Useful Bible Studies > 1 Kings Commentary > chapter 20

The king of Aram attacks Israel

1 Kings 20:1

Damascus, the capital of Aram or Syria, depends on the water from great rivers, and not directly on the rain (2 Kings 5:12). So, probably, Aram did not suffer so much from the years without rain as the nations round it (17:1-14).

That gave the king of Aram an opportunity to increase his power. He gained control over the kings of many small nations near Aram. The kings had to pay taxes to him. Also, those kings had to lead their own armies into battle as part of his army. With their support, the king of Aram had control over an extremely large army.

In that way, the king of Aram was now ready to attack a large and rich country. So, he brought his army to Samaria, the capital city of northern and central Israel. Israel had suffered more than any other nation from the period without rain. In fact, the period without rain was God’s judgment against the evil deeds of its ruler, King Ahab (17:1). It seems that very many of Israel’s people had to go abroad at this time. Ahab’s army was so weak that he only had 7000 soldiers under his command (20:15).

However, it seems that Ahab was still a rich king (22:39). He owned many precious objects, and much silver and gold. The king of Aram wanted to take these things for himself (20:6). Afterwards, he expected to control Israel, and to receive taxes from it each year.

Next part: Ahab pretends to accept Ben-Hadad's demands (1 Kings 20:2-4)


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