1 Kings 20:23
New International Version
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.

New Living Translation
After their defeat, Ben-hadad’s officers said to him, “The Israelite gods are gods of the hills; that is why they won. But we can beat them easily on the plains.

English Standard Version
And the servants of the king of Syria said to him, “Their gods are gods of the hills, and so they were stronger than we. But let us fight against them in the plain, and surely we shall be stronger than they.

Berean Study Bible
Meanwhile, the servants of the king of Aram said to him, “Their gods are gods of the hills. That is why they prevailed over us. Instead, we should fight them on the plains; surely then we will prevail.

King James Bible
And the servants of the king of Syria said unto him, Their gods are gods of the hills; therefore they were stronger than we; but let us fight against them in the plain, and surely we shall be stronger than they.

New King James Version
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.

New American Standard Bible
Now the servants of the king of Aram said to him, “Their gods are gods of the mountains; for that reason they were stronger than we. But let us fight them in the plain, and we will certainly be stronger than they.

NASB 1995
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.

NASB 1977
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 shall be stronger than they.

Amplified Bible
Now the servants of the king of Aram said to him, “Israel’s god is a god of the hills; that is why they were stronger than we. But let us fight against them in the plain, and surely we will be stronger than they.

Christian Standard Bible
Now the king of Aram’s servants said to him, “Their gods are gods of the hill country. That’s why they were stronger than we were. Instead, we should fight with them on the plain; then we will certainly be stronger than they are.

Holman Christian Standard Bible
Now the king of Aram’s servants said to him, “Their gods are gods of the hill country. That’s why they were stronger than we were. Instead, we should fight with them on the plain; then we will certainly be stronger than they will be.

American Standard Version
And the servants of the king of Syria said unto him, Their god is a god of the hills; therefore they were stronger than we: but let us fight against them in the plain, and surely we shall be stronger than they.

Aramaic Bible in Plain English
And the Servants of the King of Edom were saying to him: “Their God is the God of the mountains. Because of this, they are victorious; however, we will fight with them in the plain and we will conquer them!

Brenton Septuagint Translation
And the servants of the king of Syria, even they said, The God of Israel is a God of mountains, and not a God of valleys; therefore has he prevailed against us: but if we should fight against them in the plain, verily we shall prevail against them.

Contemporary English Version
Meanwhile, Benhadad's officials went to him and explained: Israel's gods are mountain gods. We fought Israel's army in the hills, and that's why they defeated us. But if we fight them on flat land, there's no way we can lose.

Douay-Rheims Bible
But the servants of the king of Syria said to him: Their gods are gods of the hills, therefore they have overcome us: but it is better that we should fight against them in the plains, and we shall overcome them.

English Revised Version
And the servants of the king of Syria said unto him, Their god is a god of the hills; therefore they were stronger than we: but let us fight against them in the plain, and surely we shall be stronger than they.

Good News Translation
King Benhadad's officials said to him, "The gods of Israel are mountain gods, and that is why the Israelites defeated us. But we will certainly defeat them if we fight them in the plains.

GOD'S WORD® Translation
Meanwhile, the officers of King Benhadad of Aram told him, "Their god is a god of the hills. That is why they were stronger than we were. However, if we fight them on the plain, we will be stronger than they are.

International Standard Version
Sure enough, the advisors to the king of Aram told him, "Their gods are mountain gods. That's why they were stronger than we were. But when we fight them on the plains, we're certain to be the stronger army!

JPS Tanakh 1917
And the servants of the king of Aram said unto him: 'Their God is a God of the hills; therefore they were stronger than we; but let us fight against them in the plain, and surely we shall be stronger than they.

Literal Standard Version
And the servants of the king of Aram said to him, “Their gods [are] gods of hills, therefore they were stronger than us; and yet, we fight with them in the plain—are we not stronger than they?

NET Bible
Now the advisers of the king of Syria said to him: "Their God is a god of the mountains. That's why they overpowered us. But if we fight them in the plains, we will certainly overpower them.

New Heart English Bible
The servants of the king of Aram said to him, "Their god is a god of the hills; therefore they were stronger than we. But let us fight against them in the plain, and surely we shall be stronger than they.

World English Bible
The servants of the king of Syria said to him, "Their god is a god of the hills; therefore they were stronger than we. But let us fight against them in the plain, and surely we shall be stronger than they.

Young's Literal Translation
And the servants of the king of Aram said unto him, 'Gods of hills are their gods, therefore they were stronger than we; and yet, we fight with them in the plain -- are we not stronger than they?

Additional Translations ...
Context
Ahab Defeats Ben-hadad
22Afterward, the prophet approached the king of Israel and said, “Go and strengthen your position, and take note what you must do, for in the spring the king of Aram will come up against you.” 23Meanwhile, the servants of the king of Aram said to him, “Their gods are gods of the hills. That is why they prevailed over us. Instead, we should fight them on the plains; surely then we will prevail. 24So do this: Dismiss all the kings from their positions and replace them with other officers.…

Cross References
Romans 1:21
For although they knew God, they neither glorified Him as God nor gave thanks to Him, but they became futile in their thinking and darkened in their foolish hearts.

1 Kings 14:23
They also built for themselves high places, sacred pillars, and Asherah poles on every high hill and under every green tree.

1 Kings 20:24
So do this: Dismiss all the kings from their positions and replace them with other officers.

1 Kings 20:28
Then the man of God approached the king of Israel and said, "This is what the LORD says: 'Because the Arameans think the LORD is a god of the hills and not of the valleys, I will deliver all this great army into your hand. Then you will know that I am the LORD.'"

1 Kings 20:31
Then the servants of Ben-hadad said to him, "Look now, we have heard that the kings of the house of Israel are merciful. Let us go out to the king of Israel with sackcloth around our waists and ropes around our heads. Perhaps he will spare your life."

Isaiah 36:20
Who among all the gods of these lands has delivered his land from my hand? How then can the LORD deliver Jerusalem from my hand?"

Jeremiah 16:19
O LORD, my strength and my fortress, my refuge in the day of distress, the nations will come to You from the ends of the earth, and they will say, "Our fathers inherited nothing but lies, worthless idols of no benefit at all.


Treasury of Scripture

And the servants of the king of Syria said to him, Their gods are gods of the hills; therefore they were stronger than we; but let us fight against them in the plain, and surely we shall be stronger than they.

thou hast lost [heb] was fallen

Psalm 10:3
For the wicked boasteth of his heart's desire, and blesseth the covetous, whom the LORD abhorreth.









(23) Gods of the hills.--The idea of tutelary gods, whose strength was greatest on their own soil, is naturally common in polytheistic religions, which, by the very multiplication of gods, imply limitation of the power of each. Now the greater part of the territory where Jehovah was worshipped was a hill-country. Samaria in particular, the scene of recent defeat, lay in the mountain region of Ephraim. The Israelite armies, moreover, being mostly of infantry--having, indeed, few or no cavalry, except in the time of Solomon--naturally encamped and fought, as far as possible, on the hills; as Barak on Mount Tabor (Judges 4:6-14), Saul on Mount Gilboa (1Samuel 31:1), and Ahab himself (in 1Kings 20:27). Perhaps the worship of Jehovah in the "high places" may have also conduced to this belief that the "gods of Israel were gods of the hills," whose power vanished in the plains; where, of course, the Syrian armies of chariots and horsemen would naturally fight at advantage. Shrewd policy might, as so often is the case, lurk in the advice of Ben-hadad's counsellors under the cover of superstition; as, indeed, it seems also to show itself in seizing the opportunity to increase the central power, by organising the troops of the tributary kings under officers of his own.

Verse 23. - And the servants of the king of Syria said unto him [naturally anxious to retrieve their character and obliterate their disgrace], Their gods are gods of the hills [All pagan nations have believed in local deities, Dii montium, dii nemorum, etc. (see 2 Kings 18:33-35; 2 Kings 19:12, 13). Keil accounts for this belief - that the gods of Israel were mountain divinities, by the consideration that the temple was built on Mount Moriah, and that worship was always offered on "high places." Kitto reminds us that the law was given from Mount Sinai, and that fire had recently descended on Mount Carmel. "In Syrophoenicia, even mountains themselves had Divine honours paid to them" (Movers, Phoen. 1:667 sqq.) But it is enough to remember that Samaria was a hilly district, and that the courtiers must find some excuse for the defeat]; therefore they were stronger than we; but [Heb. (וְאוּלָם often well rendered but not in this instance) by the LXX. οὐ μὴν δὲ ἀλλά] let us fight against them in the plain, and surely we shall be stronger than they. [This counsel, which apparently rests on religious grounds alone, was, it is probable, really dictated by the practical consideration that in the plain the Syrians would be able to deploy their chariots a most important arm of their service in a way which they could not do in the valleys round Samaria. See 1 Kings 16:24, note. Moreover the Israelites would lose the advantage of a strong position and the cover of their fortifications if they could be induced to meet them in the "great plain," or on any similar battlefield.]

Parallel Commentaries ...


Hebrew
Meanwhile, the servants
וְעַבְדֵ֨י (wə·‘aḇ·ḏê)
Conjunctive waw | Noun - masculine plural construct
Strong's 5650: Slave, servant

of the king
מֶֽלֶךְ־ (me·leḵ-)
Noun - masculine singular construct
Strong's 4428: A king

of Aram
אֲרָ֜ם (’ă·rām)
Noun - proper - feminine singular
Strong's 758: Aram -- Syria

said
אָמְר֣וּ (’ā·mə·rū)
Verb - Qal - Perfect - third person common plural
Strong's 559: To utter, say

to him,
אֵלָ֗יו (’ê·lāw)
Preposition | third person masculine singular
Strong's 413: Near, with, among, to

“Their gods [are]
אֱלֹ֣הֵיהֶ֔ם (’ĕ·lō·hê·hem)
Noun - masculine plural construct | third person masculine plural
Strong's 430: gods -- the supreme God, magistrates, a superlative

gods
אֱלֹהֵ֤י (’ĕ·lō·hê)
Noun - masculine plural construct
Strong's 430: gods -- the supreme God, magistrates, a superlative

of the hills.
הָרִים֙ (hā·rîm)
Noun - masculine plural
Strong's 2022: Mountain, hill, hill country

That is why
עַל־ (‘al-)
Preposition
Strong's 5921: Above, over, upon, against

they prevailed
נֶחֱזַ֖ק (ne·ḥĕ·zaq)
Verb - Qal - Imperfect - first person common plural
Strong's 2388: To fasten upon, to seize, be strong, obstinate, to bind, restrain, conquer

over us.
מִמֶּ֑נּוּ (mim·men·nū)
Preposition | first person common plural
Strong's 4480: A part of, from, out of

Instead,
וְאוּלָ֗ם (wə·’ū·lām)
Conjunctive waw | Conjunction
Strong's 199: However, on the contrary

we should fight
נִלָּחֵ֤ם (nil·lā·ḥêm)
Verb - Nifal - Imperfect - first person common plural
Strong's 3898: To feed on, to consume, to battle

them
אִתָּם֙ (’it·tām)
Preposition | third person masculine plural
Strong's 854: Nearness, near, with, by, at, among

on the plains;
בַּמִּישׁ֔וֹר (bam·mî·šō·wr)
Preposition-b, Article | Noun - masculine singular
Strong's 4334: A level, a plain, as a, straightness, justice

surely then
אִם־ (’im-)
Conjunction
Strong's 518: Lo!, whether?, if, although, Oh that!, when, not

we will prevail.
חָזְק֣וּ (ḥā·zə·qū)
Verb - Qal - Perfect - third person common plural
Strong's 2388: To fasten upon, to seize, be strong, obstinate, to bind, restrain, conquer


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OT History: 1 Kings 20:23 The servants of the king of Syria (1Ki iKi i Ki 1 Kg 1kg)
1 Kings 20:22
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