And Benhadad the king of Syria gathered all his host together: and there were thirty and two kings with him, and horses, and chariots: and he went up and besieged Samaria, and warred against it.
Verse 1. - And Ben-hadad [See on 1 Kings 11:14 and 1 Kings 15:18. The LXX. uniformly spells the name Ader (υἱὸςἌδερ). The form אֲדַד is found in 1 Kings 11:17, and ד and ר are frequently interchanged; cf. Genesis 25:15; Genesis 36:39 with 1 Chronicles 1:30, 46. We learn from ver. 34 that this prince was the son of a Syrian king who had conquered some of the cities of Israel, but we cannot nevertheless be certain that he was the son of that Ben-hadad (1 Kings 15:18) who invaded Israel in the reign of Baasha (Ewald), See on ver. 34.] the king of Syria gathered all his host [See note on 1 Kings 10:2, where we have same word] together: and there were thirty and two kings with him [Evidently these were vassals, not allied powers. The number alone proves that they must have been petty princes or chieftains of Hittite tribes, ruling over very limited districts' and all acknowledging the suzerainty of the king of Damascus, all paying tribute (1 Kings 10:25) and furnishing a contingent in time of war "The Assyrian inscriptions show that this country was, about the period in question, parcelled out into a number of petty kingdoms," etc. (Rawlinson. See "Records of the Past," vol. 12. p. 20)], and horses, and chariots [Heb. horse and chariot; cf. ver. 21 and 1 Kings 1:5; 1 Kings 10:26; 1 Kings 16:9, etc. Both are collective nouns. We see here the fruit and retribution of Solomon's irreligious policy (1 Kings 10:29 and Homiletics, p. 216). "A king who has been probably identified with this Ben-hadad brought into the field against Assyria nearly 4000 chariots" (Rawlinson)]: and he went up and besieged Samaria, and warred against it. [The object of this expedition was clearly to humble and to plunder the kingdom of Samaria. It would almost appear, from the animus of the Syrian king and the studied offensiveness of his messages, as if Ahab or Israel must have given him dire offence. But Ben-hadad was clearly a vain and overbearing and tyrannical prince, and the only crime of Israel may have been that it was independent of him, or had refused to do him homage.]
And he sent messengers to Ahab king of Israel into the city, and said unto him, Thus saith Benhadad,
Verse 2. - And he sent messengers to Ahab king of Israel into [Heb. to. It is not clear that they entered the city. They may have delivered their message to the king, or to his representatives at the gates or to the people on the walls (2 Kings 18:18, 27)] the city, and said unto him, Thus saith Ben-hadad,
Thy silver and thy gold is mine; thy wives also and thy children, even the goodliest, are mine.
Verse 3. - Thy silver and thy gold is mine [Heb. mine it is]; thy wives also and thy children [Nothing reveals Ben-hadad's object more clearly than the mention of Ahab's wives. When we consider how jealously the seraglio of an Eastern prince is guarded, and how the surrender of the harem is a virtual surrender of the throne (2 Samuel 16:21, 22; note on 1 Kings 2:22), and certainly a surrender of all manhood and self-respect, we see that his aim was to wound Ahab in his tenderest point, to humble him to the lowest depths of degradation, and possibly to force a quarrel upon him], even the goodliest [The LXX. omits this. Bahr says the word can only apply to the sons, and that it must mean the most eminent young men of the city - not Ahab's children - whom Ben-hadad demanded as hostages. But against this is
(1) Ahab's answer, "All that I have," etc.;
(2) the fact that Ben-hadad obviously meant insult and plunder; and
(3) the language of ver. 7, where see note], are mine. [Heb. mine are they. Rawlinson would explain this excessive demand of the Syrian king by the assumption that when it was made the siege had already lasted a long time, and that the people were now reduced to the greatest straits, circumstances which the historian, with the characteristic brevity of the sacred writers, omits to mention. But really no such supposition is needed. The overwhelming force which Ben-hadad had at his back would, in his eyes, justify any demands. And the prima facie view of ver. 2 is that the messengers were sent on the first approach of the army, or rather at the beginning of the siege.]
And the king of Israel answered and said, My lord, O king, according to thy saying, I am thine, and all that I have.
Verse 4. - And the king of Israel answered and said, My lord, O king, according to thy saying, I am thine, and all that I have. [Much has been written about Ahab's pusillanimous acquiescence in these disgraceful terms, etc. But it is not absolutely clear that he ever meant to surrender either wives or children to the invader. All that is certain is that he judged it wise, in the presence of the enormous force arrayed against him, to make every possible concession, to adopt the most subservient tone, and to cringe at the feet of Ben-hadad. But all the time he may have hoped that his soft answer would turn away wrath. It is very far from certain that had Ben-hadad sent to demand the wives and children which Ahab here seems willing to yield to him they would have been sent. When Ben-hadad threatens (ver. 6) a measure which involved much less indignity than the surrender of the entire seraglio to his lusts, Ahab stands at bay. Allowance must be made for the exaggerations of Eastern courtesy. The writer was entertained in 1861 by Jacob esh Shellabi, then sheykh of the Samaritans, who repeatedly used words very similar to these. "This house is yours," he would say; never meaning, however, that he should be taken at his word.]
And the messengers came again, and said, Thus speaketh Benhadad, saying, Although I have sent unto thee, saying, Thou shalt deliver me thy silver, and thy gold, and thy wives, and thy children;
Verse 5. - And the messengers came again, and said, Thus speaketh Ben-hadad, saying, Although [Heb. כִּי. According to some of the grammarians, this is merely the Hebrew equivalent of the ὅτι recitantis. But the כִּי אִם of the next verse suggests that there must be a connexion between the two, and that the second emphasizes the first, much as in the A.V.] I have sent unto thee, saying, Thou shalt deliver me thy silver and thy gold, and thy wives, and thy children [Our translators have often sacrificed force to elegance by disregarding the order of the Hebrew, which here, e.g., is "Thy silver and thy gold... to me thou shalt give them."]
Yet I will send my servants unto thee to morrow about this time, and they shall search thine house, and the houses of thy servants; and it shall be, that whatsoever is pleasant in thine eyes, they shall put it in their hand, and take it away.
Verse 6. - Yet I will send my servants unto thee tomorrow about this time [This proposal was definite and immediate, the first demand was vague and general. "In the first Ahab was to send what he thought fit to give; in the second, Ben-hadad's servants were to take into their own hands whatsoever they thought fit to sieze" (Wordsworth)], and they shall search thine house, and the houses of thy servants; and it shall be, that whatsoever is pleasant in [Heb. the desire of] thine eyes [The LXX. and some other versions have a plural suffix - their eyes. But the Hebrew text is to be preferred. The object of Ben-hadad was to couch his message in the most oftensive and humiliating terms, and "the desire of thine eyes" would be likely to cut deeper and wound more than "the desire of their eyes"], they shall put it in their hand, and take it away. [If Ahab ever hoped by his abject submission to conciliate the Syrian king, he now finds that his words have had just the opposite effect. For all that the latter concluded from it was that Ahab was one upon whom he might trample at pleasure, and this servility encouraged Ben-hadad to renew his demands in a still more galling and vexatious form. This second message discloses to us still more plainly the royal bully and braggart, and shows us what the "comity of nations" in the old world was often like.]
Then the king of Israel called all the elders of the land, and said, Mark, I pray you, and see how this man seeketh mischief: for he sent unto me for my wives, and for my children, and for my silver, and for my gold; and I denied him not.
Verse 7. - Then the king of Israel called all the elders of the land [Bahr remarks that this expression, compared with "the elders of the city" (1 Kings 21:8, etc.), suggests either that these nobles, as the highest officials, had their residences at the court, or upon the approach of Ben-hadad had betaken themselves thither with their treasures. Rawlinson builds on this slender basis the conclusion that the council of elders which, he says, belonged to the undivided kingdom, had been continued among the ten tribes, had an important place in the government, and held regular sittings at the capital] and said, Mark, I pray you, and see how this man [or fellow. The זֶה expresses either hatred or contempt. Cf. 1 Kings 22:27; Luke 23:2, 18, etc.] seeketh mischief [the purport of Ahab's address is not, "Ben-hadad is not satisfied with my treasures; he wants yours also" (Bahr), for there is no reference whatsoever to their property, but, "See how he is determined on our ruin. Nothing short of our destruction will suffice him. He is bent on provoking an encounter, that he may plunder the city at pleasure." The salient word is the רָעָה]: far he sent unto me for my wives, and for my children [LXX. περι τῶν υἱῶν μου. This shows clearly that "the most eminent young men "cannot be meant in ver. 3], and for my silver and for my gold: and I dented him not. [What these words mean depends on what ver. 4 (where see note) means. It is difficult to conceive that any monarch could gravely proclaim his own shame to his counsellors; could confess, that is, that he had consented to surrender his children and concubines without a struggle.]
And all the elders and all the people said unto him, Hearken not unto him, nor consent.
Verse 8. - And an the eiders and an the people [not only, i.e., the inhabitants of Samaria (Keil), but also those who had flea thither for refuge. It is not implied that they were formally consulted, but at such a crisis, when nothing could be done, humanly speaking, without their support, it was natural that they should express their opinion] said unto him Hearken not unto him nor consent. [Lit., thou shalt not consent. אַל is the equivalent of μὴ, ne, and לא of οὐ, non. Cf. Amos 5:5, and Ewald 350 a.]
Wherefore he said unto the messengers of Benhadad, Tell my lord the king, All that thou didst send for to thy servant at the first I will do: but this thing I may not do. And the messengers departed, and brought him word again.
Verse 9. - Wherefore [Heb. and] he said unto the mcaeengers of Ben-hadad, Tell my lord the king [He still employs the same obsequious language as in ver. 4], All that thou didst send for to thy servant at the first I will do: but this thing I may [Heb. can] not do [At first sight it appears as if Ahab objected to the search (ver. 6), i.e., plunder, of his house and capital much more than to the surrender of his wives to shame and of his children to slavery. But we must remember that a man is ready to promise almost anything in his extremity, and that we do not know what construction he put, or would have claimed to put, upon Ben-hadad's first demand, had that monarch consented to revert to these conditions, or by what means he hoped to evade it]. And the messengers departed, and brought him [Ben-hadad, not Ahab, as Rawlinson imagines] word again. [Not the "word related in the next verse" (Rawlinson), but the message just recorded.]
And Benhadad sent unto him, and said, The gods do so unto me, and more also, if the dust of Samaria shall suffice for handfuls for all the people that follow me.
Verse 10. - And Ben-hadad sent unto him, and said [These words would be quite superfluous, if the oaths of which we now hear were the "word" of ver. 9], The gods do so unto me, and more also [see notes on 1 Kings 2:23; 19:2], if the dust of Samaria shall suffice for handfuls [The meaning of שְׁעָלִים pugilli, is fixed by Isaiah 40:12, and Ezekiel 13:19] for all the people that follow me. [Heb. that are in my feet. Same expression Judges 4:16; Judges 5:15; 1 Samuel 25:27; 2 Samuel 15:17, etc. This thoroughly Oriental piece of bluster and boasting, which was intended, no doubt, to strike terror into the hearts of king and people, has been variously interpreted, but the meaning appears to be sufficiently clear. Ben-bahad vows that he will make Samaria a heap of dust, and at the same time affirms that so overwhelming is his host, that this dust will be insufficient to fill the hands of his soldiers. Rawlinson compares with it the well-known saying of the Trachinian to Dieneces, that the Median arrows would obscure the sun (Herod. 7:226), but 2 Samuel 17:18 is still more apposite.]
And the king of Israel answered and said, Tell him, Let not him that girdeth on his harness boast himself as he that putteth it off.
Verse 11. - And the king of Israel answered and said, Tell him Let not him that girdeth on his harness bout himself as he that putteth it off. [This proverb consists of four words in the Hebrew. The commentators cite the Latin, Ne triumphum canas ante victoriam, but proverbs to the same effect are found in most languages.
And it came to pass, when Benhadad heard this message, as he was drinking, he and the kings in the pavilions, that he said unto his servants, Set yourselves in array. And they set themselves in array against the city.
Verse 12. - And it came to pass, when Ben-hadad [Heb. he] heard this message [Heb. word], as he was drinking, he and the kings in the pavilions [Heb. booths. The word shows that, in lieu of tents, kings and generals on an expedition sometimes used leafy huts, like those of Israel (Leviticus 23:34, 42). Such booths, it is said, are still erected on military expeditions in the East], that he said unto his servants, Set yourselves in array [Heb. שִׂימוּ one short, decisive word. His indignation and astonishment were too great for more. We might perhaps render "Form." Cf. 1 Samuel 11:11; Joshua 8:2, 13; Job 1:17; Ezekiel 23:24. It cannot mean οἰκοδομήσατε χάρακα (LXX.)] And they set themselves in array [or formed. Again one word, which is more spirited and graphic, and conveys that the command was instantly obeyed] against the city.
And, behold, there came a prophet unto Ahab king of Israel, saying, Thus saith the LORD, Hast thou seen all this great multitude? behold, I will deliver it into thine hand this day; and thou shalt know that I am the LORD.
Verse 13. - And, behold, there came a prophet [Heb. one prophet. Cf. 1 Kings 13:11. According to Jewish writers, this was Micaiah, son of Imlah, but 1 Kings 22:8 negatives this supposition, This is another proof that all the prophets had not been exterminated. Where Elijah was at this time, or why he was not employed, we have no means of determining. Bahr says that he was "least of all suited for such a message," but not if he had learned the lesson of 1 Kings 19:12. At the same time, it is to be remembered that he invariably appears as the minister of wrath. It may also be reasonably asked why this gracious interposition was granted to the kingdom of Samaria at all. Was not this invasion, and would not the sack of the city have been, a just recompense for the gross corruption of the age, for the persecution of the prophets, etc.? But to this it may be replied that Ben-hadad was not then the instrument which God had designed for the correction of Israel (see 1 Kings 19:17; 1 Kings 22:31; 2 Kings 10:32), and furthermore that by his brutal tyranny and despotic demands, he had himself merited a chastisement. The city, too, may have been delivered for the sake of the seven thousand (1 Kings 19:18; 2 Kings 19:34. Cf. Genesis 18:26 sqq.) But this gracious help in the time of extremity was primarily designed as a proof of Jehovah's power over the gods of Syria (cf. vers. 13, 28; 1 Kings 18:39; 2 Kings 19:22 sqq.), and so as an instrument for the conversion of Israel. His supremacy over the idols of Phoenicia had already been established] unto Ahab king of Israel, saying, Thus saith the Lord, Hast thou seen all this great multitude? [el. ver. 10. "In Ben-hadad's wars with the Assyrians, we sometimes find him at the head of nearly 100,000 men" (Rawlinson).] Behold, I will deliver it into thine hand this day; and thou shalt know that I am the Lord. [This explains to us the motif of this great deliverance.]
And Ahab said, By whom? And he said, Thus saith the LORD, Even by the young men of the princes of the provinces. Then he said, Who shall order the battle? And he answered, Thou.
Verse 14. - And Ahab said, By whom? And he said, Thus saith the Lord [Observe the repetition. He is careful to give special prominence to the sacred name, as the only help in trouble (Psalm 20:1, 5, 7, etc.)], Even by the young men [or servants - נַעַר has both meanings, corresponding with παῖς (cf. Genesis 37:2; 2 Kings 5:20; 2 Kings 8:4] of the princes of the provinces. [The local governors (cf. 1 Kings 4:7; 1 Kings 10:15), on the approach of Ben hadad, had apparently fled to the capital. Whether these "young men" were their "pages" (Thenius), or even were "young lads" (Ewald) at all, or, on the contrary, a "select body of strong young men" (Bahr), the bodyguard of the various governors (2 Samuel 18:15) (Von Gerlach), may be doubtful; but when Bahr says that Ahab would not have consented to appoint weak boys to lead the van, at least without remonstrance, he must have forgotten that all the ordinary means at Ahab's disposal were equally insufficient, and that in themselves 200 or 2000 tried veterans would have been just as inadequate a force as 200 pages. The agency by which the victory was won was purposely weak and feeble (per turbam imbellem), in order that the work might be seen to be of God (cf. Judges 7:2; 1 Corinthians 1:27, 29). And this consideration makes against the supposition that the attacking body was composed of tried and skilful warriors.] Then he said, Who shall order [Heb. bind; we speak of "joining battle"] the battle? [The meaning is - not, "who shall command this force," but, "which side shall begin the fray?"] And he answered, Thou [i.e., thy band of young men shall make the attack.]
Then he numbered the young men of the princes of the provinces, and they were two hundred and thirty two: and after them he numbered all the people, even all the children of Israel, being seven thousand.
Verse 15. - Then he numbered [or reviewed (cf. Numbers 1:44 sqq.; Numbers 3:39-43)] the young men of the princes of the provinces, and they were two hundred and thirty-two [cf. 2 Chronicles 14:11; Psalm 33:16; Deuteronomy 32:30, etc. LXX. διακόσια τριάκοντα. Theodoret remarks that by this band - 230, as he understood it - Almighty God would destroy the hosts of thirty and two kings. The numbers may have been recorded because of the correspondency]: and after them he numbered all the people, even all the children of Israel, being seven thousand. [This number is of course to be understood, unlike that of ch. 19:18, literally. And the context (cf. ver. 19) shows that this was the number of fighting men. But this small army can hardly fail to create surprise, especially if we compare it with the statistics of the soldiery of an earlier age (2 Samuel 24:9; 1 Chronicles 21:5; 2 Chronicles 13:3; 2 Chronicles 14:8). It is true this was not strictly an army, but a garrison for the defence of the capital. But it looks very much as if, under the feeble rule of Ahab, the kingdom of Israel had become thoroughly disorganized. "The position of Jarchi is that of a true Rabbi, viz., that the 7000 were those who had not bowed the knee unto Baal (1 Kings 19:18)," Bahr.]
And they went out at noon. But Benhadad was drinking himself drunk in the pavilions, he and the kings, the thirty and two kings that helped him.
Verse 16. - And they went out at noon. ["At the time when Ben-hadad, haughty and confident, had given himself up with his vassals, to the table, news of which had probably been received in the city" (Bahr). But it seems at least equally probable that the noon hour was selected either in obedience to the unrecorded directions of the prophet, or as being a time for rest and sleep, as it still is in the East.] But Ben-hadad was drinking himself drunk in the pavilions, he and the kings, the thirty and two kings that helped him. [Strong drink would seem to have been a besetment of the monarchs of that age (cf. 1 Kings 16:9; Proverbs 31:4; Daniel 5:1 sqq.; Esther 1:10; Esther 7:2; Habakkuk 2:5). It can hardly have been to "mark his utter contempt of the foe," Rawlinson, who compares Belshazzar's feast (Daniel 5:1-4) when besieged by Cyrus. But Ben-hadad was the besieger. We are rather reminded of Alexander's carouse at Babylon.]
And the young men of the princes of the provinces went out first; and Benhadad sent out, and they told him, saying, There are men come out of Samaria.
Verse 17. - And the young men of the princes of the provinces went out first; and Ben-hadad sent out [Or had sent out. Possibly, the unusual stir in the city, the mustering of the troops, etc., had led to his sending out scouts before the young men issued from the gates. The LXX., however, has "And they send and tell the king of Syria," which Rawlinson thinks represents a purer text. But it looks like an emendation to avoid the difficulty, which is removed by translating וַיִּשְׁלַח as pluperfect], and they told him saying, There are men come out of Samaria. [Heb. men went forth, etc.]
And he said, Whether they be come out for peace, take them alive; or whether they be come out for war, take them alive.
Verse 18. - And he said, Whether they be come out for peace [i.e., to negociate or to submit], take them alive; or whether they be come out for war, take them alive. [We may trace in these words, possibly the influence of wine, but certainly the exasperation which Ahab's last message had occasioned the king. So incensed is he that he will not respect the rights of ambassadors, and he is afraid lest belligerents should be slain before he can arraign them before him. Possibly he meant that they should be tortured or slain before his face.]
So these young men of the princes of the provinces came out of the city, and the army which followed them.
Verse 19. - So these young men of the princes of the provinces came out of the city, and the army which followed them. [i.e., the 7000. They "came out" after the young men.]
And they slew every one his man: and the Syrians fled; and Israel pursued them: and Benhadad the king of Syria escaped on an horse with the horsemen.
Verse 20. - And they slew every one his man [The LXX., which differs here considerably from the Hebrew, inserts at this point καὶ ἐδευτέρωσεν ἕκαστος τὸν παρ αὐτοῦ. Ewald thinks the Hebrew text ought to be made to correspond, and would read ׃ך׃ך וַיּשְׁנוּ אישׁ אישׁו, each repeatedly killed his man, as in 1 Samuel 14:16]: and the Syrians fled [When a few had fallen, utter panic seized the rest. The separate kings, with their divided interests, thought only of their own safety. It was a sauve qui pout. "The hasty and disordered flight of a vast Oriental army before an enemy contemptible in numbers is no uncommon occurrence. Above 1,000,000 of Persians fled before 47,000 Greeks at Arbela" (Rawlinson). The very size of such hosts, especially where the command is divided and where the generals are drunk or incapable, contributes to their defeat]; and Israel pursued them: and Ben-hadad the king of Syria escaped on an horse [Thenius suggests that this was a chariot horse, the first that presented] with the horsemen. [Heb. and horsemen; sc., escaped with him Keil). He had an escort in some of his fugitive cavalry.]
And the king of Israel went out, and smote the horses and chariots, and slew the Syrians with a great slaughter.
Verse 21. - And the king of Israel went out [It looks as if Ahab had remained within the city until the defeat of the Syrians was assured], and smote [LXX. καὶ ἐλαβε, and captured] the horses and chariots [i.e., the cavalry and chariotry; cf. ver. 1], and slew the Syrians with a great slaughter. [Heb. in Syria a great, etc.]
And the prophet came to the king of Israel, and said unto him, Go, strengthen thyself, and mark, and see what thou doest: for at the return of the year the king of Syria will come up against thee.
Verse 22. - And the prophet [obviously the same prophet] came to the king of Israel, and said unto him, Go, strengthen thyself [both as to army and to city], and mark, and see what thou doest ["Take every precaution. Don't think that the danger is past"]: for at the return of the year [in the following spring. There was a favourite time for campaigns (2 Samuel 11:1), viz., when the rainy season was past. Several late wars, notably those of our own armies in Africa and Afghanistan, have been considerably influenced by the seasons. And the wars of ancient times were almost universally summer raids. "Sustained invasions, lasting over the winter, are not found until the time of Shalmaneser" (2 Kings 17:5; 2 Kings 18:9 10, Rawlinson)] the king of Syria will come [Heb. cometh] up against thee.
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.
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.]
And do this thing, Take the kings away, every man out of his place, and put captains in their rooms:
Verse 24. ? And do this thing. Take the kings away, every man out of his place, and put captains [Same word as in 1 Kings 10:15, where see note] in their rooms. [Not so much because (Bahr) the kings only fought through compulsion, for they appear to have been in complete accord with Ben-hadad (vers. 1, 12, 16), as because of their incapacity and divided interests and plans. The captains would presumably be selected because of their valour, military skill, etc.; the kings would owe their command to the accident of birth, etc. Moreover an army with thirty-three leaders could not have the necessary solidarity. Bahr assumes that the removal of the kings would involve the withdrawal of the auxiliaries which they contributed. But this does not appear to have occurred to Ben-ha(lad's advisers when they said, "put captains in their rooms." If the auxiliaries were withdrawn, what were the thirty-two captains to command ?]
And number thee an army, like the army that thou hast lost, horse for horse, and chariot for chariot: and we will fight against them in the plain, and surely we shall be stronger than they. And he hearkened unto their voice, and did so.
Verse 25. — And number thee an army, like the army that thou hast lost [Heb. that is fallen from thee, not as marg., that was fallen. For the form מֵאותָך. see Ewald, 264 b)], horse for [Heb. as] horse, and chariot for chariot: and we will fight against them in the plain, and surely we shall be stronger than they. And he hearkened unto their voice, and did so.
And it came to pass at the return of the year, that Benhadad numbered the Syrians, and went up to Aphek, to fight against Israel.
Verse 26. ? And it came to pass at the return of the year, that Ben-hadad numbered the Syrians [Heb. Syria], and went up to Aphek [As the word signifies "fortress," it is only natural that several different places should bear this name, and the commentators are not agreed as to which of them is here intended. Keil and Bahr identify it with the Aphek hard by Shunem (1 Samuels 29:1; cf. 28:4), and therefore in the plain of Esdraelon, while Gesenius and Grove the latter because of its connection with הַמִּישׁור the plain, a word applied, κατ ἐξοχὴν to the plain in the tribe of Reuben (Deuteronomy 3:10; Deuteronomy 4:43; Joshua 13:9, 16, 17, 21, etc.) - would see in it the Aphek east of the Jordan, the Apheca of Eusebius, and perhaps the place mentioned 2 Kings 13:17 (where, however, see note). This trans-Jordanic Aphek is new represented by the village of Fik, six miles east of the sea of Galilee, and standing, as Aphek must have then stood, on the high road between Damascus and Jerusalem. On the whole, the balance of probability inclines to the latter. It would follow hence that the Israelites, emboldened by their victory of the preceding year, had crossed the river to meet the enemy], to fight against Israel. [Heb. to the war with Israel.]
And the children of Israel were numbered, and were all present, and went against them: and the children of Israel pitched before them like two little flocks of kids; but the Syrians filled the country.
Verse 27. - And the children of Israel were numbered [lit., numbered themselves. Hith-pael], and were all present [Rather, and were provided with food, כּוּל = to nourish. The Alex. LXX. inserts καὶ διοικήθησαν. Vulgate accepetis cibariis. Marg. were victualled. This word of itself suggests that they were at a distance from their capital or other city], and went against them [Heb. to meet them]: and the children of Israel pitched before them like two little flocks חֲשִׂיפstrictly means separate& It is rightly translated "little flocks" (not "flocks," Rawlinson ), because the idea is that of two bands of stragglers separated from the main body of the flock. So the Vulgate, duo parvi greges caprarum; but LXX., δύο ποίμνια άγὧν. Ewald thinks the "two flocks" points to an an auxiliary fores furnished by Jehoshaphat, fighting with Israel. He also thinks goats are mentioned to convey the exalted position of the camp upon the hills. Flocks of goats as a rule are smaller than those of sheep, the former being more given to straying] of kids [lit., she-goats. "These flocks pasture mostly on the cliffs, and are smaller than the flocks of sheep" (Bahr)]; but the Syrians filled the country. [The whole plain swarmed with their legions in striking contrast to the two insignificant Bodies of Israelites.]
And there came a man of God, and spake unto the king of Israel, and said, Thus saith the LORD, Because the Syrians have said, The LORD is God of the hills, but he is not God of the valleys, therefore will I deliver all this great multitude into thine hand, and ye shall know that I am the LORD.
Verse 28. - And there came a man of God [Whether this is the same person as the "prophet" of vers. 13, 22, is not quite clear. The difference in the designation (see on 1 Kings 13:1 and p. 303) would lead us to suppose that a different messenger was meant. It is true the Hebrew has the article "the man of God" (LXX. ὁ ἄνθρωπος τοῦ θεοῦ), but אִיּשׁ הֶךאלהִים (see Judges 13:6; Deuteronomy 33:1) is often hardly distinguishable from the same words without the article], and spake [Heb. said, same word as below] unto the king of Israel, and said, Thus saith the Lord, Because the Syrians [Heb. Syria, but with a plural verb] have said, The Lord is Cod of the hills, but he is not God of the valleys, therefore will I deliver all this great multitude into thine hand, and ye shall know that I am the Lord. [It was partly for the instruction of Israel, and to confirm their wavering faith in Jehovah (see ver. 13), that this deliverance was wrought. But it was also that neighbouring nations might learn His power, and that His name might be magnified among the heathen.]
And they pitched one over against the other seven days. And so it was, that in the seventh day the battle was joined: and the children of Israel slew of the Syrians an hundred thousand footmen in one day.
Verse 29. - And they pitched one over against the other [Heb. these opposite these] seven days. [The Syrians, despite their overwhelming numbers, appear to have been afraid to attack, and the Israelites were naturally reluctant, despite the promise they had received, to join battle with so great a host]. And so it was, that in the seventh day the battle was Joined [Heb. the war drew near. It may have been by the direction of the man of God that the Israelites attacked on the seventh day, or the precedent of Jericho (Joshua 6:15) may have influenced their leaders; or the number seven, properly the mark and signature of the covenant, may have come to be regarded superstitiously - in fact, as a lucky number (cf. Isaiah 65:11; Esther 3:7]: and the children of Israel slew of the Syrians an hundred thousand footmen in one day. [This prodigious slaughter may well create surprise. That two comparatively small companies should be able, physically, to slay, with the rude weapons of that age, 100,000 warriors, fighting for their lives, seems hardly credible. It is probable, therefore, that the numbers here, as elsewhere, have been exaggerated in the course of transcription. Another explanation of the difficulty has, indeed, been suggested by Bahr, viz., that וַיַּכּוּ may signify here, as it undoubtedly does elsewhere, "defeated," "put to flight" (see Genesis 14:5; 1 Samuel 13:4, etc.) And the Hebrew at first sight seems to favour this idea, for it may be rendered literally, they smote Syria, a hundred thousand, etc. The 100,000 would then represent the entire strength of the Syrian infantry. But the mention of the "footmen" and of "one day" alike suggests that it is of slaughter, not dispersion, that the historian speaks.]
But the rest fled to Aphek, into the city; and there a wall fell upon twenty and seven thousand of the men that were left. And Benhadad fled, and came into the city, into an inner chamber.
Verse 30. - But the rest [Plainly those not claim It cannot mean those not defeated] fled to Aphek [It is clear that this fortress was then in the possession of the Syrians, as they took refuge within its walls], into the city; and there a wall [Heb. the wall, i.e., the city wall] fell upon twenty and seven thousand of the men that were left. [The Hebrew implies that these were practically all who survived the battle, הַנּותָרִים is the word translated above, "the rest." We have here surely an exaggeration, even more obvious than that of ver. 39. For even if we suppose an earthquake, it is difficult to believe that the walls of a place like Aphek could bury so large a number in their ruins. Rawlinson suggests that the Syrians at the time were "manning the defences in full force," and that the earthquake "threw down the wall where they were most thickly crowded upon it;" but the question arises whether it is possible to mass 27,000 men upon any part of a wall, or all the walls, especially of an ancient village fortress. Thenius hints that the fall of the wall may have been occasioned by the Israelites undermining it during the night, but it seems hardly likely that so small a force could undertake operations of that kind against so formidable a body of troops. Keil objects to this view on another ground, viz., that its object is to negative the idea of a Divine interposition. But the text does not ascribe the fall of the wall to any such interposition, and we know that the sacred writers are not slow to recognize the finger of God whenever it is exerted.] And Ben-hadad fled, and came into [Heb. to] the city [i.e., Aphek. Rawlinson interprets this statement to mean that he "fled from the wall, where he had been at the time of the disaster, into the inner parts of the city," but this is extremely doubtful. Observe the words, "fled and cane to the city" - words almost identical with those used of the fugitives above], into an inner chamber. [Heb. into a chamber within a chamber, as in 1 Kings 22:25. This cannot mean from chamber to chamber," as marg. It is to be observed that חֶדֶר alone signifies properly an inner chamber. See Genesis 43:30; Judges 16:9, 12. Rawlinson thinks that a secret chamber may be meant "a chamber in the wall, or one beneath the floor of another."]
And his servants said unto him, Behold now, we have heard that the kings of the house of Israel are merciful kings: let us, I pray thee, put sackcloth on our loins, and ropes upon our heads, and go out to the king of Israel: peradventure he will save thy life.
Verse 31. - And his servants [Possibly the very same men who (ver. 23) had counselled this second expedition] said unto him, Behold now, we have heard that the kings of the house of Israel are merciful kings [As no doubt they were when compared with contemporary pagan sovereigns]: let us, I pray thee, put sackcloth on our loins [in token of humiliation and contrition, שַׂק is identical, radically, with σάκκος, saccus, and our sack], and ropes upon our heads [i.e., round our necks. To show how completely they were at Ahab's mercy. Bahr shows that this custom still exists in China but the well-known story of the citizens of Calais, after its siege by Edward III., supplies a closer illustration], and go out [Heb. go] to the king of Israel [It would appear from the language of ver. 33 am if Ahab's army was now besieging the place. He himself may have kept at a safe distance from it]: peradventure he will save thy life. [LXX. our lives, τὰς ψυχὰς ἡμῶν.]
So they girded sackcloth on their loins, and put ropes on their heads, and came to the king of Israel, and said, Thy servant Benhadad saith, I pray thee, let me live. And he said, Is he yet alive? he is my brother.
Verse 32. - So they girded sackcloth on their loins, and put ropes on their heads, and came to the king of Israel, and said, Thy servant Ben-hadad saith, I pray thee, let me live. [Compare with this abject petition for life the arrogant insolence of vers. 6, 10. The tables are indeed turned.] And he said, Is he yet alive? he is my brother.
Now the men did diligently observe whether any thing would come from him, and did hastily catch it: and they said, Thy brother Benhadad. Then he said, Go ye, bring him. Then Benhadad came forth to him; and he caused him to come up into the chariot.
Verse 33. - Now the men did diligently observe whether anything would come from him and did hastily catch it [Heb. and the men augured - תךשׁאנךשׁךד נִחֵשׁ. Cf. Genesis 44:15; Leviticus 19:26; 2 Kings 17:17. LXX. οἰωνίσαντο. Vulgate acceperunt pro omine - and hasted and made him declare whether from him, the meaning of which is sufficiently clear, viz., that the men took Ahab's words,"He is my brother," as a speech of good omen, and immediately laid hold of it, and contrived that the king should be held to it and made to confirm it. The only difficulty is in the word וַיַּחְלְטוּ which is ἄπαξ My. The Talmud, however, interprets it to mean, declare, confirm; in the Kal conjugation and the Hiphil would therefore mean, made him declare. The LXX. and Vulgate, however, have understood it otherwise, taking חָלַט as the equivalent of חָלָץ rapuit. The former has ἀνελέξαντο τὸν λόγον ἐκ τοῦ οτόματος αὐτοῦ, and the latter rapuerunt `. They would seem also to have read instead of הַדָּבָר מ חֲמֵמֶּנוּ (Ewald). The law of dakheet (see Layard, N. and B. pp. 317-319), by which Rawlinson would explain this incident, seems to be rather an usage of the Bedouin than of any civilized nations]: and they said, Thy brother Ben-hadad. Then said he, Go ye, bring him.- Then Ben-hadad came forth to him [out of his hiding-place and out of the city]: and he caused him to come up into the chariot. [A mark of great favour (compare Genesis 41:43), and of reconciliation and concord (cf. 2 Kings 10:15).]
And Benhadad said unto him, The cities, which my father took from thy father, I will restore; and thou shalt make streets for thee in Damascus, as my father made in Samaria. Then said Ahab, I will send thee away with this covenant. So he made a covenant with him, and sent him away.
Verse 34. - And Ben-hadad said unto him The cities, which my father took from thy father, I will restore [We can hardly see in these words "the terms of peace which he is willing to offer as the price of his freedom" (Rawlinson), because he was absolutely at Ahab's mercy, and was not in a position to make any stipulations; but they express Ben-hadad's idea of the results which must follow the conquest. His utter defeat would necessitate this reconstruction of their respective territories, etc. We cannot be quite certain that the cities here referred to are those enumerated in 1 Kings 15:20, as taken by Ben-hadad's armies from Baasha. For Baasha was not the father, nor even was he the "ancestor" (as Keil, later edition) of Ahab, but belonged to a different dynasty. At the same time it is quite conceivable that a prince in Ben-hadad's position, in his ignorance or forgetfulness of the history of Israel, might use the word "father" improperly, or even in the sense of "predecessor." We know that אָב had a very extended signification.] Keil and Bahr, however, think that we have a reference to some war in the reign of Omri (cf. 1 Kings 16:27), which is not recorded in Scripture. And the words which follow make this extremely probable, inasmuch as in Baasha's days Samaria had no existence] ? and thou shalt make streets [חצות lit., whatever is without; hence streets, spaces, quarters] for thee in Damascus, as my father made in Samaria. [The commentators are agreed that a permission to establish bazaars or quarters, in which the Hebrews might live and trade, is here conceded]. Then said Ahab [These words are rightly supplied by our translators. The meaning would have been quite clear had the Hebrews been familiar with the use of quotation marks. For lack of these, all the versions ascribe the words to Ben-hadad], I will send thee away with this covenant. So he made a covenant with him and sent him away.
And a certain man of the sons of the prophets said unto his neighbour in the word of the LORD, Smite me, I pray thee. And the man refused to smite him.
Verse 35. - And a certain man [Heb. one man; cf. 1 Kings 13:11, note] of the sons of the prophets [Here mentioned for the first time, though the prophetic schools probably owed their existence, certainly their development, to Samuel. The בּנֵי הָנּ are of course not the children, but the pupils of the prophets. For this use of "son," cf. 1 Samuel 20:31 ("a son of death"); 2 Samuel 12:5; Deuteronomy 25:2; Matthew 23:15; 1 Kings 4:30; Ezra 2:1; John 17:12, and Amos 7:14. Gesenius refers to the Greek ἱατρῶν υἱοί ῤητόρων υἱοί, etc., and says that among the Persians "the disciples of the Magi are called, "Sons of Magi." The word, again, does not necessarily imply youth. That they were sometimes married men appears from 2 Kings 6:1, though this was probably after their collegiate life was ended. As they were called "sons," so their instructor, or head, was called "father" (1 Samuel 10:12)] said unto his neighbour [or companion. Another prophet is implied. It was because this "neighbour" was a prophet that his disregard of the word of the Lord was so sinful, and received such severe punishment], in the word of the Lord [see on 1 Kings 13:1], Smite me, I pray thee. [Why the prophet, in order to the accomplishment of his mission - which was to obtain from Ahab's own lips a confession of his deserts - why he should have been smitten, i.e., bruised and wounded, is not quite clear. For it is obvious that he might have sustained his part, told his story, and obtained a judgment from the king, without proceeding to such painful extremities. It is quite true that a person thus wounded would perhaps sustain the part of one who had been in battle better, but the wounds were in no way necessary to his disguise, and men do not court pain without imperious reasons. Besides, it was "in the word of the Lord" that these wounds were sought and received. It is quite clear, therefore, that it cannot have been merely to give him a claim to an audience with the king (Ewald) - he could easily have simulated wounds by means of bandages, which would at the same time have helped to disguise him - or that he might foreshadow in his own person the wounding which Ahab would receive (1 Kings 22:11), for of that he says nothing, or for any similar reason. The wounding, we may be quite sure, and the tragical circumstances connected therewith, are essential parts of the parable this prophet had to act, of the lesson he had to teach. 1%w the great lesson he had to convey, not to the king alone, but to the prophetic order and to the whole country, the lesson most necessary in that lawless age, was that of implicit unquestioning obedience to the Divine law. Ahab had just transgressed that law. He had "let go a man whom God had appointed to utter destruction;" he had heaped honours on the oppressor of his country, and in gratifying benevolent impulses had ignored the will and counsel of God (see on ver. 42). No doubt it seemed to him, as it has seemed to others since, that he had acted with rare magnanimity, and that his generosity in that age, an age which showed no mercy to the fallen, was unexampled. But he must be taught that he has no right to be generous at the expense of others; that God's will must be done even when it goes against the grain, when it contradicts impulses of kindness, and demands painful sacrifices. He is taught this by the prophetic word (ver. 42), but much more effectively by the actions which preceded it. A prophet required to smite a brother prophet, and that for no apparent reason, would no doubt find it repugnant to his feelings to do so; it would seem to him hard and cruel and shameful to smite a companion. But the prophet who refused to do this, who followed his benevolent impulses in preference to the word of the Lord, died for his sin - died forthwith by the visitation of God. What a lesson was this to king and country - for no doubt the incident would be bruited abroad, and the very strangeness of the whole proceeding would heighten the impression it made. Indeed, it is hardly possible to conceive a way in which the duty of unquestioning obedience could be more emphatically taught. When this prophet appeared before the king, a man had smitten and wounded him, disagreeable and painful as the task must have been, because of the word of the Lord; whilst a brother prophet, who declined the office because it was painful, had been slain by a wild beast. It is easy to see that there was here a solemn lesson for the king, and that the wounding gave it its edge.] And the man refused to smite him.
Then said he unto him, Because thou hast not obeyed the voice of the LORD, behold, as soon as thou art departed from me, a lion shall slay thee. And as soon as he was departed from him, a lion found him, and slew him.
Verse 36. - Then said he unto him, Because thou hast not obeyed the voice of the Lord, behold, as soon as thou art departed from me, a lion [Heb. the lion, perhaps the lion appointed already to this office, or one that had lately been seen in the neighbourhood] shall slay thee. And as soon as he was departed from him, a [Heb. the] lion found him [same word as in 1 Kings 13:24, where see note], and slew him [For the same sin as that of "the man of God (1 Kings 13:21, 26), viz., disobedience (Deuteronomy 32:24; Jeremiah 5:6), and disobedience, too, under circumstances remarkably similar to those. In fact, the two histories run on almost parallel lines. In each case it is a prophet who disobeys, and disobeys the "word of the Lord;" in each case the disobedience appears almost excusable; in each case the prophet appears to be hardly dealt with, and suffers instant punishment, whilst the king escapes; in each case the punishment is foretold by a prophet; in each case it is effected by the instrumentality of a lion. And in each case the lesson is the same - that God's commands must be kept, whatever the cost, or that stern retribution will inevitably follow.]
Then he found another man, and said, Smite me, I pray thee. And the man smote him, so that in smiting he wounded him.
Verse 37. - Then he found another man, and said, Smite me, I pray thee. And the man smote him, so that in smiting he wounded him [Heb. smiting and wounding. This last particular is apparently recorded to show how promptly and thoroughly this "other man," who is not said to have been a prophet, obeyed the charge. Probably he had the fate of the other before his eyes.]
So the prophet departed, and waited for the king by the way, and disguised himself with ashes upon his face.
Verse 38. - So the prophet departed, and waited for the king by the way, and disguised himself with ashes upon his face. [Rather, a bandage upon his eyes. אֲפֵר there can be no doubt, denotes some sort of covering (LXX. τελαμών), and is probably the equivalent of עֲפֵר. Ashes cannot be put on the eyes, and even on the head would be but a poor disguise. This bandage was at the same time in keeping with the prophet's role as a wounded man, and an effective means of concealment. It would almost seem as if this prophet was personally known to the king.]
And as the king passed by, he cried unto the king: and he said, Thy servant went out into the midst of the battle; and, behold, a man turned aside, and brought a man unto me, and said, Keep this man: if by any means he be missing, then shall thy life be for his life, or else thou shalt pay a talent of silver.
Verse 39. - And as the king passed by, he cried unto the king [in his capacity of supreme judge; see on 1 Kings 3:9]: and he said, Thy servant went out into the midst of the battle [i.e., the recent battle]; and, behold, a man turned aside [סָר; cf. 1 Kings 22:43; Exodus 3:3; Exodus 32:8. But Ewald, al. would read, סַר prince or captain (properly שַׂר), a change which certainly lends force to the apologue, and makes the analogy more complete. Only such an officer was entitled to give such an order. Moreover just as a common soldier ought to obey his captain, so should Ahab have obeyed God. But as our present text yields a good and sufficient meaning, we are hardly warranted in making any change], and brought a man unto me, and said, Keep this man: if by any means he be missing, then shall thy life be for his life, or else thou shalt pay [Heb. weigh. There was then no coinage. Payments were made by means of bars of silver or gold] a talent of silver. [A considerable sum - about £400. "The prisoner is thus represented to be a very important personage" (Thenius). There is a hint at Ben-hadad. Ewald holds that the wounds represented the penalty inflicted instead of the talent which a common soldier naturally could not pay.]
And as thy servant was busy here and there, he was gone. And the king of Israel said unto him, So shall thy judgment be; thyself hast decided it.
Verse 40. - And as thy servant was busy [Heb. doing. The LXX. περιεβλέψατο ὁ δοῦλός σου, and the Vulgate dum ego turbatus hue illucque me verterem, have led some critics to urge the substitution of פֹּגֶה turning, or שֹׁעֶה looking, for עֹשֵׂה doing, in the text. But no alteration is needed] here and there [or hither and thither - the ה is generally local - as in Joshua 8:20. But sometimes it is merely demonstrative, "here and there," as in Genesis 21:29, Daniel 12:5, and so it may be understood here (Gesenius)], he was gone [Heb. he is not]. And the king of Israel said unto him, So shall thy judgment be; thyself hast decided it. [Cf. 2 Samuel 12:5-7, Ahab has himself pronounced that his judgment is just, and what it shall be.]
And he hasted, and took the ashes away from his face; and the king of Israel discerned him that he was of the prophets.
Verse 41. - And he hasted, and took the ashes away from his face [Heb. removed the covering from upon his eyes]; and the king of Israel discerned him that he was of the prophets. [That is, he was one of the prophets who were known to him The face alone would hardly have proclaimed him a prophet. And the prophet's dress would of course have been laid aside when the disguise was assumed.]
And he said unto him, Thus saith the LORD, Because thou hast let go out of thy hand a man whom I appointed to utter destruction, therefore thy life shall go for his life, and thy people for his people.
Verse 42. - And he said onto him. Thus saith the lord, Because thou hast let go [Heb. sent away; same word as in ver; 34. This is an in direct proof that those were the words of Ahab] out of thy hand [Heb. out of hand - same idiom in 1 Samuel 26:23 - i.e., power, possession. Cf. Genesis 32:12; Exodus 18:9; Numbers 35:25] a man whom I appointed to utter destruction [Heb. a man of my devoting. Cf. Isaiah 34:5; Zechariah 14:11. It is the word used of the Canaanites and their cities, Deuteronomy 2:34; Deuteronomy 7:2; Joshua 8:26; Joshua 10:28; and it gave a name to the city Hormah, Numbers 21:3; Numbers 14:45. Ben-hadad, therefore, was doomed of God], therefore thy life shall go for [Heb. be instead of] his life, and thy people for his people. [By the lex talionis. It was probably because of this denunciation (cf. 1 Kings 22:8) that Josephus identifies this prophet with Micaiah, the son of Imlah, "whom Ahab appears to have imprisoned on account of some threatening prophecy (Rawlinson). See 1 Kings 22:9, 26. For the fulfilment o! this prediction see ch. 22. It has seemed to some writers as if Ahab were here very hardly dealt with for merely gratifying s generous impulse, and dealing magnanimously with a conquered foe. Indeed, there are commentators who see in his release of the cruel and insolent tyrant s "trait which does honour to the heart of Ahab." But it is to be remembered, first, that Ahab was not free to do as he liked in this matter. His victories had been won, not by his prowess, by the skill of his generals, or the valour of his soldiers, but by the power of God alone. The war, that is to say, was God's war: it was begun and continued, and should therefore have been ended, in Him. When even the details of the attack had been ordered of God (ver. 14), surely He should have been consulted as to the disposal of the prisoners. The prophet who promised Divine aid might at any rate have been asked - as prophets constantly were in that age (1 Kings 22:5, 8) - what was the "word of the Lord" concerning Israel's overbearing and inveterate enemy. But Ahab, who had himself played so craven a part (vers. 21, 31), and who had contributed nothing to these great and unhoped-for victories, nevertheless arrogated to himself their fruits, and thereby ignored and dishonoured God. Secondly, if he had so little regard for his own private interests as to liberate such a man as Ben-hadad, he ought, as trustee for the peace and welfare of Israel, to have acted differently. The demand of ver. 6 should have revealed to him the character of the man he had to deal with. And lastly, he was acting in defiance of all the principles and precedents of the Old Testament dispensation. For one great principle of that dispensation was the lex talionis. The king was the authorized dispenser of rewards and punishments, not only to wicked subjects but to aggressive nations. It was his duty to mete out to them the measure they had served to Israel. And the precedents were all in favour of putting such wretches as this Ben-hadad to the sword (Joshua 10:26; Judges 7:25; 1 Samuel 15:33). If he had been the first oppressor who fell into the hands of Israel, Ahab might have had some excuse. But with the fate of Agog, of Adonibezek, of Oreb and Zeeb, in his memory, he ought at any rate to have paused and asked counsel of God before taking Ben-hadad into his chariot and sending him away with a covenant of peace, to reappear at no distant period on the scene as the scourge of the Lord's people.]
And the king of Israel went to his house heavy and displeased, and came to Samaria.
Verse 43. - And the king of Israel went to his house heavy and displeased [Heb. sullen and angry; same words 1 Kings 21:4], and came to Samaria. [The order of verse suggests that the house was one in or near Aphek, in which the king was lodged after the battle - on which this interview, therefore, followed closely - and that shortly afterwards he left it for his capital.]