Useful Bible Studies > 1 Kings Commentary > chapter 20

Aram’s plan to defeat Israel on the plains

1 Kings 20:23-25

God wanted Israel’s people to teach people in the other nations about him (Isaiah 42:6). By the way that God worked in the lives of Israel’s people, the people in other nations would learn about him.

However, at the time of Ahab, Israel’s people were not loyal to the true God. Instead, they had chosen false gods for themselves. God was still working powerfully in their lives; he had just given them success in battle against a much stronger army from Aram. That should have brought great honour to God.

However, because Israel’s people were not loyal to God, the meaning of that success was unclear. Even the advisers to the king of Aram, the wisest men in that country, struggled to understand it. They saw that God had acted against them – but they did not know who that God was.

They could see, however, that Aram’s army suffered that defeat in the hills. Israel’s main cities and its holy places were also in the hills. However, Damascus, Aram’s capital city, was on a plain – in other words, on level ground. They did not realise that Israel’s God, the only true God, rules the whole world. So they thought that he would only defeat them in the hills. The gods of Aram would support their army in a battle on flat ground, they said. At the same time, the advisers warned Aram’s king about the 32 kings of smaller countries. Those kings had led his army in the last battle, and they were too lazy. They were even drinking wine when the battle began (20:16). So, the advisers told the king of Aram to replace them with military commanders.

Next part: At Aphek, Israel's army is too small (1 Kings 20:26-27)


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