Campaigns Against Ammon. 1a After this,* the king of the Ammonites died, and Hanun his son succeeded him as king. 2David said, “I will show kindness to Hanun, the son of Nahash, as his father showed kindness to me.” Therefore David sent his servants to Hanun to console him concerning his father. But when David’s servants had entered the land of the Ammonites, 3the Ammonite princes said to their lord Hanun, “Do you think David is doing this—sending you these consolers—to honor your father? Is it not rather to explore the city, to spy on it, and to overthrow it, that David has sent his servants to you?” 4So Hanun seized David’s servants, shaved off half their beards, cut away the lower halves of their garments at the buttocks, and sent them away.b 5David was told of it and he sent word for them to be intercepted, for the men had been greatly disgraced. “Remain at Jericho,” the king told them, “until your beards have grown again; then come back here.”
6* When the Ammonites realized that they were in bad odor with David, they sent for and hired twenty thousand Aramean foot soldiers from Beth-rehob and Zobah, as well as the king of Maacah with one thousand men, and twelve thousand men from Tob.c
7When David heard of this, he sent Joab and his whole army of warriors against them.d 8The Ammonites marched out and lined up for battle at the entrance of their city gate, while the Arameans of Zobah and Rehob and the men of Tob and Maacah remained apart in the open field. 9When Joab saw that there was a battle line both in front of and behind him, he chose some of the best fighters of Israel and lined them up against the Arameans; 10the rest of the army he placed under the command of his brother Abishai and lined up to oppose the Ammonites. 11And he said, “If the Arameans prove too strong for me, you must come and save me; and if the Ammonites prove too strong for you, I will come to save you. 12Hold firm and let us show ourselves courageous for the sake of our people and the cities of our God; and may the LORD do what is good in his sight.” 13Joab therefore advanced with his men for battle with the Arameans, but they fled before him. 14And when the Ammonites saw that the Arameans had fled, they too fled before Abishai, and reentered their city. Joab then ceased his attack on the Ammonites and came to Jerusalem. 15e Seeing themselves vanquished by Israel, the Arameans held a full muster of troops. 16Hadadezer sent for and brought Arameans from beyond the River. They came to Helam, with Shobach, the captain of Hadadezer’s army, at their head. 17When this was reported to David, he gathered all Israel together, crossed the Jordan, and went to Helam. The Arameans drew up in formation against David and gave battle. 18But the Arameans fled before Israel, and David killed seven hundred of their chariot fighters and forty thousand of their foot soldiers. He struck down Shobach, commander of the army, and he died on the field. 19When Hadadezer’s vassal kings saw themselves vanquished by Israel, they made peace with the Israelites and became their subjects. After this, the Arameans were afraid to give further aid to the Ammonites.
* [10:1] After this: early in the reign of David, since Hanun’s father Nahash (1 Chr 19:1) had been ruling in Ammon at the beginning of Saul’s reign (1 Sm 11) and Solomon was not yet born (2 Sm 11:1; 12:24).
* [10:6–9] A Hebrew text from Qumran (4QSama) comes closer in these verses to what is given in 1 Chr 19:6–9. The scene of the conflict is more likely the Ammonite capital, Rabbath-Ammon (v. 8; cf. Josephus Ant., vii, 123), than Medeba (1 Chr 19:7).
a. [10:1–19] 1 Chr 19:1–19.
c. [10:6] 2 Sm 8:3; 1 Sm 14:47.