By 2 Samuel 10, David has been well established as the king of Israel. The United Kingdom flourished under his leadership and protection. He was a man of integrity. One of the most memorable descriptions of King David was that he was a man after God’s own heart (Acts 13:22; 1 Sam. 13:14). We see a prime example of this in 2 Samuel 10:1-5. The king of the Ammonites, Nahash, passed away. Israel was no stranger to Nahash, as Saul defeated his army during his reign over Israel (1 Samuel 11). Although we are not told in Scripture, at some point Nahash and David had somewhat of a cordial relationship (10:2). David, wanting to express his condolences to the family of Nahash, sent servants to his son Hanun. Hanun, suspicious that David is instead spying out the land, took the servants of David and shaved off half of their beards and ruined their garments. This was an outright act of humiliation. Instead of retaliating, David instructed his men to stay at Jericho until they grew back their beards (10:5). Later on, David will eventually defeat the Ammonites in battle but only because they provoked him to combat (10:6-7).
During the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus said, “You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ But I say you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you” (Matthew 5:43-44). Paul, on the same topic, said to “never pay back evil for evil to anyone” (Romans 12:17). David, as a kind gesture to the enemies of Israel, looked to comfort them in their time of mourning. Instead of piling on to their misfortune (kicking them when they are down), David sought out their best interests. To love one’s enemy, as hard as this is to comprehend, is exactly how God wants our hearts to be trained. Next time you have an opportunity to do good for someone who might have mistreated you in the past, remember the actions of David and “show kindness” to them. That’s one way to love your enemy.