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In following David's history, we are here again presented with the relation of war. David sent a friendly message to the king of the Ammonites; but he receiving it unfriendly, and treating the ambassadors of David ill, David enters upon a war with him, and entirely defeats the king of Ammon, and the Syrians, whom he had called to succour him.
(1) ¶ And it came to pass after this, that the king of the children of Ammon died, and Hanun his son reigned in his stead. (2) Then said David, I will shew kindness unto Hanun the son of Nahash, as his father shewed kindness unto me. And David sent to comfort him by the hand of his servants for his father. And David's servants came into the land of the children of Ammon.
What kindness David had received from Nahash, is not easy to say, for he had been a bitter enemy to Israel, as we read 1 Samuel 11:1-4 ; but perhaps it might be upon some occasion when David was fleeing from place to place to avoid Saul. His motive, however, was good, in sending his servants to comfort his son. But what motive, excepting pure grace and mercy, prompted the infinite mind of our God to send his servants as ambassadors to us? We have shown no kindness, but rebellion all our days. And yet the Lord hath sent, and is continually sending the ministers of his gospel, praying us in Christ's stead, to be reconciled to God. Wonderous mercy! 2 Corinthians 5:20 .
(3) And the princes of the children of Ammon said unto Hanun their lord, Thinkest thou that David doth honour thy father, that he hath sent comforters unto thee? hath not David rather sent his servants unto thee, to search the city, and to spy it out, and to overthrow it? (4) Wherefore Hanun took David's servants, and shaved off the one half of their beards, and cut off their garments in the middle, even to their buttocks, and sent them away.
Alas! do we not see, in this vile reception of the servants of David, a representation of the faithful servants of the Son of David, in the preaching of his word in all ages? What Paul said of himself and his companions, may, more or less, be said of all that preach the pure gospel of Jesus; we are made a spectacle unto the world; being defamed, and as the filth and the offscouring of all things. 1 Corinthians 4:13; 1 Corinthians 4:13 .
(5) When they told it unto David, he sent to meet them, because the men were greatly ashamed: and the king said, Tarry at Jericho until your beards be grown, and then return.
And how doth Jesus graciously deal by his despised servants, but in the same tender way? Tarry till I come. Be patient, brethren, (says an apostle) unto the coming of the Lord. See James 5:6-8 ; Luke 21:19 .
(6) ¶ And when the children of Ammon saw that they stank before David, the children of Ammon sent and hired the Syrians of Bethrehob, and the Syrians of Zoba, twenty thousand footmen, and of king Maacah a thousand men, and of Ishtob twelve thousand men.
Spiritualizing still the subject, we may in this verse behold the folly, as well as sin, of men, in setting up resistance against the Lord. Who hath hardened himself against him, and hath prospered? Job 9:4 .
(7) And when David heard of it, he sent Joab, and all the host of the mighty men. (8) And the children of Ammon came out, and put the battle in array at the entering in of the gate: and the Syrians of Zoba, and of Rehob, and Ishtob, and Maacah, were by themselves in the field. (9) When Joab saw that the front of the battle was against him before and behind, he chose of all the choice men of Israel, and put them in array against the Syrians: (10) And the rest of the people he delivered into the hand of Abishai his brother, that he might put them in array against the children of Ammon. (11) And he said, If the Syrians be too strong for me, then thou shalt help me: but if the children of Ammon be too strong for thee, then I will come and help thee. (12) Be of good courage, and let us play the men for our people, and for the cities of our God: and the LORD do that which seemeth him good. (13) And Joab drew nigh, and the people that were with him, unto the battle against the Syrians: and they fled before him. (14) And when the children of Ammon saw that the Syrians were fled, then fled they also before Abishai, and entered into the city. So Joab returned from the children of Ammon, and came to Jerusalem.
In like manner, the servants of our Almighty David, when sent forth by him, and his divine presence accompanying them, are sure of victory. It is a precious thought, and never to be forgotten by the Christian warrior, the issue of his warfare is not doubtful, but sure. What Jesus hath purchased by his blood, and God our Father hath engaged for in his covenant, can never subject the event of redemption in his people to uncertainty. Tried, Christ's soldiers may be, and tried they w ill be: but they must finally overcome. Jesus hath made the conquest; and they overcome not in themselves, but in the blood of the Lamb. Revelation 12:11 .
(15) ¶ And when the Syrians saw that they were smitten before Israel, they gathered themselves together. (16) And Hadarezer sent, and brought out the Syrians that were beyond the river: and they came to Helam; and Shobach the captain of the host of Hadarezer went before them. (17) And when it was told David, he gathered all Israel together, and passed over Jordan, and came to Helam. And the Syrians set themselves in array against David, and fought with him. (18) And the Syrians fled before Israel; and David slew the men of seven hundred chariots of the Syrians, and forty thousand horsemen, and smote Shobach the captain of their host, who died there. (19) And when all the kings that were servants to Hadarezer saw that they were smitten before Israel, they made peace with Israel, and served them. So the Syrians feared to help the children of Ammon anymore.
Here is a second battle, and the issue of it the same. Yes! The nations of the earth may join and wage war against the Lord, and against his Anointed; but they must all submit, and bow down to the cross. Here was that remarkable promise to Abraham now fulfilled: Genesis 15:18 , etc. And as this was all typical of the complete salvation by the Lord Jesus, we look forward with the most firm, unshaken assurance, that the hour will come, when the kingdoms of this world shall become the kingdoms of our Lord, and of his Christ; and he shall reign forever and ever. Revelation 11:15 . Amen. Even so, Lord Jesus.
READER! What a correspondence do we find, in all ages, in the circumstances of the people of God. The Lord said at the fall, that he would put enmity between the seed of the woman, and the seed of the serpent; and how evidently do the effects of it appear. In civil, as well as in religious life, what false constructions are frequently put upon the best intentioned actions. And what unjust, and base foundations do men of the world sometimes make, like the children of Ammon against David, to cover over their hatred to the people of God.
But principally, against thy gospel, blessed Jesus! how do the minds of all the carnal unite to treat thy gracious offers with contempt, and to abuse thy precious salvation. Is it because thy offers are of no value; or because men need them not? Alas! What but the most consummate blindness, can suggest the one; or the most horrid deception of the mind, could give rise to the other. But oh! thou blessed Redeemer, whether men will hear, or whether they will forbear, do thou graciously hold forth the sceptre of mercy to my soul! Break down all the strong holds of Satan; give me to see, to feel, to embrace, to rejoice in the fulness, preciousness, and everlasting value of thy rich, free, and finished redemption. And in all the gracious offers thou art making, of peace and friendship (as David did to the king of Ammon) to the souls of poor, ruined, and undone sinners; oh! Lord, accompany thine offers with thy saving power, and make them willing to be saved in thine own way and purpose. This, Lord, I know will be the case of all whom the Father hath given unto thee, and whose salvation thou hast purchased with thy blood and righteousness; but, blessed Jesus! cut short this work in righteousness: Make haste, my Beloved, and be thou as the roe, or the young hart upon the mountains of Bether.
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Hawker, Robert, D.D. "Commentary on 2 Samuel 10". "Hawker's Poor Man's Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/
the Third Week after Epiphany