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1 Kings 20:6-11

20:6 But now at this time tomorrow I will send my servants to you and they will search through your palace and your servants’ houses. They will carry away all your valuables.” 1  20:7 The king of Israel summoned all the leaders 2  of the land and said, “Notice how this man is looking for trouble. 3  Indeed, he demanded my wives, sons, silver, and gold, and I did not resist him.” 20:8 All the leaders and people said to him, “Do not give in or agree to his demands.” 4  20:9 So he said to the messengers of Ben Hadad, “Say this to my master, the king, ‘I will give you everything you demanded at first from your servant, but I am unable to agree to this latest demand.’” 5  So the messengers went back and gave their report.

20:10 Ben Hadad sent another message to him, “May the gods judge me severely 6  if there is enough dirt left in Samaria for my soldiers to scoop up in their hands.” 7  20:11 The king of Israel replied, “Tell him the one who puts on his battle gear should not boast like one who is taking it off.” 8 

1 tn Heb “all that is desirable to your eyes they will put in their hand and take.”

2 tn Heb “elders.”

3 tn Heb “Know and see that this [man] is seeking trouble.”

4 tn Heb “Do not listen and do not be willing.”

5 tn Heb “all which you sent to your servant in the beginning I will do, but this thing I am unable to do.”

6 tn Heb “So may the gods do to me, and so may they add.”

7 tn Heb “if the dirt of Samaria suffices for the handfuls of all the people who are at my feet.”

8 sn The point of the saying is that someone who is still preparing for a battle should not boast as if he has already won the battle. A modern parallel would be, “Don’t count your chickens before they’re hatched.”

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