David’s Messengers Disgraced
(1 Chronicles 19:1–9)
Some time later, the king of the Ammonites died and was succeeded by his son Hanun. And David said, “I will show kindness to Hanun son of Nahash, just as his father showed kindness to me.”
So David sent some of his servants to console Hanun concerning his father. But when they arrived in the land of the Ammonites, the princes of the Ammonites said to Hanun their lord, “Just because David has sent you comforters, do you really believe he is showing respect for your father? Has not David instead sent his servants to explore the city, spy it out, and overthrow it?”
So Hanun took David’s servants, shaved off half of each man’s beard, cut off their garments at the hips, and sent them away.
When this was reported to David, he sent messengers to meet the men, since they had been thoroughly humiliated. The king told them, “Stay in Jericho until your beards have grown back, and then return.”
When the Ammonites realized that they had become a stench to David, they hired twenty thousand Aramean foot soldiers from Beth-rehob and Zoba, as well as a thousand men from the king of Maacah and twelve thousand men from Tob.
On hearing this, David sent Joab and the entire army of mighty men. The Ammonites marched out and arrayed themselves for battle at the entrance of the city gate, while the Arameans of Zobah and Rehob and the men of Tob and Maacah were by themselves in the open country.
David Defeats Ammon and Aram
(1 Chronicles 19:10–19)
When Joab saw the battle lines before him and behind him, he selected some of the best men of Israel and arrayed them against the Arameans. 10 And he placed the rest of the forces under the command of his brother Abishai, who arrayed them against the Ammonites.
11 If the Arameans are too strong for me,” said Joab, “then you will come to my rescue. And if the Ammonites are too strong for you, then I will come to your rescue. 12 Be strong and let us fight bravely for our people and for the cities of our God. May the LORD do what is good in His sight.”
13 So Joab and his troops advanced to fight the Arameans, who fled before him. 14 When the Ammonites saw that the Arameans had fled, they too fled before Abishai, and they entered the city. So Joab returned from fighting against the Ammonites and came to Jerusalem.
15 When the Arameans saw that they had been defeated by Israel, they regrouped. 16 Hadadezer sent messengers to bring more Arameans from beyond the Euphrates,* and they came to Helam with Shobach the commander of Hadadezer’s army leading them.
17 When this was reported to David, he gathered all Israel, crossed the Jordan, and went to Helam. Then the Arameans arrayed themselves against David and fought against him. 18 But the Arameans fled before Israel, and David killed seven hundred charioteers and forty thousand foot soldiers. He also struck down Shobach the commander of their army, who died there.
19 When all the kings who were subject to Hadadezer saw that they had been defeated by Israel, they made peace with Israel and became subject to them. So the Arameans were afraid to help the Ammonites anymore.
* 10:16 Hebrew the River 10:16 Shobach is a variant of Shophach; see 1 Chronicles 19:16. 10:18 Some LXX manuscripts (see also 1 Chronicles 19:18); Hebrew horsemen