Expositor's Dictionary of Texts
And it came to pass after this, that the king of the children of Ammon died, and Hanun his son reigned in his stead.Play the Man
2 Samuel 10:12
What is it to play the man? It is:—
I. To Take Things Seriously—Of Louis XV of France it was said that, being wholly occupied with his amusements, he had not an hour in the day for important matters; while the best that could be said of our own King Charles II was that he was a 'merry monarch'. There was no true manhood there, to say nothing of royal dignity.
II. Cheerful Courage.—But along with this seriousness, this clear and frank recognition of things as they are, there must be also, if we would play the man, that courage for which Joab appealed, and a courage which is something better than obstinacy and dogged endurance—a courage which has in it something of cheerfulness and hope. If you are a man, then, even though you may feel tired, and though the burden may weigh heavily upon you, and though the prospect may not be too bright, still you will set your face and press on. And the harder the battle, the stonier the path, the more resolute you will be not to be beaten, and not to cry out and make a fuss. Of course it is often difficult to play a manly part in this sense. It is especially difficult to keep going steadily on. That is the hardest kind of courage to practise: the courage that is needed in order to persevere.
III. The Courage to Endure—And if you need manhood for patient continuance in well-doing, you need it also, and perhaps more, for patient continuance in the bearing of pain and trouble. It is much easier for us to bear our troubles at first than later on.
IV. Public Spirit.—'Let us play the men for the people and for the cities of our God.' It is not only courage and patience that are demanded of us, but public spirit. There is no nobler ambition that can possess any man's mind, when he looks out into the world and sees how his brethren are faring, than the ambition to play a true man's part in the defence of the needy and the weak, and in the furtherance, though it be by much toil and sacrifice, of every sacred cause which aims at beating down the enemies of mankind, and bringing in the golden age of which so many prophets have dreamed, and for which so many martyrs have died. That, indeed, is the very Spirit of Jesus.
—H. Arnold Thomas, Christian World Pulpit, vol. LXXII. 1907, p. 81.
References.—X. 12.—Canon Atkinson, Christian Manliness, Sermons, 1828-93. XI. 1.—Spurgeon, Sermons, vol. viii. No. 450; see also vol. xv. No. 895. XII. 5-7.—A. Maclaren, Expositions of Holy Scripture—2 Samuel, p. 55.
Then said David, I will shew kindness unto Hanun the son of Nahash, as his father shewed kindness unto me. And David sent to comfort him by the hand of his servants for his father. And David's servants came into the land of the children of Ammon.
And the princes of the children of Ammon said unto Hanun their lord, Thinkest thou that David doth honour thy father, that he hath sent comforters unto thee? hath not David rather sent his servants unto thee, to search the city, and to spy it out, and to overthrow it?
Wherefore Hanun took David's servants, and shaved off the one half of their beards, and cut off their garments in the middle, even to their buttocks, and sent them away.
When they told it unto David, he sent to meet them, because the men were greatly ashamed: and the king said, Tarry at Jericho until your beards be grown, and then return.
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.
And when David heard of it, he sent Joab, and all the host of the mighty men.
And the children of Ammon came out, and put the battle in array at the entering in of the gate: and the Syrians of Zoba, and of Rehob, and Ishtob, and Maacah, were by themselves in the field.
When Joab saw that the front of the battle was against him before and behind, he chose of all the choice men of Israel, and put them in array against the Syrians:
And the rest of the people he delivered into the hand of Abishai his brother, that he might put them in array against the children of Ammon.
And he said, If the Syrians be too strong for me, then thou shalt help me: but if the children of Ammon be too strong for thee, then I will come and help thee.
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 seemeth him good.
And Joab drew nigh, and the people that were with him, unto the battle against the Syrians: and they fled before him.
And when the children of Ammon saw that the Syrians were fled, then fled they also before Abishai, and entered into the city. So Joab returned from the children of Ammon, and came to Jerusalem.
And when the Syrians saw that they were smitten before Israel, they gathered themselves together.
And Hadarezer sent, and brought out the Syrians that were beyond the river: and they came to Helam; and Shobach the captain of the host of Hadarezer went before them.
And when it was told David, he gathered all Israel together, and passed over Jordan, and came to Helam. And the Syrians set themselves in array against David, and fought with him.
And the Syrians fled before Israel; and David slew the men of seven hundred chariots of the Syrians, and forty thousand horsemen, and smote Shobach the captain of their host, who died there.
And when all the kings that were servants to Hadarezer saw that they were smitten before Israel, they made peace with Israel, and served them. So the Syrians feared to help the children of Ammon any more.