191Some time later King Nahash of Ammon died, and his son Hanun became king. 2King David said, “I must show loyal friendship to Hanun, as his father Nahash did to me.” So David sent messengers to express his sympathy.
When they arrived in Ammon and called on King Hanun, 3the Ammonite leaders said to the king, “Do you think that it is in your father's honour that David has sent these men to express sympathy to you? Of course not! He has sent them here as spies to explore the land, so that he can conquer it!”
4Hanun seized David's messengers, shaved off their beards, cut off their clothes at the hips, and sent them away. 5They were too ashamed to return home. When David heard what had happened, he sent word for them to stay in Jericho and not return until their beards had grown again.
6King Hanun and the Ammonites realized that they had made David their enemy, so they paid 34 tonnes of silver to hire chariots and charioteers from Upper Mesopotamia and from the Syrian states of Maacah and Zobah. 7The 32,000 chariots they hired and the army of the king of Maacah came and camped near Medeba. The Ammonites too came out from all their cities and got ready to fight.
8When David heard what was happening, he sent out Joab and the whole army. 9The Ammonites marched out and took up their position at the entrance to Rabbah, their capital city, and the kings who had come to help took up their position in the open countryside.
10Joab saw that the enemy troops would attack him in front and from the rear, so he chose the best of Israel's soldiers and put them in position facing the Syrians. 11He placed the rest of his troops under the command of his brother Abishai, who put them in position facing the Ammonites. 12Joab said to him, “If you see that the Syrians are defeating me, come and help me, and if the Ammonites are defeating you, I will go and help you. 13Be strong and courageous! Let's fight hard for our people and for the cities of our God. And may the LORD's will be done.”
14Joab and his men advanced to attack, and the Syrians fled. 15When the Ammonites saw the Syrians running away, they fled from Abishai and retreated into the city. Then Joab went back to Jerusalem.
16The Syrians realized that they had been defeated by the Israelites, so they brought troops from the Syrian states on the east side of the River Euphrates and placed them under the command of Shobach, commander of the army of King Hadadezer of Zobah. 17When David heard of it, he gathered the Israelite troops, crossed the Jordan, and put them in position facing the Syrians. The fighting began, 18and the Israelites drove the Syrian army back. David and his men killed 7,000 Syrian chariot drivers and 40,000 foot soldiers. They also killed the Syrian commander, Shobach. 19When the kings who were subject to Hadadezer realized that they had been defeated by Israel, they made peace with David and became his subjects. The Syrians were never again willing to help the Ammonites.