2 Samuel 8:5
And when the Syrians of Damascus came to succour Hadadezer king of Zobah, David slew of the Syrians two and twenty thousand men.
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(5) Syrians of Damascus.—So called from their capital, this being the most powerful branch of the Syrian race.

Two and twenty thousand men.—Josephus (Ant. vii. 5, § 2) quotes from the historian Nicolaus a mention of the defeat of Hadad at this place by David.

2 Samuel 8:5-6. The Syrians of Damascus — That is, that were subject to Damascus, the chief city of Syria. Put garrisons in Syria of Damascus — Hebrew, in Aram Damasek. This was that part of Syria which lay between Libanus and Antilibanus. The Syrians brought gifts — By way of tribute, in token of their subjection. The Lord preserved David whithersoever he went — Kept him from all the dangers to which he was exposed in these wars.

8:1-8. David subdued the Philistines. They had long been troublesome to Israel. And after the long and frequent struggles the saints have with the powers of darkness, like Israel with the Philistines, the Son of David shall tread them all under foot, and make the saints more than conquerors. He smote the Moabites, and made them tributaries to Israel. Two parts he destroyed, the third part he spared. The line that was to keep alive, though it was but one, is ordered to be a full line. Let the line of mercy be stretched to the utmost. He smote the Syrians. In all these wars David was protected, for this in his psalms he often gives glory to God.Syrians of Damascus - The Syrians (Aram), whose capital was Damascus, were the best known and most powerful. Damascus (written Darmesek in marginal references, according to the late Aramean orthography) is first mentioned in Genesis 15:2. According to Nicolaus of Damascus, cited by Josephus, the Syrian king's name was Hadad. 2Sa 8:3-14. He Smites Hadadezer and the Syrians.

3. Zobah—(1Ch 18:3). This kingdom was bounded on the east by the Euphrates, and it extended westward from that river, perhaps as far north as Aleppo. It was long the chief among the petty kingdoms of Syria, and its king bore the hereditary title of "Hadadezer" or "Hadarezer" ("Hadad," that is, "helped").

as he went to recover his border at the river Euphrates—in accordance with the promises God made to Israel that He would give them all the country as far as the Euphrates (Ge 15:18; Nu 24:17). In the first campaign David signally defeated Hadadezer. Besides a great number of foot prisoners, he took from him an immense amount of booty in chariots and horses. Reserving only a small number of the latter, he hamstrung the rest. The horses were thus mutilated because they were forbidden to the Hebrews, both in war and agriculture. So it was of no use to keep them. Besides, their neighbors placed much dependence on cavalry, but having, for want of a native breed, to procure them by purchase, the greatest damage that could be done to such enemies was to render their horses unserviceable in war. (See also Ge 46:6; Jos 11:6, 9). A king of Damascene-Syria came to Hadadezer's succor; but David routed those auxiliary forces also, took possession of their country, put garrisons into their fortified towns, and made them tributary.

The Syrians of Damascus, i. e. who were subject to Damascus, the chief city of Syria.

And when the Syrians of Damascus came to succour Hadadezer king of Zobah,.... These seem to have had no king at this time, or, if they had, Hadadezer was their king, which is not improbable; and Nicholas of Damascus (o); an Heathen writer, is clear for it, whom he calls Adad, who, he says, reigned over Damascus, and the other Syria without Phoenicia, who made war with David king of Judea, and was routed by him at Euphrates: and he seems to be the first king of Damascus, which he joined to the kingdom of Zobah, and all the kings of Damascus afterwards were called by the same name; though Josephus (p), who also speaks of Adad being king of Damascus and of the Syrians, yet makes him different from this Hadadezer, to whose assistance he says he came:

David slew of the Syrians two and twenty thousand men; that is, of the Syrians of Damascus.

(o) Apud Joseph. ib. (l. 7. c. 5.) sect. 2.((p) Ibid.

And when the Syrians of Damascus came to succor Hadadezer king of Zobah, David slew of the Syrians two and twenty thousand men.
5. the Syrians of Damascus] The kingdom of which Damascus was the capital was the most powerful branch of the Aramaeans or Syrians, and played an important part in the history of Israel. It did not long remain subject to them. In Solomon’s reign a certain Rezon established himself at Damascus, and proved a troublesome enemy (1 Kings 11:23-25). Benhadad I. was bribed by Asa to break his league with Baasha and invade the Israelite territory (1 Kings 15:18), and actually built a Syrian quarter in Samaria (1 Kings 20:34). His son and successor Ben-hadad II. besieged Samaria (1 Kings 20:1), but was defeated, and compelled to submit to Ahab (1 Kings 20:34). But the defeat and death of Ahab at Ramoth-gilead again gave Syria the upper hand (1 Kings 22); and in the reign of Jehoram Samaria was once more besieged by them, and only saved by a miraculous interposition (2 Kings 6:24 to 2 Kings 7:20). The rising power of Assyria now began to threaten Syria, but in spite of the defeats he suffered from it, the usurper Hazael, succeeding in repulsing the combined forces of Judah and Israel at Ramoth-gilead (2 Kings 8:28-29), ravaged the trans-Jordanic territory of Israel (2 Kings 10:32-33), captured Gath, and threatened Jerusalem, which only escaped on payment of a heavy ransom (2 Kings 12:17-18), and seriously reduced the power of the Northern Kingdom (2 Kings 13:3-7). Joash, however, recovered the lost territory (2 Kings 13:25), and Jeroboam II. extended his conquests to Damascus (2 Kings 14:28). Three quarters of a century later Syria reappears as the ally of Israel against Judah. Rezin, king of Damascus, made a league with Pekah to depose Ahaz and set up a creature of their own in his stead (2 Kings 16:5; Isaiah 7:1-9); but their attempt to take Jerusalem failed, and Ahaz persuaded Tiglath-pileser, king of Assyria, to attack Syria. Rezin was slain and Damascus destroyed (2 Kings 16:7-9). Damascus now disappears from the O.T. history; but by the fourth century b. c. it had been rebuilt. and has maintained its prosperity down to the present day. It is situated in a fertile plain watered by the river Barada, which is probably the Abana of Scripture, to the E. of the great mountain chain of the Anti-Libanus, on the edge of the desert. Travellers describe it as “embosomed in a wide forest of fruit trees, intersected and surrounded by sparkling streams, in the midst of an earthly paradise.” This natural beauty and fertility, combined with its importance as a centre of trade, have secured the permanence of its prosperity for nearly 4,000 years. See Robinson’s Biblical Researches, III. 443 ff; Stanley’s Sinai and Palestine, p. 414 ff.

Verse 5. - The Syrians of Damascus; Hebrew, Aram-Dammesek; that is, Aram-Damascus. The inhabitants of these regions and of Mesopotamia were descended from Aram, the son of Shem (Genesis 10:22), and bore his name. Thus Zobah is called Aram-Zobah in the title of Psalm 60. As members of a kindred race, and speaking the same language, all the clans of the Aramean family would naturally combine to check the growing power of Israel. 2 Samuel 8:5After destroying the main force of Hadadezer, David turned against his ally, against Aram-Damascus, i.e., the Aramaeans, whose capital was Damascus. Dammesek (for which we have Darmesek in the Chronicles according to its Aramaean form), Damascus, a very ancient and still a very important city of Syria, standing upon the Chrysorrhoas (Pharpar), which flows through the centre of it. It is situated in the midst of paradisaical scenery, on the eastern side of the Antilibanus, on the road which unites Western Asia with the interior. David smote 22,000 Syrians of Damascus, placed garrisons in the kingdom, and made it subject and tributary. נציבים are not governors of officers, but military posts, garrisons, as in 1 Samuel 10:5; 1 Samuel 13:3.
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