V³ c¹ 1. Syria. First invasion. d¹ 2-11. Israel. Negotiations. c² 12. Syria. Siege of Samaria. d¹ 13-21. Israel. Sortie by Ahab. c³ 22-26. Syria. Second invasion. d³ 27. Israel. Numbering of. c4 28-30. Syria. Defeat. d4 31-33-. Israel. Ahab's forbearance. c5 -33,34. Syria. Covenant with Ahab. d5 35-43. Israel. God reproves Ahab.
1 Kings 20)
1 And Ben-hadad (= son of the mighty. Perhaps sn of the Ben-hadad of 15:18) the king of Syria gathered all his force together: and [there were] thirty and two kings with him (#32 = covenant), and horses, and chariots: and he went up and besieged Samaria (= watch-mountain), and warred against it.
d¹ e¹ 2,3. Ben-hadad. First demand. f¹ 4. Ahab. Compliance. e² 5,6. Ben-hadad. Second demand. f² 7-9. Ahab. Refusal. e³ 10. Ben-hadad. Threatening.67 f³ 11. Ahab. Retort.
2 And he sent messengers to Ahab king of Israel into the city, and they said to him, “Thus says Ben-hadad,
3 ‘Your silver and your gold [is] mine; your wives also and your sons, [even] the goodliest, [are] mine.’ ”
4 And the king of Israel answered and said, “My lord, O king, according to your saying, I [am] your, and all that I have.”
5 And the messengers came again, and said, “Thus speaks Benhadad, saying, ‘Although I have sent to you, saying, ‘you shall deliver me your silver, and your gold, and your wives, and your sons;
6 Yet I will send my servants to you tomorrow about this time, and they shall search your house (as from the top; i.e. ransack), and the houses of your servants; and it shall be, [that] whatsoever is pleasant in your eyes, they shall put [it] in their hand, and take [it] away.’ ’ ”
7 Then the king of Israel called all the elders of the land, and said, “Mark, I pray you, and see how this [man] seeks mischief: for he sent to me for my wives, and for my sons, and for my silver, and for my gold; and I denied him not.”
8 And all the elders and all the People said to him, “Listen not [to him], nor consent.”
9 Wherefore he said to the messengers of Ben-hadad, “Tell my lord the king, ‘All that you did send for to your servant at the first I will do: but this thing I may not do.’ ” And the messengers departed, and brought him word again.
10 And Ben-hadad sent to him, and said, “The gods do so to me, and more also, if the dust of Samaria shall suffice for handfuls for all the people that follow me.”
11 And the king of Israel answered and said, “Tell [him], ‘Let not him that girds on [his harness] boast himself as he that puts it off.’ ”
12 And it came to pass, when [Ben-hadad] heard this word (Fig. put for the message contained), as he [was] drinking, he and the kings in the tents, that he said to his servants, “Set [yourselves in array].” And they set [themselves in array] against the city.
13 And, behold, there came a prophet to Ahab king of Israel, saying, “Thus says the Lord , ‘Have you seen all this great multitude? behold, I will deliver it into your hand this day; and you shall know that I [am] the Lord.’ ”
14 And Ahab said, “By whom?” And he said, “Thus says the Lord, ‘[Even] by the young men (= the servants, or esquires) of the princes of the provinces.’ ” Then he said, “Who shall order the battle?” And he answered, “You.”
15 Then he numbered the young men of the princes of the provinces, and they were two hundred and thirty two: and after them he numbered all the People, [even] all the sons of Israel, [being] seven thousand.
16 And they went out at noon. But Ben-hadad [was] drinking himself drunk in the tents, he and the kings, the thirty and two kings that helped him.
17 And the young men of the princes of the provinces went out first; and Benhadad sent out, and they told him, saying, “There are men come out of Samaria.”
18 And he said, “Whether they be come out for peace, take them alive; or whether they be come out for war, take them alive.”
19 So these young men of the princes of the provinces came out of the city, and the army which followed them.
20 And they slew every one his man: and the Syrians fled; and Israel pursued them: and Ben-hadad the king of Syria escaped on an horse with the horsemen.
21 And the king of Israel went out, and smote the horses and chariots, and slew the Syrians with a great slaughter.
22 And the prophet came to the king of Israel, and said to him, “Go, strengthen yourself, and mark, and see what you do: for at the return of the year the king of Syria will come up against you.” (= the spring. Cp. 2 Sam. 11:1)
23 And the servants of the king of Syria said to him, “Their gods [are] gods of the hills; therefore they were stronger than we; but let us fight against them in the plain, and surely we shall be stronger than they.
24 And do this thing, Take the kings away, every man out of his place, and put governors (or pashas) in their rooms:
25 And number you an army, like the army that you have lost, horse for horse, and chariot for chariot: and we will fight against them in the plain, [and] surely we shall be stronger than they.” And he listened to their voice, and did so.
26 And it came to pass at the return of the year, that Ben-hadad numbered the Syrians, and went up to Aphek (= strength. Probably east of the Sea of Galilee), to fight against Israel.
27 And the sons of Israel enrolled themselves, and were all present, and went against them: and the sons of Israel pitched before them like two little newborn kids (of goats); but the Syrians filled the country.
28 And there came a man of God (= a prophet), and spoke to the king of Israel, and said, “Thus says the Lord, ‘Because the Syrians have said, ‘The Lord [is] God of the hills, but he [is] not God of the valleys,’ therefore will I deliver all this great multitude into your hand, and you all shall know that I [am] the Lord.’ ” (Sept. reads "so shall you know". Cp. v.13)
29 And they pitched one over against the other seven days. And [so] it was, that in the seventh day the battle was joined: and the sons of Israel slew of the Syrians an hundred thousand footmen in one day.
30 But the rest fled to Aphek, into the city; and [there] a wall fell upon twenty and seven thousand of the men [that were] left. And Ben-hadad fled, and came into the city, into an inner chamber.
31 And his servants said to him, “Behold now, we have heard that the kings of the house of Israel [are] merciful kings: let us, I pray you, put sackcloth on our loins, and ropes upon our heads, and go out to the king of Israel: perhaps he will save you soul.”
32 So they girded sackcloth on their loins, and [put] ropes on their heads, and came to the king of Israel, and said, “Your servant Ben-hadad says, ‘I pray you, let my soul live.’ ” And he said, “[Is] he yet alive? he [is] my brother.” (i.e. brother-king)
33 Now the men did diligently observe (fig. = quickly divined) whether any thing would come from him (the italics are wrongly supplied, but knowing the 2 readings of E. and W. recessions, caused by a different division of words. The E. recension reads "and they pressed [to find out] whether it was from him and said". The W. recension reads "and they passed it out from him, and they said": i.e. they wanted to know whether he confirmed the word of his own accord), and did hastily catch [it]: and they said, “Your brother Ben-hadad.”
Then he said, “Go you all, bring him.” Then Ben-hadad came forth to him; and he caused him to come up into the chariot.
34 And [Benhadad] said to him, “The cities, which my father took from you father, I will restore; and you shall make streets (= broadways, or bizzars) for you in Damascus, according as my father made in Samaria.” Then [said Ahab], I will send you away with this covenant.” So he made a covenant with him, and sent him away.
d5 g 35-38. Prophet disguised. h 39,40-. Symbol used. i -40. Ahab's sentence. g 41. Prophet discovered. h 42. Symbol interpreted. i 43. Ahab's heaviness.
35 And a certain man of the sons of the prophets (Josephus identifies him with Miciah [22:8]) said to his neighbor in the word of the Lord, “Smite me, I pray you.” And the man refused to smite him.
36 Then said he to him, “Because you have not obeyed the voice of the Lord, behold, as soon as you are departed from me, a lion shall slay you.” And as soon as he was departed from him, a lion found him, and slew him.
37 Then he found another man, and said, “Smite me, I pray you.” And the man smote him, so that in smiting he wounded [him].
38 So the prophet departed, and waited for the king by the way, and disguised himself with ashes upon his face (= bandage).
39 And as the king passed by, he cried to the king: and he said, “Your servant went out into the midst of the battle; and, behold, a man turned aside, and brought a man to me, and said, ‘Keep this man: if by any means he be missing, then shall your soul be for his soul, or else you shall pay a talent of silver (approx 100 lbs).
40 And as your servant was busy here and there, he was gone.”
And the king of Israel said to him, “So [shall] your judgment [be]; yourself have decided [it].”
41 And he hasted, and took the bandages away from his face; and the king of Israel discerned him that he [was] of the prophets.
42 And he said to him, “Thus says the Lord, ‘Because you have let go out of [your] hand a man whom I appointed to utter destruction, therefore your life shall go for his life, and your people for his people.’ ”
43 And the king of Israel went to his house heavy and displeased, and came to Samaria.