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Ahab's Life for Ben-Hadad's (1 Kings 20:23-43) January 23

As promised, the Syrians plan another attack. But they make the fatal error of concluding that God is a territorial deity, incapable of assisting the Israelites outside of a prescribed area. They arrange for this battle to take place in the area south and east of the Sea of Galilee, feeling God will be powerless there. Of course, they are profoundly mistaken. The great and omnipotent God delivers them into Ahab's hands.

But following the Syrian defeat, the servants of Ben-Hadad II attempt to get off easy by appealing to Israel's tendency to forgive and forget. While this is normally a positive and godly trait in interpersonal relationships, extending it to carnal nations reflects a naïve trust in man, and is sometimes done against God's will and to Israel's own hurt.

God sends yet another prophet to Ahab, this time with a theatrical tale reminiscent of some incidents in David's life (compare 2 Samuel 12; 14). The Living Bible paraphrases the prophet's words in 1 Kings 20:42 as: "The Lord says, 'Because you have spared the man I said must die, now you must die in his place, and your people shall perish instead of his.'" Ahab, however, does not respond as David did—but rather sulks back to his capital in anger.

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