And in the spring of the year, at the time when kings go out to battle, David sent Joab, and his servants with him, and all Israel, and they laid waste the children of Ammon and besieged Rabbah, but David stayed at Jerusalem. Bible see other translations

“in the spring of the year.” The Hebrew reads, “at the return of the year,” a reference to springtime.

“his servants.” In this context, the word “servant” refers to the military officers and officials of the king, not his household servants or slaves. Because everyone serving the king was technically a “servant,” in the ancient world the word “servant” was used for all kinds of officials of the king. This was commonly known in the ancient world and so the text was not confusing to people who lived in ancient times. However, we do not use the word “servant” that way today. We would never call the Vice President of the United States a “servant of the President,” nor would we call the captain of a battleship the “servant of the Admiral.”

The modern reader must learn the jargon of the ancient world and pay attention to the context when the word “servant” is used. Sometimes it is clear from the context that “servant” refers to high officials (Isa. 42:1), sometimes just to military officers (1 Sam. 19:1), and sometimes both civil and military officers and officials may be being referred to. Often it can be difficult to determine exactly who the “servants” are. The Bible has many references to “servants” who are highly ranked officials and officers (e.g., Exod. 9:34; 1 Sam. 8:14; 2 Sam. 13:24; 1 Kings 20:6, 23; 22:3; Esther 3:2; Jer. 22:2; 37:18).

“Rabbah.” The capital city of Ammon, now much bigger and renamed Amman.

Commentary for: 2 Samuel 11:1