When the Ammonites realized that they had become a stench to David, Hanun and the Ammonites sent a thousand talents of silver to hire for themselves chariots and horsemen from Aram-naharaim, Aram-maacah, and Zobah.
1. On perceiving the effect of their treatment of David's ambassadors (ver. 6; "That they had made themselves odious," 1 Chronicles 19:6), the Ammonites obtained, for "a thousand talents of silver," the aid of the Syrians of Beth-rehob and of Zobah (under Hadarezer, the most powerful of David's adversaries), the King of Maacah and the men of Tob; "who came and pitched before Medeba" (1 Chronicles 19:7), twenty miles southwest cf Rabbah, with their infantry, cavalry, and war chariots. "And the children of Ammon gathered themselves together from their cities" to the capital (Rabbah), and put themselves in battle array before the gate.
2. Hearing of their warlike preparations, David had sent forth "all the host, the mighty men," under Joab (2 Samuel 3:22-30), who now found himself between the two hostile forces; and, selecting a portion of the army, placed himself opposite to the Syrians, whilst he left the rest, under Abishai, to cover his rear and hold the Ammonites in check. He doubtless hoped to defeat the enemy in successive engagements.
3. But fearing a simultaneous attack, he made an agreement with his brother, that if either of them were worsted, the other should hasten to his relief. Such an agreement is prudent, needful, and beneficial among those also who are engaged in spiritual warfare against the enemies of the kingdom of God. It -
I. CONFIRMS AN OBVIOUS DUTY. For it is plainly the duty of brethren:
1. To consider each other's condition, to sympathize with each other's weakness and distress, and not to be concerned about themselves alone. "Not looking each of you to his own things," etc. (Philippians 2:4; 1 Corinthians 10:24).
2. To make use of their power, to "strengthen their brethren," especially when taking part in the same conflict as themselves. The strong should help the weak.
3. To afford them help, opportunely, promptly, with all their might, and even at much sacrifice and hazard to themselves. If the ungodly "helped every one his neighbour; and every one said to his brother, Be of good courage" Isaiah 41:6), much more ought the godly to do the same. "But if ye will not do so, behold ye have sinned against the Lord: and he sure your sin will find you out" (Numbers 32:23). And the agreement to render mutual help in time of need makes the obligation to do so more distinct, impressive, and effective.
II. CONTEMPLATES A POSSIBLE REVERSE. "If the Syrians be too strong for me," etc.; indicating a conviction of:
1. The great power of the enemy and the serious nature of the struggle (1 Samuel 13:1-7). It would he madness to despise them.
2. The possibility of failure in the wisest plans and disappointment in the most sanguine expectations. "We do not hinder our successes by preparing for disappointment." Although those who "contend earnestly for the faith once for all delivered to the saints" cannot be generally and permanently defeated, yet particular organizations, methods, and hopes may be overthrown. None, however strong, can be certain of never needing help; whilst the promise of help furnishes the weak with a special claim to it.
3. The necessity of taking every precaution for repairing defect in the weakest part, lest it should issue in disaster to the whole. "Bear ye one another's burdens, and so fulfil the Law of Christ" (Galatians 6:2).
III. CONDUCES TO SIGNAL SUCCESS. By:
1. Giving them to feel their mutual dependence, and bringing them into closer union in the spirit of a common enterprise.
2. Affording assurance of the advantages arising from cooperation toward a common end. These advantages are inestimable. "Two are better than one... And if one prevail against him, two shall withstand him; and a threefold cord is not quickly broken" (Ecclesiastes 4:9-12).
3. Inspiring them with increased confidence arising therefrom; and inciting them to greater individual effort than they might otherwise have put forth on behalf of each other and their common safety, welfare, and honour. Both the Syrians and Ammonites were routed (vers. 13, 14). "It was, perhaps, the first time in his life that Hadarezer suffered defeat" (Ewald); and this defeat was followed ere long by another (by David at Helam) still more overwhelming; so that "all the kings that were servants to Hadarezer made peace with Israel, and served them," etc. (vers. 15-19; 2 Samuel 8:3, 4). - D.
And when the children of Ammon.I. INSULT SPRINGING FROM SLIGHT PROVOCATION.
1. From a suspicious mind.
2. From advice of jealous princes.
II. INSULT LEADING TO UNJUST WAR. This War might have been avoided by an honourable apology or better understanding. One evil leads to smother.
III. WAR TERMINATING IN DISGRACEFUL OVERTHROW.
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