Useful Bible Studies > 2 Samuel Commentary > chapter 12

David deals with the proud and cruel attitudes of Ammon’s people

2 Samuel 12:31

After David defeated each nation of Israel’s enemies, he had to establish a strong control over it. Otherwise, that enemy would fight back at every opportunity, and Israel would have constant trouble.

David established control over most of those nations by means of a system of taxes (2 Samuel chapter 8). The people in those nations simply continued their usual work, and David demanded taxes from them each year.

However, David considered that such a system could not work in Ammon. The people in Ammon were famous for their cruelty and their proud attitudes (1 Samuel 11:1-2; 2 Samuel 10:1-4). So, David decided that he would force their men to do hard, physical tasks. They needed to use their energy to work with wood and stone. They would lift heavy weights; they would feel the heat of the ovens which baked the bricks. This was the kind of work that slaves often did. David hoped that, in this way, Ammon’s people would learn not to have such proud and nasty attitudes.

Perhaps David chose those tasks to remind Ammon’s people of the great cruelty that they had shown in the past. Ammon’s people may have been guilty of the same cruel acts that the worst people in that region did. They too may have killed people with a saw (Hebrews 11:37); they too may have thrown people into a hot oven (Daniel 3:11). Now, the tools that they used for such cruelty, became the tools for their daily work. Now, the places where they carried out such wicked acts, became the places where they had to work.

Next part: Amnon and Tamar (2 Samuel 13:1)


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