In 2 Samuel 8:9–12, having witnessed David’s remarkable military successes, Tou (Heb. Toi) king of the Aramean city-state of Hamath, decided to capitulate without struggle and become a vassal of Israel. To symbolize this move he sent his son Joram (or Hadoram, 1 Chronicles 18:10) to David laden with precious articles of silver and gold and bronze.
These David added to all the other spoils he had gained in previous campaigns (2 Sam. 8:11–12): Edom (cf. v. 14); Moab (cf. v. 2); Ammonites (cf. chap. 10); Philistines (cf. 8:1); and Amalek (David’s conquest of Amalek is not narrated in the OT). All these spoils he dedicated to the service of the Lord (1 Kings 7:51).
In 2 Samuel 8:13–14. Finally David gained widespread fame by defeating an Aramean army of 18,000 in the Valley of Salt, a marshy plain south of the Dead Sea. Though “Aram” (i.e., “Arameans”) is in most Hebrew manuscripts, the Septuagint and some other versions have “Edom,” a reading that is also supported by a few Hebrew manuscripts and by 1 Chronicles 18:12. The difference in the original language is in only one letter: d (as in Edom) and r (as in Aram), easily confused in Hebrew. If “Aramean,” it may be that the Edomites had solicited Aramean help against Israel. In any event, David again prevailed and brought Edom also under his rule. The Lord gave David victory everywhere he went.