2 Samuel 10
Lange Commentary on the Holy Scriptures
IV. The Ammonite-Syrian War

CHAPTER 10:1–19

1AND it came to pass after this that the king1 of the children of Ammon died, and Hanun his son reigned in his stead. 2Then said David [And David said], I will show kindness unto Hanun the son of Nahash, as his father showed 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. 3And the princes of the children of Ammon said unto Hanun their lord, Thinkest2 thou that David doth honour thy father that he hath sent comforters unto thee? hath not David rather [om. rather] sent his servants unto thee to search the city3 4and to spy it out and to overthrow it? Wherefore [And] Hanun took David’s servants, and shaved off the one half of their beards, and cut off their garments in 5the middle even [om. even] to their buttocks and sent them away. When [And] they told it unto David4 [ins. and] he sent to meet them, because [for] the men were greatly ashamed; and the king said, Tarry at Jericho until your beards be grown, and then return.

6And when [om. when] the children of Ammon saw that they stank [that they had made themselves loathsome5] before David [ins. and], the children of Ammon sent and hired the Syrians of Beth-rehob and the Syrians of Zobah, twenty thousand footmen, and of king Maacah [and the king of Maacah] a thousand men, and 7of Ish-tob [and the men of Tob], twelve thousand men. And when [om. when] David heard of it, he [and] sent Joab and all the host of [om. of], the mighty men. 8And the children of Ammon came out and put the battle in array at the entering in [the doorway] of the gate; and the Syrians of Zoba and of Rehob and Ish-tob 9[the men of Tob] and Maacah were by themselves in the field. When [And] Joab saw that the front of the battle was against him before and behind [ins. and], he chose of all the choice men of Israel, and put them6 in array against the Syrians; 10And the rest of the people he delivered into the hand of Abishai his brother that he might put [and put] them in array against the children of Ammon. 11And he said, If the Syrians be too strong for me, then thou shalt help me, but [and] if the children of Ammon be too strong for thee, then I will come and [to] help thee. 12Be of good courage, and let us play the men [Be strong, and let us show ourselves strong7] for our people and for the cities of our God; and the Lord [Jehovah will] do8 that which seemeth him good. 13And Joab drew nigh, and the people that were 14with him, unto the battle against the Syrians, and they fled before him. And when [om. when] the children of Ammon saw that the Syrians were fled, then fled they also [and they fled] before Abishai, and entered into the city. So [And] Joab returned from the children of Ammon and came to Jerusalem.

15And when [om. when] the Syrians saw that they were smitten before Israel [ins. 16and], they gathered themselves together. And Hadarezer9 sent and brought out the Syrians that were beyond the river; and they came to Helam,10 and Shobach 17the captain of the host of Hadarezer went before them [was at their head]. And when [om. when] it was told David [ins. and], he gathered all Israel together and passed over [ins. the] Jordan and came to Helam. And the Syrians set themselves in array against David and fought with him. 18And the Syrians fled before Israel, and David slew the men of seven hundred chariots of the Syrians and forty thousand horsemen [of the S. seven hundred chariot-men and four thousand horsemen], and smote Shobach the captain of their host who [so that he] died there. 19And when [om. when] all the kings that were servants to Hadarezer saw that they were smitten before Israel [ins. and], they made peace11 with Israel and served them. So [And] the Syrians feared to help the children of Ammon any more.


Compare the parallel narrative in 1 Chron. 19

2 Samuel 10:1–5. The cause of the war with the Ammonites. This war, having been only mentioned in 8:12, is here, together with the Syrian wars occasioned by it (given fully in 2 Samuel 8), described in its whole course, because of its close connection with the history of Uriah and his wife, which became for David the fatal point at which his kingdom turned from glory to downfall.

2 Samuel 10:1. And it came to pass after this. On this loose, general formula of connection see 8:1. The king of the children of Ammon died.—His name (which is inserted in Chron.12 by way of explanation) is not mentioned till 2 Samuel 10:2; this Nahash is the same as he of 1 Sam. 11:1. [As this was probably about forty years after the events narrated in 1 Sam. 11, it is possible, certainly, that the two kings Nahash may be the same; but it is neither certain nor very probable, considering the usual length of royal reigns.—TR.]

2 Samuel 10:2. What kindness Nahash had shown David is unknown. Perhaps he had sent congratulations on his accession to the throne. At all events his relations with David were friendly, while with Saul his relations were hostile.13 For his defeat at Jabesh see 1 Sam. 9—[Some refer to 2 Sam. 17:25 as possibly indicating a family-alliance between David and Nahash.—TR.] David accordingly sent an embassy of condolence to Hanun the son of Nahash.

2 Samuel 10:3. After the death of Nahash, who was in friendly connection with David, the Ammonite princes, jealous no doubt of the mighty growth of the kingdom of Israel, introduce a new era by counselling his successor to adopt a hostile policy that would be a challenge to war.—Is David in thine eyes an honorer of thy father (which question involves a negation)? The question itself contains a slight reproach against the king, that he allowed himself to be deceived by David’s conduct. They express to him the suspicion that David sent this ostensibly consolatory embassy merely for the purpose of spying out and then destroying the “city,” that is, Rabbah (1 Sam. 11:1), the capital-city of the country. Rabbah was a strongly fortified place (comp. 2 Samuel 10:14), the internal examination of which was certainly important for an enemy purposing to besiege it.

2 Samuel 10:4. The king, treating the ambassadors as spies, subjected them to the indignity of shaving off the half (that is, one side) of their beards. This is the grossest insult that can be offered an Oriental; for the beard is the sign of the free man’s dignity and his finest adornment. Isa. 7:20; 1. 6.14 See Lakemacher, Observ. X. 145 sq., Arvieux, Nachricht. III. 173, Niebuhr, Beschreib. v. Arab., 317, and farther in Winer, s. v. Bart.—[Keil, Philippson and others quote modern instances. Many Orientals would rather die than lose their beards, and the Turks used to regard beardless Europeans as runaway slaves. A war like this occurred in Persia in 1764.—TR.] Hanun besides cut off the long outer garments of the ambassadors to the buttocks.15 The Israelites, except the priests, wore no breeches. So much the grosser, therefore, was the insult.

2 Samuel 10:5. After hearing of the double insult offered his ambassadors, David directs them not to return, but to stay at Jericho and wait for their beards to grow.

2 Samuel 10:6–14. Israel’s successful war against the Syrians, whom the Ammonites had hired (2 Samuel 10:6–13), and against the Ammonites, who after the flight of their allies, likewise took to flight (2 Samuel 10:14).

2 Samuel 10:6. The Ammonites desired war with Israel. They knew that by their treatment of the ambassadors of David they had made themselves stinking, that is, hateful to him (1 Sam. 13:4), and hired as allies: 1) the Syrians of Beth-Rehob; comp. 2 Samuel 10:8,16 where we have simply the name Rehob. This Rehob is the name of the Syrian district, whose capital-city was Beth-Rehob. This is hardly to be sought where Robinson (Neue bibl. Forschung., p. 488 [Am. ed. III. 371, 372]) conjecturally locates it, namely, in the ruins of the fortress Hunin, southwest of the Tell el Kadi (the old Laish-Dan), the northern boundary of Palestine, since in that case the capital-city of this Aramæan region would have lain within the land of Israel (Keil); it is better located [twenty-five Eng. miles] north-east of Damascus, on the site of the present Ruhaibeh (Kremer, Dam., p. 192, Ritter XVII. 1472, Stähelin, 56), unless, following the reading in Chron. (Naharaim for Beth-Rehob), we prefer the Rehoboth of the river, that is, of the Euphrates (Gen. 36:37), where there is now (near the junction of the Chaboras and the Euphrates) a place called Er-rahabeh or Rahabeh (Rosenm., Alterth. II. 2, 270 sq.; Ritter XV. 128), where this city may have been situated. Keil’s argument against this view, namely, that the sway of the king of Zobah (2 Samuel 10:16) extended beyond the Euphrates into Mesopotamia, and hence this “Rehoboth on the river” cannot well have been the capital-city of a particular Aramæan kingdom, is not of force, partly because this sway is by no means certainly proved, partly because it is not made out that it embraced the whole territory between the two rivers. [See Arts. Rehob and Rehoboth in Smith’s Bib. Dict.—TR.]—2) The Syrians of Zobah, see 8:3. 3) The king of Maachah (in Chron. Aram-Maachah), bordering on Geshur, according to Josh. 12:5 on the northern border of Bashan, on the south-western declivity of Hermon (comp. Onom. Μαχαθί), on the border of the Israelitish trans-jordanic territory (Deut. 3:14), especially of Reuben and Gad (Josh. 13:11). 4) Not Istob (as in the VSS., Joseph., Ew., § 273 b), but the men of Tob, since there was a region of this name near the Ammonite territory, to which Jephthah fled (Judg. 11:5). Its location cannot be fixed with certainty. Ewald: the Thauba (θαῦβα) of Ptol. 5, 19, which, however, must be sought for in desert Arabia. Knobel: the present Tubneh, about twenty-four Eng. miles south of Damascus, comp. Tubion (Τούβιον,17 Τουβίν), 1 Macc. 5:13; 2 Macc. 12:17. Stähelin: the present village Taibeh, mentioned by Ritter XV. 891, 922, and placed north of Tibneh in Wetzstein’s map of Hauran. Chron. gives exacter information: Hanun sent one thousand talents of silver to hire from Aram-Naharaim, Aram-Maachah and Zobah chariots and horsemen. For this large sum (over two million dollars) the Ammonites, according to Chron., hired him thirty-two thousand chariots and horsemen18 (רֶכֶב, comp. 8:4) and the king of Maachah with his people. Chron. states that the hired auxiliaries encamped at Medeba (comp. Josh. 13:9, 16, with Num. 21:30), the present Medaba, four Eng. miles south-east of Heshbon, between the Arnon and the Jabbok opposite Jericho, in the territory of Reuben; it afterwards came into the possession of Moab, Isa. 15:2.—[It is mentioned in the inscription of the Moabite king Mesha as having been captured by Omri, and recaptured by Mesha.—TR.] The ruins, situated on a hill, are a mile in circuit. See Raumer, 264. As it was in a plain (Josh. 13:16), not more than eight miles southwest of Rabbah, the strong Ammonitish capital-city, it was a suitable rendezvous for the hired auxiliaries and a good position for the defence of Rabbah against a siege. The auxiliaries of Tob are not mentioned in Chron. The two accounts [Sam. and Chron.] agree in the number of the auxiliaries. According to Chron. the Ammonites hired thirty-two thousand men [Chron. says “chariots.”—TR.] and the troops of Maachah; Sam. gives one thousand from Maachah, two thousand from Zobah, and twelve thousand from Tob. But as to the composition of the auxiliary troops, the two accounts differ; according to the Chronicler there were “chariots and horsemen,” according to our passage “footmen,” while yet according to 8:4 and 1 Chron. 18:4 the king of Zobah fought against David with “chariots and horsemen.” Keil: “Here, then, there are copyists’ errors in both texts. For the Syrian troops consisted neither of infantry alone, nor of chariots and horsemen alone, but of infantry, cavalry and war-chariots, as is evident not only from 8:4; 1 Chron. 18:4, but also from the close of our narrative.—The Syrians fought in both battles with all three arms, so that David twice defeated chariots, cavalry and infantry.”

2 Samuel 10:7. Against these hostile troops David sends his general Joab and the “whole host, the mighty men.” Not “the whole host of the warriors” (De Wette), but “Gibborim” [mighty men] is in apposition with “the whole host.” The mention of the whole army excludes the supposition of a select body, “a foundation of the Israelitish army” (Bunsen), especially as the Gibborim are never distinguished from the whole army (Bertheau on 1 Chron. 19:8). There is therefore no ground for supplying “and” before “the mighty men” (Thenius). [Eng. A. V. incorrectly inserts “of.”—TR.]

2 Samuel 10:8. And the Ammonites came out, that is, from their capital city, where they had gathered within the protecting fortifications. This appears from the following words: and put themselves in battle-array before the gate of the city, that is, Rabbah (so in Chron. “before the city”). The position of the Syrian auxiliaries “in the field,” that is, on the broad plain of Medeba, is clearly distinguished from that of the Ammonites before the city (for defence or attack), so that the statement of the position of Joab’s army (2 Samuel 10:9) is clear. It is not said: “And when Joab saw that the battle was against him” (De Wette), but: “that the face (front) of the battle was against him, in front and in rear.” He could be attacked on both sides, by the Ammonites in rear, by the Syrians in front. He therefore so makes his dispositions as to select some from all the chosen19 men in Israel. This chosen body Joab sets against the Syrians, their position in the open field making their attack sharper (perhaps, also, they were the more numerous), while the Ammonites stood in reserve to cover their stronghold Rabbah.—The rest of the army (2 Samuel 10:10) he placed under the command of his brother Abishai against the Ammonites, in order that he might be covered in rear in his attack on the Syrians, and might have support, if he needed it.—To this refers his agreement with Abishai in 2 Samuel 10:11. Either was to come to the help of the other, if there was danger of being overpowered by the enemy. It hence appears that the Israelites were not to make an assault on both sides at the same time, but Joab intended first to attack and defeat the Syrians, while Abishai was to cover his rear. A simultaneous attack might, however, be made by the two armies between which Joab and Abishai stood. The point here, therefore, was quickly and stoutly to carry through a bold stroke.—This is the reference in Joab’s words to Abishai in 2 Samuel 10:12, of which Thenius finely remarks: “This is a warlike exhortation, the briefest indeed, but the fullest of meaning.” Be stout, strong—this applies to Abishai personally and indicates stout temper of mindand let us show ourselves stout—this refers to warlike action; for our people and the cities of our God—with these words he points out the prize for which they were contending. The weal and freedom of the whole Israelitish people was at stake. “The cities of our God;” these words mean either the cities of Israel in general, which as representatives of the whole land are called the cities of God, because they are with the whole land God’s property and possession (Keil), or those cities in which the worship of the living God was established for the whole people, whose conquest by the enemy would have resulted in the overthrow of the worship of Jehovah and the establishment of the heathen worship of idols. [Others suppose, not so well, that the reference here is to Medeba and other cities now threatened by the enemy, though still in the hands of the Israelites.—TR.]. The Lord will do what is good in his eyes; these words express trust in God combined with unconditional submission. Alongside of the faithfulness (to be shown by bravery and firmness), that was to do its duty in this situation so dangerous for the people and for Jehovah, is put the hidden will of God in respect to what will happen, and unconditional submission to His counsel and deed. The sense is well expressed by Clericus: “If it should seem good to God to give our enemies the victory, we must acquiesce in His will; meantime let us go bravely into battle.”

2 Samuel 10:13. Quickly and vigorously the attack is made on the Syrians—they flee. Grotius: “as often happens with those that fight for pay alone without respect to the cause.” [So Bp. Patrick.—TR.]. “Inasmuch as for them, casually assembled, there would be neither glory in victory nor shame in flight,” Tacit. Hist. II. 12. [Perhaps Joab first attacked the Syrians not solely because they were mercenaries and in the open field, but also because they were better disciplined and therefore more to be feared than the Ammonites.—TR.].

2 Samuel 10:14. This rout of the allied force occasioned the flight of the Ammonites also, who threw themselves into their capital city. After this brilliant exploit Joab brought the campaign to an end and returned to Jerusalem, probably because (see 11:1) the advanced season was unfavorable to carrying through the siege of Rabbah [or also, because the Syrians were not sufficiently broken, or because he had not the materials for a siege (Bib. Com.).—TR.]

2 Samuel 10:15–19. Second battle with the Syrians and their complete defeat under Hadarezer.

2 Samuel 10:15. The ground of the Syrians for again collecting their forces was shame at having been defeated by the Israelites, and care for their safety against a presumable campaign of David. Among the Syrians king Hadarezer of Zobah (8:3) appears as the most powerful prince and David’s most hostile opponent. Here and in Chron. he is always called Hadarezer, in chap. 8. Hadadezer. The Syrians (reassembled after their rout) are reinforced by the Syrian troops that Hadarezer (2 Samuel 10:16) called to his help “from beyond the river,” that is, from Mesopotamia. These Mesopotamians levied by him were, therefore, under his jurisdiction (comp. 2 Samuel 10:19). Shobach, Hadarezer’s field-marshal, led these troops, but was also general-in-chief of the whole Syrian army (2 Samuel 10:18). And came to Helam.—The Hebrew might also be translated: “and their army came” (Then., Böttcher). But the remark would be somewhat superfluous and excessively dragging in this militarily lively and curt account. As there is no such remark in Chron., and as in 2 Samuel 10:17 the phrase “he came to Helamah,” designates the place where David met the Syrians, the word is to be taken (with the ancient VSS.) as the name of a place, our word here being merely a shorter form of that in 2 Samuel 10:17 (חֵלָאם = חֵילָם). The place has not yet been identified. [Instead of the second Helam Chron. has “to them.” If we adopt this text and render “their army” in 2 Samuel 10:16, the account will read: Hadarezer brought the Syrians, and their army came and Shobach before them … and David passed over Jordan and came to them, and the Syrians, etc. It is not easy to decide between the texts of Sam. and Chron.; the difficulty of identifying Helam may be an argument for both.—TR.].

2 Samuel 10:17. Helam is designated as the place across the Jordan whither David brought his army and fought the Syrians. Chron. has “he came on them” (the Aramæans)—either a scribal error, or an intentional omission of the name of the place because it was too little known. The name Helam20 is thought by Ew., Bött. and Then. to point to the Alamata on the Euphrates (Ptol. 5, 15, 25). But the Syrians would hardly have fallen back before David as far as the Euphrates to receive his attack there with the river in their rear. As this is the same battle that (according to 1 Chron. 18:3) was fought at Hamath (comp. 8:4), and the statement “came to Helam” here follows immediately after the remark that David crossed the Jordan, Helam must be located across the Jordan, not on the Euphrates, but farther west near Hamath. Here the whole Israelitish and Syrian armies stood opposed to one another in battle. [Why David took command in person is not stated; probably on account of the importance of the campaign, hardly from any dissatisfaction with Joab. Some account must be taken of David’s military spirit.—TR.]

2 Samuel 10:18. David’s splendid victory. The Syrians partly took to flight, partly were cut to pieces by the Israelites. The completeness of the victory is farther especially brought out by mentioning first (2 Samuel 10:18) the large number of the slain: seven hundred chariot-soldiers and forty thousand horsemen (Chron. gives seven thousand21 chariot-men and forty thousand footmen). With this the statements in 8:4 and 1 Chron. 18:4, 5 (one thousand seven hundred horsemen, or one thousand chariot-men and seven thousand horsemen, and twenty thousand footmen of Aram-Zobah, and twenty-two thousand men of Aram-Damascus) agree “as well as can be expected in the well known corruption of numbers, so that there is scarcely a doubt that the number of fallen Aramæans is the same in both accounts (chaps. 8 and 10), and that our chapter relates circumstantially the same war, the result only of which is given in 2 Samuel 8 and 1 Chr. 13” (Keil). It is then further stated that David so smote the general that he died; that is, he died on the field of wounds received in battle.

2 Samuel 10:19. The result of this defeat: 1) “all the vassal-princes” that had followed Hadarezer’s summons to war against David, made peace with Israel when they saw that they were beaten. The addition (after the first “Israel”) in the Vulg.: “they feared, and there fled fifty-eight thousand in the presence of Israel,” does not warrant us in introducing it into the text (with Thenius), and finding therein the statement of the number of those that were “slain in flight;” for such a numerical statement does not suit the tenor of the narrative, which here intends only a general remark on the recognition of their complete defeat by the Syrians, so that we should least expect such a statement here about merely a part of the defeated army—apart from the fact that the word “smitten” (2 Samuel 10:19) includes all the slain, not merely those that fell in flight; 2) the Syrian princes and peoples became tributary to Israel, and rendered the Ammonites no more aid against the Israelites.—Nothing is here said of the wars with Damascus and Edom, to which Joab turned in the south (2 Samuel 8), while David was gaining his victories in the north, because the narrative is here occupied with the fortunes of Rabbah only because of their connection with those of Uriah (Ewald).


1. One injustice produces another, and drags men on irretardably to destruction by the resulting chain of sins and injustices. The king of Ammon with sinful levity lends his ear to the liars and calumniators that surround him; thence comes the most outrageous insolence towards David’s ambassadors, and the most abusive insult to the whole people of Israel; on this follows the hasty preparation and provocation of a wholly unjust, wicked war; therein the princes are forced to take part, and so to stake their land and people. The end is complete destruction.

2. This great danger, prepared for David by his enemies, was made through the divine control to conduce to the magnifying of his name, and to his ascent to the highest point of royal glory. The bold insolence of the enemies of God’s people and kingdom must serve not only to bring about more wonderfully the revelation of the Lord’s power in subduing enemies and helping friends, but also to manifest more splendidly the glory and might of His kingdom in the battles into which it is forced by enemies.

3. Joab’s word to Abishai is a prelude to the Lord’s word to Peter: “Strengthen thy brethren.” Heroic bravery in the war (it exhorts) is to be combined 1) with the recognition of those most sacred possessions and ends for which the struggle is to be made,—thereby it is consecrated,—and 2) with humble, trustful submission to the will of the Lord—thereby it is preserved from temerity and presumptuousness. The war is a just and holy one, undertaken for the defence of the possessions received from God, to guard the honor of God, and in the name of God.


2 Samuel 10:12. Bravery in battling for the highest objects: 1) It is rooted in fidelity to God and to our brethren the people of God; 2) It is proven by devotion of body and soul and the whole life to the aims of the kingdom of God; 3) It is sanctified by unconditional submission to the purposes and doings of the will of God.

The Lord do that which seemeth him good:” 1) A confession of humble submission to God’s will, in presence of the greatest perils referring everything to Him; 2) A testimony borne by childlike and strong reliance on the Lord’s help, which is confidently expected in the cause of His people and His kingdom; 3) The expression of a devout frame of mind, which is the basis of all genuine fidelity in fulfilling the duties of one’s calling, and especially of all true bravery in fighting against the enemies of God’s kingdom.

2 Samuel 10:1 sqq. CRAMER: Nothing worthier can be devised than to requite thanks with thanks. Prov. 17:13.—SEB. SCHMID: When God will chastise a people, He withdraws from them good and sensible rulers; and woe to the land whose king is a child (Eccl. 10:16).

2 Samuel 10:3. SEB. SCHMID: Calumny is a diabolical vice, since under appearance of prudence and truth it calls forth the greatest misfortunes.—STARKE: To put an evil construction upon good is the best art of the ungodly.—[HALL: Carnal men are wont to measure another’s foot by their own last; their own falsehood makes them unjustly suspicious of others. … It is hard for a wicked heart to think well of any other; because it can think none better than itself, and knows itself evil. The freer a man is from vice himself, the more charitable he uses to be unto others.—TR.]

2 Samuel 10:6. CRAMER: That is the way with an evil conscience; it flees before it is hunted (Job 15:20).—J. LANGE: When a man knows that he has deserved punishment, and yet is unwilling to acknowledge his guilt, he is sure to heap upon himself more and more guilt.—[HALL: It is one of the mad principles of wickedness, that it is a weakness to relent, and rather to die than yield. Even ill causes, once undertaken, must be upheld, although with blood; whereas the gracious heart, finding his own mistaking, doth not only remit of an ungrounded displeasure, but studies to be revenged of itself, and to give satisfaction to the offended.—TR.]

2 Samuel 10:12. STARKE: A Christian must indeed show all diligence in his calling and station, but must look to God for whatever progress he wishes to make (1 Cor. 3:6).—[HALL: The tongue of a commander fights more than his hand. A good leader must, out of his own abundance, put life and spirits into all others: if a lion lead sheep into the field, there is hope of victory. … All valor is cowardice to that which is built upon religion.—HENRY: “God and our country” was the word. … When we make conscience of doing our duty, we may with the greatest satisfaction leave the event with God; not thinking that our valor bids Him to prosper us, but that still He may do as He pleases, yet hoping for His salvation in His own way and time.—TR.]. 2 Samuel 10:13 sq. OSIANDER: Those who rely on man and do not trust God, come to shame (Psa. 25:3).—[HENRY: Joab provided for the worst, and put the case that the Syrians or Ammonites might prove too strong for him (2 Samuel 10:11); but he proved too strong for them both. We do not hinder our successes by preparing for disappointment.—TR.]

2 Samuel 10:15–19. SCHLIER: He who does evil will also reap a harvest of evil; and he who helps in evil will certainly also get a poor reward from it. As the seed, so the harvest.—The Lord has everything in His hand, then He has the insolence of enemies in His hand and makes all work well. He can check and subdue even the greatest insolence, and convert it into a blessing for His people.

[2 Samuel 10:3, 4. They who are tempted to offer gross insults had always better look before they leap.

2 Samuel 10:5. “Tarry at Jericho,” etc. 1) We must beware of casting pearls before swine (2 Samuel 10:2. The Ammonites must have been known to David as a cruel and barbarous people). 2) Nothing is so offensive as a wanton insult, in return for respect and kindness. 3) The gravest men are sensitive to ridicule of their personal appearance. 4) All persons of noble nature are considerate of the feelings of others. 5) Time heals many ills.

2 Samuel 10:12. Joab was a selfish, unscrupulous, unprincipled man; yet in entering upon a perilous battle he talks piously. So do almost all generals and civil rulers in any great emergency; not only because they know that the people feel their dependence on God, but because in the hour of trial they feel it themselves. Such language under such circumstances does not clearly prove one to be devout, or to be hypocritical; it expresses a feeling which may be genuine, though transient and superficial.—TR.]


1[2 Samuel 10:1. The reason for the omission of the king’s name here (in the Heb. and all the VSS.) is not obvious; yet there is no good ground for supplying it. The Arab. vers. omits the name of the son also in this verse.

2[2 Samuel 10:3. Lit.: “is David an honorer of thy father in thy eyes, that?” etc.

3[2 Samuel 10:3. Some MSS. and edd. of the Heb., and the Arab. have “land” instead of “city,” which, as being the easier rendering, is here less probable.

4[2 Samuel 10:5. Chron. has: “and they went and told David concerning the men,” which is an expansion for the sake of clearness.

5[2 Samuel 10:6 Syr. Arab., Vulg., Sym. and Chald. render: “that they had injured David,” which does not point to a different text, but is an explanation. Instead of בּדור Sept. read (as in the Heb. of Chron.) עס דוד, which is rendered by them “the people of David” (עַם).

6[2 Samuel 10:9. Philippson renders: “put himself,” and so below (2 Samuel 10:10) “he put himself,” but this seems less natural than the usual translation.—TR.]

7[2 Samuel 10:12. It is better here to preserve the identity of the Heb. word rendered “strong,” which is used in several places in the context.—TR.]

8[2 Samuel 10:12. The form here is future, not optative (Vulg.), though it is possible that the final ה is repeated from the following word.—TR.]

9[2 Samuel 10:16. Here also there is wavering in the Heb. MSS. as to the spelling of this name, some MSS. and edd. having “Hadadezer;” see on 10:3.—TR.]

10[2 Samuel 10:16. For the discussion of this reading see the Exposition. So on 2 Samuel 10:18.—TR.]

11[2 Samuel 10:19. Sept. renders “fled to” (ἠυτομόλησαν), a free translation; so probably Vulg. As to the addition in the Vulg. (see Exposition) Böttcher would put it at the beginning of 2 Samuel 10:18. It is perhaps better to regard it as a marginal remark made on some copy of the Vulg., though it is not easy to account for the number given, fifty-eight thousand. Its absence from the other versions justifies us in excluding it from the text.—TR.]

12[The German here has incorrectly “the Septuagint,” instead of “Chronicles.”—TR.]

13[Bp. Patrick suggests that he was friendly to David because hostile to Saul.—TR.]

14[Lev. 19:27; Deut. 14:1 are not in point here; they refer not to ordinary shaving, but to idolatrous clipping of the hair. Comp. the Nazarite-vow.—TR.]

15For שְׁתת = nates Chron. has the euphemistic מִפְשָׂעָה = step, that is, the part of the body where stepping is made possible, since the legs there begin.

16[The Germ. has 2 Samuel 8, where the name Rehob is used of a king (2 Samuel 10:3, 12), but not of a district.—TR.]

17[In 1 Macc. 5:13 Tischendorf writes Τώβὶον, Tobion.—TR.]

18[The word in Chron. means “chariots” only, and does not include horsemen.—TR.]

19Chron. has the Sing. (בָּחוּר), which is a more common designation of the army than the Plu. The בְּ (“in”) before “Israel” is to be retained (against the VSS. and some MSS.).

20 חֵלָאמָה, “Heb. name of a Syrian city, dual-form from חַיִל (two armies), with the ָה-local” (Böttcher).

21[This number is almost incredibly large, and the text of Sam. is to be preferred.—TR.]

And it came to pass after this, that the king of the children of Ammon died, and Hanun his son reigned in his stead.
Lange, John Peter - Commentary on the Holy Scriptures: Critical, Doctrinal, and Homiletical

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