2 Samuel 8:2
Verse 2 David also defeated the Moabites. He made them lie down on the ground and measured them off with a length of cord. Every two lengths of them were put to death, and the third length was allowed to live. So the Moabites became subject to David and brought him tribute.
David had defeated the Philistines which were to the west and now he was looking to conquer the nations to the east, enlarging the territory God had promised to His people. While the battle with the Philistines had seemed to be basic warfare the king approaches the nation to the east with a tactic that was somewhat common for kings in the east.
The Moabites were the distant relatives that lived on the other side of the Jordan and Dead Sea. The relationship between the Israelites and Moabites had been a mixed bag. As with any family situation there were times when the two sides just couldn’t get along. David had once had a good relationship with the Moabite king and had left his parents in the care of the king while David ran from King Saul.
Apparently something had changed or David had just come to realize they needed to be at least partly removed due to their not worshiping God. The more false gods were allowed to remain in the area the easier it would be for the worship of idols to become an issue for God’s people and David was on a mission to make sure the temptation of other gods was not close at hand.
The method of choosing who to kill and who to make a slave isn’t quite understood as depending on the translation we read it could mean a couple of different things. One understanding is they killed those who were as tall as two lengths of the cord and those who weren’t were allowed to live making it seem that David was trying to save the younger men to serve him and eliminating those who were older and were more used to worshiping the gods of their nation.
Another possibility of describing this method is they were to lay down next to each other and a cord was put across them width wise and those who were under the first two lengths of cord were killed and those under the third length were allowed to live so they could be put into the service of the king. Either way the Moabites were greatly reduced in number and taken captive under the control of David.
Making It Personal
What are some methods God uses that don’t make sense to you? Do you think God’s directions should make sense in order to be obeyed? What is something you need to obey Him about today?
Making It Personal Kids
Does what your parents ask you to do always make sense to you? Do you obey anyway? Why is it hard to obey when you don’t know the reason you have to do something a particular way?
Father, thank You for this example of trusting You enough to obey a method that doesn’t make sense. Give us the courage and desire to obey You no matter if we totally understand Your ways or not. In Jesus’ name, amen.