Misunderstood – again!

Do your acts of kindness get misinterpreted?

 2 Samuel 10:1-6 

10 In the course of time, the king of the Ammonites died, and his son Hanun succeeded him as king. David thought, ‘I will show kindness to Hanun son of Nahash, just as his father showed kindness to me.’ So David sent a delegation to express his sympathy to Hanun concerning his father.

When David’s men came to the land of the Ammonites, the Ammonite commanders said to Hanun their lord, ‘Do you think David is honouring your father by sending envoys to you to express sympathy? Hasn’t David sent them to you only to explore the city and spy it out and overthrow it?’ So Hanun seized David’s envoys, shaved off half of each man’s beard, cut off their garments at the buttocks, and sent them away.

When David was told about this, he sent messengers to meet the men, for they were greatly humiliated. The king said, ‘Stay at Jericho till your beards have grown, and then come back.’

When the Ammonites realised that they had become obnoxious to David, they hired twenty thousand Aramean foot soldiers from Beth Rehob and Zobah, as well as the king of Maakah with a thousand men, and also twelve thousand men from Tob.

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 Are there times when you show kindness to someone only to have it thrown back in your face? Are there times in your life when your words get twisted or misconstrued and you get accused of saying something that is the opposite to what you intended? It can happen to all of us and it happens here to King David.

This passage shows the kind heart of king David in action. The king of the Ammonites has died. Although the Ammonites were a significant enemy to Israel, this king assisted David when he was at war with King Saul. David wants to pay his respects and show some sympathy to the king’s son Hanun who has now become king.

But it all goes wrong when the Ammonite commanders convince Hanun that David is playing games, being deceitful and is really only wanting to spy on the city with a view to capturing it. David’s soldiers are captured, and they are subjected to gross humiliation with this half beard shaving and cutting off of their clothes around the buttocks area. Not a good look either way!

Again, through this event we see David acting differently from his predecessor Saul. We see David acting with heart and showing love towards his enemies. We see David showing us more of the true king to come – King Jesus who reached out to his enemies with kindness and love but was rejected and humiliated as he was sent to the cross to die.

Head: When was the last time people misinterpreted an act of kindness on your part?

Heart: How do you feel when people get things wrong about you?

Hands: When this happens, we are often tempted to retaliate. How can you stop acting on the temptation and react differently?


Dear Heavenly Father I thank you that you know me including what is in my heart. I thank you that despite my sinfulness your Spirit works in my life to reflect your character and to show your love and kindness to others. Help me in those times when I get misunderstood not to retaliate but to learn from King Jesus’ example and to continue to show your love to the world.

A song to listen to: Only a Holy God

Tim Hewlett

Living Church – Creek Road