1 Kings 20

* Benhadad besieges Samaria. (1-11) Benhadad's defeat. (12-21)

The Syrians again defeated. (22-30) Ahab makes peace with

Benhadad. (31-43)

1-11 Benhadad sent Ahab a very insolent demand. Ahab sent a

very disgraceful submission; sin brings men into such straits,

by putting them out of the Divine protection. If God do not rule

us, our enemies shall: guilt dispirits men, and makes them

cowards. Ahab became desperate. Men will part with their most

pleasant things, those they most love, to save their lives; yet

they lose their souls rather than part with any pleasure or

interest to prevent it. Here is one of the wisest sayings that

ever Ahab spake, and it is a good lesson to all. It is folly to

boast of any day to come, since we know not what it may bring

forth. Apply it to our spiritual conflicts. Peter fell by

self-confidence. Happy is the man who is never off his watch.
12-21 The proud Syrians were beaten, and the despised

Israelites were conquerors. The orders of the proud, drunken

king disordered his troops, and prevented them from attacking

the Israelites. Those that are most secure, are commonly least

courageous. Ahab slew the Syrians with a great slaughter. God

often makes one wicked man a scourge to another.
22-30 Those about Benhadad advised him to change his ground.

They take it for granted that it was not Israel, but Israel's

gods, that beat them; but they speak very ignorantly of Jehovah.

They supposed that Israel had many gods, to whom they ascribed

limited power within a certain district; thus vain were the

Gentiles in their imaginations concerning God. The greatest

wisdom in worldly concerns is often united with the most

contemptible folly in the things of God.
31-43 This encouragement sinners have to repent and humble

themselves before God; Have we not heard, that the God of Israel

is a merciful God? Have we not found him so? That is gospel

repentance, which flows from an apprehension of the mercy of

God, in Christ; there is forgiveness with him. What a change is

here! The most haughty in prosperity often are most abject in

adversity; an evil spirit will thus affect a man in both these

conditions. There are those on whom, like Ahab, success is ill

bestowed; they know not how to serve either God or their

generation, or even their own true interests with their

prosperity: Let favour be showed to the wicked, yet will he not

learn righteousness. The prophet designed to reprove Ahab by a

parable. If a good prophet were punished for sparing his friend

and God's when God said, Smite, of much sorer punishment should

a wicked king be thought worthy, who spared his enemy and God's,

when God said, Smite. Ahab went to his house, heavy and

displeased, not truly penitent, or seeking to undo what he had

done amiss; every way out of humour, notwithstanding his

victory. Alas! many that hear the glad tidings of Christ, are

busy and there till the day of salvation is gone.

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