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II Samuel Chapter 8

Memory verses for this week: Psa 86:15 But thou, O Lord, art a God full of compassion, and gracious, longsuffering, and plenteous in mercy and truth.

Overview of Chapter 8 : The sacred historian gives further details about the full establishment of David’s kingdom and the influence thereof. These events indicate that David’s rest from his enemies did not last long, and that he had other work to do than to build the house of God.

I. The Full Establishment of David's Kingdom

2 Sam 8:1 And after this it came to pass, that David smote the Philistines, and subdued them: and David took Methegammah out of the hand of the Philistines.
2 Sam 8:2 And he smote Moab, and measured them with a line, casting them down to the ground; even with two lines measured he to put to death, and with one full line to keep alive. And so the Moabites became David's servants, and brought gifts.

God was with David, and again he smites the Philistines. The thought is that after God had established His covenant with David, He blessed David in an even more obvious fashion. The Philistines had long been implacable enemies of Israel dwelling along the coastal plain to the southwest of Judea. God enabled David to defeat and subdue them. The city of Methegammah is unclear. No record exists of such a place. The word transliterated literally means the ‘bridle.’

From the parallel place in 1 Chronicles 18:1, it appears to be Gath, and its adjacent towns; but why that was called the bridle of Ammah, or the bridle of a cubit, as it may be rendered, is not easy to say. Evident here is that David took control of the region out of the hand of the Philistines.

In Verse 2, it says David smote Moab. The people of Moab being always troublesome and distressing to the children of Israel; and though the king of it had shown some favour to David, yet it was when he considered him as an enemy to Saul that things took a different turn. The people of Moab's enmity against David appeared; wherefore he went and fought them, and made them his subjects. According to John Gill, this fulfilled the prophecy of Balaam, (Numbers 24:17); as it referred to David.

Moab was to the south and east of Israel on the east side of the Dead Sea. The Moabites had been long foes of Israel. The reference to him measuring them with a line may speak of David having that region surveyed and mapped, or drawing a line geographically. The context seems to imply that David ordered two divisions be made in Moab. Those on one side were put to death and the others were spared. Him “casting them down to the ground” likely refers to leveling their military installations.

Perhaps those most rebellious against David were executed and the rest were spared. Moab became subservient to David and paid tribute (gifts) to him.

2 Sam 8:3 David smote also Hadadezer, the son of Rehob, king of Zobah, as he went to recover his border at the river Euphrates.
2 Sam 8:4 And David took from him a thousand chariots, and seven hundred horsemen, and twenty thousand footmen: and David hocked all the chariot horses, but reserved of them for an hundred chariots.

Verse 3 points out that David smote also Hadadezer, the son of Rehob, king of Zobah, as he went to recover his border at the river Euphrates. This border lies to the northeast of Israel. The region in question is comparable to portions of modern Syria. There, David defeated Hadadezer, king of Zobah.

Matthew Henry pointed out how God continually protected and blessed David in his commentary.

In all these wars, 1. David was protected: The Lord preserved him whithersoever he went. It seems, he went in person, and, in the cause of God and Israel, jeoparded his own life in the high places of the field; but God covered his head in the day of battle, which he often speaks of, in his psalms, to the glory of God. 2. He was enriched. He took the shields of gold which the servants of Hadadezer had in their custody (v. 7) and much brass from several cities of Syria (v. 8), which he was entitled to, not only by the uncontrollable right of the longest sword ("Get it, and take it’’); but by commission from heaven, and the ancient entail of these countries on the seed of Abraham.

In verse 3, the phrase, “as he went to recover his border at the river Euphrates,” may refer to Hadadezer seeking to recover that area and David thus pouncing upon him and defeating him. It probably refers to David seeking to establish his kingdom to the full extent that God had promised to Abraham in Genesis 15:18. In any event, David extended the borders of Israel all the way to the Euphrates River which in modern geography would be the border of Iraq.

David captured 1,000 chariots and 700 cavalrymen as well as 20,000 infantrymen from this Syrian king. In compliance with the orders which God gave to Joshua (Joshua 11:6), David hamstrung all but enough horses for one-hundred chariots which he reserved for himself. (To hamstring meant to cut a tendon in their legs such that they could never again be used in war.)

Jerry Falwell in the King James Study Bible agreed about the horses and said this about David hocking them.
8:4–6. When David hocked the chariot horses (i.e., cut the back sinews of their rear legs), he rendered them unfit for further military use. David’s successful campaigning against the Syrians (Arameans) of Damascus brought the extension of his kingdom to its farthest northern boundary.

2 Sam 8:5 And when the Syrians of Damascus came to succour Hadadezer king of Zobah, David slew of the Syrians two and twenty thousand men.
2 Sam 8:6 Then David put garrisons in Syria of Damascus: and the Syrians became servants to David, and brought gifts. And the LORD preserved David whithersoever he went.
2 Sam 8:7 And David took the shields of gold that were on the servants of Hadadezer, and brought them to Jerusalem.
2 Sam 8:8 And from Betah, and from Berothai, cities of Hadadezer, king David took exceeding much brass.

When other Syrians of Damascus sought to help Hadadezer, David defeated them as well, killing 22,000 of them. As a result, “David put garrisons in Syria of Damascus: and the Syrians became servants to David, and brought gifts.” David extended occupation of all of Syria and they began to bring gifts (tribute taxes) to David. Noted here is the key to David’s success. “And the LORD preserved David whithersoever he went. “

We know not only was God with David, but he was with Joshua when he took over in the place of Moses.

Josh 1:6 Be strong and of a good courage: for unto this people shalt thou divide for an inheritance the land, which I sware unto their fathers to give them.
Josh 1:7 Only be thou strong and very courageous, that thou mayest observe to do according to all the law, which Moses my servant commanded thee: turn not from it to the right hand or to the left, that thou mayest prosper whithersoever thou goest.
Josh 1:8 This book of the law shall not depart out of thy mouth; but thou shalt meditate therein day and night, that thou mayest observe to do according to all that is written therein: for then thou shalt make thy way prosperous, and then thou shalt have good success.
Josh 1:9 Have not I commanded thee? Be strong and of a good courage; be not afraid, neither be thou dismayed: for the LORD thy God is with thee whithersoever thou goest.

We can take this even further to you and I. When a person gets saved, we have the Holy Spirit come inside to dwell, and we are never alone and God will never forsake one of His own.

Heb 13:5 Let your conversation be without covetousness; and be content with such things as ye have: for he hath said, I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee.
Heb 13:6 So that we may boldly say, The Lord is my helper,

In verse 6, the word translated as preserved (evy yasha) in this context has the sense of ‘delivered.’ God’s blessing upon David had very real results. Evidently the upper echelons of the Syrian officers carried shields of gold. David confiscated these and took them to Jerusalem. He also took as a spoil of war large quantities of brass for future use.

II. Word of David's Victories Spread

2 Sam 8:9 When Toi king of Hamath heard that David had smitten all the host of Hadadezer,
2 Sam 8:10 Then Toi sent Joram his son unto king David, to salute him, and to bless him, because he had fought against Hadadezer, and smitten him: for Hadadezer had wars with Toi. And Joram brought with him vessels of silver, and vessels of gold, and vessels of brass:

2 Sam 8:11 Which also king David did dedicate unto the LORD, with the silver and gold that he had dedicated of all nations which he subdued;
2 Sam 8:12 Of Syria, and of Moab, and of the children of Ammon, and of the Philistines, and of Amalek, and of the spoil of Hadadezer, son of Rehob, king of Zobah.
2 Sam 8:13 And David gat him a name when he returned from smiting of the Syrians in the valley of salt, being eighteen thousand men.
2 Sam 8:14 And he put garrisons in Edom; throughout all Edom put he garrisons, and all they of Edom became David's servants. And the LORD preserved David whithersoever he went.

About 120 miles to the north of Damascus was the city- state of Hamath. The king there was Toi. When he heard how that David had defeated their mutual enemy Hadadezer, he sent his son as an emissary to David to ensure peace with him. His son, Joram, thus also brought tribute to David of silver, gold, and brass. Rather than accept this wealth to himself, David rather dedicated it to God’s work. Also recorded are other nations which David subjugated as well: Amalek, Ammon, and the Philistines. These all paid tribute to David.

Verse 13 details that although David had already developed a reputation in the region, his defeat of Edom especially gave him fame. The “valley of salt” is at the southern most reaches of the Dead Sea in the same area whence once were Sodom and Gomorrah.

The Edomites here are called Syrians. However, in I Chronicles 18:12, the same army is called the Edomites. The solution likely is that the Edomites were auxiliary allies to the Syrians. They too fell before David. Not only did David occupy Edom and add it to his empire, the scripture makes it plain that it was because the Lord preserved him. It was clear and evident that God’s blessing was upon David. The Lord already was fulfilling His covenant to him.

2 Sam 8:15 And David reigned over all Israel; and David executed judgment and justice unto all his people.
2 Sam 8:16 And Joab the son of Zeruiah was over the host; and Jehoshaphat the son of Ahilud was recorder;
2 Sam 8:17 And Zadok the son of Ahitub, and Ahimelech the son of Abiathar, were the priests; and Seraiah was the scribe;
2 Sam 8:18 And Benaiah the son of Jehoiada was over both the Cherethites and the Pelethites; and David's sons were chief rulers.

We gain insight into the character of David as his reign is recorded. The word translated as justice (hqdu tsadaqah) simply means ‘righteousness.’ David’s reign was characterized by righteousness. To that degree, he surely was an antitype of our Lord and His reign.

Psa 45:6 Thy throne, O God, is for ever and ever: the sceptre of thy kingdom is a right sceptre.
Psa 45:7 Thou lovest righteousness, and hatest wickedness: therefore God, thy God, hath anointed thee with the oil of gladness above thy fellows.

Antitype - somebody or something considered as being foreshadowed by or having striking similarities to an earlier person or thing type. David would later write, “The God of Israel said, the Rock of Israel spake to me, He that ruleth over men must be just, ruling in the fear of God” (II Samuel 23:3). It is apparent one reason God so blessed David was the just character of his reign.

Psa 5:12 For thou, LORD, wilt bless the righteous; with favour wilt thou compass him as with a shield.

In verse 16, the chief officers of David’s government are noted. Joab, David’s nephew, was his military chief of staff and Jehoshaphat was his historian. Though not noted, Abiathar was high priest who continued until the time of Solomon. Zadok and Ahimelech were his chief deputies.

Seraiah was ‘secretary of state’ under David. He is called Shavsha in I Chronicles 18:16. Benaiah was captain of the palace guard which were the Cherethites and Pelethites, thought to be Philistine mercenaries. The rest of David’s government was assigned to his sons who served in whatever capacity assigned to them by their father

J Vernon McGee said this about David.

In the southwest, the southeast, and now to the north, David was able to push back the borders of Israel and enlarge the kingdom. There is no use to say that the borders were enlarged in the west because the border in the west was the Mediterranean Sea.

And David reigned over all Israel; and David executed judgment and justice unto all his people [2 Sam. 8:15].
David was noted for his judgment and justice to his people. There has been a tremendous expansion and extension of the kingdom. David has brought the kingdom to its zenith and made it a world power corresponding to other kingdoms of that day.

From Chapter 8, we can form this conclusion: After the long and frequent struggles which the Christian has with the powers of darkness, he shall at last be made more than a conqueror and shall reign with Christ.

Internet Bible Studies are prepared and distributed free of charge. The lessons may not be sold without consent. If you have questions or wish to discuss the lessons, or possibly need help in finding Jesus Christ as your Personal Lord and Savior, contact David Parham at 940-322-4343.

Prov 4:18 But the path of the just is as the shining light, that shineth more and more unto the perfect day.

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