Useful Bible Studies > 1 Kings Commentary > chapter 20

God fights in support of Israel

1 Kings 20:19-20

Usually, an army sent its strongest and best soldiers first into a battle. If they won their first fights, the enemy’s soldiers would become afraid. In fact, they might be so afraid that they would try to run away from the battle.

On this occasion, Israel did not send its strongest soldiers first. God had directed King Ahab to send a particular group of young men first. King Ben-Hadad of Aram sent out a group of soldiers to fight against those young men. He ordered them not to kill the young men, but to bring them to him alive.

The young men from Israel had little or no experience in battle. They probably looked much weaker than the soldiers from Aram. Ben-Hadad’s instruction not to kill the young men from Israel was foolish – it gave an advantage to Israel’s army. However, that did not fully explain what happened next.

The first fights of the battle began. Each of the young men from Israel defeated and killed the soldier who was trying to catch him. Weaker men without much experience were defeating stronger men with great experience. It was clear even to Aram’s army what the real reason was (20:23). God was fighting on behalf of Israel. That caused Aram’s soldiers to be greatly afraid. They were not afraid of those young men or of Israel’s army. They were afraid of God. They could defeat an army in battle – but nobody can defeat God. So, Aram’s army ran away. Even King Ben-Hadad escaped from the battle.

Next part: The defeat of Aram in this first battle (1 Kings 20:21-22)


Please use the links at the top of the page to find our other articles in this series. You can download all our articles if you go to the download page for our free 1000+ page course book.


© 2024, Keith Simons.