A Fool's Wrath

“In the course of time, Nahash king of the Ammonites died, and his son succeeded him as king. David thought, ‘I will show kindness to Hanun son of Nahash, because his father showed kindness to me.

’ So David sent a delegation to express his sympathy to Hanun concerning his father. When David’s envoys came to Hanun in the land of the Ammonites to express sympathy to him, the Ammonite commanders said to Hanun, ‘Do you think David is honoring your father by sending envoys to you to express sympathy? Haven’t his envoys come to you only to explore and spy out the country and overthrow it?’ So Hanun seized David’s envoys, shaved them, cut off their garments at the buttocks, and sent them away…

When the Ammonites realized that they had become obnoxious to David, Hanun and the Ammonites sent a thousand talents of silver to hire chariots and charioteers from Aram Naharaim, Aram Maakah and Zobah. They hired thirty-two thousand chariots and charioteers, as well as the king of Maakah with his troops, who came and camped near Medeba, while the Ammonites were mustered from their towns and moved out for battle. On hearing this, David sent Joab out with the entire army of fighting men…

Then Joab and the troops with him advanced to fight the Arameans, and they fled before him. When the Ammonites realized that the Arameans were fleeing, they too fled before his brother Abishai and went inside the city. So Joab went back to Jerusalem…When David was told of this, he gathered all Israel and crossed the Jordan; he advanced against them and formed his battle lines opposite them…and David killed seven thousand of their charioteers and forty thousand of their foot soldiers. He also killed Shophak the commander of their army. When the vassals of Hadadezer saw that they had been routed by Israel, they made peace with David and became subject to him. So the Arameans were not willing to help the Ammonites anymore.” 1 Chronicles 19:1-19

From this we can gain an important warning against jumping to conclusions. “A fool’s wrath is known at once, but a prudent man covers shame.” Proverbs 12:16 “Also do not take to heart everything people say, lest you hear your servant cursing you.” Ecclesiastes 7:21 The beginning of strife is like releasing water; therefore stop contention before a quarrel starts.” Proverbs 17:14 “Whoever sows injustice reaps calamity, and the rod they wield in fury will be broken.” Proverbs 22:8 How different things could have been for Hanun if he had not been so quick attack David based on someone else’s assumptions and instead tried to get to know David personally, or if even afterward attempted to make peace and clarify things before going any further.

If Hanun didn’t allow the speculation of others to color his picture of David or at least wasn’t quick to act on it and insult David’s men without proof a whole war could have been avoided. Because of heeding gossip or mere hearsay 7,000 charioteers and 40,000 foot soldiers died and the Ammonites lost their relationship with the Arameans, who decided not to help them anymore. Too bad they didn’t seem aware of this proverb before joining forces, “Make no friendship with an angry man, and with a furious man do not go, lest you learn his ways and set a snare for your soul.” Proverbs 22:24-25 We should be careful to heed God’s advice. In a way, what Hanun got for heeding gossip was much worse than the bare buttocks and a bad shave he gave others. While he may have exposed other’s bodies, he exposed his own wicked deformed soul unclothed with righteousness and lacking in wisdom. If we are hot tempered and act hastily without wisdom we can easily end up in a much worse situation than those we are angry with. Don’t rush into rumors, or be quick to assume things about situations you only heard of second hand.