Shmuel 2-Chapter 10: War with Aram and Amon

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Chapter 10: War with Aram and Amon

1. Dovid sends emissaries to console the new king of Amon and his messengers are shamed:

  • And it was after the above events, the king of the people of Amon passed away and his son Chanun became king after him.
  • Dovid sends messengers to console Chanun for the death of his father: Dovid said that he would like to do kindness with Chanun, the son of Nachash, just as his father did kindness with him. [The kindness that was done to Dovid by his father is as follows: When Dovid was running away from Shaul, his parents and brothers joined him due to fear of persecution from Shaul. They had settled by the land of the king of Moab, who eventually had Dovid’s entire family killed except for one brother who managed to escape to the land of Amon and received refuge by their king Nachash, the father of Chanun.[1]] So, Dovid sent messengers to [Chanun] to convey his condolences over the death of his father.
  • The messengers are suspected of being spies to conquer the city: The messengers of Dovid arrived in the land of Amon [and told him that they are there to convey condolences from King Dovid]. The aristocrats of the nation of Amon said to their master, Chanun, “Is the respect of your father so great in Dovid’s eyes that he actually sent you messengers for the purpose of conveying his condolences [as after all, their Torah prohibits them from inquiring as to the peace of Amon[2]]? Certainly, he has really sent you these messengers for a military mission in order to spy against the city and connive ways to conquer it.”
  • The messengers are shamed, have their beards partially cut off and clothing torn: Chanun [who believed the words of the aristocrats] took the servants of Dovid and shaved half of their beard and tore their clothing in half until their lower extremities, and then sent them back to Dovid.
  • Dovid receives the shamed men: Dovid was informed of what had happened and he summoned the men as they were very shamed, and told them that they should settle in the city of Jericho until their beards grow back and then return.

2. The nation of Amon prepares for war:

  • The people of Amon saw that Dovid was very offended [and were fearful of retribution] and therefore they hired the armies of Aram Beis Rechov, and Aram Tzova, 20,000 foot soldiers, and also the king of Macha with 1000 foot soldiers and also Ish Tov together with 12,000 soldiers.
  • Dovid prepares for war: Dovid heard all this and he sent Yoav [his general] and all his army of warriors to confront them.
  • The positions of battle: The nation of Amon went to the battlefront by the opening of the gate of their city, while Aram Tzova and Rechov and Ish Tov and Macha were alone in the field.

3. The Jewish people are surrounded:

  • Yoav prepares to battle Aram: Yoav saw that he was surrounded by the enemy soldiers both in front and in back and he therefore chose the best of the soldiers of Israel and went out to confront the enemy Aram.
  • Avishaiy prepares to battle Amon: The remainder of the soldiers he placed under the authority of his brother Avishaiy, and they went out to wage war against the nation of Amon.
  • The pact: Yoav said to his brother that if the nation of Aram will overcome him then he, Avishaiy, should come to help him, and if the nation of Amon will overcome Avishaiy, he will go to help save him. “Let us strengthen ourselves and be strong on behalf of our nation and on behalf of the cities of G-d, and G-d will do what is good in His eyes.”

4. The first battle:

  • Yoav and the nation that was with him gathered to wage war against Aram, and Aram fled from before him. The nation of Amon saw that Aram had fled and they too fled from Avishaiy, and they arrived to their city. Yoav had returned from battling the nation of Aram and he arrived in Jerusalem.

5. The second battle:

  • Aram saw that they had fled from before the Jewish people and they therefore gathered a large army together for a second battle. They sent for [the strongest ruler of the area] Hadadezer, who subsequently joined Aram in the battle from across the Jordan and they arrived to the city of Cheilom.
  • The general of the enemy: Shovach was the general [of Hadadezer] and he led them in battle.
  • Dovid prepares for the second battle: Dovid was informed of the upcoming battle and gathered all the Jewish people from across the Jordan and they arrived to Cheilama.
  • The battle: Aram positioned their armies opposite Dovid, and they battled with Dovid there. Aram fled from the Jewish people and Dovid decimated the army of Aram, destroying 700 war chariots and killing 40,000 horsemen. Shovach, the general of the enemy, was killed there.

6. The aftermath – The gentile kings are subdued:

  • All the kings who were servants of Hadadezer saw that they had fled in front of the Jewish people, and they therefore made peace with the Jewish people and agreed to be subdued to them, to serve them.
  • The nation of Aram now feared helping the nation of Amon anymore to help save them.


[1] Rashi 10:2

[2] Rashi 10:3

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