Summary of David’s Wars. 1a After this, David defeated the Philistines and subdued them; and David took…* from the Philistines. 2He also defeated Moab and measured them with a line. Making them lie down on the ground, he measured two lengths of line for death, and a full length for life.* Thus the Moabites became subject to David, paying tribute. 3b David then defeated Hadadezer, son of Rehob, king of Zobah, when he went to re-establish his dominion at the River.c 4David captured from him one thousand seven hundred horsemen and twenty thousand foot soldiers. David hamstrung all the chariot horses, but left one hundred for his chariots.d 5The Arameans of Damascus came to help Hadadezer, king of Zobah, but David also defeated twenty-two thousand of them in Aram. 6David then placed garrisons in the Damascus region of Aram, and the Arameans became David’s subjects, paying tribute. The LORD brought David victory in all his undertakings. 7David took the golden shields that were carried by Hadadezer’s attendants and brought them to Jerusalem. (These Shishak, king of Egypt, took away when he came to Jerusalem in the days of Rehoboam, son of Solomon.) 8From Tebah and Berothai, cities of Hadadezer, King David removed a very large quantity of bronze. 9When Toi, king of Hamath, heard that David had defeated the entire army of Hadadezer, 10Toi sent his son Hadoram to wish King David well and to congratulate him on having waged a victorious war against Hadadezer; for Hadadezer had been at war with Toi. Hadoram also brought with him articles of silver, gold, and bronze. 11These also King David consecrated to the LORD along with the silver and gold that he had taken for this purpose from all the nations he had subdued: 12from Edom, Moab, the Ammonites, the Philistines, and Amalek, and from the spoils of Hadadezer, son of Rehob, king of Zobah.
13On his return,* David made a name for himself by defeating eighteen thousand Edomites in the Valley of Salt.e 14He set up garrisons in Edom, and all the Edomites became David’s subjects. Thus the LORD brought David victory in all his undertakings.
David’s Officials. 15f David was king over all Israel; he dispensed justice and right to all his people. 16Joab, son of Zeruiah, was in command of the army. Jehoshaphat, son of Ahilud, was chancellor. 17Zadok, son of Ahitub, and Ahimelech, son of Abiathar, were priests.* Shavsha was scribe. 18Benaiah, son of Jehoiada, was in command of the Cherethites and the Pelethites; and David’s sons were priests.g
* [8:1] David took…: the original Hebrew seems irretrievable. The transmitted text gives “the bridle of the cubit”; 1 Chr 18:1 understood “Gath and its towns”; others implausibly read “dominion of the capital city.”
* [8:2] Two lengths…a full length for life: usually taken to mean that two-thirds of them were executed; but it could mean that two-thirds were spared, if the line was used full length in their case but doubled on itself to make “two lines” for those to be put to death. Note the contrasting good relations in 1 Sm 22:3–4.
* [8:13] On his return: possibly to Jerusalem, after the revolt of Absalom (chaps. 15–18), which this catalogue of victories would avoid mentioning. 1 Chr 18:12 attributes the defeat of the Edomites to Abishai, while the superscription of Ps 60 attributes it to Joab.
* [8:17] Zadok…Ahimelech, son of Abiathar, were priests: the names of Abiathar and Ahimelech are frequently associated with David (1 Sm 22:20; 23:6; 30:7; 2 Sm 15:24, 29, 35; 17:15; 19:12; 20:25), but they show Abiathar acting as priest, not Ahimelech: Abiathar shared the priestly office with Zadok in David’s reign and even during Solomon’s early years (1 Kgs 2:26; 4:4). Ahimelech was the name of Abiathar’s father. This verse and 1 Chr 18:16 may indicate that Abiathar had a son named Ahimelech who also acted as a priest, like his father and his namesake grandfather, in the last years of David.