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be conjectured, that not being limited to any particular time for anointing Hazael, and Jehu, he deferred it, in hopes that Ahab and his idolatrous people would repent; and that he was allowed to transfer the act to his successor in case they did not do so.

SECTION LVI.

CONTINUATION OF THE HISTORY OF AHAB KING

OF IS AEL.

From 1 Kings, Chap. XX. And Ben-hadad the king of Syria, gathered all his host together, and there were thirty and two kings with him, and horses and chariots; and he went up and be sieged Samaria, and warred against it.

And he sent messengers to Ahab king of Israel into the city, and said unto him, Thus saith Ben-hadad, Thy silver and thy gold is mine, thy wives also and thy children, even the goodliest are mine.

And the king of Israel answered and said, My lord, O king, according to thy saying, I am thine, and all that I have.

And the messengers came again, and said, Thus speaketh Ben-hadad, saying, Although I have sent unto thee, saying, Thou shalt deliver me thy silver and thy gold, and thy wives and thy children: yet I will send my servants unto thee to-morrow about this time, and they shall search thine house, and the houses of thy servants ; and it shall be that whatsoever is pleasant in thine eyes, they shall put it in their hand, and take it away.

Then the king of Israel called all the elders of the land, and said, Mark, I pray you, and see how this inan seeketh mischief: for he sent unto me for my

wives,

and Tell

and for my children, and for my silver, and for my gold, and I denied him not.

And all the elders, and all the people said unto him, Hearken not unto him, nor consent. Wherefore he said unto the messengers of Ben-hadad, my

lord the king, All that thou didst send for to thy servant at the first, I will do: but this thing I may not do. And the messengers departed, and brought him word again.

And Ben-hadad sent unto him, and said, The gods do so unto me, and more also, if the dust of Samaria shall suffice for handfuls for all the people that follow me.

And the king of Israel answered and said, Tell him, Let not him that girdeth on his harness, boast himself as he that putteth it off.

And it came to pass when Ben-hadad heard this message (as he was drinking, he and the kings in the pavilions) that he said unto his servants, Set yourselves in array; and they set themselves in array against the city.

And behold there came a prophet unto Ahab king of Israel, saying, Thus saith the Lord, Hast thou seen all this great multitude ? behold, I will deliver it into thine hand this day, and thou shalt know that I am the Lord.

And Ahab said, By whom? And he said, Thus saitn the LORD, Even by the young men of the princes of the provinces. Then he said, Who shall order the battle? And he answered, Thou.

Then he numbered the young men of the princes of the provinces, and they were two hundred and thirtytwo; and after them he numbered all the people, even all the children of Israel, being seven thousand.

And they went out at noon; but Ben-hadad was drinking himself drunk in the pavilions, he and the kings, the thirty and two kings that helped him.

And

N 5

And the young men of the princes of the provinces went out first, and Ben-hadad sent out, and they told him, saying, There are men come out of Samaria.

And he said, Whether they be come out for peace, take them alive; or whether they be come out for war, take them alive.

So these young men of the princes of the provinces came out of the city, and the army which followed them.

And they slew every one his man: and the Syrians Aled, and Israel pursued them: and Ben-hadad the king of Syria escaped on an horse, with the horsemen.

And the king of Israel went out, and smote the horses and chariots, and slew the Syrians with a great slaughter,

ANNOTATIONS AND REFLECTIONS.

Ben-haded, the Syrian king who invaded Samaria, was. the son of that monarch who was formerly hired by Asa king of Judah to make war upon Baasha king of Israel, from whom he took Ijon, Dan, Abel Maachah, Naphtali, and Chemosh. What was Benhadad's pretence for his invasion we are not informed; Ahab was in no condition to oppose him, for he could not put confidence in Baal, whose impotence had been so lately exposed; neither did he seek by repentance to regain the favour of the LORD; his subjects were not very numerous, and he had no allies. Though the Syrians were totally subdued, and made tributary by David, God had, on account of Israel's apostasy, then suffered them to become formidable again.

We have read, that there were in Israel seven thousand who had not bowed the knee to Baal; for their sakes in particular, agreeable to the covenant with Jacob, God circumvented the designs of Ben-hadad, and

prevented

prevented the ruin of Israel. We are not told the name of the prophet who came to Ahab on this occasion. Elijah was not employed in this instance; it might be the Lord's pleasure to shew, that notwithstanding Jezebel's impious attempts to destroy all the prophets, there were still others remaining besides him, and likewise that it was the LORD hiinself, and not Elijah, who wrought the former miracles, which Ahab attributed to the art and malice of this prophet.

It appears likely, that Ahab, for some time after the slaughter of the heathen priests, forbore to sacrifice to Baal, and reposed confidence in the aid of the LORD JEHOVAH

SECTION LVIII.

HISTORY OF AHAB CONTINUED HIS INJUSTICE TO

NA BOTH .

Fromn 1 Kings, Chap. XX. AFTER the victory related in the last section, the same prophet went to the king of Israel, and counselled him to strengthen himself against the return of the year; because at that time the king of Syria would come up again.

The servants of Ben-hadarl, on the other hand, had advised him to attack the Israelites in a different way; because, said they, Their Gods are Gods of the hills; but let us fight them in the plain, and surely we shall be stronger than they. Ben-hadad followed this advice, and at the return of the year he went forth with an immense army which filled the country; while the children of Israel pitched before them like two little flocks of sheep; but the Lord sent a prophet to assure the king of Israel, N 6

that

that because the Syrians had said, The LORD IS GOD of the hills, but not of the vallies :" therefore He would deliver them into their hands. Thus encouraged, the Israelites risked a battle with their formidable enemies, and obtained a complete victory; by which Ben-hadad was reduced to the utmost extremity This proud king, relying on the mercy of the king of Israel, sent ambassadors to him, to beg his life; Ahab inconsiderately spared Ben-hadad, and made a covenant with him, for which he was reproved by a prophet: who told him, that because he had suffered a man to escape whom the Lord had doomed to utter destruction, his own life should go for the life of Ben-hadad, and his people for the people of Syria. Instead of triumphing for his memorable victory, or receiving the prophet's reproof with humility and contrition, Ahab returned to his house heavy and displeased, as if the SUPREME Junge of all men had been too severe in the sentence pronounced

upon him.

The counsel which Ben-hadad's servants gave, in respect to fighting on a plain instead of a hill, shews us what absurd notions idolatrous nations entertained of their deities; “that there were many gods who had each their particular charge or jurisdiction; that some presided over whole countries, others over particular places, some over rivers, &c. As the Israelites sacrificed on high places, built their temple on a hill, and received their law on Mount Sinai, the Syrians supposed that Jehovah was a God of the hills.” How much more rational is it to believe, as the Scriptures teach us, that the whole universe was created, and has ever been sustained and governed, by one SUPREME ALMIGHTY LORD, who knows all things, who is every where present, and will hear the prayers of those that call upon him faith

fully,

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