1 And it came to pass after this, that the king of the children of Ammon died, and Hanun his son reigned in his stead. 2 Then David said, "I will show kindness to Hanun the son of Nahash, as his father showed kindness to me." And David sent to comfort him by the hand of his servants for his father. And David's servants came into the land of the children of Ammon. 3 And the princes of the children of Ammon said to Hanun their lord, "Do you think that David honors your father in that he has sent comforters to you? Has David not rather sent his servants to you to search the city, to spy it out, and to overthrow it?" 4 Therefore, Hanun took David's servants and shaved off one half of their beards and cut off their garments in the middle, even past the small of the back, and sent them away. 5 When they told it to David, he sent to meet them, because the men were greatly ashamed. And the king said, "Tarry at Jericho until your beards have grown and then return."
6 And when the children of Ammon saw that they had made themselves odious before David, the children of Ammon sent and hired the Syrians of Beth-rehob and the Syrians of Zoba, twenty thousand footmen, of king Maacah one thousand men and of Ish-tob twelve thousand men. 7 And when David heard of it, he sent Joab and all the host of the mighty men. 8 And the children of Ammon came out and put the battle in array at the entrance of the gate. And the Syrians of Zoba and of Rehob, Ish-tob, and Maacah were by themselves in the field.
9 When Joab saw that the front of the battle was against him before and behind, he selected from all the choice men of Israel and put them in array against the Syrians. 10 And the rest of the people he delivered into the hand of Abishai his brother so that he might put them in array against the children of Ammon. 11 And he said, "If the Syrians are too strong for me, then you shall help me, but if the children of Ammon are too strong for you, then I will come and help you. 12 Be of good courage, and let us play the men for our people and for the cities of our God. And may the LORD do that which seems good to him." 13 And Joab and the people who were with him drew near to the battle against the Syrians, and they fled before him. 14 And when the children of Ammon saw that the Syrians had fled, they also fled before Abishai and entered into the city. So Joab returned from the children of Ammon and came to Jerusalem.
15 And when the Syrians saw that they were smitten before Israel, they assembled themselves. 16 And Hadarezer sent and brought out the Syrians who were beyond the river. And they came to Helam, and Shobach the captain of the host of Hadarezer went before them. 17 And when it was told to David, he assembled all Israel, passed over the Jordan, and came to Helam. And the Syrians set themselves in array against David and fought with him. 18 And the Syrians fled before Israel. And David slew the men of seven hundred chariots of the Syrians and forty thousand horsemen, and he smote Shobach the captain of their host, who died there. 19 And when all the kings who were servants to Hadarezer saw that they were smitten before Israel, they made peace with Israel and served them. So the Syrians feared to help the children of Ammon anymore.
[v.4] - When Hanun had David's servants shaved and had their backsides revealed, it was an act to send them away in shame.