Useful Bible Studies > 2 Samuel Commentary > chapter 18
The cities in Israel needed to have strong defences to protect them both from robbers, and from the armies of enemies. The inhabitants would build a strong wall that surrounded the city. The only entrance would be at the city’s gate, which they would lock each night.
Mahanaim, the city where David waited for news of the battle, probably had especially strong defences. Its entrance was a strong building – and it was necessary to pass through both an outer and an inner gate to enter the city. Between the two gates was a large room, and here David was sitting. Above him, there was another room (18:33). Above that, there was the roof where a guard watched constantly.
As Ahimaaz approached the city, the guard saw him. The guard could not yet recognise him. However, the fact that he was running alone seemed to be good news. Clearly, he was running to bring a message to David. If David’s army had lost the battle, many of his soldiers would have tried to escape to Mahanaim.
Then the guard saw the second runner. He too was running alone. So it seemed to David that Joab had sent two messages to him. David thought, therefore, that Joab had even more good news to report.
As Ahimaaz came closer, the guard was able to recognise him. Ahimaaz ran in a way that distinguished him from other men. Perhaps he held his head higher, or he moved his body differently. It pleased David that Ahimaaz was coming. David knew Ahimaaz to be a good man. A good man brings good news, David said.
Next part: Ahimaaz tells David to praise God for success in the battle (2 Samuel 18:28)
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