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Discover the Arts! Each day a different image from the Literary, Performing, or Visual Arts representing a portion of Scripture
plus an explanation with links

2014 October 3

Joab Against the Ammonites (1485-1489):
Detail from the Predella of The Penance of David:
Tres Riches Heures du Duc de Berry

Jean Colombe (c. 1430 - c. 1493)
International Gothic Style
Musee Conde, Chateau de Chantilly, Chantilly, France
Image Source: Christus Rex

     Explanation: 1 Chronicles 19 describes David's war against the Ammonites and their Syrian (Aramaean) helpers. The illumination above depict's Joab's part in this war. [Traditional Patriarchal Timeline. Judges Period Chronology. Kings of Judah and Israel #1. Kings of Judah and Israel #2]. [Chronologically and Thematically Related Scriptures: 2 Samuel 10].
     Nahash, king of the Ammonites, who had been a friend of David, died. And David sent messengers to comfort Hanun, the son of Nahash. But Hanun's counselors persuaded him that the messengers were spies who wanted to find a way to overthrow the land. So Hanun shaved off half their beards and cut their garments so that their hips were exposed and sent them away. When David heard of this he had the men tarry at Jericho until their beards were grown (1-5). And Hanun then hired 32,000 chariots. (The parallel passage in 2 Samuel 10 mentions approximately the same number 33,000; but 20,000 were footmen; and in the 1 Chronicles 19 passage 40,000 footmen were slain. It appears, then, that both accounts were using approximate numbers; and the complete count of soldiers may have been sixty or seventy thousand or more). They came from Mesopotamia (perhaps from Bethrehob and Ishtob -- 2 Samuel 10:6), Syriamaachah [Maachah of Syria or "King Maachah" -- 2 Samuel 10:6], and Zobah to join him in fighting David. In response, David sent Joab against them at Medeba (6-9). Joab split his forces with part under control of Abishai, and the rest under his control. They agreed to help one another if need be; but the Syrians fled before Joab; and the Ammonites fled before Abishai (10-15). When the Syrians fled, David attacked them, causing them to flee again, and killing Shophach the captain of the host. The Syrian king, Hadarezer, then made peace with David and refused to help the Ammonites any longer (16-19).

1 Chronicles 19

     1 Now it came to pass after this, that Nahash the king of the children of Ammon died, and his son reigned in his stead. 2 And David said, I will shew kindness unto Hanun the son of Nahash, because his father shewed kindness to me. And David sent messengers to comfort him concerning his father. So the servants of David came into the land of the children of Ammon to Hanun, to comfort him. 3 But the princes of the children of Ammon said to Hanun, Thinkest thou that David doth honour thy father, that he hath sent comforters unto thee? are not his servants come unto thee for to search, and to overthrow, and to spy out the land? 4 Wherefore Hanun took David's servants, and shaved them, and cut off their garments in the midst hard by their buttocks, and sent them away. 5 Then there went certain, and told David how the men were served. And he sent to meet them: for the men were greatly ashamed. And the king said, Tarry at Jericho until your beards be grown, and then return.
     6 And 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 Syriamaachah, and out of Zobah. 7 So they hired thirty and two thousand chariots, and the king of Maachah and his people; who came and pitched before Medeba. And the children of Ammon gathered themselves together from their cities, and came to battle. 8 And when David heard of it, he sent Joab, and all the host of the mighty men. 9 And the children of Ammon came out, and put the battle in array before the gate of the city: and the kings that were come were by themselves in the field.
     10 Now when Joab saw that the battle was set against him before and behind, he chose out of all the choice of Israel, and put them in array against the Syrians. 11 And the rest of the people he delivered unto the hand of Abishai his brother, and they set themselves in array against the children of Ammon. 12 And he said, If the Syrians be too strong for me, then thou shalt help me: but if the children of Ammon be too strong for thee, then I will help thee. 13 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. 14 So Joab and the people that were with him drew nigh before the Syrians unto the battle; and they fled before him. 15 And when the children of Ammon saw that the Syrians were fled, they likewise fled before Abishai his brother, and entered into the city. Then Joab came to Jerusalem.
     16 And when the Syrians saw that they were put to the worse before Israel, they sent messengers, and drew forth the Syrians that were beyond the river: and Shophach the captain of the host of Hadarezer went before them. 17 And it was told David; and he gathered all Israel, and passed over Jordan, and came upon them, and set the battle in array against them. So when David had put the battle in array against the Syrians, they fought with him. 18 But the Syrians fled before Israel; and David slew of the Syrians seven thousand men which fought in chariots, and forty thousand footmen, and killed Shophach the captain of the host. 19 And when the servants of Hadarezer saw that they were put to the worse before Israel, they made peace with David, and became his servants: neither would the Syrians help the children of Ammon any more.

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