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Missed this emphasis the first time I studied this passage

Simple Outline from Noel Hughes: (contrast to Chapter 9 – God’s Kindness Received)

– David’s Kindness Revealed

– David’s Kindness Rejected

– David’s Kindness Revenged


We have no reason to fear the powerful enemies that conspire to attack us. We need to be strong and courageous to engage the enemy – but trusting all the time in the power and blessing of God to give us the victory. This story also illustrates the danger of misjudging the motives of others and failing to give others the benefit of the doubt. When we have a suspicious, judgmental spirit we can stir up strife where none existed. Kindness should be our approach to others.

But judging on the level of personal relationships different than in the context of national security


A. (:1) Instability of Leadership Succession — Can Create Volatile, Uncertain Times

“Now it happened afterwards that the king of the Ammonites died, and Hanun his son become king in his place.”

Look at illustration of succession in world of Caterpillar dealerships.

Youth and inexperience can be a problem.

“Power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely.”

Ackroyd: The theme of loyalty provides a neat link with chapter 9. It is evident that there was some kind of treaty between David and Ammon. While nothing further is known of this, it is understandable that David would be glad to maintain a peaceful agreement with one of the neighbouring lands, as he also did with the Phoenicians.

B. (:2a) Initiative of Reciprocal Kindness – Show of Compassion by King David

“Then David said, ‘I will show kindness to Hanun the son of Nahash, just as his father showed kindness to me.’ So David sent some of his servants to console him concerning his father.”

The specific kindness shown by Hanun’s father is not recorded.

Ryrie: perhaps when David was a refugee

C. (:2b-3) Insecurity of Suspicious Counselors –

Leads to Misjudging Motives and Unwise Counsel

“But when David’s servants came to the land of the Ammonites, the princes of the Ammonites said to Hanun their lord, ‘Do you think that David is honoring your father because he has sent consolers to you? Has David not sent his servants to you in order to search the city, to spy it out and overthrow it?’”

These counselors seem to be picking a fight; maybe it was as much selfish ambition as insecurity that led them to misrepresent David’s motives and fan the flames of this conflict

Kirkpatrick: The new king’s counselors were as foolish as Rehoboam’s advisors (1 Kings xii. 10, 11). Their unjust suspicions of David’s motives may have been excited by his recent conquest of Moab.

In the multitude of counselors there lacks not wisdom = general principle – but be careful where you turn for advice – what are their credentials? What type of wisdom do they possess?

D. (:4) Indignity of Humiliating Mistreatment

“So Hanun took David’s servants and shaved off half of their beards, and cut off their garments in the middle as far as their hips, and sent them away.”

Counting the Cost: What were they prepared to do if David came after them? What did they expect would be the outcome of this strategy? Doesn’t look like they had thought very far ahead

What reaction was Hanun expecting from David when he did this? Had he thought through the consequences of this mistreatment?

Ryrie: Shaving off a person’s beard is still regarded by the Arabs as a great indignity.

Sign of manhood and wisdom

Barber shop story from yesterday – guy with shaved head – gashed; getting married

E. (:5) Indignation of Misjudged Motives – Resolve to Punish the Offenders

“When they told it to David, he sent to meet them, for the men were greatly humiliated. And the king said, ‘Stay at Jericho until your beards grow, and then return.’”

Not a matter of turning the other cheek in terms of personal relationships; this had implications for national security; how was David going to be viewed by his enemies? As a pushover? Or a strong leader? Sensitivity to his men.

Talk about coming home with your tail between your legs


A. (:6-8) Tactics of Engagement

1. (:6) Tactic of a Fearful Enemy = Recruiting Opportunistic Reinforcements

“Now when the sons of Ammon saw that they had become odious to David, the sons of Ammon sent and hired the Arameans of Bethrehob and the Arameans of Zobah, 20,000 foot soldiers, and the king of Maacah with 1,000 men, and the men of Tob with 12,000 men.”

Paid 1,000 talents of silver to assemble this mercenary force;

Some trust in horses and some in chariots – they thought they could win by force of numbers

2. (:7) Tactic of a Confident King = Deploying Valiant Warriors

“When David heard of it, he sent Joab and all the army, the mighty men.”

Does not sound like David went into battle with his men here

The leadership and character of his fighting force was what was important to David – and more importantly – their confidence was in the Lord

3. (:8) Tactic of Traditional Combat

“And the sons of Ammon came out and drew up in battle array at the entrance of the city, while the Arameans of Zobah and of Rehob and the men of Tob and Maacah were by themselves in the field.”

B. (:9-12) Victorious Mindset

1. (:9-11) Mindset of Cooperative Deployment Against Both Battle Fronts

a. (:9) Deployment Against the Arameans

“Now when Joab saw that the battle was set against him in front and in the rear, he selected from all the choice men of Israel, and arrayed them against the Arameans.”

Dangerous situation to have to fight on two fronts – surrounded in the front and in the rear; felt that the threat from the Arameans was the most dangerous

b. (:10) Deployment Against the Ammonites

“But the remainder of the people he placed in the hand of Abishai his brother, and he arrayed them against the sons of Ammon.”

c. (:11) Commitment to Help One Another

“And he said, ‘If the Arameans are too strong for me, than you shall help me; but if the sons of Ammon are too strong for you, then I will come to help you.’”

2. (:12) Mindset of Courageous Resolve Coupled with Unwavering Faith

“Be strong, and let us show ourselves courageous for the sake of our people and for the cities of our God; and may the Lord do what is good in His sight.”

Much to be learned in this verse regarding fighting spiritual battles – 3 Keys

personal responsibility – not just “let go and let God” – embrace your role

Command of the Lord – “Fear not … take courage”

Charge to Joshua upon entering the Promised Land initially Josh 1:5-9

You have to fight – against temptation, against enemies, etc.

unselfish allegiance to the cause of God and of His people — representing the glory of God

– He has more at stake in protecting His people and advancing His kingdom

enthusiastic submission to the Lord’s providence and ultimate disposition of His good will

– He sees the big picture

– He will do what is best in his sight – leads to optimistic confidence

Lange: These words express trust in God combined with unconditional submission. Alongside of the faithfulness (to be shown by bravery and firmness), that was to do its duty in this situation so dangerous for the people and for Jehovah, is put the hidden will of God in respect to what will happen, and unconditional submission to His counsel and deed.

C. (:13-14) Routing the Enemy

1. (:13) Putting the Arameans to Flight

“So Joab and the people who were with him drew near to the battle against the Arameans, and they fled before him.”

2. (:14) Putting the Ammonites to Flight

“When the sons of Ammon saw that the Arameans fled, they also fled before Abishai and entered the city. Then Joab returned from fighting against the sons of Ammon and came to Jerusalem.”


A. (:15-17) One Last Stand

1. (:15-16) Arameans Rally with Reinforcements

“When the Arameans saw that they had been defeated by Israel, they gathered themselves together. And Hadadezer sent and brought out the Arameans who were beyond the River, and they came to Helam; and Shobach the commander of the army of Hadadezer led them.”

Called in reserves from as far away as the Euphrates River

2. (:17) David Relishes the Opportunity

“Now when it was told David, he gathered all Israel together and crossed the Jordan, and came to Helam. And the Arameans arrayed themselves to meet David and fought against him.”

One would have expected that the enemy had suffered enough losses and would have just fled to wait for a more opportune time. David was probably glad for the opportunity to finish them off at Helam.

B. (:18) One Great Slaughter

“But the Arameans fled before Israel, and David killed 700 charioteers of the Arameans and 40,000 horsemen and struck down Shobach the commander of their army, and he died there.”

Ryrie: 700. Probably a copyist’s error, in place of 7,000 (cf. 1 Chron. 19:18).

C. (:19) One Favorable Peace

“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.”

David was able to negotiate a favorable peace treaty on his terms. The enemy was left with no bargaining power and was forced to be completely subservient.

Eugene Merrill: This is the second account of a subjugation of Hadadezer by David (cf. 2 Sam. 8:3-8). Apparently chapter 8 records an initial reduction of the Arameans of Zobah to Israelite vassal-dom, while chapter 10 assumes an Aramean rebellion against David’s over-lordship, a rebellion which was squashed and which resulted in continued Araean submission.

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contrast chapter 9 and chapter 10

A “the kindness of God” intended to lead us to repentance Rom 2:1-4

Look at what unleases the wrath of God


B. 2 Cor. 2:14-17 but talking about Word of God and response of people rather than their response to manifestation of common grace and the kindness of God

C. Parable of soils – 2 possible responses – contrast with previous chapter where kindness was extended to Mephibosheth and was humbly received Mark 4:1-20