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David Smites the Syrians

During his reign as king of Israel, David had many confrontations with the people of Syria. He fought against various rulers from that land on many different occasions. He fought against the people of Zobah who was from southern Syria and he fought against the Arameans that had also established a kingdom in that region. The Israelites constantly struggled against the Syrians until King David was given the ability by God to defeat and control these people. This final defeat is found on the Biblical Timeline between 1050 BC and 1090 BC.

After King David became the ruling monarch of Israel he had befriended an Ammonite king named Nahash and he had a son named Hanun. King Nahash and David were allies and judging from scripture they had a solid political relationship. King Nahash had finally passed away and when he did King David sent servants to express his sorrow and to help comfort Hanun.

King Hanun’s princes convinced him that David was sending spies into his land. Once the servants arrived at Hanun’s palace, he had their beards shaved and cut off their garments up to their waste, exposing their behinds. The servants were servants were seriously shamed and they headed back to Jericho. King David heard what happened and he was outraged. King Hanun heard about King David’s anger and he gathered his forces to fight against him. He also took the aid of the Arameans who were from Syria.

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Syria

During the battle, King David’s forces defeated killed 22,000 Arameans (or Syrians) in that battle. After killing this many Aramean soldiers, the Ammonites lost heart and had ran away. Zoboah was a Syrian-based kingdom that was ruled by a monarch named Hadarezer. This particular Syrian king was erecting a monument near the Euphrates River and King David went out to defeat him in battle. King Hadarezer had joined forces with the Arameans in their battle against Israel. He forces went out to fight against King David’s armies and lost. When Hadarezer’s armies had been defeated the other Syrian kings under his rule quickly made peace with Israel.

Garrisons were placed inside of the Syrians kingdom once King David had defeated them. These garrisons were primarily situated in the territory of the Arameans since this particular group of Syrians gave the Israelites so much trouble. After placing troops inside of the Syrians territory, the various kingdom of that land paid King David tribute. They also became the servants of Israel. God had given King David victory wherever he went and this was crucial to his success with defeating the Syrian forces.

King David had recently wanted to make a home for the Ark of the Covenant to show his gratitude toward God. The Lord was well pleased with his request, but he wasn’t going to allow King David to build his temple. Instead, he made a covenant with David that was going to keep his descendants on the throne of Israel forever. Shortly after establishing the covenant, God empowered King David to defeat the various different enemies of Israel. The Syrians were a group of Israel’s enemies that God helped King David to conquer.

Biblical References to David and Syria

  • 2 Samuel 8:5-6 King David defeats the Arameans of Syria and places garrisons inside of their territories. They pay him tribute and serve Israel. God gives David victory over Israel’s enemies.
  • 2 Samuel 10 Syrian kings quickly makes peace with David and Israel after he defeats the most powerful Syrian monarch Hadarezer.
  • 1 Chronicle 19 The Ammonites use Syrian forces to try and defeat King David but they are defeated by Israel.
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2 thoughts on “David Smites the Syrians

  1. Thank you for the good summary! My only criticism that there should be more careful editing before posting.
    I’ve noticed that there are several spelling and grammatical errors. I would encourage you to have someone else proof-read; make your corrections, and then, post.

    1. Good point. We have hired two people to review these articles – one to review the historical statements for accuracy (a Harvard professor of antiquities) and one to check the grammar and spelling. Given the large number of articles this is an ongoing project that we expect to have finished by the end of 2016.

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