The war with the sons of Ammon and their Aramæan allies. The chapter is a duplicate of 2 Samuel 10. The story of David’s kindness to Mephibosheth (2 Samuel 9), creditable as it was to David, is omitted by the chronicler, as belonging rather to the private than the public history of the king.
Children of Ammon.—Sons of Ammon, like “sons of Israel.” The title calls attention to their tribal organisation.
Because.—For. Samuel, “according as.”
Shewed kindness to me.—The Hebrew phrase, which answers to the Greek of Luke 1:72. (See Revised Version.)
The rest of the verse is made more perspicuous than in 2 Samuel 10:2 by slight changes and additions.
Hard by their buttocks.—Literally, unto the extremities. The chronicler has substituted a more decorous term for the one which appears in Samuel.
Cut off their garments.—To look like captives (Isaiah 20:4).
Be grown.—Sprout, or shoot (Judges 16:22, of Samson’s hair).
Jericho lay on their road to the capital.
Made themselves odious.—“Had become in bad odonr.” A unique (Aramaized) form of the same verb as is used in Samuel (hithbā’ăshû for nib’ăshû).
A thousand talents of silver.—The talent was a weight, not a coin, coined money being unknown at that epoch. The sum specified amounts to £400,000. estimating the silver talent at £400. This detail is peculiar to the Chronicles.
Out of Mesopotamia, and out of Syria-maachah, and out of Zobah.—Out of Aram-naharaïm, and out of Aram-maachah, &c Samuel has, “And they hired Aram-beth-rehob and Aram-zobah, 20,000 foot, and the king of Maachah, 1,000 men, and the men (or chieftain) of Tôb, 12,000men.”Aram-naharaïm, i.e., Aram of the two rivers, was the country between the Tigris and Euphrates (see Judges 3:8); Aram-beth-rehob may have been one of its political divisions, and is perhaps to be identified with Rehoboth-hannahar (1 Chronicles 1:48), on the Euphrates. Another Rehoboth (“Rehoboth-ir,” Genesis 10:11) lay on the Tigris, north-east of Nineveh, and was a suburb of that great city. Aram-maachah imply the dominions of “the king of Maachah,” who is mentioned in 1 Chronicles 19:7; and Zobah, the Aram-zobah of Samuel. The chronicler makes no separate mention of the “men of Tòb” (Judges 11:3), perhaps because they were subject to Hadadezer, and as such, included in his forces. The Syriac and Arabic here have “from Aram-naharaïm, Haran, Nisibis, and Edom.”
Who came and pitched (their camp) before Medeba.—Another detail peculiar to the Chronicles. Medeba, the meeting-place of the Aramæan forces, lay south-east of Heshbon, on a site now known as Madibiya.
And the children of Ammon gathered themselves . . .—The muster of the Ammonites is not mentioned in Samuel.
And the kings that were come.—Samuel repeats the names: “And Aram-zobah and Rehob, and the men of Tôb and Maachah.”
Were.—Rather, put the battle in array (to be supplied from the former sentence).
In the field.—In the open country, or plain (mîshôr) of Medeba (Joshua 13:9; Joshua 13:16), where there was room for the movements of cavalry and chariots.
The choice of Israel.—Literally, the chosen or young warriors (singular collective) in Israel (i.e., in the Israelitish army). These Joab himself led against the Aramæans, as the most dangerous enemy, while he sent a detachment, under his brother Abishai, to cope with the Ammonites.
Put them in array.—Rather, set the battle in array, or drew up against . . . (1 Chronicles 19:17; 1 Chronicles 12:33). The same Hebrew phrase recurs in 1 Chronicles 19:11.
I will help (succour) thee.—Samuel, “I will march to succour thee.” This verb is often rendered “to save,” and the cognate noun, “salvation.”
Let us behave ourselves valiantly.—The same verb again, in reflexive form. Thus the whole runs literally: Be strong, and let us shew ourselves strong!
And let the Lord do . . .—Literally, And Jehovah—the good in his own eyes may he do! The order in the Hebrew of Samuel is that of the Authorised Version here. The chronicler lays stress on the auspicious word “good.” There is also emphasis on “Jehovah,” as leaving the issue in His hands who is Lord of hosts and God of battles; and on the verb, expressive of a pious wish that right may not miscarry. Evidently the spirit which inspired the prayer, “Thy will be done,” was not unknown to the warriors of the old theocracy.
They likewise.—An explanatory addition to the text, as read in Samuel. So also “his brother.”
Then Joab came . . .—Abridged. (Comp. Samuel.)
(16) They sent messengers.—Samuel, “Hadarezer sent and drew forth” (literally, made to come out: i.e., to war, 1 Chronicles 20:1). The name “Hadarezer” (Hadadezer) is important, as helping us to identify this campaign with that of 1 Chronicles 18:3-8.
Beyond the river.—The Euphrates, called Purât, Purâtu, by the Babylonians and Assyrians, Furât by the Arabs, and Ufrâtus by the ancient Persians. The name is derived from the Accadian Pura-nunu (great river). The Assyrian Purât, Hebrew Pĕrâth, is simply the word Pura with a feminine ending; so that this well-known name means “The River par excellence. (Comp. Genesis 15:18; Isaiah 8:7.)
The use of this phrase, “beyond the river,” to denote the position of the Eastern Aramæans, shows that the narrative here borrowed by the chronicler was originally written in Palestine. The Syriac and Arabic add here, “and they came to Hîlâm.” (So Samuel; see next verse.)
Shophach.—Samuel, “Shobach.” The letters p and b are much alike in Hebrew. The Syriac has Sh’bûk. Shophach may be compared with the Arabic safaka, “to shed blood” (saffâk, a shedder of blood).
Went before them.—Commanded them. It thus appears that the suzerainty of Hadadezer was recognised by some Aramæan States lying east of the Euphrates.
Upon them . . . against them.—Literally, unto them (’alêhem). The Hebrew term, “to Helam” (Helâmah), contains the same consonants as this prepositional phrase, with one extra. Perhaps, however, the term Helâmah was understood as a common noun implying to their army (hayil, hêl, army).
So when David had put the battle in array against the Syrians.—Literally, And David set the battle, &c., a needless repetition of the last clause. Probably Samuel is right: “And Aram put the battle in array against David.”
And killed Shophach . . .—Abridged statement. (Comp. 2 Samuel 10:18.)
They made peace with David.—Samuel, “with Israel.”
And became his servants.—Literally, and served him. Samuel, “and served them.” To the writer of Samuel God’s people is the main topic; to the chronicler the divinely-anointed king. The difference, therefore, though slight, is characteristic.
Neither would the Syrians’ help.—And Aram was not willing to come to the help of the sons of Ammon. Samuel, “And Aram feared to come to the help,” &c.