Useful Bible Studies > 2 Samuel Commentary > chapter 10

David’s sympathy at the death of Nahash

2 Samuel 10:1-2

Chapters 10, 11 and 12 are about events during David’s war against Ammon.

David had considered Nahash, king of Ammon, to be his friend. That may surprise us. The last reference to a king called Nahash was in 1 Samuel chapter 11. That Nahash was a cruel and evil king. Perhaps the Nahash whom David knew, was that king’s son or grandson. However, perhaps Nahash was only friendly towards David because Nahash hated Saul. If so, that was not true friendship. Rather, Nahash was trying to take advantage of David’s trust and his loyal attitudes.

It is interesting to compare 2 Samuel chapters 9 and 10. In both chapters, David wanted to show kindness to the son of a friend who had died. In chapter 9, David was dealing with a humble man who respected him greatly. In chapter 10, David was dealing with a proud and cruel king who served a false god. In this, we can see that David was dealing with these matters in too simple a manner. He was trying to be friendly towards someone whom he should never have trusted.

It was usual to bury a dead body as soon as possible. David would not receive news of the death for several days. When he did, he chose honourable and important men to send to Ammon. The typical custom would be to select old men for this purpose. Their task was to visit Hanun the son of Nahash, and to express David’s sympathy at the death of his (Hanun’s) father.

Next part: Ammon's leaders deal shamefully with the men from Israel (2 Samuel 10:3-5)


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