1 Kings 20:14 MEANING

1 Kings 20:14
(14) Who shall order the battle?--The marginal reading seems right, "Who shall give battle?" "Who shall begin the fray?"

Verse 14. - And Ahab said, By whom? And he said, Thus saith the Lord [Observe the repetition. He is careful to give special prominence to the sacred name, as the only help in trouble (Psalm 20:1, 5, 7, etc.)], Even by the young men [or servants - נַעַר has both meanings, corresponding with παῖς (cf. Genesis 37:2; 2 Kings 5:20; 2 Kings 8:4] of the princes of the provinces. [The local governors (cf. 1 Kings 4:7; 1 Kings 10:15), on the approach of Ben hadad, had apparently fled to the capital. Whether these "young men" were their "pages" (Thenius), or even were "young lads" (Ewald) at all, or, on the contrary, a "select body of strong young men" (Bahr), the bodyguard of the various governors (2 Samuel 18:15) (Von Gerlach), may be doubtful; but when Bahr says that Ahab would not have consented to appoint weak boys to lead the van, at least without remonstrance, he must have forgotten that all the ordinary means at Ahab's disposal were equally insufficient, and that in themselves 200 or 2000 tried veterans would have been just as inadequate a force as 200 pages. The agency by which the victory was won was purposely weak and feeble (per turbam imbellem), in order that the work might be seen to be of God (cf. Judges 7:2; 1 Corinthians 1:27, 29). And this consideration makes against the supposition that the attacking body was composed of tried and skilful warriors.] Then he said, Who shall order [Heb. bind; we speak of "joining battle"] the battle? [The meaning is - not, "who shall command this force," but, "which side shall begin the fray?"] And he answered, Thou [i.e., thy band of young men shall make the attack.]

20:12-21 The proud Syrians were beaten, and the despised Israelites were conquerors. The orders of the proud, drunken king disordered his troops, and prevented them from attacking the Israelites. Those that are most secure, are commonly least courageous. Ahab slew the Syrians with a great slaughter. God often makes one wicked man a scourge to another.And Ahab said, by whom?.... Knowing he had no army with him sufficient to go out with against the Syrian army:

and he said, thus saith the Lord, even by the young men of the princes of the provinces; either such, as Kimchi thinks, who were brought up with him; or, as others, the sons of governors of provinces, who were kept as hostages, that their fathers might not rebel; neither of which is likely: but rather the servants of such princes who waited on them, and lived delicately and at ease, and were not trained up to military exercise, even by these should the victory be obtained:

then he said, who shall order the battle? begin the attack, we or they? or who shall conduct it, or be the general of the army, go before it, and lead them on? Ahab might think, being an idolater, that the Lord would not make use of him, or otherwise who could be thought of but himself?

and he answered, thou; thou must be the commander, go forth with the army, and make the attack upon the enemy.

Courtesy of Open Bible