I Kings

Chapter 20

"War with Syria [1-43[."
God Reproves Ahab [35-43]."

This Bible Study is written by Roger Christopherson, and it's transcription is provided with written permission by http://www.theseason.org

I Kings 20:1 And Ben-hadad 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."

The name "Ben-hadad" means "the king of the mighty". These king are vassal kings that owed all that they had to Ben-hadad, so if they were not completely loyal to him, they would lose their throne. The word "vassal" means that you in name serve because you own that duty, or you would be automatically an enemy.

I Kings 20:2 "And he sent messengers to Ahab king of Israel into the city, and said unto him, "Thus saith Ben-hadad,"

Look into the heart of Ahab, and see the trouble he is in. First of all he was married to Jezebel, so his choice of women was not all that good. Then he sat back and allowed her to run his kingdom, and kill the prophets at will. He wasn't all that much of a man to begin with. We know Ahab by the deeds that he did, and the things that he says. Ben-hadad is making a demand from Ahab.

I Kings 20:3 " `Thy silver and thy gold is mine; thy wives also and thy children, even the goodliest, are mine.' "

This might be a real deal, sending Jezebel off to be with Ben-hadad, it wouldn't be long that she would own that kingdom also. So what did Ahab say back to Ben-hadad.

I Kings 20:4 "And the king of Israel answered and said, "My lord, O king, according to thy saying, I am thine, and all that I have." "

Again, Ahab was thinking of this proposal in the sense of a vassal king; that he would owe allegiance to Ben-hadad, just like the other thirty two kings that allied themselves to Ben-hadad. If Ben-hadad kept going in this fashion, it would not take long to where he would have a world wide empire. One by one you force nations to ally with you, or be destroyed. Well at first thought, Ahab, the king of Israel reacted the offer just as all the other had. It would be like paying a tax and tribute to Ben-hadad for what ever the amount he stated. So here comes the demands on Ahab, and the house of Israel.

This is the same way that the nations of the United Nation, the one world system that we have today, is required to give their allegiance to that political body. The small nations were humbled one by one, that man or woman in power either knuckled under and submitted, or the United Nations created their own subversive government. They brand that king or leader with all sorts of deceptions to scare them into becoming members under the UN charter, either to bring that government down or under control. Today there is not one government on the face of the earth that is not a member of that dominating system.

This United Nation system is a forerunner to the next world wide system that will rule, and that system will be ruled by Satan himself. It will be after the fall of this present political system, that those ten agencies of power will give their allegiance to Satan, and he in turn will place them right back in power. However that next system will not be political, but religious; which means that you have to worship the Antichrist, Satan, the man at the top before you can even participate in that one world system. Sure these are types and "ensample" [examples] of this to come.

Maybe Ahab can see a way to dump Jezebel, and be freed from her, that would be a great reason for jumping into this agreement so quickly. Jezebel would be hauled away into Syria, and Ben-hadad would have to put up with her.

I Kings 20:5 "And the messengers came again, and said, "Thus speaketh Ben-hadad, saying, `Although I have sent unto thee, saying, `Thou shalt deliver me they silver, and thy gold, and thy wives, and thy children;"

These things demanded by Ben-hadad would clean out Ahab's castle, however there is more that Ben-hadad wanted.

I Kings 20:6 "Yet I will send my servants unto thee to morrow about this time, and they shall search thine house, and the houses of thine servants, and it shall be, that whatsoever is pleasant in thine eyes, they shall put it in their hand, and take it away.' ' "

This goes one step beyond just taking the goods, but they shall also take what ever thing that you place a value on, and they shall take that away. This is getting deeper into the pocket than was stating before. Remember that a great deal that Ahab had, did not belong to him. It was God's, taken from the battles where God gave the victory, and of those things, Ahab had no right to hand over to God's enemies. It is obvious by this last offer that Ahab would not just be a vassal king, but that this was a matter of spite. Remember that Israel at another time came against Syria and did great damage and loss of life. This will become obvious before long.

I Kings 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." "

It was about time that Ahab would come to this conclusion, for Ben-hadad has gone far beyond what the other kings had to go through. They held on to their gold, and their things of value. Ahab told the elders that when Ben-hadad asked for my personal thing, I did not deny what he asked for, but now he is asking for the things of value in the servants houses. They are about to ransack all of our houses.

I Kings 20:8 "And all the elders and all the People said unto him, "Hearken not unto him, nor consent" "

The elders of the communities backed Ahab, and told him to stand up to that wicked system of Ben-hadad's. At least there was a little wisdom left in the tribes of the House of Israel.

I Kings 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 word again."

Ahab answered Ben-hadad through this messenger, and said, tell the king that I will agree to the first offer, to give you the gold, silver, my wives and the children, but that is the only thing that I will agree to. Ahab said, I will pay the tribute, but I will not allow you to come in and ransack our houses, and destroy our things of value. So here is Ben-hadad's response to Ahab.

I Kings 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." "

Notice that Ben-hadad had no respect nor knowledge of the True God of Israel. Ben-hadad is reminding Ahab that he has so many people under him, that they are going to turn Samaria into dust when his army gets there.

I Kings 20:11 "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.' " "

Ahab is answering Ben-hadad back with this little amusing parable. "When you gird up yourself", you are putting your pants on. What Ahab is telling him is that, the one that puts his britches on has less to boast than the one that can rip them off you. This has turned into a war of words and insults, and the last insult came from Ahab. It isn't the one that puts on the harness that can brag, but it is the one that can take it off.

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

The message came back to Ben-hadad right in the middle of this great drunken party. Ben-hadad was drunker than a skunk, and when he got this message back from Ahab, he read it aloud. It read; "It isn't anything to boast of to put your pants on, but the one that could take them off of you, could do the bragging." This was a great of insult to Ben-hadad, and it came right in front of the thirty two kings that were there drinking with him. Those kings were there because of their fear of Ben-hadad, so he had to make a sharp response to Ahab. However, he made his remarks in a drunken stuper, and without any planning.

I Kings 20:13 "And, behold, there came a prophet unto Ahab king of Israel, saying, "Thus saith the Lord, `Hast thou seen thou seen all the great multitude? behold, I will deliver it into thine hand this day; and thou shalt know that I am the Lord.' " "

It is important that we see the order of events that are going on here. First, Ahab was willing to for-go his personal wealth for the sake of the nation, but when Ben-hadad wanted the wealth of the entire nation, Ahab went to the elders, the personal representatives of the people. The elders committed the people to Ahab, and told him to make a stand. So after Ahab made that stand, and stood up to Ben-hadad; Then God sent the prophet to Ahab to let him know that the Lord would give the battle into his hand. The purpose for God giving the victory to Ahab was that he, Ahab, "shalt know that I am the Lord." If God gives a victory, you know that Israel is going to slaughter the Syrians again.

The stand had to be made first. The consideration of what was right and what was wrong had to be identified, and when it became obvious that this was an evil act, Ahab and the elders made their stand. We can pay attention to what is going on here and apply it to our own lives. When we see things are not right and according to God's Word, than a stand has to be made.

I Kings 20:14 "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." "

Ahab wanted to know who this prophet was that was carrying the message, and he was told, it doesn't matter whom that prophet was because he came from God. Then Ahab wanted to know just who would lead the troops into battle, and he was told, "You". Ahab would take his young men, the servants there in the capital city, and they would be the army that God would use to win the battle.

I Kings 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."

Samaria was the capital city, and each of the provinces had their representatives there in the capital. It was from these men that Ahab build this army, as well as the other able bodied men of the city. In all total, there were two hundred thirty two (232) men serving under Ahab that were leaders from out side the city, and seven thousand warriors from the city. This was Ahab's army that God would give the victory.

There were 232 men that were to be the leaders of this army of God that would defeat the enemy. The witnesses of the end time will be all over the world, however God will select his 232 leaders that will set the course for God army of his election. What happened in Ahab's day is a type of what shall happen in our generation.

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

Here it is time for battle and all of the thirty two king, including Ben-hadad, are so drunk that they couldn't sit on their horses if they wanted to. They ordered the war to go on, and here they sat, drunken old men trying to stagger out of the pavilion door and on their horses.

I Kings 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 of Samaria."

Ben-hadad thought the victory was his because of his numbers. So when he sent the young princes of the provinces out to take the city of Samaria, here came this small army of seven thousand marching out to meet them. Ben-hadad could believe the message, and told them to go and ask if they are coming in peace or for war?

I Kings 20:18 "And he said, "Whether they be come out for peace, take them alive; or whether they be come out for war, take them alive." "

This was an insult to his troops, for if they were coming out for war, how can you fight an enemy in a war, if your orders were to keep him alive. God placed the words in his drunken mouth, and it placed Ben-hadad's own troops in danger. By Ben-Hadad's own words he took the swords right out of the hands of his own men. So we see a drunk with a big mouth leading the troops.

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

There was order among the ranks of the young warriors of Ahab.

I Kings 20:20 "And they slew every one his man: and the Syrians fled: and Israel pursued them: and Ben-hadad the king of Syria escaped on an horse with the horsemen."

Each of the men of Israel took a man and killed him, and the other saw what was happening to the other, and they all turned and ran. When Ben-hadad saw how the battle was going, he also closely escaped with his own life. These seven thousand and thirty two took the top of the ridge and cleaned house, even with Ben-hadad's calvary.

I King 10:21 "And the king of Israel went out, and smote the horses and chariots, and slew the Syrians with a great slaughter."

Once the Syrians started to run, the Israelites followed them and slay them by the thousands. Ahab's army dislodged them and killed them as they fled from the battle. That is how you win wars.

I Kings 10:22 "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." "

So once God gave the victory to king Ahab, the prophet of God came to him with more instruction. This prophet told Ahab to mark or remember all that you have done here and now, and next spring [the return of the year], Ben-hadad is coming back with a greater army than he had this time. The prophet is telling Ahab that you have time to get ready for that battle, get your army ready, and prepare them for battle.

Friend, there is no doubt that there is another battle coming that is well recorded by the prophets, and that king that shall lead them is Satan himself. He will come with all his fallen angels. Satan will have his children here on earth called the Kenites, and he will have all his allies right by his side. This battle is for the minds of the people living right here on earth, and God has told each of us to prepare for that battle. He set the time of the battle, and told us exactly what we need to do to prepare to have the victory over Satan's deception.

I Kings 20:23 "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."

What these spiritual idoits don't know is that our Heavenly Father is God of the entire universe. They have tried to limit God to the hills where the last battle took place, and that made our Father mad. Sure God picked the high place for his holy mount, but all the world is God's for He created all things. The Syrians are thinking that the gods are for only local places, however our God is God over all places.

I Kings 20:24 "And do this thing, Take the kings away, every man out of his place, and put captains in their rooms:"

In a way this is kind of humorous. The people are telling Ben-hadad to get rid of those drunks that you have around you, and put captains, men of war over the troops. Get rid of that commander and chief that is nothing but a drunk and womanizer, and put someone in charge that knows what he is doing.

I Kings 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 harkened unto the voice, and did so. "

These advisors to Ben-hadad is advising him to build back his army to the point of greater than they had before, and number them, get order to their ranks, and then we will be stronger than they. Remember during the last battle, there was no order in the ranks, and the leaders were still on their drunken binge. This sounded good to Ben-hadad and that is what he did.

I Kings 20:26 "And it came to pass at the return of the year, that Ben-hadad numbered the Syrians, and went up to Aphek, to fight against Israel."

Well, through the winter, Ben-hadad replaced the leaders of his army with warriors that brought order to his ranks. Now that spring has arrived it is time to march out against their enemy Israel, and they had chosen the plains to fight on, for they thought that Israel's God was only the God of the high places. "Aphek" is a plain located about six miles east of the sea of Galilee and flowing to the east.

I Kings 20:27 "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."

Remember that after the last battle the prophet warned Ahab of the battle to come, and told him to build an army. So the "numbering" of Israel is as we number the men of the land today through our selective service, or draft board; picking out those men that are suitable of the armed forces.

The children of Israel split up into two small forces, and camped at the head of this plain, while laying before them and covering the entire plain was this huge army of Ben-hadad. So there would be three thousand five hundred in each of these groups of Israel, and the army of the Syrians numbered into the hundreds of thousands. As the Syrians looked up on the hillside, these men of Israel looked like two little flocks of goats feeding.

I Kings 20:28 "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.' "

This prophet again is telling Ahab that when you have the victory that I shall give you, by this victory you will know that I am the Lord.

I Kings 20:29 "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."

Both armies were camped on the plain and sizing each other up for seven days. Here is that number seven again, the number for spiritual completeness in biblical numerics. On that seventh day, those little lambs of Israel of the army of seven thousand, slew of the army of the Syrians a hundred thousand [100,000] men. This was the end of the first day's battle. Remember that God was in complete control of the swords of the warriors.

I Kings 20:30 "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 Ben-hadad fled, and came into the city, into an inner chamber."

When the men went into the city, the God knocked down the walls of the city on top of many of the men fleeing, and 27,000 men lost their lives. Ben-hadad went right into the city, and went from house to house hiding himself. The twenty seven thousand were trying to hide behind the wall, while many were trying to climb to the top, and it all came tumbling down. It doesn't matter how or why the wall came down, God said it would happen and it did. God destroyed this army because He wanted Ahab and the rest of Israel to know that He was their God, and the God of everywhere.

I Kings 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, I pray thee, put sack cloth on our loins, and ropes upon our heads, and go out to the king of Israel: peradventure he will save thy life." "

This is what the Syrian servants are saying about Ahab to Ben-hadad. If we dress up in a remorseful fashion, the king will be merciful and allow you to live.

I Kings 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." "

The sack cloth and ropes are symbolic of total defeat. When Ahab heard this request, he asked this question in disbelief: "Is he still alive?" Remember that just on that first day over 100,000 men were killed on the battle field, with many thousands more on the way to Aphek, when the walls of the city buried thousands more. This leader that is pleading the case before Ahab, was a brother king.

Remember that Ahab is a very weak man, and not to bright when it comes to the mental part of war. He is the buddy of any tramp that will hunt with him. You can understand his nature more, when you realize who his wife Jezebel was.

Friend, if God gives you something into your hand as a duty, then it is not up to you to show grace, when it is not offered by God. That was Saul's greatest down falls when he allowed one of God's enemies to live, when God said to wipe them out to the last child; including their animals. God's order to Ahab was to eliminate Ben-hadad complete, and now Ahab is going against God's wishes. Ahab was not given a choice in this matter.

I Kings 20:33 "Now the men did diligently observe whether any thing would come from him, and did hastily catch it: 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 the chariot."

These kings of Ben-hadad's kingdom watched Ahab closely to see how he would react before they would reveal which one was Ben-hadad. They wanted to know for a fact that they had a deal before they would tell. When they saw that Ahab would not harm their king, they brought Ben-hadad forth, and Ahab brought Ben-hadad right into his own chariot. This heathen king was an idol worshipper, and even tried to wipe out the nation of Israel, and yet Ahab treated him as a brother. By Ahab's accepting this man that cursed the Living God, Ahab was insulting the Lord God Himself. That was not Ahab's right to do this, for God wanted him dead.

I Kings 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." Then said Ahab, "I will send thee away with this covenant." So he made a covenant with him, and sent him away."

Ahab made a covenant with this heathen king against God's wishes, and he will pay for this insult to God. Ahab was very forgiving to the enemy and to the idolaters, but when his wicked wife Jezebel was killing priests by the thousands, there was not forgiveness to God's people. If it wasn't for one of Ahab's servants hiding two groups of prophets and feeding them, she would have killed all the priests. We are not to covenant or give in to any of the things of Satan at all, not in this earth age. There are no negotiation with the heathen to compromise the things of God. Satan's kids, the Kenites will cheat, lie, steal, and twist the truth to distort and take the birthright of God's people. There is just no room to covenant with Satan in any manner. Today there are very few men that can handle God's Word to see the Kenites are twisting and changing of God's Word, to know what is truth from a lie. Today we have our King James bible in part with the tools to dig out the truths for ourselves in our studies. In short you don't make a covenant with the Devil.

I Kings 20:35 "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 refuse to smite him."

It was God's purpose that this man smite this prophet. It was done to prove a point. This was to show a point in discipline.

I Kings 20:36 "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 shall slay thee." And as soon as he was departed from him, a lion found him, and slew him."

This is the second time that God will use a lion to punish a person that would not obey God's Word. God expects His people to be obedient and disciplined. Sure God is loving and merciful, but he also expects obedience. Our war today is not so much with guns, but with words, and the enemy is using words and ideas to fight that war. This is the controversy that is going on now, in our generation. Very shortly our war and battle will be face to face with Satan in his role as the Antichrist and his fallen angels, besides his children the Kenites of today.

I KIngs 20:37 "Then he found another man, and said, "Smite me, I pray thee." And the man smote him, so that in smiting he wounded him."

This second man did this godly act and gave this prophet a good hit to where the blood was flowing.

I Kings 20:38 "So the prophet departed, and waited for the king by the way, and disguised himself with ashes upon his face."

With this wound, this prophet disguised himself with a bandage [ashes] around his head. Then he waited for the king to come down the road to see him with his bloody bandage. Remember that the war was just completed, and there were many wounded in the battle, as in any war. God is going to allow Ahab to pronounce his own sentence on his own head, and he is using the prophet to do that.

As you live, God will judge you and when you bring a sentence down on another person, when that sentence is unfair and a lie, than the sentence you pronounce on that person will be brought on your own head. You set the punishment for your own sins when you place it on someone else. That is God's way.

I Kings 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.' " "

This is a prophet disguised as a soldier, crying out to the king. The point here is a life for a life. This man Ben-hadad had caused many of the Israelites to die, and yet Ahab had made a covenant with him, and released him. So with this stated, this prophet of God wants Ahab to pronounce a sentence on this man that caused the trouble for someone else, for that is the sentence that Ahab will receive.

I Kings 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." "

Ahab's answer to this prophet of God was that; "out of your own mouth you have sentenced yourself".

I Kings 20:41 "And he hasted, and took the ashes away from his face; and the king of Israel discerned him that he was of the prophets."

As soon as Ahab spoke the prophet took the bandage off his head. It did not take long for Ahab to realize that he had been tricked by this prophet of God to sentence himself.

I Kings 20:42 "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.' " "

This is the prophet of God speaking to Ahab. God had appointed that Ben-hadad should be killed and his entire army should be destroyed, and you let him go.

I Kings 20:43 "And the king of Israel went to his house heavy and displeased, and came to Samaria."

This shot terror into the heart and mind of Ahab, for he knew that it would come to pass. He had just pronounced his own death, as well as that of his family. Ahab knew the God spoke through the prophets, and what the prophets said came to pass. When Ahab comes to Samaria, we will see where Ahab will try to do a great repentance before the Lord. Ahab had a way of knowing when he was in deep trouble before God, and he knew when it was time to get down on his knees. God knew that Ahab was a coward, and that he would rather let someone run over him, that make any stand for his rights or God. This type of person is filling the church houses today, and they would rather just sit their in their pew, that rock the boat and make a stand.

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