King James Bible
with Catholic Commentary by George Leo Haydock

2 Samuel > Old Testament > Home

2 Samuel 10

David’s messengers ill-treated by Hanun. (1-5) The Ammonites defeated. (6-14) The Syrians defeated. (15-19)

2 Samuel 10 Audio:

Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.

David’s messengers ill-treated by Hanun

1 And it came to pass after this, that the king of the children of Ammon died, and Hanun his son reigned in his stead.

2 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.

3 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?

4 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.

5 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.

The Ammonites defeated

6 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.

7 And when David heard of it, he sent Joab, and all the host of the mighty men.

8 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.

9 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:

10 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.

11 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.

12 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.

13 And Joab drew nigh, and the people that were with him, unto the battle against the Syrians: and they fled before him.

14 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.

The Syrians defeated

15 And when the Syrians saw that they were smitten before Israel, they gathered themselves together.

16 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.

17 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.

18 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.

19 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.

« »

G Haydock's Catholic Bible Commentary

Ver. 2. Naas, whom Saul had defeated, and who on that account is supposed to have received his rival more willingly, (C.) when he had retreated into the country of Moab. 1 K. xxii. 3. After receiving many presents from Naas, he retired to Odollam. S. Jer. Tradit. M. — Though the Israelites were not to seek the friendship of these nations, (Deut. xxiii. 6,) they were not forbidden to make a return of gratitude. M.

Ver. 3. It. Thus, by their insinuations, they pervert the good dispositions of their prince, and by too much policy bring ruin on the nation. H. — History affords many examples of similar effects of worldly wisdom. M.

Ver. 4. Away, having forced them as it were to go into mourning for the deceased king. These nations adopted the same customs as the Hebrews: they cut their hair, and rent their garments, to express their deep affliction. Isai. xv. 2. The Arabs would deem it a great insult, and a piece of irreligion, to shave their beard. Darvieux vii. p. 175. Plutarch (Agesil) observes, that the Lacedemonians obliged those who acted in a cowardly manner in war, to wear only one wisker: and Herodotus (ii. 121,) takes notice of a person who, in contempt, cut off the beard on the right cheeks of some soldiers, who were placed to guard the body of his brother, who had been gibbeted, having first made them drunk, that he might take away the body. The garments (Aquila says, “the tunic,” Sept. “the cloak, or mandua,” which is a military garment used in Persia) were cut (C.) for the same purpose, like our spencers, (H.) that the ambassadors might be exposed to derision, as breeches were not usually worn, (C.) except by priests officiating. D. — This was in contempt of circumcision. M. — Yet we cannot suppose, but that the ambassadors would procure something to cover themselves before they arrived at Jericho, where they remained till their beard and the hair of their head (1 Par. xix.) were grown. The city was not rebuilt, but there were some houses in the territory of that devoted place. Jos. vi. 26. H.

Ver. 6. Rohob, the capital, between Libanus and Antibanus. — Soba was subject to Adarezer. C. viii. 3. — Maacha, at the foot of Hermon. — Istob (Heb. ish tob) signifies, the man, or prince, or “the master of Tob,” (C.) where Jephte lived. Judg. xi. 5. D. Salien. — Josephus thinks that Istob is the name of a fourth king, who, together with the king of Micha, brought 22,000 into the field. The first he styles king “of the Mesopotamians,” (1 Par. xix. 6.) which Salien explains of the country between Abana and Pharphar, the two great rivers of Syria, (4 K. v. 12,) though, on this occasion, he allows that Adarezer hired forces from the utmost parts beyond the Euphrates. H.

Ver. 7. Warriors. The outrage offered to the ambassadors was a sufficient reason. The king of Ammon might have refused to receive them; but he could not, with any propriety, treat them with scorn. “The right of ambassadors has both a divine and human sanction.” Cicero, c. Verrem 3. — The Romans have frequently waged war to revenge such wrongs. Grot. Jur. ii. 18.

Ver. 8. Ammon. David was disposed to have lived in peace with this nation: but they voluntarily provoked his arms, after he had made such havoc upon all the neighbouring idolaters, and thus draw down the scourge of Providence; who suffers those to be blinded whom he has resolved to punish. The preparations for this war seem to have been greater than usual, and it continued for a longer period, and in the end proved destructive to all. H. — Gate of Medaba. Paral. Besides the 33,000 auxiliaries (v. 6) and the natives, 32,000 chariots of war were hired from beyond the Euphrates. 1 Par. xix. 7.

Ver. 12. City, Jerusalem, the metropolis; or, all the cities of Israel. Paral.

Ver. 15. Together, expecting that David would punish them farther. M.

Ver. 17. Helam. Ptolemy mentions Alamata, on the Euphrates. But perhaps we ought to read the Heb. Lehem, “he came upon them.” See 1 Par. xix. 17. Some translate, “he came to their army.”

Ver. 18. Hundred. Paral. thousand, allowing ten men for each chariot. D. M. — The men is omitted in both texts. See C. viii. 4. H. — Horsemen. Paral. reads, footmen, supplying what is here omitted, (Salien) so that 87,000 Syrians perished, unless there be a mistake of the transcribers. C. — Smote, though not perhaps with his own hand, as he slew so many thousands by means of his army. M.

Ver. 19. Before Israel. Heb. and Sept. only read, “And when all the kings, servants of Adarezer, saw that they were smitten before Israel, they made peace with Israel, and served them,” &c. H. — The addition is not found in the ancient version of S. Jerom. These tributary kings lived in Syria, and some perhaps beyond the Euphrates. See Ps. lix. C. — The army had consisted of 145,000 men. After the loss of 87,000, the servants of Adarezer went over to David, and served him. Paral. M.