1 Chronicles 19 Mercenaries


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1 Chronicles 19:1 In the course of time, Nahash king of the Ammonites died, and his son succeeded him as king. 2 David thought, “I will show kindness to Hanun son of Nahash, because his father showed kindness to me.” So David sent a delegation to express his sympathy to Hanun concerning his father.

When David’s envoys came to Hanun in the land of the Ammonites to express sympathy to him, 3 the Ammonite commanders said to Hanun, “Do you think David is honoring your father by sending envoys to you to express sympathy? Haven’t his envoys come to you only to explore and spy out the country and overthrow it?” 4 So Hanun seized David’s envoys, shaved them, cut off their garments at the buttocks, and sent them away.

5 When someone came and told David about the men, he sent messengers to meet them, for they were greatly humiliated. The king said, “Stay at Jericho till your beards have grown, and then come back.”

6 When the Ammonites realized that they had become obnoxious to David, Hanun and the Ammonites sent a thousand talents[a] of silver to hire chariots and charioteers from Aram Naharaim,(b) Aram Maakah and Zobah. 7 They hired thirty-two thousand chariots and charioteers, as well as the king of Maakah with his troops, who came and camped near Medeba, while the Ammonites were mustered from their towns and moved out for battle.

8 On hearing this, David sent Joab out with the entire army of fighting men. 9 The Ammonites came out and drew up in battle formation at the entrance to their city, while the kings who had come were by themselves in the open country.

10 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. 11 He put the rest of the men under the command of Abishai his brother, and they were deployed against the Ammonites. 12 Joab said, “If the Arameans are too strong for me, then you are to rescue me; but if the Ammonites are too strong for you, then I will rescue you. 13 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.”

14 Then Joab and the troops with him advanced to fight the Arameans, and they fled before him. 15 When the Ammonites realized that the Arameans were fleeing, they too fled before his brother Abishai and went inside the city. So Joab went back to Jerusalem.

16 After the Arameans saw that they had been routed by Israel, they sent messengers and had Arameans brought from beyond the Euphrates River, with Shophak the commander of Hadadezer’s army leading them.

17 When David was told of this, he gathered all Israel and crossed the Jordan; he advanced against them and formed his battle lines opposite them. David formed his lines to meet the Arameans in battle, and they fought against him. 18 But they fled before Israel, and David killed seven thousand of their charioteers and forty thousand of their foot soldiers. He also killed Shophak the commander of their army.

19 When the vassals of Hadadezer saw that they had been routed by Israel, they made peace with David and became subject to him.

So the Arameans were not willing to help the Ammonites anymore.​

a. 1 Chronicles 19:6 That is, about 38 tons or about 34 metric tons
b. 1 Chronicles 19:6 That is, Northwest Mesopotamia

This is a whole story.... so why not just see the whole story for itself. The king of the Ammonites passed away. David sent an envoy to the funeral. It's the polite thing to do. But when the idiots advising the new Ammonite king saw David's envoy, they made up a tale. It doesn't say why the Ammonite advisers did that, but they did. The new king did a horrible thing... they shaved the hair off the men in David's envoy. On top of that they cut off the robes of the men in David's envoy.... so their butts hung out [apparently]. This was a horrible thing to do. When David found out what they had done to the men.... he called in Joab, his nephew and chief of David's army. David and Joab went to war....

Now when the king of the Ammonites realized what a horrible mistake he had made, he sent money to Syrian mercenaries [Arameans]. Now the king of the Ammonites set his troops on one side of David's army. The Syrian mercenaries [Arameans] got a look at David's army... the one with all the Mighty Men of Valor.... and ran. Then the Ammonites ran too!

This is from Enduring Word.... discussing the horrid deed the Ammonites pulled against David's envoy.

Hanun took David’s servants, shaved them, and cut off their garments in the middle… and sent them away: This was a disgraceful insult to these ambassadors from Israel. In that culture, many men would rather die than to have their beard shaved off, because to be clean shaven was the mark of a slave but free men wore beards.

Wait at Jericho until your beards have grown, and then return: David didn’t use these men as political tools to whip up anger against the Ammonites. He cared more for their own dignity and honor, and allowed them to wait before returning to Jerusalem.

This is from the easy English site.... concerning the mercenaries.

Hanun knew that David would not accept that insult. And he knew that the army of Ammon could not defeat David. So, he hired armies from other countries to help him. It cost him 1000 talents of silver.

‘Mesopotamia’ means ‘between the rivers’. Soldiers came from the countries that were between the Tigris and the Euphrates rivers. Aram Maacah was to the north of the Israelite tribes on the east of the Jordan river. Zobah was to the north east of Damascus.

They hired 32 000 chariots which included riders and horses. These came from Mesopotamia, Aram Maacah and from Zobah. There were a further 1000 soldiers who came with the king of Maacah. These soldiers were from the nation called Aram.

This very large army prepared for war near the town called Medeba. Medeba was a town to the south of Rabbah. It was in the area that had belonged to the tribe of Reuben. It was to the east of the Dead Sea.

David did not go to fight against Hanun. He sent Joab with the whole army of Israel.​

Look... the mercenaries used chariots... with horses. In the last chapter... David and his troops hamstrung thousands of horses so they couldn't be used in battle against them. It doesn't say these horses were hamstrung. They ran.