Why would David be so brutal? (2 Samuel 8:2)
2 Samuel 8:2
ESV - 2 And he defeated Moab and he measured them with a line, making them lie down on the ground. Two lines he measured to be put to death, and one full line to be spared. And the Moabites became servants to David and brought tribute.
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As recently as 1 Samuel 22:3-4, David had thought highly enough of the king of the Moabites to entrust the care of his own father and mother to him. In addition, a Moabite woman (Ruth) had been David's own great-grandmother (Ruth 4:13-17). Nevertheless, the Moabites were still apparently fighting against David, as indicated by 2 Samuel 8:2, which states that David defeated them. This may account for the drastic change of heart indicated by David's action in 2 Samuel 8:2. (Even so, some commentators have also suggested that those killed by David were Moabite soldiers, rather than civilians.) Non-Biblical Jewish commentators have also suggested that the Moabites (for reasons unknown) betrayed David's trust by putting his father and mother (and also perhaps his brothers) to death. In addition, there may also have been an element of fulfillment by David of earlier prophecy involved, in which Balaam, who had been summoned by Balak (an earlier king of Moab) following Israel's exodus from Egypt, for the purpose of cursing the Israelites, instead blessed them, and specifically indicated that a king of Israel would someday crush the forehead of Moab (Numbers 24:17).
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