2 Samuel 8 – Devotional

2 Samuel 8 – Devotional

The promises of God in 2 Samuel 7 come to pass in tangible and real ways, though of course it was not the final or ultimate fulfillment.  This is seen in some detail in our chapter today.  The promises of God like “I will make for you a great name” (2 Sam. 7:9b) we read in 2 Sam. 8:13, “And David made a name for himself…” in battle.  I know the initial objection here will be that it says “David made a name for himself” and so it would seem like he is no better than Nebuchadnezzar, the king of Babylon, who boasted of his accomplishments (see Daniel 4:28-32).  However, the text is clear when it says, and says again, “And Yahweh gave victory to David wherever he went” (vv. 6b, 14b).  David also dedicated the spoils from victory, and the gifts from Toi, to Yahweh (vv. 8, 11).  These would be some of the very things Solomon would use to build the temple of Yahweh (see 1 Chronicles 18:8). 

The passage today just explodes with victory.  “David defeated the Philistines…” (v. 1a). “And he defeated Moab…” (v. 2a).  “David also defeated Hadadezer…” (v. 3a).  “And all the Edomites became David’s servants” (v. 14b).  So David defeated the Philistines to the west, the Moabites to the east, Hadadezer to the north, and the Edomites to the south.  Thus the kingdom, in one respect, extended to the four corners of the earth.  Something that will be a reality under the greater reign and rule of Jesus Christ (see Matthew 28:18-20; Acts 1:8).  David took precautions to not acquire too many horses following his battle with Hadadezer (v. 4), understanding that Israel’s kings were not to be loaded with horses since that is not how battles are won (Deut. 17:16; Psalm 20:7-8).  Too bad, David didn’t continue to read or take heed to the very next verse about not acquiring many wives (Deut. 17:17; 2 Sam. 5:13). 

God establishes the kingdom with his anointed here on this earth.  Yet there are many who oppose David, and in turn David’s God, Yahweh, because they don’t want such a one to reign over them (see Luke 19:11-27).  So what must be done for those enemies who do not want David, nor Yahweh, to rule over them?  The kingdom pattern we see with David is conflict precedes conquest.  Many oppose David like the Philistines, Moab, Hadadezer, and Edom, and must be defeated because of their opposition and rebellion.  Others, take a wiser approach.  For there is an alternative to the kingdom pattern of being defeated, or literally “struck down” (vv. 1, 2, 3, 5, 13), and that alternative is submission.  Some nations must be subdued: the Philistines, Moab, etc., while others willingly submit, like Toi king of Hamath.

Second Samuel 8:9-10 says, “When Toi king of Hamath heard that David had defeated the whole army of Hadadezer, Toi sent his son Joram to King David, to ask about his health and to bless him because he had fought against Hadadezer and defeated him, for Hadadezer had often been at war with Toi. And Joram brought with him articles of silver, of gold, and of bronze.”  Toi is thankful for David’s defeat of his own bitter enemy, Hadadezer.  He expresses his gratitude by sending a tribute to David by the hands of his son Joram.  There is undoubtedly a desire on Toi’s end not to oppose David since everyone who does gets struck down, for “Yahweh gave victory to David wherever he went” (vv. 6b, 14b).  But it can be demonstrated that more than trying to cover his hide is at play when we look at this passage in 1 Chronicles 18.  Toi’s sons name there is Hadoram meaning “Hadad is exalted.”  Who is Hadad?  Does this refer to that bitter enemy of Toi, Hadadezer?  No.  Hadadezer means “Hadad is a help.”  “Hadad was an alternate name for the sky or storm god of the Canaanites, usually known as ‘Baal’” (Peter Leithart, A Son to Me: An Exposition of 1 & 2 Samuel, 206).  So Hadadezer relied on Hadad, also known as Baal, for help and was soundly defeated when Yahweh helped David (2 Sam. 8:3-8).  Back to Toi’s son.  Hadoram (1 Chron. 18:10) meant “Hadad is exalted.”  But here in 2 Samuel we see a change of name since “Joram” brings David a gift.  “Joram” means “Yah is exalted,” and “Yah” is an abbreviation for our covenant God, “Yahweh.”  Leithart rightly observes, “Toi and his kingdom were apparently not only politically ‘saved’ by David, but saved to become Gentile worshipers of Yahweh” (A Son to Me: An Exposition of 1 & 2 Samuel, 208).  This is also seen when the Lord uses Joseph in Egypt to convert Pharaoh and the Egyptians (see Gen. 41ff).

Conflict precedes conquest.  Throughout Jesus’ ministry the hostility with the religious leaders gets more and more heated until it boils over with them having Jesus crucified on a Roman cross.  But the cross, the height of the conflict with the Jews, is also where Jesus conquerors the grave for all who trust in Him.  Much like conflict precedes conquest, so death precede resurrection.  The conflict with the religious leaders led to the cross, from the religious leader’s perspective, for Jesus willingly went to the cross because He knew “The Good Shepherd lays down His life for the sheep” (John 10:11b). 

We must die to ourselves and now live for Jesus Christ.  We must submit to the Son as our Lord and Savior.  The right approach is what we read about at the end of Psalm 2 and see on display with Toi and his son Joram, “Now therefore, O kings, be wise; be warned, O rulers of the earth. Serve Yahweh with fear, and rejoice with trembling. Kiss the Son, lest He be angry and you perish in the way, for His wrath is quickly kindled. Blessed are all who take refuge in Him” (vv. 10-12).