“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…” (2 Sam. 10:6).
Within any relationship, faithfulness and loyalty are among the top components people expect from each other to maintain it. This is unspoken and understood by all parties involved. Especially in the Kingdom of God.
Trust is a difficult thing to earn. Once broken, it sometimes causes an irreparable breach in the relationship. We live in an age wherein real relationships are difficult to establish and maintain. Why? Because we just do not know in whom we can place our trust. We give our loyalty to those whom we believe will reciprocate the same level of loyalty in return. However, such is not always the case.
Some people are so desperate for a loyal friend that they will often try to “buy” it. This approach never works because loyalty is the result of a mutual understanding and respect within a real relationship, and we cannot buy it. Especially not in the Kingdom of God.
Understanding The Text
At the beginning of the text, Nahash (king of Ammon) dies and when David learns of his death, he sends an emissary to “comfort” Hanun, Nahash’s son. However, things go awry when Hanun accepts the counsel of his advisors about the motives behind David’s goodwill offer of kindness and loyalty in the wake of his father’s death (vv. 2-3). Hanun’s response to David’s goodwill was one of utter disrespect (v. 4).
Upon learning about how David received the news of his actions towards David’s servants, Hanun understands that he must prepare for war. In verse 6, Hanun hires mercenaries to help him fight against David. This is obviously going to elicit a negative response from David. Why? First, Hanun has breached a long-standing relationship David had with Hanun’s father by his treatment of David’s servants. Second, after breaching the loyalty with David, Hanun attempts to buy the loyalty of mercenaries to wage war against David.
This leads us to assume that Hanun is well acquainted with David’s reputation as a warrior. Although it was an effort to exercise strength and establish his rule, Hanun mistakenly placed his confidence in an alliance with someone (Syria) whose loyalty was only to the money he received. The test of the strength of this loyalty manifests when David sent Joab and the rest of Israel’s forces to battle against Hanun (vv. 7-10).
The end result was Hanun’s alliance being destroyed before Joab and Israel. Syria fled from the battle, leaving Hanun and the Ammonites to fight the battle for themselves (v. 13). The Ammonites were also forced to flee before Israel in the end as well.
Later, in verses 15-17, the Syrians regrouped and made a second attempt at attacking Israel. However, after David overtook the Syrian army, the armies who had made alliances with Syria previously “…made peace with Israel, and served them. So the Syrians feared to help the children of Ammon any more…” (v. 19).
Why Is This Important To Us?
This is important to us because it teaches us about the value of maintaining loyalty within relationships. It helps us to understand that the most important things in life cannot be weighed in monetary terms. The things that hold the most value in life are the things shared with those with whom we have fostered genuine relationships.
In other words, no amount of money can purchase this type of loyalty. True loyalty is born out of a mutual love and respect for one another. It stands with us even when we are at our lowest points in life. We do not ever have to wonder about our importance and value because it can be observed by the actions of everyone involved in the relationship.
We must cherish the Kingdom relationships we have in life. Although each one is different, the persons involved are expecting the same level of invested loyalty and respect from us as they have extended to us. It helps to cement the common bond we share with one another in Christ. It also places us in a better position to advance God’s Kingdom Agenda here on earth in the eyes of a lost and dying world.
Sean Mungin, author of “The Thorn In The Flesh”