1 Chronicles 19:1–19

Read the passage.

Sometimes, diplomacy fails, but in this instance it does not appear to be David’s fault. King David had a good relationship with King Nahash of the Ammonites, so he decided to send a delegation to the new King Hanun after Nahash died as a display of friendship. Hanun, however, does not take it kindly. Much like David’s grandson Rehoboam will be given bad advice in his time, Hanun’s advisors convince him the Israelites are spies.

Hanun orders them captured, half their beards shaved off, and their robes cut off at the hips. The delegation is then sent home in disgrace, looking ridiculous, showing off their underwear. (If they even had any; I don’t know what the fashion was then.) Their shame is so deep that they don’t even want to show their faces to their king, and they send messenger ahead to tell David what happened. He understands their position and has them remain in Jericho until they look respectable again. In the meantime, Hanun’s insult does not go unchallenged.

Somehow, anyway. We aren’t told what happens between verses 5 and 6, but Ammon gathers together an army to attack Israel, hiring chariots and horsemen from their neighbors to bolster their numbers. Joab puts his brother Abishai in charge of half of the army so that they fight on two fronts. Abishai will fight the Ammonites and Joab will fight the Syrian mercenaries. They make plans to help each other as needed, but the Lord gives them victory over both groups of forces.

The retreating Syrians call up reinforcements from Zobah, also ethnically Syrians, who had been defeated by David previously. King Hadadezer again joins in battle with King David and is again defeated, this time for good. Zobah then becomes a subject of Israel and no longer an ally willing to help Ammon.

Rivers of water and flows of battle are equally directed by Your hand.

326 Words