2 Samuel 10:6
And when the children of Ammon saw that they stank before David, the children of Ammon sent and hired the Syrians of Bethrehob, and the Syrians of Zoba, twenty thousand footmen, and of king Maacah a thousand men, and of Ishtob twelve thousand men.
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(6) Saw that they stank.—The Hebrew, translated literally, shows that they were conscious that this was by their own fault—“that they had made themselves stink,” and is so rendered in 1Chronicles 19:6.

Hired.—Chronicles gives the amount of the subsidy, 1,000 talents of silver, a sum variously estimated at from £125,000 to twice that amount. It shows at once the wealth of Ammon, the importance of the auxiliaries, and the grave character of the war.

Syrians of Beth-rehob.—Called simply Rehob in 2Samuel 10:8. This has been understood of several different places. It can hardly have been the Rehob (or Beth-rehob) of Numbers 13:21; Judges 18:28, since that was near Laish, and within the territory of the Israelites. Some identify it with “Ruhaibeh,” twenty-five miles N.E. of Damascus; but it is more likely to have been “Rehoboth by the river” (i.e., near the Euphrates) of Genesis 36:37, as this corresponds with “out of Mesopotamia’ in the parallel passage 1Chronicles 19:6, the situation of which is not more definitely known.

Zoba.—See Note on 2Samuel 8:3.

King Maacah.—Read, King of Maacah, as in Chronicles. For the situation of the country see Deuteronomy 3:14; Joshua 12:5. It furnished only one thousand auxiliaries.

Ish-tob.—Translated, men of Tob, the first syllable not being a part of the proper name. Jephthah here found refuge when exiled by his countrymen (Judges 11:3; Judges 11:5). It was probably just east of Gilead, between Syria and the land of Ammon; it is not mentioned in Chronicles.

The total number of auxiliaries mentioned in 1Chronicles 19:7, thirty-two thousand, is the same as given here, Maacah being omitted from the number; but the composition of the force is different. Here only infantry are mentioned, there only chariots and cavalry. It is plain from the result of the battle (2Samuel 10:18 in both places) that all three arms of the service were employed; either, therefore, some words have dropped out from both texts, or else the writer in each case did not care to go into details. Chronicles mentions that the allies mustered in Medeba, a place on a hill in the Belka plain, about four miles south-east of Heshbon, and well fitted strategically to repel an attack upon Rabbah. It had been originally assigned to the tribe of Reuben (Joshua 13:9).

2 Samuel 10:6. When the children of Ammon saw that they stank, &c, — They wanted not intelligence how heinously David resented the barbarous usage of his ambassadors; which is expressed by a phrase signifying that they were become very odious to him.

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.Stank ... - A strong figure for to be odious or detested. Compare the marginal references

The Syrians of Beth-rehob - If identical with the Mesopotamians of 1 Chronicles 19:6, Beth-rehob is the same as Rehoboth by the river Genesis 36:37. Others think Beth-rehob (Rehob, 2 Samuel 10:8) the same as the Rehob and Beth-rehob of Numbers 13:21, near Hamath (perhaps the modern ruin of Hunin). If so, Beth-rehob, as well as Tob, must have been a colony of Aram Naharaim (compare the numbers in 1 Chronicles 19:7 and here).

Syrians of Zoba - Compare 1 Samuel 14:47 note.

King Maacah - Read the "King of Maacah" 1 Chronicles 19:6-7. For the position of Maacah, see Deuteronomy 3:14; Joshua 12:5. It appears to have been a very small state, since its king only brought a thousand men into the field.

Ish-tob - See the margin. Tob was the district where Jephthah fled when driven out by the Gileadites.

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.

Beth-rehob, near Hamath, Numbers 13:21.

Zoba; of which see 1 Samuel 14:47 2 Samuel 8:3.

Of king Maacah, i. e. of that part of Syria which was under king Maacah; for Syria was a large country, and there were divers kings in the several parts of it. This part was near Gilead. See Deu 3:14.

Of Ish-tob; or, of the men of Tob, the country where Jephthah dwelt, Judges 11:3. Besides these, they hired others out of Aram-naharaim, or Mesopotamia, as appears from 1 Chronicles 19:6 Psalm 60:1. And all these were forward enough to combine against David, both to revenge their former losses and reproaches, and to give check to his growing greatness.

And when the children of Ammon saw that they stank before David,.... Or had made themselves odious to him, as it is rendered in 1 Chronicles 19:6; were abominable to him, that he was incensed against them, and enraged at them, and was determined to be avenged on them for the affront given, of which they had certain information: but instead of seeking to appease him, and give him satisfaction for the affront:

the children of Ammon sent, and hired the Syrians of Bethrehob; a place near Hamath, Numbers 13:21; there was a city of this name in the tribe of Asher, out of which the Canaanites could not be driven, and perhaps now inhabited by Syrians, or by a people so called, Joshua 19:28,

and the Syrians of Zoba, twenty thousand footmen: that is, out of both places; this place Hadadezer was king of, with whom David had fought before, and beat, and who owed him a grudge on that account, and was ready to assist the Ammonites against him, 2 Samuel 8:3,

and of King Maacah a thousand men; that is, of the king of Maacah, which was a place in the tribe off Manasseh, from whence the inhabitants could not be expelled, Joshua 13:11; and seems now to have been inhabited by Syrians, and therefore is called Syriamaachah, 1 Chronicles 19:6,

and of Ishtob twelve thousand men; which is thought to be the same with the land of Tob, whither Jephthah fled, and dwelt in it, when ill used by his brethren, Judges 11:3; these mercenary soldiers were in all thirty three thousand men; 1 Chronicles 19:6, it is said, chariots and horsemen, even thirty two thousand; these were hired with a thousand talents of silver.

And when the children of Ammon saw that they {c} stank before David, the children of Ammon sent and hired the Syrians of Bethrehob, and the Syrians of Zoba, twenty thousand footmen, and of king Maacah a thousand men, and of Ishtob twelve thousand men.

(c) That they deserved David's displeasure, for the harm done to his ambassadors.

6–14. Defeat of the Ammonites and their Syrian allies

6. that they stank] Lit. that they had made themselves stink: had brought themselves into evil odour, or, made themselves odious. Ancient history records many wars undertaken to avenge insults offered to ambassadors, whose persons have always been considered sacred by the law of nations: e.g. the war between Rome and Tarentum which led to the invasion of Italy by Pyrrhus. See also Cicero, Proverbs lege Manil. c. 5.

hired] For a thousand talents of silver according to 1 Chronicles 19:6, a sum variously estimated at from £250,000 to £500,000. For other instances of the employment of mercenary troops see 2 Kings 7:6; 2 Chronicles 25:6.

Beth-rehob] Beth-rehob (= house of Rehob) or Rehob (2 Samuel 10:8), the capital of this Syrian kingdom, can hardly be the Beth-rehob near Dan mentioned in Jdg 18:28, which was in Israelite territory. It is better to place it at Ruhaibeh, 25 miles N.E. of Damascus, or to identify it with Rehoboth by the river (Genesis 36:37), the site of which is fixed a few miles below the junction of the Chaboras with the Euphrates. In this case the Mesopotamians mentioned in the parallel passage in 1 Chron. may be the same as the Syrians of Beth-rehob.

the Syrians of Zoba] See note on ch. 2 Samuel 8:3.

and of king Maacah] Rather, and the king of Maacah. This small Syrian kingdom was in the neighbourhood of Geshur, adjoining the province of Argob in the north-east of Bashan (Deuteronomy 3:14), somewhere to the east of the wild and rocky region now called El-Lejah. Some however would place it on the south-west slope of Hermon at the sources of the Jordan. See notes on Joshua 12:5; Joshua 13:13.

and of Ish-tob] Rather, and the men of Tob, the district in which Jephthah took refuge (Jdg 11:3). It seems to have been somewhere north or east of Gilead, between Syria and the country of the Ammonites.

The text of Chronicles differs from that of Samuel in several points. (a) It mentions the price paid to the Syrians, a thousand talents of silver, and names Medeba as the rendezvous where their forces assembled. (b) The names of the countries from which the mercenaries were drawn are given as Mesopotamia, Maacah, and Zobah. Beth-rehob may be included under Mesopotamia (2 Samuel 10:6, note). Tob is not mentioned; perhaps it was a dependency of Zobah, and is included under it. The contingent sent by each is not specified. (c) The total number of 32,000 besides the men of Maacah, agrees with the numbers here; but the reading chariots in the present text of 1 Chronicles 19:7 can scarcely be right. 32,000 chariots would be a force of unexampled magnitude. See 1 Kings 10:26; 2 Chronicles 12:3; 2 Chronicles 14:9. The text of Samuel also seems to be defective, as the force doubtless had some cavalry and chariots and did not consist of infantry only.

Verse 6. - That they stank (see notes on 1 Samuel 13:4; 27:12). As the Hebrew literally means, had made themselves stink, the Revised Version rightly translates "had made themselves odious." The children of Ammon sent and hired the Syrians. From 1 Chronicles 19:6 we learn that his mercenaries from Aram cost Hanun a thousand talents of silver, or nearly five hundred thousand pounds - a vast sum, especially considering the great relative value of silver in those days. The mercenaries, moreover, were gathered out of numerous districts of Aram - from Rehob, Zoba, Beth-Maacah, and Tob; the margin being right in rendering "the men of Tob," instead of "Ish-tob." So, too, the Revised Version, "The men of Tob twelve thousand men." It was to this land that Jephthah fled (Judges 11:3). The whole number of the allies was thirty-three thousand, with which total the parallel place agrees, as they are described there as "thirty-two thousand, and the King of Maacah and his people," who are here said to have been a thousand strong. The text, however, there must be corrupt, as it describes them all as horsemen (Authorized Version, "chariots;" 1 Chronicles 19:7); here footmen only are mentioned, with which the narrative agrees (see note on ver. 18). 2 Samuel 10:6When 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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