When the Arameans of Damascus came to help King Hadadezer of Zobah, David struck down twenty-two thousand men.
I. THE PRAYER. That God would bless the family. A Christian father offering this prayer would have regard to:
1. Temporal blessings. Prolonged life, good health of body and mind, success in worldly pursuits, competence. Asking for these as a blessing from God implies the desire that they should be granted only so far as they will be blessings; that they should come as the result of God's blessing on upright means (not from fraud, injustice, or violence; see Proverbs 10:22); and that they should be accompanied with God's blessing, so that they may not ensnare and injure the soul, but promote its prosperity and highest happiness. Thus regarded, such a prayer is not unbecoming the heart and lips of any good man.
2. Spiritual blessings. That the family may be worthy the name of a Christian household, all being truly the children of God, worshipping and serving him faithfully and to the end. A Christian parent will be more desirous that his house should be good than great - "rich in faith, and heirs of the kingdom" (James 2:5) rather than possessed of material wealth. For such blessings he need not restrain his desires, as they are good in and for themselves, good always and forever. The poorest may seek these for his children, who may enjoy them equally with the wealthiest: they are open to all.
3. Eternal blessings. That he and his may "continue forever before God" (comp. Genesis 17:18), and "be blessed forever" numbered with the saints in the glory everlasting. The words translated, "let it please thee to bless," may be more literally rendered "begin and bless" (Revised Version, margin). As if David's thoughts reverted from the distant future to the present; and he became acutely alive to the fact that, for the accomplishment of the promise in the future, it was necessary that Cod should be with him and his at once and all along. In the heart of a Christian the meaning may well be, "Let thy blessing come at once, without any delay, on my house, to correct what is wrong, to increase what is right, to produce those conditions which are most favourable to all good, as they most fully ensure thy constant favour."
II. WHENCE IT ARISES.
1. Godliness. Sense of the value of God's blessing; preference of it over all else; confidence in God's fatherly love and sympathy with the love of earthly parents for their children; and faith in his promises.
2. Parental feeling. Love for his family; longing for their true and lasting happiness and well being.
3. Regard for his own happiness. Which is necessarily bound up with the goodness and happiness of his children. Finally:
1. Such prayer, when real, will be accompanied by Christian instruction and training. (Ephesians 6:4.)
2. Let children thank God for praying parents. Let them keep before them the image of their fathers and mothers daily kneeling before God, and imploring his blessing on them. Let them, however, not trust to their prayers as sufficient to ensure their salvation; but pray for themselves. (See more on 2 Samuel 6:20.) - G.W.
David reigned over all Israel.I. The first thing pointed out to us here is THE CATHOLICITY OF HIS KINGLY GOVERNMENT; embracing all Israel, all people. He did not bestow his attention on one favoured section of the people to the neglect or careless oversight of the rest. He did not, for example, seek the prosperity of his own tribe, Judah, to the neglect of the other eleven. In a word, there was no favouritism in his reign. In this he reflected that universality of God's care on which we find the Psalmist dwelling with such complacency: "The Lord is good to all; and His tender mercies are over all His works." In the next place, we have much to learn from the statement that the most prominent thing that David did was to "execute judgment and justice to the people."
II. That was the SOLID FOUNDATION ON WHICH ALL HIS BENEFITS RESTED. For it is never said that Saul did anything of the kind. And most certainly they are not words that could have been used of the ordinary government of Oriental kings. This idea of equal justice to all, and especially to those who had no helper, was a very beautiful one in David's eyes. It gathered round it those bright and happy features which in the seventy-second Psalm are associated with the administration of another King. "Give the king Thy judgments, O God, and Thy righteousness to the king's son. He shall judge Thy people with righteousness, and Thy poor with judgment." And in all this we find the features of that higher government of David's Son which shows so richly His most gracious nature. The cry of sorrow and need, as it rose from the dark world, did not repel, but rather attracted, Him. All were in the lowest depths of spiritual poverty, but for that reason His hand was the more freely offered for their help. We are not to think of David, however, as being satisfied if he merely secured justice to the poor and succeeded in lightening their yoke. His ulterior aim was to fill his kingdom with active, useful, honourable citizens.
III. The remaining notices of David's administration in the passage before us are simply to the effect that THE GOVERNMENT CONSISTED OF VARIOUS DEPARTMENTS, and that each department had an officer at its head.
1. There was the military department, at the head of which was Joab, or rather he was over "the host" — the great muster of the people for military purposes. A more select body, "the Cherethites and the Pelethites," seems to have formed a bodyguard for the king, or a banal of household troops, and was under a separate commander. The troops forming "the host" were divided into twelve courses of twenty-four thousand each, regularly officered, and for one month of the year the officers of one of the courses, and probably the people, or some of them, attended on the king at Jerusalem (1 Chronicles 27:1.)
2. There was the civil department; at the head of which were Jehoshaphat the recorder and Seraiah the scribe or secretary. While these were in attendance on David at Jerusalem they did not supersede the ordinary home rule of the tribes of Israel. Each tribe had still its prince or ruler, and continued, under a general superintendence from the king, to conduct its local affairs (1 Chronicles 27:16-22). This home-rule system, besides interesting the people greatly in the prosperity of the country, was a great check against the abuse of the royal authority; and it is a proof that the confidence of Rehoboam in the stability of his government, confirmed perhaps by a superstitious view of that promise to David, must have been an absolute infatuation, the product of utter inexperience on his part, and of the most foolish counsel ever tendered by professional advisers.
3. Ecclesiastical administration. The capture of Jerusalem and its erection into the capital of the kingdom made a great change in ecclesiastical arrangements. For some time before it would have been hard to tell where the ecclesiastical capital was to be found. Shiloh had been stripped of its glory when Ichabod received his name, and the Philistine armies destroyed the place. Nob had shared a similar fate at the hands of Saul. The old tabernacle erected by Moses in the wilderness was at Gibeon (1 Chronicles 21:29), and remained there even after the removal of the ark to Zion (1 Kings 3:4). At Hebron, too, there must have been a shrine while David reigned there. But from the time when David brought up the ark to Jerusalem that city became the greatest centre of the national worship. There the services enjoined by the law of Moses were celebrated; it became the scene of the great festivals of Passover, Pentecost, and Tabernacles. We are told that the heads of the ecclesiastical department were Zadok the son of Ahitub and Ahimelech the son of Abiathar. These represented the elder and the younger branches of the priesthood. It is scarcely possible to say how far these careful ecclesiastical arrangements were instrumental in fostering the spirit of genuine piety. But there is too much reason to fear that even in David's time that element was very deficient. The bursts of religious enthusiasm that occasionally rolled over the country were no sure indications of piety in a people easily roused to temporary gushes of feeling, but deficient in stability. The systematic administration of his kingdom by King David was the fruit of a remarkable faculty of orderly arrangement that belonged to most of the great men of Israel. We see it in Abraham, in his prompt and successful marshalling of his servants to pursue and attack the kings of the East when they carried off Lot; we see it in Joseph, first collecting and then distributing the stores of food in Egypt; in Moses, conducting that marvellous host in order and safety through the wilderness; and, in later times, in Ezra and Nehemiah, reducing the chaos which they found at Jerusalem to a state of order and prosperity which seemed to verify the vision of the dry bones. We see it in the Son of David, in the orderly way in which all His arrangements were made: the sending forth of the twelve Apostles and the seventy disciples, the arranging of the multitude when He fed the five thousand, and the careful gathering up of the fragments "that nothing be lost." In the spiritual kingdom, a corresponding order is demanded, and times of peace and rest in the Church are times when this development is specially to be studied.
(W. G. Blaikie, D. D.)
PeopleAbiathar, Ahilud, Ahimelech, Ahitub, Amalek, Amalekites, Ammonites, Aram, Benaiah, Cherethites, David, Edomites, Hadadezer, Hadoram, Jehoiada, Jehoshaphat, Joab, Joram, Kerethites, Moabites, Pelethites, Rehob, Seraiah, Syrians, Tebah, Toi, Tou, Zadok, Zeruiah
PlacesAmalek, Aram, Berothai, Betah, Damascus, Edom, Euphrates River, Hamath, Israel, Jerusalem, Metheg-ammah, Moab, Valley of Salt, Zobah
TopicsAram, Aramaeans, Arameans, Damascus, David, Hadadezer, Hadade'zer, Killed, Slew, Smiteth, Smote, Struck, Succor, Succour, Sword, Syrians, Thousand, Twenty, Twenty-two, Zobah
Outline1. David subdues the Philistines and the Moabites
3. He smites Hadadezer, and the Syrians
9. Toi sends Joram with presents to bless him
11. David dedicates the presents and the spoil to God
14. He puts garrisons in Edom
16. David's officers
Dictionary of Bible Themes2 Samuel 8:1-6
5087 David, reign of
Library'More than Conquerors through Him'
'And the children of Ammon came out, and put the battle in array at the entering in of the gate: and the Syrians of Zoba, and of Rehob, and Ish-tob, and Maacah, were by themselves in the field. 9. When Joab saw that the front of the battle was against him before and behind, he chose of all the choice men of Israel, and put them in array against the Syrians: 10. And the rest of the people he delivered into the hand of Abishai his brother, that he might put them in array against the children of Ammon. …
Alexander Maclaren—Expositions of Holy Scripture
Palestine Eighteen Centuries Ago
The King --Continued.
A Cloud of Witnesses.
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