David and the Ammonites
1 Later the king of the Ammonites died and his son Hanun succeeded him.#tn Heb “reigned in his place.” 2 David said, “I will express my loyalty#tn Heb “do loyalty.” to Hanun son of Nahash just as his father was loyal#tn Heb “did loyalty.” to me.” So David sent his servants with a message expressing sympathy over his father’s death.#tn Heb “and David sent to console him by the hand of his servants concerning his father.” When David’s servants entered the land of the Ammonites, 3 the Ammonite officials said to their lord Hanun, “Do you really think David is trying to honor your father by sending these messengers to express his sympathy?#tn Heb “Is David honoring your father in your eyes when he sends to you ones consoling?” No, David has sent his servants to you to get information about the city and spy on it so they can overthrow it!”#tn Heb “Is it not to explore the city and to spy on it and to overthrow it [that] David has sent his servants to you?”
4 So Hanun seized David’s servants and shaved off half of each one’s beard. He cut the lower part of their robes off so that their buttocks were exposed,#tn Heb “and he cut their robes in the middle unto their buttocks.” and then sent them away. 5 Messengers#tn Heb “they”; the referent (the messengers) has been specified in the translation for clarity. told David what had happened,#tn The words “what had happened” are supplied in the translation for stylistic reasons. so he summoned them, for the men were thoroughly humiliated. The king said, “Stay in Jericho#map For location see Map5-B2; Map6-E1; Map7-E1; Map8-E3; Map10-A2; Map11-A1. until your beards have grown again; then you may come back.”
6 When the Ammonites realized that David was disgusted with them,#tn Heb “that they were a stench [i.e., disgusting] with David.” they#tn Heb “the Ammonites.” sent and hired 20,000 foot soldiers from Aram Beth Rehob and Aram Zobah,#tn Or “Arameans of Beth Rehob and Arameans of Zobah.” in addition to 1,000 men from the king of Maacah and 12,000 men from Ish-tob.#tn Or perhaps “the men of Tob.” The ancient versions (the LXX, the Syriac Peshitta, and Vulgate) understand the name to be “Ish-tob.” It is possible that “Ish” is dittographic and that we should read simply “Tob,” a reading adopted by a number of recent English versions.
7 When David heard the news, he sent Joab and the entire army to meet them.#tn The words “the news” and “to meet them” are supplied in the translation for stylistic reasons and for clarification. 8 The Ammonites marched out and were deployed for battle at the entrance of the city gate, while the men from Aram Zobah, Rehob, Ish-tob, and Maacah were by themselves in the field.
9 When Joab saw that the battle would be fought on two fronts, he chose some of Israel’s best men and deployed them against the Arameans.#tn Heb “and Joab saw that the face of the battle was to him before and behind and he chose from all the best in Israel and arranged to meet Aram.” 10 He put his brother Abishai in charge of the rest of the army#tn Heb “people.” and they were deployed#tn Heb “he arranged.” against the Ammonites. 11 Joab#tn Heb “he”; the referent (Joab) has been specified in the translation for clarity. said, “If the Arameans start to overpower me,#tn Heb “if Aram is stronger than me.” you come to my rescue. If the Ammonites start to overpower you,#tn Heb “if the sons of Ammon are stronger than you.” I will come to your rescue. 12 Be strong! Let’s fight bravely for the sake of our people and the cities of our God! The Lord will do what he decides is best!”#tn Heb “and the Lord will do what is good in his eyes.”
13 So Joab and his men#tn Heb “and the army which was with him.” marched out to do battle with the Arameans, and they fled before him. 14 When the Ammonites saw the Arameans flee, they fled before his brother Abishai and went into the city. Joab withdrew from fighting the Ammonites and returned to#tn Heb “and Joab returned from against the sons of Ammon and entered.” Jerusalem.#map For location see Map5-B1; Map6-F3; Map7-E2; Map8-F2; Map10-B3; JP1-F4; JP2-F4; JP3-F4; JP4-F4.
15 When the Arameans realized that they had been defeated by Israel, they consolidated their forces.#tn Heb “were gathered together.” 16 Then Hadadezer sent for Arameans from#tn Heb “and Hadadezer sent and brought out Aram which is.” beyond the Euphrates River,#tn Heb “from beyond the River.” The name “Euphrates” has been supplied in the translation for clarity. and they came to Helam. Shobach, the general in command of Hadadezer’s army, led them.#tn Heb “was before them.”
17 When David was informed, he gathered all Israel, crossed the Jordan River,#tn The word “River” is not in the Hebrew text, but has been supplied in the translation for clarity. and came to Helam. The Arameans deployed their forces against David and fought with him. 18 The Arameans fled before Israel. David killed 700 Aramean charioteers and 40,000 foot soldiers.#tn Heb “horsemen” (so KJV, NASB, NCV, NRSV, NLT) but the Lucianic recension of the LXX reads “foot soldiers,” as does the parallel text in 1 Chr 19:18. Cf. NAB, NIV. He also struck down Shobach, the general in command of the army, who died there. 19 When all the kings who were subject to Hadadezer#tn Heb “the servants of Hadadezer.” saw they were defeated by Israel, they made peace with Israel and became subjects of Israel.#tn Heb “and they served them.” The Arameans were no longer willing to help the Ammonites.