International Standard Version
1Sometime later, the Ammonite king died and his son Hanun succeeded him as king, 2so David told himself, "I will be loyal to Nahash's son Hanun, since in his loyalty his father showed gracious love to me." So David sent a delegation to Hanun to console him about his loss of his father. But when David's delegation arrived in Ammonite territory, 3the Ammonite officials asked their lord Hanun, "Do you think that because David has sent a delegation of consolers to you that he is honoring your father? His delegation has arrived intending to search, scout the land, and then overthrow it, hasn't it?" 4So Hanun arrested David's delegation, shaved off half of their beards, cut off their clothes at the waist line, and sent them away in disgrace. 5When David had been informed about the incident, he sent word to them, since the men had been deeply humiliated. The king told them, "Stay at Jericho until your beards have grown back, and then return."
6When the Ammonites realized that they had created quite a stink with David, they hired 20,000 Aramean mercenaries from Beth-rehob and Zobah, along with the king of Maacah and 1,000 men, and 12,000 men from Tob. 7In response, David sent out Joab and his entire army of elite soldiers. 8The Ammonites went out in battle formation at the entrance to the city gate, while the Arameans from Zobah and Rehob, along with the army from Tob and Maacah, were out by themselves in the open fields.
9When Joab observed that the battle lines were set up to oppose him both in front and behind, he appointed the best troops in Israel and arrayed them to oppose the Arameans, 10putting the rest of his forces under the command of his brother Abishai, who arrayed them to oppose the Ammonites. 11He said, "If the Arameans prove too strong for me, then you are to help me. If the Ammonites prove too strong for you, then I will come help you. 12Be strong, be courageous on behalf of our people and for the cities of our God, and may the LORD do what he thinks is best." 13So Joab and the soldiers who were with him attacked the Arameans in battle formation, and the Arameans retreated in front of him. 14When the Ammonites saw the Arameans retreating, they also retreated from Abishai back to the city. Then Joab broke off his attack against the Ammonites and went back to Jerusalem.
15After the Arameans realized that they had been defeated by Israel, they regrouped. 16Hadadezer sent for the Arameans who lived beyond the Euphrates River, and they set out for Helam, with Shobach leading them as commander of Hadadezer's army. 17When David learned this, he mustered all of Israel, crossed the Jordan River, and approached Helam. The Arameans assembled in battle array to attack David, and started their assault. 18But the Arameans retreated from Israel, and David's forces killed 700 of their charioteers, 40,000 soldiers, and mortally wounded Shobach, the commander of their army. As a result, Shobach died there. 19When all the kings who were allied with Hadadezer saw that they had been defeated by Israel, they sought terms of peace with the Israelis and became subservient to them. Furthermore, the Arameans were afraid to help the Ammonites anymore.