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2 Samuel 8:1--10:19

David Subjugates Nearby Nations

8:1 Later David defeated the Philistines and subdued them. David took Metheg Ammah 1  from the Philistines. 2  8:2 He defeated the Moabites. He made them lie on the ground and then used a rope to measure them off. He put two-thirds of them to death and spared the other third. 3  The Moabites became David’s subjects and brought tribute. 4  8:3 David defeated King Hadadezer son of Rehob of Zobah when he came to reestablish 5  his authority 6  over the Euphrates 7  River. 8:4 David seized from him 1,700 charioteers 8  and 20,000 infantrymen. David cut the hamstrings of all but a hundred of the chariot horses. 9  8:5 The Arameans of Damascus came to help King Hadadezer of Zobah, but David killed 22,000 of the Arameans. 8:6 David placed garrisons in the territory of the Arameans of Damascus; the Arameans became David’s subjects and brought tribute. The Lord protected 10  David wherever he campaigned. 11  8:7 David took the golden shields that belonged to Hadadezer’s servants and brought them to Jerusalem. 12  8:8 From Tebah 13  and Berothai, Hadadezer’s cities, King David took a great deal of bronze.

8:9 When King Toi 14  of Hamath heard that David had defeated the entire army of Hadadezer, 8:10 he 15  sent his son Joram 16  to King David to extend his best wishes 17  and to pronounce a blessing on him for his victory over Hadadezer, for Toi had been at war with Hadadezer. 18  He brought with him various items made of silver, gold, and bronze. 19  8:11 King David dedicated these things to the Lord, 20  along with the dedicated silver and gold that he had taken from 21  all the nations that he had subdued, 8:12 including 22  Aram, 23  Moab, the Ammonites, the Philistines, and Amelek. This also included some of the plunder taken from 24  King Hadadezer son of Rehob of Zobah.

8:13 David became famous 25  when he returned from defeating the Arameans 26  in the Valley of Salt, he defeated 27  18,000 in all. 8:14 He placed garrisons throughout Edom, 28  and all the Edomites became David’s subjects. The Lord protected David wherever he campaigned. 8:15 David reigned over all Israel; he guaranteed justice for all his people. 29 

David’s Cabinet

8:16 Joab son of Zeruiah was general in command of 30  the army; Jehoshaphat son of Ahilud was secretary; 8:17 Zadok son of Ahitub and Ahimelech son of Abiathar 31  were priests; Seraiah was scribe; 8:18 Benaiah son of Jehoida supervised 32  the Kerithites and Pelethites; and David’s sons were priests. 33 

David Finds Mephibosheth

9:1 34 Then David asked, “Is anyone still left from the family 35  of Saul, so that I may extend kindness to him for the sake of Jonathan?”

9:2 Now there was a servant from Saul’s house named Ziba, so he was summoned to David. The king asked him, “Are you Ziba?” He replied, “At your service.” 36  9:3 The king asked, “Is there not someone left from Saul’s family, 37  that I may extend God’s kindness to him?” Ziba said to the king, “One of Jonathan’s sons is left; both of his feet are crippled.” 9:4 The king asked him, “Where is he?” Ziba told the king, “He is at the house of Makir son of Ammiel in Lo Debar.

9:5 So King David had him brought 38  from the house of Makir son of Ammiel in 39  Lo Debar. 9:6 When Mephibosheth son of Jonathan, the son of Saul, came to David, he bowed low with his face toward the ground. 40  David said, “Mephibosheth?” He replied, “Yes, at your service.” 41 

9:7 David said to him, “Don’t be afraid, because I will certainly extend kindness to you for the sake of Jonathan your father. You will be a regular guest at my table.” 42  9:8 Then Mephibosheth 43  bowed and said, “Of what importance am I, your servant, that you show regard for a dead dog like me?” 44 

9:9 Then the king summoned Ziba, Saul’s attendant, and said to him, “Everything that belonged to Saul and to his entire house I hereby give to your master’s grandson. 9:10 You will cultivate 45  the land for him – you and your sons and your servants. You will bring its produce 46  and it will be 47  food for your master’s grandson to eat. 48  But Mephibosheth, your master’s grandson, will be a regular guest at my table.” (Now Ziba had fifteen sons and twenty servants.)

9:11 Ziba said to the king, “Your servant will do everything that my lord the king has instructed his servant to do.” So Mephibosheth was a regular guest 49  at David’s table, 50  just as though he were one of the king’s sons.

9:12 Now Mephibosheth had a young son whose name was Mica. All the members of Ziba’s household were Mephibosheth’s servants. 9:13 Mephibosheth was living in Jerusalem, 51  for he was a regular guest at the king’s table. But both his feet were crippled.

David and the Ammonites

10:1 Later the king of the Ammonites died and his son Hanun succeeded him. 52  10:2 David said, “I will express my loyalty 53  to Hanun son of Nahash just as his father was loyal 54  to me.” So David sent his servants with a message expressing sympathy over his father’s death. 55  When David’s servants entered the land of the Ammonites, 10:3 the Ammonite officials said to their lord Hanun, “Do you really think David is trying to honor your father by sending these messengers to express his sympathy? 56  No, David has sent his servants to you to get information about the city and spy on it so they can overthrow it!” 57 

10:4 So Hanun seized David’s servants and shaved off half of each one’s beard. He cut the lower part of their robes off so that their buttocks were exposed, 58  and then sent them away. 10:5 Messengers 59  told David what had happened, 60  so he summoned them, for the men were thoroughly humiliated. The king said, “Stay in Jericho 61  until your beards have grown again; then you may come back.”

10:6 When the Ammonites realized that David was disgusted with them, 62  they 63  sent and hired 20,000 foot soldiers from Aram Beth Rehob and Aram Zobah, 64  in addition to 1,000 men from the king of Maacah and 12,000 men from Ish-tob. 65 

10:7 When David heard the news, he sent Joab and the entire army to meet them. 66  10:8 The Ammonites marched out and were deployed for battle at the entrance of the city gate, while the men from Aram Zobah, Rehob, Ish-tob, and Maacah were by themselves in the field.

10:9 When Joab saw that the battle would be fought on two fronts, he chose some of Israel’s best men and deployed them against the Arameans. 67  10:10 He put his brother Abishai in charge of the rest of the army 68  and they were deployed 69  against the Ammonites. 10:11 Joab 70  said, “If the Arameans start to overpower me, 71  you come to my rescue. If the Ammonites start to overpower you, 72  I will come to your rescue. 10:12 Be strong! Let’s fight bravely for the sake of our people and the cities of our God! The Lord will do what he decides is best!” 73 

10:13 So Joab and his men 74  marched out to do battle with the Arameans, and they fled before him. 10:14 When the Ammonites saw the Arameans flee, they fled before his brother Abishai and went into the city. Joab withdrew from fighting the Ammonites and returned to 75  Jerusalem. 76 

10:15 When the Arameans realized that they had been defeated by Israel, they consolidated their forces. 77  10:16 Then Hadadezer sent for Arameans from 78  beyond the Euphrates River, 79  and they came to Helam. Shobach, the general in command of Hadadezer’s army, led them. 80 

10:17 When David was informed, he gathered all Israel, crossed the Jordan River, 81  and came to Helam. The Arameans deployed their forces against David and fought with him. 10:18 The Arameans fled before Israel. David killed 700 Aramean charioteers and 40,000 foot soldiers. 82  He also struck down Shobach, the general in command of the army, who died there. 10:19 When all the kings who were subject to Hadadezer 83  saw they were defeated by Israel, they made peace with Israel and became subjects of Israel. 84  The Arameans were no longer willing to help the Ammonites.

1 tn Heb “the bridle of one cubit.” Many English versions treat this as a place name because the parallel text in 1 Chr 18:1 reads “Gath” (which is used by NLT here). It is possible that “the bridle of one cubit” is to be understood as “the token of surrender,” referring to the Philistine’s defeat rather than a specific place (cf. TEV, CEV).

2 tn Heb “from the hand [i.e., control] of the Philistines.”

3 tn Heb “and he measured [with] two [lengths] of rope to put to death and [with] the fullness of the rope to keep alive.”

4 tn Heb “and the Moabites were servants of David, carriers of tribute.”

5 tc The LXX has ἐπιστῆσαι (episthsai, “cause to stand”). See the parallel text in 1 Chr 18:3.

6 tn Heb “hand.”

7 tn The MT does not have the name “Euphrates” in the text. It is supplied in the margin (Qere) as one of ten places where the Masoretes believed that something was “to be read although it was not written” in the text as they had received it. The ancient versions (LXX, Syriac Peshitta, Vulgate) include the word. See also the parallel text in 1 Chr 18:3.

8 tc The LXX has “one thousand chariots and seven thousand charioteers,” a reading adopted in the text of the NIV. See the parallel text in 1 Chr 18:4.

9 tn Heb “and David cut the hamstrings of all the chariot horses, and he left from them a hundred chariot horses.”

10 tn Or “delivered.”

11 tn Or “wherever he went.”

12 tc The LXX includes seventeen words (in Greek) at the end of v. 7 that are not found in the MT. The LXX addition is as follows: “And Sousakim king of Egypt took them when he came up to Jerusalem in the days of Rehoboam the son of Solomon.” This Greek reading now finds Hebrew support in 4QSama. For a reconstruction of this poorly preserved Qumran text see E. C. Ulrich, Jr., The Qumran Text of Samuel and Josephus (HSM), 45-48.

map For location see Map5 B1; Map6 F3; Map7 E2; Map8 F2; Map10 B3; JP1 F4; JP2 F4; JP3 F4; JP4 F4.

13 tn Heb “Betah” (so KJV, NASB, NRSV), but the name should probably be corrected to “Tebah.” See the parallel text in 1 Chr 18:8.

14 tn The name is spelled “Tou” in the parallel text in 1 Chr 18:9. NIV adopts the spelling “Tou” here.

15 tn Heb “Toi.” The proper name has been replaced by the pronoun in the translation for stylistic reasons.

16 tn The name appears as “Hadoram” in the parallel text in 1 Chr 18:10.

17 tn Heb “to ask concerning him for peace.”

18 tn Heb “and to bless him because he fought with Hadadezer and defeated him, for Hadadezer was a man of battles with Toi.”

19 tn Heb “and in his hand were items of silver and items of gold and items of bronze.”

20 tn Heb “also them King David made holy to the Lord.”

21 tn Heb “with the silver and the gold that he had dedicated from.”

22 tn Heb “from.”

23 tc The present translation follows the MT; a few Hebrew mss along with the LXX and Syriac read “Edom” (cf. 2 Sam 8:14 and 1 Chr 18:11). Many modern English versions read “Edom” here (e.g., NAB, NIV, NRSV, NLT).

24 tn Heb “and from the plunder of.”

25 tn Heb “made a name.”

26 tn So NASB, NCV; NAB, NIV, NRSV, NLT “Edomites” (see the note on “Aram” in v. 12).

27 tn The words “he defeated” are supplied in the translation for stylistic reasons.

28 tc The MT is repetitious here: “He placed in Edom garrisons; in all Edom he placed garrisons.” The Vulgate lacks “in all Edom”; most of the Greek tradition (with the exception of the Lucianic recension and the recension of Origen) and the Syriac Peshitta lack “he placed garrisons.” The MT reading appears here to be the result of a conflation of variant readings.

29 tn Heb “and David was doing what is just and fair for all his people.”

30 tn Heb “was over.”

31 tc Here Ahimelech is called “the son of Abiathar,” but NCV, CEV, and REB reverse this to conform with 1 Sam 22:20. Most recent English versions (e.g., NAB, NASB, NIV, NRSV, NLT) retain the order found in the MT.

32 tc The translation follows the Syriac Peshitta, Targum, and Vulgate in reading “over,” rather than the simple conjunction that appears in MT. See also the parallel passage in 1 Chr 18:17.

33 sn That David’s sons could have been priests, in light of the fact that they were not of the priestly lineage, is strange. One must assume either (1) that the word “priest” (כֹּהֵן, kohen) during this period of time could be used in a broader sense of “chief ruler” (KJV); “chief minister” (ASV, NASB), or “royal adviser” (NIV), perhaps based on the parallel passage in 1 Chr 18:17 which has “the king’s leading officials”, or (2) that in David’s day members of the king’s family could function as a special category of “priests” (cf. NLT “priestly leaders”). The latter option seems to be the more straightforward way of understanding the word in 2 Sam 8:18.

34 sn 2 Samuel 9–20 is known as the Succession Narrative. It is a literary unit that describes David’s efforts at consolidating his own kingdom following the demise of King Saul; it also provides the transition to subsequent leadership on the part of David’s successor Solomon.

35 tn Heb “house.”

36 tn Heb “your servant.”

37 tn Heb “house.”

38 tn Heb “sent and took him.”

39 tn Heb “from.”

40 tn Heb “he fell on his face and bowed down.”

41 tn Heb “Look, your servant.”

42 tn Heb “and you will eat food over my table continually.”

43 tn Heb “he”; the referent (Mephibosheth) has been specified in the translation for clarity.

44 tn Heb “What is your servant, that you turn to a dead dog which is like me?”

45 tn Heb “work.”

46 tn The Hebrew text implies, but does not actually contain, the words “its produce” here.

47 tc The words “it will be,” though present in the MT, are absent from the LXX, the Syriac Peshitta, and Vulgate.

48 tn Heb “and he will eat it.”

49 tn Heb “eating.”

50 tc Heb “my table.” But the first person reference to David is awkward here since the quotation of David’s words has already been concluded in v. 10; nor does the “my” refer to Ziba, since the latter part of v. 11 does not seem to be part of Ziba’s response to the king. The ancient versions are not unanimous in the way that they render the phrase. The LXX has “the table of David” (τῆς τραπέζης Δαυιδ, th" trapezh" Dauid); the Syriac Peshitta has “the table of the king” (patureh demalka’); the Vulgate has “your table” (mensam tuam). The present translation follows the LXX.

51 map For location see Map5 B1; Map6 F3; Map7 E2; Map8 F2; Map10 B3; JP1 F4; JP2 F4; JP3 F4; JP4 F4.

52 tn Heb “reigned in his place.”

53 tn Heb “do loyalty.”

54 tn Heb “did loyalty.”

55 tn Heb “and David sent to console him by the hand of his servants concerning his father.”

56 tn Heb “Is David honoring your father in your eyes when he sends to you ones consoling?”

57 tn Heb “Is it not to explore the city and to spy on it and to overthrow it [that] David has sent his servants to you?”

58 tn Heb “and he cut their robes in the middle unto their buttocks.”

59 tn Heb “they”; the referent (the messengers) has been specified in the translation for clarity.

60 tn The words “what had happened” are supplied in the translation for stylistic reasons.

61 map For location see Map5 B2; Map6 E1; Map7 E1; Map8 E3; Map10 A2; Map11 A1.

62 tn Heb “that they were a stench [i.e., disgusting] with David.”

63 tn Heb “the Ammonites.”

64 tn Or “Arameans of Beth Rehob and Arameans of Zobah.”

65 tn Or perhaps “the men of Tob.” The ancient versions (the LXX, the Syriac Peshitta, and Vulgate) understand the name to be “Ish-tob.” It is possible that “Ish” is dittographic and that we should read simply “Tob,” a reading adopted by a number of recent English versions.

66 tn The words “the news” and “to meet them” are supplied in the translation for stylistic reasons and for clarification.

67 tn Heb “and Joab saw that the face of the battle was to him before and behind and he chose from all the best in Israel and arranged to meet Aram.”

68 tn Heb “people.”

69 tn Heb “he arranged.”

70 tn Heb “he”; the referent (Joab) has been specified in the translation for clarity.

71 tn Heb “if Aram is stronger than me.”

72 tn Heb “if the sons of Ammon are stronger than you.”

73 tn Heb “and the Lord will do what is good in his eyes.”

74 tn Heb “and the army which was with him.”

75 tn Heb “and Joab returned from against the sons of Ammon and entered.”

76 map For location see Map5 B1; Map6 F3; Map7 E2; Map8 F2; Map10 B3; JP1 F4; JP2 F4; JP3 F4; JP4 F4.

77 tn Heb “were gathered together.”

78 tn Heb “and Hadadezer sent and brought out Aram which is.”

79 tn Heb “from beyond the River.” The name “Euphrates” has been supplied in the translation for clarity.

80 tn Heb “was before them.”

81 tn The word “River” is not in the Hebrew text, but has been supplied in the translation for clarity.

82 tn Heb “horsemen” (so KJV, NASB, NCV, NRSV, NLT) but the Lucianic recension of the LXX reads “foot soldiers,” as does the parallel text in 1 Chr 19:18. Cf. NAB, NIV.

83 tn Heb “the servants of Hadadezer.”

84 tn Heb “and they served them.”

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