Ammon and Aram Defeated
1 Now it happened later that [Nahash] the king of the Ammonites died, and his son Hanun became king in his place. 2 Then David said, “I will show kindness to Hanun the son of Nahash, just as his father did to me.” So David sent [a letter along with] some of his servants to console him in regard to his father’s death; and David’s servants came into the land of the Ammonites. 3 But the princes of the Ammonites [were suspicious and] said to Hanun their lord, “Do you think that David is honoring your father because he has sent comforters to you? Has David not sent his servants to you in order to search the city, to spy it out and overthrow it?” 4 So Hanun took David’s servants and shaved off half their beards, and cut off their robes in the middle as far as their hips, and sent them away. 5 When David was informed, he sent [messengers] to meet them [before they reached Jerusalem], for the men were greatly ashamed and humiliated. And the king said, “Stay at Jericho until your beards grow, and then return.”
6 When the Ammonites saw that they had become an object of hatred to David, they sent word and hired the Arameans (Syrians) of Beth-rehob and the Arameans of Zobah, 20,000 foot soldiers, and the king of Maacah with 1,000 men, and the men of Tob with 12,000 men [to fight for them]. 7 When David heard about it, he sent Joab and the entire army, the strong and brave men. 8 The Ammonites came out and lined up for battle at the entrance of the [city] gate, but the Arameans of Zobah and Rehob and the men of Tob and Maacah were [stationed] by themselves in the field.
9 Now when Joab saw that the battlefront was against him in front and in the rear, he selected some of all the choice men in Israel and set them in battle formation to meet the Arameans (Syrians). 10 But he placed the rest of the men in the hand of his brother Abishai, and he placed them in battle formation to meet the Ammonites. 11 Joab said [to Abishai], “If the Arameans are too strong for me, then you shall help me; but if the Ammonites are too strong for you, I will come to help you. 12 Be courageous, and let us show ourselves courageous for the benefit of our people and the cities of our God. And may the Lord do what is good in His sight.” 13 So Joab and the people who were with him approached the battle against the Arameans, and they fled before him. 14 When the Ammonites saw that the Arameans had fled, they also fled before Abishai and entered the city. So Joab returned from battling against the Ammonites and came to Jerusalem.
15 When the Arameans saw that they were defeated by Israel, they gathered together. 16 Hadadezer sent word and brought out the Arameans who were beyond the River [Euphrates]; and they came to Helam; and Shobach the commander of the army of Hadadezer led them. 17 When David was informed, he gathered all Israel together and crossed the Jordan, and came to Helam. Then the Arameans assembled in battle formation to meet David and fought against him. 18 But the Arameans fled before Israel, and David killed 700 Aramean charioteers and 40,000 horsemen, and struck Shobach the commander of their army, and he died there. 19 When all the kings serving Hadadezer saw that they had been defeated by Israel, they made peace with Israel and served them. So the Arameans (Syrians) were afraid to help the Ammonites anymore.