F I R S T K I N G S
This chapter is the history of a war between
Ben-hadad king of Syria and Ahab king of Israel, in which Ahab was,
once and again, victorious. We read nothing of Elijah or Elishain
all this story; Jezebel's rage, it is probable, had abated, and the
persecution of the prophets began to cool, which gleam of peace
Elijah improved. He appeared not at court, but, being told how many
thousands of good people there were in Israel more than he thought
of, employed himself, as we may suppose, in founding religious
houses, schools, or colleges of prophets, in several parts of the
country, to be nurseries of religion, that they might help to
reform the nation when the throne and court would not be reformed.
While he was thus busied, God favoured the nation with the
successes we here read of, which were the more remarkable because
obtained against Ben-hadad king of Syria, whose successor, Hazael,
was ordained to be a scourge to Israel. They must shortly suffer by
the Syrians, and yet now triumphed over them, that, if possible,
they might be led to repentance by the goodness of God. Here is, I.
Ben-hadad's descent upon Israel, and his insolent demand, ver. 1-11. II. The defeat Ahab
gave him, encouraged and directed by a prophet, ver. 12-21. III. The Syrians rallying
again, and the second defeat Ahab gave them, ver. 22-30. IV. The covenant of peace
Ahab made with Ben-hadad, when he had him at his mercy (ver. 31-34), for which he is
reproved and threatened by a prophet, ver. 35-43.