Lectionary Calendar
Monday, May 20th, 2024
the Week of Proper 2 / Ordinary 7
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Bible Commentaries
2 Samuel 10

Barnes' Notes on the Whole BibleBarnes' Notes


On comparing this whole chapter with 2 Samuel 8:3-13; and 1 Chronicles 19:0 with 1 Chronicles 18:0, it seems not improbable that they are two accounts of one and the same war; the former account 2 Samuel 8:3-13 being inserted out of its chronological order. The numbers slain on both occasions, 42,000 2 Samuel 8:4-5, 40,2 Samuel 8:0 2 Samuel 10:18, 700 2 Samuel 8:4; 2 Samuel 10:18, the seat of war, the mention of the Euphrates, the persons engaged - David, Joab, and Abishai on one side, Hadarezer and the vassal kings on the other - are too similar to make it probable that they belong to two different wars.

Verse 1

The king - In marginal reference. Nahash, king, etc. The interval between the two events, not less than 50 years, and possibly more, is against his being the same as the Nahash of 1 Samuel 11:1-15.

The Ammonites are almost always spoken of as the children of Ammon, from the name of their first ancestor Ben-ammi Genesis 19:38.

Hanun - The equivalent of the Carthaginian Hanno, from the same root as the Hebrew, Hananiah, Johanan, Hannah, etc. The same name appears in composition with Baal in Baal-Hanan, an Aramean king Genesis 36:38-39.

Verse 2

The history does not record any instance of Nahash’s kindness to David, but the enmity of the house of Nahash against Saul may have disposed him favorably toward Saul’s enemy David, and if there was any family connection between David’s house and Nahash 2 Samuel 17:25 this may have increased the friendship.

Verse 3

The princes ... - Compare Rehoboam’s advisers 1 Kings 12:10-11. It is not improbable that David’s severe treatment of Moab 2 Samuel 8:2 was in part the cause of the fear of the Ammonites that a similar treatment was in store for themselves.

Verse 4

In 1 Chronicles 19:4, more concisely “shaved.” Cutting off a person’s beard is regarded by the Arabs as an indignity equal to flogging and branding among ourselves. The loss of their long garments, so essential to Oriental dignity, was no less insulting than that of their beards.

Verse 6

Stank ... - A strong figure for to be odious or detested. Compare the marginal references

The Syrians of Beth-rehob - If identical with the Mesopotamians of 1 Chronicles 19:6, Beth-rehob is the same as Rehoboth by the river Genesis 36:37. Others think Beth-rehob (Rehob, 2 Samuel 10:8) the same as the Rehob and Beth-rehob of Numbers 13:21, near Hamath (perhaps the modern ruin of Hunin). If so, Beth-rehob, as well as Tob, must have been a colony of Aram Naharaim (compare the numbers in 1 Chronicles 19:7 and here).

Syrians of Zoba - Compare 1 Samuel 14:47 note.

King Maacah - Read the “King of Maacah” 1 Chronicles 19:6-7. For the position of Maacah, see Deuteronomy 3:14; Joshua 12:5. It appears to have been a very small state, since its king only brought a thousand men into the field.

Ish-tob - See the margin. Tob was the district where Jephthah fled when driven out by the Gileadites.

Verse 7

This sufficiently indicates the greatness of the danger to Israel from this formidable league of Ammonites and Syrians.

Verse 8

Came out - From their city, Rabbah Deuteronomy 3:11, Deuteronomy 3:15 or 20 miles from Medeba, where 1 Chronicles 19:7 the Syrian army was encamped. Medeba (modern Madeba) was taken from Sihon Numbers 21:30, and fell to Reuben Joshua 13:9, Joshua 13:16; in the reign of Ahaz it seems to have returned to Moab Isaiah 15:2, and in the time of the Maccabees to the Amorites (1 Macc. 9:36, 37). In church history it was a bishop’s see.

In the field - i. e. in the plain below the round rocky hill on which the city stood.

Verse 9

The two armies of the Ammonites and the Syrians were drawn up facing one another; the Ammonites supported by the city Rabbah behind them; the Syrians in great force, with numerous chariots able to manoeuvre in the plain in front of Medeba. If Joab advanced against either, he would have the other in his rear.

Verse 12

For the cities of our God - This rather indicates that the relief of Medeba was one of the immediate objects in view, and consequently that at this time Medeba was still in the possession of the Reubenites. To prevent an Israelite city falling into the hands of a pagan people, and the rites of Moloch being substituted for the worship of Yahweh, was a very urgent motive to valor.

Verse 14

Joab returned - The great strength of Rabbah made it hopeless to take it by assault, and the Syrians were not sufficiently broken 2 Samuel 10:15 to make it safe to undertake a regular siege.

Verse 16

Helam - The place is unknown. Some prefer the translation of the Latin Vulgate: “their host came.”

Verse 18

Seven hundred chariots - More probable than the “seven thousand” of 1 Chronicles 19:18. The frequent errors in numbers arise from the practice of expressing numerals by letters, with one or more dots or dashes to indicate hundreds, thousands, etc.

Verse 19

Servants to Hadarezer - This gives us an idea of the great power of Hadarezer, and consequently of the strength of Israel in David’s victorious reign.

Bibliographical Information
Barnes, Albert. "Commentary on 2 Samuel 10". "Barnes' Notes on the Whole Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/bnb/2-samuel-10.html. 1870.
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