The Holy Bible – Knox Translation
The First Book or Paralipomena
When Naas, king of the Ammonites, died, and his son came to the throne,
David thought to himself, I will shew friendliness to Hanon, as his father Naas did to me; and he dispatched envoys to condole with him over his father’s death. But when these reached the Ammonite country on their mission,
the chiefs there said to Hanon, What, David send messengers to comfort thee, in honour of thy father’s memory? Nay, if he has sent men here, they are spies ready to search thy land and make report on it.
So Hanon robbed David’s men of their shoes, shaved them, and cut off the skirts of their clothes, feet to buttocks, and in that guise sent them back.
When the news reached him of their return, David sent to meet them, covered with confusion as they were, and bade them wait in Jericho, not returning home until their beards were grown again.
Meanwhile Hanon and the Ammonites, well aware that they had made an enemy of David, sent and hired mercenaries, with a thousand talents of silver, from Mesopotamia, and the Syrians of Maacha, and from Soba, with chariots, too, and horsemen.
Thirty-two thousand they hired, as well as the king of Maacha with his army; all these came and pitched their tents before Medaba, and the Ammonites themselves left their cities, to offer battle.
Upon hearing the news, David sent the whole of his forces to engage them, under Joab.
The Ammonites had come out from the city, and drawn up their line at its gates; the kings who had come to aid them were at a distance, out in the open country.
And Joab, seeing that he would be attacked both in front and from the rear, chose the best of his troops and led them out against the Syrians,
leaving the rest, under his brother Abisai, to march against the Ammonites.
Bring me aid, said Joab, if the Syrians are too strong for me, and I, if the Ammonites have the mastery, will bring thee aid instead.
Play the man; fight we valiantly for our people, and for the city walls that are sacred to our God; the Lord’s will be done.
So Joab and his men engaged the Syrians and routed them;
and the Ammonites, seeing the Syrians in full flight, gave way in their turn before the onslaught of his brother Abisai, retreating into the city. Thereupon Joab went back to Jerusalem.
Thus defeated, the Syrians dispatched messengers and brought their fellow tribesmen on the further side of the river to their aid; Sophach, Adarezer’s general, was in command of them.
David, as soon as he heard the news, mustered the whole forces of Israel, and marched across the Jordan; he went straight to the attack, and they, seeing him drawn up in battle array, prepared to meet him.
But the Syrians were routed by Israel, with a loss of seven thousand chariots and forty thousand foot soldiers; Sophach himself was among the slain.
And now all the vassals of Adarezer, seeing that they were no match for Israel, went over to David and became his subjects; and no more was heard of the Syrians bringing aid to the men of Ammon.✻
The Holy Bible