Rashi? Is That You?By Rabbi Jack Abramowitz
After the incidents detailed in the previous chapter, David subdued antagonistic neighbors, including the Philistines and the Moabites. He also defeated Hadadezer, the king of Aram, and captured his horses and chariots. David rendered most of the horses unfit for war. Additional Aramite forces came from Damsacus, but David defeated them as well. David took the spoils of war – gold and copper – and brought them to Jerusalem for future use in the Temple. (We are told that this was the copper used by Solomon to construct various important vessels in the Temple.)
To’u, king of Chamas, was thrilled to learn that David had defeated their mutual enemy Hadadezer, so he sent his son Hadoram to David as an emissary of peace. Hadoram brought gold, silver and bronze utensils as gifts; David consecrated these to the Temple, in addition to the spoils of Edom, Ammon, Amalek and the other conquered nations.
Avishai led a campaign against Edom in a place called “the Valley of Salt.” (This is presumably the same battle described in II Samuel 8:13. There, it says Aram rather than Edom, but the battle would have been part of the general war against Aram.) David sent representatives to govern Edom on his behalf.
David ruled well, practicing justice and charity to his subjects. Yoav was the commander of David’s army and Jehoshaphat was his historian. Tzadok and Avimelech were priests, Shavsha was scribe, and Benaya was in charge of the “kreisi and pleisi.” There are different opinions as to what this term means. Rashi (on II Samuel 8:18) cites the Talmud that it refers to the Urim and Tumim, which were used to consult G-d. (Please note that this is the opinion of Rashi in Samuel, as opposed to the “Rashi” of Chronicles.)