David and the Ammonites
1 Some time later, the king of the Ammonites died. His son Hanun became the new king. 2 David thought, ‘I will be kind to Hanun, because his father Nahash was kind to me.’
10:1The Ammonites were the descendants of Ben-Ammi who was the grandson of Lot. See Genesis 19:36-38. They were the Israelites enemies. The country of Ammon was on the east side of Israel, across the Jordan river.
So David sent some of his officers to give a message to Hanun. David wanted to tell Hanun that he was sorry that Nahash had died. David's officers took his message to the land of the Ammonites.
3 The leaders of the Ammonites said to Hanun, the king, ‘David has sent his officers to you with a kind message about your father's death. But do not think that he really wants to give honour to your father. No, he has sent his officers to look at our city. They want to see how David's army can attack the city and take it for themselves.’
4 So Hanun took hold of David's officers. He cut off half the hair from their beards. He also cut off the lower half of their clothes up to their hips. Then he sent them away.
5 Some people told David what had happened. His officers were very ashamed, so David sent a message to them. King David said, ‘Stay in Jericho city until your beards have grown again. Then you can return here.’
6 The Ammonites realized that they had made David very angry. So they paid 20,000 Syrian soldiers from Beth Rehob and Zobah to come and fight for them. They also brought 1,000 soldiers from the king of Maakah and 12,000 soldiers from Tob.
7 David heard news about this. So he sent Joab with all the soldiers in his army to fight against them. 8 The Ammonite soldiers marched out from their city. They stood in front of the city's gates and they were ready to fight. The Syrian soldiers from Zobah and Rehob and the soldiers from Tob and Maakah stayed in the fields near the city.
9 Joab saw that there were two groups of the enemy's soldiers. They were ready to attack his army from different sides. So he chose some of Israel's best soldiers. Joab himself led them to attack the Syrian soldiers in the fields. 10 He told his brother Abishai to lead the rest of Israel's army to fight against the Ammonites. 11 Joab said to Abishai, ‘If the Syrian soldiers are too strong for me, you must come to rescue me. But if the Ammonites are too strong for you, I will come to rescue you. 12 Be strong! We must be brave as we fight on behalf of our people and the cities of our God. The Lord will do what he decides is good.’
13 Then Joab and his group of soldiers went to fight against the Syrians. As they marched towards the Syrian soldiers, they ran away. 14 The Ammonites saw that the Syrians were running away from Joab. So they also ran away from his brother Abishai's men. They ran back into their city. So Joab stopped fighting the Ammonites. He returned to Jerusalem with his army.
15 The Syrian soldiers realized that Israel had won the battle against them. So they brought all their soldiers together. 16 King Hadadezer sent a message to fetch more Syrian soldiers from the other side of the Euphrates river. Shobach, the captain of his army, brought them all to Helam.
17 David heard about what was happening. So he took all Israel's soldiers across the Jordan river to Helam. The Syrian soldiers stood in their places ready to fight. When the battle started, 18 the Syrians ran away from the Israelites. David and his army killed 700 Syrians who drove chariots. They killed 40,000 other Syrian soldiers. David also knocked down Shobach, the captain of the Syrian army. Shobach died there.
19 All the other kings who were under Hadadezer's authority saw that Israel had won the battle. So they made an agreement with Israel that they would not fight against them any more. They agreed to serve the Israelites. After that, the Syrians were afraid to help the Ammonites any more.