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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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Ammonites
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 )
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Moabites

Moabites were descendants of Moab, the son of Lot. They lived peacefully close to their ancestral home in the proximity of Zoar after they displaced the Emmi. The Moabites relations with Israelites can be confirmed by the linguistic proof of the Moabite or Mesha Stone. They are known to have close connections with the Canaanites, Alalekites, Edomites, Philistines and Sethites. Relations between Moabites and Israelites wavered after the invasion of Canaan. The Assassination of the Moabite King Eglon by a Benjamite prompted the Israelites to attack Moabites near the Jordan River, where thousands of them were killed.  You will find them on the Biblical Timeline Chart from 1500 BC forward.

The Moabites were known for their rich possessions and peaceful nature. In addition to this, they are known for their refusal to allow Israelites to pass through their territory when they were coming up from Egypt. They, however, did not raise a finger against Israelites for the more than 300 years they lived as neighbors. The Bible records that their friendliness prompted them to send their daughters to develop marital relations with Israelites against the law of God, whereby they enticed them into idolatry. Moabites also had friendly relations with Egyptians and were in full support of Egyptian protection of the border citadel that gave Egypt absolute control over Sinai.

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map of Moab’s location

The land of Moabites

Their territory of Moab was divided into three parts, one of them being the field of Moab. This portion was enclosed by natural fortification and was bounded by the gorge of Amon River by the North, the Dead Sea cliffs on the south and a semicircle of hills on the east and south. The next one was the Land Of Moab, which was a more open country that extended from the Amon north to the hills of Gilead. The third portion was the plains of Moab, a ‘sunken’ district in the tropical depths of the Jordan River.
Moabites were later driven south to river Amon by Amorites who had crossed over from the other side of Jordan River. The Bible records that the Amorites were being ruled by King Sihon at the time of attacking the Moabites.

What part of the Bible mentions the Moabites?

  • Numbers 21:13. A separation between Moabites and Amorites occurs by the river Amon.
  • Deuteronomy 2:9-11. The Moabites expelled the ancient Emims from their territory.
  • Numbers 21:28-30. The Moabites managed to possess many great cities
  •  Jeremiah 48:11. Moab was regarded as prosperous and stable, devoid of any element of captivity.
  • Numbers 21:26. Moabites were dispossessed of a vast part of their territories by the Amorites.
  • Numbers 22:3. Moab was alarmed by the huge population of the children of Israel.
  •  Numbers 22:1-25. Moabites together with Midian sent for Balaam to curse Israel
  • Deuteronomy 23:6. God forbade the children of Israel from seeking peace and prosperity with Moabites
  • 1 Samuel 14:47. The Moabites were subdued and harassed by Saul
  • 2 Kings 3:4. Mesha, the king of Moab, paid homage to the king of Israel with sheep and wool.
  • 2 Kings 3:21-24. Moabites were astoundingly deceived by the color of water and were gravely attacked by the Israelites.
  • Isaiah 16:13-14. God talked about the desolation of Moabites within three years
  • Jeremiah 27:3. Jeremiah prophesied that Moabites will be taken into captivity in Babylon