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Ben-Hadad

The Drunken Syrian King


Now we can only assume that the rest of Ben-Hadad men were getting drunk right along with him and his commanders. If this was the case, this would render them useless when it came to having to do combat at that particular moment.

( Bible Study Article Covers : 1 Kings 20:13-43 )









Short Recap



In the last article we'd learned that the Syrian king Ben-Hadad, had decided to wage war against Ahab the Israel king. However, Ben-hadad wasn't alone when it came to his war campaign, for he would also bring along with him, thirty-two different kings and their kingdoms as well. Remember that these thirty-two kings were made vassals when they, themselves, ended up surrendering... when at one point in time, Ben-Hadad had confronted their kingdoms. Now personally, when it comes to these kings, I like to call them Ben-Hadad's "Thirty-Two Kings of Mass Destruction."

Needless-to-say, once Ahab had seen the tremendous military force that Ben-Hadad had brought along with him, he quickly realized that the odds of him being able to overcome the Syrian king and his allies, were next to none.

Know that Ahab's fear was evident, when we'd first read about Ben-hadad's and Ahab's first encounter.

Remember that Ahab was giving up way too easy, when it came to the Syrian king's first set of demands.

For you see, Ahab had agreed to Ben-Hadad's first set of demands, therefore believing that he too, would become a vassal that would serve under Ben-Hadad's administration.






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Ahab Couldn't Agree To Ben-Hadad's Demands





However, in spite of the military power that Ben-Hadad had, it would seem that Ahab was only willing to go so far. For the Sacred Record reveals that Ben-Hadad wanted a lot more from Ahab than he had initially demanded. And it was for this reason, the Syrian king ended up sending out another set of demands for Ahab to submit to. For you see, the Syrian king wanted to strip Ahab of all that he had. And even with Ahab believing that he couldn't defeat Ben-Hadad and his very powerful army, the Israel king was willing to go only so far, when it came to the cost of surrendering. And it's for this reason, Ahab refused Ben-Hadad's demands altogether.

Now after Ben-Hadad had heard Ahab's refusal, he makes a vow to annihilate the city of Samaria and all that it holds dear, therefore, immediately declaring war against Ahab. Now in the meantime, the Sacred Record also reveals that God has sent a prophet, to come and help aid the Israel king, when it came to the threatening situation that was now taking place, between he and Ben-Hadad.






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The Mysterious Prophet





Now when it comes to the prophet that God had sent to aid Ahab, its not made clear on who he actually was. But we do know, it wasn't the prophet Elijah, or his newly acquired prophet apprentice Elisha. So basically, this prophet was a servant that God had dispatched from nearby, in order to help Ahab, when it came to his fight against Ben-Hadad and his "Thirty-Two Kings of Mass Destruction."

Be that as it may, as we move forward, we find that when the unnamed prophet had came before Ahab, he foretold this prophecy: "This is what the Lord says: 'Do you see this vast army? I will give it into your hand today, and then you will know that I am the Lord.'" Now after Ahab had heard this, he'd asked the prophet: "Who will do this?" Then the unnamed prophet replied: "The young officers of the provincial commanders will do it."  Then Ahab asked: "Who will start the battle?" The unnamed prophet responded by saying: "You will."

 




 

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Ahab Assembles His Army





Now after Ahab had heard all that the unnamed prophet had to say, he then proceeded to assemble all his provincial commanders. Ahab had 232 provincial commanders in his administration. Next, Ahab would go out and assemble the rest of the Israelites, and their number came to be 7000. And with the provincial commanders leading the way, the Israelites began advancing upon Ben-Hadad and his mighty thirty-two kings of mass destruction. Now personally, I believe that this was a very bold, and crucial move, when it came to Ahab's part.

Now the reason why I find this move on Ahab's part, to be bold, deals with the mere fact that Ben-Hadad didn't think that the Israel king had it in him, when it came to attacking a force that was as large and powerful, as his army was. Now the reason why I also find this move by Ahab to be crucial, deals simply with the timing of the attack.

For you see, Ben-Hadad was sitting there, along with his thirty-two kings, while they were all getting drunk from within their pavilions, when Ahab had decided to attack. And it's very well possible that Ben-Hadad's men, were also getting drunk, right along with their king and their commanders. And if this was the case, then Ahab was attacking a very powerful army, while that army's drunkenness, were rendering them useless, when it came to them having to do combat.






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Ahab's Perfect Timing





Now when the Syrian king had received word that Ahab's men were advancing from Samaria, he responded from his drunken state of mind (while making no sense at all) and gave the orders: "If they have come out for peace, take them alive. If they have come out for war, take them alive." Nonetheless, we now have both sides engaging one another in warfare. And it would also be at this time that the Sacred Record reveals that the provincial commanders had struck down every drunken Syrian that they had came in contact with that day.

Know that this resulted in very heavy casualties for Ben-Hadad's powerful army, therefore causing the Syrians to immediately retreat. And in spite of this, the Israelites would continue to pursue the Syrians, and because of their aggression, this had caused more heavy losses for the Syrian king. Now in the meantime, while all of this was going on, we find that during this whole ordeal, Ben-Hadad was able to escape his trackers on horseback. 

Nonetheless, the unnamed prophet eventually catches up with Ahab. And it would be at this time, the prophet tells Ahab to immediately review his current situation, and then regroup. The prophet also warned Ahab that Ben-Hadad will indeed regroup his men, and try attacking the Israel kingdom again next spring.






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The God of Israel : Simply Too Powerful





However in the meantime, we find Ben-Hadad having a meeting with his officials. And it would be during this time, they told their king: "Their gods, are gods of the hills. That is why they were too strong for us. But if we fight them on the plains, surely we will be stronger than they. Do this: Remove all the kings from their commands and replace them with other officers. You must also raise an army like the one you lost; horse for horse, and chariot for chariot. Do this so we can fight Israel on the plains. Then surely we will be stronger than they."

Now after Ben-Hadad had heard his officials advice, he was found to be in total agreement with them. And when spring returned, the Arameanian (Syrian) king had indeed, had a new army with new leaders readying to attack the Israel kingdom, just like the unnamed prophet had foretold. Now when it came to these new leaders, know that they weren't like the thirty-two kings that had come before them. For the rank that they held, was not simply by birthright, but by merit. So Ben-Hadad takes his new army over to encamp in Aphek. Now this was a place that was located from within the tribe of Asher.

Understand that this area was not in the hills, but it was found to be level and flat, just like Ben-Hadad's officials had advise him to use, when it came to his next war campaign against Israel. However, the Sacred Record reveals that once again, Ben-Hadad's army was vast in size, for it covered the whole countryside. But when it came to the Israelites, we find that they were camped over towards the opposite side of where Ben-Hadad and his men were located. Now when it came to how the two armies measured up against each other, the Scriptures tells us that the Israelites looked like two small flocks of goats, when compared to Ben-Hadad's army.






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Ahab's Seven Day Wait





Be that as it may, as we move forward, we now find the unnamed prophet going to Ahab, in order to tell him this: "Because the Arameans simply think the Lord is just a God of the hills, and not a God of the valleys too, I will again, deliver this vast army into your hands, and you will know that I am the Lord."

So for seven days, they camped opposite of each other, and on the seventh day they finally fought. And the Sacred Record reveals that this time around, the Israelites had inflicted 100,000 casualties on Ben-Hadad's army, when they'd clashed the very first day.

And because of the major damage that the Israelites had inflicted upon them, the rest of the Arameanians had retreated back to the fortified city of Aphek. And it was at that city, where the Syrians would try to reinforce a wall, in order to keep the attacking Israelites at bay. But the Syrians efforts wouldn't be enough to hold the Israelites back, for the Sacred Record reveals that the Israelites would end up pushing the wall over unto the Arameanian army, therefore killing another 27,000 of them.






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Victory Is Near





Now in the meantime, we find Ben-Hadad fleeing again, and this time around, the Syrian king had hidden himself in an inner room, while his top war officials were looking to surrender to Ahab and the Israelites. Ben-Hadad's officials would arrange their surrender, by dressing themselves in sackcloth, and with ropes around their heads. After doing this, they would then approach Ahab, as they'd begged for mercy. Crying out: "Please let me live?"

Now after hearing their pleas, Ahab responded by saying: "Is he still alive? He is my brother." Now after hearing how Ahab responded, Ben-Hadad's officials took this as a good sign, and answered: "Yes, your brother Ben-Hadad is still alive!" Then Ahab said: "Go and get him."

So they did as they were told, and when Ben-Hadad had came out of hiding, Ahab ordered him to come up to the chariot. And upon doing so, Ben-Hadad quickly made a proposition to Ahab by saying: "I will return the cities my father took from your father. You may set up your own market areas in Damascus, as my father did in Samaria." And after hearing this, Ahab responded to this proposal by saying: "On the basis of a treaty, I will set you free." So the king of Israel made a treaty with him, and had indeed, set him free.






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Ahab Gets Unwelcoming News





Now after Ahab had released Ben-Hadad based on the treaty they had just made, the Lord had the unnamed prophet to deliver another message to the Israel king. But this time around, when the unnamed prophet gave him the message, he had disguised himself. And when he came before Ahab, he said: "Your servant went into the thick of the battle, and someone came to me with a captive and said, 'Guard this man. If he is missing, it will be your life, for his life, or you must pay a talent of silver.' However, while your servant was busy here and there, the man disappeared."

Now after hearing this, Ahab responded by saying: "Then that is your sentence, you have pronounced it yourself." And after the unnamed prophet had heard this, he reveals his true identity to the king. And after doing so, Ahab quickly recognized him to be one of the Lord's prophets. Then the unnamed prophet told the king: "You have set free a man I had determined should die. Therefore it is your life for his life, your people for his people." And after hearing this judgment that had been placed against him, Ahab went home sullen and angry.







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In The Next Upcoming Article :



Now as we just learnt, after Ahab had received his unwelcoming news, he was found to be unhappy and angry, when it came to the judgment that had just been passed against him for disobeying God. But will this be the end, when it comes to Ahab being disappointed? Or is this the beginning of a coming emotional trend for the king?



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