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1 Kings 20:31-32

Context
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.



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