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Aram Vanquished

10 It came about after this that the king of the children of Ammon died, and his son Hanun reigned in his place. Then David thought, “Let me show kindness to Hanun son of Nahash, just as his father showed kindness to me.” So David sent word by the hand of his servants to comfort him concerning his father. But when David’s servants arrived at the land of the children of Ammon, the princes of the children of Ammon said to Hanun their lord, “Do you think that David is really honoring your father because he has sent consolers to you? Has not David sent his servants to you in order to explore the city, to spy it out, and to overthrow it?” So Hanun seized David’s servants, shaved off one side of their beards, cut off their garments in the middle at their buttocks, and sent them away.

When they informed David, he sent word to meet them, for the men were greatly humiliated. The king said, “Stay in Jericho until your beards grow, then return.” Now when the children of Ammon saw that they had become a stench to David, the children of Ammon sent and hired the Arameans of Beth-Rehob and the Arameans of Zobah, 20,000 foot soldiers, and the king of Maacah with 1,000 men, plus 12,000 men from Tob.

When David heard about it, he sent Joab and the whole army—the mighty warriors. The children of Ammon came out and lined up in battle array at the entrance of the gate, while the Arameans of Zobah and Rehob and the men of Tob and Maacah were by themselves in the field. When Joab saw that there was a battle line against him front and rear, he chose of all the best troops of Israel and arrayed them against the Arameans, 10 but the rest of the troops he committed to the command of his brother Abishai, and he arrayed them against the children of Ammon. 11 Then he said, “If the Arameans are too strong for me, then you will help me, but if the children of Ammon are too strong for you, then I will come to help you. 12 Chazak! And let us take courage for the sake of our people and for the cities of our God, and may Adonai do what is good in His eyes.”

13 So Joab and the troops with him advanced to battle against the Arameans—and they fled before him. 14 When the children of Ammon saw that the Arameans had fled, they likewise fled before Abishai and withdrew into the city. Then Joab returned from assaulting the children of Ammon, and went to Jerusalem.

15 When the Arameans saw that they had been defeated by Israel, they regrouped. 16 Hadadezer sent word and brought out the Arameans from across the River[a], and they came to Helam, with Hadadezer’s army commander Shobach before them. 17 When David was told, he gathered all Israel together, crossed the Jordan and went to Helam. The Arameans arrayed their lines against David and fought him. 18 But the Arameans fled before Israel—David killed 700 charioteers of the Arameans and 40,000 horsemen, and struck down Shobach the commander of their army, so he died there.

19 When the vassal kings of Hadadezer saw that they had been defeated by Israel, they made peace with Israel and became servants to them. Then the Arameans were afraid to help the children of Ammon anymore.


  1. 2 Samuel 10:16 Euphrates River.