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David Smites Moabites and Ammonites

There are two Biblical references to King David‘s wars with the Moabites and the Ammonites. 2 Samuel 8 and 1 Chronicles 19 are the two major passages of scripture that that give an account of these battles. These battles appear on the Biblical Timeline Poster around 1030 BC.

The Moabites were related to Israel through Israel through Abraham’s nephew Lot. God destroyed Sodom and Gomorrah. Only Lot and his two daughters were spared through the event. Lot’s daughters wrongly assumed that the whole world was destroyed. They had gotten their father drunk before having sex with him. They did this for a few nights in a row until they were pregnant. Moab was the name of the son born to the oldest daughter and the youngest daughter had a son named Ben-Ammin who became known as the Ammonites.

The nations of Ammon and Moab both lay east of Israel. Israel fought against both of these nations at various times throughout their history. The Israelites could not pass through the Moabites territory when they were settling into Canaan. In Deuteronomy 23:1-6 God gave Israel permission to harass the Moabites because they didn’t give them food and drink when they passed by their land after leaving Egypt. He also didn’t want Israel to help them because the Moabites called on Balaam to curse God’s people. So God told them that they were never allowed to help the Moabites or the Ammonites in their times of trouble.

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King David, Russian icon from the first quarter of 18th cent.

The Ammonites were always at strife with the Israelites as well. They fought and plotted against Israel at various times in their history. The Ammonites were also guilty of not allowing Israel to pass through their lands after they left Egypt. The Ammonites also joined forces against Israel during the time of the Judges. I

n 2 Samuel 7 God had just given David a strong blessing that was to establish his lineage on the throne of Israel forever. Soon afterward God preserved David and allowed him to conquer the nations that had been a problem for Israel for many years. After defeating the Philistines, he turned his attention toward the Moabites and destroyed them. After they were beaten he placed them on the ground and measured every two of them with a cord. This cord was as long as three men. The first two men that were measured with the chord were killed and the third man was spared. After he did this to the people of Moab they humbly accepted his rule and brought him tribute.

1 Chronicles 19 outlines how King David showed kindness to an Ammonite king by the name of Hanun. Nahash was Hanun’s father who had recently passed. King Nahash and King David were both allies. So David sent his servants to help comfort the king and to show sympathy for his loss. Hanun’s princes told him that David was sending his men as spies. So King Hanun had David’s servant’s beards cut and their garments were cut off at the buttocks. David’s servants were shamed by this event. King David was outraged and he told his servants that had been shamed to remain in Jericho until their beards grew back. The Ammonites realized King David was mad enough to go to war and they gathered their forces. They also hired mercenaries for the battle. The Ammonites had gotten a lot of Israel’s enemies to go to war against them and they were going to attack them on two sides. David’s general Joab organized the army on two fronts since they were going to be attacked on two different sides. The Armeans were the Ammonites main attack force, but Israel defeated them and the Ammonites also fled. The Ammonites were defeated on that occasion.

The Ammonites paid David tribute right along with Moab and a few other nations (see 2 Samuel 8:12). Apparently, King David must have beaten them in battle as he was conquering the other nations in the region.

Biblical References to David smiting Moabites and Ammonites

  • Genesis 19:30-38 the Moabites and Ammonites are born through acts of incest.
  •  Deuteronomy 23:1-6 God forbids Israel to help the Moabites and the Ammonites
  •  2 Samuel 8:2 King David defeats and executes the Moabites.
  •  2 Samuel 8:12 The Ammonites are one nation that pays tribute to Israel.
  •  1 Chronicles 19 King David beats the Ammonites after they humiliate David’s ambassadors and good will.
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Ammonites of the Old Testament

The Ammonites are a group consisting of people originating from Abraham’s family. Aside from that, they are also known as the troublemakers to the Israelites based on the Old Testament.  The Ammonites as a people are found on the Biblical Timeline beginning around 1500 BC.
Ammonites were a diverse group of individuals who lived in the Dead Sea’s far north eastern part. During the Biblical era, the Ammonites’ government was known as the Ammonites Kingdom. The said kingdom simply settled in the central part of Rabbah which was a city-state situated by the Jabbok River’s headwaters. Nowadays, Rabbah is  located in Jordanian city; Amman.

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Ruins of an Ammonite tower in Rujm Al-Malfouf in Amman

Rise of the Ammonites and the Moabites

According to the bible, the beginning of the Ammonite people goes a long way back to incestuous events that occurred between Lot together with his two daughters for Gomorrah and Sodom’s destruction. Eventually, the two daughters bore children whom were the ancestors of the strong unions; Ammonites and Moabites. The truth about Lot is that he had four daughters. Two were said to have been killed in Sodom. However, the Bible indicates that one of them actually lived and got married to the Horite Chief; Seir. A shocking revelation about the two unmarried daughters is that they actually had sexual affairs with their own father which led them to pregnancy.
Months later, the first daughter gave birth to a boy named Moab who is believed to be the father all Moabites. On the other hand, the other daughter who was younger gave birth to a boy as well which she named Ben-Ammi, the father of all Ammonites who is actually in the 1900 BC Biblical Timeline. Due to this fact, the Ammonites and the Moabites are actually the children of Lot.

Ammonites against the Israelites

One of the biggest similarities of the Moabites and the Ammonites is that they are against the Israelites. During the time of the Exodus, Israelites were highly forbidden by Ammonites on going through the territories of Ammon. According to a book called the Book of Judges, Ammonites were in great company of Eglon who is known as the king of all Moabites fighting against Israel. Attacks committed by Ammonites against the Israelite communities located in the eastern part of Jordan were actually the reason behind the alliance of tribes that were under Saul.

Biblical Mentions of the Ammonites

  • Ammonites, they are Lot’s Sons and the Ammon Descendants. (Genesis 19:38)
  •  From their rise to their fall, the Ammonites were strongly bonded with the Moabites tribe. (Judges 5:2)
  •  The Ammonites is the “Predatory Tribe” who moved from a place to another time after time unlike the Moabites tribe which was highly settled. (Deuteronomy 2:20 ; Genesis 14:5 ).
  •  Due to their hostility towards the Israelites, the Ammonites were given fearful judgments by the prophets. (Zephaniah 2:8 ; Jeremiah 49:1-6 ; Ezekiel 25:1-5 Ezekiel 25:10 ; Amos 1:13-15 )