1 Kings 20



1 And Ben-hadad the king of Syria brought·​·together all his host, and there were thirty and two kings with him, and horses and chariots; and he went·​·up and besieged Samaria and fought against it.

2 And he sent messengers to Ahab king of Israel, to the city, 3 and said unto him, Thus says Ben-hadad,

3 Thy silver and thy gold, they are mine; and thy wives and thy sons, the good ones they are mine.

4 And the king of Israel answered and said, According to thy word, my lord, O king; thine am I and all that I have.

5 And the messengers returned and said, Thus says Ben-hadad, saying, I sent unto thee saying, Thy silver and thy gold, and thy wives, and thy sons thou shalt give unto me;

6 surely about this time tomorrow I will send my servants unto thee, and they shall search thy house and the houses of thy servants, and it shall be; all the desire of thine eyes, they shall set it in their hand and take it.

7 And the king of Israel called all the elders of the land, and said, Know, I pray, and see that he is seeking evil; for he sent unto me for my wives and for my sons, and for my silver and for my gold; and I did not withhold it from him.

8 And all the elders and all the people said unto him, Hearken not, and be· not ·willing.

9 And he said unto the messengers of Ben-hadad, Say to my lord the king, All that thou didst send for to thy servant at the first, I will do; but this thing I am· not ·able to do. And the messengers went away and returned word.

10 And Ben-hadad sent unto him and said, Thus may the gods do unto me and thus may they add, if the dust of Samaria shall suffice for handfuls for all the people that are at my feet.

11 And the king of Israel answered and said, Speak ye thus: Let not him who girds, praise·​·himself as he who loosens.

12 And it was, when he heard this word, and he was drinking, he and the kings in the shelters, that he said unto his servants, Set yourselves; and they set themselves against the city.

13 And, behold, one prophet approached Ahab, king of Israel, and said, Thus says Jehovah, Hast thou seen all this great multitude? Behold, I will give it into thy hand this day; and thou shalt know that I am Jehovah.

14 And Ahab said, By whom? And he said, Thus says Jehovah, By the lads, the princes of the provinces. And he said, Who shall harness for battle? And he said, Thou.

15 And he numbered the lads of the princes of the provinces, and they were two hundred, two and thirty; and after them he numbered all the people, all the sons of Israel, seven thousand.

16 And they went·​·out at noon. And Ben-hadad was drinking himself drunk in the shelters, he and the thirty and two kings, each king who helped him.

17 And the lads of the princes of the provinces went·​·out first; and Ben-hadad sent·​·out and they told him, saying, Men have gone·​·out from Samaria.

18 And he said, Whether they be come·​·out for peace, catch them alive; and whether they be come·​·out for war, catch of them alive.

19 And these came·​·out from the city, the lads, the princes of the provinces, and the host which was behind them.

20 And they smote every man his man; and the Syrians fled, and Israel pursued them, and Ben-hadad king of Syria escaped on a horse, and horsemen.

21 And the king of Israel went·​·out and smote horse and chariot, and smote Syria with great smiting.

22 And the prophet approached the king of Israel, and said to him, Go, make· thyself ·firm, and know, and see that which thou doest; for at the return of the year, the king of Syria will come·​·up against thee.

23 And the servants of the king of Syria said to him, A God of the mountains is their God, therefore they were stronger* than we; nevertheless let us fight them in the plain, to see if we may not be stronger than they.

24 And do this thing; remove the kings, a man from his place, and set governors instead of them.

25 And thou shalt count a host as the host that has fallen from with thee, both horse for horse, and chariot for chariot, and we will fight with them in the plain, to see if we may not be stronger than they. And he hearkened to their voice and did so.

26 And it was, at the return of the year, that Ben-hadad numbered Syria, and went·​·up to Aphek, for battle with Israel.

27 And the sons of Israel were mustered, and they sustained themselves, and went to meet them, and the sons of Israel encamped in·​·front·​·of them as two little flocks of kids; but the Syrians filled the land.

28 And the man of God approached and said to the king of Israel, and said, Thus says Jehovah, Because the Syrians have said, Jehovah is a God of the mountains, but not a God of the valleys, therefore I will give all this great crowd into thy hand, and you shall know that I am Jehovah.

29 And they encamped, these opposite these, seven days. And it was on the seventh day and the battle neared; and the sons of Israel smote Syria, a hundred thousand footmen in one day.

30 And the remainder fled to Aphek, to the city; and the city wall fell upon the twenty and seven thousand men remaining. And Ben-hadad fled and came to the city from chamber into chamber.

31 And his servants said unto him, Behold, I pray, we have heard that the kings of the house of Israel, that they are kings of mercy; let us, I pray, put sackcloth on our loins, and cords on our heads, and go·​·out to the king of Israel: perhaps he will let· thy soul ·live.

32 And they girded them about with sackcloth on their loins, and with cords on their heads, and came to the king of Israel, and said, Thy servant Ben-hadad says, I pray let· my soul ·live. And he said, Is he yet alive? He is my brother.

33 And the men anticipated and hastened, and caught what was from him; and they said, Thy brother Ben-hadad. And he said, Go·​·in, fetch him. And Ben-hadad came·​·out to him, and he made him Go·​·up upon the chariot.

34 And he said unto him, The cities which my father took from thy father I will return; and thou shalt set streets for thyself in Damascus as my father set in Samaria. And I will send· thee ·away with a covenant. And he cut a covenant with him, and sent· him ·away.

35 And one man of the sons of the prophets said unto his companion, by the word of Jehovah, Smite me, I pray. And the man refused to Smite him.

36 And he said to him, Because thou didst not obey the voice of Jehovah, behold, thou shalt go from me, and the lion shall smite thee. And he went from beside him, and the lion found him, and smote him.

37 And he found another man and said, Smite me, I pray. And the man smote him, smiting and wounding him.

38 And the prophet went and stood waiting for the king by the way, and he had disguised himself with ashes on his eyes.

39 And the king passed·​·by, and he cried unto the king, and said, Thy servant went·​·out into the battle, and, behold, a man turned·​·aside and brought unto me a man, and said, Keep this man; if missing he shall be missed, then shall thy soul be instead of his soul, or thou shalt weigh me a talent of silver.

40 And thy servant was doing things here and there, and then he was not. And the king of Israel said unto him, So shall thy judgment be; thou hast decided it.

41 And he hastened and removed the ashes from upon his eyes; and the king of Israel recognized him, that he was of the prophets.

42 And he said unto him, Thus says Jehovah, Because thou hast sent away out·​·of thy hand a doomed* man, therefore shall thy soul be doomed instead·​·of his soul, and thy people instead·​·of his people.

43 And the king of Israel went to his house sullen and gloomy, and came to Samaria.


Thanks to the Kempton Project for the permission to use this New Church translation of the Word.