2 Samuel 10:6 When the Ammonites realized that they had become obnoxious to David, they hired twenty thousand Aramean foot soldiers from Beth Rehob and Zobah, as well as the king of Maakah with a thousand men, and also twelve thousand men from Tob.

7 On hearing this, David sent Joab out with the entire army of fighting men. 8 The Ammonites came out and drew up in battle formation at the entrance of their city gate, while the Arameans of Zobah and Rehob and the men of Tob and Maakah were by themselves in the open country.

9 Joab saw that there were battle lines in front of him and behind him; so he selected some of the best troops in Israel and deployed them against the Arameans. 10 He put the rest of the men under the command of Abishai his brother and deployed them against the Ammonites. 11 Joab said, “If the Arameans are too strong for me, then you are to come to my rescue; but if the Ammonites are too strong for you, then I will come to rescue you. 12 Be strong, and let us fight bravely for our people and the cities of our God. The Lord will do what is good in his sight.”

13 Then Joab and the troops with him advanced to fight the Arameans, and they fled before him. 14 When the Ammonites realized that the Arameans were fleeing, they fled before Abishai and went inside the city. So Joab returned from fighting the Ammonites and came to Jerusalem.

15 After the Arameans saw that they had been routed by Israel, they regrouped. 16 Hadadezer had Arameans brought from beyond the Euphrates River; they went to Helam, with Shobak the commander of Hadadezer’s army leading them.

17 When David was told of this, he gathered all Israel, crossed the Jordan and went to Helam. The Arameans formed their battle lines to meet David and fought against him. 18 But they fled before Israel, and David killed seven hundred of their charioteers and forty thousand of their foot soldiers.[a] He also struck down Shobak the commander of their army, and he died there. 19 When all the kings who were vassals of Hadadezer saw that they had been routed by Israel, they made peace with the Israelites and became subject to them.

So the Arameans were afraid to help the Ammonites anymore.

a. 2 Samuel 10:18 Some Septuagint manuscripts (see also 1 Chron. 19:18); Hebrew horsemen

This is from the blueletterbible.org site.

When the people of Ammon saw that they had made themselves repulsive: They knew that they did this. David didn't reject the Ammonites, they made themselves repulsive to Israel.

The people of Ammon sent and hired the Syrians: This was a common practice in the ancient world. 1 Chronicles 19:6 says that the Ammonites paid 1,000 talents to the Syrians.

Joab saw that the battle line was against him before and behind: As the army of the mighty men approached the Ammonite city they found themselves surrounded. In front of them were the Ammonites in battle array at the entrance of the gate. Behind them were the Syrians in the field. It looked bad for the army of Israel.

If the Syrians are too strong for me, then you shall help me: Joab had only one strategy in battle - attack. Many generals would consider surrender when surrounded on both sides by the enemy, but not Joab. He called the army to courage and faith and told them to press on.

They fled before him: It doesn't even say that Joab engaged the Syrians in battle. This mercenary army fled before the army of the mighty men because God was with them.

They also fled before Abishai, and entered the city: When the Ammonites saw the Syrians retreating, they also retreated. They could no more stand before the army of the mighty men than the Syrians could.

When the Syrians saw that they had been defeated by Israel, they gathered together: The enemies of Israel wouldn't quit after one defeat. They were a persistent enemy, and came back to fight again.

When it was told David, he gathered all Israel: David gathered the rest of the army of Israel to prevent this army of Syrian reinforcements from crushing the army of the mighty men. The result was glorious: the Syrians fled before Israel.

All I keep thinking is "clowns to the left of me... jokers to the right... here I am... stuck in the middle". There is, of course, a lot more in the commentaries but most of it is preachy IMHO. Maybe a map will put this into perspective.

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IMHO....David's kingdom is getting too big. David is going to have to spend more time being a leader from Jerusalem instead of a warrior in the field. Do you think a human, raised outside in nature tending flocks, can survive the boredom of being locked inside four walls with only stagnant redundant scenery to review daily?