Samuel 10:7-11). Confident the LORD was with Israel, Joab, the captain of Israel’s army, and Abishai, his brother, warred against the Ammonites and the Syrians (2 Samuel 10:9-14). When the Syrian soldiers fled from Joab, the Ammonites retreated into the safety of their walled city (2 Samuel 10:13-14).

War with Syrian and Ammon (2 Samuel 10:15-19)

Although defeated in their initial skirmish with Israel, the Syrians gathered a greater army against Israel (2 Samuel 10:15-17). This time, David himself led Israel to battle and soundly defeated Syria. In a day, “David slew the menof seven hundred chariots of the Syrians, and forty thousand horsemen, and smote Shobach the captain of their host, who died there” (2 Samuel 10:18). Israel’s success against Syria moved the kings of other nations to make peace with Israel. They came under tribute to David and Israel (2 Samuel 10:19).

Closing thoughts –

What can we take from today’s study? Perhaps the most prominent lesson is the need to search out a matter and seek the truth first before charging someone with wrong motives or wrongdoing. David desired to extend sympathy and comfort to Hanun after his father’s death, Nahash, the king of the Ammonites (2 Samuel 10:1-2).

Unfortunately, Hanun’s counselors distorted David’s motive. They accused him of spying on Ammon under the guise of sending ambassadors (2 Samuel 10:3). That false accusation and the humiliation of David’s men led to war and the deaths of thousands of soldiers. How tragic! King Hanun believed a lie, and his nation and families grieved the deaths of their sons.

Lesson – Don’t believe everything you hear, especially about others. Take time to investigate and search for the truth. Make an effort to know the heart and intent of a man or woman before believing the worst.

Questions to ponder –

1) What occasioned David sending ambassadors to Hanun, the king of Ammon? (2 Samuel 10:1-2)

2) What actions provoked David to send his army against the Ammonites? (2 Samuel 10:4-7)

Copyright © 2023 – Travis D. Smith

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