2 Samuel 8:1
Some time later, David defeated the Philistines, subdued them, and took Metheg-ammah from the hand of the Philistines.
Sermons
David's Wars and VictoriesB. Dale 2 Samuel 8:1-14
David's Foreign WarsW. G. Blaikie, M. A.2 Samuel 8:1-18
The Victorious KingF. B. Meyer, B. A.2 Samuel 8:1-18
David's prayer has especial reference to the promise given him that his family should continue forever to rule Israel. We may take the prayer as suitable to be used by any godly father for his children and children's children.

I. THE PRAYER. That God would bless the family. A Christian father offering this prayer would have regard to:

1. Temporal blessings. Prolonged life, good health of body and mind, success in worldly pursuits, competence. Asking for these as a blessing from God implies the desire that they should be granted only so far as they will be blessings; that they should come as the result of God's blessing on upright means (not from fraud, injustice, or violence; see Proverbs 10:22); and that they should be accompanied with God's blessing, so that they may not ensnare and injure the soul, but promote its prosperity and highest happiness. Thus regarded, such a prayer is not unbecoming the heart and lips of any good man.

2. Spiritual blessings. That the family may be worthy the name of a Christian household, all being truly the children of God, worshipping and serving him faithfully and to the end. A Christian parent will be more desirous that his house should be good than great - "rich in faith, and heirs of the kingdom" (James 2:5) rather than possessed of material wealth. For such blessings he need not restrain his desires, as they are good in and for themselves, good always and forever. The poorest may seek these for his children, who may enjoy them equally with the wealthiest: they are open to all.

3. Eternal blessings. That he and his may "continue forever before God" (comp. Genesis 17:18), and "be blessed forever" numbered with the saints in the glory everlasting. The words translated, "let it please thee to bless," may be more literally rendered "begin and bless" (Revised Version, margin). As if David's thoughts reverted from the distant future to the present; and he became acutely alive to the fact that, for the accomplishment of the promise in the future, it was necessary that Cod should be with him and his at once and all along. In the heart of a Christian the meaning may well be, "Let thy blessing come at once, without any delay, on my house, to correct what is wrong, to increase what is right, to produce those conditions which are most favourable to all good, as they most fully ensure thy constant favour."

II. WHENCE IT ARISES.

1. Godliness. Sense of the value of God's blessing; preference of it over all else; confidence in God's fatherly love and sympathy with the love of earthly parents for their children; and faith in his promises.

2. Parental feeling. Love for his family; longing for their true and lasting happiness and well being.

3. Regard for his own happiness. Which is necessarily bound up with the goodness and happiness of his children. Finally:

1. Such prayer, when real, will be accompanied by Christian instruction and training. (Ephesians 6:4.)

2. Let children thank God for praying parents. Let them keep before them the image of their fathers and mothers daily kneeling before God, and imploring his blessing on them. Let them, however, not trust to their prayers as sufficient to ensure their salvation; but pray for themselves. (See more on 2 Samuel 6:20.) - G.W.







David smote the Philistines and subdued them.
These years of war gave birth to some of the grandest of the psalms, amongst which may be numbered, 2., 20., 21., 60., 110.

I. THE FOE. They trust in chariots and in horses; their kings think that they will be saved by the multitude of their hosts. They inspire fear through the hearts of Israel, so that the land trembles as though God had rent it, and the people drink the wine of staggering and dismay. So tremendous is their assault, so overwhelming their numbers, that all help of man seems vain. It is thus in every era of the history of God's people, that Satan has stirred up their foes. Right behind the coalitions of men lies the malignity of the fallen spirit, who ever seeks to bruise the heel of the woman's seed.

II. THE ATTITUDE OF FAITH. Whilst the Serried ranks of the foe are are in sight, the hero-king is permitted a vision into the unseen and eternal. There is no fear upon the face of God, no change in his determination to set his king upon his holy hill. In fact, it seems that the day of his foe's attack is that in which he receives a new assurance of sonship, and is bidden to claim the nations for his inheritance, and the uttermost parts of the earth for his possession. In perfect peace he anticipates the result, the Lord will send forth the rod of His strength out of Zion, and strike through kings in the day of His wrath, and make His enemies His footstool, so that in all after-days he may combine the office of priest and king, as Melchizedek did on that same site centuries before.

III. THE WARRIORS OF THE PRIEST-KING. Catching the contagion of his faith, they triumph in God's salvation, and in His Name set up their banners. They believe that God, as a Man of War, is going forth with their, hosts, and will tread down their adversaries. They are characterised by the willingness of their service. No mercenaries are pressed into their ranks; they gladly gather around the standard, as the warriors of whom Deborah sang, who willingly offered themselves. They are clad not in mail, but in the fine linen of the priests; "the beauties of holiness," a phrase which .suggests that the warfare was conducted by religious men as an act of worship to God. They are numerous as the dewdrops that bespangle the morning grass, when every blade has its own coronet of jewels, and the light is reflected from a million diamonds (Psalm 110.) What an exquisite conception of David's ideal for his soldiers, and of the knightly chivalry, of the purity, truth, and righteousness, in which all the soldiers of the Messiah should be arrayed!

IV. THE COMPLETENESS OF THE VICTORY. The armies of the alien cannot stand the onset of those heaven-accoutred soldiers. Kings of armies flee apace. They are bowed down and fallen in bitter, hopeless defeat. They are made as a fiery furnace in the time of God's anger, and swallowed up in His wrath. Their dead bodies strew the battlefield, and the valleys are choked with slain. In David we have a type of the Messiah. For, of a truth, against the Holy Servant Jesus, whom God has anointed, both the Gentiles and the peoples of Israel have gathered together. Men have refused His sway, and do refuse it; but God hath sworn, and will not repent, that to Him every knee shall bow, and every tongue confess: and it is more sure than that to-morrow's sun will rise that, ere long, great voices shall be heard in Heaven, saying, "The kingdoms of the world are become the kingdoms of our Lord, and of His Christ: and He shall reign for ever and ever" (Revelation 11:15-18.)

(F. B. Meyer, B. A.)

The first series of David's wars, on the termination of which it is said that he enjoyed "rest round about from all his enemies" (2 Samuel 7:1), was concluded before his proposal to build the temple. These seem to have been wars with such remnants of the ancient inhabitants as combined to molest his people within the limits of the twelve tribes. The wars now undertaken were chiefly against neighbouring nations, including the occupants of that large territory between Palestine and the Euphrates, which God had promised to Abraham (Genesis 15:18). The nations against which David now went forth were most of them extremely warlike; they seem, too, to have been banded together in leagues or confederacies; so that the enterprise was attended with difficulties and dangers which only a heart, made brave and fearless by trust in the Invisible, could have ventured to face. The 20th Psalm may have been written for the occasion, and left behind for the Levites, to be sung in the name of the nation, when they remembered the perils to which their king and his troops had gone forth. It is an instructive fact that the history of these wars occupies so small a portion of the Bible. A single verse is all that can be afforded to most of them. Had they been narrated at length, they would probably have forced a narrative that would have placed David, as a captain, on a level with Cyrus, Hannibal, or Caesar. It is one of the less noticed proofs of the inspiration of the Old Testament, that such dazzling transactions as these are passed over so briefly. There is no other history in the world where more space would be occupied in describing the carrying of an ark to its permanent resting-place, than in narrating seven great military campaigns. It would be beyond the power of human nature to resist the temptation to describe great battles — the story of which is always read with such interest, and which reflect so much earthly glory on one's nation, and create in the mind of the national reader such a feeling of satisfaction and pride.(1) The first campaign was against David's old friends, the Philistines. In former battles, David seems to have been content with driving them out of his territories — now he attacked them in their own. The town which he took, called Metheg-ammah, or the bridle of Ammah (so named from its situation), appears, from 1 Chronicles 18:1, to have been Gath itself. It was now David's lot, amid the vicissitudes of the world, to attack the place where he had once been sheltered — to hurl his weapons against the king (if he was still alive) whose hospitality he had experienced.(2) Much the same thing had to be done in his next campaign — that against Moab. The king of Moab had protected his father and mother when it became apparently unsafe for them to remain in their native land — and, through Ruth, Moabite blood ran in David's veins. Jewish writers have a tradition that, after a time, the king put his parents to death, and that this occasioned the war which David carried on against them. The severity practised against Moab was very great; it was a terrible blow, intended to cripple them for a whole generation, and make it physically impossible for them to take up arms again.(3) The third of David's conquests was over a more distant enemy, Hadadezer, the king of Zobah, in the direction of the Euphrates. It appears that in the course of this campaign another enemy had to be encountered — a vast mass of Syrians came out against him. It is evident that this campaign Was a very remarkable one, for the slaughter of the Syrians amounted to the prodigious number of 22,000; and the victory, besides giving David possession of Damascus and the whole of Syria, was followed by the voluntary submission of Tel, the king of Hamath (ver. 10), in the valley of Lebanon.(4) Of the wars with the Ammonites and Amalekites (ver. 12) nothing is recorded, nor is it certain whether these wars were carried on at the same time with the other campaigns, or whether (as we are inclined to think) the war with Amalek was that which took place while David was at Ziklag, and the war with Ammon that which is described in a subsequent chapter.(5) The last enemy specified is Edom; arid it is evident that the contest with that ferocious people was peculiarly bloody and critical. There is a degree of indistinctness in the narrative of this event, when it is attempted to harmonize the three passages that contain allusions to it — in Samuel and Chronicles, and in the introduction to the 60th Psalm. In one place, it is said that it was 18,000 Syrians that fell in the Valley of Salt (2 Samuel 8:18); in another they are said to have been Edomites (1 Chronicles 8:12); the introduction to the Psalm makes the number of Edomites 12,000; in Samuel, the victory is ascribed to David — in Chronicles, to Abishai — and in the Psalm, to Joab. It is probable that the war with Edom was carried on at the same time as the war with the Syrians; that while David and his army were in the north a detachment of the Syrians was sent to co-operate with the Edomites in attacking the southern part of Judah; that hearing of this, David despatched Abishai with a portion of his troops to encounter them; that Abishai completely defeated the confederate armies in the Valley of Salt (near Edom), much about the same time as David routed the Syrians in the neighbourhood of Damascus. If the Edomites and Syrians were confededate, it is not surprising that in one.place it should be said it was 18,000 Syrians that fell, and in another 18,000 Edomites. The psalm (60th), gives us a glimpse of the state of things in David's army at this time, revealing the frightful difficulties and dangers of the enterprise, and the singularly lofty efforts of prayerful courage which were needed to carry him through the crisis, It appears that his army, far from home, and engaged with a very powerful foe, had sunk to the lowest ebb, and had even, for a time, been visited with the most direful reverses. The effect of these victories must have been very striking. Nor, only were the people now freed from all the harassing attacks to which they had been subject at every moment and on every side, but the Hebrew kingdom was elevated to the rank of a first-rate Power. Garrisons were placed in all the surrounding strongholds; the accumulated hoards of Eastern wealth were transferred to Jerusalem; and streams of tribute rolled their golden waters into the treasury of David. The secret of David's success is expressed once and again in the narrative: "The Lord was with David, and preserved him whithersoever he went." It is one of the great lessons of the Old Testament that the godly man can and does perform his duty better than any other, because the Lord is with him — whether he be steward of a house, or keeper of a prison, or ruler of a kingdom, like Joseph; or a judge and lawgiver, like Moses; or a warrior, like Samson or Gideon or Jephthah; or a king, like David or Jehoshaphat or Josiah; or a prime minister over a hundred and twenty provinces, like Daniel. This is one of the prominent lessons of the Book of Psalms — it is inscribed upon its very portals; the godly man "shall be like a tree planted by the rivers of water, that bringeth forth his fruit in his season; his leaf also shall not wither; and whatsoever he doeth shall prosper." In all these warlike expeditions King David fulfilled his typical character — was an emblem of the Lion of the tribe of Judah, going forth "conquering and to conquer."

(W. G. Blaikie, M. A.)

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