2 Sam 8.1-18 tells us about the wars of David and his victories, especially over the Philistines, Moabites, Syrians and the Edomites. It also speaks about his righteous administration of government and some principle people. After a period of rest for a time, David defeated the Philistines and took control of their chief city called Gath (1 Chr 18.1). The Moabites showed enmity toward David, now that he was not the enemy of Saul, and were put under tribute because the Lord did not want David to destroy every nation. We will also pick up some valuable information about our spiritual warfare in 2 Sam 8.4.
David defeated Hadadezer (“Hadad is help”), the son of Rehob (“broad place”), king of Zobah (“station”), a part of Syria, as Hadaezer went to restore his rule at the Euphrates River. He captures 1700 horsemen and 20,000 soldiers. He also hamstrung the chariot horses so that they could not be used against him for war again. But, he reserved enough of the horses to equip 100 chariots for his own use (parades, etc). He is fulfilling the Torah here (Deut 17.15-16).
Something similar was done in the 1800’s. The Kiowa Comanche and the Cheyenne Arapaho were defeated in one battle by the U.S. Army. Their ponies were captured and shot. As a result, these nations could not hunt, travel or fight, so they surrendered. This is a common tactic in warfare-immobilize the enemy.
David did not keep the chariots because he was not equipped to handle them. Israel would have been ineffective in using them (1 Chr 18.4). Joshua did the same thing (Josh 11.6).
Spiritually, we need to destroy the weapons of mobility and firepower of our enemy so they cannot be used against us again. We should use the weapons God has given us and not try to be like someone else. David was not equipped to use chariots, and we are not equipped to be someone else, and we are not equipped to use the talents of someone else. But David did keep enough horses for 100 chariots, and that was his limitation, and we need to know our limitations also. David brought much spoil to Jerusalem to be used later in the Temple (2 Sam 8.11).
So, David was king over all Israel, and Joab was over the army. Jehoshaphat was the recorder (historian, clerk). Zadok and Ahimelech were the high priests, with Ahimelech in Jerusalem with the Ark, and who most likely went to war, and Zadok was in Gibeon with the Mishkan. Benaiah was over the Cherethites (security) and the Pelethites (couriers). David’s sons were “kohanim” in Hebrew, or chief ministers (in the sense of princes).
Now, the Cherethites and Pelethites were Philistines and they were David’s bodyguards. Why did David use foreigners as bodyguards? They had no familial interest in the tribes of Israel and were not caught up in all the internal, Israelite intrigues and loyalties. They were loyal to David, not to any particular tribe.
In 2 Sam 9.1-13 reveals David’s heart to the house of Saul. He inquires about the family of Saul and asked if there was anyone alive to show kindness to, as God showed David kindness. He remembered his oath to Saul (1 Sam 24.21 and to Jonathan (1 Sam 20.14-15) and it was not just based on his feelings. A former servant of Saul named Ziba (“statue”) tells David about a son of Jonathan named Mephiboshet (“extermination of the idol”), who is also known as Meribaal (“Baal is my advocate”) in 1 Chr 8.34. He was living in a place called Lo-devar, which means “no word.” He is in the house of Machir (“sold”), the son of Ammiel (“people of God”). Evidently, Mephiboshet was in hiding and we remember how he became lame (2 Sam 4.4). His nurse feared that the new leader of a new dynasty would get rid of any potential rivals.
Being a son of Jonathan, Mephiboshet was a rightful heir to the throne and could be seen as a threat by David. There were still some in Israel who never accepted David as the rightful king (2 Sam 16.5-8). Ishboshet was Mephiboshet’s uncle and he will wage war against David for the throne.
Mephiboshet came to David in humility and prostrated himself before David. David told him that he would show him kindness for his father’s sake, and he would restore all the land of Saul to him, and he would eat at his table (David’s), meaning he was considered as adopted by David. David’s kindness to Mephiboshet is given for the sake of another, based on a covenant. In the same way, God’s kindness to us is given for the sake of Yeshua, based on a covenant.
So Mephiboshet lived in Jerusalem and ate at David’s table as one of the king’s sons (v 11). He had a young son named Micah (“who is like”) and everyone who lived in Ziba’s house were servants to Mephiboshet. In 1 Chr 8.34 we learn that Micah had sons named Pithon (“mouth”), Melech (“king”), Tarea (“howling, doing evil”) and Ahaz (“Yehovah has held”). Other kings usually killed any potential rival, and Mephiboshet had that on his mind and that is why he hid himself. He thought he was safe as long as the king didn’t know about him, but all that has changed now because the king sought him out, and found him. He learns that this fear of David is unfounded because David removed his fears.
All of this alludes to Yeshua and the believers. We were crippled in our feet and unable to walk in the Torah. But Yeshua showed as kindness as we have said, and has adopted us into his family and we will eat at his table in the Messianic Kingdom (Isa 25.6; Matt 8.11; Luke 22.30). And like Mephiboshet, we had a fear of the king and hid ourselves, but Yeshua sought us out will fulfill his promise to us. Let’s look at a few more parallels.
In our unsaved state, we were like Mephiboshet. We were in hiding and weak. If we did go to “church” we didn’t know we were living in a house, sold to the people of God who had no word (Lo-devar) and we couldn’t walk in God’s Torah. We are separated from God because of our ancestor and former king Adam, and because of our actions against God. So we hid ourselves, but God sought us out before we accepted him (see our teaching called “The Sovereignty of God and the elect” on this website). We didn’t know the Lord or his love for us, but he sought us out. God’s kindness to us is for the the sake of another (Yeshua) and a covenant (Brit Chadasha/new or renewed covenant). But we must come in humility, and as a result, God will return back to us our inheritance and all that we have lost. We will get to sit at the king’s table in the kingdom and have a relationship with him.
On the other hand, David’s actions to Mephiboshet is a pattern for us as we deal with others. We should seek out our enemies and bless if possible. We should seek out those who cannot walk in God’s ways and try to minister to them about the the truth of God’s word. We should bless them for the sake of another who has blessed us, and with whom we have a covenant.
In Part 9 we will pick up in 2 Sam 10.1-19.