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1 Kings 20:1-21

Ben Hadad Invades Israel

20:1 Now King Ben Hadad of Syria assembled all his army, along with thirty-two other kings with their horses and chariots. He marched against Samaria 1  and besieged and attacked it. 2  20:2 He sent messengers to King Ahab of Israel, who was in the city. 3  20:3 He said to him, “This is what Ben Hadad says, ‘Your silver and your gold are mine, as well as the best of your wives and sons.’” 20:4 The king of Israel replied, “It is just as you say, my master, O king. I and all I own belong to you.”

20:5 The messengers came again and said, “This is what Ben Hadad says, ‘I sent this message to you, “You must give me your silver, gold, wives, and sons.” 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.” 4  20:7 The king of Israel summoned all the leaders 5  of the land and said, “Notice how this man is looking for trouble. 6  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.” 7  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.’” 8  So the messengers went back and gave their report.

20:10 Ben Hadad sent another message to him, “May the gods judge me severely 9  if there is enough dirt left in Samaria for my soldiers to scoop up in their hands.” 10  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.” 11  20:12 When Ben Hadad received this reply, 12  he and the other kings were drinking in their quarters. 13  He ordered his servants, “Get ready to attack!” So they got ready to attack the city.

The Lord Delivers Israel

20:13 Now a prophet visited King Ahab of Israel and said, “This is what the Lord says, ‘Do you see this huge army? 14  Look, I am going to hand it over to you this very day. Then you will know that I am the Lord.’” 20:14 Ahab asked, “By whom will this be accomplished?” 15  He answered, “This is what the Lord says, ‘By the servants of the district governors.’” Ahab 16  asked, “Who will launch the attack?” He answered, “You will.”

20:15 So Ahab 17  assembled the 232 servants of the district governors. After that he assembled all the Israelite army, numbering 7,000. 18  20:16 They marched out at noon, while Ben Hadad and the thirty-two kings allied with him were drinking heavily 19  in their quarters. 20  20:17 The servants of the district governors led the march. When Ben Hadad sent messengers, they reported back to him, “Men are marching out of Samaria.” 21  20:18 He ordered, “Whether they come in peace or to do battle, take them alive.” 22  20:19 They marched out of the city with the servants of the district governors in the lead and the army behind them. 20:20 Each one struck down an enemy soldier; 23  the Syrians fled and Israel chased them. King Ben Hadad of Syria escaped on horseback with some horsemen. 20:21 Then the king of Israel marched out and struck down the horses and chariots; he thoroughly defeated 24  Syria.

1 map For location see Map2 B1; Map4 D3; Map5 E2; Map6 A4; Map7 C1.

2 tn Heb “and he went up and besieged Samaria and fought against it.”

3 tn Heb “to the city.”

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

5 tn Heb “elders.”

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

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

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

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

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

11 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.”

12 tn Heb “When he heard this word.”

13 tn Heb “in the temporary shelters.” This is probably referring to tents.

14 tn Heb “this great horde.”

15 tn The words “will this be accomplished” are supplied in the translation for clarification.

16 tn Heb “he”; the referent (Ahab) has been specified in the translation for clarity.

17 tn Heb “he”; the referent (Ahab) has been specified in the translation for clarity.

18 tn Heb “after them he assembled all the people, all the sons of Israel, seven thousand.”

19 tn Heb “drinking and drunken.”

20 tn Heb “in the temporary shelters.” This is probably referring to tents.

21 map For location see Map2 B1; Map4 D3; Map5 E2; Map6 A4; Map7 C1.

22 tn Heb “if they come in peace, take them alive; if they come for battle, take them alive.”

23 tn Heb “each struck down his man.”

24 tn Heb “struck down Aram with a great striking down.”

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