Friday, February 19, 2016


O. T. #699  "Sympathy"
February 19, 2016
2 Samuel 10
So David sent ambassadors to express sympathy to Hanun about his father's death.
2 Samuel 10:2 NLT


We all go through it-times of pain, emotional upset, even loosing a loved one. We remember those who took time to show their love to us in various ways of their sympathy. David tried to show his, but it was not accepted.

Before we get into the details of this battle between Israel and the Ammonites, let's look at the background of these people with assistance from some Bible scholars.

Nahash was the king of the children of Ammon, who had besieged the city of Jabesh-Gilead. Then Israel's King Saul conquered it  out of  the their hands in an earlier time (1 Samuel 11:1). Apparently Nahash had helped David during the time David was running for his life from Saul when they were mutual friends. Later on, after David had been reigning in all of Israel and Judah, Nahash died. (Falwell)

It is implied that David and Nahash had entered into a covenant relationship, on the basis of which David desired to communicate his continuing loyalty to Nahash's son Hanun. (MacArthrur)

So David sends his condolences by way of ambassadors to Hanun, King Nahash's son.
Here are some descriptive words that are used to describe this act of David as:
  • genuinely sympathetic and peaceful,
  • kindness,
  • a friendly gesture of goodwill and peace.
When someone passes away, we usually show sympathy towards the family in some way or another. It is a custom in my locale that we send flowers  to the funeral and/or fix food and take to them, visiting, as well as sending a card. Also, the church provides the family with a dinner on the day of the funeral. Those are ways we show our love and kindness to those hurting.

How do you show sympathy to the family of one who has passed away? Do we go with compassion, a listening ear, arms of love, and tender words? These are more personal than food and flowers.


Well, David's act of kindness was completely misunderstood. Some of the Ammonite princes accused David's men of coming to spy out the city so they could come in and conquer it. So Hanun seized the messengers and did an awful thing to them. They shaved off half of each man's beard, cut off their robes at the buttocks, and sent them back to David in shame.

What was intended to be a trip of peace turned into one of shame. The peaceful messengers were treated with mistrust and contempt by the Ammonites.

This was one of the most humiliating things he could have done. Even today the Orientals would consider this an unthinkable indignity. It would be like shaving a woman's head. (Falwell)

Shaving one's beard was supposed to be a voluntary act reserved for times of mourning (Is. 15:2; Jer. 41:5; Ez. 5:1). Prisoners of war had their garments cut off (Is. 20:4).  The war with the Ammonites was foolishness. David did not provoke it, but the Ammonites started it by disgracing the Israelite ambassadors.  (D. Jeremiah)

David was again understanding. When word came to him about this, he sent messengers to tell those men to stay at Jericho until their bears grew out and then return home. He knew they felt deep shame because of their appearance. (verse 5)

How do we react when others have been mistreated? Are we sympathetic or think they deserve it?


Let go of self-centeredness and think of others.

Show God's love and comfort for those hurting.

Go to the hurting.

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