Index: Jewish Publication Society 1917 OT

 

1 Kings 20

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20:1 And Ben-hadad the king of Aram 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 fought against it.

20:2 And he sent messengers to Ahab king of Israel, into the city,

20:3 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.'

20:4 And the king of Israel answered and said: 'It is according to thy saying, my lord, O king: I am thine, and all that I have.'

20:5 And the messengers came again, and said: 'Thus speaketh Ben-hadad, saying: I sent indeed unto thee, saying: Thou shalt deliver me thy silver, and thy gold, and thy wives, and thy children;

20:6 but I will send my servants unto thee tomorrow about this time, and they shall search thy 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.'

20:7 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.'

20:8 And all the elders and all the people said unto him: 'Hearken thou not, neither consent.'

20:9 Wherefore he said unto the messengers of Ben-hadad: '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 back word.

20:10 And Ben-hadad 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.'

20:11 And the king of Israel answered and said: 'Tell him: Let not him that girdeth on his armour boast himself as he that putteth it off.'

20:12 And it came to pass, when Ben-hadad heard this message, as he was drinking, he and the kings, in the booths, that he said unto his servants: 'Set yourselves in array.' And they set themselves in array against the city.

20:13 And, behold, a prophet came near unto Ahab king of Israel, and said: 'Thus saith the LORD: Hast thou seen all this great multitude? behold, I will deliver it into thy hand this day; and thou shalt know that I am the LORD.'

20:14 And Ahab said: 'By whom?' And he said: 'Thus saith the LORD: By the young men of the princes of the provinces.' Then he said: 'Who shall begin the battle?' And he answered: 'Thou.'

20:15 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.

20:16 And they went out at noon. But Ben-hadad was drinking himself drunk in the booths, he and the kings, the thirty and two kings that helped him.

20:17 And the young men of the princes of the provinces went out first; and Ben-hadad sent out, and they told him, saying: 'There are men come out from Samaria.'

20:18 And he said: 'Whether they are come out for peace, take them alive; or whether they are come out for war, take them alive.'

20:19 So these went out of the city, the young men of the princes of the provinces, and the army which followed them.

20:20 And they slew every one his man; and the Arameans fled, and Israel pursued them; and Ben-hadad the king of Aram escaped on a horse with horsemen.

20:21 And the king of Israel went out, and smote the horses and chariots, and slew the Arameans with a great slaughter.

20:22 And the prophet came near 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 Aram will come up against thee.'

20:23 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.

20:24 And do this thing: take the kings away, every man out of his place, and put governors in their room:

20:25 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.

20:26 And it came to pass at the return of the year, that Ben-hadad mustered the Arameans, and went up to Aphek, to fight against Israel.

20:27 And the children of Israel were mustered, and were victualled, and went against them; and the children of Israel encamped before them like two little flocks of kids; but the Arameans filled the country.

20:28 And a man of God came near and spoke unto the king of Israel, and said: 'Thus saith the LORD: Because the Arameans have said: The LORD is a God of the hills, but he is not a God of the valleys; therefore will I deliver all this great multitude into thy hand, and ye shall know that I am the LORD.'

20:29 And they encamped 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 Arameans a hundred thousand footmen in one day.

20:30 But the rest fled to Aphek, into the city; and the wall fell upon twenty and seven thousand men that were left. And Ben-hadad fled, and came into the city, into an inner chamber.

20:31 And his servants said unto him: 'Behold now, we have heard that the kings of the house of Israel are merciful kings; let us, we 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.'

20:32 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.' And he said: 'Is he yet alive? he is my brother.'

20:33 Now the men took it for a sign, and hastened to catch it from him; and they said: 'Thy brother Ben-hadad.' Then he said: 'Go ye, bring him.' Then Ben-hadad came forth to him; and he caused him to come up into his chariot.

20:34 And Ben-hadad 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.' 'And I ,said Ahab, will let thee go with this covenant.' So he made a covenant with him, and let him go.

20:35 And a certain man of the sons of the prophets said unto his fellow by the word of the LORD: 'Smite me, I pray thee.' And the man refused to smite him.

20:36 Then said he unto him: 'Because thou hast not heartened to 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.

20:37 Then he found another man, and said: 'Smite me, I pray thee.' And the man smote him, smiting and wounding him.

20:38 So the prophet departed, and waited for the king by the way, and disguised himself with his headband over his eyes.

20:39 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.

20:40 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.'

20:41 And he hastened, and took the headband away from his eyes; and the king of Israel discerned him that he was of the prophets.

20:42 And he said unto him: 'Thus saith the LORD: Because thou hast let go out of thy hand the man whom I had devoted to destruction, therefore thy life shall go for his life, and thy people for his people.'

20:43 And the king of Israel went to his house sullen and displeased, and came to Samaria.

 

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