In 2Sa 8 and 10, David's victories over the seven surrounding
kingdoms (Zobah, Philistia, Moab, Syria, Edom, Ammon, Amalek) secure his own
kingdom. In this they may be compared to the seven thunders of the Apocalypse --
in which Christ's kingdom subjugates the whole earth (Rev 10:3): (1) David first
cleared Zion of enemies; (2) then brought "ark" to Zion (in Last Days terms,
this may signify the glorified saints being established in Jerusalem); and (3)
finally, the seven campaigns extend and secure the kingdom.
2Sa 8: When David was seen to be firmly established as king
over the twelve tribes, all the surrounding Gentile nations took fright, and as
one man they determined to crush him before the combined resources of twelve
united tribes made him invincible.
The first trials of strength (vv 1,2) came from the west and
the east -- from Philistia and Moab. The Philistines especially had reason to
panic at the prospect of David reigning securely in Jerusalem. The campaign
against Moab (v 2) was only a preliminary trial of strength.
And so David fought well against "Aram-zobah" (a small
independent kingdom in the general locality of Damascus: 1Sa 14:47; 2Sa 8:3) and
"Aram-naharaim" (Syria of the "two rivers" -- ie Abana and Pharpar, or Euphrates
and Tigris) (2Sa 8:3-6; Psa 60, title).
But while David was rounding off this highly successful
campaign a long way from home in the north, he was shocked to learn that Judah,
left almost defenseless in his rear, had been invaded by the Ammonites, the
Moabites again, and the Edomites.
David's acute despair in a related psalm (Psa 60:1-3) suggests
how severe the inroads of these southern invaders were; and the mention of
Shechem in v 6 shows that not only were the eastern tribes in peril but that now
their threat was felt west of Jordan as well as in the extreme south, from Edom.
The "stab-in-the-back" tactics from Edom readily explains the strong resentment
which the psa expresses. This antagonism is demonstrated in the unusual savagery
of the campaign. God had promised David another great victory over the invading
forces (Psa 60:6-12), and thus it came to pass (2Sa 8:13,14).
Prob dealing more severely with those from the areas of Moab
which were nearest and most threatening to Israel -- slaying the leaders, and
putting those areas under tribute. No mere chance, but rather military
RESTORE: V 3 is ambiguous: "David smote also Hadadezer,
the son of Rehob, king of Zobah, as he (?) went to recover his (?) border at the
river Euphrates." Was it Hadadezer or David who went to recover his own border
at Euphrates? At first look it would seem to be the former. But perhaps instead
it was David, who had ambitions to reign over the full territory promised to
Abraham (Gen 15:18). If so, "recover" would seem to be the wrong word, since
David's territory had never extended anywhere nearly as far as the Euphrates
River. But by the change of one letter v 3 could read "establish" instead of
"recover" (see 1Ch 18:3, NIV).
HAMSTRUNG... CHARIOT HORSES: Or poss "disjointed" all
EIGHTEEN THOUSAND: The figures of 12,000 casualties
(Psa 60 title) and 18,000 casualties (2Sa 8:13) could probably be reconciled
easily enough, if only more detail were known about the three-pronged assault
led by David (2Sa 8:12,13), Abishai (1Ch 18:12), and Joab (1Ki 11:15,16; Psa 60
title). The heavy slaughter may poss reflect especially the brutality of the
character of Joab, who "cut off every male in Edom" (1Ki 11:16)!
EDOMITES: AV has, incorrectly, "Syrians". The diff
between Aram and Edom is , in the Heb, only a tittle, and confusion between the
two is common. (Note the Valley of Salt is at south end of Dead Sea, beside land
of Edom.) So v 13 should certainly read "the Edomites in the valley of salt" --
cp LXX and RSV. "The valley of salt" was at the south end of the Dead
Zadok with tabernacle in Gibeon; Ahimelech with ark in