2 Samuel 8 (NRSV)
Some time afterward, David attacked the Philistines and subdued them; David took Metheg-ammah (that is, Gath, Goliath’s hometown) out of the hand of the Philistines.
2He also defeated the Moabites and, making them lie down on the ground, measured them off with a cord; he measured two lengths of cord for those who were to be put to death, and one length for those who were to be spared. And the Moabites became servants to David and brought tribute.
To explain David’s cruel act, Jewish tradition asserts that the king of Moab had killed David’s parents, who had been entrusted to his care (1 Samuel 22:4).
3David also struck down King Hadadezer son of Rehob of Zobah, as he went to restore his monument at the river Euphrates.
The border of Israel was carried to the Euphrates River, so that promise made by God to Abraham was fulfilled:
Genesis 15:18 (NLT)
So the LORD made a covenant with Abram that day and said, “I have given this land to your descendants, all the way from the border of Egypt to the great Euphrates River.”
4David took from him one thousand seven hundred horsemen, and twenty thousand foot soldiers. David hamstrung all the chariot horses, but left enough for a hundred chariots.
Perhaps not as cruel as it sounds. It may have been there were simply too many horses for them to take care of while on a military campaign.
5When the Arameans of Damascus came to help King Hadadezer of Zobah, David killed twenty-two thousand men of the Arameans. 6Then David put garrisons among the Arameans of Damascus; and the Arameans became servants to David and brought tribute. The Lord gave victory to David wherever he went.
7David took the gold shields that were carried by the servants of Hadadezer, and brought them to Jerusalem. 8From Betah and from Berothai, towns of Hadadezer, King David took a great amount of bronze.
9When King Toi of Hamath heard that David had defeated the whole army of Hadadezer, 10Toi sent his son Joram to King David, to greet him and to congratulate him because he had fought against Hadadezer and defeated him. Now Hadadezer had often been at war with Toi. Joram brought with him articles of silver, gold, and bronze; 11these also King David dedicated to the Lord, together with the silver and gold that he dedicated from all the nations he subdued, 12from Edom, Moab, the Ammonites, the Philistines, Amalek, and from the spoil of King Hadadezer son of Rehob of Zobah.
13David won a name for himself. When he returned, he killed eighteen thousand Edomites in the Valley of Salt. 14He put garrisons in Edom; throughout all Edom he put garrisons, and all the Edomites became David’s servants. And the Lord gave victory to David wherever he went.
David now rules over a vast territory, from the Euphrates in the northeast to the Egyptian border in the southwest. The honor for this success is given to God.
Psalm 115:1 (NIV)
Not to us, LORD, not to us but to your name be the glory, because of your love and faithfulness.
15So David reigned over all Israel; and David administered justice and equity to all his people. 16Joab son of Zeruiah was over the army; Jehoshaphat son of Ahilud was recorder; 17Zadok son of Ahitub and Ahimelech son of Abiathar were priests; Seraiah was secretary; 18Benaiah son of Jehoiada was over the Cherethites and the Pelethites; and David’s sons were priests.
No great ruler succeeds by himself. Only the smallest organizations are governed well without a gifted and committed team. Part of David’s success as a ruler was found in his ability to assemble, train, empower, and maintain such a team.
All these battles and wars! How grateful I am that we serve a King who is victorious!
HERE is “Lead On, O King Eternal” — arrangement by Diane Bish; Coral Ridge Presbyterian Church (FL) Chancel Choir, with Bish on the organ.
The New Revised Standard Version, copyright 1989 by the Division of Christian Education of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved.