(Had·ad·eʹzer) [Hadad Is a Helper].
Son of Rehob and king of Zobah, a Syrian (Aramaean) kingdom that is thought to have been situated N of Damascus (2Sa 8:3, 5; 1Ki 11:23; 1Ch 18:3, 5) and that included vassalages. (2Sa 10:19) Before being defeated by King David, Hadadezer had waged warfare against Toi (Tou) the king of Hamath.—2Sa 8:9, 10; 1Ch 18:9, 10.
After the Syrians who had been hired by the Ammonites to fight against David were defeated, Hadadezer strengthened his forces by enlisting additional Syrians from the region of the Euphrates. (2Sa 10:6, 15, 16; 1Ch 19:16) This may be alluded to at 2 Samuel 8:3 (compare 1Ch 18:3), where the reference seems to be to Hadadezer’s seeking to put his control back again at the river Euphrates. On this, Cook’s Commentary notes that the Hebrew literally means “to cause his hand to return” and states: “The exact force of the metaphor must . . . be decided by the context. If, as is most probable, this verse relates to the circumstances more fully detailed [at 2Sa 10:15-19], the meaning of the phrase here will be when he (Hadadezer) went to renew his attack (upon Israel), or to recruit his strength against Israel, at the river Euphrates.”
At Helam the forces of Hadadezer under the command of Shobach (Shophach) met those of David and were defeated. Immediately afterward, Hadadezer’s vassals made peace with Israel. (2Sa 10:17-19; 1Ch 19:17-19) In the conflict 40,000 Syrian horsemen were killed. Perhaps in order to escape through rough terrain, these horsemen dismounted and were slain as footmen. This could account for their being called “horsemen” at 2 Samuel 10:18 and “men on foot” at 1 Chronicles 19:18. The difference in the number of Syrian charioteers killed in battle is usually attributed to scribal error, the lower figure of 700 charioteers being considered the correct one.
David also took much copper from Betah (apparently also called Tibhath) and Berothai (perhaps the same as Cun), two cities of Hadadezer’s realm, and brought the gold shields belonging to Hadadezer’s servants, probably the vassal kings, to Jerusalem. (2Sa 8:7, 8; 1Ch 18:7, 8; compare 2Sa 10:19.) David also captured many of Hadadezer’s horses, horsemen, chariots, and footmen. The variation in the enumeration of these at 2 Samuel 8:4 and 1 Chronicles 18:4 may have arisen through scribal error. In the Greek Septuagint both passages indicate that 1,000 chariots and 7,000 horsemen were captured, and therefore 1 Chronicles 18:4 perhaps preserves the original reading.
However, it may be noted that what are commonly viewed as scribal errors in the account of David’s conflict with Hadadezer may simply reflect other aspects of the war or different ways of reckoning.