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1 Kings 20:28-34

Context
20:28 The prophet 1  visited the king of Israel and said, “This is what the Lord says: ‘Because the Syrians said, “The Lord is a god of the mountains and not a god of the valleys,” I will hand over to you this entire huge army. 2  Then you will know that I am the Lord.’”

20:29 The armies were deployed opposite each other for seven days. On the seventh day the battle began, and the Israelites killed 100,000 Syrian foot soldiers in one day. 20:30 The remaining 27,000 ran to Aphek and went into the city, but the wall fell on them. 3  Now Ben Hadad ran into the city and hid in an inner room. 4  20:31 His advisers 5  said to him, “Look, we have heard that the kings of the Israelite dynasty are kind. 6  Allow us to put sackcloth around our waists and ropes on our heads 7  and surrender 8  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 9  Ben Hadad says, ‘Please let me live!’” Ahab 10  replied, “Is he still alive? He is my brother.” 11  20:33 The men took this as a good omen and quickly accepted his offer, saying, “Ben Hadad is your brother.” Ahab 12  then said, “Go, get him.” So Ben Hadad came out to him, and Ahab pulled him up into his chariot. 20:34 Ben Hadad 13  said, “I will return the cities my father took from your father. You may set up markets 14  in Damascus, just as my father did in Samaria.” 15  Ahab then said, “I want to make a treaty with you before I dismiss you.” 16  So he made a treaty with him and then dismissed him.

1 tn Heb “the man of God.”

2 tn Heb “I will place all this great horde in your hand.”

3 tn Heb “and the remaining ones fled to Aphek to the city and the wall fell on twenty-seven thousand men, the ones who remained.”

4 tn Heb “and Ben Hadad fled and went into the city, [into] an inner room in an inner room.”

5 tn Or “servants.”

6 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.

7 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.

8 tn Heb “go out.”

9 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.

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

11 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.

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

13 tn Heb “he”; the referent (Ben Hadad) has been specified in the translation for clarity.

14 tn Heb “streets,” but this must refer to streets set up with stalls for merchants to sell their goods. See HALOT 299 s.v. חוּץ.

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

16 tn Heb “I will send you away with a treaty.” The words “Ahab then said” are supplied in the translation. There is nothing in the Hebrew text to indicate that the speaker has changed from Ben Hadad to Ahab. Some suggest adding “and he said” before “I will send you away.” Others prefer to maintain Ben Hadad as the speaker and change the statement to, “Please send me away with a treaty.”



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