Ben-Hadad attacks Samaria
1 Ben-Hadad was the king of Syria. He got all his army together. 32 other kings with their horses and chariots joined with him. He went to attack the city of Samaria. He put his army all around it and then he attacked it. 2 He sent men to take a message to Ahab, the king of Israel, who was in the city. 3 The message said: ‘This message is from King Ben-Hadad. He says, “Your silver and your gold now belong to me. Your best wives and your strongest children will also be mine.” ’
20:1Syria was a country north of Israel.
4 The king of Israel replied, ‘My master, the king, I agree with what you have said. I, and everything that I have, belongs to you.’
5 Ben-Hadad's men then took another message to Ahab. They said to him, ‘This is what Ben-Hadad says: “I already told you that you must give me your silver, your gold, your wives and your children. 6 At this time tomorrow, I will send my officers to look for things in your palace. They will also look in the houses of your officers. They will take away everything that is valuable.” ’
7 Then King Ahab told all the leaders of Israel to come to him. He said to them, ‘See what this man is doing! He wants to cause trouble! He asked me to give him my wives, my children, my silver and my gold. And I did not refuse to do it.’ 8 The leaders and the people answered King Ahab, ‘Do not listen to that man. Do not agree to do what he is asking for.’
9 So King Ahab said to the men who brought the messages from King Ben-Hadad, ‘Say this to my master, the king of Syria: “I agree to do everything that you asked for the first time. But I will not let you take the other things that you want.” ’
So the men took Ahab's answer back to Ben-Hadad. 10 Then Ben-Hadad sent men with another message to Ahab. He said, ‘I promise that my soldiers will completely destroy Samaria! There will be nothing left! There will not even be enough dirt to fill the hands of each of my soldiers. I pray that the gods will punish me very much if that does not happen!’ 11 The king of Israel replied, ‘Tell King Ben-Hadad, “Do not boast when you are preparing for a battle. Wait until the battle has finished and you know that you have won.” ’
12 When Ben-Hadad received Ahab's message, he and the other kings were drinking wine in their tents. Ben-Hadad told his officers, ‘Prepare to attack!’ So they prepared to attack the city of Samaria.