Some time after this, King Nahash of the Ammonites died, and his son Hanun became king.
David said, “I am going to show loyalty to Hanun because his father, Nahash, was always loyal to me.” So David sent messengers to express sympathy to Hanun about his father’s death. But when David’s ambassadors arrived in the land of Ammon,
the Ammonite commanders said to Hanun, “Do you really think these men are coming here to honor your father? No! David has sent them to spy out the land so they can come in and conquer it!”
So Hanun seized David’s ambassadors and shaved them, cut off their robes at the buttocks, and sent them back to David in shame.
When David heard what had happened to the men, he sent messengers to tell them, “Stay at Jericho until your beards grow out, and then come back.” For they felt deep shame because of their appearance.
When the people of Ammon realized how seriously they had angered David, Hanun and the Ammonites sent 75,000 pounds of silver to hire chariots and charioteers from Aram-naharaim, Aram-maacah, and Zobah.
They also hired 32,000 chariots and secured the support of the king of Maacah and his army. These forces camped at Medeba, where they were joined by the Ammonite troops that Hanun had recruited from his own towns.
When David heard about this, he sent Joab and all his warriors to fight them.
The Ammonite troops came out and drew up their battle lines at the entrance of the city, while the other kings positioned themselves to fight in the open fields.