20:31 His advisers 1 said to him, “Look, we have heard that the kings of the Israelite dynasty are kind. 2 Allow us to put sackcloth around our waists and ropes on our heads 3 and surrender 4 to the king of Israel. Maybe he will spare our lives.” 20:32 So they put sackcloth around their waists and ropes on their heads and went to the king of Israel. They said, “Your servant 5 Ben Hadad says, ‘Please let me live!’” Ahab 6 replied, “Is he still alive? He is my brother.” 7
1 tn Or “servants.”
2 tn Or “merciful.” The word used here often means “devoted” or “loyal.” Perhaps the idea is that the Israelite kings are willing to make treaties with other kings.
3 sn Sackcloth was worn as a sign of sorrow and repentance. The precise significance of the ropes on the head is uncertain, but it probably was a sign of submission. These actions were comparable to raising a white flag on the battlefield or throwing in the towel in a boxing match.
4 tn Heb “go out.”
5 sn Your servant. By referring to Ben Hadad as Ahab’s servant, they are suggesting that Ahab make him a subject in a vassal treaty arrangement.
6 tn Heb “he”; the referent (Ahab) has been specified in the translation for clarity.
7 sn He is my brother. Ahab’s response indicates that he wants to make a parity treaty and treat Ben Hadad as an equal partner.