10 Some time later, King Nahash of Ammon died, and his son Hanun became king. 2 David said, “Nahash was kind to me, and I will be kind to his son.” So he sent some officials to the country of Ammon to tell Hanun how sorry he was that his father had died.
3 But Hanun’s officials told him, “Do you really believe David is honoring your father by sending these people to comfort you? He probably sent them to spy on our city, so he can destroy it.” 4 Hanun arrested David’s officials and had their beards shaved off on one side of their faces. He had their robes cut off just below the waist, and then he sent them away. 5 They were terribly ashamed.
When David found out what had happened to his officials, he sent a message and told them, “Stay in Jericho until your beards grow back. Then you can come home.”
6 The Ammonites realized that they had made David very angry, so they hired more foreign soldiers. Twenty thousand of them were foot soldiers from the Aramean cities of Beth-Rehob and Zobah, one thousand were from the king of Maacah, and twelve thousand were from the region of Tob. 7 David heard what they had done, and he sent out Joab with all of his well-trained soldiers.
8 The Ammonite troops came out and got ready to fight in front of the gate to their city. The Arameans from Zobah and Rehob and the soldiers from Tob and Maacah formed a separate group in the nearby fields.
9 Joab saw that he had to fight in front and behind at the same time, and he picked some of the best Israelite soldiers to fight the Arameans. 10 He put his brother Abishai in command of the rest of the army and had them fight the Ammonites. 11 Joab told his brother, “If the Arameans are too much for me to handle, you can come and help me. If the Ammonites are too strong for you, I’ll come and help you. 12 Be brave and fight hard to protect our people and the cities of our God. I pray that the Lord will do whatever pleases him.”
13 Joab and his soldiers attacked the Arameans, and the Arameans ran from them. 14 When the Ammonite soldiers saw that the Arameans had run away, they ran from Abishai’s soldiers and went back into their own city. Joab stopped fighting the Ammonites and returned to Jerusalem.
15 The Arameans realized they had lost the battle, so they brought all their troops together again. 16 Hadadezer sent messengers to call in the Arameans who were on the other side of the Euphrates River. Then Shobach, the commander of Hadadezer’s army, led them to the town of Helam.
17 David found out what the Arameans were doing, and he brought Israel’s whole army together. They crossed the Jordan River and went to Helam, where the Arameans were ready to meet them. 18 The Arameans attacked, but then they ran from Israel. David killed seven hundred chariot drivers and forty thousand cavalry.[a] He also killed Shobach, their commander.
19 When the kings who had been under Hadadezer’s rule saw that Israel had beaten them, they made peace with Israel and accepted David as their ruler. The Arameans were afraid to help Ammon any more.
10.18cavalry: The Hebrew manuscripts and ancient translations differ as to how many and what kind of soldiers were killed.
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