Today’s Tasting: 2 Samuel 10; 1 Chronicles 19; Psalm 20: 1 Chronicles 19 and 2 Samuel 10 are almost identical. Both begin with David reaching out to Hanun, the heir to the Ammonite throne, after the death of his father Nahash. Although the Ammonites and the Israelites were enemies, it is thought that David wanted to show kindness to Hanun (see verse 2) because Nahash had helped David while he was in exile from Saul. So David sent messengers to comfort Hanun after his father’s passing.
Hanun, however, was convinced by the prince of the Ammonites that David’s gesture was really a move to take advantage of the situation so he could spy on the city in preparation for conquering it. Instead of appreciating David’s attempt to show respect to Hanun’s father, he disrespected the messengers by shaving off their beards and tearing their clothes before he sent them back to David.
When Hanun found out how angry this made David, he hired troops from Syria to go to battle with him against David’s army. David put Joab in charge of all his armies and sent him to fight the Ammonites and Syrians. When Joab saw that they were outnumbered, he split the troops and put his brother Abishai in charge of some. Then, they agreed together that if either seemed to be losing, the other one would come to help.
In the end, David’s armies sent both the Ammonites and the Syrians running in retreat. After that, the Syrians made peace with David and became his subjects and were afraid to help the Ammonites ever again.
Psalm 20 is one of David’s poems that appears to have been written either as a prayer prior to battle or a prayer of thanksgiving after a successful battle. Verse 7 could very well be about the combined Ammonite and Syrian armies described in 2 Samuel 10 and 1 Chronicles 19.
Some trust in and boast of chariots and some of horses, but we will trust in and boast of the name of the Lord our God. —Psalm 20:7
Today’s Nourishment: In today’s reading, we see David reaching out with sincerity to a potential enemy and having his gesture met with anger and hatred. Even though the Ammonites and the Israelites were enemies, David and Nahash had found common ground and I can only imagine that David wanted that friendship to continue with Nahash’s son, Hanun.
We have all been in a similar situation where we reached out to someone in friendship only to get rejected or have a conflict escalate. The Bible teaches us to “turn the other cheek” and “love thy neighbor”; however, it doesn’t guarantee us that the outcome of our actions will always be peace. In this case, David’s act resulted in war.
In the end though, God’s plan is always greater than anything we can imagine. We don’t always understand his ultimate plan for our lives and sometimes that causes us great grief and worry. The key is to remember that God is in control; and while we have to cooperate with Him, we also have to allow matters to unfold according to His timing and His plan. Ultimately, the war the Ammonites sparked led to Israelite control of the Syrian nations. Had the Ammonites accepted David’s friendship instead, the kingdom of Israel might not have grown to achieve the greatness we are told about in the Bible.
Join the conversation to answer these questions in the comment sections below:
How may you boast in the name of the Lord your God today?
How may you reach out to someone in friendship today?
Tomorrow’s Delight: Psalms 65–67 and 69-70