June 29, 2023
“When King Toi of Hamath heard that David had defeated the entire army of Hadezer, he sent his son Joram to King David to greet him and to congratulate him...”
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“When King Toi of Hamath heard that David had defeated the entire army of Hadezer, he sent his son Joram to King David to greet him and to congratulate him because David had fought against Hadezer and defeated him, for Toi and Hadezer had fought many wars. Joram had items of silver, gold, and bronze with him. King David also dedicated these to the Lord, along with the silver and gold he had dedicated from all the nations he had subdued-” 2 Samuel 8:9-11 (HCSB)
Back in chapter 7, God established a covenant with David. David had sought to build a house for the Lord, but the Lord disallowed David’s efforts, promising instead to build David’s house. In this statement, there is a play-on-words: The “house” David proposed to build was a temple, whereas the “house” God promised to build David was a kingdom that would endure throughout the generations.
Chapter 8, therefore, is simply recounting the various wars by which David’s kingdom was established by God. When reading these accounts of Israelite warfare, one may wonder, “Where is the God who is merciful to the nations?” Oh, He is right there among the stories of war.
Take notice of Toi, king of Hamath. He is sort of “smooshed” in the middle of an archival sandwich, yet there is something distinguishing about him. He doesn’t have to be struck down. When Toi hears how David has struck down Hadezer, he sends his son Joram to ask for terms of peace and express his delight over Hadezer’s defeat.
Toi exemplifies a pattern in the Bible’s Kingdom doctrine. If there are rulers and nations who war against the Lord’s kingdom, there are also some who lay down their arms and seek peace under His Kingdom. God is not all “pro-Israel” and “con the nations.” He honors any sincere acts of surrender/submission. This is not only a “New Testament” idea; we find it here in 2nd Samuel.
Some nations must be subdued; others submit. Some remain rebellious; others repent. Some are crushed, while others are contrite.
“So now, kings, be wise; receive instruction, you judges of the earth. Serve the Lord with reverential awe and rejoice with trembling. Pay homage to the Son or he will be angry and you will perish in your rebellion….” Psalm 2:10-12a (CSB)
Here’s the lesson: The reaction of the surrounding peoples to David’s kingship is a pattern of the reaction to Messiah Jesus’ Kingship. Today’s passage is a picture showing that a nation need not be struck down by the Lord’s anointed king if they will only submit to Him. No nation or individual can play the victim as if it/they had no alternative but to be crushed. Salvation is offered to all who surrender to Messiah Jesus; crushing judgment awaits all who refuse & despise His Kingdom.