1Ki 20: "The invasion by Benhadad was not the first of Israel
by Syria. There was an earlier one as the direct instigation of Judah (1Ki
15:18-20). Later, in the time of Omri, cities were taken (1Ki 20:34), and
deference shown by Israel to its northern neighbour. The invasion of Syria by
Assyria probably relieved the pressure on Israel by the former. The record
continues:  Syria invades Israel, and Benhadad presents his ultimatum: vv
1-4.  Benhadad's further arrogant demand: vv 5,6.  Ahab refuses the
demands of the Syrians: vv 7-9.  Benhadad threatens to destroy Samaria: v 10.
 Ahab's courageous reply: vv 11,12.  The prophet's counsel: vv 13,14. 
Ahab's attack: vv 15-21.  The prophet warns Ahab to prepare for a second
attack: vv 22-25.  The Syrians again invade the land: vv 26-27.  Ahab is
promised victory: v 28.  Syrian army completely destroyed: vv 29,30. 
Benhadad pleads for mercy: vv 31,32.  Ahab's folly: vv 33,34.  The
result of Ahab's folly typically indicated: vv 35-43.
"When men engage upon the combat for supremacy without the
direction of Yahweh they put themselves in the hands of defeat" (GEM).
THIRTY-TWO KINGS: Ben-Hadad had unified 32 small
kingdoms under his own rule.
Feigned humility: Ahab seeks a diplomatic way to soften
'All I will accept is unconditional surrender.'
MY LORD THE KING: He is still very respectful in his
'The only thing left of Samaria will be dust -- and very
little of that!'
Ahab shows great faith in following the commands of God when
it is to his own military advantage, but he ignores them otherwise (1Ki
7,000 IN ALL: Cp 1Ki 19:18: Elijah's 7,000
REMOVE ALL THE KINGS: The kings themselves prob being
very inexperienced as military commanders.
YOUR SERVANT BEN-HADAD: Just before, Ahab had offered
to be his "servant", but had been spurned.
BUT THE MAN REFUSED: Acting out the deeds of
A LION... KILLED HIM: Sym Ahab's fate: death.
HEADBAND: KJV has "ashes".
// Nathan's parable: 2Sa 12.
"Here is an apparent frustration of the ways of providence
through human weakness. God meant the destruction of the king of Syria, and he
escaped through Ahab's misplaced leniency. The case reveals the fact that there
is no mechanical coercion of the human will in the working out of the divine
purpose by means of men; co-operation of man in such a case is necessary, and
that where the result aimed at is not attained through the failure of that
co-operation, the purpose will be accomplished by another instrument, for divine
purposes will never ultimately fail" (WP 228).
Cp Mordecai's words to Esther: "For if you remain silent at
this time, relief and deliverance for the Jews will arise from another place,
but you and your father's family will perish. And who knows but that you have
come to royal position for such a time as this?" (Est 4:14).