Ahab and Ben-Hadad: the King’s Foolishness, and Judgment Promised
1 Kings 20
1 Kings 20
1 And Ben-Hadad king of Syria assembled all his host; and there were thirty-two kings with him, and horses and chariots; and he went up and besieged Samaria, and fought against it. 2 And he sent messengers to Ahab king of Israel into the city, and said to him, Thus says Ben-Hadad: 3 Thy silver and thy gold is mine; thy wives also and thy children, the goodliest, are mine. 4 And the king of Israel answered and said, My lord, O king, according to thy saying, I am thine, and all that I have. 5 And the messengers came again, and said, Thus speaks Ben-Hadad saying: I sent to thee indeed, saying, Thou shalt deliver me thy silver, and thy gold, and thy wives, and thy children; 6 but to-morrow about this time I will send my servants to thee, and they shall search thy house, and the houses of thy servants; and it shall be, that whatsoever is pleasant in thy sight, they shall put in their hand and take away. 7 And 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 children, 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, Hearken not, nor consent. 9 And he said to the messengers of Ben-Hadad, Tell my lord the king, All that thou didst send for to thy servant at the first I will do; but this thing I cannot 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 girdeth on boast himself as he that putteth off! 12 And it came to pass when he heard this word, as he was drinking, he and the kings in the tents, that he said to his servants, Set yourselves. And they set themselves against the city. 13 And behold, a prophet drew near to Ahab king of Israel, and said, Thus saith Jehovah: Hast thou seen all this great multitude? behold, I will deliver it into thy hand this day; and thou shalt know that I am Jehovah. 14 And Ahab said, By whom? And he said, Thus saith Jehovah: By the servants of the princes of the provinces. Then he said, Who shall begin the battle? And he said, Thou. 15 And he numbered the servants of the princes of the provinces, and they were two hundred and thirty-two; and after them he numbered all the people, all the children of Israel, seven thousand. 16 And they went out at noon; and Ben-Hadad drank himself drunk in the tents, he and the kings, the thirty-two kings that helped him. 17 And the servants of the princes of the provinces went out first; and Ben-Hadad 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 And these servants of the princes of the provinces came out of the city, and the army that 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 a 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 drew near to the king of Israel, and said to him, Go, strengthen thyself, and understand, and see what thou shalt do; for at the return of the year the king of Syria will come up against thee. 23 And the servants of the king of Syria said to him, Their gods are gods of the mountains; therefore they were stronger than we; but if we fight against them on the plateau, shall we not be stronger than they? 24 And do this: take the kings away, every man out of his place, and put governors in their stead; 25 and number thee an army, like the army that thou hast lost, horse for horse, and chariot for chariot; and we will fight against them on the plateau: shall we not be stronger than they? And he hearkened 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, to fight against Israel. 27 And the children of Israel were numbered and victualled, and they went against them; and the children of Israel encamped before them like two little flocks of goats; but the Syrians filled the land. 28 And the man of God drew near, and spoke to the king of Israel and said, Thus saith Jehovah: Because the Syrians have said, Jehovah is a god of the mountains, but he is not a god of the valleys, I will give all this great multitude into thy hand, and ye shall know that I am Jehovah. 29 And they encamped one over against the other seven days; and it came to pass that on the seventh day the battle was joined; and the children of Israel smote of the Syrians a hundred thousand footmen in one day. 30 And the rest fled to Aphek, into the city; and the wall fell on twenty-seven thousand men of them that were left. And Ben-Hadad fled, and came into the city, from chamber to 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 thee, put sackcloth on our loins, and ropes upon our heads, and go out to the king of Israel; perhaps he will save thy life. 32 And they girded sackcloth on their loins, and ropes on their heads, and came to the king of Israel, and said, Thy servant Ben-Hadad says, I pray thee, let me live. And he said, Is he yet alive? he is my brother. 33 And the men took it as a good omen, and hastened to catch what came from him, and they said, Thy brother Ben-Hadad. … And he said, Go, bring him. And Ben-Hadad came forth to him; and he caused him to come up into the chariot. 34 And Ben-Hadad said to him, The cities that my father took from thy father I will restore; and thou shalt make streets for thyself in Damascus, as my father made in Samaria. And I said Ahab will send thee away with this covenant. So he made a covenant with him, and sent him away. 35 And a certain man of the sons of the prophets said to another by the word of Jehovah, Smite me, I pray thee. But the man refused to smite him. 36 Then said he to him, Because thou hast not hearkened to the voice of Jehovah, behold, when thou departest from me, the lion will slay thee. And when he had departed from him, the lion found him and slew him. 37 Then he found another man, and said, Smite me, I pray thee. And the man smote him violently, and wounded him. 38 And the prophet departed, and waited for the king by the way, and disguised himself with a sash over his eyes. 39 And as the king passed by, he cried to the king and said, Thy 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 thy life be for his life, or thou shalt pay a talent of silver. 40 And as thy servant was busy here and there, he was gone. And the king of Israel said to him, So is thy judgment: thyself hast decided it. 41 Then he hastily took the sash away from his face; and the king of Israel discerned him, that he was of the prophets. 42 And he said to him, Thus saith Jehovah: Because thou hast let go out of thy hand the man that I had devoted to destruction, thy life shall be for his life, and thy people for his people. 43 And the king of Israel went to his house sullen and vexed, and came to Samaria.