1 Kings 20
1 Now 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 Samaria, and made
war against it.
2 And he sent messengers into the city to Ahab king of Israel, and said to him, Thus says
3 Your silver and your gold are mine; your lovely 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 And the messengers came back and said, Thus says Ben-Hadad, saying, Indeed I have
sent to you, saying, You shall deliver to me your silver and your gold, your wives and your
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 pleasant in your
eyes, they shall put it in their hands and take it away.
7 So the king of Israel called all the elders of the land, and said, Notice, please, and see
how this man seeks evil, for he sent to me for my wives, my children, my silver, and my
gold; and I have not withheld from 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.
10 And Ben-Hadad sent to him and said, The gods do so to me, and more also, if enough
dust is left of Samaria for a handful for each of the people who follow me.
11 And the king of Israel answered and said, Tell him, Let not the one who puts on his
armor boast like the one who takes it off.
12 And it happened when Ben-Hadad heard this message, as he and the kings were
drinking at the booths, that he said to his servants, Get ready. And they stationed
themselves against the city.
13 And behold, a certain prophet approached Ahab king of Israel, saying, Thus says
Jehovah: Have you seen all this great multitude? Behold, I am delivering it into your hand
today, and you shall know that I am Jehovah.
14 So Ahab said, By whom? And he said, Thus says Jehovah: By the young rulers of the
provinces. Then he said, Who shall begin the battle? And he answered, You.
15 Then he mustered the young rulers of the provinces, and there were two hundred and
thirty-two; and after them he mustered all the people, all the sons of Israel; seven thousand.
16 So they went out at noon. Meanwhile Ben-Hadad and the thirty-two kings helping him
were getting drunk in the booths.
17 And the young rulers of the provinces went out first. And Ben-Hadad sent out, and they reported to him, saying, Men have come out of Samaria!
18 And he said, If they have come out for peace, take them alive; and if they have come
out for war, take them alive.
19 And the young rulers of the provinces went out of the city with the army which
20 And each one struck his man; so the Syrians fled, and Israel pursued them; and Ben-Hadad the king of Syria escaped on a horse with the horsemen.
21 And the king of Israel went out and struck the horses and chariots, and struck 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, for at the return of the year the king of Syria will
come up against you.
23 And the servants of the king of Syria said to him, Their gods are gods of the hills.
Therefore they were stronger than us; but if we fight against them in the plain, will we not
be stronger than them.
24 So do this thing: Remove the kings, each from his place, and put governors in their
25 and you shall muster an army like the army that you have lost, horse for horse and
chariot for chariot. Then we shall fight against them in the plain; surely we will be stronger
than them. And he heeded their voice and did so.
26 So it was, at the turn of the year, that Ben-Hadad mustered the Syrians and went up to
Aphek to fight against Israel.
27 And the sons of Israel were mustered and given provisions, and they went against
them. Now the sons of Israel encamped before them like two little flocks of goats, while
the Syrians filled the land.
28 And a man of God came and spoke to the king of Israel, and said, Thus says Jehovah:
Because the Syrians have said, Jehovah is God of the hills, but He is not God of the
valleys, therefore I will deliver all this great multitude into your hand, and you shall know
that I am Jehovah.
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 And the rest fled to Aphek, into the city; where a wall fell on twenty-seven thousand of
the men who were left. And Ben-Hadad fled and came into the city, into an inner
31 And 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 around our
heads, and go out to the king of Israel; perhaps he will preserve alive your soul.
32 So they girded sackcloth on their loins and put ropes around their heads, and came to
the king of Israel and said, Your servant Ben-Hadad says, Please preserve my soul alive.
And he said, Is he still alive? He is my brother.
33 Now the men observed carefully, and they quickly grasped at this word and said, Your
brother Ben-Hadad. And he said, Go, bring him. Then Ben-Hadad came out to him; and
he had him come up into the chariot.
34 And 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 did in Samaria.
And Ahab said, I will send you away with this treaty. So he made a treaty with him and
sent him away.
35 And a certain man of the sons of the prophets said to his neighbor, By the Word of
Jehovah, Strike me, please. And the man refused to strike him.
36 And he said to him, Because you have not obeyed the voice of Jehovah, behold, as
soon as you depart from me, a lion shall kill you. And as soon as he left him, a lion found
him and killed him.
37 And he found another man, and said, Strike me, please. So the man struck him, to
strike and wound him.
38 And the prophet departed and waited for the king by the road, and disguised himself
with a cover over his eyes.
39 And 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, your soul shall be for his soul, or else you
shall pay a talent of silver.
40 And 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 And he hastened to take the covering away from his eyes; and the king of Israel
recognized him as one of the prophets.
42 And he said to him, Thus says Jehovah: Because you have sent away out of your hand
a man whom I devoted to utter destruction, therefore your soul shall go for his soul, and
your people for his people.
43 So the king of Israel went to his house sullen and angry, and came to Samaria.