1 Kings chapter 20
Ben-Hadad king of Syria gathered all his army together and 32 kings were with him, horses and chariots, and he besieged Samaria, taunting Ahab king of Israel:
Thy silver and thy gold is mine; thy wives also and thy children, even the goodliest, are mine.
The king of Israel offered no resistance in his response and so another message from Benhadad soon followed:
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.
Ahab sought counsel of all the elders of the land who advised not to heed the Syrian king nor consent to his demands. The response was sent forth and Benhadad’s reply came again:
10 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.
The king of Israel held his nerve:
Tell him, Let not him that girdeth on his harness boast himself as he that putteth it off.
Amidst the drinking and revelling, Benhadad’s anger was kindled and he set his army in array against Samaria.
But a prophet came to Ahab declaring that the multitude of the Syrian forces will be delivered into Israel’s hand, by the bodyguards of the governors of the districts (numbered at 232 men, with an army of 7,000), “so that you shall know and realise that I am the Lord”.
They went out at noon as Benhadad and the 32 kings were still drinking themselves drunk. When told that men had come out of Samaria, Benhadad ordered they be taken alive. Each strong guard went out (with the army behind them) and killed his man and the Syrians fled, Benhadad escaping with horsemen. But the king of Israel went out and smote the horses and chariots and slew the Syrians with a great slaughter.
And the king of Israel was advised by the prophet to fortify himself and become strong in the expectation of a reprisal attack at the turn of the year:
23And 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. 24And do this thing, Take the kings away, every man out of his place, and put captains in their rooms: 25And 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. 26And it came to pass at the return of the year, that Benhadad numbered the Syrians, and went up to Aphek, to fight against Israel. 27And 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. 28And 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. 29And 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. 30But 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 Benhadad fled, and came into the city, into an inner chamber. 31And 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. 32So they girded sackcloth on their loins, and put ropes on their heads, and came to the king of Israel, and said, Thy servant Benhadad saith, I pray thee, let me live. And he said, Is he yet alive? he is my brother. 33Now the men did diligently observe whether any thing would come from him, and did hastily catch it: and they said, Thy brother Benhadad. Then he said, Go ye, bring him. Then Benhadad came forth to him; and he caused him to come up into the chariot. 34And Benhadad 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. 35And 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. 36Then 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. 37Then he found another man, and said, Smite me, I pray thee. And the man smote him, so that in smiting he wounded him. 38So the prophet departed, and waited for the king by the way, and disguised himself with ashes upon his face. 39And 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. 40And 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. 41And he hasted, and took the ashes away from his face; and the king of Israel discerned him that he was of the prophets. 42And 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. 43And the king of Israel went to his house heavy and displeased, and came to Samaria.
I Kings 21
King Ahab wants to purchase Naboth the Jezreelite’s neighbouring vineyard, but Naboth feels obliged to keep his inheritance. Jezebel his wife enquired as to Ahab’s troubled spirit and upon learning of the vineyard she made plans to bear false witnesses against Naboth, saying he had cursed God and the king. And Naboth was promptly carried out of the city and stoned to death. Jezebel told Ahab to take the vineyard for Naboth had died.
The word of the Lord came to Elijah the Tishbite telling him to go down and meet Ahab at the vineyard:
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. 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. 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, 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. And of Jezebel also spake the LORD, saying, The dogs shall eat Jezebel by the wall of Jezreel. 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.
For no one sold out to evil like Ahab, incited by his wife Jezebel, doing abominably in going after idols as the Amorites whom the Lord had cast out. Hearing this Ahab rent his clothes and put on sackcloth, fasted and went quietly.
And the word of the LORD came to Elijah the Tishbite, saying, 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.
I Kings 22
Syria and Israel wared for three years and in the third year Jehoshaphat king of Judah came down to the king of Israel, whereon Ahab said that Ramoth in Gilead was rightfully theirs and that they should retake it. He proposed an alliance to do so with Jehoshaphat and the latter agreed on the proviso that they inquired of the Lord. Ahab enquired of some 400 prophets who agreed that they should take the city.
Unsure, Jehoshaphat asked for another independent prophet to consider the situation. King Ahab reluctantly suggested Micaiah the son of Imlah. Meanwhile Zedekiah son of Chenaanah was bullish and the other prophets also. Finally, Micaiah arrives and he too was asked:
17And 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. 19And 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. 20And the LORD said, Who shall persuade Ahab, that he may go up and fall at Ramothgilead? And one said on this manner, and another said on that manner. 21And there came forth a spirit, and stood before the LORD, and said, I will persuade him. 22And 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. 23Now 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.
Suddenly Zedekiah struck Micaiah on the cheek, rebuking him.
25And Micaiah said, Behold, thou shalt see in that day, when thou shalt go into an inner chamber to hide thyself. 26And 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; 27And 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. 28And 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 went to battle disguised but Jehoshaphat in his regalia. But the king of Syria had ordered all 32 chariot captains to kill Ahab. Ahab was lanced by an arrow and died. The army fled and his body was taken to Samaria and there buried.
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.
Ahaziah, Ahab’s son, reigned in his stead, after Jehoshaphat (son of Asa and Azubah, daughter of Shilhi) began to reign over Judah when 35 years old, in the fourth year of Ahab, and he reigned for 25 years in Jerusalem.
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 Eziongeber. 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. 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.
—King James Version