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Bible Commentaries
2 Samuel 10

Kingcomments on the Whole BibleKingcomments

Verses 1-5


This chapter marks the beginning of a new phase in David’s life. The prosperity in all that he has undertaken and the increase in the power of his rule have in a way made him independent of the LORD. The feeling of undisturbed happiness has made him receptive to wicked desires. This led him to stain his soul with adultery and also with blood guilt. Thus the man who is so high exalted by the LORD his God falls deep into sin. This happens during the war against the Ammonites and Arameans, when after the subjugation of Arameans Joab with the army besieged the capital of the Ammonites and David remains in Jerusalem (2 Samuel 11:1).

Because of the twofold sin – the adultery with Bathsheba and the murder of her husband Uria – the LORD announces the punishment to the high placed sinner. That punishment is that the sword shall not depart from his house and that his wives shall be slept with in public (2 Samuel 12:11).

Despite David’s sincere repentance and confession of sin, the fruit of sin, the child born of Bathsheba, dies. But not only that. Also the announced judgments about his house are carried out. This happens because his firstborn son Amnon rapes his half-sister Tamar, for which brother Absalom kills him (2 Samuel 13). Absalom then flees to his father-in-law in Geshur. When Absalom is again accepted in grace by his father, king David (2 Samuel 14), he revolts against David. As a result David almost loses his throne and his life (2 Samuel 15-17:23).

After the demise of Absalom (2 Samuel 17:24-19:1) and the return of David to the throne (2 Samuel 19:2-40) there is still the rebellion of the Benjamite Sheba. This rebellion will only be overcome after this rebel has been killed in Abel Beth-maacah (2 Samuel 19:41-20:26).

The Men of David Greatly Humiliated

The word “afterwards” means that the history that follows takes place after the story of the previous chapter. There is a connection between the two chapters and that is kindness. After the kindness of the previous chapter to the remnant of Israel – in the picture of Mephibosheth – David also wants to show kindness to the nations – in the picture of Hanun. It is the son of Nahash who was fought by Saul (1 Samuel 11:1-1 Kings :). To this Nahash David has shown kindness, possibly because David was pursued by Saul.

David wants to answer the kindness that Nahash has shown to him by showing kindness to his son Hanun. The reason for this is the death of Nahash. David does not forget the kindness which has been shown to him. In the same way, the Lord Jesus does not forget anything of what has been done to Him even by those who have no connection with Him. He gives them a message of grace. The question is what is done with the offer of grace. Many reject grace, as Hanun does with the kindness that David wants to show him. Those who reject grace will be judged, just as Hanun will be judged.

Hanun has advisers who tell him not to trust David. Hanun listens to his advisers. So it often happens that people reject the gospel because others make the gospel suspicious by presenting it as monetization or only to win souls. The goodness of David is not recognized. Their response to grace is a vile treatment of the messengers of grace. How totally different from the reaction of Mephibosheth we have seen in the previous chapter.

What David does is interpreted as hypocrisy. There is suspicion that his true intentions are not of a peaceful nature, but that he tries to submit the Ammonites to himself through a played sympathy. Hanun shows that he does not know David. There are many people in the world who do not know the Lord Jesus. If you talk to them about the love of God and the Lord Jesus, they will not hear about it. They do not allow Him to come into their lives. They see Him as an intruder, Who does not seek the good for them, but the evil.

Whosoever bears witness of his Lord may receive the same treatment as the messengers of David. The messengers of David are treated insultingly and sent away. Hanun shaves off half of the beards of David’s men, that is to say, he shaves off the beard on one side. This is one of the worst mockery for a man in an eastern country (cf. Isaiah 15:2; Isaiah 20:4). For such a person, the beard is one of the greatest decorations. This insult is further enhanced by cutting off their clothes that cover their entire body, revealing the lower half of their body.

By these insults Hanun also casts libel upon the person of their lord, King David. He who rejects the servant rejects the Lord. He who offends the servant, offends the Lord. He feels the insult that is done to His own as His own insult and stands up for His own.

David hears of the humiliation and lets his messengers say that they have to take time for recovery.

Verses 6-14

David Sends Joab to Battle

The enemies know that David can’t just let this pass by. They strengthen and pull together, a part near the city and a part in the field. Joab is sent to battle by David. He follows a tactic, together with Abishai, in which they divide the forces. They agree to come to each other’s aid if the other person gets into trouble. This contains an important lesson. We see here an example of brotherly love that is willing to help the other, when necessary. The strong must support and help the weak. Those who, by grace, have gained a victory over temptations, can counsel and comfort those who are tempted, and pray for them. In this way the members of the body help each other (1 Corinthians 12:21; 1 Corinthians 12:25).

Joab encourages Abishai and himself (2 Samuel 10:12). He points out what it is all about, namely “our people” and “the cities of our God”. Furthermore, with a “may the LORD do what is good in His sight” he puts the matter in the hands of the LORD. They gain the victory.

Despite his beautiful words Joab is a wicked man. He is cunning, also in His piety. He separates what he and others do and what the LORD will do. It seems nice, but here is a man who knows well what he himself is capable of and who at the same time theoretically also knows that God is there. For this he lives in a religious people. His motto is: ‘Help yourself, so God helps you.’ Each for himself and God for all of us. This is liberal theology. In reality God does not play a role in his plans at all.

In the judgment that David exercises over the Gentiles, after the proof of grace in Mephiboseth to the remnant, we see prophetically how things will go in the end times.

Verses 15-19

David Goes to War

The Arameans regroup (2 Samuel 10:15). Now David himself goes to war (2 Samuel 10:17). The enemy is defeated, makes peace and submits to Israel (2 Samuel 10:19). Also, for fear of the consequences, they no longer connect with Israel’s other enemy, Ammon. The result is that the remnant of the nations make peace with David.

In these verses we see a prophetic picture of the coming of the Lord Jesus to defeat the gathered armies after two thousand years of grace has been offered to the nations. The great King David beats them. Here we can think of the battle in Harmagedon (Revelation 16:16).

We can learn the following from this whole history. It may happen that a kindness of ours in the Name of the Lord Jesus, is misinterpreted and answered with insult. We may know that when this happens to us, He makes Himself one with us and makes our cause His. If we give everything into His hands, the result is that we have lasting peace in our hearts (1 Peter 2:23; Philippians 4:6-Judges :).

We also see that resistance and revolt only result in the authority of the Lord Jesus being established all the more strongly. It is useless to fight against the power of the King chosen by God.

Bibliographical Information
de Koning, Ger. Commentaar op 2 Samuel 10". "Kingcomments on the Whole Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/kng/2-samuel-10.html. 'Stichting Titus' / 'Stichting Uitgeverij Daniël', Zwolle, Nederland. 2021.
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