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1 Kings 20 New American Standard Bible (NASB)

War with Aram

20 Now Ben-hadad king of Aram gathered all his army, and there were thirty-two kings with him, and horses and chariots. And he went up and besieged Samaria and fought against it. Then he sent messengers to the city to Ahab king of Israel and said to him, “Thus says Ben-hadad, ‘Your silver and your gold are mine; your most beautiful wives and children are also mine.’” The king of Israel replied, “It is according to your word, my lord, O king; I am yours, and all that I have.” Then the messengers returned and said, “Thus says [a]Ben-hadad, ‘Surely, I sent to you saying, “You shall give me your silver and your gold and your wives and your children,” but about this time tomorrow I will send my servants to you, and they will search your house and the houses of your servants; and [b]whatever is desirable in your eyes, they will [c]take in their hand and carry away.’”

Then the king of Israel called all the elders of the land and said, “Please observe and see how this man is looking for trouble; for he sent to me for my wives and my children and my silver and my gold, and I did not refuse him.” All the elders and all the people said to him, “Do not listen or consent.” So he said to the messengers of Ben-hadad, “Tell my lord the king, ‘All that you sent for to your servant at the first I will do, but this thing I cannot do.’” And the messengers departed and brought him word again. 10 Ben-hadad sent to him and said, “May the gods do so to me and more also, if the dust of Samaria will suffice for handfuls for all the people who [d]follow me.” 11 Then the king of Israel replied, “Tell him, ‘Let not him who girds on his armor boast like him who takes it off.’” 12 When Ben-hadad heard this message, as he was drinking [e]with the kings in the [f]temporary shelters, he said to his servants, “Station yourselves.” So they stationed themselves against the city.

Ahab Victorious

13 Now behold, a prophet approached Ahab king of Israel and said, “Thus says the Lord, ‘Have you seen all this great multitude? Behold, I will deliver them into your hand today, and you shall know that I am the Lord.’” 14 Ahab said, “By whom?” So he said, “Thus says the Lord, ‘By the young men of the rulers of the provinces.’” Then he said, “Who shall [g]begin the battle?” And he [h]answered, “You.” 15 Then he mustered the young men of the rulers of the provinces, and there were 232; and after them he mustered all the people, even all the sons of Israel, 7,000.

16 They went out at noon, while Ben-hadad was drinking himself drunk in the [i]temporary shelters [j]with the thirty-two kings who helped him. 17 The young men of the rulers of the provinces went out first; and Ben-hadad sent out and they told him, saying, “Men have come out from Samaria.” 18 Then he said, “If they have come out for peace, take them alive; or if they have come out for war, take them alive.”

19 So these went out from the city, the young men of the rulers of the provinces, and the army which followed them. 20 They [k]killed each his man; and the Arameans fled and Israel pursued them, and Ben-hadad king of Aram escaped on a horse with horsemen. 21 The king of Israel went out and [l]struck the horses and chariots, and [m]killed the Arameans with a great slaughter.

22 Then the prophet came near to the king of Israel and said to him, “Go, strengthen yourself and observe and see what you have to do; for at the turn of the year the king of Aram will come up against you.”

23 Now the servants of the king of Aram said to him, “Their gods are gods of the mountains, therefore they were stronger than we; but rather let us fight against them in the plain, and surely we will be stronger than they. 24 Do this thing: remove the kings, each from his place, and put captains in their place, 25 and [n]muster an army like the army that you have lost, horse for horse, and chariot for chariot. Then we will fight against them in the plain, and surely we will be stronger than they.” And he listened to their voice and did so.

Another Aramean War

26 At the turn of the year, Ben-hadad mustered the Arameans and went up to Aphek to fight against Israel. 27 The sons of Israel were mustered and were provisioned and went to meet them; and the sons of Israel camped before them like two little flocks of goats, but the Arameans filled the country. 28 Then a man of God came near and spoke to the king of Israel and said, “Thus says the Lord, ‘Because the Arameans have said, “The Lord is a god of the mountains, but He is not a god of the valleys,” therefore I will give all this great multitude into your hand, and you shall know that I am the Lord.’” 29 So they camped one over against the other seven days. And on the seventh day the battle was joined, and the sons of Israel [o]killed of the Arameans 100,000 foot soldiers in one day. 30 But the rest fled to Aphek into the city, and the wall fell on 27,000 men who were left. And Ben-hadad fled and came into the city into an inner chamber.

31 His servants said to him, “Behold now, we have heard that the kings of the house of Israel are merciful kings, please let us put sackcloth on our loins and ropes on our heads, and go out to the king of Israel; perhaps he will save your [p]life.” 32 So they girded sackcloth on their loins and put ropes on their heads, and came to the king of Israel and said, “Your servant Ben-hadad says, ‘Please let me live.’” And he said, “Is he still alive? He is my brother.” 33 Now the men [q]took this as an omen, and quickly [r]catching his word said, “Your brother Ben-hadad.” Then he said, “Go, bring him.” Then Ben-hadad came out to him, and he [s]took him up into the chariot. 34 Ben-hadad said to him, “The cities which my father took from your father I will restore, and you shall make streets for yourself in Damascus, as my father made in Samaria.” Ahab said, “And I will let you go with this covenant.” So he made a covenant with him and let him go.

35 Now a certain man of the sons of the prophets said to [t]another by the word of the Lord, “Please strike me.” But the man refused to strike him. 36 Then he said to him, “Because you have not listened to the voice of the Lord, behold, as soon as you have departed from me, a lion will [u]kill you.” And as soon as he had departed from him a lion found him and [v]killed him. 37 Then he found another man and said, “Please [w]strike me.” And the man [x]struck him, [y]wounding him. 38 So the prophet departed and waited for the king by the way, and disguised himself with a bandage over his eyes. 39 As the king passed by, he cried to the king and said, “Your servant went out into the midst of the battle; and behold, a man turned aside and brought a man to me and said, ‘Guard this man; if for any reason he is missing, then your life shall be for his life, or else you shall pay a talent of silver.’ 40 While your servant was busy here and there, he was gone.” And the king of Israel said to him, “So shall your judgment be; you yourself have decided it.” 41 Then he hastily took the bandage away from his eyes, and the king of Israel recognized him that he was of the prophets. 42 He said to him, “Thus says the Lord, ‘Because you have let go out of your hand the man whom I had devoted to destruction, therefore your [z]life shall go for his [aa]life, and your people for his people.’” 43 So the king of Israel went to his house sullen and vexed, and came to Samaria.

Footnotes:

  1. 1 Kings 20:5 Lit Ben-hadad, saying
  2. 1 Kings 20:6 Lit all the desire of your eyes
  3. 1 Kings 20:6 Lit put
  4. 1 Kings 20:10 Lit are at my feet
  5. 1 Kings 20:12 Lit he and
  6. 1 Kings 20:12 Or booths
  7. 1 Kings 20:14 Lit bind
  8. 1 Kings 20:14 Lit said
  9. 1 Kings 20:16 Or booths
  10. 1 Kings 20:16 Lit he and the 32 kings
  11. 1 Kings 20:20 Lit smote
  12. 1 Kings 20:21 Lit smote
  13. 1 Kings 20:21 Lit smote
  14. 1 Kings 20:25 Lit number
  15. 1 Kings 20:29 Lit smote
  16. 1 Kings 20:31 Lit soul
  17. 1 Kings 20:33 Lit divined
  18. 1 Kings 20:33 Lit caught from him
  19. 1 Kings 20:33 Lit caused him to come up
  20. 1 Kings 20:35 Lit his neighbor
  21. 1 Kings 20:36 Lit smite
  22. 1 Kings 20:36 Lit smote
  23. 1 Kings 20:37 Lit smite
  24. 1 Kings 20:37 Lit smote
  25. 1 Kings 20:37 Lit striking and wounding
  26. 1 Kings 20:42 Lit soul
  27. 1 Kings 20:42 Lit soul
New American Standard Bible (NASB)

Copyright © 1960, 1962, 1963, 1968, 1971, 1972, 1973, 1975, 1977, 1995 by The Lockman Foundation

1 Kings 20 New International Version (NIV)

Ben-Hadad Attacks Samaria

20 Now Ben-Hadad king of Aram mustered his entire army. Accompanied by thirty-two kings with their horses and chariots, he went up and besieged Samaria and attacked it. He sent messengers into the city to Ahab king of Israel, saying, “This is what Ben-Hadad says: ‘Your silver and gold are mine, and the best of your wives and children are mine.’”

The king of Israel answered, “Just as you say, my lord the king. I and all I have are yours.”

The messengers came again and said, “This is what Ben-Hadad says: ‘I sent to demand your silver and gold, your wives and your children. But about this time tomorrow I am going to send my officials to search your palace and the houses of your officials. They will seize everything you value and carry it away.’”

The king of Israel summoned all the elders of the land and said to them, “See how this man is looking for trouble! When he sent for my wives and my children, my silver and my gold, I did not refuse him.”

The elders and the people all answered, “Don’t listen to him or agree to his demands.”

So he replied to Ben-Hadad’s messengers, “Tell my lord the king, ‘Your servant will do all you demanded the first time, but this demand I cannot meet.’” They left and took the answer back to Ben-Hadad.

10 Then Ben-Hadad sent another message to Ahab: “May the gods deal with me, be it ever so severely, if enough dust remains in Samaria to give each of my men a handful.”

11 The king of Israel answered, “Tell him: ‘One who puts on his armor should not boast like one who takes it off.’”

12 Ben-Hadad heard this message while he and the kings were drinking in their tents,[a] and he ordered his men: “Prepare to attack.” So they prepared to attack the city.

Ahab Defeats Ben-Hadad

13 Meanwhile a prophet came to Ahab king of Israel and announced, “This is what the Lord says: ‘Do you see this vast army? I will give it into your hand today, and then you will know that I am the Lord.’”

14 “But who will do this?” asked Ahab.

The prophet replied, “This is what the Lord says: ‘The junior officers under the provincial commanders will do it.’”

“And who will start the battle?” he asked.

The prophet answered, “You will.”

15 So Ahab summoned the 232 junior officers under the provincial commanders. Then he assembled the rest of the Israelites, 7,000 in all. 16 They set out at noon while Ben-Hadad and the 32 kings allied with him were in their tents getting drunk. 17 The junior officers under the provincial commanders went out first.

Now Ben-Hadad had dispatched scouts, who reported, “Men are advancing from Samaria.”

18 He said, “If they have come out for peace, take them alive; if they have come out for war, take them alive.”

19 The junior officers under the provincial commanders marched out of the city with the army behind them 20 and each one struck down his opponent. At that, the Arameans fled, with the Israelites in pursuit. But Ben-Hadad king of Aram escaped on horseback with some of his horsemen. 21 The king of Israel advanced and overpowered the horses and chariots and inflicted heavy losses on the Arameans.

22 Afterward, the prophet came to the king of Israel and said, “Strengthen your position and see what must be done, because next spring the king of Aram will attack you again.”

23 Meanwhile, the officials of the king of Aram advised him, “Their gods are gods of the hills. That is why they were too strong for us. But if we fight them on the plains, surely we will be stronger than they. 24 Do this: Remove all the kings from their commands and replace them with other officers. 25 You must also raise an army like the one you lost—horse for horse and chariot for chariot—so we can fight Israel on the plains. Then surely we will be stronger than they.” He agreed with them and acted accordingly.

26 The next spring Ben-Hadad mustered the Arameans and went up to Aphek to fight against Israel. 27 When the Israelites were also mustered and given provisions, they marched out to meet them. The Israelites camped opposite them like two small flocks of goats, while the Arameans covered the countryside.

28 The man of God came up and told the king of Israel, “This is what the Lord says: ‘Because the Arameans think the Lord is a god of the hills and not a god of the valleys, I will deliver this vast army into your hands, and you will know that I am the Lord.’”

29 For seven days they camped opposite each other, and on the seventh day the battle was joined. The Israelites inflicted a hundred thousand casualties on the Aramean foot soldiers in one day. 30 The rest of them escaped to the city of Aphek, where the wall collapsed on twenty-seven thousand of them. And Ben-Hadad fled to the city and hid in an inner room.

31 His officials said to him, “Look, we have heard that the kings of Israel are merciful. Let us go to the king of Israel with sackcloth around our waists and ropes around our heads. Perhaps he will spare your life.”

32 Wearing sackcloth around their waists and ropes around their heads, they went to the king of Israel and said, “Your servant Ben-Hadad says: ‘Please let me live.’”

The king answered, “Is he still alive? He is my brother.”

33 The men took this as a good sign and were quick to pick up his word. “Yes, your brother Ben-Hadad!” they said.

“Go and get him,” the king said. When Ben-Hadad came out, Ahab had him come up into his chariot.

34 “I will return the cities my father took from your father,” Ben-Hadad offered. “You may set up your own market areas in Damascus, as my father did in Samaria.”

Ahab said, “On the basis of a treaty I will set you free.” So he made a treaty with him, and let him go.

A Prophet Condemns Ahab

35 By the word of the Lord one of the company of the prophets said to his companion, “Strike me with your weapon,” but he refused.

36 So the prophet said, “Because you have not obeyed the Lord, as soon as you leave me a lion will kill you.” And after the man went away, a lion found him and killed him.

37 The prophet found another man and said, “Strike me, please.” So the man struck him and wounded him. 38 Then the prophet went and stood by the road waiting for the king. He disguised himself with his headband down over his eyes. 39 As the king passed by, the prophet called out to him, “Your servant went into the thick of the battle, and someone came to me with a captive and said, ‘Guard this man. If he is missing, it will be your life for his life, or you must pay a talent[b] of silver.’ 40 While your servant was busy here and there, the man disappeared.”

“That is your sentence,” the king of Israel said. “You have pronounced it yourself.”

41 Then the prophet quickly removed the headband from his eyes, and the king of Israel recognized him as one of the prophets. 42 He said to the king, “This is what the Lord says: ‘You have set free a man I had determined should die.[c] Therefore it is your life for his life, your people for his people.’” 43 Sullen and angry, the king of Israel went to his palace in Samaria.

Footnotes:

  1. 1 Kings 20:12 Or in Sukkoth; also in verse 16
  2. 1 Kings 20:39 That is, about 75 pounds or about 34 kilograms
  3. 1 Kings 20:42 The Hebrew term refers to the irrevocable giving over of things or persons to the Lord, often by totally destroying them.
New International Version (NIV)

Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.

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