Useful Bible Studies > 2 Samuel Commentary > chapter 12

Joab requests David’s support in the battle for Rabbah

2 Samuel 12:26-29

We can see how difficult it was for an army to overcome the defences of a strong city. For a year – perhaps two years – Joab’s army had to camp round Rabbah, the capital city of Ammon. They did not allow anyone to enter or to leave the city. Occasionally the enemy soldiers from inside the city would come out to attack them (11:17). Israel’s men had to be ready for such an attack by day or night. Perhaps it was such an attack that gave Israel’s army the opportunity to fight for the royal castle. They gained control over the castle, and also the main supply of water for the city. Most of Ammon’s soldiers, however, escaped back into the main part of the city.

Joab, the commander of Israel’s army, realised that he was now in a very strong position. Ammon’s army could not remain in the city for long without their main source of water. However, Joab was only leading a small group of soldiers and they were tired. Ammon’s army was large, and its men were famous for their cruelty (1 Samuel 11:1-2).

So, Joab decided to request David’s support. David as the king, could gather a vast army of all Israel’s men who could fight. Joab gave an honourable reason for this: he wanted David, and not himself, to receive the honour for the defeat of Ammon. Probably the real reason was that, with such a large army, it would be much easier to defeat the enemy.

Next part: David's crown (2 Samuel 12:30)


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