1 Kings 20:33 MEANING

1 Kings 20:33
(33) Now the men.--There has been much discussion of the meaning here, and some proposals of slight emendations of the reading. But the general sense seems accurately rendered by our version. "The men watched" ("as for augury," says the LXX.), "and hasted, and caught up" (so as to make it sure) "what fell from him." What follows may be a question, "Is Ben-hadad thy brother?" but probably the simple acceptance of the title is better. The whole description is graphic. The Syrians speak of "thy slave Ben-hadad." Ahab, in compassion or show of magnanimity, says, "my brother." Eagerly the ambassadors catch up the word, which, according to Eastern custom, implied a pledge of amity not to be recalled; and Ahab accepts their inference, and seals it publicly by taking the conquered king into his chariot. (Comp. 2 Kings 10:15-16.)

Verse 33. - Now the men did diligently observe whether anything would come from him and did hastily catch it [Heb. and the men augured - תךשׁאנךשׁךד נִחֵשׁ. Cf. Genesis 44:15; Leviticus 19:26; 2 Kings 17:17. LXX. οἰωνίσαντο. Vulgate acceperunt pro omine - and hasted and made him declare whether from him, the meaning of which is sufficiently clear, viz., that the men took Ahab's words,"He is my brother," as a speech of good omen, and immediately laid hold of it, and contrived that the king should be held to it and made to confirm it. The only difficulty is in the word וַיַּחְלְטוּ which is ἄπαξ My. The Talmud, however, interprets it to mean, declare, confirm; in the Kal conjugation and the Hiphil would therefore mean, made him declare. The LXX. and Vulgate, however, have understood it otherwise, taking חָלַט as the equivalent of חָלָץ rapuit. The former has ἀνελέξαντο τὸν λόγον ἐκ τοῦ οτόματος αὐτοῦ, and the latter rapuerunt `. They would seem also to have read instead of הַדָּבָר מ חֲמֵמֶּנוּ (Ewald). The law of dakheet (see Layard, N. and B. pp. 317-319), by which Rawlinson would explain this incident, seems to be rather an usage of the Bedouin than of any civilized nations]: and they said, Thy brother Ben-hadad. Then said he, Go ye, bring him.- Then Ben-hadad came forth to him [out of his hiding-place and out of the city]: and he caused him to come up into the chariot. [A mark of great favour (compare Genesis 41:43), and of reconciliation and concord (cf. 2 Kings 10:15).]

20:31-43 This encouragement sinners have to repent and humble themselves before God; Have we not heard, that the God of Israel is a merciful God? Have we not found him so? That is gospel repentance, which flows from an apprehension of the mercy of God, in Christ; there is forgiveness with him. What a change is here! The most haughty in prosperity often are most abject in adversity; an evil spirit will thus affect a man in both these conditions. There are those on whom, like Ahab, success is ill bestowed; they know not how to serve either God or their generation, or even their own true interests with their prosperity: Let favour be showed to the wicked, yet will he not learn righteousness. The prophet designed to reprove Ahab by a parable. If a good prophet were punished for sparing his friend and God's when God said, Smite, of much sorer punishment should a wicked king be thought worthy, who spared his enemy and God's, when God said, Smite. Ahab went to his house, heavy and displeased, not truly penitent, or seeking to undo what he had done amiss; every way out of humour, notwithstanding his victory. Alas! many that hear the glad tidings of Christ, are busy and there till the day of salvation is gone.Now the men did diligently observe whether anything would come from him,.... That would be a good omen to them, and encourage them to hope for success; they observed him as diligently by his words and behaviour as soothsayers do when they look out for a lucky sign; for the word is sometimes used of divining (s):

and did hastily catch it; as soon as it was out of his mouth, and laid hold on it to improve it to advantage, being wiser than him:

and they said, thy brother Benhadad; him whom thou callest thy brother; he is thy brother, and is alive; this they caught, and expressed it, to observe whether it was a slip of his tongue, and whether he spoke it heartily, and would abide by it, or whether he would retract it:

then he said, go ye, bring him; meaning from the city to the place where he was:

then Benhadad came forth to him; out of his chamber, upon the report of his servants:

and he caused him to come up into the chariot; to sit and converse with him there.

(s) "augurati sunt", Pagninus, Montanus, Munster, Vatablus.

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