Some time after this, King Nahash of the Ammonites died, and his son Hanun became king.
David said, "I am going to show complete loyalty to Hanun because his father, Nahash, was always completely loyal to me." So David sent ambassadors to express sympathy to Hanun about his father's death.But when David's ambassadors arrived in the land of Ammon,
Hanun's advisers said to their master, "Do you really think these men are coming here to honor your father? No! David has sent them to spy out the city so that they can come in and conquer it!"
So Hanun seized David's ambassadors and shaved off half of each man's beard, cut off their robes at the buttocks, and sent them back to David in shame.
When David heard what had happened, he sent messengers to tell the men to stay at Jericho until their beards grew out, for they were very embarrassed by their appearance.
Now the people of Ammon realized how seriously they had angered David, so they hired twenty thousand Aramean mercenaries from the lands of Beth-rehob and Zobah, one thousand from the king of Maacah, and twelve thousand from the land of Tob.
When David heard about this, he sent Joab and the entire Israelite army to fight them.
The Ammonite troops drew up their battle lines at the entrance of the city gates, while the Arameans from Zobah and Rehob and the men from Tob and Maacah positioned themselves to fight in the open fields.
When Joab saw that he would have to fight on two fronts, he chose the best troops in his army. He placed them under his personal command and led them out to fight the Arameans in the fields.
He left the rest of the army under the command of his brother Abishai, who was to attack the Ammonites.
"If the Arameans are too strong for me, then come over and help me," Joab told his brother. "And if the Ammonites are too strong for you, I will come and help you.
Be courageous! Let us fight bravely to save our people and the cities of our God. May the LORD's will be done."
When Joab and his troops attacked, the Arameans began to run away.
And when the Ammonites saw the Arameans running, they ran from Abishai and retreated into the city. After the battle was over, Joab returned to Jerusalem.
The Arameans now realized that they were no match for Israel. So when they regrouped,
they were joined by additional Aramean troops summoned by Hadadezer from the other side of the Euphrates River. a These troops arrived at Helam under the command of Shobach, the commander of all Hadadezer's forces.
When David heard what was happening, he mobilized all Israel, crossed the Jordan River, and led the army to Helam. The Arameans positioned themselves there in battle formation and then attacked David.
But again the Arameans fled from the Israelites. This time David's forces killed seven hundred charioteers and forty thousand horsemen, b including Shobach, the commander of their army.
When Hadadezer and his Aramean allies realized they had been defeated by Israel, they surrendered to them and became their subjects. After that, the Arameans were afraid to help the Ammonites.
Scripture quotations marked NLT are taken from the Holy Bible, New Living Translation, copyright 1996. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., Wheaton, Illinois 60189. All rights reserved. (New Living Translation - The Bible Online)