22 Sept. 1 Kings 20:1-22

22 Sept.  King Ahab is attacked by Ben Hadad of Aram

“Ben-Hadad king of Aram gathered together all his army. There were 32 kings with their horses and chariots who went with him and surrounded Samaria and attacked it.”

“The king sent messengers into the city to Ahab king of Israel. This was his message: ‘Ben-Hadad says, “Your silver and gold belong to me, as well as the best of your wives and children.”’ Ahab king of Israel answered, ‘My master and king, I agree to what you say. I and everything I have belong to you.’”

“Then the messengers came to Ahab again. They said, ‘Ben-Hadad says, “I told you before that you must give me your silver and gold, your wives and children. About this time tomorrow I will send my men, who will search everywhere in your palace and in the homes of your officers. Whatever they want they will take and carry off.”’”

“Then Ahab called a meeting of all the elders of his country. He said, ‘Ben-Hadad is looking for trouble. First he said I had to give him my wives, my children, my silver and my gold, and I have not refused him.’ The elders and all the people said, ‘Don’t listen to him or agree to this.’”

“So Ahab said to Ben-Hadad’s messengers, ‘Tell my master the king: “I will do what you said at first, but I cannot allow this second command.”’ And King Ben-Hadad’s men carried the message back to him…”

“Ben-Hadad was drinking in his tent with the other rulers when the message came from Ahab. Ben-Hadad commanded his men to prepare to attack the city, and they moved into place for battle.”

“At the same time a prophet came to Ahab king of Israel. The prophet said, ‘Ahab, the LORD says to you, “Do you see that big army? I will hand it over to you today so you will know I am the LORD...”’”

“So Ahab gathered the young officers of the district governors, 232 of them. Then he called together the army of Israel, about 7,000 people in all. They marched out at noon, while Ben-Hadad and the 32 rulers helping him were getting drunk in their tents...”

“The young officers of the district governors led the attack, followed by the army of Israel. Each officer of Israel killed the man who came against him. The men from Aram ran away as Israel chased them, but Ben-Hadad king of Aram escaped on a horse with some of his horsemen.”

“Ahab king of Israel led the army and destroyed the Aramean’s horses and chariots. King Ahab thoroughly defeated the Aramean army.”

“Then the prophet went to Ahab king of Israel and said, ‘The king of Aram will attack you again next spring. So go home now and strengthen your army and see what you need to do.’”

          (1 Kings 20:1-22)



Some years after Elijah appointed Elisha as his helper, in c.857BC, King Ben-Hadad III of Aram (Damascus) laid siege to Samaria, the capital of Israel. After making costly and impossible demands on King Ahab, which he was unable to fulfil, Ben-Hadad’s forces attacked the city.

At this point, a prophet of the LORD went to see Ahab and told him that the LORD would oversee the defeat of the Arameans: “Do you see that big army? I will hand it over to you today so you will know I am the LORD.” (1 Kings 20:13) He also told Ahab that the LORD  would use the young officers of the district governors to defeat Ben-Hadad (see 1 Kings 20:14).

So Ahab gathered together the young officers, who led the attack, followed by the whole army of Israel. The Arameans were driven back by the Israelites, and Ben-Hadad was fortunate to escape on horseback.

The prophet then told Ahab to prepare for another attack, and to strengthen his army to be able to withstand a further encounter.

The next spring, the Arameans attacked the Israelites on the northern coastal plain near Aphek, but were defeated again (see 1 Kings 20:23-34). King Ahab agreed a peace treaty with Ben-Hadad and let him go free in exchange for lands on the border that had been captured by the Arameans during the reign of Omri.  But Ahab was condemned for setting Ben-Hadad free by one of the prophets of Israel (see 1 Kings 20:35-43).

The photo (by Mewes) shows the inside of the citadel at Damascus.

You can read more about Damascus and the kingdom of Aram @ https://thebiblejourney.org/biblejourney2/32-the-divided-kingdom-amp-journey-into-exile/elijah-organises-the-opposition-to-king-ahab/

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