Posted by: BibleScienceGuy | January 27, 2008

3. One Night of Sin Spawns Centuries of Havoc

David's Kingdom

David’s Kingdom

King David built his empire through military conquest.

On the east side of the Jordan River and Dead Sea, David conquered Ammon and Moab. To the south he conquered Edom and territory all the way to Egypt. On the west along the Mediterranean coast, he defeated the Philistines—from whom the name Palestine came. To the north and northeast, he ruled Syria (Aram) all the way to the Euphrates River. (2 Samuel 5:17-25; 8:1-14; 12:29-31)

In the prequel 2. Copper Country I discussed David’s conquest of Edom. Moab also figured prominently throughout the military history of Israel.


Lot was Abraham’s nephew. Moab and Ben-ammi were Lot’s sons by his oldest and youngest daughters respectively (Genesis 19:30-38). Moab and Ben-ammi fathered the Moabite and Ammonite peoples. The Moabites, especially, plagued Israel repeatedly.

This one night of sin, when Lot’s oldest daughter conceived Moab, spawned centuries of havoc for Israel.

First, Moab refused Israel passage on the way to Canaan from Egypt and forced Israel to go around Moab in the mid-1400’s BC. (Judges 11:17-18)

Later Balak, king of Moab, hired Balaam to curse Israel (Numbers 22-24). Part of Balaam’s prophecy of blessing was of a future king who would rule over Moab:
I see him, but not now; I behold him, but not near; a star shall come forth from Jacob, and a scepter shall rise from Israel, and shall crush through the forehead of Moab, and tear down all the sons of Sheth. (Numbers 24:17)

This prophecy was fulfilled by King David 400 years after Balaam when he savagely crushed Moab (see below). Many think this prophecy also may have pointed the Magi to Judea when they saw His Star in the east (Matthew 2:1-2).

Shortly after Balak’s attempt to curse Israel, Aaron’s son Phinehas stopped an insurgency of Moabite and Midianite women by pinning an immoral Israelite man and Midianite princess to the ground with a single spear thrust. This stopped a plague from God. God commended Phinehas for his prompt action. (Numbers 25:1-18; 31:8)

Mt Nebo

Israel from Mt. Nebo

Looking SW from Mt. Nebo over Israel.
The plaque shows sight lines and distances to Hebron, Bethlehem, Jerusalem, Jericho, etc.

The Midianites were also “cousins” of the Israelites. They were descendants of Abraham’s son Midian by his wife Keturah whom he married following Sarah’s death (Genesis 25:1-2).

Mt. Nebo in Moab rises 2680 feet above sea level east of the Jordan River. It was from this summit that the Lord gave Moses a panoramic view of the Promised Land before he died. On a clear day you can see almost all the way to the Mediterranean Sea from the top of Nebo (almost 65 miles).

Click Sight Lines from Mt. Nebo to see an enlarged version of the Mt. Nebo plaque.


Israel from Mt. Nebo
Looking NW toward Nazareth.

Moses died on Mt. Nebo in Moab across from Jericho about 1406 BC. The Lord buried his body somewhere in Moab. (Deuteronomy 34:1-6)

Click Memorial Stone for Moses on Mt. Nebo to see an enlarged image of the memorial stone pictured below.

During the time of the judges after Joshua’s death (who followed Moses), the Lord strengthened Eglon, king of Moab, to punish Israel with the help of the Ammonites and Amalekites. After 18 years of Moabite oppression, the Lord sent the left-handed Benjamite Ehud to deliver Israel by stealthily assassinating the obese Eglon and then leading Israel to a military victory over Moab. (Judges 3:1-30)

Mt Nebo Plaque for Moses

Moses’ Memorial on Mt. Nebo

King David’s great-grandmother Ruth was a Moabitess. David sequestered his parents for their protection with the King of Moab while Saul hunted him. (Ruth 1:1-6, 22; 4:13-17;
1 Samuel 22:3-4)

David, who reigned from 1010 to 970 BC, later defeated Moab in battle and mercilessly slew two-thirds of the captured Moabite soldiers.
(2 Samuel 8:2)

This has always seemed somewhat out-of-character for David to me. It was worse treatment than he gave any of his defeated enemies except for the Ammonites on whom he used saws and axes and a brick kiln in revenge for insulting his ambassadors (2 Samuel 12:29-31; 10:1-5).

I wonder if David’s slaughtering the captive Moabites was revenge for bad treatment of his parents. Did the king of Moab eventually hand them over to Saul for political reasons? Or perhaps it was retribution for unrecorded Moabite atrocities. Scripture does not say, but either possibility could explain David’s behavior.

When King Solomon, David’s son, grew old, his wives turned his heart toward false gods and away from the Creator of heaven and earth. He had 700 wives and 300 concubines and some of these were Moabitesses. In fact, Solomon built a worship center for Chemosh the detestable idol of Moab on the Mount of Olives east of Jerusalem overlooking the temple (1 Kings 11:1-8). This lasted till the reign of Josiah who tore it down over 300 years later (2 Kings 23:13-14).

Soli Deo Gloria.

This is the third installment of a series on Biblical Archaeology.
Read the prequels:
1. The Mystery of Tsinnur
2. Copper Country

Read the sequel for the rest of the story of Moab, including an archaeological discovery in Moab that is indisputable testimony supporting the historical integrity of the Bible:
4. Blown to Pieces

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©William T. Pelletier, Ph.D.
“contending earnestly for the faith”
“destroying speculations against the knowledge of God”
(Jude 1:3; 2 Cor 10:4)
Sunday January 27, 2008 A.D.

Read my January 2008 Bible-Science newspaper column:
Stem Cells.

Now after this it came about that David defeated the Philistines and subdued them; and David took control of the chief city from the hand of the Philistines. And he defeated Moab, and measured them with the line, making them lie down on the ground; and he measured two lines to put to death and one full line to keep alive. And the Moabites became servants to David, bringing tribute. Then David defeated Hadadezer, the son of Rehob king of Zobah, as he went to restore his rule at the River. And David captured from him 1,700 horsemen and 20,000 foot soldiers; and David hamstrung the chariot horses, but reserved enough of them for 100 chariots. And when the Arameans of Damascus came to help Hadadezer, king of Zobah, David killed 22,000 Arameans. Then David put garrisons among the Arameans of Damascus, and the Arameans became servants to David, bringing tribute. And the LORD helped David wherever he went. And David took the shields of gold which were carried by the servants of Hadadezer, and brought them to Jerusalem. And from Betah and from Berothai, cities of Hadadezer, King David took a very large amount of bronze. Now when Toi king of Hamath heard that David had defeated all the army of Hadadezer, Toi sent Joram his son to King David to greet him and bless him, because he had fought against Hadadezer and defeated him; for Hadadezer had been at war with Toi. And Joram brought with him articles of silver, of gold and of bronze. King David also dedicated these to the LORD, with the silver and gold that he had dedicated from all the nations which he had subdued: from Aram and Moab and the sons of Ammon and the Philistines and Amalek, and from the spoil of Hadadezer, son of Rehob, king of Zobah. So David made a name for himself when he returned from killing 18,000 Arameans in the Valley of Salt. And he put garrisons in Edom. In all Edom he put garrisons, and all the Edomites became servants to David. And the LORD helped David wherever he went. So David reigned over all Israel; and David administered justice and righteousness for all his people.
(2 Samuel 8:1-15)


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