corner graphic   Hi,    
Finding the new version too difficult to understand? Go to

Bible Commentaries

Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible - Unabridged
2 Samuel 10



Verse 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.

King of the children of Ammon died, and Hanun his son reigned in his stead , [ Chaanuwn (Hebrew #2586), graciously regarded, compassionate; Septuagint, Annoon].

Verse 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.

I will show kindness unto Hanun, the son of Nahash, as his father showed kindness unto me. It is probable that this was the Nahash against whom Saul waged war at Jabesh-gilead (1 Samuel 11:11). David, on leaving Gath, where his life was exposed to danger, found an asylum with the king of Moab; and as Nahash, king of the Ammonites, was his nearest neighbour, it may be that, during the feud between Saul and David, he, through enmity to the former, was kind and hospitable to David.

Verse 3

And the princes of the children of Ammon said unto Hanun their lord, Thinkest thou that David doth 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?

The princes of the children of Ammon unto Hanun. Their suspicion was not warranted either by any overt act or by a cherished design of David: it must have originated in their knowledge of the denunciations of God's law against them (Deuteronomy 23:3-6), and of David's policy in stedfastly adhering to it.

Verse 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.

Hanun ... shaved off the one half of their beards. From the long flowing dress of the Hebrews and other Orientals, the curtailment of their garments must have given them an aspect of gross indelicacy and ludicrousness. Besides, a knowledge of the extraordinary respect and value which has always been attached, and the gross insult that is implied in any indignity offered, to the beard in the East, will account for the shame which the deputies felt, and the determined spirit of revenge which burst out in all Israel on learning the outrage. Two instances are related in the modern history of Persia of similar insults by kings of haughty and imperious temper, involving the nation in war (see other instances in Joseph Wolff's 'Researches and Missionary Labours,' p. 496; and Graham's 'Jordan and the Rhine,' p. 189); and we need not therefore be surprised that David vowed revenge for this wanton and public outrage.

Verse 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.

Tarry at Jericho - or in the neighbourhood, after crossing the fords of the Jordan.

Verse 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.

When the children of Ammon saw that they stank before David. To chastise those insolent and When the children of Ammon saw that they stank before David. To chastise those insolent and inhospitable Ammonites, who had violated the common law of nations, David sent a large army under the command of Joab, while they, informed of the impending attack, made energetic preparations to repel it by engaging the services of an immense number of Syrian mercenaries.

Beth-rehob - the capital of the low-lying region between Lebanon and Anti-Lebanon.

Zoba - (see the notes at 2 Samuel 8:3.)

Of king Maacah. His territories lay on the other side of Jordan, near Gilead (Deuteronomy 3:14).

Ish-tob - i:e., the men of Tob; the place of Jephthah's marauding adventures (see also 1 Chronicles 19:6; Psalms 60:1, title). As the Israelite soldiers poured into the Ammonite territory, that people met them at the frontier town of Medeba (1 Chronicles 19:7-9), the native troops covering the city, while the Syrian mercenaries lay at some distance encamped in the fields. In making the attack, Joab divided his forces into two separate detachments-the one of which, under the command of his brother Abishai, was to concentrate the attack upon the city, while he himself marched against the overwhelming host of mercenary auxiliaries. It was a just and necessary war that had been forced on Israel, and they could hope for the blessing of God upon their arms. With great judgment the battle opened against the mercenaries, who could not stand against the furious onset of Joab; and not feeling the cause their own, consulted their safety by flight. The Ammonites, who had placed their chief dependence upon a foreign aid, then retreated to intrench themselves within the walls of the town.

Verses 7-13

And when David heard of it, he sent Joab, and all the host of the mighty men.

No JFB commentary on these verses.

Verse 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.

So Joab returned ... and came to Jerusalem. Probably the season was too far advanced for entering on a siege.

Verse 15

And when the Syrians saw that they were smitten before Israel, they gathered themselves together.

No JFB commentary on this verse.

Verse 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.

Hadarezer sent, and brought out the Syrians that were beyond the river , [ 'Araam (Hebrew #758); Septuagint, teen Surian ek tou peran tou potamou chalamak]. This prince had enjoyed a breathing-time after his defeat (2 Samuel 8:3); and, alarmed at the increasing power and greatness of David, as well as being an ally of the Ammonites, levied a vast army, not only in Syria, but in Mesopotamia, among his tributaries and vassals (2 Samuel 10:19), to invade the Hebrew kingdom. Shobach, his general, in pursuance of this design, had marched his troops as far as Helam, a border-town of Eastern Manasseh, when David, crossing the Jordan by forced marches, suddenly surprised, defeated, and dispersed them.

Verse 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.

No JFB commentary on this verse.

Verse 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. Seven hundred chariots of the Syrians. In the parallel passage of 1 Chronicles 19:18 the reading is seven thousand, which is more probable. The result of this great and decisive victory was, that all the petty kingdoms of Syria submitted, and became his tributaries (see the notes at 1 Chronicles 19:1-19 : cf. Psalms 60:1-12, title).


Copyright Statement
These files are public domain.
Text Courtesy of Used by Permission.

Bibliography Information
Jamieson, Robert, D.D.; Fausset, A. R.; Brown, David. "Commentary on 2 Samuel 10:4". "Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible - Unabridged". 1871-8.

Lectionary Calendar
Sunday, November 17th, 2019
the Week of Proper 28 / Ordinary 33
Commentary Navigator
Search This Commentary
Enter query in the box below
To report dead links, typos, or html errors or suggestions about making these resources more useful use our convenient contact form
Powered by Lightspeed Technology