1 It happened, after this, that the king of the children of Ammon died, and Hanun his son reigned in his stead. 2 Then said David, "I will show kindness unto Hanun the son of Nahash, as his father showed kindness unto me." And thereupon David sent to comfort him by the hand of his servants over the death of his father. Now when David's servants were come into the land of the children of Ammon, 3 the lords of the children of Ammon said unto Hanun their lord, "Thinkest thou that David doth honour thy father, because he hath sent to comfort thee? Nay, he hath rather sent his servants unto thee, to search the city and to spy it out, even to overthrow it." 4 Wherefore Hanun took David's servants and shaved off the one half of every man's beard and cut off their garments even in the middle, even hard by the buttocks of them and sent them away.
5 When it was told David he sent against them - for they were men exceedingly ashamed - and said, "Tarry at Jericho until your beards be grown, and then return."
6 And when the children of Ammon saw that they stank unto David, they sent and hired the sons of Bethrehob of the Syrians of Zobah: twenty thousand footmen; and of king Maacah: a thousand men; and of Ishtob: twelve thousand men.
7 And when David heard of it, he sent Joab and all the host of strong men. 8 And the children of Ammon came out and waged battle before the gate, and the Syrians of Zobah, of Rehob, Ishtob and Maacah were by themselves in the fields. 9 When Joab saw that the front of the battle was before and after, he chose of all the best of Israel and put them in array against the Syrians. 10 And the rest of the people he delivered in the hand of Abishai his brother, which put them in array against the children of Ammon.
11 And he said, "If the Syrians overcome me, then succor me. But if the children of Ammon be too good for thee, I will come and succor thee. 12 Quite thee like a man, and let us fight lustily for our people and for the cities of our God. And the LORD do what seemeth best in his eyes."
13 And forthwith Joab proceeded, and the people that was with him, into battle against the Syrians: which fled before him. 14 And when the children of Ammon saw that the Syrians were fled, then fled they also before Abishai, and entered into the city. And so Joab returned from the children of Ammon and came to Jerusalem.
15 And when the Syrians saw that they were put to the worse before Israel, they gathered them together. 16 And Hadadezer sent and brought out the Syrians that were beyond the river. And the host of them came; and Sobah, the captain of the host of Hadadezer before them.
17 And when it was showed David, he gathered all Israel and passed over Jordan and came to Helam: where the Syrians put themselves in array against David and fought with him. 18 Howbeit, the Syrians fled before Israel. And David destroyed seven hundred chariots of them and forty thousand horsemen, and smote Shobach the captain of his host, that he there died. 19 And when all the kings that were servants to Hadadezer saw that they were put to the worse before Israel, they made peace with them and served them. And so the Syrians feared to help the children of Ammon any more.