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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
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
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
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
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.
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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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