Victory over the Arameans (1 Chr 19:16-19:19)

“But when the Arameans saw that they had been defeated by Israel, they sent messengers and brought out the Arameans who were beyond the Euphrates. Shobach was the commander of the army of King Hadadezer at their head. When King David was informed, he gathered all Israel together. He crossed the Jordan and came to them. He drew up his forces against them. When King David set the battle in array against the Arameans, they fought with him. The Arameans fled before Israel. King David killed seven thousand Arameans charioteers and forty thousand horsemen. He killed Shobach the commander of their army. When the servants of King Hadadezer saw that they had been defeated by Israel, they made peace with King David. They became subject to them. So the Arameans were not willing to help the Ammonites anymore.”

Once again, this biblical chronicler followed 2 Samuel, chapter 10. This seems like the same battle as was in chapter 18 of this work with a slightly different twist. In other words, here they will no longer help the Ammonites because of this defeat. Here there is a leader of Hadadezer’s army named Shobach. There is no mention of Helam here, which was mentioned in 2 Samuel. The results are the same, a great victory for King David. The numbers are staggering. Here King David kills 7,000 charioteers and not merely 700 chariot teams. He also killed 40,000 horsemen, while in chapter 18 it was 1,700 chariot men and 20,000 foot soldiers. No matter which number you take, it was a crushing defeat. He killed Shobach. Thus there was peace with the people of the north, the Arameans from Syria, as they became subject to King David.

The battle against the Ammonites (1 Chr 19:10-19:15)

“When Joab saw that the line of battle was set against him both in front and in the rear, he chose some of the picked men of Israel, and arrayed them against the Arameans. The rest of his troops he put in the charge of his brother Abishai. They were arrayed against the Ammonites. He said. ‘If the Arameans are too strong for me, then you shall help me. But if the Ammonites are too strong for you, then I will help you. Be strong. Let us be courageous for our people, and for the cities of our God. May Yahweh do what seems good to him.’ So Joab and the troops who were with him advanced forward toward the Arameans for battle. The Arameans fled before him. When the Ammonites saw that the Arameans had fled, they likewise fled before Abishai, Joab’s brother. Abishai and Joab entered the city. Then Joab came back to Jerusalem.”

Once again, this biblical chronicler followed almost word for word 2 Samuel, chapter 10. When Joab saw the setup he broke his troops into 2 sections with his brother Abishai in charge of one section and he the other. One would fight the Ammonites and the other would fight the Arameans. Yahweh would do what was good for him. As it turned out, both groups fled, so that Joab returned to Jerusalem.

Preparing for the Ammonite campaign (1 Chr 19:6-19:9)

“When the Ammonites saw that they had become odious to King David, King Hanun and the Ammonites sent a thousand talents of silver to hire chariots and horsemen from Mesopotamia, from Aram-maacah, and from Zobah. They hired thirty-two thousand chariots. The king of Maacah with his army came and encamped before Medeba. The Ammonites were mustered from their cities and came to battle. When King David heard of it, he sent Joab and all the army of the warriors. The Ammonites came out and drew up in battle array at the entrance of the city. However, the kings who had come were by themselves in the open country.”

Once again, this biblical chronicler more or less followed 2 Samuel, chapter 10. This will be an adventure on the east side of the Jordan, in the southern part around the Dead Sea. King David had already defeated the Arameans of Zobah lead by Hadadezer and his group from the Syrian area. Here there is a more detailed description of how the Ammonites got reinforcements, when compared to 2 Samuel. They sent silver to buy chariots, horsemen, and ground troops from the northern territories. While there is a mention of the king of Maacah, there is no mention of Tob here. They got a group with 32,000 chariots here and not 32,000 foot soldiers, which appeared more feasible. King David then sent his nephew Joab who was in charge of the army. Meanwhile the Ammonites had split their forces with the mercenaries in the open country, while the Ammonites were at gate to the city.

The insult to the messengers of King David (1 Chr 19:1-19:5)

“Some time afterward, King Nahash of the Ammonites died. His son King Hanun succeeded him. King David said. ‘I will deal loyally with King Hanun son of Nahash, just as his father dealt loyally with me.’ So David sent messengers to console him concerning his father. When King David’s messengers came to Hanun in the land of the Ammonites, to console him, the officials of the Ammonites said to Hanun. ‘Do you really think, because King David has sent consolers to you, that he is honoring your father? Have not his messengers come to you to search, overthrow, and spy out the land?’ So King Hanun seized King David’s messengers. He shaved them, cut off their garments in the middle at their hips, and sent them away. When King David was told about this, he sent messengers to meet them, for they felt greatly humiliated. The king said. ‘Remain at Jericho until your beards have grown, and then return.’”

This time, the biblical chronicler is following 2 Samuel, chapter 10. The Ammonites were an east Jordan group. Both King Saul and King David had defeated them so that King Nahash had been on friendly terms with King David. However, when King David sent messengers to console the new king Hanun on the death of his father, the officials of the Ammonites were concerned that the messengers of King David were there to search and spy on the city in order to overthrow it. So King Hanun ordered that David’s messengers be seized. He had them shaved instead of cutting their bears in half as in 2 Samuel. He also ordered that their garments be cut in half at the hips. These were two ways of dishonoring people, bad beards and public nakedness. This may seem like an odd punishment but it was a way of showing disrespect. When King David found out about this, he told the messengers to go to Jericho until their beards had grown back in. King David was very upset.

King David’s officers (1 Chr 18:14-18:17)

“King David reigned over all Israel. He administered justice and equity to all his people. Joab son of Zeruiah was over the army. Jehoshaphat son of Ahilud was the recorder. Zadok son of Ahitub and Ahimelech son of Abiathar were priests. Seraiah was the secretary. Benaiah son of Jehoiada was over the Cherethites and the Pelethites. King David’s sons were the chief officials in the service of the king.”

Once again, this biblical chronicler is following 2 Samuel, chapter 8. King David was the king who was just and fair to all the people of Israel. Joab, King David’s nephew and son of his sister Zeruiah, was in charge of the army. This is the same guy who killed Abner that King David was so upset about. King David’s sons were not the priests as in 2 Samuel, but the chief officials in the service of the king, which makes more sense. This Jehoshaphat, the recorder or annalist of court events, is not the same as the later king (870-848 BCE), but they share the same name. There are a few biblical people with the same name of Zadok, but this one was the high priest during the time of King David.   Abiathar was the friendly Levite that accompanied King David in his travels after the disaster at Nob from 1 Samuel, chapter 22. He too was a high priest. However, this text says that Ahimelech his son was the high priest. Either this is a mistake by this biblical author or he may have been the son of Abiathar and the grandson of Ahimelech. There were at least 11 biblical figures with the name Seraiah. This Seraiah was the recording secretary for King David. Benaiah, whose father had been a high priest, was in charge of the Cherethites and the Pelethites, who were like body guards, executioners or messengers. These Cherethites and Pelethites may have been captured Philistines.

King David defeats the Edomites (1 Chr 18:12-18:13)

“Abishai son of Zeruiah killed eighteen thousand Edomites in the Valley of Salt. King David put garrisons in Edom. All the Edomites became subject to King David. Yahweh gave victory to King David wherever he went.”

This episode is partially based on 2 Samuel, chapter 8. The Edomites on the southeast side of the Dead Sea were also defeated. Here King David’s nephew Abishai, and not King David himself, killed 18,000 Edomites in a valley near the Dead Sea, in the valley of salt. These numbers seem a little high, but King David set up army garrisons all over Edom. All the Edomites were now subject to King David, as Yahweh gave him these victories.

King David accepts the gifts of King Toi (1 Chr 18:9-18:11)

When King Toi of Hamath heard that King David had defeated the whole army of King Hadadezer of Zobah, King Toi sent his son Hadoram to King David, to greet him. He wanted to congratulate him because he had fought against King Hadadezer and defeated him. King Hadadezer had often been at war with King Toi. King Toi sent all sorts of articles of gold, silver, and bronze. These also King David dedicated to Yahweh, together with the silver and gold that he had carried off from all the nations, from Edom, Moab, the Ammonites, the Philistines, and Amalek.”

Once again, this biblical chronicler is following 2 Samuel, chapter 8. King Toi of northern Syria in Hamath was happy to hear that David had defeated his enemy in southern Syria, King Hadadezer. He sent his son Hadoram, although he was called Joram in the 2 Samuel story, to King David with silver, gold and bronze. All the tribute that King David got from all his victories, he dedicated to Yahweh.

King David defeats the Arameans (1 Chr 18:3-18:8)

“King David also struck down King Hadadezer of Zobah, towards Hamath, when he went to set up a monument at the river Euphrates. King David took from him one thousand chariots, seven thousand cavalry, and twenty thousand foot soldiers. He hamstrung all the chariot horses, but left one hundred of them. When the Arameans of Damascus came to help King Hadadezer of Zobah, King David killed twenty-two thousand Arameans. Then he put garrisons in Aram of Damascus. The Arameans became subject to King David and brought tribute. Yahweh gave victory to King David wherever he went. King David took the gold shields that were carried by the servants of Hadadezer. He brought them to Jerusalem. King David took a vast quantity of bronze from Tibhath and Cun, cities of King Hadadezer. With this bronze, King Solomon made the bronze sea and the pillars and the vessels of bronze.”

Once again, this biblical chronicler is following 2 Samuel, chapter 8. Zobah was in present day Syria. King Hadadezer, who is here not mentioned as the son of Rehob, wanted to extend his territory out to the Euphrates River. For some unknown reason, King David attacked him. Here there is a discrepancy between the 2 accounts. In the 2 Samuel account, King David had a huge army. Instead of describing his army, this account talks more about what he took from King Hadadezer, 1,000 chariots, 7,000 cavalry, and 20,000 foot soldiers. When the Arameans came to help King Hadadezer, King David won a decisive battle killing 22,000 Arameans. These Arameans tried to help but to no avail, as King David won one battle after another. Yahweh gave these victories to King David, wherever he went. Thus the Israelite territory would have extended into Syria. Clearly, this was becoming a great Israelite empire under King David as he put a garrison of troops in Damascus so that the Arameans were subject to him and brought tribute to him. King David also took the gold shields and a lot of bronze from King Hadadezer and brought them back to Jerusalem. From this bronze, King Solomon was able to make his big bronze sea basin and the various pillars. Here there are different names for the cities taken from King Hadadezer. Instead of Betah and Berothai, this is the only mention in biblical literature of Tibhath and Cun.

King David defeats the Moabites (1 Chr 18:2-18:2)

“King David defeated Moab. The Moabites became subject to David and brought tribute.”

Once again, this biblical chronicler is following 2 Samuel, chapter 8. In general, the Moabites, descendents of Moab the son of Lot, had been friendly to the Israelites. There is no mention of killing 2/3 of the Moabites here, like in 2 Samuel. However, here it simply says the Moabites became subject to David and brought him tribute.

King David defeats the Philistines (1 Chr 18:1-18:1)

“Some time afterward, King David attacked the Philistines and subdued them. King David took Gath and its villages from the Philistines.”

Once again, this biblical chronicler is following 2 Samuel, chapter 8. As per usual, King David defeated the Philistines. In 2 Samuel, the name of the place was called Metheg-ammah. Here it is called Gath and its villages. These Philistines never seem to quit. It is not clear whether this was the final defeat of the Philistines or not. After all, he only subdued them.