The Act Of Kindness That Led To War
by David J. Stewart
The Bible is filled with humor if you look for it. This story is so funny (in a good and respectful way toward the Bible). King David was trying to be a nice guy. David was ethical (doing the right thing). He paid attention to little things. David was the type person that would write a thank you letter, or send a fruit basket, or pray for the sick neighbor next door. David was a caring man of God. And by the way, that's the hallmark character trait of a Christian that's right with God, that is, concern for OTHERS (Philippians 2:4-5). Philippians 2:4-5, “Look not every man on his own things, but every man also on the things of others. Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus.”
In the following Scripture passage, Nahash the king of the Ammonites had just passed away. David sends his servants to express his condolences to Hanun, the son of the king. Instead of being grateful and honoring David for his kindness, Hanun suggests that David really wants to spy out the land and overthrow the Ammonites. One thing leads to another until an all out war follows and hundreds-of-thousands of men die on the battlefield. You couldn't make this stuff up if you tried!
So the Ammonites hired a bunch of mercenaries to fight with them and 47,000 Syrians died in the battle. Can you imagine? This all started because David sent his servants to comfort Hanun in the death of his father. You just can't be nice to some people. Proverbs 29:9, “If a wise man contendeth with a foolish man, whether he rage or laugh, there is no rest.” Hanun was a fool. I can't help but laugh when I read the last verse in 1st Chronicles 19:19, “neither would the Syrians help the children of Ammon any more.” I don't blame them, because they just got slaughtered fighting someone else's battle and lost 40,000 footmen and 7,000 horseman with chariots...
1st Chronicles 19:1-13, “Now it came to pass after this, that Nahash the king of the children of Ammon died, and his son reigned in his stead. 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. 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? 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. 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. 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 Syria-maachah, and out of Zobah. 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. And when David heard of it, he sent Joab, and all the host of the mighty men. 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. 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. 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. 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. 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.”
What an incredible story. David simply tried to be a nice guy and it led to the deaths of 47,000 people. Isn't that so much like the world today? Isn't it amazing how one little act of kindness can turn into an unholy nightmare?
Look To Jesus!
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