Let’s turn in our Bibles to II Samuel, II Samuel, chapter eight.
Now it came to pass, after David smote the Philistines, and subdued them: David took Methegammah out of the hands of the Philistines (8:1).
Methegammah is another name, it is a Hebrew name, for the city of Gath, because of the position of the city, from a geographical standpoint, it was called Methegammah. But the common name by which we know the city, is Gath. It is the Philistines city, to which David had sought refuge. It was one of the most powerful of the Philistine cities. By the taking of Gath, he was pretty much in control over the Philistines. They were pretty well subdued by David. Being a walled city, and one of the major cities of the Philistines, it speaks much of the power of David’s army, at this time. Walled cities often were never taken by direct assault. Most generally, they were taken by a prolonged siege. Starving the people out, then after you starved them into the point of surrender. But it shows David’s prowess in war, to be able to take this walled city of Gath.
And then he smote Moab, [Now he then, it says,] measured them with a line, casting them down to the ground; [Or making them lie on the ground, actually.] even with two lines measured out he put to death, and with one full line to keep alive. So the Moabites became David’s servants, and they then became tributaries (8:2).
What he did, is he took the men, and he made them lie on the ground in lines. One line was measured for death, and the other were allowed to live. The Midrash Hebrew writings declared that the king of Moab, after David came into power, put his parents to death. That is their explanation why David was so cruel in killing the captives of war. He had taken and captured these men in the battle, and then made them lie down, face on the ground, and drew the line; and, on this side, they were slain, this other side, they were allowed to live. Those that did live became a tributary to David.
David then also smote Hadadezer, [Now this is up in the area now of Syria, so he has moved to the south and west, conquering Moab. He has moved towards the, or south and east conquering Moab. He’s moved towards the west conquering the Philistines, and now he is moving northward in the conquering of the area of Syria.] so Rehob, the son of Zobah, as he went to recover his border at the river Euphrates (8:3).
He expands now, his kingdom, tremendously.
David took from him a thousand chariots, seven hundred horsemen, and twenty thousand footmen: and David hewed all of the chariot horses, but he reserved of them [of the horses] enough for a hundred chariots. And when the Syrians of Damascus came to help Hadadezer the king of Zobah, [Zobah was actually in the area of Syria, and one of the Syrian, there were several capitals at that time.] David slew of the Syrians twenty two thousand men. And then David put garrisons in Syria of Damascus: and the Syrians became the servants to David, and brought gifts. And the Lord preserved David wherever he went (8:4-6).
So we see the kingdom arising tremendous, to tremendous strength. We see David conquering and establishing the kingdom.
Then David took the shields of gold that were on the servants of Hadadezer, and [they] he brought them to Jerusalem. And from Betah, and from Berothai, the cities of Hadadezer, king David took a lot of brass (8:7-9).
He is now beginning to gather the wealth for the building of the temple. God said to David, “You can’t build the temple, your son will rise to build it”, but David, in his heart, said, “Well He didn’t say I couldn’t gather the material”. So David started to gather the gold, the silver, and the brass. You remember that in the building of the temple, and we’ll come to that later on, when Solomon built the temple, he had this huge brass bath, they called it, the huge laver in which the priests were to bathe. He also had in the temple, those two columns, those pillars of brass. So, David took this brass from the cities of Hadadezer.
And then when Toi the king of Hamath heard that David had smitten all of the hosts of Hadadezer, Then Toi sent to Joram his son under king David, to greet him, and to bless him, because Hadadezer had actually fought against, and had given a lot of damage to Toi. And so Joram brought with him vessels of silver, vessels of gold, and vessels of brass: Which also king David did dedicate unto the Lord, with the silver and gold that he had dedicated of all the nations which he had subdued (8:9-11);
So gathering together now, tremendous amount of gold, silver, brass.
And of Syria, and of Moab, and of the children of Ammon, and of the Philistines, and of Amalek, and of the spoil of Hadadezer, the son of Rehob, the king of Zobah. And David got him a name when he returned from the smiting of the Syrians in the valley of salt, being eighteen thousand men. And he put garrisons in Edom; [So he even moved further south, and to the east in conquering Edom.] and throughout all of Edom he put garrisons, and all they of Edom became David’s servants. And the Lord preserved David [We heard this twice now.] wherever he went. And David reigned over all of Israel; and David executed judgement and justice unto all of his people. And Joab the son of Zeruiah was over the armies; Jeshoshaphat was the recorder; Zadok the son of Ahitub, and Ahimelech the son of Abiathar, were the priests; and Seriah was [He was the secretary of state, he was,] the scribe; And Benaiah the son of Jehoiada was over both the Cherethites and the Pelethites; and David’s sons were the chief rulers (8:12-18).
So we see now the kingdom coming to the zenith of its power, of its glory. David has conquered the enemies round about. He has now set things in order. Things are going great, they’re going well. The kingdom is strong. Joab is over his armies. Jehoshaphat is the chief historian. The priesthood is established.
At this point, David remembered a covenant that he had made with Jonathan, the son of Saul. Turning back to I Samuel, chapter twenty, verse twelve. “And Jonathan said unto David, O Lord God of Israel, when I have sounded my father about tomorrow, anytime, or the third day, and behold, if there’s good toward David, and then, and I then send not unto thee, and show it to thee, and the Lord do so much more to Jonathan.” So in verse fourteen, “And you shall not only, while I am still alive, show me kindness of the Lord, that I die not, but also, thou shalt not cut off your kindness from my house for ever. No, not when the Lord hath cut off the enemies of David. Every one from the face of the earth”.
Now this is the position David is in. God has cut off his enemies. All around him, you know no one is strong enough really to make war with David at this point. The enemies are cut off, and so Jonathan said, “At that point, show kindness to my house for ever”. So Jonathan made a covenant with the house of David saying, “Let the Lord even require it at the hand of David’s enemies”, and Jonathan caused David to swear again, because he loved him. “For he loved him as he loved his own soul.” So, this was the covenant that was made between Jonathan and David. That David would show kindness unto Jonathan and if Jonathan should be dead, then he would never cease to show kindness to the house of Jonathan. David is strong, he’s established, he remembers his covenant with his friend Jonathan.
So David searches, to find out if there is any of the house of Saul who are still alive, that I may show him kindness [he said] for Jonathan’s sake? [To keep this vow.] And there was at the house of Saul a servant whose name was Ziba. And they called him unto David, and the king said, Are you Ziba? And he said, Your servant is he. And the king said, Is there not yet any of the house of Saul, that I may show the kindness of God [Remember the covenant was the kindness of the Lord unto them. “That I may show the kindness of God,] unto him? And Ziba said unto the king, Jonathan has yet a son, which is lame in his feet (9:1-3).
Mephibosheth was a young son of Jonathan, at the time that Jonathan was slain on Mount Gilboa. When news came to Jerusalem, that Saul and his sons were slain, the nurse of Mephibosheth, grabbed the child, and fled, for the child’s safety, and his life. As she was fleeing, she dropped him, probably on his back, on his spine, and as the result of being dropped, he became lame in his feet. So Ziba said, “There’s still this one son of Jonathan, Mephibosheth”. Now the nurse fled, when he was just five years old, and by this time Mephibosheth had children of his own. So several years have transpired in the interim.
And the king said unto him, Where is he? And Ziba said unto the king, Behold, he is in the house of Machir, the son Ammiel, in Lodebar (9:4).
Now, we have to get you out a Bible map to find Lodebar. But it’s over on the other side of the Jordan river, in the area of Gilead, where they often fled. It was sort of a place of protection. The tribes of Mannaseh, and Gad, and Reuben, had settled on the other side of the Jordan river. But they really were never unified strongly with Israel. So whenever anybody was in trouble, they’d usually flee across the Jordan river, over into the area of Gilead. This is where the nurse took the child.
Now this name is interesting, and it becomes significant. “Machir, the son of Ammiel, in Lodebar.” He took Mephibosheth, and protected him. Sort of raised him, took care of him, as Mephibosheth grew. No doubt was very close, and had a strong tie with Mephibosheth. Later on, when Absalom rebelled against David, and drove David out of the kingdom, David also fled to the area of Gilead. It was, as I say, the place where they’d usually flee. Get across the Jordan river, you have a natural defense, a natural barrier against your enemies. David also fled to the area of Gibeon, and with his people, and we read that this same fellow, brought to David, and to his people, a lot of supplies. He helped them, he supplied them. No doubt, in response to David’s kindness to Mephibosheth.
So what David did, in helping Mephibosheth, actually came back to him later, from the same man, who, when we get there, we’ll make note of that again, and we’ll come back to this. We’ll cross reference these when we get to David’s flight from Absalom. It’s this same man that helps David, when he is fleeing from Absalom.
So king David sent, and they fetched him out of the house of Machir, the son of Ammiel, from Lodebar. Now when Mephibosheth, the son of Jonathan, the son of Saul, was come to David, he fell on his face, and did obesience. And David said, Mephibosheth. And [You know, it’s sort of sad in a way, that we can’t with a printed word, pick up expression. You know it’s how you say a person’s name, many times. Whether or not it brings comfort or terror. Now, my parents had a way of saying, “Charles”, that brought terror. And they also had a way of saying, “Charles”, which brought comfort. I could know what their attitude was, by the way they said my name. You know if you’re in trouble, or if everything’s okay, just the way they say your name. I believe that it’s sad that we can’t put expression on the printed page, so that we could hear David saying, Mephibosheth. I think that there was all kinds of love, David was thinking of Jonathan. He was thinking of how much he loved Jonathan. Here is the son of Jonathan. Oh, you know he can now fulfill his desire and vow to Jonathan, “Mephibosheth”. You know, just the excitement, the love, and in the voice of David, is all of the comfort and though Mephibosheth may have been uncertain, may have been fearful, he didn’t know but what David’s looking for the rest of Saul’s descendants to exterminate them! To take away any threat of any uprising in the future. Any endeavor to restore Saul’s kingdom. So, he bows before David, he’s fearful! And David, I’m sure just spelled it all when he said, “Mephibosheth”. Just the love, the warmth and all, that was there.] and he said, Behold your servant! And David said, Don’t be afraid, Fear not: for I will surely shew thee kindness for Jonathan they father’s sake, and will restore to you all of the land of Saul your grandfather; and you shall eat bread at my table continually (9:5-7).
Here of course, we see David, in a allegory, in the likeness of God. Seeking the lost, showing kindness and grace to the lost, as he restores to him all that belonged to the family inheritance. And he does it all for Jonathan’s sake, because of his love for Jonathan.
So we see Jesus, coming from God, to seek and to save that which was lost. And we see God reaching out to lost mankind. Drawing them to Himself, saying, “Don’t be afraid, I will show you kindness. I will restore unto you all that has been lost. All that belonged to your father, and you will eat at my table continually”. Beautiful, beautiful picture of God’s love for us in Christ, and it’s all done for us, for Christ’s sake. For His sake, God forgave my sins. For His sake, God called me to be His child. For His sake, I can come and sit at the table of God.
Again, so many times people misunderstand God, and misread God, thinking that God is angry. Thinking that God is wanting to judge, or wanting to condemn, or wanting to destroy. But God is wanting to forgive, and bestow His grace and mercy upon you, for Jesus’ sake. All that God does, and has given to us, is given for Jesus’ sake. That’s why we, so often when we pray, we say, “Father, for Jesus’ sake”. Because there is my entrance, there is the opening. It’s for Jesus’ sake. It’s not for my sake! It’s for Jesus’ sake that God is gracious to me. It’s not that I deserve, it’s not that I am worthy. I would not presume to come to God upon that basis, because I might get what I deserve. I come in Jesus’ name, to receive the grace of God that is extended to me, for Jesus’ sake.
I love that restoring. That’s the work of Christ, the restoration. That’s always the work of God. Restoring. You know the years of sin can take their toll. Guy can mess up his life, mess up his body. Mess up his family, but that restoring. God said to Joel, I think it was, “I will restore the years that the canker worm have eaten, caterpillar. And how glorious it is when we come to Christ! He restores those wasted years of our lives. It’s beautiful to see God’s work of restoration in a life.
I remember when Mike McIntosh, first came around. A lot of you probably remember that too. Poor Mike. He was as spacey as they come. He had a violent reaction to a large dose of LSD laced with strychnine, and he was just sort of in this fuzzy world of non-reality. He thought that the back head of his, back of his head was blown off. He was sure that there was a big cavity back here, that the back end of his head was blown off. He walked around here, rather spacey for quite some time. But he surrendered his life to Jesus Christ. His family, his wife, she had left him with their little girl Mindy. She couldn’t handle him anymore. He was just too spaced out. Life was a wreck, life was a mess.
At the end of the road. He came, and he found Jesus Christ. And God began the work of restoring, putting it back together. His mind, his body, physically, mentally, as well as spiritually. I remember the day that we remarried Mike and Sandy. Little Mindy was a flower girl, beautiful little flower girl. I mean we had to stop the ceremony several times, just to cry. It was so beautiful, because we were seeing, before our very eyes, the work of God’s restoration! We were seeing what God could do, in putting a man’s life back together again. In restoring his sanity, in restoring his family, in restoring all that the enemy had ripped off. But the enemy is come to rob, kill and destroy, and Mike was almost destroyed.
I’ll tell you when I go down to San Diego today, and I go on that twenty two acre campus that he has, and I see the school, and I see the marvelous work. I see the mission outreach, that is reaching out to a world. I see a smooth, well run, organization. I see thousands of young people and older people, gathering to worship. My heart just fills and swells with joy as I see God’s work of restoration! Taking a wreck, a social wreck, a social outcast, one that was written off by the psychiatrists. They said, “That kid’ll never come out of it, you know, he’s through. It’s over. It’s finished”. But to see that work of God’s restoration!
So we have the beautiful picture with David, as he brings Mephibosheth, he said, “I’m gonna restore to you all, all that was your father Saul’s. But you, you’re gonna eat at my table continually!”.
Mephibosheth bowed himself, and said, What is your servant, that you should look upon such a dead dog as I am (9:8)?
You know, and there again you have it! “Who am I that God should bestow upon me such grace, such love, such goodness. Paul asked five pertinent questions at the end of Romans, chapter eight. “If God be for us, who shall be against us?”, or who can be against us? God’s for me, praise the Lord.
Secondly, “Who shall lay anything to the charge of God’s elect?” Well, “If God be for me, who can be against me? For if God spared not His own Son, but delivered Him up for us all, how much more shall He not freely give us all things?” God is so willing, so ready to give to you. Anything you need, He’s already given His Son! How much more will He freely give us anything, everything that we might need? Secondly, “Who shall lay anything to the charge of God’s elect?” It is God who is justified. God’s not laying any charges against you.
Third, “Who is he that condemneth?” Not Jesus, He died, yea rather is risen again, and is even at the right hand of the Father making intercession”.
Then fourthly, “Who then shall separate us from the love of God?”. I mean God’s for me, He’s justified me, Jesus is interceding for me. “Therefore who can separate me from this love of God? Persecution, peril, nakedness, swords, nay. In all these things I am more than a conqueror through Him who loved me. For I’m persuaded that neither life, or death, principality, or power, things present, things to come, nor any other created thing is able to separate me from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus, my Lord”.
The fifth question I always like to leave till last, though it was the first question that Paul asked. But Paul was thinking of these others when he asked the first question. The first question is, “What shall we say to these things?” What can you say to these things? God’s for me. God loves me. God has justified me. Jesus is interceding for me. The Holy Spirit is strengthening me. Nothing can separate, separate me from God’s love. “What can you say, or what shall you say to these things?” I don’t know what to say to these things. I don’t have any words to say, all I can say is, “Wow!”, but that’s not much. You know, you think of it, you say, “Wow!”. You know you’re sort of speechless. Wow is sort of a word that expresses that I don’t have anything to express with! Ha, ha. I mean it’s just a word you use, when you don’t know how to express yourself. It’s just a word of awe, wonder! And I’m always standing in awe and wonder of God’s grace to me, for Jesus’ sake.
Here’s poor Mephibosheth, not knowing but what maybe he was going to be executed, and he finds, “Hey man! Look what’s happened! You know everything is restored to me, and I’m to sit at David’s table! I’ve been made a part of David’s family! Who am I that you would take note? I’m just a dead dog man! And yet look what you’ve done for me!”.
Then the king called Ziba, this servant of Saul’s previously, and said to him, I have given unto your master’s son all that belonged to Saul, and to all of his house. Now therefore, you and your sons, and your servants, shall till the land for him, and you shall bring in the fruits, that your master’s son may have food to eat: but Mephibosheth thy master’s son shall eat bread always at my table. Now Ziba had fifteen sons and twenty servants. Then said Ziba unto the king, According to all that my Lord the king hath commanded his servant, so shall thy servant do. [Now don’t think that Ziba is a nice guy. He’s only obeying the king. But he turns out to be a rat. We’ll find out that later. Again when Absalom drives David from the kingdom, and David has been driven out, Ziba comes to David and he said, and David said, “Where is Mephibosheth?”, and he said, “Well when he saw that Absalom drove you out, he stayed back. He didn’t want to come. He said, Now Israel will put me on the throne and make me king again”. It was an outright lie of Ziba, to David, to turn him against Mephibosheth. So David said to Ziba, “Alright then, you and your family can have it all”, you know. “All that I gave to Mephibosheth. You can take it.” But then when David came back and Mephibosheth said, “Oh David, I wanted to come but I’m lame, I couldn’t run, and so I had to stay”. And David realized that he’d been snookered, and Ziba got it, so anyhow he had to till the ground, take care of it.] But as for Mephibosheth, he was to sit at David’s table. And Mephibosheth had a young son, whose name was Michir. And all that dwelled in the house of Ziba were servants unto Mephibosheth. So Mephibosheth dwelt in Jerusalem: for he did eat continually at the king’s table; but he was lame in both of his feet (9:9-13).
Now in chapter ten, we find that the…
It came to pass after this, that the king of the children of Ammon died, and Hanun his son was reigning in his place. So David thought that he would show kindness unto Hanun the son of Nahash, in as much as Nahash, his father had showed kindness to David. And David sent to comfort him by the hand of his servants for his father. [So he sent servants over to attend the funeral, and to give David’s regards, it was sort of a matter of state politics.] And David’s servants came to the land of the children of Ammon. And the princes of the children of Ammon said unto Hanun their Lord, Do you really think that David is seeking to honour your father, that he has sent comforters unto you? [Don’t be fooled man!] David has sent these servants to spy out the city, to search it out, to look for the weaknesses, because he’s gonna send his armies to invade, and to overthrow. Therefore Hanun took David’s servants, and shaved off half of their beard, [The, only slaves shaved, and it was a part of the sign that a man was a slave, that he was shaved. So, it was an easy way to identify a slave, or a runaway slave. If a guy is shaven, you know that he’s been a slave, and he’s running. Because it takes awhile to grow a beard. The only way you get by running away as a slave, would be to hide someplace until your beard grew, and then they wouldn’t know, but what you were a master somewhere. So in cutting off half of their beards, it was a dastardly kind of a thing. It was to shame them, and make them appear as slaves. And of course, not only that,] he took their outer robe and cut it off at the level of their buttocks. So they were greatly ashamed: they told David what they had done to his servants. So David said to them, You [guys] just wait in Jericho until your beards grow back, and then you can return. And when the children of Ammon saw that they stank before David, [Old English word. Stink, stank, stunk.] 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 (10:1-6).
So thirty three thousand men, mercenaries, professional soldiers, were hired by this young man Hanun, that has taken over the throne of his father, Nahash, in Ammon.
And so when David heard of it, he sent Joab, and all of the host of mighty men. And the children of Ammon came out, and they set up their battle array at the entering in of the gate: and the Syrians of Zoba, and of Rehob, and Ishtob, and Maacah, were by themselves in the field. [Actually, they were marching down, and as Joab got there, they had not yet quite arrived. Joab’s purpose was to drive a wedge to keep them from joining forces.] And when Joab saw that the front of the battle was against him before and behind, he chose all of the choice men of Israel, and he put them in array against the Syrians (10:7-9):
These guys were the mercenaries, the toughest ones.
The rest of the people he delivered into the hand of Abishai his brother, that he might put them in array against the children of Ammon. [So they’re facing the two forces. Those of Ammon, and those of the Syrians. And so he divides the troops. He takes the finest of the troops to face the Syrians, knowing that they are the stronger of the two, while he puts his brother Abishai against the Ammonites.] And he said, If the Syrians are too strong for me, then you shall help me: but if the children of Ammon are too strong for you, then I will come and help you (10:10-11).
And then he said to his men…
Be of good courage, and let us be men for our people, [He realized that this was a very serious thing. If the Syrians start to overcome his men, then it will inspire the men of Ammon, who will then attack Abishai, and the weaker group. So he says to them, “Okay you guys, let’s be men. Let’s be strong! You know it’s gonna be a tough one, but let’s go for it!”] and for the cities of our God: and the Lord do what seemeth good. And Joab drew near, and the people that were with him, unto the battle against the Syrians: and the Syrians began to flee from them. And when the children of Ammon saw that the Syrians were fled, then they fled also before Abishai, and they entered into their city. [They were pretty well near their city, they saw the Syrians splitting, and so they went running back within the shelter of the walled city of Ammon.] So Joab returned [He didn’t try to take Ammon, but he just returned,] from the children of Ammon, and came back to Jerusalem. And when the Syrians saw that they were smitten before Israel, they gathered a whole big army together. And Hadarezer sent and brought out the Syrians that were beyond the river: and they came to Helam; and Shobach the captain of the host of Hadarezer went before them. And it was told David, and so he gathered all of Israel together, and he passed over Jordan, and came to Helam. And the Syrians set themselves in array [Now, David probably was a little upset with Joab, for not taking Ammon. Joab just came back, didn’t wipe out the enemy completely, so David, takes charge of this battle. He was a brilliant general. Fabulous in warfare! So David took charge of the troops, in going against the Syrians.] And the Syrians set themselves in an array against David, and David fought with him. And the Syrians fled before Israel; and David slew the men of seven hundred chariots of the Syrians, forty thousand horsemen, and he smote the leader Shobach, and the captain of their host who died there. And when all of the kings who were the servants to Hadarezer saw that they were smitten before Israel, they made peace with Israel, and they served them. So the Syrians feared to help the children of Ammon any more (10:12-19).
So we’ve now come to the apex. This is it! The greatest strength, the greatest time of strength in the nation. David is well established. He is strong. It is interesting that it is at this place of greatest strength, that David gets wiped out. You know, there’s probably greater danger in success, than almost anything else. When you finally are very successful. Everybody is singing your praises, everybody is just hailing the chief, and how great you are. Watch out for success, because that is a place of extreme danger, as we will discover next Sunday night, as we move on into the next portion of this book, and we see how David fell at the place of greatest strength. You can read ahead. You got the book.
Now may the Lord be with you to keep you in His love. To watch over you, and may you enjoy the kindness and the goodness of God, given to us through Jesus Christ, and for His sake. May you enjoy sitting at His table this week, and just partaking of the richness and the fullness, of God’s grace, mercy, and love towards you, in Christ.
Edited & Highlighted from “The Word For Today” Transcription, Pastor Chuck Smith, Tape #7094