1. After this, when the king of the Ammonites died and his son Hanun succeeded him,

2. David thought, 'I shall show Hanun son of Nahash the same faithful love as his father showed me.' And David sent his representatives to offer him condolences over his father. But, when David's representatives reached the Ammonites' country,

3. the Ammonite princes said to Hanun their master, 'Do you really think David means to honour your father when he sends you messengers with sympathy? On the contrary, the reason why David has sent his representatives to you is to explore the city, to reconnoitre and so overthrow it.'

4. Whereupon Hanun seized David's representatives, shaved off half their beards, cut their clothes off halfway up, at their buttocks, and sent them away.

5. When David was told, he sent someone to meet them, since the men were overcome with shame. 'Stay in Jericho', the king said, 'until your beards have grown again, and come back then.'

6. When the Ammonites realised that they had antagonised David, they sent agents to hire twenty thousand foot soldiers from the Aramaeans of Beth-Rehob and the Aramaeans of Zobah, one thousand men from the king of Maacah and twelve thousand men from the prince of Tob.

7. When David heard this, he sent Joab with the whole army, the champions.

8. The Ammonites marched out and drew up their line of battle at the city gate, while the Aramaeans of Zobah and of Rehob and the men of Tob and Maacah kept their distance in the open country.

9. Joab, seeing that he had to fight on two fronts, to his front and to his rear, chose the best of Israel's picked men and drew them up in line facing the Aramaeans.

10. He entrusted the rest of the army to his brother Abishai, and drew them up in line facing the Ammonites.

11. 'If the Aramaeans prove too strong for me,' he said, 'you must come to my help; if the Ammonites prove too strong for you, I shall come to yours.

12. Be brave! Let us acquit ourselves like men for the sake of our people and for the cities of our God. And let Yahweh do as he thinks right!'

13. Joab and the force with him joined battle with the Aramaeans, who fled at his onslaught.

14. When the Ammonites saw that the Aramaeans had fled, they too fled from Abishai and withdrew into the city. Hence, Joab broke off his campaign against the Ammonites and returned to Jerusalem.

15. The Aramaeans, realising that Israel had got the better of them, concentrated their forces.

16. Hadadezer sent messengers and mobilised the Aramaeans living on the other side of the river; and these arrived at Helam, with Shobach the commander of Hadadezer's army, at their head.

17. David, being informed of this, mustered all Israel, crossed the Jordan and arrived at Helam. The Aramaeans drew up in line facing David and engaged him.

18. But the Aramaeans fled from Israel, and David killed seven hundred of their chariot teams and forty thousand men; he also cut down Shobach the commander of their army, who died there.

19. When all Hadadezer's vassal kings saw that Israel had got the better of them, they made peace with the Israelites and became their subjects. The Aramaeans were afraid to give any more help to the Ammonites.

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