David wins many wars

Chapter 8

David wins many wars

v1 Some time later, David fought the *Philistines. He defeated them and he controlled their chief city. v2 Then David defeated the people from Moab. He made the prisoners lie down on the ground. Then he measured them with a line. David’s army killed the prisoners who were lying by the first and second lines. But they allowed the prisoners who were lying by the third line to live. After that, the people of Moab had to serve David. They paid taxes to him.

v3 Hadadezer was the son of Rehob, the king of Zobah. Hadadezer had gone to the river Euphrates. He wanted to rule over the territory round the river again. But David defeated him. v4 David took 1000 of Hadadezer’s *chariots. He took as prisoners 7000 men who rode in the *chariots. David also took 20 000 other soldiers as prisoners. He kept 100 of their horses. Then David’s soldiers cut the back of the ankles of all the other horses.

v5 The *Aramean men from the area of Damascus went to help Hadadezer. David’s army killed 22 000 *Arameans. v6 Then David set up military camps in the *Aramean *kingdom of Damascus. The *Arameans had to serve David. They had to pay him taxes. The *Lord gave David success wherever he went. v7 David took the gold *shields from Hadadezer’s officers. He brought the *shields to Jerusalem. v8 Hadadezer also ruled the towns of Tebah and Berothai. King David took a lot of *bronze from these towns.

v9 King Toi came from the town of Hamath. He heard that David had defeated the army of Hadadezer. v10 King Toi sent his son Joram to King David. He praised David for his success. King Toi (also called Tou) and Hadadezer were enemies. They had fought many battles. Joram gave many gold, silver and *bronze objects to David. v11 David gave these things to the *Lord. David had already given much gold and silver to the *Lord. These valuable things came from the nations that David defeated. v12 These nations were Edom and Moab, the *Ammonites, the *Philistines and Amalek. David had also taken many objects from Hadadezer. (He was the son of Rehob, the king of Zobah.) And David gave these objects to the *Lord.

v13 David went to the Valley of Salt. There, his army defeated 18 000 men from Edom. David’s success there became well-known. v14 He set up military camps in every part of the country of Edom. David ruled everyone who lived in Edom. The *Lord made David successful wherever he went.

(Verses 1-18 See 1 Chronicles 18.)

This account continues from the end of chapter 5. It describes how the *Lord made *Israel a peaceful country (7:1). The *Philistine’s country was on the west side of *Israel. Edom and Amalek were in the south. Ammon and Moab were in the east. Zobah and the *Arameans were in the north. David and his soldiers fought many battles. But verses 6 and 14 show that the *Lord made them successful. This chapter does not give a complete list of the battles. There are several other accounts of battles in the rest of 2 Samuel.

The *Philistines had attacked *Israel for several centuries. They wanted to own *Israel’s land. But David defeated them and ruled them. The account of the battle in verse 1 is in chapter 5:17-25. The *Philistines did not attack *Israel again.

We do not know why David fought against Moab. David’s father was Jesse. Jesse’s grandmother was Ruth. She came from Moab (Ruth 4:13-17). Also, in 1 Samuel 22:1-4, David wanted his parents to stay somewhere safe. So, he sent them to stay with the king of Moab. David’s actions in verse 2 seem very severe. However, kings usually killed all their prisoners. But David allowed some prisoners from Moab to live.

Originally, God did not want the *Israelites to fight the people from Moab (Deuteronomy 2:9). But the leaders of Moab wanted God to oppose the *Israelites. So the leaders of Moab paid a *prophet, called Balaam, to speak against the *Israelites. But Balaam had to *bless the *Israelites, because God had already *blessed them. And Balaam said that, in the future, a ruler from *Israel would overcome Moab (Numbers 24:17). Many centuries later, David did this.

In those days, kings often used *chariots when they fought a battle. Horses pulled the *chariots. Skilled soldiers rode in the *chariots with their *weapons. These soldiers could travel much faster than ordinary soldiers could. David did not kill the horses. Instead, he made sure that they would never be able to go into a battle again. The horse’s legs would heal. But they would never be able to run properly again.

David fought against Hadadezer in the extreme north. He also went to the Valley of Salt in the extreme south. When David defeated a country, he took its precious metal objects. He gave them to the *Lord (verse 11). David did this to thank the *Lord for the battles that David had won. Later, the priests kept these objects in the *temple (2 Kings 11:10). King Toi sent presents to King David. He wanted to show David that he was David’s friend, not his enemy. Solomon used a lot of *bronze when he made objects for the *temple (1 Chronicles 18:8).

Every country that David defeated had to pay taxes to him. This showed that David ruled them. Also, it made the countries poor. Then they could not afford to buy new *weapons. But it made *Israel rich. David set up many military camps. The soldiers made sure that the countries obeyed David. They probably collected the taxes too.

David ruled over all the territory that the *Lord had promised to Abraham in Genesis 15:18-19, over 1000 years before. (See also Deuteronomy 11:23-25 and Joshua 1:1-6.)

David’s officers

v15 David ruled over all the country of *Israel. He did what was fair and right for all his people. v16 Joab, the son of Zeruiah, was captain of the army. Jehoshaphat, the son of Ahilud, was responsible for the official records. v17 Zadok, the son of Ahitub, and Ahimelech, the son of Abiathar, were priests. Seraiah wrote the records. v18 Benaiah, the son of Jehoiada, ruled over the men called Kerethites and Pelethites. David’s sons were chief rulers.

David was a good king. He cared about the people that he ruled. He knew that they were God’s people. The *Lord is good and fair (Deuteronomy 32:4). David knew that the *Lord wanted David to be good and fair. God *blesses people who behave in this way (Psalm 37:25-29). Samuel had been the judge in *Israel until he died. He used to go and visit different towns (1 Samuel 7:15-16). David began a central legal system. He became the judge. People who needed a judge used to visit him in Jerusalem (2 Samuel 15:2).

David organised his government. Joab was the son of David’s sister (1 Chronicles 2:16). Seraiah wrote the official records. Jehoshaphat kept the records safe. He also informed and advised the king about the records. And he told the people about the king’s commands. There were two chief priests. Ahimelech had escaped from Saul and went to David in 1 Samuel 22:20. Later, Zadok was the only priest in Jerusalem. For centuries afterwards, all the priests came from Zadok’s family.

Benaiah was a brave soldier (23:20-23). The men called Kerethites and Pelethites probably came from the *Philistine’s country. They were David’s loyal guards (15:13-18). David’s sons helped him to rule the country.

This list of officers ends this section of 2 Samuel.