Hanun succeeds his father as king of the Ammonites. Wanting to show kindness to him (as Hanun’s father showed to David, ref?), David sends a delegation to express his sympathy concerning Hanun’s father (v. 2).
The Ammonite army commanders think the envoy is coming as spies, shaves off half their beards and cut off their garments at the buttocks (v. 4). David commands his humiliated men to stay at Jericho until their beards have grown.
The Ammonites realize they had become obnoxious to David and hire 20,000 Aramean soldiers, 1000 from the king of Maakah, and 12,000 from Tob (=33,000 soldiers!) (v. 6).
David sends Joab out with an entire army. Joab selects some of the best troops and deploys them against the Arameans. The rest of the men fight under Abishai his brother against the Ammonites. Joab commands Abishai that they will assist each other if the respective enemies are too strong. “Be strong, and let us fight bravely for our people and the cities of our God. The Lord will do what is good in his sight.” (v. 12).
Joab’s troops cause the Arameans to flee; the Ammonites also fled before Abishai. The Arameans regroup, bring in troops from Helam. David kills 700 of their charioteers and 40,000 of their foot soldiers. He also killed the commander of their army. The kings who were vassals of Hadadezer became subject to Israel. So the Arameans were afraid to help the Ammonites anymore (v. 19).
Some takeaways for me:
1. In a time of war, men do unspeakable things to each other. The humiliation of David’s men by the Ammonites caused that nation to become “obnoxious” to David and leads to war.
2. Joab’s confidence that “The Lord will do what is good in his sight” (v. 12) ought to be my confidence as well.
3. Life is a battle! And there is no room for spiritual conscientious objectors!
Where am I to spiritually fight today?