1 Kings 20 27,000 killed by a wall


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1 Kings 20:26 The next spring Ben-Hadad mustered the Arameans and went up to Aphek to fight against Israel. 27 When the Israelites were also mustered and given provisions, they marched out to meet them. The Israelites camped opposite them like two small flocks of goats, while the Arameans covered the countryside.

28 The man of God came up and told the king of Israel, “This is what the Lord says: ‘Because the Arameans think the Lord is a god of the hills and not a god of the valleys, I will deliver this vast army into your hands, and you will know that I am the Lord.’”

29 For seven days they camped opposite each other, and on the seventh day the battle was joined. The Israelites inflicted a hundred thousand casualties on the Aramean foot soldiers in one day. 30 The rest of them escaped to the city of Aphek, where the wall collapsed on twenty-seven thousand of them. And Ben-Hadad fled to the city and hid in an inner room.

31 His officials said to him, “Look, we have heard that the kings of Israel are merciful. Let us go to the king of Israel with sackcloth around our waists and ropes around our heads. Perhaps he will spare your life.”

32 Wearing sackcloth around their waists and ropes around their heads, they went to the king of Israel and said, “Your servant Ben-Hadad says: ‘Please let me live.’”

The king answered, “Is he still alive? He is my brother.”

33 The men took this as a good sign and were quick to pick up his word. “Yes, your brother Ben-Hadad!” they said.

“Go and get him,” the king said. When Ben-Hadad came out, Ahab had him come up into his chariot.

34 “I will return the cities my father took from your father,” Ben-Hadad offered. “You may set up your own market areas in Damascus, as my father did in Samaria.”

Ahab said, “On the basis of a treaty I will set you free.” So he made a treaty with him, and let him go.​

Well, I guess the valley gods didn't stand up so well against God.

This is from Bible.org.

One can hardly imagine what that scene must have looked like as the two armies faced off at Aphek. There was a “sea” of Syrian soldiers, while the army of Israel was divided into two groups. The writer tells us they looked like two “little flocks of goats” while the Syrians “filled the land” (verse 27). The odds were, once again, incredible—impossible—and, I might add, just the way God wanted them. This was not a war to prove how courageous or mighty the Israelites were; it was a battle between the gods of the Syrians and Yahweh, the God of Israel. This was a battle to prove, once again, that God was with His people. Had Ben Hadad underestimated Israel? Had he foolishly used kings rather than military leaders? Had he boasted too soon of victory and toasted his success too many times before the battle began? Well, now he had time to think about all these things and to do it right the second time. Now Syria would be sure not to make the same mistakes. And now it seemed certain that the Syrians would prevail over Israel.

At this very discouraging moment in time, God spoke to Ahab once again through the prophet. He made it clear that God would once again deliver the Syrian army into Israel’s hands. This was to let Israel (the “you” is now plural) know that Yahweh is God. God is doing this for His own glory, because the Syrians had explained their loss in terms that made their gods equal to Yahweh and in terms that spoke of Yahweh as being less than He was. It was, once again, a “battle of the gods.”

For seven days the Israelites and the Syrians camped facing each other. Surely the Syrians were seeking to give the Israelites time to ponder their superior strength. On the seventh day, the battle commenced and the Israelites killed 100,000 men that day. The remaining 27,000 men ran for their lives, hiding inside the walls of the city of Aphek. There was no safety for them there. The walls fell in on them, killing virtually all of them. Somehow, Ben Hadad had managed to hide in an inner room so that he was one of the very few who survived. His survival was even a surprise to Ahab (verse 32).​

This is from enduringword.com.

Because the Syrians have said, “The LORD is God of the hills, but He is not God of the valleys,” therefore I will deliver all this great multitude into your hand: God took the flawed theology of the Syrians as a personal insult. Our flawed and wrong ideas about God always take away from His glory and majesty, never adding to them.

God resents their blasphemy, and is determined to punish it. They shall now be discomfited in such a way as to show that God’s power is every where, and that the multitude of a host is nothing against him.” (Clarke)​

Then a wall fell on twenty-seven thousand of the men who were left: After the great victory on the battlefield, God moved in other extraordinary ways to defeat the Syrians, who had defamed His character through their flawed understanding of Him.

“The 27,000 killed in Aphek would include everyone in the city when the walls fell.” (Wiseman)​

Can you imagine? A wall that was big enough to kill 27,000 armed, skilled, soldiers by falling on them!

Here's a map, just to put stuff in perspective again.....


Now why did God let that stupid king live?