1 Kings 20:6 MEANING

1 Kings 20:6
(6) Whatsoever is pleasant.--The demand, which is virtually for the plunder of Samaria, probably neither expects nor desires acceptance, and is therefore a refusal of all but unconditional surrender. It is notable that in the last extremity Ahab falls back on an exceptional appeal to the patriotism of the people.

The "elders of the land" (evidently present in Samaria at this time) were the representatives in the northern kingdom of the ancient assembly of the "elders of Israel," existing from the time of Moses downwards as a senate, having power not only of advice, but of concurrence, in relation to the Judge or King. (See Exodus 3:16; Exodus 12:21; Exodus 24:1; Deuteronomy 27:1; Deuteronomy 31:9; Joshua 7:6; 2 Samuel 5:3; 1 Kings 8:3). The solemn appointment of the seventy in Numbers 11:24-25 seems to be simply the re-constitution and consecration of the original body. Each tribe and each town had also its lesser body of elders. (See 1 Samuel 30:26, "the elders of Judah;" Deuteronomy 19:12; Deuteronomy 21:3, &c., "the elders of the city.") The authority of all these assemblies must have been at all times largely overborne by the royal power (see 1 Kings 21:11), and must have varied according to time and circumstance.

Verse 6. - Yet I will send my servants unto thee tomorrow about this time [This proposal was definite and immediate, the first demand was vague and general. "In the first Ahab was to send what he thought fit to give; in the second, Ben-hadad's servants were to take into their own hands whatsoever they thought fit to sieze" (Wordsworth)], and they shall search thine house, and the houses of thy servants; and it shall be, that whatsoever is pleasant in [Heb. the desire of] thine eyes [The LXX. and some other versions have a plural suffix - their eyes. But the Hebrew text is to be preferred. The object of Ben-hadad was to couch his message in the most oftensive and humiliating terms, and "the desire of thine eyes" would be likely to cut deeper and wound more than "the desire of their eyes"], they shall put it in their hand, and take it away. [If Ahab ever hoped by his abject submission to conciliate the Syrian king, he now finds that his words have had just the opposite effect. For all that the latter concluded from it was that Ahab was one upon whom he might trample at pleasure, and this servility encouraged Ben-hadad to renew his demands in a still more galling and vexatious form. This second message discloses to us still more plainly the royal bully and braggart, and shows us what the "comity of nations" in the old world was often like.]

20:1-11 Benhadad sent Ahab a very insolent demand. Ahab sent a very disgraceful submission; sin brings men into such straits, by putting them out of the Divine protection. If God do not rule us, our enemies shall: guilt dispirits men, and makes them cowards. Ahab became desperate. Men will part with their most pleasant things, those they most love, to save their lives; yet they lose their souls rather than part with any pleasure or interest to prevent it. Here is one of the wisest sayings that ever Ahab spake, and it is a good lesson to all. It is folly to boast of any day to come, since we know not what it may bring forth. Apply it to our spiritual conflicts. Peter fell by self-confidence. Happy is the man who is never off his watch.Yet I will send my servants unto thee tomorrow about this time,.... He gave him twenty four hours to consider of it:

and they shall search thine house, and the houses of thy servants; the royal palace, and the houses of the noblemen, and even of every of his subjects in Samaria:

and it shall be, that whatsoever is pleasant (or desirable) in thine eyes, they shall put it in, their hand, and take it away; not be content with what should be given, but search for more; and if any in particular was more desirable to the possessor than anything else, that should be sure to be taken away; which was vastly insolent and aggravating.

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