Useful Bible Studies > 1 Kings Commentary > chapter 20

Ahab refuses to hand over Samaria

1 Kings 20:7-12

Ahab saw that Ben-Hadad had changed his demands. He knew, therefore, that he could not trust Ben-Hadad.

Ahab also knew what to expect when an enemy army entered a city. After they had defeated that city in battle, they destroyed everything. They stole anything that had any value whatever. They forced the women to have sex: then they took away the women and children to be their slaves. They killed most of the men; then they led away the rest of the men as prisoners. They left only the oldest and weakest people to live in what remained of that city.

Ahab was much too proud to allow that to happen to Samaria, his new capital city, without even a battle. His army was much smaller than Ben-Hadad’s army, but his city had extremely strong defences. Those defences were the work of Omri, Ahab’s father, who was a great military leader (16:16).

Although Ahab spoke boldly, he seems to have had little experience in war. Until now, his rule had been a time of peace in Israel, and there had been much construction work. So, Ahab had no real plan for this battle. He could only remain in the city, and wait for Ben-Hadad’s soldiers to overcome its defences. That might take a long time. Ahab hoped that, in the meantime, some trouble might cause them to leave Samaria. For example, a serious illness might spread through their camp; or the many kings from different countries in Ben-Hadad’s army might fight against each other.

Next part: God's plan to defeat Ahab's enemy (1 Kings 20:13-14)


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