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Chapter XLIV.

At that time, Ahab, king of Samaria, coveted the vineyard of Naboth, which was adjacent to his own. And as Naboth was unwilling to sell it to him, he was cut off by the wiles of Jezebel. Thus Ahab got possession of the vineyard, though he is said at the same time to have regretted the death of Naboth. Acknowledging his crime, he is related to have done319319    “Egisse pænitentiam.” penance clothed in sackcloth; and in this way he turned aside threatening punishment. For the king of Syria with a great army, having formed a military confederacy with thirty-two kings, entered the territories of Samaria, and began to besiege the city with its king. The affairs of the besieged being then in a state of great distress, the Syrian king offers these conditions in the war,—if they should give up their gold and silver and women, he would spare their lives. But, with such iniquitous conditions offered, it seemed better to suffer the greatest extremities. And now when the safety of all was despaired of, a prophet sent by God went to the king, encouraged him to go forth to battle, and when he hesitated, strengthened his confidence in many ways. Accordingly making a sally, the enemy were routed, and an abundant store of booty was secured. But, after a year, the Syrian king returned with recruited strength into Samaria, burning to avenge the defeat he had received, but was again overthrown. In that battle one hundred and twenty thousand of the Syrians perished; the king was pardoned, and his kingdom and former position were granted him. Then Ahab was reproved by the prophet in the words of God, for having abused the divine kindness, and spared the enemy delivered up to him. The Syrian king, therefore, after three years, made war upon the Hebrews. Against him Ahab, under the advice of some false prophet, went forth to battle, having spurned the words of Michea the prophet and cast him into prison, because the prophet had warned him that the fight would prove disastrous to him. Thus, then, Ahab, being slain in that battle, left the kingdom to his son Ochozia.


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