2 Samuel 10 reveals the further military successes of King David. In this chapter, the Ammonites are those who fall before David and his army.
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David’s Men are Humiliated
When Hanun became king of the Ammonites after his father died, David chose to show kindness to him as his father was kind to David. A delegation was sent to express sympathy over the passing of his father. Once they arrived, the Ammonite commanders convinced Hanun that the delegate had evil intentions and were there as spies.
Hanun shaved their beards and further humiliated the delegation and sent them back to David. David was angry at the actions that transpired. He told the humiliated men to go to Jericho until their beards grew back.
The Ammonites are Angered
The Ammonites learned that David was furious at the actions that had occurred and roused up an army. About 20,000 men were selected and 1,000 were loaned to the Ammonites from a king in another land. There were also 12,000 mercenaries from Tob that all came together to fight Israel.
David learned of the actions being taken and told Joab to bring together his entire army and go to battle with the Ammonites who reached the city gate. The foreign armies took positions elsewhere and lay in wait to aid the Ammonites in the attack.
The Battle Commences
Joab saw the armies were surrounding them. He picked his best troops and sent them to fight the Arameans, the allies of the Ammonites. The rest of the troops were told to face the threat of the Ammonites. The Arameans turned out to be very weak and fled at the site of the troops. The Ammonites panicked when they heard the news.
Eventually, the Arameans would regroup and try to attack David and his troops. Their efforts were a disaster and they lost 40,000 men. The Arameans ceased helping the Ammonites after this knowing they could never beat Israel with David as its leader.
2 Samuel 10 (King James Version)
1 And it came to pass after this, that the king of the children of Ammon died, and Hanun his son reigned in his stead.
2 Then said David, I will shew kindness unto Hanun the son of Nahash, as his father shewed kindness unto me. And David sent to comfort him by the hand of his servants for his father. And David’s servants came into the land of the children of Ammon.
3 And the princes of the children of Ammon said unto Hanun their lord, Thinkest thou that David doth honour thy father, that he hath sent comforters unto thee? hath not David rather sent his servants unto thee, to search the city, and to spy it out, and to overthrow it?
4 Wherefore Hanun took David’s servants, and shaved off the one half of their beards, and cut off their garments in the middle, even to their buttocks, and sent them away.
5 When they told it unto David, he sent to meet them, because the men were greatly ashamed: and the king said, Tarry at Jericho until your beards be grown, and then return.
6 And when the children of Ammon saw that they stank before David, the children of Ammon sent and hired the Syrians of Bethrehob, and the Syrians of Zoba, twenty thousand footmen, and of king Maacah a thousand men, and of Ishtob twelve thousand men.
7 And when David heard of it, he sent Joab, and all the host of the mighty men.
8 And the children of Ammon came out, and put the battle in array at the entering in of the gate: and the Syrians of Zoba, and of Rehob, and Ishtob, and Maacah, were by themselves in the field.
9 When Joab saw that the front of the battle was against him before and behind, he chose of all the choice men of Israel, and put them in array against the Syrians:
10 And the rest of the people he delivered into the hand of Abishai his brother, that he might put them in array against the children of Ammon.
11 And he said, If the Syrians be too strong for me, then thou shalt help me: but if the children of Ammon be too strong for thee, then I will come and help thee.
12 Be of good courage, and let us play the men for our people, and for the cities of our God: and the LORD do that which seemeth him good.
13 And Joab drew nigh, and the people that were with him, unto the battle against the Syrians: and they fled before him.
14 And when the children of Ammon saw that the Syrians were fled, then fled they also before Abishai, and entered into the city. So Joab returned from the children of Ammon, and came to Jerusalem.
15 And when the Syrians saw that they were smitten before Israel, they gathered themselves together.
16 And Hadarezer sent, and brought out the Syrians that were beyond the river: and they came to Helam; and Shobach the captain of the host of Hadarezer went before them.
17 And when it was told David, he gathered all Israel together, and passed over Jordan, and came to Helam. And the Syrians set themselves in array against David, and fought with him.
18 And the Syrians fled before Israel; and David slew the men of seven hundred chariots of the Syrians, and forty thousand horsemen, and smote Shobach the captain of their host, who died there.
19 And when all the kings that were servants to Hadarezer saw that they were smitten before Israel, they made peace with Israel, and served them. So the Syrians feared to help the children of Ammon any more.