1 Sometime afterward, Nahash the king of the Ammonites died, and his son succeeded him as king.
א וַיְהִי אַחֲרֵי־כֵן וַיָּמָת נָחָשׁ מֶלֶךְ בְּנֵי־עַמּוֹן וַיִּמְלֹךְ בְּנוֹ תַּחְתָּיו׃
2 David said, “I will keep faith with Hanun son of Nahash, since his father kept faith with me.” David sent messengers with condolences to him over his father. But when David‘s courtiers came to the land of Ammon to Hanun, with condolences,
va-YO-mer da-VEED e-e-seh KHE-sed im kha-NUN ben na-KHASH kee a-SAH a-VEEV i-MEE KHE-sed va-yish-LAKH da-VEED mal-a-KHEEM l’-na-kha-MO al a-VEEV va-ya-vo-U av-DAY da-VEED el E-retz b’-NAY a-MON el kha-NUN l’-na-kha-MO
ב וַיֹּאמֶר דָּוִיד אֶעֱשֶׂה־חֶסֶד עִם־חָנוּן בֶּן־נָחָשׁ כִּי־עָשָׂה אָבִיו עִמִּי חֶסֶד וַיִּשְׁלַח דָּוִיד מַלְאָכִים לְנַחֲמוֹ עַל־אָבִיו וַיָּבֹאוּ עַבְדֵי דָוִיד אֶל־אֶרֶץ בְּנֵי־עַמּוֹן אֶל־חָנוּן לְנַחֲמוֹ׃
19:2 I will keep faith with Hanun son of Nahash
David sends messages to comfort Hanun over the death of his father, even though he is a rival king. With this action, David shows that he understood that when it comes to relations between nations, there are considerations that go beyond mere politics. By disgracing David’s emissaries, though, Hanun shows that he does not believe in the possibility of friendship or gratitude between kings. David’s first instinct, however, is that statecraft doesn’t nullify the necessity for kindness. By behaving in this manner, David shows what makes the kings of Israel who reign in Yerushalayim unique. After all, Yerushalayim is called “City of Righteousness, Faithful City” (Isaiah 1:26).1 comment
3 the Ammonite officials said to Hanun, “Do you think David is really honoring your father just because he sent you men with condolences? Why, it is to explore, to subvert, and to spy out the land that his courtiers have come to you.”
4 So Hanun seized David‘s courtiers, shaved them, and cut away half of their garments up to the buttocks, and sent them off.
ד וַיִּקַּח חָנוּן אֶת־עַבְדֵי דָוִיד וַיְגַלְּחֵם וַיִּכְרֹת אֶת־מַדְוֵיהֶם בַּחֵצִי עַד־הַמִּפְשָׂעָה וַיְשַׁלְּחֵם׃
5 When David was told about the men, he dispatched others to meet them, for the men were greatly embarrassed. And the king gave orders, “Stay in Yericho until your beards grow back; then you can return.”
ה וַיֵּלְכוּ וַיַּגִּידוּ לְדָוִיד עַל־הָאֲנָשִׁים וַיִּשְׁלַח לִקְרָאתָם כִּי־הָיוּ הָאֲנָשִׁים נִכְלָמִים מְאֹד וַיֹּאמֶר הַמֶּלֶךְ שְׁבוּ בִירֵחוֹ עַד אֲשֶׁר־יְצַמַּח זְקַנְכֶם וְשַׁבְתֶּם׃
9 The Ammonites marched out and took up their battle position at the entrance of the city, while the kings who came [took their stand] separately in the open.
ט וַיֵּצְאוּ בְּנֵי עַמּוֹן וַיַּעַרְכוּ מִלְחָמָה פֶּתַח הָעִיר וְהַמְּלָכִים אֲשֶׁר־בָּאוּ לְבַדָּם בַּשָּׂדֶה׃
11 and the rest of the troops he put under the command of his brother Abishai and arrayed them against the Ammonites.
יא וְאֵת יֶתֶר הָעָם נָתַן בְּיַד אַבְשַׁי אָחִיו וַיַּעַרְכוּ לִקְרַאת בְּנֵי עַמּוֹן׃
12 Yoav said, “If the Arameans prove too strong for me, you come to my aid; and if the Ammonites prove too strong for you, I will come to your aid.
13 Let us be strong and resolute for the sake of our people and the towns of our God; and Hashem will do what He deems right.”
יג חֲזַק וְנִתְחַזְּקָה בְּעַד־עַמֵּנוּ וּבְעַד עָרֵי אֱלֹהֵינוּ וַיהֹוָה הַטּוֹב בְּעֵינָיו יַעֲשֶׂה׃
14 Yoav and the troops with him marched into battle against the Arameans, who fled before him.
16 When the Arameans saw that they had been routed by Yisrael, they sent messengers to bring out the Arameans from across the Euphrates; Shophach, Hadadezer’s army commander, led them.