Shmuel 2-Chapter 8: The wars of Dovid

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Chapter 8: The wars of Dovid

1. Dovid smites the Philistines:

  • After the above events, Dovid smote the Philistines and annihilated them. Dovid captured the city of Meseg Ha’amah [otherwise known as the stronghold of Gath, the most prestigious city of the Philistines which was the seat of their monarchy[1]].

2. Dovid smites Moav:

  • Dovid smote Moav [in revenge for them having killed his mother, father, and brothers[2]].
  • The method and order of the killing: He measured them with a rope lying them down on the ground. He measured two ropes to kill them and one rope to let them live. [This means as follows: There were 3000 inhabitants in the city of Moav. Dovid decided to kill 2000 of them and allow 1000 to live. He took 3000 pieces of paper and wrote on a thousand of them the word “life.” The other 2000 papers remained blank. He then showed a piece of paper for each one of the 3000 residents of Moav and whoever ended up receiving a blank paper was laid on the ground and put to death.[3]
  • Who received the land? The city of Moav became designated to Dovid and to the servants that would bring him presents.

3. Dovid smites Tzovah:

  • Dovid smote Hadadezer, the son of Rechov, the king of Tzovah when he [i.e. Hadadezer[4]] went to expand his kingdom past the Euphrates River.
  • The captives and spoils of war: Dovid captured from them 1,700 chariots and 20,000 foot soldiers.
  • The chariots are diminished: Dovid uprooted the chariots [from the horses] leaving himself only 100 chariots [due to the Biblical prohibition for a King to own too many horses[5]]. [Each chariot contained four horses and hence Dovid left for himself four hundred horses out of the 6,800 total.[6]]

4. Dovid smites Aram:

  • Aram Damesek came to help out Hadadezer [spoken of above], the king of Tzovah, [in his war effort to expandhis kingdom, and hence he became involved in the war as well and was stricken by Dovid].
  • Number of men killed: Dovid smote in Aram 22,000 men.
  • Appointing governors: Dovid appointed governors in [the land of] Aram Damesek and the land was designated for Dovid and the servants which would pay him a tribute.
  • G-d granted Dovid salvation wherever he went.
  • Dovid brings gold basins to Jerusalem: Dovid took the gold basins that belonged to the servants of Hadadezer [that were used to store the arrows[7]] and he brought them to Jerusalem [for the sake of sanctifying their use for the sake of the temple as he would do with all the spoils of war[8]].
  • Dovid excavates copper from the lands: From the cities of Betach and Beirosaiy, which were cities that belonged to Hadadezer, Dovid excavated much copper.

5. Dovid is brought gifts by Toiy, the king of Hamas:

  • Toiy, the king of Hamas, heard that Dovid had smote all of the soldiers of Hadadezer [his archenemy].
  • Thus, Toiy sent his son Yoram to King Dovid to ask him as to his well-being, and to bless him for battling Hadadezer and annihilating him, as Toiy and Hadadezer were enemies of war.
  • The gifts: Toiy, had brought with him gold, silver, and copper vessels [as a present to Dovid].
  • Dovid sanctifies the gifts: Dovid sanctified also the above gifts for G-d, together with all the silver and gold that he had sanctified from all the nations that he had conquered, from the spoils of Aram, and Moav, and from the nation of Amon, and from the Philistines, and from Amaleik, and from the spoils of Hadadezer, the son of Rechov, the king of Tzovah.

6. Dovid smites the land of Edom:

  • Dovid made for himself a name when he returned from having smote [the nation of Edom which lived in] Aram in [the area of] Gei Melach. [Dovid became famous by this event because he did a great kindness for the corpses of the Edomites, making sure that they would all be brought to the burial.[9]]
  • He had smitten 18,000 men.
  • Appointing governors over Edom: Dovid appointed governors over all the land of Edom [to collect tariffs[10]], and all of the people of Edom became servants of Dovid.

7. Dovid’s reign:

  • G-d brought salvation for Dovid wherever he went.
  • Dovid ruled over the entire Jewish people, and Dovid would perform judgment and righteousness for all of his nation.

8. Dovid’s appointees of his monarchy:

  • The general: Yoav, the son of Tzeruyah, was the general of the Army.
  • The secretary of Dovid: Yehoshafat, the son of Achilud was the secretary [of Dovid to inform him of the first case that is before him[11]].
  • The Kohanim: Tzadok, the son of Achituv, and Achimelech the son of Avyasar, were the priests.
  • Dovid scribe: Serayah was his scribe.
  • His archer: Benayahu, the son of Yehoyada, was his archer in charge of all the bows and arrows [i.e. Kreisi Upleisi].
  • Dovid’s sons: The sons of Dovid were priests [i.e. men of greatness and aristocracy who were appointed over the rest of the nation[12]].


[1] Rashi 8:1

[2] Rashi 8:2

[3] Mahariy Karo 8:2

[4] Rashi 8:3

[5] Rashi 8:4

[6] See Rashi 8:4

[7] Rashi 8:7

[8] See Rashi 8:7

[9] Rashi 8:13

[10] Rashi 8:14

[11] Rashi 8:16

[12] Metzudos Dovid 8:18

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