1 King Benhadad of Syria mustered his entire army, accompanied by thirty-two other kings with their horses and chariots, he laid siege on Samaria, and launched attacks against it.
2 He sent messengers into the city to King Ahab of Israel to say: »King Benhadad demands that
3 you surrender to him your silver and gold, your women and the strongest of your children.«
4 Tell my lord, King Benhadad, that I agree; he can have everything I own, Ahab answered.
5 Later the messengers came back to Ahab with another demand from Benhadad: »I sent you word that you were to hand over to me your silver and gold, your women and your children.«
6 Now I will send my officers to search your palace and the homes of your officials. They will take everything they consider valuable. They will be there about this time tomorrow.
7 Then the king of Israel sent for all the responsible men of the land, and said: »Now will you take note and see the evil purpose of this man. He sent for my wives and my children, my silver and my gold, and I did not keep them back.«
8 All the responsible men and the people said to him: »Do not pay attention to him or do what he says.«
9 So he said to the representatives of Benhadad: »Say to my lord the king: All the orders you sent the first time I will do. But I will not do this thing.« The representatives went back with this answer.
10 Benhadad sent Ahab the following message: »May the gods strike me dead if there will be enough dust left from Samaria to give a handful to each soldier who follows me.«
11 The king of Israel responded: »It is said, let not the one who puts on his armor boast like the one who takes it off.«
12 Benhadad heard this when he and his allies were drinking in their tents. He told his officers to get ready. So they got prepared to attack the city.
13 A prophet approached King Ahab of Israel and said: »This is what Jehovah says: Have you seen this large army? I will hand it over to you today. Then you will know that I am Jehovah.«
14 Ahab asked: »How will this be done?« The prophet answered: »This is what Jehovah says: By using the young officers of the district governors.« »Who will start the battle?« Ahab asked. »You will,« the prophet answered.
15 Ahab mustered the young officers of the district governors. There were two hundred and thirty-two. After counting them, he counted all the Israelite soldiers. There were seven thousand.
16 In the middle of the day they went out. But Benhadad was drinking in the tents with the thirty-two kings who were helping him.
17 The servants of the chiefs who were over the divisions of the land went forward first. Benhadad sent out a patrol and they told him: »Men have come out from Samaria.«
18 He said: »If they have come out for peace, take them alive and if they have come out for war, take them alive.«
19 So the servants of the chiefs of the divisions of the land went out of the town, with the army following them.
20 Each one killed his opponent. The Syrians Aramaeans went in flight with Israel after them. Benhadad the king of Aram got away safely on a horse with his horsemen.
21 The king of Israel took the horses and the war-carriages and caused great destruction among the Syrians.
22 Then the prophet came up to the king of Israel, and said: »Now make yourself strong. Be careful what you do. Otherwise a year from now the king of Aram will come up against you again.«
23 Then the king of Aram's servants said to him: »Their god is a god of the hills. That is why they were stronger than us. If we attack them in the lowlands, we will certainly be stronger than they.
24 »This is what you must do: take the kings from their positions, and put captains in their places.
25 »Assemble another army like the one that was destroyed. Horse for horse, and carriage for carriage let us make war on them in the lowlands, and certainly we will be stronger than they.« He listened and did what was suggested.
26 So, a year later, Benhadad got the Syrians Aramaeans together and went to Aphek to make war on Israel.
27 And the children of Israel assembled, and food was made ready and they went against them. The children of Israel camped like two little flocks of goats before them. All the country was full of the Syrians.
28 A man of God came to the king of Israel. He said: »Jehovah says, Because the Aramaeans have said, »Jehovah is a god of the hills and not of the valleys; I will give all this great army into your hands, and you will see that I am Jehovah.« «
29 The two armies kept their positions facing one another for seven days. The seventh day the fight was started. The children of Israel put to the sword a hundred thousand Aramaean footmen in one day.
30 The rest went in flight to Aphek, into the town, where a wall came down on the twenty-seven thousand who were still living. Benhadad went in flight into the town, into an inner room.
31 His servants said to him: »It is said that the kings of Israel are full of mercy: let us then put on haircloth, and cords on our heads, and go to the king of Israel. Maybe he will give you your life.«
32 So they put on haircloth, and cords on their heads, and went to the king of Israel and said: »Your servant Benhadad says: Let me now keep my life.« And he said: »Is he still living? He is my brother.«
33 Now the men took it as a sign, and were quick to pick up on his word. They said: »Benhadad is your brother.« Then he said: »Go and get him.« So Ben-hadad came out to him and he made him get up into his carriage.
34 Benhadad said: »The towns my father took from your father I will give back. You may name streets for yourself in Damascus as my father did in Samaria.« As for me, at the price of this agreement you will let me go. So he made an agreement with him and let him go.
35 A man of the sons of the prophets said to his neighbors by the word of Jehovah: »Give me a wound.« But the man would not.
36 Then he said: »Because you have not listened to the voice of Jehovah, immediately after you leave me a lion will kill you.« When he went away a lion came rushing at him and killed him.
37 Then he came across another man, and said: »Give me a wound.« And the man gave him a blow wounding him.
38 So the prophet went away, and pulling his headband over his eyes to keep his face covered. He took his place by the road waiting for the king.
39 When the king went by he cried out to him: »Your servant went out into the fight. A man came to me. He brought a man to me and said: guard this man. Do not let him get away. Your life is the price of his life or you will have to give a talent of silver in payment.
40 »But while your servant was turning this way and that, he was gone. Then the king of Israel said to him: You are responsible; you have given the decision against yourself.«
41 He quickly took the headband from his eyes. The king of Israel saw that he was one of the prophets.
42 He said to him: »These are the words of Jehovah: Because you have let go from your hands the man whom I had put to the curse, your life will be taken for his life, and your people for his people.«
43 Then the king of Israel went back to his house, bitter and angry, he went to Samaria.