Useful Bible Studies > 1 Kings Commentary > chapter 20

Ahab’s peace agreement with Ben-Hadad

1 Kings 20:33-34

Ben-Hadad had expected that he would have to appeal for his life, to Ahab. It had seemed uncertain that Ahab would allow him to live.

However, Ben-Hadad soon saw that, like himself, Ahab was a selfish and evil person. For his whole life, Ben-Hadad had been dealing with people like that. He knew how to take advantage of their weaknesses. He knew how to gain control over them.

Ahab desired wealth, success and importance. That was his weakness. So, Ben-Hadad tried to give the impression that he was generous. He spoke to Ahab as if Ahab was his friend.

Ben-Hadad desired a peace agreement that would benefit Ahab greatly. Ben-Hadad proposed that Ahab could establish his own markets in Damascus, Aram’s capital city. Ahab would earn good profits from those markets.

It seems that Ben-Hadad’s father defeated Omri, Ahab’s father, in war. We have no other reference to that war. However, Ben-Hadad’s father forced Omri to allow him to establish his own markets in Samaria. Also, Ben-Hadad’s father took possession of some of the cities in northern Israel.

Now, Ben-Hadad promised to return those cities to Ahab’s control. Ben-Hadad would no longer demand the payment of taxes by Israel’s people; Israel would be a free country.

It pleased Ahab that such a great king as Ben-Hadad was dealing with him as a friend. Ahab should have ordered Ben-Hadad’s death in punishment for his crimes (20:42) - instead, he made a peace agreement with him.

Next part: God gives a message to one of the sons of the prophets (1 Kings 20:35)


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