2 Samuel 10
Pulpit Commentary Homiletics
The Ammonites appear to have remained quiet since their defeat by Saul, nearly half a century before (1 Samuel 11.). Nahash their king (perhaps a son of the former Nahaeh) had rendered friendly service to David. But on the accession of Hanun, his son, the old hostility of the children of Ammon revived, and showed itself in a way that made conflict inevitable. To this the growing power of David and his recent subjugation of their kindred, the Moabites (2 Samuel 8:2), doubtless contributed. Their deliberate, wanton, and shameless treatment of his messengers was the occasion of "the fiercest struggle, and, so far as the Israelitish kingdom of God was concerned, the most dangerous, that it ever had to sustain during the reign of David." In it we see -

I. A PERSONAL CONTRAST. David requited the kindness of Nahash with kindness to his son; condolence on his bereavement, congratulation on his accession (ver. 2); but Hanun requited the kindness of David with insult and injury to his servants (ver. 4; Isaiah 20:4). The conduct of the one displayed gratitude, sympathy, confidence, and benevolence; that of the other ingratitude, contempt, distrust, and malignity.

1. How different in character the men who hold similar positions! David and Hanun were both kings, their heads were pressed by the same "crown of pure gold" (2 Samuel 12:30; Psalm 21:3); but in spirit they were wholly unlike.

2. How different the construction put on similar actions! Such actions are regarded by men as good or evil, according to their ruling disposition; just as the same objects appear of different hue according to the colour of the medium through which they are viewed. Hence what is well meant is often ill interpreted.

3. How different the consequences that flow from similar influences! Kindness is like sunshine, that melts the ice and hardens the clay; causes pleasure to the healthy and torture to the diseased eye. It tests, manifests, and intensifies the good or evil in the heart, and leads to opposite courses of conduct. Its proper tendency is to produce its like; but its actual effect is often the contrary (John 13:27). Even the kindness of God is perverted by hardness of heart to more abounding wickedness (Isaiah 26:10; Romans 2:4, 5). If it be sinful to "recompense evil for evil" (Romans 12:17), how much more to recompense evil for good (1 Samuel 25:21)!

II. A PUBLIC DISHONOUR. It was not a private and personal indignity put on these ambassadors, but an open and national insult offered to their king and people, by Hanun and his court (ver. 3), who probably expressed therein the prevalent suspicion and hatred of the children of Ammon.

1. How prejudicial the indulgence of jealousy and suspicion to the maintenance of peace and good will among nations!

2. How pernicious the influence of evil counsel and calumny on the political principles and policy of rulers! "We see in this the bitter fruits which evil counsel to princes, especially to those who are young and inexperienced, produces" (Guild). "The slanderer inflicts a threefold wound at one stroke. He wounds himself by his breach of charity; he wounds his victim by injuring his good name; he wounds his hearers by poisoning their minds against the accused" (St. Bernard).

3. How provocative the exhibition of ingratitude, injustice, and contempt to resentment and retaliation (ver. 6)! It turns kindness into wrath, seems to justify the drawing of the sword, and inspires the hope of victory (ver. 12). "Thou knowest not what may show itself when thy contempt awakes the lion of a sleeping mind."

III. A PRESUMPTUOUS AND FATAL DEFIANCE. It was a challenge by the worshippers of Moloch, confident in their strength and success, to the people of Jehovah; the first step of a renewed attack "against Jehovah and against his Anointed" (Psalm 2.). The opposition of the ungodly to the kingdom of God, though it slumber for a season, ever breaks forth afresh.

1. How infatuated their hostility! They are heedless of the warnings afforded by the past.

2. How groundless their confidence! "They trust in vanity."

3. How certain their overthrow!

"He that sitteth in the heavens laughs,
The Lord hath them in derision," etc.

(Psalm 2:4-9.) The evil which they do returns on their own heads (ver. 14); and "their end is destruction" (2 Samuel 12:31). "These shall make war with the Lamb," etc. (Revelation 17:14).


1. We should not be deterred from doing good by the fear that it may be requited with evil.

2. Although others may render evil for good, we should render good for evil (1 Samuel 11:12, 13).

3. The noblest victories are those which are gained by patience, forbearance, and all-conquering love (Romans 12:21). - D.

I am for peace; but when I speak, they are for war (Psalm 120:7). It is not probable that these words were written by David, but they might have been with truth. It does not appear that he desired war with the neighbouring peoples; but for a time he was continually at war with one or other of them. Jealous of the growing greatness and power of Israel under his rule, they sought to humble them, but only to their own discomfiture and subjugation. And as the kingdom extended, more distant nations feared for themselves, and were ready to combine against what seemed the common foe. This is probably the real explanation of the transactions recorded in this chapter, including the most serious struggle which the rising kingdom had had to maintain. Nahash, "the king of the children of Ammon," having died, David, to whom Nahash had in some way shown kindness, sent ambassadors to Hanun, his son and successor, with a message of condolence. But the young king, induced by the princes to regard the ambassadors as spies, who had been sent to obtain such knowledge of the city as might facilitate its overthrow, treated them with the grossest contumely and indecency, and so dismissed them. Hence sprang a deadly war, in which the Ammonites were aided by other and more powerful peoples - a war which taxed to the utmost the strength of Israel, and issued in the complete overthrow of their enemies. The first step in all this commotion and destruction was the false interpretation put upon the kind act of David; and, regarding it as an illustration of a too common evil, we take occasion to remark upon the evil itself - misinterpretation of good deeds.


1. Knowledge of the world. There is so much evil in it, so much evil which conceals itself under the pretence of good; the actions which at first appear good are so often, on closer acquaintance, discovered to be evil; that experience of the world tends to produce a suspicious spirit, which is slow to believe in the reality of goodness in any particular instance, quick to think the worst of the conduct of others, especially of strangers.

2. Evil in one's self. Which may be conscious or unconscious. We are indisposed to believe others to be better than we know ourselves to be; and prone to suspect others of motives we are conscious of indulging ourselves. And, without distinct consciousness, we are influenced in our judgments of others by our own character; and may be so far under the influence of evil as to be blind to the good in others. The cold, selfish, illiberal, cannot credit others with the opposite virtues; but suspect the appearance of them to be only a semblance adopted for some unworthy purpose.

3. Enmity. If on any account we cherish ill will towards another, we are ever ready to think evil rather than good of him; and specially slow to think he can intend good to us. If another has failed to show as high an esteem for ourselves as we think we deserve, our mortified pride is apt to vent itself in depreciation of him. Prejudice is one kind of enmity, more or less virulent. It commonly exists in those of one party in religion or politics towards those of the opposite party, and predisposes them to misinterpret whatever they do.

4. Fear. Which was one of the motives that prompted Hanun and his advisers.

5. Conceit of sagacity. A cheap and easy way of appearing very wise, and of obtaining from some a reputation for wisdom, is to affect to discover unworthy motives in good actions.

6. Bad advisers. Such as those of Hanun. Those who might be otherwise disposed to a just estimate of good deeds will seldom want advisers to poison their minds, if they will listen to them.


1. In itself. It is inherently base. It is contrary to:

(1) Charity, which "believeth all things, hopeth all things" (1 Corinthians 13:7), whenever it is not manifestly impossible.

(2) Justice. Judgments which seem to be only charitable will often be simply just.

(3) Gratitude, in the case of actions kind to ourselves. Better to waste a little gratitude than indulge needless suspicion.

(4) The plain commands of our Lord. Such as "Judge not;" "Whatsoever ye would that men should do to you, do ye even so to them" (Matthew 7:1, 12). It involves, further, an assumption of knowledge such as men do not possess, and a usurpation of the office of him who alone searches the heart (1 Corinthians 4:5). We are not, however, required to cherish a blind credulity, nor to trust men with important interests without positive knowledge of their moral worth, still less against plain evidence of the contrary. Prudence is a virtue as well as charity. The Ammonites might have rightly exercised such caution towards David's messengers as would have prevented their obtaining so much knowledge of the city as would facilitate hostile measures against it, if these were really contemplated. They did wrong in concluding that the seeming kindness was covert hostility. To have returned civility for civility could have done them no harm, and would have prevented the severe retribution for their barbarity which followed.

2. In its effects.

(1) On those who are guilty of it. It deprives them of the happiness and other good which they would gain from kindness exercised towards them, were it duly appreciated and acknowledged; and of the benefit which it would impart in the way of example and influence. It strengthens the bad dispositions and habits from which it springs. It prompts to conduct (as in this case) which may work incalculable mischief.

(2) On those towards whom it is indulged. Inflicting pain, producing resentment, and perhaps active revenge, and discouraging them in the practice of virtues which are liable to be so maligned.

(3) On others. Infecting with unjust suspicions some who would not otherwise cherish them; encouraging disbelief in genuine goodness, and thus loosening the bonds of mutual confidence by which society is held together; disinclining also from good deeds, and so lessening the amount of goodness in the world.


1. It should not surprise us. Considering what men are, we should regard it as quite possible that any good we may do will be misrepresented, or at least fail to be duly appreciated and acknowledged even by those whose benefit we seek.

2. It should not deter us from doing good. The great motives for good deeds abide the same. They are quite independent of human appreciation. They should be our chief motives, the hope of approval or suitable return from men occupying a very subordinate position. Let us study and labour to be accepted of God (2 Corinthians 5:9), and be content with his approval, let men think what they may.

3. If men misrepresent our conduct, let us exercise charity towards them, hoping, if we cannot confidently believe, that they have sinned through ignorance or inconsideration rather than ill will. If compelled to vindicate ourselves, let us do it with meekness. We should also reflect whether we have given any occasion in the manner of our conduct for misunderstanding of its real quality; and avoid the error in future. And, if we are really reproached for that which is good, without just occasion, let us be mindful that we are fellow sufferers with our Lord and many of the best men of all ages.

4. Let us be watchful against every temptation to depreciate and misrepresent the good which is practised by others. - G.W.

Tarry at Jericho until your beards be grown, and then return (ver. 5). It has been the endeavour of men in all ages to make the objects of their aversion appear contemptible and ridiculous. Few things are more painful and humiliating than exposure to popular derision. The fear of it, no doubt, sometimes exerts a salutary influence in restraining from what is unseemly and wrong; but it also frequently exercises an opposite influence in deterring from what is becoming and right. Of ridicule, together with the sense of dishonour (ver. 5, former part) which it naturally produces, observe that it is often -

I. INCURRED BY FIDELITY. Like the servants of David, the servants of Christ are made the object of scornful raillery (a common and effective instrument of persecution):

1. In the faithful performance of duty, in obedience to the will of their Lord; conveying his message of kindness, acting as his representatives. "For righteousness' sake;" "For my sake" (Matthew 5:10, 11; Matthew 10:22). It is not the suffering, but the cause, that makes the martyr (1 Peter 2:20; 1 Peter 4:15).

2. By those who hate and misrepresent them and him whom they serve, and whose hostility is due to their diverse character and principles. "If ye were of the world," etc. (John 15:19).

3. After the example of the faithful in past time. "Others had trial of mockings" (Hebrews 11:36). "Herod with his soldiers set him at nought, and mocked him," etc. (Luke 23:11, 35, 36).

II. MODERATED BY SYMPATHY. "And they told it unto David, and he sent to meet them," etc. Those who, in the way of duty, suffer the reproach of the bad, enjoy the sympathy of the good; and especially of the Master himself:

1. Whose sympathy is inexpressibly precious.

2. Who has suffered the same, and is therefore able to feel with them and for them (2 Samuel 6:20).

3. Who also expresses it in the most appropriate and effectual manner. He regards what is done to them as done to himself, affords them wise and friendly counsel, takes them under his protection, and stands ready to defend and avenge them. "They departed,... rejoicing that they were counted worthy to suffer dishonour for the Name" (Acts 5:41; Acts 16:25; 1 Thessalonians 2:2).

III. REMEDIED BY PATIENCE. "Tarry," etc. They were probably disposed to go up at once to Jerusalem, and proclaim their wrongs; but David, out of consideration for their position in public estimation, bade them remain in obscurity, and "bide their time" - a piece of advice sometimes given (though not always in a like spirit) to persons who are about to attempt something for which they are unfit, on account of their immaturity or want of due preparation; or in which they have already failed.

1. Those who would attain success and honour in any position or enterprise should consider well their ability to accomplish what is necessary for their purpose (Luke 14:28).

2. Inconsiderate and rash endeavours are likely to issue in a result which those who make them neither expect nor desire.

3. The lapse of time soothes many a smart; and the wise and patient employment of it qualifies for and ensures honourable achievements. "Ye have need of patience" (Hebrews 10:36). "Let us learn not to lay too much to heart unjust reproaches; after a while they will wear off of themselves, and turn only to the shame of their authors; while the injured reputation in a little time grows again, as these beards did" (Matthew Henry).

IV. SUCCEEDED BY HONOUR. "And then return" to the holy city, where they would be honoured (instead of being despised) with:

1. The public commendation of the king.

2. The general admiration of the people.

3. All the more because of the indignity and ridicule which they had previously endured. If ye are reproached for the Name of Christ, blessed are ye, etc. (1 Peter 4:14); "great is your reward in heaven" (Matthew 5:12). - D.

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 (ver. 11).

1. On perceiving the effect of their treatment of David's ambassadors (ver. 6; "That they had made themselves odious," 1 Chronicles 19:6), the Ammonites obtained, for "a thousand talents of silver," the aid of the Syrians of Beth-rehob and of Zobah (under Hadarezer, the most powerful of David's adversaries), the King of Maacah and the men of Tob; "who came and pitched before Medeba" (1 Chronicles 19:7), twenty miles southwest cf Rabbah, with their infantry, cavalry, and war chariots. "And the children of Ammon gathered themselves together from their cities" to the capital (Rabbah), and put themselves in battle array before the gate.

2. Hearing of their warlike preparations, David had sent forth "all the host, the mighty men," under Joab (2 Samuel 3:22-30), who now found himself between the two hostile forces; and, selecting a portion of the army, placed himself opposite to the Syrians, whilst he left the rest, under Abishai, to cover his rear and hold the Ammonites in check. He doubtless hoped to defeat the enemy in successive engagements.

3. But fearing a simultaneous attack, he made an agreement with his brother, that if either of them were worsted, the other should hasten to his relief. Such an agreement is prudent, needful, and beneficial among those also who are engaged in spiritual warfare against the enemies of the kingdom of God. It -

I. CONFIRMS AN OBVIOUS DUTY. For it is plainly the duty of brethren:

1. To consider each other's condition, to sympathize with each other's weakness and distress, and not to be concerned about themselves alone. "Not looking each of you to his own things," etc. (Philippians 2:4; 1 Corinthians 10:24).

2. To make use of their power, to "strengthen their brethren," especially when taking part in the same conflict as themselves. The strong should help the weak.

3. To afford them help, opportunely, promptly, with all their might, and even at much sacrifice and hazard to themselves. If the ungodly "helped every one his neighbour; and every one said to his brother, Be of good courage" Isaiah 41:6), much more ought the godly to do the same. "But if ye will not do so, behold ye have sinned against the Lord: and he sure your sin will find you out" (Numbers 32:23). And the agreement to render mutual help in time of need makes the obligation to do so more distinct, impressive, and effective.

II. CONTEMPLATES A POSSIBLE REVERSE. "If the Syrians be too strong for me," etc.; indicating a conviction of:

1. The great power of the enemy and the serious nature of the struggle (1 Samuel 13:1-7). It would he madness to despise them.

2. The possibility of failure in the wisest plans and disappointment in the most sanguine expectations. "We do not hinder our successes by preparing for disappointment." Although those who "contend earnestly for the faith once for all delivered to the saints" cannot be generally and permanently defeated, yet particular organizations, methods, and hopes may be overthrown. None, however strong, can be certain of never needing help; whilst the promise of help furnishes the weak with a special claim to it.

3. The necessity of taking every precaution for repairing defect in the weakest part, lest it should issue in disaster to the whole. "Bear ye one another's burdens, and so fulfil the Law of Christ" (Galatians 6:2).


1. Giving them to feel their mutual dependence, and bringing them into closer union in the spirit of a common enterprise.

2. Affording assurance of the advantages arising from cooperation toward a common end. These advantages are inestimable. "Two are better than one... And if one prevail against him, two shall withstand him; and a threefold cord is not quickly broken" (Ecclesiastes 4:9-12).

3. Inspiring them with increased confidence arising therefrom; and inciting them to greater individual effort than they might otherwise have put forth on behalf of each other and their common safety, welfare, and honour. Both the Syrians and Ammonites were routed (vers. 13, 14). "It was, perhaps, the first time in his life that Hadarezer suffered defeat" (Ewald); and this defeat was followed ere long by another (by David at Helam) still more overwhelming; so that "all the kings that were servants to Hadarezer made peace with Israel, and served them," etc. (vers. 15-19; 2 Samuel 8:3, 4). - D.

Joab here appears at his best. A great occasion, involving great peril for the army and the kingdom, calls forth, not only his eminent military qualities, but sentiments of piety and religious patriotism worthy of David himself. He presents an example worthy of imitation by commanders of armies; but we take his words as adapted to guide and animate the soldiers of Christ in their warfare against error and sin. They Call attention to three duties incumbent upon individual Christians, the several bands of each division of the Christian army, and the several divisions themselves.

I. MUTUAL HELP. (Ver. 11.) The servants of Christ are engaged in the endeavour to conquer the world for him, and, in pursuing it, have to fight against enemies of various kinds. In this warfare they ought to cheerfully cooperate, and, as opportunity may arise, help each other. Much mutual assistance they cannot but render, however any might desire to confine the benefits of their activity to their own party. Every hymn book testifies to this. No individual or section can do good work without helping others. But there should be more of conscious and hearty cooperation.

1. Why it should be so.

(1) The cause is one - the cause of Christ our King, the defence and extension of his kingdom, the cause of truth and righteousness and human salvation.

(2) Christians are comrades in the same army. They should cherish the feeling of brotherhood, realize that they are fighting against common foes, and be glad to encourage and help each other. The success of any is the success of all, and should be so regarded; the failure of any should be a trouble to all; and, if any can aid their brethren to turn threatening defeat into victory, their aid should be cheerfully afforded and joyfully accepted.

(3) The need is urgent. The spiritual necessities of men, the special needs in particular cases. The field is extensive; the opposing forces numerous, powerful, and incessantly vigilant and active. The utmost exertions of all are required. To hold back, to refuse cooperation with fellow soldiers because they belong not to our regiment or division of the army, to observe with pleasure the failure of any of them, or to waste energies and resources in fierce conflicts with one another, is to be disloyal to their Sovereign,, unbrotherly to each other, and unfaithful to the souls of men.

2. Why it often is not so.

(1) Deficiency of spiritual insight. Incapacity, voluntary or involuntary, to discern:

(a) The real nature of the kingdom of Christ. That it is essentially spiritual, consisting in "righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Ghost;" that "he that in these things serveth Christ is acceptable to God, and approved of men" (Romans 14:17, 18); and that in Christ Jesus nothing avails but "a new creature," "faith which worketh by love," and "the keeping of the commandments of God" (Galatians 6:15; Galatians 5:6; 1 Corinthians 7:19).

(b) The essential qualities of Christ's soldiers, which are not the dress they wear, nor the particular drill to which they are accustomed, but love and loyalty to Christ.

(2) Deficiency of spiritual affections. Want of supreme and ardent love for Christ and his kingdom, and for his servants as such. These deficiencies of mind and heart act and react on each other, and they open the way for all kinds of blundering and perversity. Fellow soldiers are mistaken for enemies, and treated as such. The great cause is made practically subordinate to matters infinitely small in comparison. Sectarian rivalry takes the place of Christian cooperation; or a worse thing happens - petty personal ambition and selfishness, or likings and dislikings, dominate, separating those who should be acting together, and introducing low, worldly principles into a region where the spiritual should alone reign. Pride, jealousy, envy, uncharitableness, perhaps the merest avarice, reduce to a fraction, if they do not altogether extinguish, those noble Christian feelings which Christianity inspires, and which would impel brothers to own brothers, cordially to render or receive help in the common work, to rejoice in each other's successes, and sorrow for each other's reverses.

3. Who should take the lead in effecting cooperation? Joab addresses Abishai, his fellow commander; and it is just the leaders and commanders in Christ's army who should be foremost in promoting a good understanding between its various bands, and inducing them to work together. But, alas! they are often foremost in promoting alienation and separation. The people are frequently more disposed to be friendly towards each other than the clergy.

II. COURAGE. (Ver. 12.) In war this is essential to success. In the Christian warfare it is not so obviously or universally required. It is, however, still required in many cases. When unpopular truth has to be proclaimed, when strongholds of sin or superstition have to be assailed, when the evangelization of barbarous tribes is attempted, or perilous climates have to be encountered, the Christian soldier must be prepared to endure hardship, suffering, or death. Even the ridicule which not unfrequently assails the earnest Christian calls for a good deal of courage. Joab sought to inspire his brother, and through him the soldiers under his command, with courage, by reminding him that it was "for our people, and for the cities of our God," that they were about to fight. In like manner Christians may be exhorted to "be of good courage" and "play the men" for the Church of God, and for the sake of the world which they aim to conquer for Christ. Joab might have added, "for our king;" and the strongest and most animating consideration for us is that we are witnessing and working and fighting for our great King, the Lord Jesus Christ. He is worth living for, suffering for, dying for. He has gone before us in the labour and the suffering. He is present with us. His eye is upon each of us. He will overlook no true-hearted soldier of his when he distributes the rewards of victory. "If we suffer, we shall also reign with him" (2 Timothy 2:12).

III. RESIGNATION. Those who engage in war, though they may hope for victory, must be prepared for defeat. "The battle" is not always "to the strong" (Ecclesiastes 9:11) or the brave. Nor in the better warfare can we "command success" in this or that particular encounter, however faithful or brave or zealous we may be. We are to recognize, like Joab, that "the Lord" is over all, and be content that he should "do that which seemeth him good." Not that we are required to be resigned to ultimate failure, for we are assured of final and complete victory.

"The saints in all this glorious war
Shall conquer, though they're slain."

Nor are the courage and devotedness of any single soldier lost. All the faithful contribute to the final triumph, and all shall unite in the song of victory, "The kingdoms of this world are become the kingdoms of our Lord, and of his Christ." "Alleluia: for the Lord God omnipotent reigneth!" "And he shall reign forever and ever" Revelation 11:15; Revelation 19:6). - G.W.

Be of good courage, etc. Human life is a warfare, unavoidable, arduous, enduring; and spiritual life, more especially, is a warfare of a similar kind. In this conflict nothing is more needful than manly or martial courage ("virtue," 1 Peter 1:5). It is that quality of mind which meets difficulty, danger, pain, or death, calmly and fearlessly. It has been reckoned by moralists among the four cardinal virtues (prudence, temperance, fortitude, justice), and, in its highest form, it is often enjoined in the Scriptures. "As it is necessarily requisite to the susception of all other virtues, so it is their main support, guardian, and establishment. Without this, every other virtue is precarious, and lies at the mercy of every cross accident" (J. Norris). "All the noble deeds that have beat their marches through succeeding ages have proceeded from men of courage" (O. Felltham) This brief and significant warlike exhortation of Joab was pitched in a higher key than we might have expected; but the devout feeling which it expressed, though genuine, was probably superficial and transient, passing away with the critical occasion which called it forth. We have now to consider, not the character of the speaker, but the import of his words. They indicate the nature, motive, and pervading principle of godly martial courage; that it should be displayed -

I. IN STRENUOUS OPPOSITION TO THE ENEMIES OF THE KINGDOM OF GOD. "Be strong" (in spirit), "and show yourselves strong" (in action) in your struggle with numerous and powerful foes; not private, but public enemies; not men as such, but as imbued with principles and devoted to practices which are antagonistic to the righteous and beneficent purposes of God; "principalities and powers," etc. (Ephesians 6:12). "Who will rise up for me against the evil doers?" etc. (Psalm 96:16). There must be:

1. Firm resistance to their attack. "Whom resist steadfast in the faith" (1 Peter 5:9).

2. Patient endurance of the sufferings which such resistance involves. "Here is the patience of the saints."

3. Active endeavour for their defeat and subjection. "The people that do know their God shall be strong, and do exploits" (Daniel 11:32). "Watch ye, stand fast in the faith, quit you like men, be strong" (1 Corinthians 16:13). The chief instrument of this opposition is "the sword of the Spirit." "A humble Christian battling against the world, the flesh, and the devil, is a greater hero than Alexander the Great."

II. FROM SINCERE DESIRE FOR THE WELFARE OF THE PEOPLE OF GOD. Not for pay and plunder (like the mercenary Syrians), nor for glory, nor even for personal safety or life; but "for our people" (to whom we are bound by the closest ties), "and for the cities of our God" (his chosen property and possession, the many separate centres where his people dwell and his worship is maintained), imperilled by the attack of his enemies and ours. Pro aris et focis. "Thrice is he armed that hath his quarrel just"' This, however, is an appeal, not merely to a sense of justice, but also and chiefly to patriotism and piety, which, in the men of Israel, were inseparably Blended. There is a place for patriotism in the heart of a Christian (1 Samuel 23:1-6). But his love for his country must be held in harmony with and subordination to his love for the Christian brotherhood, united in spiritual fellowship and confined to no nation; "the people of God" (1 Peter 2:9, 10), "his inheritance" (Ephesians 1:18), "the Church which is his body" (Ephesians 1:22; Ephesians 5:25; Acts 20:28), the light of the world, and the salt of the earth. "I endure all things for the elect's sakes" (2 Timothy 2:10; Colossians 1:24).

1. The preservation of their faith and holiness, their unity and peace, from corrupting and destructive influences.

2. The maintenance of their privileges and services, their freedom and independence.

3. The promotion of their prosperity and progress.

4. The fulfilment of their purposes, aims, and hopes. "They shall prosper that love thee" (Psalm 122:4-9; Psalm 137:7).

III. WITH STRONG CONFIDENCE IN THE RECEPTION OF THE HELP OF GOD. "And the Lord do that which seemeth him good" (Authorized Version); expressive of humble submission to the Divine will. "It may be understood as the language of:

(1) Uncertainly and modesty.

(2) A firm persuasion that the event of war entirely depends upon the providence of God.

(3) A humble submission to the disposal of Providence, let the event turn out as it would.

(4) And it may intimate that, let the event be what it will, it will afford us satisfaction to think that we have done the best we could" (Samuel Davies). But the proper reading is, "And Jehovah will do that which is good in his sight," really good for his people. The root of Christian courage, as of every Christian excellence, is faith in God.

1. In his readiness to cooperate with us, when we strive against the enemies of his kingdom and for the welfare of his people. "The Lord is on my side, I will not fear."

2. In the sufficiency of his might to strengthen the weakest and overthrow the strongest. "Fear not; for they that be with us are more than they that be with them" (2 Kings 6:16; 1 Samuel 14:1-15).

3. In the certainty of his affording to his faithful servants all the help they need. Even though he should permit a temporary reverse, he will surely give them the victory over all their adversaries. Such confidence is warranted by his relation to them, his regard for them, his express promises, and his past achievements. "The battle is the Lord's." "If God is for us, who is against us?" (Romans 9:31-39). - D.

The Pulpit Commentary, Electronic Database.
Copyright © 2001, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2010 by Biblesoft, Inc.
All rights reserved. Used by permission. BibleSoft.com

Bible Hub
2 Samuel 9
Top of Page
Top of Page