1 Kings 20 ©

Benhadad besieges Samaria, and his first demand is granted him, v. 1, etc. The second is denied him, 5 Therefore he prepares to storm the city, 10. Ahab makes defense by a prophet’s counsel and promise, and gets twice the victory, 13. Benhadad is fain to hide himself, 30. Ahab makes peace with him, 33. A prophet, who first suffers himself to be smitten, 35. Reproves Ahab, 39.


AND Ben-hadad the king of 1Syria gathered all his host together: and there were 2thirty and two kings with him, and horses, and chariots: and he went up and besieged Samaria, and warred against it.


And he sent messengers to Ahab king of Israel into the city, and said unto him, Thus saith Ben-hadad,


Thy silver and thy gold is mine; thy wives also and thy children, even the goodliest, are 3mine.


And the king of Israel answered and said, My lord, O king, according to thy saying, I am 4thine, and all that I have.


And the messengers came again, and said, Thus speaketh Ben-hadad, saying, 5Although I have sent unto thee, saying, Thou shalt deliver me thy silver, and thy gold, and thy wives, and thy children;


Yet I will send my servants unto thee to morrow about this time, and they shall search thine house, and the houses of 6thy servants; and it shall be, that whatsoever is 7pleasant in thine eyes, they shall put it in their hand, and take it away.


Then the king of Israel called all the 8elders of the land, and said, Mark, I pray you, and see how this man seeketh 9mischief: for he sent unto me for my wives, and for my children, and for my silver, and for my gold; and I denied him 10not.


And all the elders and all the people said unto him, Hearken not unto him, nor consent.


Wherefore he said unto the messengers of Ben-hadad, Tell my lord the king, All 11that thou didst send for to thy servant at the first I will do: but this thing I may not do. And the messengers departed, and brought 12him word again.


And Ben-hadad sent unto him, and said, 13The gods do so unto me, and more also, 14if the dust of Samaria shall suffice for handfuls for all the people 15that follow me.


And the king of Israel answered and said, Tell him, 16Let not him that girdeth on his harness boast himself as he that putteth it off.


And it came to pass, when Ben-hadad heard this message, as he was drinking, he and the kings in the pavilions, that he said unto his servants, 17Set yourselves in array. And they set themselves in array against the city.


¶And, behold, there came a prophet unto Ahab king of Israel, saying, Thus saith the LORD, Hast thou seen all this great multitude? behold, I will deliver it into thine hand this day; 18and thou shalt know that I am the LORD.


And Ahab said, By whom? And he said, Thus saith the LORD, Even 19by the young men of the princes of the provinces. Then he said, Who shall 20order the battle? And he answered, Thou.


Then he numbered the young men of the princes of the provinces, and they were two hundred and thirty two: and after them he numbered all the people, even all the children of Israel, being seven thousand.


And they went out at noon. But Ben-hadad was drinking himself drunk in the pavilions, he and the kings, the thirty and two kings that helped him.


And the young men of the princes of the provinces went out first; 21and Ben-hadad sent out, and they told him, saying, There are men come out of Samaria.


And he said, Whether they be come out for peace, take them alive; or whether they be come out for war, take them alive.


So these young men of the princes of the provinces came out of the city, and the army 22which followed them.


And 23they slew every one his man: and the Syrians fled; and Israel pursued them: and Ben-hadad the king of Syria escaped on an horse with the horsemen.


And the king of Israel went out, and smote the horses and chariots, and slew the Syrians with a great slaughter.


¶And 24the prophet came to the king of Israel, and said unto him, Go, strengthen thyself, and mark, and see what thou 25doest: for 26at the return of the year the king of Syria will come up against thee.


27And the servants of the king of Syria said unto 28him, Their gods are 29gods of the hills; therefore they were stronger than we; but let us fight against them in the plain, 30and surely we shall be stronger than they.


And do this thing, Take the 31kings away, every man 32out of his place, and put 33captains in their rooms:


And number thee an army, like the army 34that thou hast 35lost, horse for horse, and chariot for chariot: and we will fight against them in the plain, 36and surely we shall be stronger than they. And he hearkened unto their voice, and did so.


And it came to pass at the return of the year, that Ben-hadad numbered the Syrians, and went up to 37Aphek, to fight against Israel.


And the children of Israel were numbered, and were 38all present, and went against them: and the children of Israel pitched before them like 39two little flocks of kids; but the Syrians filled the country.


¶And there came 40a man of God, and spake unto the king of Israel, and said, Thus saith the LORD, Because the Syrians have said, The LORD is God of the hills, but he is not God of the valleys, therefore will I deliver all this great multitude into thine hand, 41and ye shall know that I am the LORD.


And they pitched one over against the other seven days. And so it was, that in the seventh day the battle was joined: and the children of Israel slew of the Syrians an hundred thousand footmen in one day.


But the rest fled to 42Aphek, into the city; and there a wall fell upon twenty and seven thousand of the men that were left. And Ben-hadad fled, and came into the city, 43into an inner chamber.


¶And his servants said unto him, Behold now, we have heard that the kings of the house of Israel are 44merciful kings: let us, I pray thee, put sackcloth 45on our loins, and 46ropes upon our heads, and go out to the king of Israel: peradventure he will save 47thy life.


So they girded sackcloth on their loins, and put ropes on their heads, and came to the king of Israel, and said, Thy servant Ben-hadad saith, I pray thee, let me live. And he said, Is he yet alive? he is my 48brother.


Now the men did diligently observe 49whether any thing would come from him, 50and did hastily catch it: and they said, Thy brother Ben-hadad. Then he said, Go ye, 51bring him. Then Ben-hadad came forth to him; and he caused him to come up into the chariot.


And 52Ben-hadad said unto him, 53The cities, which my father took from thy father, I will restore; and thou shalt make 54streets for thee in Damascus, as my father made in Samaria. Then said Ahab, I will send thee away with this covenant. So he made a covenant with him, and sent him away.


¶And a certain man of the 55sons of the prophets said unto his neighbour 56in the word of the LORD, 57Smite me, I pray thee. And the man 58refused to smite him.


Then said he unto him, Because thou hast not obeyed the voice of the LORD, behold, as soon as thou art departed from me, a lion shall 59slay thee. And as soon as he was departed from him, a lion found him, and slew him.


Then he found another man, and said, Smite me, I pray thee. And the man smote him, so that 60in smiting he wounded him.


So the prophet departed, and waited for the king by the way, and 61disguised himself 62with ashes 63upon his face.


And as the king passed by, he 64cried unto the king: and he said, Thy servant went out into the midst of the battle; and, behold, a man turned aside, and brought a 65man unto me, and said, Keep this man: if 66by any means he be missing, then shall thy 67life be for his life, or else thou shalt 68pay a 69talent of silver.


And as thy servant was busy here and there, 70he was gone. And the king of Israel said unto him, So shall thy 71judgment be; thyself hast decided it.


And he hasted, and 72took the ashes away from his face; and the king of Israel discerned him that he was of the prophets.


And he said unto him, Thus saith the LORD, Because thou hast let go out of thy hand a 73man whom I appointed to utter destruction, thereforea thy life shall go for his life, and thy people for his people.


And the king of Israel went to his house 74heavy and displeased, and came to Samaria.