1 Kings 20-21
New King James Version
Ahab Defeats the Syrians
20 Now (A)Ben-Hadad the king of Syria gathered all his forces together; thirty-two kings were with him, with horses and chariots. And he went up and besieged (B)Samaria, and made war against it. 2 Then he sent messengers into the city to Ahab king of Israel, and said to him, “Thus says Ben-Hadad: 3 ‘Your silver and your gold are mine; your loveliest wives and children are mine.’ ”
4 And the king of Israel answered and said, “My lord, O king, just as you say, I and all that I have are yours.”
5 Then the messengers came back and said, “Thus speaks Ben-Hadad, saying, ‘Indeed I have sent to you, saying, “You shall deliver to me your silver and your gold, your wives and your children”; 6 but I will send my servants to you tomorrow about this time, and they shall search your house and the houses of your servants. And it shall be, that whatever is [a]pleasant in your eyes, they will put it in their hands and take it.’ ”
7 So the king of Israel called all the elders of the land, and said, “Notice, please, and see how this man seeks trouble, for he sent to me for my wives, my children, my silver, and my gold; and I did not deny him.”
8 And all the elders and all the people said to him, “Do not listen or consent.”
9 Therefore he said to the messengers of Ben-Hadad, “Tell my lord the king, ‘All that you sent for to your servant the first time I will do, but this thing I cannot do.’ ”
And the messengers departed and brought back word to him.
11 So the king of Israel answered and said, “Tell him, ‘Let not the one who puts on his armor (D)boast like the one who takes it off.’ ”
13 Suddenly a prophet approached Ahab king of Israel, saying, “Thus says the Lord: ‘Have you seen all this great multitude? Behold, (F)I will deliver it into your hand today, and you shall know that I am the Lord.’ ”
14 So Ahab said, “By whom?”
And he said, “Thus says the Lord: ‘By the young leaders of the provinces.’ ”
Then he said, “Who will set the battle in order?”
And he answered, “You.”
15 Then he mustered the young leaders of the provinces, and there were two hundred and thirty-two; and after them he mustered all the people, all the children of Israel—seven thousand.
16 So they went out at noon. Meanwhile Ben-Hadad and the thirty-two kings helping him were (G)getting drunk at the command post. 17 The young leaders of the provinces went out first. And Ben-Hadad sent out a patrol, and they told him, saying, “Men are coming out of Samaria!” 18 So he said, “If they have come out for peace, take them alive; and if they have come out for war, take them alive.”
19 Then these young leaders of the provinces went out of the city with the army which followed them. 20 And each one killed his man; so the Syrians fled, and Israel pursued them; and Ben-Hadad the king of Syria escaped on a horse with the cavalry. 21 Then the king of Israel went out and attacked the horses and chariots, and killed the Syrians with a great slaughter.
22 And the prophet came to the king of Israel and said to him, “Go, strengthen yourself; take note, and see what you should do, (H)for [d]in the spring of the year the king of Syria will come up against you.”
The Syrians Again Defeated
23 Then the servants of the king of Syria said to him, “Their gods are gods of the hills. Therefore they were stronger than we; but if we fight against them in the plain, surely we will be stronger than they. 24 So do this thing: Dismiss the kings, each from his position, and put captains in their [e]places; 25 and you shall muster an army like the army [f]that you have lost, horse for horse and chariot for chariot. Then we will fight against them in the plain; surely we will be stronger than they.”
And he listened to their voice and did so.
26 So it was, in the spring of the year, that Ben-Hadad mustered the Syrians and went up to (I)Aphek to fight against Israel. 27 And the children of Israel were mustered and given provisions, and they went against them. Now the children of Israel encamped before them like two little flocks of goats, while the Syrians filled the (J)countryside.
28 Then a (K)man of God came and spoke to the king of Israel, and said, “Thus says the Lord: ‘Because the Syrians have said, “The Lord is God of the hills, but He is not God of the valleys,” therefore (L)I will deliver all this great multitude into your hand, and you shall know that I am the Lord.’ ” 29 And they encamped opposite each other for seven days. So it was that on the seventh day the battle was joined; and the children of Israel killed one hundred thousand foot soldiers of the Syrians in one day. 30 But the rest fled to Aphek, into the city; then a wall fell on twenty-seven thousand of the men who were left.
And Ben-Hadad fled and went into the city, into an inner chamber.
Ahab’s Treaty with Ben-Hadad
31 Then his servants said to him, “Look now, we have heard that the kings of the house of Israel are merciful kings. Please, let us (M)put sackcloth around our waists and ropes around our heads, and go out to the king of Israel; perhaps he will spare your life.” 32 So they wore sackcloth around their waists and put ropes around 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 were watching closely to see whether any sign of mercy would come from him; and they quickly grasped at this word and said, “Your brother Ben-Hadad.”
So he said, “Go, bring him.” Then Ben-Hadad came out to him; and he had him come up into the chariot.
34 So Ben-Hadad said to him, (N)“The cities which my father took from your father I will restore; and you may set up marketplaces for yourself in Damascus, as my father did in Samaria.”
Then Ahab said, “I will send you away with this treaty.” So he made a treaty with him and sent him away.
35 Now a certain man of (O)the sons of the prophets said to his neighbor (P)by the word of the Lord, “Strike me, please.” And the man refused to strike him. 36 Then he said to him, “Because you have not obeyed the voice of the Lord, surely, as soon as you depart from me, a lion shall kill you.” And as soon as he left him, (Q)a lion found him and killed him.
37 And he found another man, and said, “Strike me, please.” So the man struck him, inflicting a wound. 38 Then the prophet departed and waited for the king by the road, and disguised himself with a bandage over his eyes. 39 Now (R)as the king passed by, he cried out to the king and said, “Your servant went out into the midst of the battle; and there, a man came over and brought a man to me, and said, ‘Guard this man; if by any means he is missing, (S)your life shall be for his life, or else you shall [g]pay a talent of silver.’ 40 While your servant was busy here and there, he was gone.”
Then the king of Israel said to him, “So shall your judgment be; you yourself have decided it.”
41 And he hastened to take the bandage away from his eyes; and the king of Israel recognized him as one of the prophets. 42 Then he said to him, “Thus says the Lord: (T)‘Because you have let slip out of your hand a man whom I appointed to utter destruction, therefore your life shall go for his life, and your people for his people.’ ”
43 So the king of Israel (U)went to his house sullen and displeased, and came to Samaria.
Naboth Is Murdered for His Vineyard
21 And it came to pass after these things that Naboth the Jezreelite had a vineyard which was in (V)Jezreel, next to the palace of Ahab king of Samaria. 2 So Ahab spoke to Naboth, saying, “Give me your (W)vineyard, that I may have it for a vegetable garden, because it is near, next to my house; and for it I will give you a vineyard better than it. Or, if it seems good to you, I will give you its worth in money.”
3 But Naboth said to Ahab, “The Lord forbid (X)that I should give the inheritance of my fathers to you!”
4 So Ahab went into his house sullen and displeased because of the word which Naboth the Jezreelite had spoken to him; for he had said, “I will not give you the inheritance of my fathers.” And he lay down on his bed, and turned away his face, and would eat no food. 5 But (Y)Jezebel his wife came to him, and said to him, “Why is your spirit so sullen that you eat no food?”
6 He said to her, “Because I spoke to Naboth the Jezreelite, and said to him, ‘Give me your vineyard for money; or else, if it pleases you, I will give you another vineyard for it.’ And he answered, ‘I will not give you my vineyard.’ ”
7 Then Jezebel his wife said to him, “You now exercise authority over Israel! Arise, eat food, and let your heart be cheerful; I will give you the vineyard of Naboth the Jezreelite.”
8 And she wrote letters in Ahab’s name, sealed them with his seal, and sent the letters to the elders and the nobles who were dwelling in the city with Naboth. 9 She wrote in the letters, saying,
Proclaim a fast, and seat Naboth [h]with high honor among the people; 10 and seat two men, scoundrels, before him to bear witness against him, saying, “You have (Z)blasphemed God and the king.” Then take him out, and (AA)stone him, that he may die.
11 So the men of his city, the elders and nobles who were inhabitants of his city, did as Jezebel had sent to them, as it was written in the letters which she had sent to them. 12 (AB)They proclaimed a fast, and seated Naboth with high honor among the people. 13 And two men, scoundrels, came in and sat before him; and the scoundrels (AC)witnessed against him, against Naboth, in the presence of the people, saying, “Naboth has blasphemed God and the king!” (AD)Then they took him outside the city and stoned him with stones, so that he died. 14 Then they sent to Jezebel, saying, “Naboth has been stoned and is dead.”
15 And it came to pass, when Jezebel heard that Naboth had been stoned and was dead, that Jezebel said to Ahab, “Arise, take possession of the vineyard of Naboth the Jezreelite, which he refused to give you for money; for Naboth is not alive, but dead.” 16 So it was, when Ahab heard that Naboth was dead, that Ahab got up and went down to take possession of the vineyard of Naboth the Jezreelite.
The Lord Condemns Ahab
17 (AE)Then the word of the Lord came to (AF)Elijah the Tishbite, saying, 18 “Arise, go down to meet Ahab king of Israel, (AG)who lives in Samaria. There he is, in the vineyard of Naboth, where he has gone down to take possession of it. 19 You shall speak to him, saying, ‘Thus says the Lord: “Have you murdered and also taken possession?” ’ And you shall speak to him, saying, ‘Thus says the Lord: (AH)“In the place where dogs licked the blood of Naboth, dogs shall lick your blood, even yours.” ’ ”
20 So Ahab said to Elijah, (AI)“Have you found me, O my enemy?”
And he answered, “I have found you, because (AJ)you have sold yourself to do evil in the sight of the Lord: 21 ‘Behold, (AK)I will bring calamity on you. I will take away your (AL)posterity, and will cut off from Ahab (AM)every male in Israel, both (AN)bond and free. 22 I will make your house like the house of (AO)Jeroboam the son of Nebat, and like the house of (AP)Baasha the son of Ahijah, because of the provocation with which you have provoked Me to anger, and made Israel sin.’ 23 And (AQ)concerning Jezebel the Lord also spoke, saying, ‘The dogs shall eat Jezebel by the [i]wall of Jezreel.’ 24 The dogs shall eat (AR)whoever belongs to Ahab and dies in the city, and the birds of the air shall eat whoever dies in the field.”
25 But (AS)there was no one like Ahab who sold himself to do wickedness in the sight of the Lord, (AT)because Jezebel his wife [j]stirred him up. 26 And he behaved very abominably in following idols, according to all (AU)that the Amorites had done, whom the Lord had cast out before the children of Israel.
27 So it was, when Ahab heard those words, that he tore his clothes and (AV)put sackcloth on his body, and fasted and lay in sackcloth, and went about mourning.
28 And the word of the Lord came to Elijah the Tishbite, saying, 29 “See how Ahab has humbled himself before Me? Because he (AW)has humbled himself before Me, I will not bring the calamity in his days. (AX)In the days of his son I will bring the calamity on his house.”
- 1 Kings 20:6 pleasing
- 1 Kings 20:10 Lit. at my feet
- 1 Kings 20:12 Lit. booths or shelters
- 1 Kings 20:22 Lit. at the return
- 1 Kings 20:24 positions
- 1 Kings 20:25 Lit. that fell from you
- 1 Kings 20:39 Lit. weigh
- 1 Kings 21:9 Lit. at the head
- 1 Kings 21:23 So with MT, LXX; some Heb. mss., Syr., Tg., Vg. plot of ground instead of wall (cf. 2 Kin. 9:36)
- 1 Kings 21:25 incited him