2 Samuel 10:1 And it came to pass after this, that the king of the children of Ammon died, and Hanun his son reigned in his stead. 2 Then said David, I will shew kindness unto Hanun the son of Nahash, as his father shewed kindness unto me. And David sent to comfort him by the hand of his servants for his father. And David’s servants came into the land of the children of Ammon. 3 And the princes of the children of Ammon said unto Hanun their lord, Thinkest thou that David doth honour 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? 4 Wherefore Hanun took David’s servants, and shaved off the one half of their beards, and cut off their garments in the middle, even to their buttocks, and sent them away. 5 When they told it unto David, he sent to meet them, because the men were greatly ashamed: and the king said, Tarry at Jericho until your beards be grown, and then return. 6 And when the children of Ammon saw that they stank before David, the children of Ammon sent and hired the Syrians of Bethrehob, and the Syrians of Zoba, twenty thousand footmen, and of king Maacah a thousand men, and of Ishtob twelve thousand men.
Ephesians 6:20 For which I am an ambassador in bonds: that therein I may speak boldly, as I ought to speak. The Apostle Paul had been asking for prayer that he might make known the mystery of the gospel. And in this verse he adds two descriptive words concerning that responsibility. And those two words are, “in bonds.” He was to do that which his master bid him do, whether it brought shame, or praise upon him! THAT is certainly not the expectation of today’s gospel minister!
But listen to the list of things that the apostle reveals by which a true ambassador of the gospel of Christ will be approved: 2 Corin. 6:4 But in all things approving ourselves as the ministers of God, in much patience, in afflictions, in necessities, in distresses, 5 In stripes, in imprisonments, in tumults, in labours, in watchings, in fastings; 6 By pureness, by knowledge, by longsuffering, by kindness, by the Holy Ghost, by love unfeigned, 7 By the word of truth, by the power of God, by the armour of righteousness on the right hand and on the left, 8 By honour and dishonour, by evil report and good report: as deceivers, and yet true; 9 As unknown, and yet well known; as dying, and, behold, we live; as chastened, and not killed; 10 As sorrowful, yet alway rejoicing; as poor, yet making many rich; as having nothing, and yet possessing all things.
What a list! And who would put himself through such things, except that he was a slave, a servant of Jesus Christ? Those who are the called of the Spirit into the ambassadorship of the gospel, are called into the fellowship of His sufferings! (Phil. 3:10). And these ambassadors of King David reveal to us that which true servants shall have afflicted upon them, for simply attempting to show kindness, and to bring comfort from their Sovereign!
The Origin of Their Shame
In verses three and four of our above listed passage, we find how this shame was forced upon them. There was a suspicion within the hearts of King Hanun’s counsellors against King David. Titus 1:15 Unto the pure all things are pure: but unto them that are defiled and unbelieving is nothing pure; but even their mind and conscience is defiled. Out of the abundance of their defiled hearts came the vile council of their mouths! But the worse thing is revealed in the, “Wherefore” of verse four. – Hanun put their vileness of heart into a vile action! For it is not but a little way from the suspicion of heart to the disdaining of the customs of David’s ambassador’s!
David had previously experienced this in his dealings with King Saul. 1Sam. 24:9 And David said to Saul, Wherefore hearest thou men’s words, saying, Behold, David seeketh thy hurt? Here was that dishonour and evil report of which the Apostle wrote in the 2 Corinthians 6 passage, listed above!
Our Lord Jesus faced this also! He faced it not only from his enemies, but also from his friends. John 14:9 Jesus saith unto him, Have I been so long time with you, and yet hast thou not known me, Philip? Philip and Saul should have known the Lord Jesus and David by the expression of their character! But some people had rather climb a tree to believe a lie against a good man, than just stand on the ground and believe the truth!
Beards and Skirts
The two areas attacked are most interesting. One half of their beards were cut off, and their garments were cut off in the middle. For these are the items of anointing as listed in Psalm 133. Behold, how good and how pleasant it is for brethren to dwell together in unity! 2 It is like the precious ointment upon the head, that ran down upon the beard, even Aaron’s beard: that went down to the skirts of his garments; 3 As the dew of Hermon, and as the dew that descended upon the mountains of Zion: for there the LORD commanded the blessing, even life for evermore.
The anointing oil, representing the Holy Spirit is connected with the dew from heaven, representing the distilling of the word of God, (Deut. 32:2), which is here said to be the command of God for life evermore! Satan and his forces are still doing all within their alloted power to cut these off from men!
The beard being cut off is used in the Scriptures to indicate judgment! Isaiah 7:20 In the same day shall the Lord shave with a razor that is hired, namely, by them beyond the river, by the king of Assyria, the head, and the hair of the feet: and it shall also consume the beard.
Ezekiel 5:1 And thou, son of man, take thee a sharp knife, take thee a barber’s razor, and cause it to pass upon thine head and upon thy beard: then take thee balances to weigh, and divide the hair. 2 Thou shalt burn with fire a third part in the midst of the city, when the days of the siege are fulfilled: and thou shalt take a third part, and smite about it with a knife: and a third part thou shalt scatter in the wind; and I will draw out a sword after them. 3 Thou shalt also take thereof a few in number, and bind them in thy skirts. 4 Then take of them again, and cast them into the midst of the fire, and burn them in the fire; for thereof shall a fire come forth into all the house of Israel. 8 Therefore thus saith the Lord GOD; Behold, I, even I, am against thee, and will execute judgments in the midst of thee in the sight of the nations.
It is also used as a sign of great sorrow! Jeremiah 48:37 For every head shall be bald, and every beard clipped: upon all the hands shall be cuttings, and upon the loins sackcloth. 38 There shall be lamentation generally upon all the housetops of Moab, and in the streets thereof: for I have broken Moab like a vessel wherein is no pleasure, saith the LORD.
It was not in the cutting of of the beard, but in the determination not to keep his beard trimmed by which Mephibosheth revealed to David his sorrow of heart at the kings absence! 2 Samuel 19:24 And Mephibosheth the son of Saul came down to meet the king, and had neither dressed his feet, nor trimmed his beard, nor washed his clothes, from the day the king departed until the day he came again in peace.
One of the most notable differences between hypocrites and the true believer is found in the response to their experiences. The hypocrite is revealed, not by his mental relation to the Bible, but by his rhetoric not being seen in his character and actions! Matt. 23:2 Saying, The scribes and the Pharisees sit in Moses’ seat: 3 All therefore whatsoever they bid you observe, that observe and do; but do not ye after their works: for they say, and do not.
But the true believer, having the Holy Spirit within forming the character of Christ to be his own, are doers of the word! James 1:22 But be ye doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving your own selves.
And David had been personally involved in the matter of cutting off skirts. Therefore he knew that the Ammonite’s reaction to their terrible deed was not the same reaction he had experienced by the Spirit of God within! 1Samuel 24:3 And he came to the sheepcotes by the way, where was a cave; and Saul went in to cover his feet: and David and his men remained in the sides of the cave. 4 And the men of David said unto him, Behold the day of which the LORD said unto thee, Behold, I will deliver thine enemy into thine hand, that thou mayest do to him as it shall seem good unto thee. Then David arose, and cut off the skirt of Saul’s robe privily. 5 And it came to pass afterward, that David’s heart smote him, because he had cut off Saul’s skirt.
The Ammonites reaction was nothing like this, for there was not the Spirit of God dwelling within them. They reacted from an external source! For in verse 6 of our passage listed above, it states that they saw that they stank before David, NOT before God! Therefore their reaction was not like David’s in spiritual and inner conviction and repentance! Instead of repentance, we read that they went to the Syrians and hired an army to help protect them against what they knew was coming! Their violence begat more violence!
Saul had also been involved in the tearing off of the edge of a garment that belonged to the Prophet Samuel! And it did not end very well with him either! 1Sam. 15:26 And Samuel said unto Saul, I will not return with thee: for thou hast rejected the word of the LORD, and the LORD hath rejected thee from being king over Israel. 27 And as Samuel turned about to go away, he laid hold upon the skirt of his mantle, and it rent. 28 And Samuel said unto him, The LORD hath rent the kingdom of Israel from thee this day, and hath given it to a neighbour of thine, that is better than thou.
The spreading of the skirt is listed in Ruth as the consummation of the union between Ruth and Boaz. Ruth 3:9 And he said, Who art thou? And she answered, I am Ruth thine handmaid: spread therefore thy skirt over thine handmaid; for thou art a near kinsman. It is also used of the Lord to show the union of Himself with his Bride, the church. Ezekiel 16:8 Now when I passed by thee, and looked upon thee, behold, thy time was the time of love; and I spread my skirt over thee, and covered thy nakedness: yea, I sware unto thee, and entered into a covenant with thee, saith the Lord GOD, and thou becamest mine. My, how Satan and those willing to be used of him, do all possible to cut off the skirt to hinder anyone from entering into the oneness of spirit with the Lord! Luke 11:52 Woe unto you, lawyers! for ye have taken away the key of knowledge: ye entered not in yourselves, and them that were entering in ye hindered.
But thanks be to God for his sovereign power that no creature can hinder in Christ’s granting the covering robe to all the elect without exception! Rev. 19:7 Let us be glad and rejoice, and give honour to him: for the marriage of the Lamb is come, and his wife hath made herself ready. 8 And to her was granted that she should be arrayed in fine linen, clean and white: for the fine linen is the righteousness of saints.
None brought to Christ shall be without this garment! Luke 8:27 And when he went forth to land, there met him out of the city a certain man, which had devils long time, and ware no clothes, neither abode in any house, but in the tombs. 35 Then they went out to see what was done; and came to Jesus, and found the man, out of whom the devils were departed, sitting at the feet of Jesus, clothed, and in his right mind: and they were afraid.
Pastor Gene Breed