February 11, 2015

1 Kings 20:1-22New Living Translation (NLT)

Ben-Hadad Attacks Samaria

20 About that time King Ben-hadad of Aram mobilized his army, supported by the chariots and horses of thirty-two allied kings. They went to besiege Samaria, the capital of Israel, and launched attacks against it. Ben-hadad sent messengers into the city to relay this message to King Ahab of Israel: “This is what Ben-hadad says: ‘Your silver and gold are mine, and so are your wives and the best of your children!’”

“All right, my lord the king,” Israel’s king replied. “All that I have is yours!”

Soon Ben-hadad’s messengers returned again and said, “This is what Ben-hadad says: ‘I have already demanded that you give me your silver, gold, wives, and children. But about this time tomorrow I will send my officials to search your palace and the homes of your officials. They will take away everything you consider valuable!’”

Then Ahab summoned all the elders of the land and said to them, “Look how this man is stirring up trouble! I already agreed with his demand that I give him my wives and children and silver and gold.”

“Don’t give in to any more demands,” all the elders and the people advised.

So Ahab told the messengers from Ben-hadad, “Say this to my lord the king: ‘I will give you everything you asked for the first time, but I cannot accept this last demand of yours.’” So the messengers returned to Ben-hadad with that response.

10 Then Ben-hadad sent this message to Ahab: “May the gods strike me and even kill me if there remains enough dust from Samaria to provide even a handful for each of my soldiers.”

11 The king of Israel sent back this answer: “A warrior putting on his sword for battle should not boast like a warrior who has already won.”

12 Ahab’s reply reached Ben-hadad and the other kings as they were drinking in their tents.[a] “Prepare to attack!” Ben-hadad commanded his officers. So they prepared to attack the city.

Ahab’s Victory over Ben-Hadad

13 Then a certain prophet came to see King Ahab of Israel and told him, “This is what the Lord says: Do you see all these enemy forces? Today I will hand them all over to you. Then you will know that I am theLord.”

14 Ahab asked, “How will he do it?”

And the prophet replied, “This is what the Lord says: The troops of the provincial commanders will do it.”

“Should we attack first?” Ahab asked.

“Yes,” the prophet answered.

15 So Ahab mustered the troops of the 232 provincial commanders. Then he called out the rest of the army of Israel, some 7,000 men. 16 About noontime, as Ben-hadad and the thirty-two allied kings were still in their tents drinking themselves into a stupor, 17 the troops of the provincial commanders marched out of the city as the first contingent.

As they approached, Ben-hadad’s scouts reported to him, “Some troops are coming from Samaria.”

18 “Take them alive,” Ben-hadad commanded, “whether they have come for peace or for war.”

19 But Ahab’s provincial commanders and the entire army had now come out to fight. 20 Each Israelite soldier killed his Aramean opponent, and suddenly the entire Aramean army panicked and fled. The Israelites chased them, but King Ben-hadad and a few of his charioteers escaped on horses. 21 However, the king of Israel destroyed the other horses and chariots and slaughtered the Arameans.

22 Afterward the prophet said to King Ahab, “Get ready for another attack. Begin making plans now, for the king of Aram will come back next spring.[b]

Footnotes:

  1. 20:12 Or in Succoth; also in 20:16.
  2. 20:22 Hebrew at the turn of the year; similarly in 20:26. The first day of the year in the ancient Hebrew lunar calendar occurred in March or April.