1 Kings Chapter 20 (Original 1611 KJV Bible)
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1 Benhadad not content with Ahabs hommage, besiegeth Samaria. 13 By the direction of a Prophet, the Syrians are slaine. 22 As the Prophet forewarned Ahab, the Syrians trusting in the valleys, come against him in Aphek. 28 By the word of the Prophet, and Gods iudgment, the Syrians are smitten againe. 31 The Syrians submitting themselues, Ahab sendeth Benhadad away with a couenant. 35 The Prophet vnder the parable of a prisoner, making Ahab to iudge himselfe, denounceth Gods iudgement against him.
6 Yet I will send my seruants vnto thee to morrow about this time, and they shall search thine house, and the houses of thy seruants; and it shall be, that whatsoeuer is pleasant in thine eies, they shall put it in their hand, and take it away.6
7 Then the king of Israel called all the Elders of the land, and saide; Marke, I pray you, and see how this man seeketh mischiefe: for hee sent vnto me for my wiues, and for my children, and for my siluer, and for my gold, and I denied him not.7
9 Wherefore hee said vnto the messengers of Benhadad, Tell my lord the king, All that thou diddest send for to thy seruant at the first, I will doe: but this thing I may not doe. And the messengers departed, and brought him word againe.
12 And it came to passe, when Benhadad heard this message (as hee was drinking, he and the kings in the pauilions) that hee said vnto his seruants, Set yourselues in aray. And they set themselues in aray against the citie.12
13 ¶ And behold, there came a Prophet vnto Ahab king of Israel, saying, Thus saith the Lord, Hast thou seene all this great multitude? behold, I will deliuer it into thine hand this day, and thou shalt knowe that I am the Lord.13
15 Then he numbred the young men of the Princes of the prouinces, and they were two hundred and thirty two: and after them hee numbred all the people, euen all the children of Israel, being seuen thousand.
22 ¶ And the Prophet came to the king of Israel, and said vnto him, Goe, strengthen thy selfe, and marke and see what thou doest: for at the returne of the yeere, the king of Syria will come vp against thee.
23 And the seruants of the King of Syria said vnto him, Their gods are gods of the hilles, therefore they were stronger then wee: but let vs fight against them in the plaine, and surely we shall be stronger then they.
25 And number thee an armie, like the armie that thou hast lost, horse for horse, and charet for charet: and wee will fight against them in the plaine, and surely wee shall be stronger then they. And hee hearkened vnto their voice, and did so.25
27 And the children of Israel were numbred, and were all present, and went against them: and the children of Israel pitched before them, like two little flockes of kids: but the Syrians filled the countrey.27
28 ¶ And there came a man of God, and spake vnto the king of Israel, and sayd, Thus sayth the Lord, Because the Syrians haue sayde, The Lord is God of the hilles, but hee is not God of the valleys: therefore will I deliuer all this great multitude into thine hand, and yee shall know that I am the Lord.
29 And they pitched one ouer against the other seuen daies, and so it was, that in the seuenth day the battell was ioyned: and the children of Israel slewe of the Syrians an hundred thousand footmen in one day.
31 ¶ And his seruants said vnto him, Behold now, wee haue heard that the kings of the house of Israel are mercifull kings: let vs, I pray thee, put sackcloth on our loines, and ropes vpon our heads, and goe out to the king of Israel; peraduenture he will saue thy life.
32 So they girded sackcloth on their loynes, and put ropes on their heads, and came to the king of Israel, and said, Thy seruant Benhadad saith, I pray thee, let me liue. And he said, Is he yet aliue? he is my brother.
33 Now the men did diligently obserue whether any thing would come from him, and did hastily catch it: and they saide, Thy brother Benhadad. Then he said, Goe ye, bring him: then Benhadad came forth to him: and hee caused him to come vp into the charet.
34 And Benhadad said vnto him, The cities which my father tooke from thy father, I will restore, and thou shalt make streets for thee in Damascus, as my father made in Samaria. Then, said Ahab, I will send thee away with this couenant. So he made a couenant with him, and sent him away.
36 Then said he vnto him, Because thou hast not obeyed the voyce of the Lord, beholde, assoone as thou art departed from me, a lyon shal slay thee. And assoone as hee was departed from him, a lyon found him, and slew him.
39 And as the king passed by, he cried vnto the king: and he saide, Thy seruant went out into the mids of the battell, and behold, a man turned aside, and brought a man vnto me, and said, Keep this man: if by any meanes he be missing, then shall thy life be for his life, or else thou shalt pay a talent of siluer.39
42 And hee said vnto him, Thus saith the Lord, Because thou hast let goe out of thy hand, a man whom I appointed to vtter destruction, therfore thy life shall goe for his life, and thy people for his people.42
View Wesley's Notes for 1 Kings Chapter 20
20:1 Gathered his host - To war against Israel: wherein his designwas to enlarge the conquest which his father had made, but God's design wasto punish Israel for their apostacy and idolatry.
20:3 Thy silver, &c. - I challenge them as my own, and expect to havethem forthwith delivered, if thou expect peace with me.
20:4 The king said - I do so far comply with thy demand, that I willown thee for my Lord, and myself for thy vassal, and will hold my wives,and children, and estate, as by thy favour, and with an acknowledgment.
20:5 Saying, &c. - Although I did before demand not only the dominionof thy treasures, and wives, and children, as thou mayst seem to understandme, but also the actual portion of them; wherewith I would then have beencontented.
20:6 Yet, &c. - Yet now I will not accept of those terms, but togetherwith thy royal treasures, I expect all the treasures of thy servants orsubjects; nor will I wait 'till thou deliver them to me, but I will sendmy servants into the city, and they shall search out and take away all thouart fond of, and this to prevent fraud and delay; and then I will grant theea peace.
20:7 Seeketh mischief - Though he pretended peace, upon these termspropounded, it is apparent by those additional demands, that he intendsnothing less than our utter ruin. I denied not - I granted his demandsin the sense before mentioned.
20:10 And said, &c. - If I do not assault thy city with so numerousan army, as shall turn all thy city into an heap of dust, and shall besufficient to carry it all away, though every soldier take but one handfulof it.
20:11 Let not him, &c. - Do not triumph before the victory, for theevents of war are uncertain.
20:13 And behold, &c. - God, though forsaken and neglected by Ahab,prevents him with his gracious promise of help: that Ahab and theidolatrous Israelites, might hereby be fully convinced, or leftwithout excuse, that Ben - hadad's intolerable pride, and contempt ofGod, and of his people, might be punished: and that the remnant of hisprophets and people who were involved in the same calamity with the restof the Israelites, might be preserved and delivered.I am the Lord - And not Baal, because I will deliver thee, which hecannot do.
20:14 He said, &c. - Not by old and experienced soldiers, but by thoseyoung men; either the sons of the princes, and great men of the land, whowere fled thither for safety; or their pages, or servants that used toattend them: who are bred up delicately, and seem unfit for the business.Thou - Partly to encourage the young men to fight courageously, as beingthe presence of their prince: and partly, that it might appear, that thevictory was wholly due to God's gracious providence, and not to the valouror worthiness of the instruments.
20:15 All Israel - All that were fit to go out to war; all, exceptthose whom their age, or the same infirmity excused.
20:18 Take them - He bids them not fight, for he thought they needednot to strike one stroke; and that the Israelites could not stand thefirst brunt.
20:20 His man - Him who came to seize upon him, as Ben - hadad hadcommanded. Fled - Being amazed at the unexpected and undaunted courageof the Israelites, and struck with a divine terror.
20:21 The king went - Proceeded further in his march. Smote thechariots - The men that fought from them.
20:22 Mark, and see - Consider what is necessary for thee to do by wayof preparation. The enemies of the children of God, are restless in theirmalice and tho' they may take some breathing time for themselves, they arestill breathing out slaughter against the church. It therefore concernsus always to expect our spiritual enemies, and to mark and see what wedo.
20:23 Said to him - They suppose that their gods were no better thanthe Syrian gods and that there were many gods who had each hisparticular charge and jurisdiction; which was the opinion of all heathennations; that some were gods of the woods, other of the rivers, and othersof the mountains; and they fancied these to be the latter, because the landof Canaan was a mountainous land, and the great temple of their God atJerusalem, stood upon an hill, and so did Samaria, where they hadreceived their last blow: it is observable, they do not impute their illsuccess to their negligence, and drunkenness, and bad conduct, nor to thevalour of the Israelites; but to a divine power, which was indeedvisible in it. In the plain - Wherein there was not only superstition,but policy; because the Syrians excelled the Israelites in horses,which are most serviceable in plain ground.
20:24 Take the kings away - Who being of softer education, and lessexperienced in military matters, were less fit for service; and being manyof them but mercenaries, and therefore less concerned in his good success,would be more cautions in venturing themselves. Captains - That is,experienced soldiers of his own subjects, who would faithfully obey thecommands of the general (to which the kings would not so readily yield) anduse their utmost skill and valour for their own interest and advancement.
20:27 And went - Being encouraged by the remembrance of their formersuccess, and an expectation of assistance from God again.And pitched - Probably upon some hilly ground, where they might securethemselves, and watch for advantage against their enemies; which may be thereason why the Syrians durst not assault them before the seventh day,ver.#29|.Little flocks - Few, and weak, being also for conveniency of fighting, andthat they might seem to be more than they were, divided into two bodies.
20:30 The wall - Or, the walls (the singular number, for the plural)of the city; in which they were now fortifying themselves. This mightpossibly happen thro' natural causes; but most probably, was effected by themighty power of God, sending some earthquake, or violent storm which threwdown the walls upon them; or doing this by the ministry of angels. And ifever miracle was to be wrought, now seems to have been the proper season forit; when the blasphemous Syrians denied the sovereign power of God, andthereby in some sort obliged him, to give a proof of it; and to shew, thathe was the God of the plains, as well as of the mountains; and that he couldas effectually destroy them in their strongest holds, as in the open fields;and make the very walls, to whose strength they trusted for their defence,to be the instruments of their ruin. But it may be farther observed, thatit is not said, that all these were killed by the fall of this wall; butonly that the wall fell upon them, killing some, and wounding others.
20:31 He will save thy life - This encouragement have all poor sinners,to repent and humble themselves before God. The God of Israel is amerciful God; let us rend our hearts and return to him.
20:32 My brother - I do not only pardon him, but honour and love him asmy brother. What a change is here! From the height of prosperity, to thedepth of distress. See the uncertainty of human affairs! Such turns arethey subject to, that the spoke of the wheel which is uppermost now, maysoon be the lowest of all.
20:33 Thy brother - Understand, Liveth: for that he enquired after,ver.#32|.
20:34 Streets - Or, Markets, &c. places where thou mayest eitherreceive the tribute which I promise to pay thee, or exercise judicatureupon my subjects in case of their refusal. So he made, &c. - He takes nonotice of his blasphemy against God; nor of the injuries which his peoplehad suffered from him.
20:35 In the word - ln the name, and by the command of God, whereofdoubtless he had informed him. Smite me - So as to wound me, ver.#37|.He speaks what God commanded him, though it was to his own hurt; by whichobedience to God, he secretly reproacheth Ahab's disobedience in a fareasier matter. And this the prophet by God's appointment desires, thatlooking like a wounded soldier, he might have the more free access to theking. Refused - Not out of contempt of God's command, but probably, intenderness to his brother.
20:36 Slew him - We cannot judge of the case; this man might be guiltyof many other heinous sins unknown to us but known to God; for which, Godmight justly cut him off: which God chose to do upon this occasion, that bythe severity of this punishment of a prophet's disobedience, proceeding frompity to his brother, he might teach Ahab the greatness of his sin, insparing him through foolish pity, whom by the laws of religion, and justice,and prudence, he should have cut of.
20:38 With ashes - Or, with a cloath, or band; (as theHebrew doctors understand the word) whereby he bound up his wound,which probably was in his face; for it was to be made in a conspicuousplace, that it might be visible to Ahab and others.
20:39 He said - This relation is a parable; an usual way of instructionin the eastern parts, and most fit for this occasion wherein an obscureprophet was to speak to a great king; impatient of a down - right reproof,and exceeding partial in his own cause. A man - My commander as themanner of expression sheweth.
20:40 Thy judgment - Thy sentence; thou must perform the condition.Either suffer the one, or do the other.
20:42 Thy life - What was the great sin of Ahab in this action,for which God so severely punisheth him? The great dishonour herebydone to God, in suffering so horrid a blasphemer, to go unpunished, whichwas contrary to an express law, #Lev 24:16|. And God had deliveredhim into Ahab's hand, for his blasphemy, as he promised to do,ver.#28|, by which act of his providence, compared with that law, itwas most evident, that this man was appointed by God to destruction, butAhab was so far from punishing this blasphemer, that he doth not somuch as rebuke him, but dismisseth him upon easy terms, and takes notthe least care for the reparation of God's honour, and the people werepunished for their own sins, which were many, and great; though God tookthis occasion to inflict it.
1 Kings Chapter 20 Sidenote References (from Original 1611 KJV Bible):
6 Heb desirable.
7 Heb. I kept not backe from him.
10 Heb. are at my feete.
12 Heb. word. , Or, Tents. , Or, place the engins: and they placed engines.
13 Heb. approched.
14 Or, seruants. , Heb. Bynd, or, tie.
25 Heb. that was fallen.
26 Heb. to the warre with Israel.
27 Or, were victualled.
30 Or, from chamber to chamber. Heb. into a chamber within a chamber.
37 Hebr. smiting and wounding.
39 Heb. weigh
40 Heb. hee was not.
42 Chap.22. 38.
* Courtesy of Rare Book and Manuscript Library, University of Pennsylvania
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