Verse-by-Verse Bible Commentary

2 Samuel 12:26

Now Joab fought against Rabbah of the sons of Ammon and captured the royal city.
New American Standard Version

Bible Study Resources

Concordances:
Nave's Topical Bible - Ammonites;   Cities;   David;   Joab;   Liberality;   Rabbah;   Thompson Chain Reference - David;   Rabbah;   Torrey's Topical Textbook - Ammonites, the;   Cities;   Sieges;  
Dictionaries:
American Tract Society Bible Dictionary - Nathan;   Parable;   Bridgeway Bible Dictionary - Ammon;   Joab;   Rabbah;   Easton Bible Dictionary - Ammonite;   Fausset Bible Dictionary - Ambassador;   Rabbah;   Zebulun;   Holman Bible Dictionary - Royal City;   Samuel, Books of;   Hastings' Dictionary of the Bible - Ammon, Ammonites;   David;   Fortification and Siegecraft;   Joab;   Rabbah;   Samuel, Books of;   Morrish Bible Dictionary - Ammon, Ammonites, Children of Ammon;   Rabbah, Rabbath ;   The Hawker's Poor Man's Concordance And Dictionary - Nathan;   Rabbah;   People's Dictionary of the Bible - David;   Smith Bible Dictionary - Da'vid;   Rab'bah;  
Encyclopedias:
Condensed Biblical Cyclopedia - Hebrew Monarchy, the;   International Standard Bible Encyclopedia - Ammon;   Fortification;   Gilead (1);   Joab;   Rabbah;   Royal;   Samuel, Books of;   Kitto Biblical Cyclopedia - Ammonites;  

Adam Clarke Commentary

And took the royal city - How can this be, when Joab sent to David to come to take the city, in consequence of which David did come and take that city? The explanation seems to be this: Rabbah was composed of a city and citadel; the former, in which was the king's residence, Joab had taken, and supposed he could soon render himself master of the latter, and therefore sends to David to come and take it, lest, he taking the whole, the city should be called after his name.

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Bibliographical Information
Clarke, Adam. "Commentary on 2 Samuel 12:26". "The Adam Clarke Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/acc/2-samuel-12.html. 1832.

Coffman Commentaries on the Bible

THE CONQUEST AND ENSLAVEMENT OF THE AMMONITES

"Now Joab fought against Rabbah of the Ammonites, and took the royal city. And Joab sent messengers to David, and said, "I have fought against Rabbah; moreover I have taken the city of waters. Now, then, gather the rest of the people together, and encamp against the city, and take it; lest I take the city, and it be called by my name." So David gathered all the people together and went to Rabbah, and fought against it and took it. And he took the crown of their king from his head; the weight of it was a talent of gold, and in it was a precious stone; and it was placed on David's head. And he brought forth the spoil of the city, a very great amount. And he brought forth the people who were in it, and set them to labor with saws and iron picks and iron axes, and made them toil at the brickkilns; and thus he did to all the cities of the Ammonites. Then David and all the people returned to Jerusalem."

"Now Joab ... took the royal city" (2 Samuel 12:27). This is a topic sentence followed by a more detailed explanation.

"I have taken the city of waters" (2 Samuel 12:27). "This means that he had captured the city's water supply."[22] That of course, assured his conquest of the whole city, exactly as General Eisenhower's capture of the twenty-one water wells that supplied the city of Casa Blanca resulted in his capture of the city during the invasion of Africa in World War II.

"The city of waters" (2 Samuel 12:27) was the name of the fortification built to protect the fountain that still flows in Amman the capital of Jordan."[23]

The loyalty of Joab to David is conspicuous in this episode. He might easily have captured Rabbah, having already taken their water supply, but he desired that the king should have the glory of taking the city and so arranged it.

"And he took the crown of their king from his head" (2 Samuel 12:30). "The word here rendered their king is also the name of the national idol of the Ammonites, namely, Malcam (or Milcom. The RSV margin gives Milcom as the alternative reading). See Amos 1:15 and Zephaniah 1:5. That crown weighed a talent of gold, the equivalent of 100 to 125 pounds."[24] Thus it is extremely unlikely that David wore that kind of weight on the top of his head. The weight of that crown indicates clearly that it adorned a statute of their idol, not the head of their ruler.

"In it was a precious stone, and it was placed on David's head" (2 Samuel 12:30). A proper respect for the antecedent of the pronoun it in this passage reveals that it was the precious stone that was placed on David's head, probably as an ornament in the crown that he wore.

The translators of the RSV have severely altered the meaning of the last few clauses here in 2 Samuel 12:31, contrasting dramatically with the ASV. Note the difference:

ASV: "David brought forth the people ... and put them under saws, and under harrows of iron, and under axes of iron, and made them pass through the brickkiln: and thus did he to all the cities of the Ammonites."

Of course, this is a reference to the wholesale torture of the Ammonites. Such brutal and inhuman treatment of captives was widely practiced in ancient times as proved by the statement in Amos that, "Damascus threshed Gilead with threshing sledges of iron" (Amos 1:3); and we are not fully convinced that David was not guilty of a similar treatment of the Ammonites. In the whole Biblical account of David's behavior, we find nothing whatever that requires us to suppose that he was incapable of such an atrocity. God's prophet in this very chapter tells us that HE HAD NO PITY (2 Samuel 12:5).

There are difficulties with the translation, because the RSV margin has "to harrows of iron" and "brick mould" instead of brickkiln; and the majority of modern scholars accept the meaning of these last two verses as reporting that David put all of the Ammonites into industrial enslavement. We sincerely hope that their understanding of the passage is correct, and that the RSV is the true translation.

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Coffman Commentaries reproduced by permission of Abilene Christian University Press, Abilene, Texas, USA. All other rights reserved.
Bibliographical Information
Coffman, James Burton. "Commentary on 2 Samuel 12:26". "Coffman Commentaries on the Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/bcc/2-samuel-12.html. Abilene Christian University Press, Abilene, Texas, USA. 1983-1999.

John Gill's Exposition of the Whole Bible

And Joab fought against Rabbah of the children of Ammon,.... Of his being sent against it, and of his besieging it, we read in 2 Samuel 11:1; but it can hardly be thought that he had been so long besieging it, as that David had two children by Bathsheba; but the account of the finishing of it is placed here, that the story concerning Bathsheba might lie together without any interruption:

and took the royal city; or that part of it in which the king's palace was, and which, as Abarbinel observes, was without the city, as the palaces of kings now usually are.

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The New John Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible Modernised and adapted for the computer by Larry Pierce of Online Bible. All Rights Reserved, Larry Pierce, Winterbourne, Ontario.
A printed copy of this work can be ordered from: The Baptist Standard Bearer, 1 Iron Oaks Dr, Paris, AR, 72855
Bibliographical Information
Gill, John. "Commentary on 2 Samuel 12:26". "The New John Gill Exposition of the Entire Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/geb/2-samuel-12.html. 1999.

Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible

2 Samuel 12:26-31. Rabbah is taken.

Joab fought against Rabbah — The time during which this siege lasted, since the intercourse with Bath-sheba, and the birth of at least one child, if not two, occurred during the progress of it, probably extended over two years.

Copyright Statement
These files are a derivative of an electronic edition prepared from text scanned by Woodside Bible Fellowship.
This expanded edition of the Jameison-Faussett-Brown Commentary is in the public domain and may be freely used and distributed.
Bibliographical Information
Jamieson, Robert, D.D.; Fausset, A. R.; Brown, David. "Commentary on 2 Samuel 12:26". "Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/jfb/2-samuel-12.html. 1871-8.

Wesley's Explanatory Notes

And Joab fought against Rabbah of the children of Ammon, and took the royal city.

Royal city — That is, that part of the city where was the king's palace; though now it seems he was retired to a strong fort.

Copyright Statement
These files are public domain and are a derivative of an electronic edition that is available on the Christian Classics Ethereal Library Website.
Bibliographical Information
Wesley, John. "Commentary on 2 Samuel 12:26". "John Wesley's Explanatory Notes on the Whole Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/wen/2-samuel-12.html. 1765.

John Trapp Complete Commentary

2 Samuel 12:26 And Joab fought against Rabbah of the children of Ammon, and took the royal city.

Ver. 26. And took the royal city.] He had well nigh taken it after a twelve month’s siege. David’s sin at home had hindered Joab’s good success abroad, and retarded the conquest of this city of Rabbah, which now is ready to be taken, that David reconciled to God may have the honour of it: whom therefore Joab desireth to speed away with fresh forces.

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Bibliographical Information
Trapp, John. "Commentary on 2 Samuel 12:26". John Trapp Complete Commentary. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/jtc/2-samuel-12.html. 1865-1868.

Thomas Coke Commentary on the Holy Bible

2 Samuel 12:26. And Joab fought—and took Or, Now Joab had fought—and had taken.

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Bibliographical Information
Coke, Thomas. "Commentary on 2 Samuel 12:26". Thomas Coke Commentary on the Holy Bible. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/tcc/2-samuel-12.html. 1801-1803.

Matthew Poole's English Annotations on the Holy Bible

i.e. That part of the city where was the king’s palace, where he ordinarily resided; though now it seems he was retired to a strong fort.

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Bibliographical Information
Poole, Matthew, "Commentary on 2 Samuel 12:26". Matthew Poole's English Annotations on the Holy Bible. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/mpc/2-samuel-12.html. 1685.

Whedon's Commentary on the Bible

CONQUEST OF RABBAH, 2 Samuel 12:26-30.

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26.Joab fought against Rabbah — This siege seems to have been going on during all the incidents recorded between 2 Samuel 11:1 and here.

Took the royal city — Called in the next verse, the city of waters. Ancient Rabbah seems to have been divided into two parts — the city proper, containing the royal palace, and amply supplied with water from the stream that still flows through its ruins, and the citadel, or acropolis, which occupied one of the neighbouring heights. See note on 2 Samuel 11:1.

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Bibliographical Information
Whedon, Daniel. "Commentary on 2 Samuel 12:26". "Whedon's Commentary on the Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/whe/2-samuel-12.html. 1874-1909.

Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible - Unabridged

And Joab fought against Rabbah of the children of Ammon, and took the royal city.

Joab fought against Rabbah. The time during which this siege lasted, since the intercourse with Bath-sheba-and the birth of at least one child, if not two, occurred during the progress of it-probably extended over two years.

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These files are public domain.
Text Courtesy of BibleSupport.com. Used by Permission.
Bibliographical Information
Jamieson, Robert, D.D.; Fausset, A. R.; Brown, David. "Commentary on 2 Samuel 12:26". "Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible - Unabridged". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/jfu/2-samuel-12.html. 1871-8.

Ellicott's Commentary for English Readers

(26) Took the royal city.—The parallel narrative is resumed at this point in 1 Chronicles 20:2. Rabbah was situated in the narrow valley of the upper Jabbok, on both sides of the stream, but with its citadel on the cliff on the northern side. The “royal city” of this verse, and “the city of waters” of the next, refer probably to the city proper, while the “city” of 2 Samuel 12:28-29 is no doubt the citadel, which was more strongly fortified.

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These files are public domain.
Text Courtesy of BibleSupport.com. Used by Permission.
Bibliographical Information
Ellicott, Charles John. "Commentary on 2 Samuel 12:26". "Ellicott's Commentary for English Readers". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/ebc/2-samuel-12.html. 1905.

Treasury of Scripture Knowledge

And Joab fought against Rabbah of the children of Ammon, and took the royal city.
Joab
11:25; 1 Chronicles 20:1
Rabbah
Rabbah, or Rabbath-Ammon, also called Philadelphia, from Ptolemy Philadelphus, king of Egypt, was situated east of Jordan, and, according to Eusebius, ten miles east from Jazer. It is sometimes mentioned as belonging to Arabia, sometimes to Coelo-Syria; and was one of the cities of the Decapolis east of Jordan. Josephus extends the region of Perea as far as Philadelphia. It is now, says Burckhardt, called Amman, distant about 19 miles to the S. E. by E. of Szalt, and lies along the banks of a river called Moiet Amman, which has its source in a pond, at a few hundred paces from the south-western end of the town, and empties itself in the Zerka, or Jabbok, about four hours to the northward. This river runs in a valley bordered on both sides by barren hills of flint, which advance on the south side close to the edge of the stream. The edifices which still remain, though in a decaying state, from being built of a calcareous stone of moderate hardness, sufficiently attest the former greatness and splendour of this metropolis of the children of Ammon.
Reciprocal: Deuteronomy 3:11 - Rabbath;  Joshua 10:2 - the royal cities;  Joshua 13:25 - Rabbah;  2 Samuel 8:12 - Syria;  2 Samuel 11:1 - Rabbah;  Psalm 60:9 - strong city;  Ezekiel 21:20 - Rabbath;  Ezekiel 25:4 - men;  Ezekiel 25:5 - Rabbah;  Amos 1:14 - Rabbah

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Bibliographical Information
Torrey, R. A. "Commentary on 2 Samuel 12:26". "The Treasury of Scripture Knowledge". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/tsk/2-samuel-12.html.