2 Samuel 10
David fights east of Jordan River
Ammon gets a hostile king1Later, the king of the neighboring country of Ammon died and his son, Hanun, became king. 2David said, “Hanun’s father always kept his word to me, so I’m going to give his son the same respect I gave his father.” David sent ambassadors to him in Ammon.
3Some of King Hanun’s officials said, “Don’t be fooled by these men. David didn’t send them here to honor you with his condolences. They’re spies. David wants to take our land.”
David’s men half-shaved, half-stripped4Hanun arrested David’s men. Then he shamed them by shaving off their beards on just one side of the face and by stripping away their clothes from the waste down. He sent them home that way, horribly humiliated.
5When David met the men, they were ashamed of the way they looked. David said, “Stay in Jericho until your beards grow back. Then come home.”
6When leaders of Ammon heard about how angry they made David, they hired armies of mercenaries to protect them. They hired 20,000 Syrian soldiers from the cities of Beth-rehob and Zobah in Aram. They also hired 1,000 from the king of Maacah and another 12,000 from Tob territory.
David invades Ammon7When David found out, he sent Joab and the entire Israelite army to Ammon.
8Ammon’s army defended the front gate into the capital city.  All the other units took positions in the open field outside the city: Syrians from Aram, along with the soldiers from Tob and Maacah.
9Joab saw he would have to fight on two fronts, between Ammon’s own warriors inside the city and mercenaries behind him in the fields. He picked elite troops to lead into battle against the Syrians. 10He gave the rest of the army to his brother, Abishai, and ordered him to engage the locals of Ammon at the guarded city gate.
11He told his brother, “If the Syrians are too much for me, then stand down from the city and come reinforce my troops. But if the army of Ammon is too strong for you, I’ll come to reinforce you. 12Show your courage and your strength. Remember that we’re fighting for our people and for the land that belongs to the people God. Let’s trust that the LORD will do what he knows is best.”
Israel’s enemies run away13Joab and his men sent the Syrian army running away. 14When locals of Ammon saw that their allies had left, they retreated back behind the city walls. So, Joab took his army back home to Jerusalem.
15Syrians of Aram, humiliated by their defeat, called in more troops. They consolidated all their armies into a single attack force.
16Syrian king Hadadezer  called up warriors from the other side of the Euphrates River. All the armies assembled at the territory of Helam.  Hadadezer led the offensive campaign, with Shobach commanding the army.
17When David got the news, he assembled his army and marched his men to Helam. Syrians of Aram engaged David and the Israelites. 18Syrians eventually withdrew and then ran away. Syrian body count:
- 700 charioteers
- 40,000 infantry
- Commander Shobach, mortally wounded
The Ammon capital was Rabbah, near the modern capital of Jordan: Amman. About a three-day march from Jerusalem.
2 Samuel 8:3.
Helam’s location is uncertain. It could be a city or a region.
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