David, Part II
Lesson 5: More Enemies Defeated
(Scripture to Read: 2 Samuel 10:1-19)
Although he was a merciful warrior, David still had to fight Israel's enemies. This account is strange in that it seems the battles described here could have been avoided if only Hanun, the leader of Ammon, had taken David's sincere condolences at face value. But Hanun listened to his advisers, who gave him extremely poor advice! It could be that they truly, though erroneously, believed David's messengers were spies. Or these nobles of Ammon may have turned against David in hopes of provoking him and gaining a victory over Israel.
Whatever the reason, David's men were humiliated by their Ammonite hosts with no provocation. Then the Ammonites raised an army of 33,000 mercenaries from neighboring Aramean states — another act of unprovoked aggression against Israel. David's army scored a resounding victory under the leadership of Joab and his brother Abishai. But the Arameans apparently did not learn their lesson, because they regrouped, sent for reinforcements, and came at Israel again! This time David himself led the armies of God to victory — the last recorded triumph of Israel's warrior-king before his affair with Bathsheba.
- What does the humiliation of David's messengers suggest about the Ammonites' motives?
- What do Amos 1:13 and Zephaniah 2:811 tell us about the history of the Ammonites' relationship with Israel?
- Why do you think God gave Joab such a great victory, despite the fact that Joab had committed treachery and murder?
- Why did David himself lead the final battle against the Arameans?
Anyone whose well-intentioned motives have been misconstrued — whether accidentally or purposely — can identify with the envoys of David in this story. Since all of us have felt the pain of this rejection, let us resolve to be extremely careful in judging the motives of others!