2 Samuel 8 summarizes some of David’s military victories (over the Philistines, the Moabites, etc.). In defeating the Moabites, he did an unusual thing in measuring off with a length of cord those who were to be put to death and those who were to live! (v. 2). Cruelty? No! This is war and it was mercy that any were allowed to survive!
In one victory David captured a thousand chariots, 7000 charioteers, and 20,000 foot soldiers. He hamstrung (disabled) all but a 100 of the chariot horses (v. 4). He killed 22,000 of the Arameans; the rest became subject to David. We read, “The Lord gave David victory wherever he went.” (v. 6).
The plunder from such battles included gold shields and a great quantity of bronze. The king of Hamath gives him articles of silver, gold, and bronze (v. 10), which David dedicated to the Lord. His fame grew after he struck down 18,000 Edomites, making the rest of that people group subject to him. Again we read, “The Lord gave David victory wherever he went.” (v. 14).
We then read about David’s officials and that he was “doing what was just and right for all his people” (v. 15).
Some takeaways for me:
1. Because we live in relatively peaceful times (at least here in the States), we are shocked at the awfulness of war. David is a soldier. Israel is at war with various people groups. And as believers, we have to come to terms with the expression “The Lord gave David victory wherever he went.”
2. David dedicates the plunder he receives in military victories. Unlike Saul’s army which “pounced on the plunder” (I Sam. 14), David gives the spoils to the Lord. Greed is an in-bred aspect of our human depravity and we need to be aware of it.
3. We need to make sure that we are “doing what is just and right” for others, as David did.
What takeaways do you find in this passage?