1 Kings Chapter 20  PDF  MSWord

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Go to Commentary on 1 Kng 20
Ben Hadad Attacks Samaria

1Ben Hadad the king of Syria gathered all his army together, and there were 32 kings with him, and horses and chariots; and he went up and besieged Samaria and fought against it.
  2He sent messengers into the city to Ahab king of Israel, and said to him, “This is what Ben Hadad says:
  3‘Your silver and your gold is mine. Your wives also and your children, even the best, are mine.’”

4The king of Israel answered, “Just as you say, my lord, O king. I am yours and all that I have.”

5The messengers came again and said, “Ben Hadad says, ‘I sent to you, saying, “You are to deliver me your silver and your gold and your wives and your children;
  6but I will send my servants to you tomorrow about this time, and they will search your house and the houses of your servants; and it will be that whatever is pleasant in your eyes, they will put it in their hand and take it away.”

7Then the king of Israel called all the elders of the land and said, “Notice now, and see that this man is only looking for trouble, for he sent to me for my wives and for my children and for my silver and for my gold, and I didn’t deny him.”

8All the elders and all the people said to him, “Do not listen to him, or consent to his demands.”

9Therefore he said to the messengers of Ben Hadad, “Tell my lord the king, all that you demanded of your servant the first time I will do; but this thing I cannot do.” The messengers departed and brought him back the message.

10Ben Hadad sent to him and said, “The gods do so to me, and more also, if the dust of Samaria will suffice for handfuls for all the people who follow me.”

11The king of Israel answered, “Tell him, ‘Do not let him who puts on his armor brag like he who takes it off.’”

12It came to pass when Ben Hadad heard this message as he was drinking, he and the kings, in the pavilions, that he said to his servants, “Prepare to attack!” They prepared to attack the city.

Ahab Defeats Ben Hadad

13Behold, a prophet came near to Ahab king of Israel and said, “This is what Yahweh says: ‘Have you seen all this great multitude? Behold, I will deliver it into your hand this day, and you may know that I am Yahweh.’”

14Ahab said, “By whom?”

He said, “This is what Yahweh says: ‘By the young men of the officials of the provinces.’”

Then he said, “Who is to begin the battle?”

He answered, “You.”

15Then he mustered the young men of the officials of the provinces, and they were 232. After them he mustered all the people, even all the children of Israel, being 7,000.
  16They went out at noon. But Ben Hadad was drinking himself drunk in the pavilions, he and the kings, the 32 kings who helped him.
  17The young men of the officials of the provinces went out first, and Ben Hadad sent out, and they told him, saying, “Men are coming out from Samaria.”

18He said, “If they have come out for peace, take them alive; or if they have come out for war, take them alive.”

19So these went out of the city, the young men of the officials of the provinces and the army that followed them.
  20They each killed his man. The Syrians fled and Israel pursued them. Ben Hadad the king of Syria escaped on a horse with horsemen.
  21The king of Israel went out and struck the horses and chariots and killed the Syrians with a great slaughter.

22The prophet came near 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.”

23The servants of the king of Syria said to him, “Their god is a god of the hills; therefore they were stronger than we. But let us fight against them in the plain and surely we will be stronger than they.
  24Do this thing: take the kings away, every man out of his place, and put captains in their place.
  25Muster an army like the army that you have lost, horse for horse and chariot for chariot. We will fight against them in the plain and surely we will be stronger than them.” He listened to their voice and did so.

26It came to pass at the return of the year that Ben Hadad mustered the Syrians and went up to Aphek to fight against Israel.
  27The children of Israel were mustered and were provisioned and went against them. The children of Israel encamped before them like two little flocks of young goats, but the Syrians filled the country.

28A man of God came near and spoke to the king of Israel and said, “This is what Yahweh says: ‘Because the Syrians have said, “Yahweh is a god of the hills, but he is not a god of the valleys,” therefore I will deliver all this great multitude into your hand, and you will know that I am Yahweh.’”

29They encamped one over against the other seven days. So it was that in the seventh day the battle was joined; and the children of Israel killed 100,000 footmen of the Syrians in one day.
  30But the rest fled to Aphek, into the city, and the wall fell on 27,000 men who were left.

Ben Hadad fled and came into the city, into an inner room.
  31His servants said to him, “See now, we have heard that the kings of the house of Israel are merciful kings. Please let us put sackcloth on our bodies and ropes on our heads and go out to the king of Israel. Maybe he will save your life.”

32So they put sackcloth on their bodies and ropes on their heads and came to the king of Israel and said, “Your servant Ben Hadad says, ‘Please let me live.’”

He said, “Is he still alive? He is my brother.”

33Now the men observed diligently and hurried to take this phrase, and they said, “Your brother Ben Hadad.”

Then he said, “Go, bring him.”

Then Ben Hadad came out to him, and he caused him to come up into the chariot.
  34Ben Hadad said to him, “The cities that my father took from your father I will restore. You may make streets for yourself in Damascus as my father made in Samaria.”

“I,” said Ahab, “will let you go with this covenant.” So he cut a covenant with him and let him go.

A Prophet Condemns Ahab

35A certain man of the sons of the prophets said to his fellow by the word of Yahweh, “Please strike me!” The man refused to strike him.

36Then he said to him, “Because you have not obeyed the voice of Yahweh, behold, as soon as you are departed from me, a lion will kill you.” As soon as he was departed from him, a lion found him and killed him.

37Then he found another man, and said, “Please strike me.” The man struck him, smiting and wounding him.
  38So the prophet departed and waited for the king by the way and disguised himself with his headband over his eyes.
  39As the king passed by, he cried out 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, ‘Guard this man! If by any means he be missing, then your life will be for his life, or else you will pay a talent of silver.’
  40As your servant was busy here and there, he was gone.”

The king of Israel said to him, “So your judgment will be; you yourself have decided it.”

41He hurried and took the headband away from his eyes, and the king of Israel recognized that he was of the prophets.
  42He said to him, “This is what Yahweh says: ‘Because you have let go out of your hand the man whom I had devoted to destruction, therefore your life will go for his life and your people for his people.’”
  43The king of Israel went to his house sullen and angry and came to Samaria.

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