I will show kindness unto Hanun the son of Nahash - We do not know exactly the nature or extent of the obligation which David was under to the king of the Ammonites; but it is likely that the Nahash here mentioned was the same who had attacked Jabesh-gilead, and whom Saul defeated: as David had taken refuge with the Moabites, ( 1 Samuel 22:3;), and this was contiguous to the king of the Ammonites, his hatred to Saul might induce him to show particular kindness to David.
The history does not record any instance of Nahash‘s kindness to David, but the enmity of the house of Nahash against Saul may have disposed him favorably toward Saul‘s enemy David, and if there was any family connection between David‘s house and Nahash 2 Samuel 17:25 this may have increased the friendship.
Tidings were received at Jerusalem announcing the death of Nahash, king of the Ammonites—a monarch who had shown kindness to David when he was a fugitive from the rage of Saul. Now, desiring to express his grateful appreciation of the favor shown him in his distress, David sent ambassadors with a message of sympathy to Hanun, the son and successor of the Ammonite king. “Said David, I will show kindness unto Hanun the son of Nahash, as his father showed kindness unto me.” PP 714.1
But his courteous act was misinterpreted. The Ammonites hated the true God and were the bitter enemies of Israel. The apparent kindness of Nahash to David had been prompted wholly by hostility to Saul as king of Israel. The message of David was misconstrued by Hanun's counselors. They “said unto Hanun their lord, Thinkest thou that David doth honor 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?” It was by the advice of his counselors that Nahash, half a century before, had been led to make the cruel condition required of the people of Jabesh-gilead, when, besieged by the Ammonites, they sued for a covenant of peace. Nahash had demanded the privilege of thrusting out all their right eyes. The Ammonites still vividly remembered how the king of Israel had foiled their cruel design, and had rescued the people whom they would have humbled and mutilated. The same hatred of Israel still prompted them. They could have no conception of the generous spirit that had inspired David's message. When Satan controls the minds of men he will excite envy and suspicion which will misconstrue the very best intentions. Listening to his counselors, Hanun regarded David's messengers as spies, and loaded them with scorn and insult. PP 714.2
The Ammonites had been permitted to carry out the evil purposes of their hearts without restraint, that their real character might be revealed to David. It was not God's will that Israel should enter into a league with this treacherous heathen people. PP 714.3Read in context »