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From Eternity Past

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    Hostile Nations Plot Against David

    Then there was formed against David a vast coalition of surrounding nations, out of which grew the greatest wars and greatest victories of his reign and the most extensive accessions to his power. This hostile alliance had been wholly unprovoked by him. The circumstances were these:EP 517.3

    Tidings were received at Jerusalem announcing the death of Nahash, king of the Ammonites, who had shown kindness to David when he was a fugitive from Saul. Desiring to express his appreciation of the favor shown him in his distress, David sent a message of sympathy to Hanun, son of the Ammonite king.EP 517.4

    The message of David was misconstrued by Hanun's counselors. They “said unto Hanun their lord, Thinkest thou that David doth honor thy father, that he hath sent comforters unto thee? hath not David rather sent his servants unto thee, to search the city, and to spy it out, and to overthrow it?” They could have no conception of the generous spirit that inspired David's message. Listening to his counselors, Hanun regarded David's messengers as spies and loaded them with scorn and insult.EP 518.1

    The Ammonites had been permitted to carry out the evil purposes of their hearts that their real character might be revealed to David. It was not God's will that Israel enter into a league with this heathen people.EP 518.2

    Knowing that the insult offered to Israel would surely be avenged, the Ammonites made preparation for war. The inhabitants of the region between the river Euphrates and the Mediterranean leagued with the Ammonites to crush Israel.EP 518.3

    The Hebrews did not wait for the invasion. Under Joab they advanced toward the Ammonite capital. The united forces of the allies were overcome in the first engagement, but the next year they renewed the war. David took the field in person, and by the blessing of God inflicted a defeat so disastrous that the Syrians, from Lebanon to the Euphrates, not only gave up the war, but became tributary to Israel.EP 518.4

    The dangers that threatened the nation with destruction proved to be the means by which it rose to greatness. Commemorating his deliverance, David sings:EP 518.5

    Blessed be my rock; and exalted be the God of my
    Even the God that executeth vengeance for me,
    and subdueth peoples under me.
    He rescueth me from mine enemies.
    Psalm 18:46-48
    EP 518.6

    Throughout the songs of David, the thought was impressed on his people that Jehovah was their strength and deliverer:EP 519.1

    Some trust in chariots, and some in horses:
    But we will remember the name of Jehovah our
    Psalm 20:7
    EP 519.2

    The kingdom of Israel had now reached in extent the fulfillment of the promise given to Abraham: “Unto thy seed have I given this land, from the river of Egypt unto the great river, the river Euphrates.” Genesis 15:18. Israel had become a mighty nation, respected and feared by surrounding peoples. David commanded, as few sovereigns have been able to command, the affections and allegiance of his people. He had honored God, and God was now honoring him.EP 519.3

    But in the time of his greatest outward triumph, David met his most humiliating defeat.EP 519.4

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