Useful Bible Studies > 1 Kings Commentary > chapter 20

God’s plan to defeat Ahab’s enemy

1 Kings 20:13-14

Ahab’s god was the false god called Baal. So, Ahab hated the true God. He murdered the prophets, those people who declared the true God’s messages. So, it was extremely dangerous for this prophet to declare God’s message to Ahab.

However, Ahab was in a truly desperate situation. In Samaria, he had an army of only 7000 men. His enemy, Ben-Hadad, had surrounded Samaria with a vast army. Ben-Hadad had made a serious promise to his false gods that he would destroy Samaria completely (20:10). It was clear to Ahab that he was in great danger.

So, Ahab listened to the prophet’s message. God would give Ahab another opportunity to know that he, and not Baal, was the true God. He would know this when his small army defeated Ben-Hadad’s great army. Ahab could not win such a battle by his own skill or military strength. So clearly, he would only win the battle if the true God gave him success.

Ahab had no plan for the battle, so he asked the prophet to tell him God’s plan. The prophet replied that ‘young men’ would be the heroes of that battle – the word might even mean ‘servants’. These were not the strong soldiers who usually defended the king. Rather, the rulers of Israel’s towns had escaped into Samaria when Ben-Hadad’s army entered Israel. The ‘young men’ or ‘servants’ who worked for those rulers, would win the battle. That was what the prophet said.

Ahab then asked who would begin the battle. He had expected to wait in the city, in the hope that his enemy’s army would leave there. However, the prophet told him that he should lead the attack. His men would attack, therefore, when Ben-Hadad’s army did not expect it. In fact, God even said that the battle should happen that same day (20:13).

Next part: The small army that God used to save Israel (1 Kings 20:15)


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