2 Samuel 10:12
Be of good courage, and let us play the men for our people, and for the cities of our God: and the LORD do that which seems him good.
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(12) Be of good courage, and let us play the men.—Literally, Be strong and let us strengthen ourselves. The same phrase is translated in Chronicles, “Be of good courage and let us behave ourselves valiantly.” (Compare 1Samuel 4:9.) Joab felt that the battle was a critical one, and on it depended the welfare and even the safety of “our people” and “the cities of our God.” The latter expression is in recognition of the fact that the whole land belonged to God, who allowed the use of it to His people.

The Lord do.—Rather, The Lord will do. Joab’s courage rose here to that highest point which is marked by the full trust that whatever may be the result, it will be that which seems best to Infinite wisdom and love.

2 Samuel 10:12. Be of good courage, &c. — These words, it is likely, were not spoken to Abishai alone, but to all the army by their officers, that they might not be disheartened at the sight of such numerous forces as in a manner encompassed them, but be so much the more resolute for the preservation of their country. And the Lord do that which seemeth him good — If they did their duty, he trusted Divine Providence would favour them. But if not, he would be resigned to God’s will: he would piously leave the issue with him. And when we have done our part, according to the duty of our place, we may, with the greatest satisfaction, leave the event with God; not thinking that our efforts bind him to prosper us, but that he may still do as he pleaseth, and yet hoping for his salvation in his own way and time.10:6-14 They that are at war with the Son of David, not only give the provocation, but begin the war. God has forces to send against those that set his wrath at defiance, Isa 5:19, which will convince them that none ever hardened his heart against God, and prospered. Christ's soldiers should strengthen one another's hands in their spiritual warfare. Let nothing be wanting in us, whatever the success be. When we make conscience of doing our duty, we may, with satisfaction, leave the event with God, assuredly hoping for his salvation in his own way and time.For the cities of our God - This rather indicates that the relief of Medeba was one of the immediate objects in view, and consequently that at this time Medeba was still in the possession of the Reubenites. To prevent an Israelite city falling into the hands of a pagan people, and the rites of Moloch being substituted for the worship of Yahweh, was a very urgent motive to valor. 2Sa 10:6-14. The Ammonites Overcome.

6-14. when the children of Ammon saw that they stank before David—To chastise those insolent and inhospitable Ammonites, who had violated the common law of nations, David sent a large army under the command of Joab, while they, informed of the impending attack, made energetic preparations to repel it by engaging the services of an immense number of Syrian mercenaries.

Beth-rehob—the capital of the low-lying region between Lebanon and Anti-Lebanon.

Zoba—(see on [271]2Sa 8:3).

of king Maacah—His territories lay on the other side of Jordan, near Gilead (De 3:14).

Ish-tob—that is, "the men of Tob"—the place of Jephthah's marauding adventures (see also 1Ch 19:6; Ps 60:1, title). As the Israelite soldiers poured into the Ammonite territory, that people met them at the frontier town of Medeba (1Ch 19:7-9), the native troops covering the city, while the Syrian mercenaries lay at some distance encamped in the fields. In making the attack, Joab divided his forces into two separate detachments—the one of which, under the command of his brother, Abishai, was to concentrate its attack upon the city, while he himself marched against the overwhelming host of mercenary auxiliaries. It was a just and necessary war that had been forced on Israel, and they could hope for the blessing of God upon their arms. With great judgment the battle opened against the mercenaries, who could not stand against the furious onset of Joab, and not feeling the cause their own, consulted their safety by flight. The Ammonites, who had placed their chief dependence upon a foreign aid, then retreated to entrench themselves within the walls of the town.

For our people; for the preservation of ourselves and all our brethren from that utter ruin which our enemies design for us. Our war is not vainly undertaken to enlarge our empire or glory, but for our own just and necessary defence; and therefore we may hope for God’s blessing and assistance in it.

For the cities of our God; which are devoted to his worship and service, and therefore he will plead their cause against his enemies.

The Lord do that which seemeth him good; let us do our parts, and quietly refer ourselves and the event to God’s good pleasure, which we have no reason to distrust. Be of good courage, and let us play the men,.... This Joab said, not only to encourage Abishai and himself, but in the hearing of the rest of the officers of the army, and of many of the people, to hearten them to the battle; who might be somewhat intimidated with the number of their enemies, and the position they were in, being before and behind them; and therefore he thought proper to make such a speech to them to animate them to light:

for our people, and for the cities of our God; that the people of Israel might not be carried captive, and their cities spoiled and plundered; and instead of being cities where the people of God dwelt, and he was worshipped, would, if taken, become the habitations of idolatrous Heathens, and where temples would be erected to idols, and the worship of them; these were the arguments he used to engage them to fight manfully for their country, the liberties and religion of it:

and the Lord do that which seemeth him good: tacitly suggesting that victory was of the Lord, and that it became them to do their part in fighting courageously, and leave the issue to the Lord, on whom alone success depended.

Be of good courage, and let us play the men for {e} our people, and for the cities of our God: and the LORD do that which seemeth him good.

(e) Here it is declared why war should be undertaken: for the defence of true religion and God's people.

12. Be of good courage, and let us play the men] Lit. Be strong and let us shew ourselves strong: the same words as those translated in 1 Chronicles 19:13 “Be of good courage, and let us behave ourselves valiantly.”

for the cities of our God] As the people of Israel were the people of the Lord, so the land which He had given them was His, and its cities were His. They were fighting “the Lord’s battles,” that these cities might not fall into heathen hands and be given over to the worship of heathen gods. Cp. 1 Samuel 17:36; 1 Samuel 17:47; 1 Samuel 18:17.

the Lord do that which seemeth him good] Better, Jehovah will do, &c.: an expression of trust combined with resignation to God’s will. Cp. 1 Samuel 3:18.Verse 12. - Be of good courage, and let us play the men. The Hebrew employs two conjugations of the same verb, literally, be strong, and let us show ourselves strong. And need there was for bravery; for the welfare, as he went on to show, of all Israel, and the honour of Israel's God, were in jeopardy. Finally he adds, The Lord do that which seemeth him good. They are the words not so much of confidence as of determined resolution. Come good or ill, he and Abishai would do their utmost. When the Ammonites saw that they had made themselves stinking before David, and therefore that David would avenge the insult offered to the people of Israel in the persons of their ambassadors, they looked round for help among the powerful kings of Syria. They hired as auxiliaries (with a thousand talents of silver, i.e., nearly half a million of pounds sterling, according to 1 Chronicles 19:6) twenty thousand foot from Aram-Beth-Rehob and Aram-Zoba, and one thousand men from the king of Maacah, and twelve thousand troops from the men of Tob. Aram-Beth-Rehob was the Aramaean kingdom, the capital of which was Beth-rehob. This Beth-rehob, which is simply called Rehob in v. 8, is in all probability the city of this name mentioned in Numbers 13:21 and Judges 18:28, which lay to the south of Hamath, but the exact position of which has not yet been discovered: for the castle of Hunin, in the ruins of which Robinson imagines that he has found Beth-rehob Bibl. Researches, p. 370), is to the south-west of Tell el Kadi, the ancient Laish-Dan, the northern boundary of the Israelitish territory; so that the capital of this Aramaean kingdom would have been within the limits of the land of Israel, - a thing which is inconceivable. Aram-Naharaim is also mentioned in the corresponding text of the Chronicles, and for that reason many have identified Beth-Rehob with Rehoboth, on "the river" (Euphrates), mentioned in Genesis 36:37. But this association is precluded by the fact, that in all probability the latter place is to be found in Rachabe, which is upon the Euphrates and not more than half a mile from the river (see Ritter, Erdk. xv. p. 128), so that from its situation it can hardly have been the capital of a separate Aramaean kingdom, as the government of the king of Zoba extended, according to 2 Samuel 10:16, beyond the Euphrates into Mesopotamia. On Aram-Zoba, see at 2 Samuel 8:3; and for Maacah at Deuteronomy 3:14. אישׁ־טוב is not to be taken as one word and rendered as a proper name, Ish-Tob, as it has been by most of the earlier translators; but אישׁ is a common noun used in a collective sense (as it frequently is in the expression ישׂראל אישׁ), "the men of Tob." Tob was the district between Syria and Ammonitis, where Jephthah had formerly taken refuge (Judges 11:5). The corresponding text of the Chronicles (1 Chronicles 19:6-7) is fuller, and differs in several respects from the text before us. According to the Chronicles, Hanun sent a thousand talents of silver to hire chariots and horsemen from Aram-Naharaim, Aram-maacah, and Zobah. With this the Ammonites hired thirty-two thousand receb (i.e., chariots and horsemen: see at 2 Samuel 8:4), and the king of Maacah and his people. They came and encamped before Medeba, the present ruin of Medaba, two hours to the south-east of Heshbon, in the tribe of Reuben (see at Numbers 21:30, compared with Joshua 13:16), and the Ammonites gathered together out of their cities, and went to the war. The Chronicles therefore mention Aram-Naharaim (i.e., Mesopotamia) as hired by the Ammonites instead of Aram-Beth-Rehob, and leave out the men of Tob. The first of these differences is not to be explained, as Bertheau suggests, on the supposition that the author of the Chronicles took Beth-rehob to be the same city as Rehoboth of the river in Genesis 36:37, and therefore substituted the well-known "Aram of the two rivers" as an interpretation of the rarer name Beth-rehob, though hardly on good ground. For this conjecture does not help to explain the omission of "the men of Tob." It is a much simpler explanation, that the writer of the Chronicles omitted Beth-rehob and Tob as being names that were less known, this being the only place in the Old Testament in which they occur as separate kingdoms, and simply mentioned the kingdoms of Maacah and Zoba, which frequently occur; and that he included "Aram of the two rivers," and placed it at the head, because the Syrians obtained succour from Mesopotamia after their first defeat. The account in the Chronicles agrees with the one before us, so far as the number of auxiliary troops is concerned. For twenty thousand men of Zoba and twelve thousand of Tob amount to thirty-two thousand, besides the people of the king of Maacah, who sent a thousand men according to the text of Samuel. But according to that of the Chronicles, the auxiliary troops consisted of chariots and horsemen, whereas only foot-soldiers are mentioned in our text, which appears all the more remarkable, because according to 2 Samuel 8:4, and 1 Chronicles 18:4, the king of Zoba fought against David with a considerable force of chariots and horsemen. It is very evident, therefore, that there are copyists' errors in both texts; for the troops of the Syrians did not consist of infantry only, nor of chariots and horsemen alone, but of foot-soldiers, cavalry, and war-chariots, as we may see very clearly not only from the passages already quoted in 2 Samuel 8:4 and 1 Chronicles 18:4, but also from the conclusion to the account before us. According to 2 Samuel 10:18 of this chapter, when Hadarezer had reinforced his army with auxiliaries from Mesopotamia, after losing the first battle, David smote seven hundred receb and forty thousand parashim of Aram, whilst according to the parallel text (1 Chronicles 19:18) he smote seven thousand receb and forty thousand foot. Now, apart from the difference between seven thousand and seven hundred in the case of the receb, which is to be interpreted in the same way as a similar difference in 2 Samuel 8:4, the Chronicles do not mention any parashim at all in 2 Samuel 10:18, but foot-soldiers only, whereas in 2 Samuel 10:7 they mention only receb and parashim; and, on the other hand, there are no foot-soldiers given in 2 Samuel 10:18 of the text before us, but riders only, whereas in 2 Samuel 10:6 there are none but foot-soldiers mentioned, without any riders at all. It is evident that in both engagements the Syrians fought with all three (infantry, cavalry, and chariots), so that in both of them David smote chariots, horsemen, and foot.
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