Meanwhile Joab fought against Rabbah of the Ammonites and captured the royal citadel. Joab then sent messengers to David, saying, “I have fought against Rabbah and taken its water supply. Now muster the rest of the troops and besiege the city and capture it. Otherwise I will take the city, and it will be named after me.” So David mustered the entire army and went to Rabbah, and attacked and captured it. David took the crown from their king’s head, and it was placed on his own head. It weighed a talent of gold, and it was set with precious stones. David took a great quantity of plunder from the city and brought out the people who were there, consigning them to labor with saws and with iron picks and axes, and he made them work at brickmaking. David did this to all the Ammonite towns. Then he and his entire army returned to Jerusalem. – 2 Samuel 12:26-31
Happy Thanksgiving! I considered taking a break from my walk with water for today, but I decided that I would push on and prepare this on “Thanksgiving Eve”. The “waters” I have encountered on my walk through 2 Samuel have been been turbulent and challenging. Thankfully this passage provides a respite from the family dysfunction of the house of David. I was able to float right by several disturbing parts of 2 Samuel because they lacked references to water.
Since yesterday’s post about David and his son dying his family dysfunction has only grown. Without going into details, there is incest, rape, and murder…all within David’s immediate family! I will leave my reflections and rumination on this for a rabbit trail at some point in the future.
Today’s passage recounts Joab’s continuing “Clash of Clans” with the Ammonites. Joab sends word of his success in battle by informing David that he had better come in a hurry otherwise the city may be named after Joab rather than David. Joab indicates they have captured the “water supply”. In the desert this is tantamount to saying “the city is ours” — without water desert people can only survive for a short time. It is not clear from this passage what the water supply was for the city of Rabbah. Apparently Rabbah is close to the modern city of Amman, Jordan.
David shows up with his men and takes the crown, and credit, for the victory. No mention of God or His part in the victory. David claims several towns and proceeds to enslave the inhabitants in a manner reminiscent of pharaoh when the Israelites were in Egypt — hardly someone to emulate. His actions perpetuate the cycle of retribution and conflict which characterize this time and place. This region is rife with conflict even today. Why does this part of the world seem to breed conflicts. They seem to occur in this area like thunderstorms on a hot and muggy afternoon.
David and Joab are busy conquering, killing, and securing “water supplies” — they seem to have forgotten the greatest water supply of all, God, the great cistern. Only God can provide a constant and consistent supply of living water to quench our thirsty souls.
Prayer: God thank You for the supply of living water you provide for us to quench our thirsty souls.