Useful Bible Studies > 2 Samuel Commentary > chapter 10

David’s battle against Aram

2 Samuel 10:15-17

The ancient country called Aram, is called Syria in some Bible translations. It was a very large country. Its capital was the great city called Damascus. Some parts of Aram were beyond the river Euphrates, more than 200 miles (320 kilometres) north of Israel.

Israel defeated an army of several thousand soldiers from Aram during the battle against Ammon (10:13-14). Those soldiers came from cities and regions in the south of Aram. Their defeat upset Aram’s rulers. They considered that Israel had become a danger to Aram.

Hadadezer was the king of Zobah, in the south of Aram (8:5). Hadadezer requested support from the rest of Aram for a great battle against Israel. Men came from across the whole of Aram to join his army. They made their camp in a place called Helam, which was on the east side of the Jordan river. It was close to Israel’s border with Ammon. Shobach, who was Hadadezer’s chief military commander, was in charge of this vast army.

This was such a dangerous situation that David himself chose to command Israel’s men in the battle. (Usually David would give Joab the authority to do that.) David ordered every man in Israel who could fight, to join his army. They gathered on the west side of the Jordan. Then they crossed the river and they marched 40 miles (65 kilometres) to Aram’s camp at Helam. When they arrived, Aram’s soldiers were ready to begin the battle.

Next part: David's success against Aram (2 Samuel 10:18-19)


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