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So David has brought peace to Israel on all sides, he has set up an organized government, and is establishing his kingdom. He seems to be trying to settle debts he felt he owed or to share God's love. Whatever the initial motivation, he started with Mephibosheth, to honor his beloved friend Jonathan, and that went well.

Then, for some unstated reason, David remembered a kindness paid by the king of Ammon, maybe while David was running form Saul. When that king died, his son took over and David sent men to greet him and offer him kindness in return. It is a little odd that Ammon is listed in those that David defeated just a few chapters earlier in II Samuel 8:12. But maybe that is where some kindness was paid? (Ryrie is saying that this is the battle mentioned in II Samuel 8:12. So I have to remember that the timeline isn't always perfectly linear.)

It did not go well when David's men reached out. The king's princes convinced him that David's men were there to spy, so he shaved half of their beards (a humiliation in that culture) and stripped half of their clothes (a humiliation in almost any culture).

Next, according to most versions I looked at it says that "David sent to meet them." It's an odd wording. It sort of sounds like he met them; but it also sounds like he sent messengers, which is what the NIV version says... Either way, he knew they were humiliated and couldn't show back up in Jerusalem with half beards, so he told them to stay in Jericho until their beards grew back.

So Ammon catches wind that David is not happy with them and they pay 10's of thousands of mercenaries to take on Israel at Jerusalem.

David's military leader, Joab and his brother organize a defense and agree to back one another up.

It doesn't exactly show David seeking the Lord's will before sending the men originally to Ammon, but it doesn't always include that. However, when Joab and his brother are preparing the defense, they put the battle into the Lord's hands in verse 10:12.

When the battle was underway, the mercenaries fled, so then the Ammonites fled. Then they regrouped and this time David gathered all of Israel together and crossed the Jordan to put end to the whole conflict. At that point, those fighting against him surrendered and became servants of Israel.

II Samuel 10-Wiersbe

Wiresbe states that "showing kindness" can also be translated, "make covenant", so David might have been trying to make a treaty with Ammon. Which makes sense now that I know the timeline is a bit off with this story being the issue noted in 8:12. He make network connections with those outside of Israel when he was in exile and may have been following up on that in a friendly manner while subduing his enemies on his other sides.

Wiersbe also explains that the things the Ammon king did to the messengers was what would be expected of a prisoner of war.


David asked if there was anyone left in the house of Saul for whom he could show kindness of God for Jonathan's sake. I get the impression that he had settled the military issues, got the government underway, had his house, relatively, in order and had some time to think and missed his dear friend, Jonathan, with whom is was going to co-rule. I'm reading into that, of course.

David brought in a servant of Saul's and found out the Jonathan had a son, crippled in both feet. David brought him to the house and called him by name, Mephibosheth fell on his face before David.

David told him not to worry and assured him that he, David, would show him kindness (for Jonathan's sake), restore the land that belonged to Saul, and share his meal table regularly.

Mephiboseth, again, fell on his face and asked why David would regard him like this. He called himself a dead dog. Then David assigned Saul's servant, Ziba, and Ziba's 15 sons, and Ziba's 20 servants to work Saul's former land and property and to bring in the harvest, even though Mephibosheth would most often be with David.

Mephibosheth ate at King David table, as one of his sons.

Mephibosheth had a son, named Mica.

Ryrie footnotes point out that the word "kindness: in verse 1 is the Hebrew word "Hesed" It means loyal love. The footnote references another footnote in Hosea 2 that talks about it being a love of belonging together. This would support my early theory that once David's life settled down, he missed his friend and wanted to know if there was any part of Jonathan left to belong with.

There's a lot here to unpack and I don't know if I would have caught it by myself, but I heard a message about this chapter at the women's retreat last summer.

  • David and Jonathan had a covenant with one another and although it may have ended with Jonathan's death, David felt the need to pursue it. Our speaker this summer asked if we had any covenants in our life that needed tending to and I thought of my commitment to be the God Mother to my nieces and nephew. I didn't totally know what that meant at the tie, beyond being flattered; but now feel the weight of sharing in the spiritual journey.
  • It also shows us grace. We live in a fallen world and all walk with a limp of one sort or another. We are all crippled apart from the King who showed us grace and made provision for us. Just like God said to Israel just across the Jordan: You'll live in houses you didn't build and you'll eat food you didn't grow. Don't forget who provides for you."


Fighting God's Battles

Wiersbe offers the following summary regarding this chapter:

  • It probably occurred between chapters 6 and 7, which is between David bring the Ark to Jerusalem and the opening line of Chapter 7 when it states that the Lord had given him rest on every side.
  • 8:1 is a victory to the west; 8:2 is a victory to the east; 8:3-12 is to the north and 8:13-14 is to the south
  • Parallel account = I Chronicles 18-19
  • Saul fought many of these same battles.
  • God promised Israel the land from the River if Egypt to the Euphrates River. David was used to fulfill that promise.
  • David reclaimed land that Saul had lost. He conquered land given by Joshua and not fully claimed by the tribes, and he expanded beyond the original tribes.
  • For v 8:2, Wiersbe points out that David had a complicated relationship with Moab. Moab had been friendly to David because they thought he was the enemy of Saul. He even had his family hide there from Saul. David was also related to the Moabite through Ruth and they were all distant cousins via Lot. However, they were, ultimately, enemies of the Lord had had to be subdued. Rather than wiping them out, though, he spared every third soldier and turned them into servants- which was probably his way of showing some mercy to this complicated situation.
  • By defeating the Arameans/Syrians to the north, he gained control of key caravan routes, which was a military advantage and an economic boon as traders had to pay a toll to travel through the routes.
  • Tucked in v 8:12 is the end of a long, ugly story- the defeat of Amalek and the Amalekites, whom God had declared war in the time of Moses and whom Saul failed to obey in their defeat. David finally brought God's will to completion.

Wiersbe has a similar take as I had in the previous post regarding the significance of verse 8: 15-18. It's remarkable that the leader could win the military battles but also take care of things at home. They were desperately in need of restoration following the time of the judges and the flawed reign of Saul. The dawning of a new day and the rising sun after a rain.

Expanding David's Kingdom Under God's Blessing


He defeated and subdued the Philistines

He defeated the Moabites, and spared 1 line, slaying 2 lines. Ryrie thinks this either means he spared every third man, or he measured height, so that he was slaying the adults and sparing the children. Survivors became their servants.


Then it says he defeated the king of Zobah as he went to restore the rule at the River. And the generic word river was capitalized. So it made me wonder what river and why we got that extra little commentary. The only info in my Ryrie footnote was that Zobah was north of Damascus and Zobah was an Aramean kingdom. Because of the capitalization, I assumed the river was the Jordan; but I looked at the map and it seems to distant for the Jordan. There are rivers there that may connect to the Jordan; but it isn't clear.

Saul, David, and Solomon Kingdoms

Then, I ended up down a rabbit hole.

I was looking at the map in the back of my Bible for David's Kingdom and the best choice was the one that compared Saul, David, and Solomon's kingdoms. (right side of the image below) Here are some thoughts I had:

  • Saul's is much smaller than David's, which isn't a surprise, except that Saul was the first king of Israel and he was king over all 12 tribes.
  • So I compared Saul's kingdom to the map on the twelve tribes of Israel as it was given to them by the Lord through Joshua. (left side of the map below)
  • Saul never reclaimed much past the Dead Sea, which left chunks of Simeon and Judah.
  • Then there was this chunk missing from the north Trans-Jordan side; but the section right below it was expanded.
  • So. East Manasseh was severely shrunken and Gad was expanded.
  • At first I thought that must be Saul's tribe, because he would focus on his own, but he was of the tribe of Benjamin.
  • According to the map on the right, none of these kings fully conquered Philistia, which is carved out of Judah and Dan. I expect we'll hear about this phenomenon later.
  • It also shows Phoenicia being oddly untouched, as it seems it would be prime territory just a sliver between them and sea; but if you look at the map on the left, it wasn't given to any tribe. It's outside the boundary of the Promise Land. The Phoenician King was the one who send David the materials for his house and made alliances with his as well. One commentary (Ryrie or Wiersbe?) suggested it was an attempt to preempt warfare and that these two nations had become dependent on one another because of the geography. The Phoneticians needed the agricultural output from Israel and Israel needed access to the sea and the wide array of good the Phoneticians brought back from their sea travels.
  • It is impossible to know God's thoughts and reasons, but it seems like He had a special blessing or protection on Phoenicia. I remember from World History what a significant influence they had across the world with their sea-going civilization. They spread goods and culture, like the alphabet, across the world. And as blessed and successful as David and Solomon were, they didn't seem to touch this kingdom. I just found this interesting.
  • Looking closer, Damascus is north of the Promise Land, so to my original question, David was expanding, not just restoring. Which is the title of this post; but I didn't have the map out to understand the actual territory yet.
  • Similarly, Moab is the square below Reuben's inheritance. SO even taking that was expansion...see how much more you learn when you use the reference materials! I should know better.
  • However, as mentioned above, the Philistines weren't an expansion. They were part of Judah and Dan's inheritance. So we can see why God wanted the enemy completely defeated, or they would never stop coming at Israel until it was enslaved or destroyed.
  • So, in conclusion...I guess...since it was just a random set of looks like Saul did rule over most of the original Promise Land, except the chunks I mention above. It just looks small because David expanded so far, and Solomon even further.
Map image from The Ryrie Study Bible, NAS, 1978
The Moody Bible Institute of Chicago

One more observation from looking at the map. I think in the back of my mind I wondered how Saul, the King, couldn't find David with such a large contingency attached to him. I used to think it was just David on the run; but when I learned he had a huge entourage, plus their families, it was harder to imagine them hiding. But looking at the map, I can see God's long-term planning. David was from Judah and Judah is HUGE. And, it is placed at the far reaches of the kingdom. And Benjamin is tiny. Saul would have to enter deep into Judah's territory and couldn't necessarily depend on the locals for supplies and intelligence. As King, he probably could force that a little bit; but tribe is tribe. Again, the map brings the story to life more.

I'm just now on verse 4!

Ok, got a little off track there.

In verse 4, Chapter 8 of II Samuel, for those who lost lists some of the booty David captured from the King Zobah. In the Ryrie footnote, it assumes a copyist's error because the numbers do not match the I Chronicle account. There have been a few of these so far, where the math doesn't make sense, or it is contradicted in another place in the Bible. This seems like evidence against Biblical Inerrancy. I think it's worth sorting out what i think about this.

From my understanding from others who are much more learned about theology than I, the Word, as it was given to the original author, in inerrant. God breathed into a person with their own personality and voice; but inerrant none the less. Then passed through CENTURIES and MILLENNIA, it was passed down through careful copying and sharing. The New Testament books have thousands of copies to compare across time and they remain consistent. The Old Testament has fewer, but has a single cultural group who fostered their copies as prized possessions.

So what does that mean. It does seem like some human error has been introduced here. Doesn't that, but definition make this errant? Not to mention simply reading two translations side-by-side and noting some significant word choice differences. Which one is "correct"?

These are fair questions. And to an unbeliever I think the investigation stops there. These are hard arguments to counter without the aid of the Holy Spirit. However:

  • Again, the inerrancy comes at the point of God giving the Word to the author. It is incumbent on the reader to pursue the original language to the degree to which they are able if there is something they suspect is being lost or confused in the modern translation. We can't always read it in our modern language and culture and grasp the complete meaning. We are called to be able to make a defense of our hope and faith and that's going to take a lifetime of study, not a drunken debate about copyist errors.
  • The Bible is a complete artifact and no one part can be excised. So, even if there are errors, they can be easily spotted because the Bible continually references itself and tells a story along a consistent arc.
  • Also, and most importantly, even more importantly than all theology, Jesus is the Word. And Jesus was perfect. So when He left us with His Spirit, the Holy Spirit, so He could be with each of us always...we have His Word in our hearts all of the time. I have complete faith that, if I am reading a man-made, translated version of His word, and I run across an error, I have Him. He's going to handle it. Most of the time, from what I've seen, it's an issue with a number transcribed, or a single letter, not a whole story or concept. So I don't have much concern. But again, if it's more than that, it will stand out because it won't align with the rest of the collection that God wrote with a consistent arc using 40 authors, 66 books, 6000 years of history and two testaments.
  • I know how this sounds. It sounds like I am admitting to errors or, at a minimum, variations and then dismissing them to still use the term inerrant.
  • Again, I can see how an unbeliever would come to that. And they are correct. IF. If you don't have an eternal relationship with Jesus, through His saving grace, you only have the old man; not the new man to comprehend the world, let alone heaven. Heaven is now.

I'm just now on verse 5!

Wow. I am on a roll. Slow going through the chapter. I was sick earlier in the week and took the previous two days off and completely rested. It was really, really nice. I also fasted for breakfast and lunch for both days. The rest and fasting has left me felling so refreshed. Able to concentrate. And think more deeply than I have in a long time.

So, back to II Samuel 8, now on verse 5!

v.5 The Arameans had help arrive and David slayed 22,000 of them. (Ryrie labels these as Syrians)

v.6 David built garrisons to help control the Arameans, as they became servants and paid tribute. "And the Lord helped David wherever he went."

v7-12. David collected substantial wealth from those he defeated. Gold shields, silver, bronze. What's significant was, he dedicated it all to the Lord. He was accumulating personal wealth, but treasure to build his Lord's temple, when the time came after his reign.

If we can just get our mind to that perspective. It's seems like a small thing; but it's actually everything. If we can consider all of the workls of our hand and all of our victories to be collecting resources for the Lord, we would see our finances and all of our resources, including our time and talents, as sacred. Not as ours but His. We would make different decisions and we might even find that: "the Lord helps us wherever we go."

v. 13 David was making a name for himself.

v. 14 He also put garrisons in Edom. They also became servants. "And the Lord helped David wherever he went."

v. 15 "David reigned over all Israel; and David administered justice and righteous for all of his people."

v.16-18 Lists his various entourage: Joab= army; Jehoshaphat=recorder; Zadok and Ahimelech=priests; Seraiah= secretary; plus other administartors, including his sons.

These last verses, 15-18, show an incredibly well-rounded leader. He delegated big jobs to others. this requires trust and shows that the leader isn't a cult of personality trying to hoard power with fear and greed- such as demonstrated by Saul. This is what the Lord had in mind for His people, if only they had worshiped and trust Him. Now they had David, who was shepherding them as a people, as a nation, and as the Lord's city on a hill for the world to see and through whom they could come to know the Lord.

Accepting God Will

When peace came to Israel as David settled in as King, he thought of the Lord and how to honor Him and address the spiritual needs of the people. In exchange, God God us all the Davidic covenant.

What it meant to David

David had his thoughts about how to honor God and sought counsel from Nathan, his advisor from God (prophet). It's interesting that Nathan first told David to pursue his heart's desire. Then Nathan later came back with specific message from God. It seems to support the idea Pastor Eric has shared, and from Self-confrontation...If you want to know what your gifting is or God's mission for you...then start doing something. The rutter on the boat only works when the ship is moving on the water, not in place on the dock.

God points out that He never asked for a house. He asked for the tabernacle and its accompaniments, but not a house. What He needed David to focus on was the nation of Israel. They needed shepherd back from the season of the judges and having David focused on the temple, would draw attention away from David leading his people back to restoration. (I've also heard that David was a man of war and that's not who God had to build his temple.) David was disappointed; but accepted God's will and honored the Lord for knowing what was good and best.

What it meant to Israel

The Davidic covenant brides Abraham's covenant. It speaks of the nation and the Messiah previously promised.

  • It promised land and rest (rest going back to God's rest on the 7th day; leading to Sabbath; rest for the Israelites freed from Egypt in the Promise Land; and then Jesus as our rest under the New Testament.)
  • David offered to build God a house; God in return, offered to build a dynasty to culminate in Jesus' eternal Kingdom.
  • References to the Messiah
  1. Genesis 3:15: human savior
  2. Genesis 12:3: Jew who would bless the whole world
  3. Genesis 49:10 Tribe of Judah
  4. II Samuel Chapter 7: From the line of David
  5. Micah 5:2: Born in Bethlehem (city of David) (Matthew 2:6)
  6. Greater than Solomon: house forever; kingdom forever; throne forever; glorifying God forever.
  • Israel also owns David for the massive and essential preparation work he did to prepare for Solomon to build and fill the temple.

All of these promises are for us under the New Testament through the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ- as He was born King and His Kingdom will reign forever.

What it meant to Believers Today

David as an example to us all. As a servant, as a child of God, as someone grateful in the past for how far God had brought him and how far the Lord had brought all of Israel; grateful in the present, despite not getting what he thought he wanted, in faith for believing in future promises and moving forward in action and in prayer to what was promised.

Once his "house" was built and he had peace on every side, he came to realize that he was in a house, but the Ark was in a tent. And, as he did when he was wise, he went to God via his prophet Nathan and asked permission to begin ti rectify that.

But then, the Lord came back to Nathan in a dream and clarified- He pointed out that He had never asked for a house; reviewed His history with David; then promised a bright future for David and even more so for his descendants, whom would build a temple for the Ark. So basically, as Ryrie puts it, "Your request to build me a house is denied, but I will build you a house (kingdom) that will last forever (eventually through Christ).

This is God's covenant with David (Davidic Covenant). It does not promise an uninterrupted kingdom, but an eternal one.

When David heard, he bowed down and worshiped with a beautiful, beautiful prayer:"Who am I, O Lord God, and what is my house, that Thou hast brought me this far?" David was just a shepherd, which is a lowly position to have. God chooses people from unlikely positions so that we can clearly see that the Glory is from Him. This wasn't a pampered prince who had gone to the best schools and daddy donated a library so that David received privileges. This kingdom was build by God. Full stop. No one else to credit. King Shepherd Boy shaped by a loving Father.

It's a little hard to tell, but it seems like David is heartbroken, but submitting to God's design; knowing God knows him. He sees the blessing of the distant future, but seems to want to find the words to convince God; but knows better. He settles into praise and focuses on God instead of self.

Verse 23 clearly states what so many believers miss- God redeemed Israel (and each of His New Testament priests/believers) to make a name for Himself. This isn't our story except the part we're playing in His Story.

Then he agrees to the terms set in God's Davidic covenant- "...that Thy Name may be magnified forever..." David had God's glory in his sites, not his future kingdom as the priority.

This is such an important chapter, I seemed to have slowed down and am hovering over it. Today I'll be reading the Wiersbe commentary for the chapter.

The Ark was God's Throne in the Holy of Holies in the Tabernacle. Now it has been 75 years since it was in Shiloh during the season of the judges.

Wiersbe gives two reasons he believed David wanted to bring the Ark. He wanted the real King of the nation to have His throne in the capital, a central place for God's sanctuary. He also wanted to build a temple for the Lord. And having the Ark in Jerusalem was step one. Then Wiresbe adds what he calls a political reason, which I think could be labeled something else. The description of the same event in I Chronicles says he gathered all key people from every expanse of the kingdom to come and make the decision and participate. I see how Wiersbe could label that political; as it is nation-building. But it can also simply be see as restoring a fractured people who used to be one. For cultural and spiritual motivations. restoration of the nation as a people.

There's no evidence David sought the Lord in this endeavor or that God asked this of him. This was David's idea and it shows in the results. I'd be wise to remember that--doing something for the Lord, without the Lord in it- might not turn out to be what I think it will. If I'm doing it for Him, without His guidance, maybe there is more to motivation than I think- which may have been David's situation as well.

Evidence of his mixed priorities was:

  • Using the oxen-drawn cart. As King he made a covenant to know and uphold God's Word. I think he was even supposed to have a copy of his own that he wrote? So he would have know how the Ark was supposed to be transported. And he had brought 30,000 men and an entourage, so I'm sure he had what he needed; but instead he used the same means the Philistines had used to transport it.
  • The men were attending to the Ark and cart while David played music and worshiped. Which is great. But as Saul learned the hard way, the Lord God prefers obedience to sacrifice. And now David had the same mixed priorities, albeit much less obvious and shocking degree. If David was going to do it this way, he should have been completely attending to the Ark.
  • Wiersbe frames it this way: "No amount of unity or enthusiasm can compensate for disobedience."Imitating the world, instead of God's Word will never lead to blessing."

And even in the second attempt, David doesn't start off looking so great. When the man was killed for touching the Ark, David freaked out and stashed it at the home of a Levite. It wasn't until he heard that the household was being blessed that he came back to finish what he started. Again, he didn't stay there himself to tend to the sacred piece, he let another man be his canary in the mine shaft. I sound like I'm judging and I don't mean to, because I'm sure if David did it once, I've done the same type of thing many more times, as David was a man after God's own heart. Still a man, so not perfect, but God's anointed leader. It's just so glaring that he brought everyone together for this endeavor and then just freaked and ran away to let another man hold the line.

However, when it came to the actual move, he was more careful offering sacrifice after only 6 steps and bringing the right men for the job. Wiersbe doesn't think they offered sacrifice after ever six steps, and Alex taught us in church. He think's it was a test of God's approval and then they marched on with confidence.

Now when he arrived he was wearing the priestly ephod (over his royal robe, according to Wiersbe), So his wife's complaint was hollow. **I think I was taught somewhere along the way he danced naked. Maybe that's a different scene or maybe someone read the wife's word's and assumed the worst?

Now David was acting as king and priest. We're starting to see the Christ figuring forming in him. He took the chasten of his Father and it made him more Christ-like. That's our hope. The renewing of our mind and heart in Christ Jesus. David giving the cake and wine was a shadow of the priest-king Melchizedek who gave bread and wine to Abraham and who some say WAS Jesus. And it foreshadows the bread and wine that Jesus gives to us.

Michal- ugggh. what can you say about Michal. On one hand, you can see that David should have expected a rough go with Michal. He was the enemy of her father, from their family's perspective. He was a rival to the throne. He tore her away from her (apparently) happy new family to bring her back. But on the other hand. What a shrew. His day of celebrating and she rains on his parade with sarcasm and malice. Tearing him down from his mountain top experience. God was not happy with her. Whatever she thought she gained by verbally assaulting David, she paid for in shame.

Last time I was caught up in the background I remembered from this passage and didn't get very far into the chapter itself.

David decides it's time to bring the Ark to his new capital. He gets his 30,000 chosen men together and whoever else is in the entourage and heads out for Baale-Judah, also known as Kirjath-jearim.

They put the Ark on a new cart and other men were tending to it while David was celebrating.

When the Ark almost fell, Uzzah reached out to steady it and touched it, angering God. God slay him for being so casual with the Glory of God.

This angered and caused David to fear the Lord. He put the whole process on hold and stored the Ark at Obedeome's house and the Obedeome's house was blessed. It seems like David wasn't willing to deal with the Ark again until he saw the blessing. Not a great look for David, but maybe I'm reading too much into it.

And then they moved it the correct way, sacrificing as they went. And David was so happy he was dancing and celebrating wearing only an ephod, not his royal his first wife, Saul's daughter, despised him.

He offered sacrifices, which he was allowed to do as king. He hands out food treats to all in attendance and finally returns home to his bitter first wife, Michal. She tries to chasten him for unkingly behavior, but David was having none of it. He knew his Lord and he knew his role as early King- this offspring of the corrupt King Saul wasn't going to put David down. And God didn't care for her answer either, as He left her childless her whole life.

The Ark

Oh! this when David decided to move the Ark.

It originally been settled in the Tabernacle at Shiloh and was sometimes taken out in battle. But once, they tried to take it apart from God's guidance and lost the Ark to the Philistines.

When the Philistines learned that they couldn't handle having the GLory of the Lord in their midst, they returned it to Beth-semite and eventually to the priests at Kirjath-jearim, or Baal-Judah.

Now David wants it home with him in Jerusalem.

He assembles 30,000 of his best men.

They place the Ark on a new cart. However, that is NOT how the Ark is supposed to be transported. He was trying to show respect; but not following the Biblical Law, which was very clear on this matter in Numbers.

There is a parallel her between how David handles the Ark and is choice to break the laws concerning the king taking multiple wives and concubines. While the men and oxen are carrying the Arc, David is dancing, and playing music. I'm sure, once again, he thought he had a good reason to do it his way. His way was worshiping the Lord. But as Saul learned, the worship God wants is obedience. If David had had men carrying the Ark, per the Law and David solemnly attending to it (saving the celebrating for when it was where it was supposed to be), then there would have been different results.

How do we know David was more concerned about himself in his rationale than with worshiping God... he got angry when God got angry with him. If it had been all about God, then God getting angry would have mad David want to please him- as he eventually does.

I'm not judging, even though I sound like I am. I just recognize the spirit of the moment. And I think it's common in some denominations of the modern church: Caught up in emotion, mistaken for devotion.