Useful Bible Studies > 1 Kings Commentary > chapter 20

God’s judgment was that Ahab would die

1 Kings 20:41-43

King Ahab was not aware that he was speaking to a prophet (a holy man). The prophet described himself as a soldier who had to guard an important prisoner during the recent war. However, he had neglected his responsibility, and the prisoner had escaped. Now he wished to avoid his punishment, because the punishment for his crime was death. So he appealed to the king.

That argument did not impress Ahab. Someone who neglects his duties, should suffer the proper punishment. That was what Ahab decided.

Now the prophet allowed Ahab to recognise him, as he declared God’s message to Ahab. It was Ahab who had neglected his responsibilities to God, the prophet said. God had handed over King Ben-Hadad to Ahab (20:30-33). In that act, God was giving Ahab the responsibility to punish Ben-Hadad for his crimes. Ahab should have ordered Ben-Hadad’s death as a legal punishment. However, Ahab was friendly towards him – and Ahab even allowed Ben-Hadad to go free (20:34).

Ahab had declared the punishment that he himself must suffer. Ahab had allowed Ben-Hadad, his prisoner, to live – and because of that, God had ordered that Ahab would die.

Ahab was guilty of many terrible crimes and he already hated God. Still, it upset him to know that God’s judgment was against him. He did not turn from his evil deeds and ask God to forgive him (Ezekiel 18:21). Instead, he became even more angry against God.

Next part: Ahab offers to buy Naboth's vineyard (1 Kings 21:1-2)


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