The taking of Rabbah (2 Sam 12:26-12:31)

“Joab fought against Rabbah of the Ammonites. He took the royal city. Joab sent messengers to David. ‘I have fought against Rabbah. Moreover, I have taken the water city. Now, then, gather the rest of the people together. Encamp against the city. Take it. Otherwise I myself will take the city, and it will be called by my name.’ So David gathered all the people together and went to Rabbah. He fought against it and took it. He took the crown of Milcom from his head. The weight of it was a talent of gold. In it was a precious stone. It was placed on David’s head. He brought forth the spoil of the city, a very great amount. He brought out the people who were in it. He set them to work with saws, iron picks, and iron axes, or sent them to the brickworks. Thus he did to all the cities of the Ammonites. Then David and all the people returned to Jerusalem.”

Joab took Rabbah, the water city, which refers to the town that protects the water supply. Water in a dry region is a precious commodity as we have learned today. Joab had been fighting there a long time at Rabbah, since the beginning of chapter 11, but he did not want to take the town by himself because if he did he would have renamed it after him. Joab was always careful to be subservient to his uncle David. David came with lots of troops to Rabbah. Milcom was the Ammonite god. The king of the Ammonites had worn this crown. David took it and the precious stone within it and put it on his head. Generally speaking, taking the stuff of other gods was forbidden. Nevertheless, David made all the Ammonites workers in the various cities, but it is not clear what they were building. Then they all returned to Jerusalem as the saga of the Ammonites came to an end.

 

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