II Samuel 10 David’s Military Campaigns Continue.

II Samuel 10 David’s Military Campaigns Continue.

David was engaged in covenant faithfulness when he engaged in the military campaigns of chapter 8, and then in the favour he showed to Jonathan’s son Mephibosheth in chapter 9. The fact that we are told that David wished to “show kindness” to Hanun, the son of Nahash, suggest that he also a covenant relationship with Nahash (Cf. 9:1). “The Hebrew phrase translated “show kindness” suggests that there was a covenant between David and Nahash, even though Nahash’s aggression towards Israel had helped Saul rise to power (1 Sam. 11:1-11; 12:12). The friendly  relationship between David and Nahash may have been established during the period when David was a fugitive from Saul.” (NGSB. 439) However, instead of greeting with the hand of friendship, Hanun believes in a conspiracy put forward by his servants, that these men were just spying out the land.

Seems like strange behaviour for spies, who usually like to stay hidden! In any case, Hanun decides to humiliate these men instead, and David tells them to stay in Jericho until their beards grow back so that they don’t return ashamed to Jerusalem. Realizing that they had incurred the wrath of David, the Ammonites decide to hire Syrian mercenaries to help them resist David and the Israelites (vv. 6ff.). The brothers Joab and Abishai, David’s premier generals divided themselves between the two opponents, and when the Ammonites saw the Syrians fleeing they followed suit. However, the Ammonites and Syrians re-grouped, but only to be defeated by David and his forces. With what follows, it is important for our author to note that David did not rest, but rather he entered the battle himself. Furthermore, with their defeat, the alliance between Ammon and Syria was broken.

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