December 09, 2002 Copyright © by United States Conference of Catholic Bishops
- Afterward Nahash, king of the Ammonites, died and his son succeeded him as king.
- David said, "I will show kindness to Hanun, the son of Nahash, for his father treated me with kindness." Therefore he sent envoys to him to comfort him over the death of his father. But when David's servants had entered the land of the Ammonites to comfort Hanun,
- the Ammonite princes said to Hanun, "Do you think David is doing this--sending you these consolers--to honor your father? Have not his servants rather come to you to explore the land, spying it out for its overthrow?"
- Thereupon Hanun seized David's servants and had them shaved and their garments cut off half-way at the hips. Then he sent them away.
- When David was informed of what had happened to his men, he sent messengers to meet them, for the men had been greatly disgraced. "Remain at Jericho," the king told them, "until your beards have grown again; and then you may come back here."
- When the Ammonites realized that they had put themselves in bad odor with David, Hanun and the Ammonites sent a thousand talents of silver to hire chariots and horsemen from Aram Naharaim, from Aram-maacah, and from Zobah.
- They hired thirty-two thousand chariots along with the king of Maacah and his army, who came and encamped before Medeba. The Ammonites also assembled from their cities and came out for war.
- When David heard of this, he sent Joab and his whole army of warriors against them.
- The Ammonites marched out and lined up for a battle at the gate of the city, while the kings who had come to their help remained apart in the open field.
- When Joab saw that there was a battle line both in front of and behind him, he chose some of the best fighters among the Israelites and set them in array against the Arameans;
- the rest of the army, which he placed under the command of his brother Abishai, then lined up to oppose the Ammonites.
- And he said: "If the Arameans prove too strong for me, you must come to my help; and if the Ammonites prove too strong for you, I will save you.
- Hold steadfast and let us show ourselves courageous for the sake of our people and the cities of our God; then may the LORD do what seems best to him."
- Joab therefore advanced with his men to engage the Arameans in battle; but they fled before him.
- And when the Ammonites saw that the Arameans had fled, they also took to flight before his brother Abishai, and reentered the city. Joab then returned to Jerusalem.
- Seeing themselves vanquished by Israel, the Arameans sent messengers to bring out the Arameans from the other side of the River, with Shophach, the general of Hadadezer's army, at their head.
- When this was reported to David, he gathered all Israel together, crossed the Jordan, and met them. With the army of David drawn up to fight the Arameans, they gave battle.
- But the Arameans fled before Israel, and David slew seven thousand of their chariot fighters and forty thousand of their foot soldiers; he also killed Shophach, the general of the army.
- When the vassals of Hadadezer saw themselves vanquished by Israel, they made peace with David and became his subjects. After this, the Arameans refused to come to the aid of the Ammonites.
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