Useful Bible Studies > 1 Kings Commentary > chapter 20

Ben-Hadad’s officials will take away everything valuable

1 Kings 20:5-6

In Ben-Hadad’s opinion, Ahab’s reply to his demands was an insult. Ben-Hadad had offered to send his army away from Samaria if Ahab gave his most valuable possessions to Ben-Hadad. However, Ahab handed over nothing. Instead, Ahab had said that he was giving his whole country to Ben-Hadad.

Ahab’s reply caused a difficulty for Ben-Hadad. Ben-Hadad wanted to give an impression that he was acting in an honourable manner. However, Ahab had pretended to give him even more than he had demanded. So, it would not seem honourable now if Ben-Hadad demanded still more for himself.

So, Ben-Hadad replied that it would be necessary to pay his army officials. They would not go away from Samaria until they had collected their wages. Therefore, on the next day, at a particular time, Ahab must allow them to enter the city. They would take away everything that was valuable from there. If Ahab had really given his whole country to Ben-Hadad, Ahab could not refuse. Ahab himself had declared that all these things now belonged to Ben-Hadad. Therefore, the army officials were only taking away on his behalf those things that already belonged to Ben-Hadad.

The new demand, of course, made the situation even more serious for Ahab. He had hoped to make a peace agreement with Ben-Hadad. Now that seemed impossible unless Ahab permitted Ben-Hadad’s officials to take away every valuable thing from Samaria. If Ahab did not do that, Ben-Hadad intended, with his vast army, to destroy Samaria.

Next part: Ahab refuses to hand over Samaria (1 Kings 20:7-12)


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