The Story of Patriarchs and Prophets
by Ellen G. White
Chapter 70: The Reign of David
< Prev T. of C.
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.
In ancient times, as now, the office of ambassador was held
sacred. By the universal law of nations it ensured protection from
personal violence or insult. The ambassador standing as a
representative of his sovereign, any indignity offered to him demanded [p. 715] prompt retaliation. The Ammonites, knowing that the insult
offered to Israel would surely be avenged, made preparation for
war. "When the children of Ammon saw that they had made
themselves odious to David, Hanun and the children of Ammon
sent a thousand talents of silver to hire them chariots and horsemen
out of Mesopotamia, and out of Syria-maachah, and out of
Zobah. So they hired thirty and two thousand chariots. . . . And
the children of Ammon gathered themselves together from their
cities, and came to battle." 1 Chronicles 19:6, 7.
It was indeed a formidable alliance. The inhabitants of the
region lying between the river Euphrates and the Mediterranean
Sea had leagued with the Ammonites. The north and east of
Canaan was encircled with armed foes, banded together to crush
the kingdom of Israel.
The Hebrews did not wait for the invasion of their country.
Their forces, under Joab, crossed the Jordan and advanced toward
the Ammonite capital. As the Hebrew captain led his army to
the field he sought to inspire them for the conflict, saying, "Be
of good courage, and let us behave ourselves valiantly for our
people, and for the cities of our God: and let the Lord do that
which is good in His sight." 1 Chronicles 19:13. The united
forces of the allies were overcome in the first engagement. But
they were not yet willing to give over the contest, and the next
year renewed the war. The king of Syria gathered his forces,
threatening Israel with an immense army. David, realizing how
much dependent upon the result of this contest, took the field in
person, and by the blessing of God inflicted upon the allies a
defeat so disastrous that the Syrians, from Lebanon to the
Euphrates, not only gave up the war, but became tributary to Israel.
Against the Ammonites David pushed the war with vigor, until
their strongholds fell and the whole region came under the
dominion of Israel.
The dangers which had threatened the nation with utter
destruction proved, through the providence of God, to be the very
means by which it rose to unprecedented greatness. In commemorating
his remarkable deliverances, David sings:
"The Lord liveth; and blessed be my rock; and exalted be the
God of my salvation:
Even the God that executeth vengeance for me, and subdueth
peoples under me. [p. 716]
He rescueth me from mine enemies:
Yea, Thou liftest me up above them that rise up against me:
Thou deliverest me from the violent man.
Therefore I will give thanks unto Thee, O Lord, among the
And will sing praises unto Thy name.
Great deliverance giveth He to His king;
And sheweth loving-kindness to His anointed,
To David and to his seed, forevermore."
|Psalm 18:46-50, R.V.
And throughout the songs of David the thought was
impressed on his people that Jehovah was their strength and
"There is no king saved by the multitude of a host:
A mighty man is not delivered by much strength.
A horse is a vain thing for safety:
Neither shall he deliver any by his great strength."
Psalm 33:16, 17.
"Thou art my King, O God:
Command deliverances for Jacob.
Through Thee will we push down our enemies:
Through Thy name will we tread them under that rise up
For I will not trust in my bow,
Neither shall my sword save me.
But Thou hast saved us from our enemies,
And hast put them to shame that hated us."
"Some trust in chariots, and some in horses:
But we will remember the name of Jehovah our God."
The kingdom of Israel had now reached in extent the fulfillment
of the promise given to Abraham, and afterward repeated
to Moses: "Unto thy seed have I given this land, from the river of
Egypt unto the great river, the river Euphrates." Genesis 15:18.
Israel had become a mighty nation, respected and feared by
surrounding peoples. In his own realm David's power had become
very great. He commanded, as few sovereigns in any age have
been able to command, the affections and allegiance of his people.
He had honored God, and God was now honoring him.
But in the midst of prosperity lurked danger. In the time of
his greatest outward triumph David was in the greatest peril, and
met his most humiliating defeat.
< Prev T. of C.