And they continued three years without war between Syria and Israel.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)Three years without war.—The period is clearly reckoned from the rash peace made by Ahab with Ben-hadad in 1Kings 20:34. Evidently the king of Syria has recovered his independence, if not superiority; he has not restored Ramoth-gilead according to his promise; and his revived power is sufficient to cope with the united forces of Israel and Judah. The sagacity of the prophetic rebuke of 1Kings 20:42 has been amply justified.1 Kings 22:1. They continued three years — That is, three years were spent; without war between Syria and Israel — Computed from the last war and league wherewith it was concluded. Both Ahab and Ben-hadad were so weakened and broken by the late wars, that they needed and desired peace to recruit themselves, and repair their former losses.1 Kings 20:34. They were not full years, as is evident from the next verse. Probably the first year is that of Ben-hadad's dismissal after his defeat; the second is a year of actual peace; while the third is that in which Jehoshaphat paid his visit, and the Ramoth-Gilead expedition took place. The pause, here noticed, in the war between Israel and Syria was perhaps the result of a common danger. It was probably in the year following Ben-hadad's dismissal by Ahab, that the first great Assyrian expedition took place into these parts. Shalmaneser II relates that on his first invasion of southern Syria, he was met by the combined forces of Ben-hadad, Ahab, the king of Hamath, the kings of the Hittites, and others, who gave him battle, but suffered a defeat.
1Ki 22:1-36. Ahab Slain at Ramoth-gilead.
1. continued three years without war between Syria and Israel—The disastrous defeat of Ben-hadad had so destroyed his army and exhausted the resources of his country, that, however eager, he was unable to recommence active hostilities against Israel. But that his hereditary enmity remained unsubdued, was manifest by his breach of faith concerning the treaty by which he had engaged to restore all the cities which his father had seized (1Ki 20:34).Ahab, intending war against the Syrians, is advised by Jehoshaphat first to ask counsel of God: Ahab’s prophets advise him to it, especially Zedekiah, 1 Kings 22:1-12, Micaiah, a prophet of the Lord, dissuadeth him from it; and is put in prison by Ahab, 1 Kings 22:13-28. Ahab goeth to the battle; is slain; the dogs lick his blood; and Ahaziah succeedeth him, 1 Kings 22:29-40. Jehoshaphat’s good reign over Judah: his acts and death: Jehoram succeedeth him, 1 Kings 22:41-50. Ahaziah’ s evil reign, 1 Kings 22:51-53.
(a) Ben-hadad the king of Syria, and Ahab made a peace which endured three years.
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)1 Kings 22:1-12. Ahab resolves to recover Ramoth-gilead. Jehoshaphat joins him. Ahab’s prophets promise him victory (2 Chronicles 18:1-11)
1. they continued three years without war] This probably means after the defeat of Benhadad described in chapter 20. It must have been during this interval of peace that Naboth was put to death.Verse 1. - And they continued [rather, zested. Heb. sate, dwelt. Cf. Judges 5:17. The LXX. has ἐκάθισε, sing.] three years without war [The Hebrew explains the "rested" - there was not war, etc. See Ewald, 286 g. The three years (not full years, as the next verse shows) are to be counted from the second defeat of Ben-hadad; the history, that is to say, is resumed from 1 Kings 20:34-43. Rawlinson conjectures that it was during this period that the Assyrian invasion, under Shalmaneser II., took place. The Black Obelisk tells us that Ahab of Jezreel joined a league of kings, of whom Ben-hadad was one, against the Assyrians, furnishing a force of 10,000 footmen and 2000 chariots; see "Hist. Illust." pp. 113, 114. The common danger might well compel a cessation of hostilities] between Syria and Israel. 1 Kings 21:21, 1 Kings 21:22, the extermination of his house, and to Jezebel, as the principal sinner, the most ignominious end (1 Kings 21:23). הרע לעשׂות חתמכּר to sell one's self to do evil, i.e., to give one's self to evil so as to have no will of one's own, to make one's self the slave of evil (cf. 1 Kings 21:25, 2 Kings 17:17). The consequence of this is πεπρᾶσθαι ὑπὸ τὴν ἁμαρτίαν (Romans 7:14), sin exercising unlimited power over the man who gives himself up to it as a slave. For 1 Kings 21:21, 1 Kings 21:22, see 1 Kings 14:10-11; 1 Kings 15:29-30; 1 Kings 16:3, 1 Kings 16:12-13. The threat concerning Jezebel (1 Kings 21:23) was literally fulfilled, according to 2 Kings 9:30. חל, written defectively for חיל, as in 2 Samuel 20:15, is properly the open space by the town-wall, pomoerium. Instead of בּחל we have בּחלק in the repetition of this threat in 2 Kings 9:10, 2 Kings 9:36-37, and consequently Thenius and others propose to alter the חל here. But there is no necessity for this, as בּחלק, on the portion, i.e., the town-land, of Jezreel (not, in the field at Jezreel), is only a more general epithet denoting the locality, and חל is proved to be the original word by the lxx.
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