2 Samuel 10:1 In the course of time, the king of the Ammonites died, and his son Hanun succeeded him as king. 2 David thought, “I will show kindness to Hanun son of Nahash, just as his father showed kindness to me.” So David sent a delegation to express his sympathy to Hanun concerning his father.

When David’s men came to the land of the Ammonites, 3 the Ammonite commanders said to Hanun their lord, “Do you think David is honoring your father by sending envoys to you to express sympathy? Hasn’t David sent them to you only to explore the city and spy it out and overthrow it?” 4 So Hanun seized David’s envoys, shaved off half of each man’s beard, cut off their garments at the buttocks, and sent them away.

5 When David was told about this, he sent messengers to meet the men, for they were greatly humiliated. The king said, “Stay at Jericho till your beards have grown, and then come back.”

There is a tradition. When a leader of state passes... delegations are sent to the funeral. The king died so King David sent an envoy to express his condolences. The Ammonites... didn't react respectfully at all.

Now the Israelites and the Ammonites were cousins. After the destruction of Sodom, Lot took his girls to live in a cave. The girls thought they were the only ones on earth and imagined that their internal clock was ticking.... so they got Lot drunk and slept with him. One of those girls got pregnant [yes, by their father] and Ben-Ammi was conceived. Ben-Ammi is the beginning of the Ammonite clan. Even today...King Abdullah II is king over Jordon. If he were to pass away.... the US would send an envoy.

I can only begin to imagine what would happen if King Abdullah II passed, the US sent an envoy and the Jordanites shaved the heads and cut the clothes of our diplomats. I can only begin to imagine....

This is from the blueletterbible.org site.

Hanun took David's servants, shaved off half of their beards, cut off their garments in the middle … and sent them away: This was a disgraceful insult to these ambassadors from Israel. In that culture, many men would rather die than to have their beard shaved off, because to be clean shaven was the mark of a slave but free men wore beards.

To cut off their garments in the middle was also an obvious "That insult and humiliation. the shame of their nakedness might appear, and especially that of their circumcision, so derided by the heathen." (Trapp)

To insult the ambassador is the insult the king. It was just as if they had done this to David himself.

Wait at Jericho until your beards have grown, and then return: David didn't use these men as political tools to whip up anger against the Ammonites. He cared more for their own dignity and honor, and allowed them to wait before returning to Jerusalem.

Now I have to admit... if you look at it through the eyes of the Ammonites... David was getting pretty powerful.

This is from studylight.org.

David’s growing power would naturally be regarded by neighbouring states as a menace. Success provokes envy, and in this selfish world strength usually encroaches on weakness, and weakness dreads strength. So it was quite according to the way of the world that David’s friendly embassy to the king of Ammon should be suspected of covering hostile intentions. Those who have no kindness in their own hearts are slow to believe in kindness in others. ‘What does he want to get by it?’ is the question put by cynical ‘shrewd men,’ when they see a good man doing a gracious, self-forgetting act.

Well tomorrow I'll be reading about a war.... Guess it's time for a map.

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