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After this David subdued and humbled the Philistines by conquering Gath, their largest city. He also devastated the land of Moab. He divided his victims by making them lie down side by side in rows. Two-thirds of each row, as measured with a tape, were butchered, and one-third were spared to become David’s servants—they paid him tribute each year.

He also destroyed the forces of King Hadadezer (son of Rehob) of Zobah in a battle at the Euphrates River, for Hadadezer had attempted to regain his power. David captured seventeen hundred cavalry and twenty thousand infantry; then he lamed all of the chariot horses except for one hundred teams. He also slaughtered twenty-two thousand Syrians from Damascus when they came to help Hadadezer. David placed several army garrisons in Damascus, and the Syrians became David’s subjects and brought him annual tribute money. So the Lord gave him victories wherever he turned. David brought the gold shields to Jerusalem which King Hadadezer’s officers had used. He also carried back to Jerusalem a very large amount of bronze from Hadadezer’s cities of Betah and Berothai.

When King Toi of Hamath heard about David’s victory over the army of Hadadezer, 10 he sent his son Joram to congratulate him, for Hadadezer and Toi were enemies. He gave David presents made from silver, gold, and bronze. 11-12 David dedicated all of these to the Lord, along with the silver and gold he had taken from Syria, Moab, Ammon, the Philistines, Amalek, and King Hadadezer.

13 So David became very famous. After his return he destroyed eighteen thousand Edomites[a] in Salt Valley, 14 and then placed garrisons throughout Edom, so that the entire nation was forced to pay tribute to Israel—another example of the way the Lord made him victorious wherever he went.

15 David reigned with justice over Israel and was fair to everyone. 16 The general of his army was Joab (son of Zeruiah), and his secretary of state was Jehoshaphat (son of Ahilud). 17 Zadok (son of Ahitub) and Ahimelech (son of Abiathar) were the High Priests, and Seraiah was the king’s private secretary. 18 Benaiah (son of Jehoiada) was captain of his bodyguard,[b] and David’s sons were his assistants.*


  1. 2 Samuel 8:13 Edomites, literally, “Syrians.”
  2. 2 Samuel 8:18 captain of his bodyguard, literally, “the Cherethites and Pelethites.” were his assistants, literally, “were priests”; see 1 Chronicles 18:17.
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