When 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.

David heard about it and sent Joab and all the elite troops. The 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. When 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. 10 He 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. 12 Be strong! Let’s prove ourselves strong for our people and for the cities of our God.(A) May the Lord’s will be done.”[a](B)

13 Joab and his troops advanced to fight against the Arameans, and they fled before him. 14 When 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.

15 When the Arameans saw that they had been defeated by Israel, they regrouped. 16 Hadadezer 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.

17 When 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. 18 But the Arameans fled before Israel, and David killed seven hundred of their charioteers and forty thousand foot soldiers.[b] He also struck down Shobach commander of their army, who died there. 19 When 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.

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Footnotes

  1. 10:12 Lit the Lord do what is good in his eyes
  2. 10:18 Some LXX mss; MT reads horsemen; 1Ch 19:18

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