1 Later the king of Ammon died. His son Hanun became king in his place.
2 David thought: »I will show kindness to Hanun since his father Nahash showed me kindness.« David sent his servants to comfort Hanun after his fathers death. When Davids servants entered Ammonite territory,
3 the Ammonite princes asked their master Hanun: »Do you think David is honoring your father because he sent men to comfort you? Perhaps David sent his men to explore the city, spy on it, and destroy it.«
4 Hanun seized Davids men and shaved off half of each mans beard. He cut off their clothes from the waist down, and sent them away.
5 David was told what happened. He sent someone to meet them because they were deeply humiliated. The king said to them: »Stay at Jericho until your beards have grown back. Then return to Jerusalem.«
6 The Ammonites realized they had made themselves repulsive to David. They hired the Arameans from Beth Rehob and Zobah, with twenty thousand foot soldiers. From the army of the king of Maacah they hired one thousand men, and twelve thousand men of Tob.
7 After David heard about this, he sent Joab and all the elite troops.
8 The Ammonites formed a battle line at the entrance of the city gate. The Arameans from Zobah and Rehob and the men from Tob and Maacah remained by themselves in the open country.
9 Joab saw he was under attack in front and behind. He took the select troops of Israel and organized them for combat against the Arameans.
10 He put his brother Abishai in command of the rest of the army and had them fight the Ammonites.
11 Joab told his brother: »If the Arameans are too much for me to handle, you can come and help me. If the Ammonites are too strong for you, I will come and help you.
12 »Be brave and fight hard to protect our people and the cities of our God. I pray that Jehovah will do whatever pleases him.«
13 Joab and his men advanced to attack the Syrians. The Syrians retreated.
14 The Ammonites saw the Syrians Arameans running away. They fled from Abishai and retreated into the city. Then Joab turned back from fighting the Ammonites and went back to Jerusalem.
15 The Syrians knew they had been defeated by the Israelites. They called all their troops together.
16 King Hadadezer sent for the Syrians Arameans who were on the east side of the Euphrates River. They came to Helam under the command of Shobach, commander of the army of King Hadadezer of Zobah.
17 David heard of it. So he gathered the Israelite troops and crossed the Jordan River. They marched to Helam, where the Syrians took up their position facing him. The fighting began,
18 and the Israelites drove the Syrian army back. David and his men killed seven hundred Syrian chariot drivers and forty thousand cavalry. They wounded Shobach, the enemy commander, who died on the battlefield.
19 As soon as the kings who were subject to Hadadezer realized that they had been defeated by the Israelites, they made peace with them and became their subjects. The Syrians were afraid to help the Ammonites any more.