1Chronicles 18:1 ¶ Now after this it came to pass, that David smote the Philistines, and subdued them, and took Gath and her towns out of the hand of the Philistines.
1Chronicles 18:2 And he smote Moab; and the Moabites became David’s servants, and brought gifts.
After David was forbidden to build a temple to the LORD, David set himself to the task of securing the boundaries of his kingdom. He fought with the Philistines and subdued them, taking possession of Gath and its surrounding towns. He also subdued Moab and made the Moabites tributaries to Israel.
1Chronicles 18:3 And David smote Hadarezer king of Zobah unto Hamath, as he went to stablish his dominion by the river Euphrates.
1Chronicles 18:4 And David took from him a thousand chariots, and seven thousand horsemen, and twenty thousand footmen: David also houghed all the chariot horses, but reserved of them an hundred chariots.
1Chronicles 18:5 And when the Syrians of Damascus came to help Hadarezer king of Zobah, David slew of the Syrians two and twenty thousand men.
1Chronicles 18:6 Then David put garrisons in Syriadamascus; and the Syrians became David’s servants, and brought gifts. Thus the LORD preserved David whithersoever he went.
In a move to solidify his boundaries to the river Euphrates at Hamath, David defeated the forces of Hadarezer, king of Zobah (in Syria). The spoils of victory included 1000 chariots, 7000 horsemen and 20,000 footmen. David hamstrung all the horses except those needed to pull 100 chariots. When the Syrians of Damascus came to help Hadarezer, 22,000 men were killed by the troops of Israel. David then established garrisons in Syriadamascus and made the Syrians his tributaries as well.
Guzik provides this insight on the hamstrung horses: “This was military necessity instead of mere animal cruelty. David could not care for so many horses while on military campaign and he could not give them back to the enemy.”
JFB notes that Hadarezer “seems to have become the official and hereditary title of the rulers” of Zobah.
They also make the following note concerning a discrepancy in number between this account and the account in 2Samuel: “In 2 Samuel 8:4 David is said to have taken seven hundred horsemen, whereas here it is said that he took seven thousand. This great discrepancy in the text of the two narratives seems to have originated with a transcriber in confounding the two Hebrew letters which indicate the numbers, and in neglecting to mark or obscure the points over one of them. We have no means of ascertaining whether seven hundred or seven thousand be the more correct.”
It is noted that it was the LORD that gave David the victory (from the Hebrew for “preserved”) wherever he went. That is a principle that we need to remember as we seek to serve the LORD. Scripture is clear that without the LORD as our help, we cannot hope to accomplish His purpose for us.
John 15:5 “I am the vine, ye are the branches: He that abideth in me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit: for without me ye can do nothing.”
1Chronicles 18:7 And David took the shields of gold that were on the servants of Hadarezer, and brought them to Jerusalem.
1Chronicles 18:8 Likewise from Tibhath, and from Chun, cities of Hadarezer, brought David very much brass, wherewith Solomon made the brasen sea, and the pillars, and the vessels of brass.
The writer also notes that David accumulated a wealth of gold and brass in the spoils of his victories. The brass would eventually be melted down and used by Solomon to make the brazen sea, the two pillars and the vessels of brass for the temple.
1Chronicles 18:9 ¶ Now when Tou king of Hamath heard how David had smitten all the host of Hadarezer king of Zobah;
1Chronicles 18:10 He sent Hadoram his son to king David, to enquire of his welfare, and to congratulate him, because he had fought against Hadarezer, and smitten him; (for Hadarezer had war with Tou;) and with him all manner of vessels of gold and silver and brass.
1Chronicles 18:11 Them also king David dedicated unto the LORD, with the silver and the gold that he brought from all these nations; from Edom, and from Moab, and from the children of Ammon, and from the Philistines, and from Amalek.
When Tou, king of Hamath, heard how David had conquerd his enemy Hadarezer, he sent his son Hadoram to King David to congratulate him on his victory. He also sent a generous gift that included all types of vessels of gold, silver and brass.
David dedicated these gifts to the LORD along with all the silver and gold he had acquired from Edom, Moab, Ammon, the Philistines and Amalek.
1Chronicles 18:12 Moreover Abishai the son of Zeruiah slew of the Edomites in the valley of salt eighteen thousand.
1Chronicles 18:13 And he put garrisons in Edom; and all the Edomites became David’s servants. Thus the LORD preserved David whithersoever he went.
The writer makes note that Abishai, David’s nephew led an attack in which 18,000 Edomites were killed in the valley of salt. He established garrisons in Edom and also made them tributaries to David.
Again it is noted that the LORD gave David the victory wherever he went.
1Chronicles 18:14 So David reigned over all Israel, and executed judgment and justice among all his people.
1Chronicles 18:15 And Joab the son of Zeruiah was over the host; and Jehoshaphat the son of Ahilud, recorder.
1Chronicles 18:16 And Zadok the son of Ahitub, and Abimelech the son of Abiathar, were the priests; and Shavsha was scribe;
1Chronicles 18:17 And Benaiah the son of Jehoiada was over the Cherethites and the Pelethites; and the sons of David were chief about the king.
So David ruled Israel, dispensing justice fairly among all his people. Some commentators note that the kingdom of Israel was at its largest under David. An article, “Ancient Israel (the United and Divided Kingdom),” from the Purdue University website states: “David quickly defeated the Philistines and established the United Kingdom (1000-922 BC). As a military commander of remarkable ability, he conducted successful campaigns along the entire coastal strip from Gaza to Phoenicia. He ultimately extended his authority to the Euphrates River in the north and perhaps as far as the Red Sea to the south. His reign represented the greatest territorial extent of Israel and was later recalled as a “golden age."
David’s main assistants were:
Š Joab, son of Zeruiah, his nephew, chief military commander
Š Jehoshaphat, son of Ahilud, recorder or historian
Š Zadok, son of Ahitub, and Abimelech, son of Abiathar, chief priests
Š Shavsha, secretary
Š Benaiah, son of Jehoiada, commander of the Cherethites and Pelethites, his personal bodyguards
Š His sons