Our reading begins today with the death of the Ammonite king (10:1). We saw in 2 Samuel 8:11-12 that the Ammonites were one of the peoples David “subdued.” Here we see that the king of the Ammonites dealt kindly with David, and vice versa (v. 2). But the kings advisors turn him against David (v. 3), and they mistreat the envoy he sent (v. 4). The Ammonites, knowing now that David was coming for them, join force with Syria, Maacah, and Tob to fight against Israel (v. 6) on two fronts (v. 8). Joab splits the army of Israel into two (vv. 9-10). The Syrians flee before them (v. 13), causing the Ammonites to flee (v. 14). But the Syrians call for reinforcements and come again against Israel (vv. 15-16), and are defeated soundly (v. 18). Ultimately, they surrender to Israel (v. 19).
What is important to note in this chapter is the sovereignty of God in preserving His people. In verse 12, Joab is surrendered to God – he fights for God, but is surrendered to God’s will. And note in verse 13, there is no mention of the battle. It says Joab drew to battle them, and they fled before him. Then the Ammonites flee. God handed the battle to Israel. Even when the second battle happens, we are told of the earthly might of the Syrians by being told how many of them were defeated by Israel. God is for David, and God is for Israel.
But is David wholly for God? We’ll see tomorrow…
Psalms 20 is believed to have been written by David before the battle with Ammon and Syria. David is pronouncing blessings on Israel by praying that God would protect them and fight for them (20:1-3). But David is also assuming prayer and worship on the part of Israel. He then prays that God would grant them their desires and plans (v. 4) which is their salvation (v. 5). David trusts God to bring him and Israel victory (vv. 6-8). David ends by asking outright for victory (v. 9)
Psalm 21 is believed to have been written by David after the battle with Ammon and Syria. It is a song of rejoicing in God. David attributes the victory and salvation to God (21:1) – the victory and salvation he prayed for in 20:5. Whereas David prayed that God might grant Israel her heart’s desire and hear her prayers (20:4-5), here David says God has granted his heart’s desire and heard his prayer (21:2). David’s glory is God’s salvation (v. 5), not earthly blessings (v. 3). God Himself is David’s greatest blessing (v. 6) and the object of his trust (v. 7). And David knows that God will continue to bless him (vv. 8-12). Note in verse 12 how David praises God for putting His enemies to flight (see 2 Sam 10:13-14). But also note that the victory being described in verses 8-11 can also describe the final judgment. David ends by praising God for His sovereign power (v. 13).
God is indeed preserving Israel. But not for Israel’s sake. It is for the sake of His glory that will be revealed in the true Israel and the promised Son of David, Jesus Christ.