May 10. David’s Kingdom Extended; Shaved Beards Lead to War

II Sam. 8:1-10:19; I Chron. 18:1-19:19

Man’s wickedness against God and His people will eventually be punished. Israel, as God’s chosen people had suffered because of their own sins, but He also used them to take His vengeance upon other sinful nations.

David was well established in his kingdom and began with God’s help to expand its borders. He defeated the Philistines, Moabites, Zobahites and Syrians. In capturing their armies, David was able to expand his forces with captured personnel and equipment. His wealth also increased from other spoils of battle. He became allies with some nations who had been common enemies with those whom he had conquered. They in turn brought gifts for his treasury, which eventually became part of the temple’s furnishings.

Joab continued as David’s army commander; Jehoshaphat was recorder; Zadok and Ahimelech were the priests; Seraiah was scribe; Benaiah was over his personal troops and his sons were chief ministers.

In all of David’s conquests, he did not forget his respect for Saul and his love of Saul’s son, Jonathan. After the death of Jonathan, the nurse caring for his son, Mephibosheth fled for the safety of herself and her five-year-old charge. In their haste, the boy fell and permanently injured his feet causing him to be lame. Upon learning of Mephibosheth, David sent for him and restored all the land of Saul, his grandfather and took him into his own family.

David had been friends with Nahash, king of Ammon. At Nahash’s death, David as a good neighbor sent messengers to express his condolences to the new king, Hanun, the late king’s son. That was misunderstood as a spy mission. They partially shaved David’s men’s beards and shamefully cut their clothing. The insult to those men was also an insult to David since he had sent them on their mission.

One did not insult the king without serious repercussions. Hanun’s actions were considered an act of war. He assembled his own army and hired an army of chariots and horsemen from Syria.

Joab, the commander of Israel’s army was sent to fight against the Ammonites and Hanun’s hired army. With his confidence in God, Joab divided his army into two groups with his brother, Abishai being in charge of the second command. They were victorious as their enemies fled.

In a later battle, the Syrians were bitterly defeated by David’s army. In their defeat, they severed their ties with the Ammonites, made friends with David and served him.