1. Lesson One of the Book of Daniel, Introduction to the Book of Daniel

Lesson 56, Geography Study Concerning the Scriptures, The Exploits of David, Continued


After he returned to Jerusalem, David learned of a threat posed by the Edomites who had descended from the heights of their stronghold (most likely at Bozrah) and were encamped in the Valley of Salt, near the southern end of the Dead Sea. 


Acting swiftly, the Jerusalem monarch led his own troops into that valley and decisively crushed the enemy.


2 Samuel 8:13,  And David gat him a name when he returned from smiting of the Syrians in the valley of salt, being eighteen thousand men. 14And he put garrisons in Edom; throughout all Edom put he garrisons, and all they of Edom became David’s servants. And the LORD preserved David whithersoever he went.


That stunning victory, together with the subsequent Edomite retreat to Egypt, paved the way for David’s developing kingdom to be extended as far south as the Gulf of Aqaba.


David’s problems with the Ammonites arose just after the death of their king, Nahash.  Saul’s expedition had succeeded in temporarily holding that monarch in check.


But at Nahash’s death, when David sent a delegation to his son Hanun to bear condolences, those ambassadors were publicly disgraced at the court in Rabbah.


2 Samuel 10:1-5,  And it came to pass after this, that the king of the children of Ammon died, and Hanun his son reigned in his stead. 2Then said David, I will show kindness unto Hanun the son of Nahash, as his father showed kindness unto me. And David sent to comfort him by the hand of his servants for his father. And David’s servants came into the land of the children of Ammon. 3And the princes of the children of Ammon said unto Hanun their lord, Thinkest thou that David doth honour thy father, that he hath sent comforters unto thee? hath not David rather sent his servants unto thee, to search the city, and to spy it out, and to overthrow it? 4Wherefore Hanun took David’s servants, and shaved off the one half of their beards, and cut off their garments in the middle, even to their buttocks, and sent them away. 5When they told it unto David, he sent to meet them, because the men were greatly ashamed: and the king said, Tarry at Jericho until your beards be grown, and then return.


Apparently sensing that David would retaliate for such humiliation, Hanun proceeded to secure the services of a mercenary force from Zobah, Beth-rehob, Maacah, and Tob, which marched southwards toward Rabbah [RAB-uh; “great” or “citadel”].

Rabbah (capital city of Ammon)


[RAB-uh; “great” or “citadel”] The capital city of Ammon, known as “Rabbah of the Ammonites.” Situated on the King’s Highway, at the headwaters of the Jabbok River, it is now known as Amman, the capital of Jordan. First mentioned as the resting place of King Og’s iron bedstead, David later besieged and captured the city in his war against the Ammonite king Hanun, consigning its inhabitants to forced labor. Rabbah regained its independence during the divided kingdom, and several prophecies against the city and its people appear thereafter in the oracles of the prophets. Conquered and rebuilt by Ptolemy II Philadelphus (285-246 b.c.), Rabbah was renamed Philadelphia, and after the Roman conquest it became a member of the Decapolis.


Meanwhile the Ammonite army itself drew up in battle array at the entrance of its capital city. 


To meet the challenge, Joab, David’s army general, divided the Israelite hosts into two companies: he himself courageously led a contingent of special troops against the Aramean mercenaries while the remainder of the Israelite forces were placed in the charge of Abishai and commanded to attack Rabbah. 


2 Samuel 10:6-14,  And when the children of Ammon saw that they stank before David, the children of Ammon sent and hired the Syrians of Bethrehob, and the Syrians of Zoba, twenty thousand footmen, and of king Maacah a thousand men, and of Ishtob twelve thousand men. 7And when David heard of it, he sent Joab, and all the host of the mighty men. 8And the children of Ammon came out, and put the battle in array at the entering in of the gate: and the Syrians of Zoba, and of Rehob, and Ishtob, and Maacah, were by themselves in the field. 9When Joab saw that the front of the battle was against him before and behind, he chose of all the choice men of Israel, and put them in array against the Syrians: 10And the rest of the people he delivered into the hand of Abishai his brother, that he might put them in array against the children of Ammon. 11And he said, If the Syrians be too strong for me, then thou shalt help me: but if the children of Ammon be too strong for thee, then I will come and help thee. 12Be of good courage, and let us play the men for our people, and for the cities of our God: and the LORD do that which seemeth him good. 13And Joab drew nigh, and the people that were with him, unto the battle against the Syrians: and they fled before him. 14And when the children of Ammon saw that the Syrians were fled, then fled they also before Abishai, and entered into the city. So Joab returned from the children of Ammon, and came to Jerusalem.


This Israelite victory effectively incorporated the kingdom of Ammon into David’s growing domain.


Soon after this victory, Hadadezer of Zobah was emboldened to launch an all-out attack against David. 


This time he solicited forces from as far away as the Euphrates River and led those combined forces to Helem, northeast of Gilead. 


Alerted to the new threat, David once again led his troops into Transjordan assault to meet the challenge.


He won a brillant victory, roundly defeating the Arameans and capturing their horses and chariots. 


That triumph extensively broadened the northern horizons of David’s kingdom. 


Hadadezer’s vassals concluded a peace treaty with David, who installed garrisons in Damascus and came to dominate the terrain more or less up to the Euphrates. 


2 Samuel 10:15-19,  And when the Syrians saw that they were smitten before Israel, they gathered themselves together. 16And Hadarezer sent, and brought out the Syrians that were beyond the river: and they came to Helam; and Shobach the captain of the host of Hadarezer went before them. 17And when it was told David, he gathered all Israel together, and passed over Jordan, and came to Helam. And the Syrians set themselves in array against David, and fought with him. 18And the Syrians fled before Israel; and David slew the men of seven hundred chariots of the Syrians, and forty thousand horsemen, and smote Shobach the captain of their host, who died there. 19And when all the kings that were servants to Hadarezer saw that they were smitten before Israel, they made peace with Israel, and served them. So the Syrians feared to help the children of Ammon any more.


God had promised David that one of his sons would build the Temple.


2 Samuel 7:12-16,  And when thy days be fulfilled, and thou shalt sleep with thy fathers, I will set up thy seed after thee, which shall proceed out of thy bowels, and I will establish his kingdom. 13He shall build an house for my name, and I will stablish the throne of his kingdom for ever. 14I will be his father, and he shall be my son. If he commit iniquity, I will chasten him with the rod of men, and with the stripes of the children of men: 15But my mercy shall not depart away from him, as I took it from Saul, whom I put away before thee. 16And thine house and thy kingdom shall be established for ever before thee: thy throne shall be established for ever.


Though in his waning years David might have cherished that expectation for one of his sons, he became instead the object of intrigue and beleaguered insurrection, stemming ironically from his sons.


David’s eldest surviving son was Absalom, born to the king’s wife who had been an Aramean princess of Geshur.




[AIR-uhm; “high; exalted”] An ancient country of indefinite extent, formed of a collection of city-states. Among those mentioned in the OT are Damascus, Zobah, Geshur, Maacah, Beth Eden, and Beth Rehob. The territory of Aram was largely confined to the plains ne of Palestine and sw of the Euphrates. The Aramean kingdoms were absorbed into the Assyrian Empire by Tiglath Pileser III.


Geshur (Bashan)


[GESH-uhr; “bridge”] A small Aramean kingdom in upper Bashan, situated sw of Maacah and nw of the Argob. Although within the territory allotted to Manasseh e of the Jordan, the people of Geshur were not driven out by Israel. The daughter of Talmai, king of Geshur, became a wife of David. Her son, Absalom, escaped to Geshur after the murder of Amnon.


2 Samuel 3:2-3,  And unto David were sons born in Hebron: and his firstborn was Amnon, of Ahinoam the Jezreelitess; 3And his second, Chileab, of Abigail the wife of Nabal the Carmelite; and the third, Absalom the son of Maacah the daughter of Talmai king of Geshur;


Absalom had spent three years in exile with his maternal grandfather (Talmai king of Geshur); because he had murdered his half-brother Amnon in retaliation for the rape of Absalom’s sister, Tamar. 


Absalom spent some four years gaining the favor of his father’s subjects, listening to their grievances , and establishing his own power base, that even included one of David’s personal counselors. 


2 Samuel 15:1-12,  And it came to pass after this, that Absalom prepared him chariots and horses, and fifty men to run before him. 2And Absalom rose up early, and stood beside the way of the gate: and it was so, that when any man that had a controversy came to the king for judgment, then Absalom called unto him, and said, Of what city art thou? And he said, Thy servant is of one of the tribes of Israel. 3And Absalom said unto him, See, thy matters are good and right; but there is no man deputed of the king to hear thee. 4Absalom said moreover, Oh that I were made judge in the land, that every man which hath any suit or cause might come unto me, and I would do him justice! 5And it was so, that when any man came nigh to him to do him obeisance, he put forth his hand, and took him, and kissed him. 6And on this manner did Absalom to all Israel that came to the king for judgment: so Absalom stole the hearts of the men of Israel. 7And it came to pass after forty years (should probably be 4 years) , that Absalom said unto the king, I pray thee, let me go and pay my vow, which I have vowed unto the LORD, in Hebron. 8For thy servant vowed a vow while I abode at Geshur in Syria, saying, If the LORD shall bring me again indeed to Jerusalem, then I will serve the LORD. 9And the king said unto him, Go in peace. So he arose, and went to Hebron. 10But Absalom sent spies throughout all the tribes of Israel, saying, As soon as ye hear the sound of the trumpet, then ye shall say, Absalom reigneth in Hebron. 11And with Absalom went two hundred men out of Jerusalem, that were called; and they went in their simplicity, and they knew not any thing. 12And Absalom sent for Ahithophel the Gilonite, David’s counsellor, from his city, even from Giloh, while he offered sacrifices. And the conspiracy was strong; for the people increased continually with Absalom.


When the opportunity seemed right, Absalom attacked Jerusalem and succeeded in temporarily expelling the patriarchal king from his capital.


No stranger to being hunted down, David craftily fled across the Jordan River and sought refuge in the secluded inlands around Mahanaim, where he received supplies and assistance from the towns of Rabbah, Lo-debar, and Rogelim.


2 Samuel 17:27-29,  And it came to pass, when David was come to Mahanaim, that Shobi the son of Nahash of Rabbah of the children of Ammon, and Machir the son of Ammiel of Lodebar, and Barzillai the Gileadite of Rogelim, 28Brought beds, and basins, and earthen vessels, and wheat, and barley, and flour, and parched corn, and beans, and lentiles, and parched pulse, 29And honey, and butter, and sheep, and cheese of kine, for David, and for the people that were with him, to eat: for they said, The people is hungry, and weary, and thirsty, in the wilderness.


Meanwhile, back in Jerusalem, to signify the finality of his coup, Absalom publicly engaged in sexual relations with his father’s concubines.


2 Samuel 16:22,  So they spread Absalom a tent upon the top of the house; and Absalom went in unto his father’s concubines in the sight of all Israel. 23And the counsel of Ahithophel, which he counselled in those days, was as if a man had inquired at the oracle of God: so was all the counsel of Ahithophel both with David and with Absalom.


But Absalom’s victory was short lives and David’s counteroffensive resulted in a battle in the forest of Ephraim, in which Absalom was killed by Joab. 


Absalom’s usurpation of power had been short lived.