2 Kings x.

Notes & Commentary:

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

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. (Haydock) — History affords many examples of similar effects of worldly wisdom. (Menochius)

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, Isaias 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 whisker: 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,” Septuagint, “the cloak, or mandua,” which is a military garment used in Persia) were cut (Calmet) for the same purpose, like our spencers, (Haydock) that the ambassadors might be exposed to derision, as breeches were not usually worn, (Calmet) except by priests officiating. (Du Hamel) — This was in contempt of circumcision. (Menochius) — 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 Paralipomenon xix.) were grown. The city was not rebuilt, but there were some houses in the territory of that devoted place, Josue vi. 26. (Haydock)

Ver. 6. Rohob, the capital, between Libanus and Antilibanus. — Soba was subject to Adarezer, chap. viii. 3. — Maacha, at the foot of Hermon. — Istob (Hebrew ish tob) signifies, the man, or prince, or “the master of Tob,” (Calmet) where Jephte lived, Judges xi. 5. (Du Hamel) (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 Paralipomenon xix. 6.) which Salien explains of the country between Abana and Pharphar, the two great rivers of Syria, (4 Kings v. 12,) though, on this occasion, he allows that Adarezer hired forces from the utmost parts beyond the Euphrates. (Haydock)

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, contra Verrem 3.) — The Romans have frequently waged war to revenge such wrongs. (Grotius, 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. (Haydock) — Gate of Medaba. (Paralipomenon) Besides the 33,000 auxiliaries (ver. 6) and the natives, 32,000 chariots of war were hired from beyond the Euphrates, 1 Paralipomenon xix. 7.

Ver. 12. City, Jerusalem, the metropolis; or, all the cities of Israel. (Paralipomenon)

Ver. 15. Together, expecting that David would punish them farther. (Menochius)

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

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

Ver. 19. Before Israel. Hebrew and Septuagint 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. (Haydock) — The addition is not found in the ancient version of St. Jerome. These tributary kings lived in Syria, and some perhaps beyond the Euphrates. See Psalm lix. (Calmet) — 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, Paralipomenon. (Menochius)

Bible Text & Cross-references:

The Ammonites shamefully abuse the ambassadors of David: they hire the Syrians to their assistance: but are overthrown with their allies.

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

2 And David said: *I will shew kindness to Hanon, the son of Naas, as his father showed kindness to me. So David sent his servants to comfort him for the death of his father. But when the servants of David were come into the land of the children of Ammon,

3 The princes of the children of Ammon said to Hanon, their lord: Thinkest thou that for the honour of thy father, David hath sent comforters to thee, and hath not David rather sent his servants to thee to search, and spy into the city, and overthrow it?

4 Wherefore Hanon took the servants of David, and shaved off the one half of their beards, and cut away half of their garments, even to the buttocks, and sent them away.

5 When this was told David, he sent to meet them: for the men were sadly put to confusion, and David commanded them, saying: Stay at Jericho, till your beards be grown, and then return.

6 And the children of Ammon seeing that they had done an injury to David, sent and hired the Syrians of Rohob, and the Syrians of Soba, twenty thousand footmen, and of the king of Maacha a thousand men, and of Istob twelve thousand men.

7 And when David heard this, he sent Joab, and the whole army of warriors.

8 And the children of Ammon came out, and set their men in array at the entering in of the gate: but the Syrians of Soba, and of Rohob, and of Istob, and of Maacha, were by themselves in the field.

9 Then Joab, seeing that the battle was prepared against him, both before and behind, 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 to Abisai, his brother, who set them in array against the children of Ammon.

11 And Joab said: If the Syrians are too strong for me, then thou shalt help me: but if the children of Ammon are too strong for thee, then I will help thee.

12 Be of good courage, and let us fight for our people, and for the city of our God: and the Lord will do what is good in his sight.

13 And Joab, and the people that were with him, began to fight against the Syrians: and they immediately fled before him.

14 And the children of Ammon seeing that the Syrians were fled, they fled also before Abisai, and entered into the city: and Joab returned from the children of Ammon, and came to Jerusalem.

15 Then the Syrians, seeing that they had fallen before Israel, gathered themselves together.

16 *And Adarezer sent and fetched the Syrians, that were beyond the river, and brought over their army: and Sobach, the captain of the host of Adarezer, was their general.

17 And when this was told David, he gathered all Israel together, and passed over the Jordan, and came to Helam: and the Syrians set themselves in array against David, and fought against him.

18 And the Syrians fled before Israel, and David slew of the Syrians the men of seven hundred chariots, and forty thousand horsemen: and smote Sobach, the captain of the army, who presently died.

19 And all the kings that were auxiliaries of Adarezer, seeing themselves overcome by Israel, were afraid and fled away, eight and fifty thousand men, before Israel. And they made peace with Israel, and served them: and the Syrians were afraid to help the children of Ammon any more.



1: Year of the World 2967, Year before Christ 1037.

2: 1 Paralipomenon xix. 2.

16: Year of the World 2968, Year before Christ 1036.