April 10th

1 Kings 20-22

  • 20:1-12 – Ahab realizes that there is little chance they can beat the Arameans. He is willing to concede the best of the Israelites’ possessions, but is not willing to concede the entire city. Even by the way he addresses Ben-Hadad as “my lord and king” it shows that Ahab knows he has lost.
  • 20:22 – Israel has won the battle, not the war. In the ancient world, however, wars were almost never fought in summer or winter: summer was too hot and the soldiers would be exhausted just from carrying their weapons and shields in the heat, and winters were very wet and often snowy (yes- there are places in the middle east that get snow in winter), so the battlefield would either be covered in mud that made fighting impossible or would be cold enough that soldiers would suffer frostbite and even freeze to death. So, you always fought wars in the spring- it was neither too hot nor too cold and it rarely rained. The Arameans will return next spring; the prophet urges Ahab to strengthen his army in the meantime.
  • 20:27 – Paints a very intimidating picture for the Israelites.
  • 20:28-30—God is going to give Israel the victory again, but notice why God is helping the Israelites: it’s not because they’ve been faithful or because God is protecting, it’s because God needs to teach the Arameans that they’re wrong- that the God of Israel is the only God. Ahab isn’t winning this war because he’s a good king or a good leader- he’s winning because this war isn’t about Israel vs Aram, it’s about God vs evil, just like so many of the other conflicts in the Old Testament.
  • 20:31-43 – Once again, Ahab does not follow the instructions of the Lord. God gave Ben-hadad into Ahab’s hands, but Ahab makes a covenant with Ben-hadad in order to gain more land and wealth. The prophet makes it clear that this will result in Ahab’s demise.
  • 21:1-15 – Jezebel is the worst
  • 21:27-29 – After all his wrongdoing, Ahab repents and God has mercy on him and saves his punishment for his son. This seems unfair, but presumably, if the son follows the Lord, the punishment might be postponed again.
  • 22:5 – Jehoshaphat was willing to go into an alliance with Ahab, but only if the Lord approved it.
  • 22:6-8 – The 400 prophets who gave Ahab the go-ahead were not prophets of the Lord. Micaiah was and he spoke truth from the Lord. Ahab preferred good news to truth.
  • 22:40 – Micaiah was right. Ahab trying to conquer Ramoth-gilead was a bad idea. He dies in battle and Ahaziah takes over.
  • 22:42-44 – It seems that Jehoshaphat intended to honor and worship God, but he failed in certain areas – leaving up certain allegiances to other gods and making an alliance with someone who did not honor God.

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