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David’s Campaign against the Ammonites

19:1 Later King Nahash of the Ammonites died and his son succeeded him. 19:2 David said, “I will express my loyalty1 to Hanun son of Nahash, for his father was loyal2 to me.” So David sent messengers to express his sympathy over his father’s death.3 When David’s servants entered Ammonite territory to visit Hanun and express the king’s sympathy,4 19:3 the Ammonite officials said to Hanun, “Do you really think David is trying to honor your father by sending these messengers to express his sympathy?5 No, his servants have come to you so they can get information and spy out the land!”6 19:4 So Hanun seized David’s servants and shaved their beards off.7 He cut off the lower part of their robes so that their buttocks were exposed8 and then sent them away. 19:5 Messengers9 came and told David what had happened to the men, so he summoned them, for the men were thoroughly humiliated. The king said, “Stay in Jericho10 until your beards grow again; then you may come back.”

19:6 When the Ammonites realized that David was disgusted with them,11 Hanun and the Ammonites sent 1,000 talents12 of silver to hire chariots and charioteers from Aram Naharaim, Aram Maacah, and Zobah.13 19:7 They hired 32,000 chariots, along with the king of Maacah and his army, who came and camped in front of Medeba. The Ammonites also assembled from their cities and marched out to do battle.

19:8 When David heard the news, he sent Joab and the entire army to meet them.14 19:9 The Ammonites marched out and were deployed for battle at the entrance to the city, while the kings who had come were by themselves in the field. 19:10 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.15 19:11 He put his brother Abishai in charge of the rest of the army and they were deployed against the Ammonites. 19:12 Joab16 said, “If the Arameans start to overpower me,17 you come to my rescue. If the Ammonites start to overpower you,18 I will come to your rescue. 19:13 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!”19 19:14 So Joab and his men20 marched toward the Arameans to do battle, and they fled before him. 19:15 When the Ammonites saw the Arameans flee, they fled before Joab’s21 brother Abishai and withdrew into the city. Joab went back to Jerusalem.22

19:16 When the Arameans realized they had been defeated by Israel, they sent for reinforcements from beyond the Euphrates River,23 led by Shophach the commanding general of Hadadezer’s army.24 19:17 When David was informed, he gathered all Israel, crossed the Jordan River,25 and marched against them.26 David deployed his army against the Arameans for battle and they fought against him.27 19:18 The Arameans fled before Israel. David killed 7,00028 Aramean charioteers and 40,000 infantrymen; he also killed Shophach29 the commanding general. 19:19 When Hadadezer’s subjects saw they were defeated by Israel, they made peace with David and became his subjects. The Arameans were no longer willing to help the Ammonites.

20:1 In the spring, at the time when kings normally conduct wars,1 Joab led the army into battle and devastated the land of the Ammonites. He went and besieged Rabbah, while David stayed in Jerusalem. Joab defeated Rabbah and tore it down. 20:2 David took the crown from the head of their king2 and wore it3 (its weight was a talent4 of gold and it was set with precious stones). He took a large amount of plunder from the city. 20:3 He removed the city’s residents and made them do hard labor with saws, iron picks, and axes.5 This was his policy6 with all the Ammonite cities. Then David and all the army returned to Jerusalem.


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