The Agora
Bible Commentary
1 Kings

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22

1 Kings 20

1Ki 20:1

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: [1] Syria invades Israel, and Benhadad presents his ultimatum: vv 1-4. [2] Benhadad's further arrogant demand: vv 5,6. [3] Ahab refuses the demands of the Syrians: vv 7-9. [4] Benhadad threatens to destroy Samaria: v 10. [5] Ahab's courageous reply: vv 11,12. [6] The prophet's counsel: vv 13,14. [7] Ahab's attack: vv 15-21. [8] The prophet warns Ahab to prepare for a second attack: vv 22-25. [9] The Syrians again invade the land: vv 26-27. [10] Ahab is promised victory: v 28. [11] Syrian army completely destroyed: vv 29,30. [12] Benhadad pleads for mercy: vv 31,32. [13] Ahab's folly: vv 33,34. [14] 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.

1Ki 20:4

Feigned humility: Ahab seeks a diplomatic way to soften blow.

1Ki 20:6

'All I will accept is unconditional surrender.'

1Ki 20:9

MY LORD THE KING: He is still very respectful in his address.

1Ki 20:10

'The only thing left of Samaria will be dust -- and very little of that!'

1Ki 20:13

Ahab shows great faith in following the commands of God when it is to his own military advantage, but he ignores them otherwise (1Ki 22:26).

1Ki 20:15

7,000 IN ALL: Cp 1Ki 19:18: Elijah's 7,000 faithful.

1Ki 20:24

REMOVE ALL THE KINGS: The kings themselves prob being very inexperienced as military commanders.

1Ki 20:29

1Ki 20:29,

Vv 29,30: See Lesson, Large numbers in the OT.

1Ki 20:30

TWENTY-SEVEN THOUSAND: See Lesson, Large numbers in the OT.

1Ki 20:32

YOUR SERVANT BEN-HADAD: Just before, Ahab had offered to be his "servant", but had been spurned.

1Ki 20:35

BUT THE MAN REFUSED: Acting out the deeds of Ahab.

1Ki 20:36

A LION... KILLED HIM: Sym Ahab's fate: death.

1Ki 20:38

HEADBAND: KJV has "ashes".

1Ki 20:39

// Nathan's parable: 2Sa 12.

1Ki 20:42

"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).

Previous Index Next