1 Sometime later, the Ammonite king died and his son Hanun succeeded him as king, 2 so David told himself, "I will be loyal to Nahash's son Hanun, since in his loyalty his father showed gracious love to me." So David sent a delegation to Hanun to console him about his loss of his father. 3 But when David's delegation arrived in Ammonite territory, the Ammonite officials asked their lord Hanun, "Do you think that because David has sent a delegation of consolers to you that he is honoring your father? His delegation has arrived intending to search, scout the land, and then overthrow it, hasn't it?" 4 So Hanun arrested David's delegation, shaved off half of their beards, cut off their clothes at the waist line, and sent them away in disgrace.
5 When David had been informed about the incident, he sent word to them, since the men had been deeply humiliated. The king told them, "Stay at Jericho until your beards have grown back, and then return."
6 When the Ammonites realized that they had created quite a stink with David, they hired 20,000 Aramean mercenaries from Beth-rehob and Zobah, along with the king of Maacah and 1,000 men, and 12,000 men from Tob.
7 In response, David sent out Joab and his entire army of elite soldiers. 8 The Ammonites went out in battle formation at the entrance to the city gate, while the Arameans from Zobah and Rehob, along with the army from Tob and Maacah, were out by themselves in the open fields. 9 When Joab observed that the battle lines were set up to oppose him both in front and behind, he appointed the best troops in Israel and arrayed them to oppose the Arameans, 10 putting the rest of his forces under the command of his brother Abishai, who arrayed them to oppose the Ammonites.
11 He said, "If the Arameans prove too strong for me, then you are to help me. If the Ammonites prove too strong for you, then I will come help you. 12 Be strong, be courageous on behalf of our people and for the cities of our God, and may the LORD do what he thinks is best."
13 So Joab and the soldiers who were with him attacked the Arameans in battle formation, and the Arameans retreated in front of him. 14 When the Ammonites saw the Arameans retreating, they also retreated from Abishai back to the city. Then Joab broke off his attack against the Ammonites and went back to Jerusalem.
15 After the Arameans realized that they had been defeated by Israel, they regrouped. 16 Hadadezer sent for the Arameans who lived beyond the Euphrates River, and they set out for Helam, with Shobach leading them as commander of Hadadezer's army.
17 When David learned this, he mustered all of Israel, crossed the Jordan River, and approached Helam. The Arameans assembled in battle array to attack David, and started their assault. 18 But the Arameans retreated from Israel, and David's forces killed 700 of their charioteers, 40,000 soldiers, and mortally wounded Shobach, the commander of their army. As a result, Shobach died there. 19 When all the kings who were allied with Hadadezer saw that they had been defeated by Israel, they sought terms of peace with the Israelis and became subservient to them. Furthermore, the Arameans were afraid to help the Ammonites anymore.