David began to “subdue” those who had placed Israel under a form of taxation (without representation), targeting specifically the Philistines. Moab was next on his list, about which we read one of the most curious verses concerning David’s leadership (vs. 2). There are those who have attempted to portray David as being a more refined leader that the times suggest. Some have said the two lines represent two cities that David captured, and then took captive as servants all those who lived in the cities. It is more plausible David did exactly as this verse describe, executing those who were on one line and keeping the other as servants.
Remember that each king of Israel was required to transcribe the Law, so as to know the appropriate manner in which govern. There was a clear mandate to not have horses or chariots by the Law from the Lord, as they could well be used against them if ever taken captive. David was radically committed to the Word of the Lord and refused to give any place to violating it; therefore he killed the horses and destroyed the chariots. The exception was to keep a few, likely for commerce.
David took on the Syrians when they aided Hadadezer. As a result of that victory, David took the “shield of gold”, bringing them to Jerusalem. We read later on about these shields of gold, several generations later.
As a result of David’s victory over Hadadezer, the king of Hamath sent Joram, his son, to greet and bless David for defeating their mutual foe. There were articles of “silver, articles of gold and articles of bronze”; all of which David dedicated to the Lord along with all the other spoils taken in battle.
David serves as a model of leadership for us, even though we don’t have “spoils” as such; when we’re blessed as a direct result of ministry, to whom are they dedicated? To our own accounts, acquisitions and wealth; or are they dedicated “to the Lord” as David did? Those who live by ministry should be compensated by the ministry; however when there is an abundance of blessing, is the blessing, being used as a blessing to others? As my friend Jason Britain says “Blessed to be a blessing!”
David’s conquest made a name for himself. The greater the size of the opponent and more difficult the circumstances surrounding the victory, often dictate our renown. Yet we must ever remember what positioned David for this notoriety was he “was a man after God’s own heart.”
The final verses list several names of David’s cabinet; many that we’ll read about throughout David’s reign.