The children of Ammon saw that they stank - That is, that their conduct rendered them abominable. This is the Hebrew mode of expressing such a feeling. See Genesis 34:30.
The Syrians of Bethrehob - This place was situated at the extremity of the valley between Libanus and Anti-libanus. The Syrians of Zoba were subject to Hadadezer. Maacah was in the vicinity of Mount Hermon, beyond Jordan, in the Trachonitis.
Ish-tob - This was probably the same with Tob, to which Jephthah fled from the cruelty of his brethren. It was situated in the land of Gilead.
Stank - A strong figure for to be odious or detested. Compare the marginal references
The Syrians of Beth-rehob - If identical with the Mesopotamians of 1 Chronicles 19:6, Beth-rehob is the same as Rehoboth by the river Genesis 36:37. Others think Beth-rehob (Rehob, 2 Samuel 10:8) the same as the Rehob and Beth-rehob of Numbers 13:21, near Hamath (perhaps the modern ruin of Hunin). If so, Beth-rehob, as well as Tob, must have been a colony of Aram Naharaim (compare the numbers in 1 Chronicles 19:7 and here).
Syrians of Zoba - Compare 1 Samuel 14:47 note.
King Maacah - Read the “King of Maacah” 1 Chronicles 19:6-7. For the position of Maacah, see Deuteronomy 3:14; Joshua 12:5. It appears to have been a very small state, since its king only brought a thousand men into the field.
Ish-tob - See the margin. Tob was the district where Jephthah fled when driven out by the Gileadites.
Before the conclusion of the war with the Ammonites, David, leaving the conduct of the army to Joab, returned to Jerusalem. The Syrians had already submitted to Israel, and the complete overthrow of the Ammonites appeared certain. David was surrounded by the fruits of victory and the honors of his wise and able rule. It was now, while he was at ease and unguarded, that the tempter seized the opportunity to occupy his mind. The fact that God had taken David into so close connection with Himself and had manifested so great favor toward him, should have been to him the strongest of incentives to preserve his character unblemished. But when in ease and self-security he let go his hold upon God, David yielded to Satan and brought upon his soul the stain of guilt. He, the Heaven-appointed leader of the nation, chosen by God to execute His law, himself trampled upon its precepts. He who should have been a terror to evildoers, by his own act strengthened their hands. PP 718.1
Amid the perils of his earlier life David in conscious integrity could trust his case with God. The Lord's hand had guided him safely past the unnumbered snares that had been laid for his feet. But now, guilty and unrepentant, he did not ask help and guidance from Heaven, but sought to extricate himself from the dangers in which sin had involved him. Bathsheba, whose fatal beauty had proved a snare to the king, was the wife of Uriah the Hittite, one of David's bravest and most faithful officers. None could foresee what would be the result should the crime become known. The law of God pronounced the adulterer guilty of death, and the proud-spirited soldier, so shamefully wronged, might avenge himself by taking the life of the king or by exciting the nation to revolt. PP 718.2
Every effort which David made to conceal his guilt proved unavailing. He had betrayed himself into the power of Satan; danger surrounded him, dishonor more bitter than death was before him. There appeared but one way of escape, and in his desperation he was hurried on to add murder to adultery. He who had compassed the destruction of Saul was seeking to lead David also to ruin. Though the temptations were different, they were alike in leading to transgression of God's law. David reasoned that if Uriah were slain by the hand of enemies in battle, the guilt of his death could not be traced home to the king, Bathsheba would be free to become David's wife, suspicion could be averted, and the royal honor would be maintained. PP 718.3Read in context »
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 »