1 Kings 20 New Life Version (NLV)
Syria Fights Samaria
20 Ben-hadad king of Syria gathered all his army together. Thirty-two kings were with him, and horses and war-wagons. And he went up against Samaria in battle. 2 Then he sent men with news to the city of Ahab king of Israel, saying, “This is what Ben-hadad says. 3 ’Your silver and gold are mine. Your most beautiful wives and children are mine also.’” 4 The king of Israel answered, “It is as you say, my lord, O king. I am yours, and all that I have.” 5 Then the men returned and said, “This is what Ben-hadad says. ‘I sent word to you saying, “You must give me your silver and gold and your wives and children.” 6 But I will send my servants to you tomorrow about this time. They will look through your house and the houses of your servants. And they will take away all that is of worth to you.’”
7 Then the king of Israel called all the leaders of the land. He said to them, “Look and see how this man is looking for trouble. He sent to me for my wives and my children, my silver and my gold. And I did not say no to him.” 8 Then all the leaders and all the people said to him, “Do not listen or agree.” 9 So Ahab said to Benhadad’s men, “Tell my lord the king, ‘I will do all that you first asked of your servant, but this I cannot do.’” The men left and returned again with news for him. 10 Ben-hadad sent word to him saying, “May the gods do so to me and more also, if the dust of Samaria will be enough to fill the hands of all the people who follow me.” 11 The king of Israel answered and said, “Tell him, ‘Let not him who dresses in battle-clothes talk with pride like him who takes them off.’” 12 When Ben-hadad heard these words, he was drinking with the kings in the tents. He said to his servants, “Go to your places.” So they went to their place of battle against the city. 13 Then a man who spoke for God came to Ahab king of Israel and said, “This is what the Lord says. ‘Have you seen all these many people? See, I will give them to you today. Then you will know that I am the Lord.’” 14 Ahab said, “By whom?” So he told him, “The Lord says, ‘By the young servants of the leaders of the lands you rule.’” Then Ahab said, “Who will start the battle?” And he answered, “You.” 15 Then Ahab called together the young servants of the leaders of the nations, 232 men. And he called together all the people of Israel, 7,000 men.
16 They went out at noon, while Ben-hadad was drinking himself drunk in the tents with the thirty-two kings who helped him. 17 The young servants of the leaders of the lands went out first. Ben-hadad sent men out to get news, and they told him, “Men have come out from Samaria.” 18 Then he said, “If they have come out for peace or for war, take them alive.”
19 So the young servants of the leaders of the lands went out from the city, and the army which followed them. 20 Each one killed his man. The Syrians ran away, and Israel went after them. And Ben-hadad king of Syria got away on a horse with horsemen. 21 The king of Israel went out and destroyed the horses and war-wagons. He killed many of the Syrians. 22 Then the man who spoke for God came to the king of Israel, and said to him, “Go and make yourself strong. Look and see what you have to do. For the first of next year the king of Syria will come to fight against you.”
The Syrians Lose Again
23 Now the servants of the king of Syria said to him, “Israel’s gods are gods of the mountains. So they were stronger than we. But let us fight against them in the plain, and for sure we will be stronger than they. 24 And do this. Take each of the kings from his place, and put captains in their places. 25 Gather together an army like the army you lost, horse for horse, and war-wagon for war-wagon. Then we will fight against Israel in the plain. For sure we will be stronger than they.” And Ben-hadad listened to them and did so.
26 When the new year came, Benhadad called together the Syrians and went up to Aphek to fight against Israel. 27 The people of Israel were called together and given what they needed, and went to meet them. The people of Israel gathered in front of them like two little flocks of goats. But the Syrians filled the country. 28 Then a man who spoke for God came to the king of Israel and said, “This is what the Lord says. ‘The Syrians have said, “The Lord is a god of the mountains, but He is not a god of the valleys.” So I will give all these many people to you. Then you will know that I am the Lord.’” 29 So they stayed beside each other for seven days. On the seventh day the battle was fought. And the people of Israel killed 100,000 Syrian foot soldiers in one day. 30 But the rest ran away into the city of Aphek. And the wall fell on 27,000 men who were left. Ben-hadad ran away and came to a room in the city.
31 His servants said to him, “Now see, we have heard that the kings of the family of Israel are kings who show kindness. Let us dress in cloth made from hair and put ropes on our heads, and go out to the king of Israel. It might be that he will save your life.” 32 So they dressed in cloth made from hair and put ropes on their heads, and went to the king of Israel. They said to him, “Your servant Ben-hadad says, ‘I beg you, let me live.’” Ahab said, “Is he still alive? He is my brother.” 33 Now the men were watching for something special to happen. They were quick to catch his word, and said, “Yes, your brother Ben-hadad.” Then Ahab said, “Go and bring him.” So Ben-hadad came out to him, and Ahab took him up into the war-wagon. 34 Ben-hadad said to him, “I will return to you the cities which my father took from your father. And you will make streets for yourself in Damascus, as my father made in Samaria.” Ahab said, “I will let you go with this agreement.” So he made an agreement with him and let him go.
A Man of God Speaks
35 Now a certain son of the men who spoke for God said to another by the word of the Lord, “Hit me.” But the man would not hit him. 36 Then he said to him, “Because you have not listened to the voice of the Lord, as soon as you have left me, a lion will kill you.” And as soon as he had left him, a lion found him and killed him. 37 Then he found another man and said, “Hit me.” And the man hit him, and hurt him. 38 So the man of God left, and waited for the king by the way. He tied a cloth over his eyes so no one would know him. 39 As the king passed by, he cried to the king and said, “Your servant went out to the battle. A soldier turned and brought a man to me, and said, ‘Keep this man. If he is missing for any reason, you will pay for his life with your own. Or else you must pay a man’s weight in silver.’ 40 But while your servant was doing things here and there, the man got away.” The king of Israel said to him, “So you must be punished. You yourself have decided it.” 41 In a hurry the man took the cloth away from his eyes. And the king of Israel saw that he was one of the men who speak for God. 42 The man said to him, “This is what the Lord says. ‘You have let the man go whom I had given to be destroyed. So you will pay for his life with your own. And your people will pay for his people.’” 43 So the king of Israel went home sad and angry, and came to Samaria.