1 Kings, 20
A Syrian army - Samaria
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. 2: And he sent messengers to Ahab king of Israel into the city, and said unto him, Thus saith Ben-hadad, 3: Thy silver and thy gold is mine; thy wives also and thy children, even the goodliest, are mine. 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. 5: And the messengers came again, and said, Thus speaketh Ben-hadad, saying, Although I have sent unto thee, saying, Thou shalt deliver me thy silver, and thy gold, and thy wives, and thy children; 6: Yet I will send my servants unto thee to morrow about this time, and they shall search thine 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. 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. 8: And all the elders and all the people said unto him, Hearken not unto him, nor consent. 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. 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. 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. 12: And it came to pass, when Ben-hadad heard this message, as he was drinking, he and the kings in the pavilions,that he said unto his servants, Set yourselves in array. And they set themselves in array against the city.
A Prophet predicts Ahab’s victory
13: And, behold, there came a prophet unto Ahab king of Israel, saying, Thus saith the LORD, Hast thou seen all this great multitude? behold, I will deliver it in to thine hand this day; and thou shalt know that I am the LORD. 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. 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. 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. 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. 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. 19: So these young men of the princes of the provinces came out of the city, and the army which followed them. 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. 21: And the king of Israel went out, and smote the horses and chariots, and slew the Syrians with a great slaughter. 22: And the prophet came to the king of Israel, and said unto him, Go, strengthen thy self, and mark, and see what thou doest: for at the return of the year the king of Syria will come up against thee.
Ahab defeats the Syrian army
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. 24: And do this thing, Take the kings away, every man out of his place, and put captains in their rooms: 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. 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. 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. 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. 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. 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. 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 sackcloth on our loins, and ropes upon our heads, and go out to the king of Israel: peradventure he will save thy life. 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. 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. 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.
A prophet condemns Ahab
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 refused to smite him. 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. 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. 38: So the prophet departed, and waited for the king by the way, and disguised himself with ashes upon his face. 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. 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. 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. 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. 43: And the king of Israel went to his house heavy and displeased, and came to Samaria.
1 Kings, 21
1: And it came to pass after these things, that Naboth the Jezreelite had a vineyard, which was in Jezreel, hard by the palace of Ahab king of Samaria. 2: And Ahab spake unto Naboth, saying, Give me thy vineyard, that I may have it for a garden of herbs, because it is near unto my house: and I will give thee for it a better vineyard than it; or, if it seem good to thee, I will give thee the worth of it in money. 3: And Naboth said to Ahab, The LORD forbid it me, that I should give the inheritance of my fathers unto thee. 4: And Ahab came into his house heavy and displeased because of the word which Naboth the Jezreelite had spoken to him: for he had said, I will not give thee the inheritance of my fathers. And he laid him down upon his bed, and turned away his face, and would eat no bread. 5: But Jezebel his wife came to him, and said unto him, Why is thy spirit so sad, that thou eatest no bread? 6: And he said unto her, Because I spake unto Naboth the Jezreelite, and said unto him, Give me thy vineyard for money; or else, if it please thee, I will give thee another vineyard for it: and he answered, I will not give thee my vineyard. 7: And Jezebel his wife said unto him, Dost thou now govern the kingdom of Israel? arise, and eat bread, and let thine heart be merry: I will give thee 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 unto the elders and to the nobles that were in his city, dwelling with Naboth. 9: And she wrote in the letters, saying, Proclaim a fast, and set Naboth on high among the people: 10: And set two men, sons of Belial, before him, to bear witness against him, saying, Thou didst blaspheme God and the king. And then carry him out, and stone him, that he may die. 11: And the men of his city, even the elders and the nobles who were the inhabitants in his city, did as Jezebel had sent unto them, and as it was written in the letters which she had sent unto them. 12: They proclaimed a fast, and set Naboth on high among the people. 13: And there came in two men, children of Belial, and sat before him: and the men of Belial witnessed against him, even against Naboth, in the presence of the people, saying, Naboth did blaspheme God and the king. Then they carried him forth out of the city, and stoned him with stones, that he died. 14: Then they sent to Jezebel, saying, Naboth is stoned, and is dead. 15: And it came to pass, 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 thee for money: for Naboth is not alive, but dead. 16: And it came to pass, 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: And the word of the LORD came to Elijah the Tishbite, saying, 18: Arise, go down to meet Ahab king of Israel, which is in Samaria: behold, he is in the vineyard of Naboth, whither he is gone down to possess it. 19: And thou shalt speak unto him, saying, Thus saith the LORD, Hast thou killed, and also taken possession? And thou shalt speak unto him, saying, Thus saith the LORD, In the place where dogs licked the blood of Naboth shall dogs lick thy blood, even thine. 20: And Ahab said to Elijah, Hast thou found me, O mine enemy? And he answered, I have found thee: because thou hast sold thyself to work evil in the sight of the LORD. 21: Behold, I will bring evil upon thee, and will take away thy posterity, and will cut off from Ahab him that pisseth against the wall, and him that is shut up and left in Israel, 22: And will make thine house like the house of Jeroboam the son of Nebat, and like the house of Baasha the son of Ahijah, for the provocation wherewith thou hast provoked me to anger, and made Israel to sin. 23: And of Jezebel also spake the LORD, saying, The dogs shall eat Jezebel by the wall of Jezreel. 24: Him that dieth of Ahab in the city the dogs shall eat; and him that dieth in the field shall the fowls of the air eat. 25: But there was none like unto Ahab, which did sell himself to work wickedness in the sight of the LORD, whom Jezebel his wife stirred up. 26: And he did very abominably in following idols, according to all things as did the Amorites, whom the LORD cast out before the children of Israel. 27: And it came to pass, when Ahab heard those words, that he rent his clothes, and put sackcloth upon his flesh, and fasted, and lay in sackcloth, and went softly. 28: And the word of the LORD came to Elijah the Tishbite, saying, 29: Seest thou how Ahab humbleth himself before me? because he humbleth himself before me, I will not bring the evil in his days: but in his son's days will I bring the evil upon his house.
1 Kings, 22
Micaiah predicts Ahab’s defeat
1: And they continued three years without war between Syria and Israel. 2: And it came to pass in the third year, that Jehoshaphat the king of Judah came down to the king of Israel. 3: And the king of Israel said unto his servants, Know ye that Ramoth in Gilead is ours, and we be still, and take it not out of the hand of the king of Syria? 4: And he said unto Jehoshaphat, Wilt thou go with me to battle to Ramoth-gilead? And Jehoshaphat said to the king of Israel, I am as thou art, my people as thy people, my horses as thy horses. 5: And Jehoshaphat said unto the king of Israel, Inquire, I pray thee, at the word of the LORD to day. 6: Then the king of Israel gathered the prophets together, about four hundred men, and said unto them, Shall I go against Ramoth-gilead to battle, or shall I forbear? And they said, Go up; for the Lord shall deliver it into the hand of the king. 7: And Jehoshaphat said, Is there not here a prophet of the LORD besides, that we might inquire of him? 8: And the king of Israel said unto Jehoshaphat, There is yet one man, Micaiah the son of Imlah, by whom we may inquire of the LORD: but I hate him; for he doth not prophesy good concerning me, but evil. And Jehoshaphat said, Let not the king say so. 9: Then the king of Israel called an officer, and said, Hasten hither Micaiah the son of Imlah. 10: And the king of Israel and Jehoshaphat the king of Judah sat each on his throne, having put on their robes, in a void place in the entrance of the gate of Samaria; and all the prophets prophesied before them. 11: And Zedekiah the son of Chenaanah made him horns of iron: and he said, Thus saith the LORD, With these shalt thou push the Syrians, until thou have consumed them. 12: And all the prophets prophesied so, saying, Go up to Ramoth-gilead, and prosper: for the LORD shall deliver it into the king's hand. 13: And the messenger that was gone to call Micaiah spake unto him, saying, Behold now, the words of the prophets declare good unto the king with one mouth: let thy word, I pray thee, be like the word of one of them, and speak that which is good. 14: And Micaiah said, As the LORD liveth, what the LORD saith unto me, that will I speak. 15: So he came to the king. And the king said unto him, Micaiah, shall we go against Ramoth-gilead to battle, or shall we forbear? And he answered him, Go, and prosper: for the LORD shall deliver it into the hand of the king. 16: And the king said unto him, How many times shall I adjure thee that thou tell me nothing but that which is true in the name of the LORD? 17: And he said, I saw all Israel scattered upon the hills, as sheep that have not a shepherd: and the LORD said, These have no master: let them return every man to his house in peace. 18: And the king of Israel said unto Jehoshaphat, Did I not tell thee that he would prophesy no good concerning me, but evil? 19: And he said, Hear thou therefore the word of the LORD: I saw the LORD sitting on his throne, and all the host of heaven standing by him on his right hand and on his left. 20: And the LORD said, Who shall persuade Ahab, that he may go up and fall at Ramoth-gilead? And one said on this manner, and another said on that manner. 21: And there came forth a spirit, and stood before the LORD, and said, I will persuade him. 22: And the LORD said unto him, Wherewith? And he said, I will go forth, and I will be a lying spirit in the mouth of all his prophets. And he said, Thou shalt persuade him, and prevail also: go forth, and do so. 23: Now therefore, behold, the LORD hath put a lying spirit in the mouth of all these thy prophets, and the LORD hath spoken evil concerning thee. 24: But Zedekiah the son of Chenaanah went near, and smote Micaiah on the cheek, and said, Which way went the Spirit of the LORD from me to speak unto thee? 25: And Micaiah said, Behold, thou shalt see in that day, when thou shalt go into an inner chamber to hide thyself. 26: And the king of Israel said, Take Micaiah, and carry him back unto Amon the governor of the city, and to Joash the king's son; 27: And say, Thus saith the king, Put this fellow in the prison, and feed him with bread of affliction and with water of affliction, until I come in peace. 28: And Micaiah said, If thou return at all in peace, the LORD hath not spoken by me. And he said, Hearken, O people, every one of you.
Ahab dies in battle
29: So the king of Israel and Jehoshaphat the king of Judah went up to Ramoth-gilead. 30: And the king of Israel said unto Jehoshaphat, I will disguise myself, and enter into the battle; but put thou on thy robes. And the king of Israel disguised himself, and went into the battle. 31: But the king of Syria commanded his thirty and two captains that had rule over his chariots, saying, Fight neither with small nor great, save only with the king of Israel. 32: And it came to pass, when the captains of the chariots saw Jehoshaphat, that they said, Surely it is the king of Israel. And they turned aside to fight against him: and Jehoshaphat cried out. 33: And it came to pass, when the captains of the chariots perceived that it was not the king of Israel, that they turned back from pursuing him. 34: And a certain man drew a bow at a venture, and smote the king of Israel between the joints of the harness: wherefore he said unto the driver of his chariot, Turn thine hand, and carry me out of the host; for I am wounded. 35: And the battle increased that day: and the king was stayed up in his chariot against the Syrians, and died at even: and the blood ran out of the wound into the midst of the chariot. 36: And there went a proclamation throughout the host about the going down of the sun, saying, Every man to his city, and every man to his own country. 37: So the king died, and was brought to Samaria; and they buried the king in Samaria. 38: And one washed the chariot in the pool of Samaria; and the dogs licked up his blood; and they washed his armour; according unto the word of the LORD which he spake. 39: Now the rest of the acts of Ahab, and all that he did, and the ivory house which he made, and all the cities that he built, are they not written in the book of the chronicles of the kings of Israel? 40: So Ahab slept with his fathers; and Ahaziah his son reigned in his stead.
Jehoshaphat King of Judah
41: And Jehoshaphat the son of Asa began to reign over Judah in the fourth year of Ahab king of Israel. 42: Jehoshaphat was thirty and five years old when he began to reign; and he reigned twenty and five years in Jerusalem. And his mother's name was Azubah the daughter of Shilhi. 43: And he walked in all the ways of Asa his father; he turned not aside from it, doing that which was right in the eyes of the LORD: nevertheless the high places were not taken away; for the people offered and burnt incense yet in the high places. 44: And Jehoshaphat made peace with the king of Israel. 45: Now the rest of the acts of Jehoshaphat, and his might that he shewed, and how he warred, are they not written in the book of the chronicles of the kings of Judah? 46: And the remnant of the sodomites, which remained in the days of his father Asa, he took out of the land. 47: There was then no king in Edom: a deputy was king. 48: Jehoshaphat made ships of Tharshish to go to Ophir for gold: but they went not; for the ships were broken at Ezion-geber. 49: Then said Ahaziah the son of Ahab unto Jehoshaphat, Let my servants go with thy servants in the ships. But Jehoshaphat would not. 50: And Jehoshaphat slept with his fathers, and was buried with his fathers in the city of David his father: and Jehoram his son reigned in his stead.
Ahaziah King of Israel
51: Ahaziah the son of Ahab began to reign over Israel in Samaria the seventeenth year of Jehoshaphat king of Judah, and reigned two years over Israel. 52: And he did evil in the sight of the LORD, and walked in the way of his father, and in the way of his mother, and in the way of Jeroboam the son of Nebat, who made Israel to sin: 53: For he served Baal, and worshipped him, and provoked to anger the LORD God of Israel, according to all that his father had done.
The next events that occur in our daily Bible reading are the invasion of the Syrian army and Ahab’s victory over them then we have the incident of the vineyard of Naboth. The Prophet Micaiah predicts Ahabs defeat and it follows that Ahab is killed in battle. Jehoshaphat becomes king of Judah and Ahaziah king of Israel. But first Ben-hadad gatheres his army to invade Samaria. Ban-hadad is spoiling for a fight so he gathers a formidable army of 32 kings and he makes outrageous demands of Ahab. First he demands all the treasures of precious metal and then he demands all the most precious human treasures the women and children. Then he says l am sending servants to your house tomorrow and they will take anything they like for me. Ahab calls for all the elders and they say take no notice of him. Ahab told the enemy not to boast of victory yet. Ben-hadad was furious and put the whole army in battle formation. Then a prophet of the Lord came to Ahab telling him that he will win a great victory. In this way he will know that the LORD is God. Ahab asked how the battle was to be won and the Lord said by your princes, only 232 of them. They went out against the Syrians and killed them and the great army fled. The prophet of the Lord encouraged Ahab in the battle because another battle would soon come. Later that year the Syrians came again to attack Ahab and his kingdom. Then another prophet told Ahab that they would have a great victory again. The battle started and 100,000 infantry wre killed on the Syrian side in one day. The rest ran away into the safety of the city walls but the wall of the city collapsed leaving them open to attack again. Ben-hadad came and pleaded for peace and Ahab granted him mercy. Then we have a very strange incident. One prophet tells another prophet to strike him but he refuses and because of this disobedience to the word of the LORD he is told that a lion will kill him which happens as soon as he leaves the city. So the prophet goes to find another man and he says to him strike me and he did wounding him. Then the prophet went out and covered his face with ashes and spoke to Ahab and told him that because he had shown mercy to Ben-hadad who had been appointed for death so he would loose his life instead. The king Ahab went away dejected. Much later Ahab saw a vineyard next to his palace which was very good so he asked Naboth if he could buy it, but Naboth refused. Ahab was fed up and refused to eat so his wife Jezabel said whats the matter and Ahab explained. Jezabel said don’t worry l will get the vineyard for you so she wrote letters in Ahabs name to the elders of the city reporting him for blaspheme and demanding that they should stone him. The elders hear the false witnesses against Naboth and they executed him. Jezabel heard of the killing and told Ahab that he was now free to buy the vineyard. However the word of the LORD came to Elijah telling him to go and confront Ahab and telling him where to find him. He warned him of the judgment of the LORD saying that where the dogs licked Naboths blood there they will lick your blood. The Lord said you have done great evil and all your male children will die. Ahab rent his clothes and put ash on his head and fasted and the LORD told Elijah because he has humbled himself before me l will delay the judgment all his life but l will judge his descendants after his death. Next we have the story of the 401st prophet – Micaiah. Three years of peace ended with the invasion again of Syria. Jehoshaphat went to Ahab to ask if he would join forces with him in battle. Jehoshaphat said to Ahab my servants are your servant, my horses are your horses. But can we not get a word from the LORD about this matter? So Ahab gathered 400 of his yes men and said to them shall l go to war or stay at home? He was an evil man but in a fix he still wanted to know Gods will. They all answered Yes Go up and the LORD will deliver the enemy to your hand. Then Jehoshaphat said isn’t there a prophet of the Lord beside all these (yes men). Ahab said yes there is one prophet Micaiah, but l hate him he never says anything good about me. The king said bring Micaiah. So when he came the kings of both kingdoms and 400 of the yes men were gathered. Those who came to Miciaiah said to him now don’t be awkward you prophecy what we tell you. But he answered As the LORD liveth – what the LORD says, that will l speak. When he came they asked him what the Lord says and he said. Go and the Lord will prosper you! The king was frustrated at him saying tell me the truth. And the prophet said l saw all Israel scattered as sheep without a shepherd (The kings were the shepherds of Israel) Ahab said l told you that he wouldn’t say a good thing about me. Then Micaiah opened heaven and revealed the lies of the false prophets. Then Zedekiak went to Micaiah and slapped his face – Micaiah gave him a sharp warning. Then Ahab said his servants go and put Micaiah into prison and feed him on bread and water. If he could not shut his mouth he would starve him out. So Micaiah told the people if Ahab returns from battle than l am a false prophet. Listen to me all of you. So they went to battle but Ahab descided that he would disguise himself. The king of Syria told his men don’t fight all the men just focus on the king. In the melee a man drew his bow probably thinking l had better do something and he released it at random and the arrow flew up and came down and struck home between the links of his armour and he said l am wounded take me out of the battle he died that day. His blood was washed out of the chariot and the dogs licked the ground as the prophet had said. Ahaziah his son took the throne in his place. In Judah Jehoshaphat reigned in his fathers place. He was a good king serving the Lord all his days. He reigned for 25 years. He expelled all the sodomites out of the land. He made ships to go to get gold but they never sailed. When he died his son Jehoram reigned in his place. In the north Ahaziah reigned after Ahab.