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Bible Commentaries

Bell's Commentary on the Bible

2 Samuel 8

Verses 1-18

  1. INTRO:
    1. Prayer: Lord, May our Aim be Your Glory; our Path be Your Will; & our Passion be Your Love!
    2. Story - A couple of hunters chartered a plane to fly into the Canadian wilderness. 2 weeks later when the pilot came to pick them up, he saw the 2 animals they had bagged and said, “I told you fellows I could only take you and one moose. You’ll have to leave the other behind.” “But we did it last year in a plane this size,” protested one of the hunters, “and the other pilot let us take two moose.” “Well, okay,” said the pilot. “If you did it before I guess we can do it again.” So the 2 moose and the hunters were loaded in and the plane took off. Because of the heavy weight, it rose with difficulty and was unable to clear an obstructing hill. After the crash, the men climbed out and looked around. One hunter said to the other, “Where are we, anyway?” His companion surveyed the scene. “I think we got about half a mile farther than we got last year.”
      1. I don’t know if that’s how you measure success...but not David!
    3. In Ch.8 David continues to expand his kingdom and lead the Israelites to victory.
      1. This is an all out attack on the enemies of God’s people.
      2. Why does He make Israel so Victorious?...Well, they had a great work to perform on earth, like bringing the written Scriptures & Messiah into the world.
    4. This is a chapter in which everything goes right for David. It is a much greater temptation when everything goes well for us than when everything goes wrong.
      1. Success is much more brutal to the depraved mind than failure!
      2. David will show us, “How to Handle Success”!
  2. DAVID’S CAMPAIGNS! (1-14)
    1. THE PHILISTINES! (1)
    2. David captures their largest city. Metheg Ammah = Gath (lit. The Bridle of the Mother City)
      1. What a bridle is in the management of a horse, that was Metheg to the land of Philistia. By subduing that metropolis, David had the whole land in his power.
        1. It’s going up to the biggest bully in the group & dealing with him first.
      2. To take the bridle of anything means to gain control & force submission.
      3. What habit/vice/deficiency do you need to take the bridle of in your life?
      4. What part of your flesh do you need to gain control & force into submission?
    3. THE MOABITES! (2)
    4. David spares every 3rd soldier of the Moabites, more than any of the other Eastern Kings & the rest are forced to pay him tribute $.
    5. Eastern kings, when their enemies had made a peculiarly stubborn resistance, were in the habit of making them, when conquered, lie down on the ground, & then putting a certain part of them to death.
      1. Jewish writers explain this unusual severity by saying the Moabites had massacred David’s parents & family(?) whom he had trusted to their safe keeping. 1 Sam.22:3,4
    6. HADADEZER & THE ARAMEANS/SYRIANS! (3-12)
    7. (4) To “hock” or “hamstring” a horse was to cut the sinew(sin-yoo) in the back legs, so as to render the animal incapable of speed.
    8. Taking out the horses is the exact same strategy we use in warfare today. First thing you do is take out their military equipment.
      1. In Libya just last week on March 19th, French Fighter Jets flew over at 6:45pm & took out what? armed vehicles, tanks, & trucks loaded with RPG’s & ammunition.
      2. On March 23rd British Military Air Vice Marshall said, “Libya's air force no longer exists as a fighting force". David was doing the same thing here.
    9. The horses were of not much service to David, as Israel was forbidden to multiply them; but they dare not leave them for their foes to use again.
      1. Horses were always referred to in the Bible in connection with warlike operations (except Isa. 28:28). The war-horse is described Job 39:19–25.
        1. Have you given the horse its strength or clothed its neck with a flowing mane? Did you give it the ability to leap like a locust? Its majestic snorting is terrifying! It paws the earth and rejoices in its strength when it charges out to battle. It laughs at fear and is unafraid. It does not run from the sword. The arrows rattle against it, and the spear and javelin flash. It paws the ground fiercely and rushes forward into battle when the ram’s horn blows. It snorts at the sound of the horn. It senses the battle in the distance. It quivers at the captain’s commands and the noise of battle.
      2. For a long period after their settlement in Canaan the Israelites made no use of horses, according to the prohibition, Deut. 17:16 But he shall not multiply horses for himself, nor cause the people to return to Egypt to multiply horses,
        1. The prohibition against acquiring a great multitude of horses meant that on human terms the king’s army, composed mainly of infantry, would be significantly weaker than an enemy’s army with many chariots and cavalry.
        2. Yet this was precisely the point. An obedient Israelite king was to depend not on military strength but on the Lord alone. God had already demonstrated His ability to crush a large superior chariot army (Ex. 14-15).
      3. David was the first to form a force of cavalry (here in 8:4).
      4. Solomon, from his connection with Egypt, greatly multiplied their number. After this, horses were freely used in Israel.
    10. Lesson: Death to everything that could lead to a misplaced confidence!
      1. God, & here David, wanted the people of God to not put their confidence in anything except in the Lord.
      2. Thats why David would write, Some trust in chariots, and some in horses; But we will remember the name of the Lord our God. Ps.20:7
      3. Again the Psalmist writes, The king is not saved by his great army; a warrior is not delivered by his great strength. The war horse is a false hope for salvation, and by its great might it cannot rescue. Ps.33:16,17
      4. Moses reminded them, When you go out to fight your enemies and you face horses and chariots and an army greater than your own, do not be afraid. The Lord your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, is with you! Deut.20:1
      5. Some trust in 401k’s, and some in the stock market; But we will remember the name of the Lord our God! Some trust in their wit, and some in their persona; But we will remember the name of the Lord our God!Some trust in their title, and some in their pedigree; But we will remember the name of the Lord our God! [what are you trusting in?]
    11. (6) So the Lord preserved David wherever he went - (also vs.14)
    12. Remember the secret to any success...If we have any success in life, the credit and the glory is due to God alone. God tells us in Is.42:8, “I am the LORD: that is my name: and my glory will I not give to another”.
      1. David wrote Psalm 60 during this time. The first 10 verses describe the people in 2 Samuel 8 that David has conquered. But notice David’s conclusion in Ps. 60:11,12, Give us help from trouble, For the help of man is useless. Through God we will do valiantly, For it is He who shall tread down our enemies.
    13. (9) Hamath was the chief city north of Israel & west of Zobah.
      1. Toi is thankful for him taking out a very menacing neighbor.
    14. (10) Gold, silver, bronze - 1 Chron.22:14 tells us David acquired about 4000 lbs of Gold; almost 40,000 tons of silver; & even greater amounts of bronze & iron.
      1. What a generous heart. He could have kept it all. How much is too much?
      2. We own nothing. God owns everything. We are just stewards.
        1. If God gives us something, it is not ours, it is to be used for God. This is why David dedicated the spoils of his success to the Lord.
        2. Take my life and let it be, Consecrated Lord to thee Take my silver and my gold, Not a mite from thee withhold.
      3. Notice David didn't get resentful when God didn’t let him build the Temple, but instead brought back spoils of victory to dedicate them for the Lords glory!
    15. Interesting, this is Gentile gold/silver/bronze that would adorn His holy Temple! Maybe a hint to the future of the part Gentiles would play in being part of the body of Christ?
    16. Remember “to whom much is given, much shall be required”.
      1. Paul helps us with a great principle to the Corinthian church (1Cor.16:2) on the giving of their finances: On the first day of each week, you should each put aside a portion of the money you have earned.
      2. Q: Are you giving of your time, your service, your resources, and your all to God in correlation to how He has prospered you?
    17. (11) God have David the victory, & David used each victory to serve the Lord.
      1. David knew he would not build the temple, but he risked his life to gather the wealth Solomon would need to do the job.
      2. If God Gives your dream to somebody else, will you help him or her to fulfill it?
    18. THE EDOMITES! (13,14)
    19. David defeats the Syrians & Edomites(Allies) and places garrisons throughout Edom.
      1. This victory was gained through the bravery & skill of Abishi & Joab 1 Chron 18:12
    20. You’ll note David’s name is mentioned 21 x’s in ch.8.
      1. God magnified David’s name because David magnified God’s name; God magnified David’s name because David did God’s will!
      2. Exalt yourself & God will Humble you; but Humble yourself & God will Exalt you!
        1. Therefore humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you in due time. 1 Pet.5:6
    21. David recovered lost territory & gained new territory, a good example for us to follow in our spiritual walk & warfare.
      1. What area of your life have you had great victory in, or a great handle on, but now you’ve seemed to have lost again? Your temper, anger, irritated easily?
      2. What area of your life have you never seemed to get on top of & would love a victory in? Control of your tongue; wandering mind; ears that love gossip.
      3. It’s time to recover lost territory, time to gain new territory in your spiritual life!
    22. From the frontier of Egypt in the South, to the Euphrates River in the North, finally God’s original geographical promise to Abraham is realized (Gen.15:18).
      1. The woodlands of Gilead, the pasture-lands of Bashan, the harbors of the Red Sea, the caravan roads of the Euphrates, Arabia, & Egypt, were now within Hebrew territory.
      2. This was the 1st time, & only time up to our day, where the whole territory that God’s covenant w/Abraham had promised, was fulfilled. [N,S,E,W]
    23. Over every area of our lives believers, we should be able to write “in all these things we are more than conquerers through Him that loved us.” Rom.8:37
      1. NLT despite all these things, overwhelming victory is ours through Christ, who loved us. Paul was answering the question from 2 verses earlier, Can anything ever separate us from Christ’s love? Does it mean he no longer loves us if we have trouble or calamity, or are persecuted, or hungry, or destitute, or in danger, or threatened with death.
      2. Key? It’s Through Him. Allow God to take the command on your behalf; let Him deal with the enemy.
        1. Ps.60:12 Through God we will do valiantly, For it is He who shall tread down our enemies.
        2. Your weakness, deficiencies, failures, & sins, when handed over to the Lord, can be a source of blessing & power. How does this work?…
        3. Saul went to Damascus eaten up w/jealousy & determined to slay every Christian he could get his hands on. Jesus meets him on the road there. Afterwards Paul writes to the church at Corinth, “for I am jealous over you w/godly jealousy.”
          1. God had taken hold of the thing which was his weakness...his jealousy & bitterness, but He did not do away w/it.
          2. This is how God takes a hold of our weakness & transforms it by the power of His Spirit, making them serve His own purpose to the embarrassment of hell. (Alan Redpath, The Making of a Man of God, pg.180)
    24. DAVID’S COURT! (15-18)
      1. While extending his dominions abroad, he was not neglectful of the kingdom at home.
      2. David was a fair ruler. His military, political, and religious leaders are listed.
      3. The recorder kept the chronicles of the kingdom.
      4. The scribe was the Secretary of State.
      5. The Cherethites and the Pelethites were David’s body-guards. They were foreign mercenaries who had gathered around David during his sojourn down in
      6. Philistia.
      7. We must never seek success, but simply to please the Lord.
        1. Remember His goal for you is Christlikeness.
        2. Story - On a wall near the main entrance to the Alamo in San Antonio, Texas, is a portrait with the following inscription: “James Butler Bonham - no picture of him exists. This portrait is of his nephew, Major James Bonham, deceased, who greatly resembled his uncle. It is placed here by the family that people may know the appearance of the man who died for freedom.” No literal portrait of Jesus exists either. But the likeness of the Son who makes us free can be seen in the lives of His true followers.
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 8". "Bell's Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/cbb/2-samuel-8.html. 2017.