The Biblical Ammonites -- By: Henry O. Thompson

Journal: Bible and Spade (First Run)
Volume: BSP 11:2 (Spring 1982)
Article: The Biblical Ammonites
Author: Henry O. Thompson

The Biblical Ammonites

Henry O. Thompson

Parts 2 of 2 Parts

David followed Saul as king of Israel. He reigned from about 1000-961 B.C. 2 Samuel 8:12 and 1 Chronicles 18:11 say he defeated the enemies of Israel, including the Ammonites. This may be a general statement for the whole career of David. At the beginning, he was apparently on friendly terms with the Ammonites. Perhaps Nahash knew of the emnity between David and Saul. With Saul as their common enemy, they were friends or at least allies. According to 2 Samuel 10:1 and 1 Chronicles 19:1, Nahash died and Hanun reigned. David decided to deal loyally with Hanun, the son of Nahash, as Nahash dealt loyally with David, an early application of the Golden Rule. David sent messages of good will to Hanun. Hanun’s advisors however thought the messengers were spies so Hanun insulted them and sent them back. David declared war. The Ammonites called for help from the Syrians who were defeated in two separate battles (2 Samuel 10:6–19; 1 Chronicles 18:5–6, 19:6–19).

In the spring, David sent the army under Joab to beseige the capital of Rabbah (2 Samuel 11:1, 1 Chronicles 20:1). While staying in Jerusalem, David had his affair with Bathsheba. She became pregnant so he sent for her husband, Uriah the Hittite. Uriah, however, was a loyal soldier to David. While he did not

question the order to return home, he kept himself from his wife in order to remain purified for holy war. That loyalty cost him his life. David sent him back to the battle at Rabbath-Ammon with secret orders to Joab to place Uriah in the heat of the battle, where he was killed. David then took the widow for his own wife. The child died but she had a second son, named Solomon.

In the meanwhile, Joab pressed the battle of Rabbah. He conquered the royal city and the city of waters (2 Samuel 12:26–27). The latter was probably a fortification guarding the water supply, perhaps the spring that was the origin of the Jabbok. The royal city would seem to be the Citadel, on top of Jabal el-Qal’a, a steep-sided slope where the Amman Museum is now located. Joab then held up the battle and sent for David who brought up the reserves and administ...

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