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Daily Reading for October 19: Luke 12-13; Proverbs 19

Study Verse: 1 Chronicles 18, 19, and 20

David Defeats His Enemies

18 aAfter this David defeated the Philistines and subdued them, and he took Gath and its villages out of the hand of the Philistines.

And he defeated Moab, and the Moabites became servants to David and brought tribute.

David also defeated bHadadezer king of cZobah-Hamath, as he went to set up his monument1 at the river Euphrates. And David took from him 1,000 chariots, d7,000 horsemen, and 20,000 foot soldiers. And David hamstrung all the chariot horses, but left enough for 100 chariots. And when the Syrians of Damascus came to help Hadadezer king eof Zobah, David struck down 22,000 men of the Syrians. Then David put garrisons2 in Syria of Damascus, and the Syrians became servants to David and brought tribute. And the Lord gave victory to David3 wherever he went. And David took the shields of gold that were carried by the servants of Hadadezer and brought them to Jerusalem. And from fTibhath and from Cun, cities of Hadadezer, David took a large amount of bronze. gWith it Solomon made the bronze sea and the pillars and the vessels of bronze.

When hTou king of Hamath heard that David had defeated the whole army of Hadadezer, king eof Zobah, 10 he sent his son iHadoram to King David, to ask about his health and to bless him because he had fought against bHadadezer and defeated him; for bHadadezer had often been at war with Tou. And he sent all sorts of articles of gold, of silver, and of bronze. 11 These also King David dedicated to the Lord, together with the silver and gold that he had carried off from all the nations, from jEdom, Moab, the Ammonites, the Philistines, and Amalek.

12 And kAbishai, the son of Zeruiah, killed 18,000 Edomites in the Valley of Salt. 13 Then he put garrisons in Edom, and all the Edomites became David's servants. And the Lord gave victory to David wherever he went.

David's Administration

14 So David reigned over all Israel, and he administered justice and equity to all his people. 15 And lJoab the son of Zeruiah was over the army; and Jehoshaphat the son of Ahilud was recorder; 16 mand Zadok the son of Ahitub and nAhimelech the son of Abiathar were priests; and oShavsha was secretary; 17 and Benaiah the son of Jehoiada was over the Cherethites and the Pelethites; and David's sons were the pchief officials in the service of the king.

The Ammonites Disgrace David's Men

19 qNow after this Nahash the king of the Ammonites died, and his son reigned in his place. And David said, "I will deal kindly with Hanun the son of Nahash, for his father dealt kindly with me." So David sent messengers to console him concerning his father. And David's servants came to the land of the Ammonites to Hanun to console him. But the princes of the Ammonites said to Hanun, "Do you think, because David has sent comforters to you, that he is honoring your father? Have not his servants come to you to search and to overthrow and to spy out the land?" So Hanun took David's servants and shaved them and cut off their garments in the middle, at their hips, and sent them away; and they departed. When David was told concerning the men, he sent messengers to meet them, for the men were greatly ashamed. And the king said, "Remain at Jericho until your beards have grown and then return."

When the Ammonites saw that they had become a stench to David, Hanun and the Ammonites sent 1,000 talents1 of silver to hire chariots and horsemen rfrom Mesopotamia, from Aram-maacah, and from sZobah. They hired 32,000 chariots and the king of Maacah with his army, who came and encamped before tMedeba. And the Ammonites were mustered from their cities and came to battle. When David heard of it, he sent Joab and all the army of the mighty men. And the Ammonites came out and drew up in battle array at the entrance of the city, and the kings who had come were by themselves in the open country.

Ammonites and Syrians Defeated

10 When Joab saw that the battle was set against him both in front and in the rear, he chose some of the best men of Israel and arrayed them against the Syrians. 11 The rest of his men he put in the charge of uAbishai his brother, and they were arrayed against the Ammonites. 12 And he said, "If the Syrians are too strong for me, then you shall help me, but if the Ammonites are too strong for you, then I will help you. 13 Be strong, and let us use our strength for our people and for the cities of our God, and may the Lord do what seems good to him." 14 So Joab and the people who were with him drew near before the Syrians for battle, and they fled before him. 15 And when the Ammonites saw that the Syrians fled, they likewise fled before uAbishai, Joab's brother, and entered the city. Then Joab came to Jerusalem.

16 But when the Syrians saw that they had been defeated by Israel, they sent messengers and brought out the Syrians who were beyond the Euphrates,2 with vShophach the commander of the army of wHadadezer at their head. 17 And when it was told to David, he gathered all Israel together and crossed the Jordan and came to them and drew up his forces against them. And when David set the battle in array against the Syrians, they fought with him. 18 And the Syrians fled before Israel, and David killed of the Syrians the men of x7,000 chariots and 40,000 xfoot soldiers, and put to death also vShophach the commander of their army. 19 And when the servants of wHadadezer saw that they had been defeated by Israel, they made peace with David and became subject to him. So the Syrians were not willing to save the Ammonites anymore.

The Capture of Rabbah

20 yIn the spring of the year, the time when kings go out to battle, Joab led out the army and ravaged the country of the Ammonites and came and besieged Rabbah. But David remained at Jerusalem. And zJoab struck down Rabbah and overthrew it. aAnd David took the crown of their king from his head. He found that it weighed a talent1 of gold, and in it was a precious stone. And it was placed on David's head. And he brought out the spoil of the city, a very great amount. And he brought out the people who were in it and set them to labor2 bwith saws and iron picks and axes.3 And thus David did to all the cities of the Ammonites. Then David and all the people returned to Jerusalem.

Philistine Giants Killed

cAnd after this there arose war with the Philistines at Gezer. Then Sibbecai the Hushathite struck down Sippai, who was one of the descendants of the giants, and the Philistines were subdued. And there was again war with the Philistines, and Elhanan the son of dJair struck down Lahmi dthe brother of Goliath the Gittite, the shaft of whose spear was like a weaver's beam. And there was again war at Gath, where there was a man of great stature, who had six fingers on each hand and six toes on each foot, twenty-four in number, and he also was descended from the giants. And when he taunted Israel, Jonathan the son of eShimea, David's brother, struck him down. These were descended from the giants in Gath, and they fell by the hand of David and by the hand of his servants. [1]



Chapter 18

David's piety and his prayer we had an account of in the foregoing chapter; here follows immediately that which one might reasonably expect, an account of his prosperity; for those that seek first the kingdom of God and the righteousness thereof, as David did, shall have other things added to them as far as God sees good for them. Here is, I. His prosperity abroad. He conquered the Philistines (v. 1), the Moabites (v. 2), the king of Zobah (v. 3, 4), the Syrians (v. 5-8), made the king of Hamath his tributary (v. 9-11), and the Edomites (v. 12, 13). II. His prosperity at home. His court and kingdom flourished (v. 14-17). All this we had an account of before, 2 Sa. 8.

Verses 1-8

After this, it is said (v. 1), David did those great exploits. After the sweet communion he had had with God by the word and prayer, as mentioned in the foregoing chapter, he went on his work with extraordinary vigour and courage, conquering and to conquer. Thus Jacob, after his vision, lifted up his feet, Gen. 29:1.

We have taken a view of these victories before, and shall now only observe, 1. Those that have been long enemies to the Israel of God will be brought down at last. The Philistines had, for several generations, been vexatious to Israel, but now David subdued them, v. 1. Thus shall all opposing rule, principality, and power, be, at the end of time, put down by the Son of David, and the most inveterate enemies shall fall before him. 2. Such is the uncertainty of this world that frequently men lose their wealth and power when they think to confirm it. Hadarezer was smitten as he went to establish his dominion, v. 3. 3. A horse is a vain thing for safety, so David said (Ps. 33:17), and it seems he believed what he said, for he houghed the chariot-horses, v. 4. Being resolved not to trust to them (Ps. 20:7), he would not use them. 4. The enemies of God's church are often made to ruin themselves by helping one another, v. 5. The Syrians of Damascus were smitten when they came to help Hadarezer. When hand thus joins in hand they shall not only not go unpunished, but thereby they shall be gathered as the sheaves into the floor, Mic. 4:11, 12. 5. The wealth of the sinner sometimes proves to have been laid up for the just. The Syrians brought gifts, v. 6. Their shields of gold and their brass were brought to Jerusalem, v. 7, 8. As the tabernacle was built of the spoils of the Egyptians, so the temple of the spoils of other Gentile nations, a happy presage of the interest the Gentiles should have in the gospel church.

Verses 9-17

Here let us learn, 1. That it is our interest to make those our friends who have the presence of God with them. The king of Hamath, hearing of David's great success, sent to congratulate him and to court his favour with a noble present, v. 9, 10. It is in vain to contend with the Son of David. Kiss the Son, therefore, lest he be angry; let the kings and judges of the earth, and all inferior people too, be thus wise, thus instructed. The presents we are to bring him are not vessels of gold and silver, as here (those shall be welcomed to him who have no such presents to bring), but our hearts and sincere affections, our whole selves, we must present to him as living sacrifices. 2. That what God blesses us with we must honour him with. The presents of his friends, as well as the spoils of his enemies, David dedicated unto the Lord (v. 11), that is, he laid them up towards the building and enriching of the temple. That is most truly and most comfortably our own which we have consecrated unto the Lord, and which we use for his glory. Let our merchandise and our hire be holiness to the Lord, Isa. 23:18. 3. That those who take God along with them whithersoever they go may expect to prosper, and be preserved, whithersoever they go. It was said before (v. 6) and here it is repeated (v. 13) that the Lord preserved David whithersoever he went. Those are always under the eye of God that have God always in their eye. 4. God gives men power, not that they may look great with it, but that they may do good with it. When David reigned over all Israel he executed judgment and justice among all his people, and so answered the end of his elevation. He was not so intent on his conquests abroad as to neglect the administration of justice at home. Herein he served the purposes of the kingdom of providence, and of that God who sits in the throne judging right; and he was an eminent type of the Messiah, the sceptre of whose kingdom is a right sceptre.

Chapter 19

The story is here repeated of David's war with the Ammonites and the Syrians their allies, and the victories he obtained over them, which we read just as it is here related, 2 Sa. 10. Here is, I. David's civility to the king of Ammon, in sending an embassy of condolence to him on occasion of his father's death (v. 1, 2). II. His great incivility to David, in the base usage he gave to his ambassadors (v. 3, 4). III. David's just resentment of it, and the war which broke out thereupon, in which the Ammonites acted with policy in bringing the Syrians to their assistance (v. 6, 7), Joab did bravely (v. 8-13), and Israel was once and again victorious (v. 14-19).

Verses 1-5

Let us here observe, 1. That is becomes good people to be neighbourly, and especially to be grateful. David will pay respect to Hanun because he is his neighbour; and religion teaches us to be civil and obliging to all, to honour all men, and to be ready to do all offices of kindness to those we live among; nor must difference in religion be any obstruction to this. But, besides this, David remembered the kindness which his father showed to him. Those that have received kindness must return it as they have ability and opportunity: those that have received it from the parents must return it to the children when they are gone. 2. That, as saith the proverb of the ancients, Wickedness proceedeth from the wicked, 1 Sa. 24:13. The vile person will speak villany, and the instruments of the churl will be evil, to destroy those with lying words that speak right, Isa. 32:6, 7. Those that are base, and design ill themselves, are apt to be jealous and to suspect ill of others without cause. Hanun's servant suggested that David's ambassadors came as spies, as if so great and mighty a man as David needed to do so mean a thing (if he had any design upon the Ammonites, he could effect it by open force, and had no occasion for any fraudulent practices), or as if a man of such virtue and honour would do so base a thing. Yet Hanun hearkened to the suggestion, and, against the law of nations, treated David's ambassadors villainously. 3. Masters ought to protect their servants, and with the greatest tenderness to concern themselves for them if they come by any loss or damage in their service. David did so for his ambassadors, v. 5. Christ will do so for his ministers; and let all masters thus give unto their servants that which is just and equal.

Verses 6-19

We may see here, 1. How the hearts of sinners that are marked for ruin are hardened to their destruction. The children of Ammon saw that they had made themselves odious to David (v. 6), and then it would have been their wisdom to desire conditions of peace, to humble themselves and offer any satisfaction for the injury they had done him, the rather because they had made themselves not only odious to David, but obnoxious to the justice of God, who is King of nations, and will assert the injured rights and maintain the violated laws of nations. But, instead of this, they prepared for war, and so brought upon themselves, by David's hand, those desolations which he never intended them. 2. How the courage of brave men is heightened and invigorated by difficulties. When Joab saw that the battle was set against him before and behind (v. 10), instead of meditating a retreat, he doubled his resolution; and, though he could not double, he divided his army, and not only spoke, but acted, like a gallant man, that had great presence of mind when he saw himself surrounded. He engaged with his brother for mutual assistance (v. 12), excited himself and the rest of the officers to act vigorously in their respective posts, with an eye to God's glory and their country's good, not to any honour and advantage of their own, and then left the issue to God: Let the Lord do that which is right in his sight. 3. How vain the greatest art and strength are against justice and equity. The Ammonites did their utmost to make the best of their position: they brought as good a force into the field, and disposed it with as much policy as possible; yet, having a bad cause, and acting in defence of wrong, it would not do; they were put to the worst. Right will prevail and triumph at last. 4. To how little purpose it is for those to rally again, and reinforce themselves, that have not God on their side. The Syrians, though in no way concerned in the merits of the cause, but serving only as mercenaries to the Ammonites, when they were beaten, thought themselves concerned to retrieve their honour, and therefore called in the assistance of the Syrians on the other side Euphrates; but to no purpose, for still they fled before Israel (v. 18); they lost 7000 men, who are said to be the men of 700 chariots, 2 Sa. 10:18. For, as now in a man of war for sea-service they allot ten men to a gun, so then, in land-service, ten men to a chariot. 5. those who have meddled with strife that belongs not to them, and have found that they meddled to their own heart, do well to learn wit at length and meddle no further. The Syrians, finding that Israel was the conquering side, not only broke off their alliance with the Ammonites and would help them no more (v. 19), but made peace with David and became his servants. Let those who have in vain stood it out against God be thus wise for themselves, and agree with him quickly, while they are in the way. Let them become his servants; for they cannot but see themselves undone if they be his enemies.

Chapter 20

Here is a repetition of the story of David's wars, I. With the Ammonites, and the taking of Rabbah (v. 1-3). II. With the giants of the Philistines (v. 4-8).

Verses 1-3

How the army of the Ammonites and their allies was routed in the field we read in the foregoing chapters. Here we have the destruction of Rabbah, the metropolis of their kingdom (v. 1), the putting of their king's crown upon David's head (v. 2), and the great severity that was used towards the people, v. 3. Of this we had a more full account in 2 Sa. 11, 12, and cannot but remember it by this sad token, that while Joab was besieging Rabbah David fell into that great sin in the matter of Uriah. But it is observable that, though the rest of the story is repeated, that is not: a hint only is given of it, in those words which lie here in a parenthesis-But David tarried at Jerusalem. If he had been abroad with his army, he would have been out of the way of that temptation; but, indulging his ease, he fell into uncleanness. Now, as the relating of the sin David fell into is an instance of the impartiality and fidelity of the sacred writers, so the avoiding of the repetition of it here, when there was a fair occasion given to speak of it again, is designed to teach us that, though there may be a just occasion to speak of the faults and miscarriages of others, yet we should not take delight in the repetition of them. That should always be looked upon as an unpleasing subject which, though sometimes one cannot help falling upon, yet one would not choose to dwell upon, any more than we should love to rake in a dunghill. The persons, or actions, we can say no good of, we had best say nothing of.

Verses 4-8

The Philistines were nearly subdued (ch. 18:1); but, as in the destruction of the Canaanites by Joshua the sons of Anak were last subdued (Jos. 11:21), so here in the conquest of the Philistines the giants of Gath were last brought down. In the conflicts between grace and corruption there are some sins which, like these giants, keep their ground a great while and are not mastered without much difficulty and a long struggle: but judgment will be brought forth unto victory at last. Observe, 1. We never read of giants among the Israelites as we do of the giants among the Philistines-giants of Gath, but not giants of Jerusalem. The growth of God's plants is in usefulness, not in bulk. Those who covet to have cubits added to their stature do not consider that it will but make then more unwieldy. In the balance of the sanctuary David far outweighs Goliath. 2. The servants of David, though men of ordinary stature, were too hard for the giants of Gath in every encounter, because they had God on their side, who takes pleasure in abasing lofty looks, and mortifying the giants that are in the earth, as he did of old by the deluge, though they were men of renown. Never let the church's friends be disheartened by the power and pride of the church's enemies. We need not fear great men against us while we have the great God for us. What will a finger more on each hand do, or a toe more on each foot, in contest with Omnipotence? 3. These giants defied Israel (v. 7) and were thus made to pay for their insolence. None are more visibly marked for ruin that those who reproach God and his Israel. God will do great things rather than suffer the enemy to behave themselves proudly, Deu. 32:27. The victories of the Son of David, like those of David himself, are gradual. We see not yet all things put under him; but it will be seen shortly: and death itself, the last enemy, like these giants, will be triumphed over.[2]

a For ver. 1-17, see 2 Sam. 8:1-18

b [2 Sam. 8:3]

c See 1 Kgs. 8:65

1 Hebrew hand

d [2 Sam. 8:4]

e ch. 19:6

2 Septuagint, Vulgate, 2 Samuel 8:6 (compare Syriac); Hebrew lacks garrisons

3 Hebrew the Lord saved David; also verse 13

f [2 Sam. 8:8]

g 1 Kgs. 7:15, 23; 2 Chr. 4:12, 15, 16

h [2 Sam. 8:9]

e [See ver. 5 above]

i [2 Sam. 8:10]

b [See ver. 3 above]

b [See ver. 3 above]

j [2 Sam. 8:12]

k 1 Sam. 26:6; [2 Sam. 8:13]

l [ch. 11:6]

m [2 Sam. 8:17; 20:25]

n [ch. 24:3, 6]

o [2 Sam. 8:17; 1 Kgs. 4:3]

p [2 Sam. 8:18]

q For ver. 1-19, see 2 Sam. 10:1-19

1 A talent was about 75 pounds or 34 kilograms

r [2 Sam. 10:6]

s ch. 18:5, 9

t Num. 21:30; Josh. 13:9, 16

u ch. 18:12

u [See ver. 11 above]

2 Hebrew the River

v [2 Sam. 10:16, 18]

w 2 Sam. 10:16

x [2 Sam. 10:18]

x [2 Sam. 10:18]

v [See ver. 16 above]

w [See ver. 16 above]

y 2 Sam. 11:1

z 2 Sam. 12:26

a For ver. 2, 3, see 2 Sam. 12:30, 31

1 A talent was about 75 pounds or 34 kilograms

2 Compare 2 Samuel 12:31; Hebrew he sawed

b [2 Sam. 12:31]

3 Compare 2 Samuel 12:31; Hebrew saws

c For ver. 4-8, see 2 Sam. 21:18-22

d [2 Sam. 21:19]

d [2 Sam. 21:19]

e ch. 2:13; 2 Sam. 13:3; [1 Sam. 16:9; 17:13]

[1] The Holy Bible: English Standard Version. (2016). (1 Ch 18:1-20:8). Wheaton, IL: Crossway Bibles.

[2] Henry, M. (1994). Matthew Henry's commentary on the whole Bible: complete and unabridged in one volume (pp. 573-574). Peabody: Hendrickson.