David’s Messengers Disgraced

1 After this, the king of the Ammonites died, and Hanun his son reigned in his place. 2 David said, “I will show kindness to Hanun the son of Nahash, as his father showed kindness to me.” So David sent, by his servants, comfort to Hanun concerning his father. David’s servants came into the land of the Ammonites.

3 But the rulers of the Ammonites said to Hanun their lord, “Do you think that David honors your father, in that he has sent comforters to you? Hasn’t David sent his servants to you to search the city, to spy it out, and to overthrow it?”

4 So Hanun took David’s servants, shaved off one half of their beards, and cut off their garments from the middle, to their buttocks and sent them away. 5 When they told David this, he sent messengers to meet them, for the men were greatly ashamed. The king said, “Wait at Jericho until your beards have grown and then return.”

6 When the Ammonites saw that they had become odious to David, the Ammonites sent for and hired the Syrians of Beth Rehob, and the Syrians of Zobah, 20,000 footmen, and the king of Maacah with 1,000 men, and the men of Tob 12,000 men. 7 When David heard of it, he sent Joab and all the army of the mighty men. 8 The Ammonites came out and put the battle in array at the entrance of the gate. The Syrians of Zobah and of Rehob, and the men of Tob and Maacah, were by themselves in the field.

David Defeats Ammon and Syria

9 Now when Joab saw that the battle was set against him in front and behind, he chose of all the choice men of Israel and put them in array against the Syrians. 10 The rest of the people he committed into the hand of Abishai his brother, and he put them in array against the Ammonites. 11 He said, “If the Syrians are too strong for me, then you shall help me, but if the Ammonites are too strong for you, then I will come and help you. 12 Be courageous and let’s be strong for our people and for the cities of our God, and may the Lord do what seems good to him.” 13 So Joab and the people who were with him came near to the battle against the Syrians, and they fled before him. 14 When the Ammonites saw that the Syrians had fled, they likewise fled before Abishai and entered into the city. Then Joab returned from the Ammonites and came to Jerusalem.

15 When the Syrians saw that they were defeated by Israel, they gathered together. 16 Hadadezer sent for the Syrians who were beyond the River and brought them out, and they came to Helam with Shobach the captain of the army of Hadadezer at their head.

17 David was informed of this, and he gathered all Israel together, passed over the Jordan, and came to Helam. The Syrians set themselves in array against David and fought with him. 18 The Syrians fled before Israel, and David killed 700 charioteers of the Syrians and 40,000 horsemen and struck Shobach the captain of their army, so that he died there.

19 When all the kings who were servants to Hadadezer saw that they were defeated before Israel, they made peace with Israel and served them. So the Syrians were afraid to help the Ammonites any more.

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