War with the Ammonites
1Some time later, the king of the Ammonites died, and his son Hanun became king in his place. 2Then David said, “I’ll show kindness to Hanun son of Nahash, just as his father showed kindness to me.”
So David sent his emissaries to console Hanun concerning his father. However, when they arrived in the land of the Ammonites, 3the Ammonite leaders said to Hanun their lord, “Just because David has sent men with condolences for you, do you really believe he’s showing respect for your father? Instead, hasn’t David sent his emissaries in order to scout out the city, spy on it, and demolish it?” 4So Hanun took David’s emissaries, shaved off half their beards, cut their clothes in half at the hips, and sent them away.
5When this was reported to David, he sent someone to meet them, since they were deeply humiliated. The king said, “Stay in Jericho until your beards grow back; then return.”
6When the Ammonites realized they had become repulsive to David, they hired twenty thousand foot soldiers from the Arameans of Beth-rehob and Zobah, one thousand men from the king of Maacah, and twelve thousand men from Tob.
7David heard about it and sent Joab and all the elite troops. 8The Ammonites marched out and lined up in battle formation at the entrance to the city gate while the Arameans of Zobah and Rehob and the men of Tob and Maacah were in the field by themselves. 9When Joab saw that there was a battle line in front of him and another behind him, he chose some of Israel’s finest young men and lined up in formation to engage the Arameans. 10He placed the rest of the forces under the command of his brother Abishai. They lined up in formation to engage the Ammonites.
11“If the Arameans are too strong for me,” Joab said, “then you will be my help. However, if the Ammonites are too strong for you, I’ll come to help you. 12Be strong! Let’s prove ourselves strong for our people and for the cities of our God. May the Lord’s will be done.”
13Joab and his troops advanced to fight against the Arameans, and they fled before him. 14When the Ammonites saw that the Arameans had fled, they too fled before Abishai and entered the city. So Joab withdrew from the attack against the Ammonites and went to Jerusalem.
15When the Arameans saw that they had been defeated by Israel, they regrouped. 16Hadadezer sent messengers to bring the Arameans who were beyond the Euphrates River, and they came to Helam with Shobach, commander of Hadadezer’s army, leading them.
17When this was reported to David, he gathered all Israel, crossed the Jordan, and went to Helam. Then the Arameans lined up to engage David in battle and fought against him. 18But the Arameans fled before Israel, and David killed seven hundred of their charioteers and forty thousand foot soldiers. He also struck down Shobach commander of their army, who died there. 19When all the kings who were Hadadezer’s subjects saw that they had been defeated by Israel, they made peace with Israel and became their subjects. After this, the Arameans were afraid to ever help the Ammonites again.