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Bible Commentaries

Bell's Commentary on the Bible

2 Samuel 10

Verses 1-19

  1. INTRO:
    1. Insults: from Latin insultare “jump on, trample on,” from in(on) + saltare(to leap).
      1. I guess we can say, Insults are a form of communication that can be used for:
        1. humor;
        2. can be used to teach;
        3. but also can cause serious harm!
    2. Humor!
      1. Insults can be humorous when its witty conversation, or banter, or wordplay, kidding or ribbing; but take it too far & you can “add insult to injury!”
      2. Your manuscript is both original and good. But the parts that are original are not good, and the parts that are good are not original. - Samuel Johnson
      3. Churchgoer to pastor, “Your sermon reminded me of the mercies of God. I thought it would endure forever.”
      4. Lady Astor: “Winston, if you were my husband I should flavor your coffee w/poison.” Churchill: “Madam, if I were your husband, I should drink it.”
      5. After dinner one evening a rancher’s wife was entertaining their house guest by playing the piano. At one point she turned to the visitor and said, “I understand you love music.” “Yes,” murmured the guest politely. “But never you mind. Keep right on playing.”
      6. Bessie Braddock, MP(Member of Parliament): “Winston, you’re drunk.” Churchill: “Bessie, you’re ugly, and tomorrow morning I’ll be sober.”
    3. To Teach!
      1. ​​​​​​​The bible is full of various kinds of humor: Situational comedy, satire, sarcasm, irony
      2. Entire books such as Amos are comedic satire.
        1. Most humorous is in ch.4 when God refers to the Real Housewives of Bashan as fat cows. Hear this word, you cows of Bashan, who are on the mountain of Samaria, who oppress the poor, who crush the needy, who say to your husbands, Bring, that we may drink!
      3. The bible makes fun of mostly the serious religious types, who are legalistic, self rt, & sinfully judgmental of other people. It is usually for a prophetic purpose that is deadly serious. See Mt.23:24-26 You blind guides, straining out a gnat and swallowing a camel! Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you clean the outside of the cup and the plate, but inside they are full of greed and self-indulgence. You blind Pharisee! First clean the inside of the cup and the plate, that the outside also may be clean.
    4. ​​​​​​​To Cause Serious Harm!
      1. ​​​​​​​But when you add insult to injury...you have our story today.
    5. In ch.9 David’s kindness to Mephibosheth was beautiful & accepted, but in ch.10 his gesture of kindness to Hanun was rejected.
      1. So, once again David wanted to show kindness, but this time his attempt led to war instead of peace!
  2. FROM INSULT TO INJURY!
    1. ​​​​​​​RESPECT! (1,2)
    2. David sends ambassadors to express his sympathy to Hanun, king of the Ammonites, whose father recently died. Hanun’s father had been loyal to David.
      1. So to express sympathy, & to affirm the covenant between the two.
    3. RIDICULE! (3-5)
    4. (3) “These are not ambassadors but military spies!”
    5. Hanun’s counselors were suspicious of David.
      1. They questioned his motives.
      2. They probably judged David on the basis of what they would have done!
      3. Unfortunately once again...Immaturity & Ignorance triumphed over Wisdom & Common Sense.
    6. Hanun’s advisers falsely conclude that the ambassadors are actually spies, so Hanun publicly humiliates them by cutting off their robes at the buttocks and shaving half their beards.
    7. (4) Insult to Injury - Humiliation & Shame!
      1. Shaving ½ of their beards - Jewish men were to keep their beards in tact.
        1. Lev.19:27 Do not trim off the hair on your temples or trim your beards.
        2. Their beard was the badge of the dignity of manhood. Thus to tamper with a man’s beard was the greatest insult.
        3. Remember, soon after we Invaded Iraq in 2003, men in defiance to Saddam started shaving their mustaches that represented their former leader.
      2. Cutting off their garments in the middle at their buttocks - (you should see my little picture in my margin; cheeky, cheeky)
        1. They were cutting the men’s official garments off.
        2. All Jews were to be dressed modestly, so exposing their rears was real embarrassing.
        3. It was treating them like they were prisoners of war. See Is.20:3,4. [Gitmo, Cuba]
        4. It also meant removing some of their tassels that identified them as Jews.
      3. They could have easily secured other garments, but it would take time for their beards to grow. So they stayed in Jericho until they looked presentable.
      4. However, new beards couldn’t erase old wounds.
        1. When Hunan allowed his officials to mistreat the delegation, he not only insulted the men personally, but he also insulted king David who sent them & the nation they represented.
        2. This was a declaration of war!
    8. The inexperienced new king listened to his suspicious advisers & treated David’s men as though they were spies.
      1. Years later Solomon’s son Rehoboam would make a similar mistake & follow unwise counsel. See 1 Kings 12:6-14.
      2. Beware of foolish counselors!
    9. (5) The King Servants are sometimes treated badly. See Mt.10:16.
      1. But they need not fret...their king as everything in control. (5b, what tenderness)
      2. Some things heal with time. Not that “time” itself has a healing agent.
      3. God cares for His own!
    10. RETALIATION! (6-19)
    11. Hanun’s Fear! (6-8)
    12. Realizing his foolish blunder, the panic-filled Ammonite king hires 33,000 foreign soldiers to help him repel the anticipated Israelite attack.
      1. He paid 1000 talents of silver (1 Chron.19:6) to hire these troops from the north.
    13. David’s Fury! (9-19)
    14. (9) Joab faced 2 armies who were using the famed military maneuver called The Pincer Movement. [Pincer: like pliers or lobster claw. 1 coming from the north, the other from the south]
    15. (12) Biblical balance between divine sovereignty & human responsibility.
      1. The same God who ordains the end (victory in battle) also ordains the means to the end (courageous men who do their job well).
      2. Faith & works must always go together. [a Just War verse?]
    16. (15-19) In response, the Ammonites increased the number of mercenaries fighting for them & prepared for another fight.
      1. For this 2nd battle David personally led Israel's troops & won a decisive victory.
      2. In a fierce battle alongside the Euphrates River, David defeats his enemies, killing 700 of their charioteers and 40,000 horsemen.
    17. (19) As a result, the Ammonites became subject to Israel.
  3. Ok so Retaliation is the answer?
    1. No, The spirit of the NT is distinguished from the Old in its refusal to avenge insult or in some cases injury. But these may be left to God!
    2. At this time here(2 Sam.10), the divine purpose was served in punishing the crimes of these heathen nations & in strengthening the Hebrew people.
    3. But in the NT...Mt.5:38-48 You have heard the law that says the punishment must match the injury: ‘An eye for an eye, and a tooth for a tooth.’ But I say, do not resist an evil person! If someone slaps you on the right cheek, offer the other cheek also. If you are sued in court and your shirt is taken from you, give your coat, too. If a soldier demands that you carry his gear for a mile, carry it two miles. Give to those who ask, and don’t turn away from those who want to borrow. “You have heard the law that says, ‘Love your neighbor’ and hate your enemy. But I say, love your enemies! Pray for those who persecute you! In that way, you will be acting as true children of your Father in heaven.
    4. (38) The Law of an “Eye for an Eye”, as administered in the proper courts of Law, was founded in justice, & worked far more equitably than the more modern system of Fines; for that method allows rich men to offend w/comparative impunity! (slap on the wrist)
      1. This Lex Talionis(law of retaliation) from Ex.21:23-25 But if there is serious injury, you are to take life for life, eye for eye, tooth for tooth, hand for hand, foot for foot, burn for burn, wound for wound, bruise for bruise.(context, woman w/child hurt while men fighting)
      2. This law kept people from taking the law into their own hands.
    5. (39) Jesus replaces this law w/an Attitude! - Be willing to suffer loss yourself rather than cause another to suffer!
      1. Our 1st reaction is to react; to get even; plan vengeance!
      2. How many regard this as fanatical, utopian, & even cowardly?
        1. Can we really do it? - How are we the servants of Christ if we have not this spirit?
        2. But this isn’t Natural! Exactly! It’s Supernatural!!!
        3. Cheek Turning: Soviet Premier Khrushchev, on visiting Rouen Cathedral: “There is much in Christ that is in common with us Communists, but I cannot agree with Him when He says when you are hit on the right cheek turn the left cheek. I believe in another principle. If I am hit on the left cheek I hit back on the right cheek so hard that the head might fall off. This is my sole difference with Christ.” (N.Y.Times, Quote #7090 (7700) Khrushchev.)
      3. Turning the cheek actually puts one in control!
        1. Ghandi read this verse & put it into practice. He inspired a whole nation to turn the other cheek, & it blew the British away. What can you do if somebody doesn’t fight back. Eventually the British got on their ships & went home.
      4. Cheek Turning involves Faith to stand & not run, Love to endure, & it also means we’ll have to Suffer Hurt!
        1. It is the Strong man who can love & suffer hurt; It is the Weak man who thinks only of himself & hurts others to protect himself!
    6. (43) Hate your enemy? - This is a “parasite” to God’s word! - It is no where in the O.T.!
      1. The verse Lev.19:18 Do not take vengeance or bear any grudge against the children of your people, but you shall love your neighbor as yourself. I am the LORD.
      2. It was a Rabbinical inference which Jesus repudiates bluntly.
      3. The O.T. taught the opposite. Prov.25:21 If your enemy is hungry, give him food to eat; if he is thirsty, give him water to drink. Also Ex.23:4,5.
    7. (44) We are not to merely cease to hate, & then abide in a cold neutrality; but we love where hatred seemed inevitable.
      1. Love 1st time in Sermon on the Mount! And it sums up the whole of the Sermon!
      2. The only way to overcome our enemy is by Loving them!
    8. Since Christian Love is an act of the will & not simply an emotion, Jesus has the right to command us to Love our enemies!
      1. How do we show this Love?
      2. By blessing those; by doing good; by praying for!
        1. When we Pray for our enemies we find it easier to Love them.
        2. It takes the “Poison” out of our Attitudes!
      3. What if they don’t respond rightly to this? (bless, do good, pray for them!)
        1. Remember that Love asks nothing in return, but seeks those who need it!
        2. Who needs Love more than the one who is consumed w/hatred for us.
        3. Who in other words deserves our Love more than our enemy?
Copyright Statement
These files are the property of Brian Bell.
Text Courtesy of Calvary Chapel of Murrieta. Used by Permission.
Bibliographical Information
Bell, Brian. "Commentary on 2 Samuel 10". "Bell's Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/cbb/2-samuel-10.html. 2017.