1 Kings 20-21 World English Bible

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Ahab Defeats the Syrians

20 1  Ben Hadad the king of Syria gathered all his army together; and there were thirty-two kings with him, and horses and chariots: and he went up and besieged Samaria, and fought against it. 2  He sent messengers to Ahab king of Israel, into the city, and said to him, &quot;Thus says Ben Hadad, 3  ‘Your silver and your gold is mine. Your wives also and your children, even the best, are mine.’” 4  The king of Israel answered, “It is according to your saying, my lord, O king. I am yours, and all that I have.” 5  The messengers came again, and said, “Ben Hadad says, ‘I sent indeed to you, saying, “You shall deliver me your silver, and your gold, and your wives, and your children; 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 hand, and take it away.”’” 7  Then the king of Israel called all the elders of the land, and said, “Please notice how this man seeks mischief; for he sent to me for my wives, and for my children, and for my silver, and for my gold; and I didn’t deny him.” 8  All the elders and all the people said to him, “Don’t listen, neither consent.” 9  Therefore he said to the messengers of Ben Hadad, “Tell my lord the king, ‘All that you sent for to your servant at the first I will do; but this thing I cannot do.”

The messengers departed, and brought him back the message. 10  Ben Hadad sent to him, and said, “The gods do so to me, and more also, if the dust of Samaria shall suffice for handfuls for all the people who follow me.” 11  The king of Israel answered, “Tell him, ‘Don’t let him who puts on his armor brag like he who takes it off.”

12  It happened, when Ben Hadad heard this message, as he was drinking, he and the kings, in the pavilions, that he said to his servants, “Prepare to attack!” They prepared to attack the city. 13  Behold, a prophet came near to Ahab king of Israel, and said, “Thus says Yahweh, ‘Have you seen all this great multitude? Behold, I will deliver it into your hand this day; and you shall know that I am Yahweh.’” 14  Ahab said, “By whom?”

He said, “Thus says Yahweh, ‘By the young men of the princes of the provinces.’”

Then he said, “Who shall begin the battle?”

He answered, “You.” 15  Then he mustered the young men of the princes of the provinces, and they were two hundred and thirty-two. After them, he mustered all the people, even all the children of Israel, being seven thousand. 16  They went out at noon. But Ben Hadad was drinking himself drunk in the pavilions, he and the kings, the thirty-two kings who helped him. 17  The young men of the princes of the provinces went out first; and Ben Hadad sent out, and they told him, saying, “Men are coming out from Samaria.” 18  He said, “If they have come out for peace, take them alive; or if they have come out for war, taken them alive.” 19  So these went out of the city, the young men of the princes of the provinces, and the army which followed them. 20  They each killed his man. The Syrians fled, and Israel pursued them. Ben Hadad the king of Syria escaped on a horse with horsemen. 21  The king of Israel went out, and struck the horses and chariots, and killed the Syrians with a great slaughter.

22  The prophet came near to the king of Israel, and said to him, “Go, strengthen yourself, and mark, and see what you do; for at the return of the year the king of Syria will come up against you.” 23  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. 24  Do this thing: take the kings away, every man out of his place, and put captains in their place. 25  Muster an army, like the army that you have lost, horse for horse, and chariot for chariot. We will fight against them in the plain, and surely we will be stronger than them.”

He listened to their voice, and did so. 26  It happened at the return of the year, that Ben Hadad mustered the Syrians, and went up to Aphek, to fight against Israel. 27  The children of Israel were mustered, and were provisioned, and went against them. The children of Israel encamped before them like two little flocks of young goats; but the Syrians filled the country. 28  A man of God came near and spoke to the king of Israel, and said, “Thus says Yahweh, ‘Because the Syrians have said, “Yahweh is a god of the hills, but he is not a god of the valleys;” therefore I will deliver all this great multitude into your hand, and you shall know that I am Yahweh.’” 29  They encamped one over against the other seven days. So it was, that in the seventh day the battle was joined; and the children of Israel killed one hundred thousand footmen of the Syrians in one day. 30  But the rest fled to Aphek, into the city; and the wall fell on twenty-seven thousand men who were left. Ben Hadad fled, and came into the city, into an inner chamber.

31  His servants said to him, “See now, we have heard that the kings of the house of Israel are merciful kings. Please let us put sackcloth on our bodies, and ropes on our heads, and go out to the king of Israel. Maybe he will save your life.” 32  So they put sackcloth on their bodies and ropes on their heads, and came to the king of Israel, and said, “Your servant Ben Hadad says, ‘Please let me live.’”

He said, “Is he still alive? He is my brother.” 33  Now the men observed diligently, and hurried to take this phrase; and they said, “Your brother Ben Hadad.”

Then he said, “Go, bring him.”

Then Ben Hadad came out to him; and he caused him to come up into the chariot. 34  Ben Hadad said to him, “The cities which my father took from your father I will restore. You shall make streets for yourself in Damascus, as my father made in Samaria.”

“I,” said Ahab, “will let you go with this covenant.” So he made a covenant with him, and let him go. 35  A certain man of the sons of the prophets said to his fellow by the word of Yahweh, “Please strike me!”

The man refused to strike him. 36  Then said he to him, “Because you have not obeyed the voice of Yahweh, behold, as soon as you are departed from me, a lion shall kill you.” As soon as he was departed from him, a lion found him, and killed him. 37  Then he found another man, and said, “Please strike me.”

The man struck him, smiting and wounding him. 38  So the prophet departed, and waited for the king by the way, and disguised himself with his headband over his eyes. 39  As the king passed by, he cried to the king; and he said, “Your servant went out into the midst of the battle; and behold, a man turned aside, and brought a man to me, and said, ‘Guard this man! If by any means he be missing, then your life shall be for his life, or else you shall pay a talent of silver.’ 40  As your servant was busy here and there, he was gone.”

The king of Israel said to him, “So your judgment shall be; yourself have decided it.” 41  He hurried, and took the headband away from his eyes; and the king of Israel recognized that he was of the prophets. 42  He said to him, “Thus says Yahweh, ‘Because you have let go out of your hand the man whom I had devoted to destruction, therefore your life shall go for his life, and your people for his people.’” 43  The king of Israel went to his house sullen and angry, and came to Samaria.

Ahab and Naboth's Vineyard

21 1  It happened after these things, that Naboth the Jezreelite had a vineyard, which was in Jezreel, hard by the palace of Ahab king of Samaria. 2  Ahab spoke to Naboth, saying, “Give me your vineyard, that I may have it for a garden of herbs, because it is near to my house; and I will give you for it a better vineyard than it. Or, if it seems good to you, I will give you its worth in money.” 3  Naboth said to Ahab, “May Yahweh forbid me, that I should give the inheritance of my fathers to you!” 4  Ahab came into his house sullen and angry because of the word which Naboth the Jezreelite had spoken to him; for he had said, “I will not give you the inheritance of my fathers.” He laid himself down on his bed, and turned away his face, and would eat no bread.

5  But Jezebel his wife came to him, and said to him, “Why is your spirit so sad, that you eat no bread?” 6  He said to her, “Because I spoke to Naboth the Jezreelite, and said to him, ‘Give me your vineyard for money; or else, if it pleases you, I will give you another vineyard for it.’ He answered, ‘I will not give you my vineyard.’” 7  Jezebel his wife said to him, “Do you now govern the kingdom of Israel? Arise, and eat bread, and let your heart be merry. I will give you the vineyard of Naboth the Jezreelite.” 8  So she wrote letters in Ahab’s name, and sealed them with his seal, and sent the letters to the elders and to the nobles who were in his city, who lived with Naboth. 9  She wrote in the letters, saying, “Proclaim a fast, and set Naboth on high among the people. 10  Set two men, base fellows, before him, and let them testify against him, saying, ‘You cursed God and the king!’ Then carry him out, and stone him to death.” 11  The men of his city, even the elders and the nobles who lived in his city, did as Jezebel had sent to them, according as it was written in the letters which she had sent to them. 12  They proclaimed a fast, and set Naboth on high among the people. 13  The two men, the base fellows, came in and sat before him. The base fellows testified against him, even against Naboth, in the presence of the people, saying, “Naboth cursed God and the king!” Then they carried him out of the city, and stoned him to death with stones. 14  Then they sent to Jezebel, saying, “Naboth has been stoned, and is dead.” 15  It happened, when Jezebel heard that Naboth was stoned, and was dead, that Jezebel said to Ahab, “Arise, take possession of the vineyard of Naboth the Jezreelite, which he refused to give you for money; for Naboth is not alive, but dead.” 16  It happened, when Ahab heard that Naboth was dead, that Ahab rose up to go down to the vineyard of Naboth the Jezreelite, to take possession of it.

17  The word of Yahweh came to Elijah the Tishbite, saying, 18  “Arise, go down to meet Ahab king of Israel, who dwells in Samaria. Behold, he is in the vineyard of Naboth, where he has gone down to take possession of it. 19  You shall speak to him, saying, ‘Thus says Yahweh, “Have you killed and also taken possession?”’ You shall speak to him, saying, ‘Thus says Yahweh, “In the place where dogs licked the blood of Naboth, dogs will lick your blood, even yours.”’” 20  Ahab said to Elijah, “Have you found me, my enemy?”

He answered, “I have found you, because you have sold yourself to do that which is evil in the sight of Yahweh. 21  Behold, I will bring evil on you, and will utterly sweep you away and will cut off from Ahab everyone who urinates against a wall, [1] and him who is shut up and him who is left at large in Israel. 22  I will make your house like the house of Jeroboam the son of Nebat, and like the house of Baasha the son of Ahijah for the provocation with which you have provoked me to anger, and have made Israel to sin.” 23  Yahweh also spoke of Jezebel, saying, “The dogs shall eat Jezebel by the rampart of Jezreel. 24  The dogs will eat he who dies of Ahab in the city; and the birds of the sky will eat he who dies in the field.” 25  But there was none like Ahab, who sold himself to do that which was evil in the sight of Yahweh, whom Jezebel his wife stirred up. 26  He did very abominably in following idols, according to all that the Amorites did, whom Yahweh cast out before the children of Israel. 27  It happened, when Ahab heard those words, that he tore his clothes, and put sackcloth on his flesh, and fasted, and lay in sackcloth, and went softly. 28  The word of Yahweh came to Elijah the Tishbite, saying, 29  “See how Ahab humbles himself before me? Because he humbles himself before me, I will not bring the evil in his days; but in his son’s days will I bring the evil on his house.”

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Footnotes

[1] 21:21 or, male

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