1 Kings 20 Gods of the hills


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1 Kings 20:Now Ben-Hadad had dispatched scouts, who reported, “Men are advancing from Samaria.”

18 He said, “If they have come out for peace, take them alive; if they have come out for war, take them alive.”

19 The junior officers under the provincial commanders marched out of the city with the army behind them 20 and each one struck down his opponent. At that, the Arameans fled, with the Israelites in pursuit. But Ben-Hadad king of Aram escaped on horseback with some of his horsemen. 21 The king of Israel advanced and overpowered the horses and chariots and inflicted heavy losses on the Arameans.

22 Afterward, the prophet came to the king of Israel and said, “Strengthen your position and see what must be done, because next spring the king of Aram will attack you again.”

23 Meanwhile, the officials of the king of Aram advised him, “Their gods are gods of the hills. That is why they were too strong for us. But if we fight them on the plains, surely we will be stronger than they. 24 Do this: Remove all the kings from their commands and replace them with other officers. 25 You must also raise an army like the one you lost—horse for horse and chariot for chariot—so we can fight Israel on the plains. Then surely we will be stronger than they.” He agreed with them and acted accordingly.​

Let me bring this into perspective. Ben-Hadad is the king of Aram.... Aram is modern day Syria. He got drunk and happy.... he thought it funny that the king of Israel would send the equivalent of office staff to fight him. So he told his troops not to kill any of them. It's really hard to capture someone that you can't kill.... they've got no reason to stand still. So the office staff were making mince meat out of the Aramean [Syrian] army.

This is from Bible.org.

Both Ahab and Ben Hadad are counseled. Ahab’s counsel comes from the Lord; Ben Hadad’s counsel comes from his advisors. The prophet—it appears to be the same prophet who first appeared to Ahab in verse 13—informs Ahab that the conflict with Syria is not over. He therefore instructs Ahab to make the necessary preparations for yet another battle, which will come in the spring. No other specifics are given to Ahab.

Ben Hadad’s counselors have a much more difficult task before them. I would hate to have been Ben Hadad’s press secretary on this occasion. What kind of a “spin” could you put on this terrible, humiliating defeat to make it look good? His counselors did the best they could with a bad situation. They explained this disaster in theological terms. The God of Israel, they claimed, was a “mountain god.” (Did He not just recently send down fire from heaven at Mount Carmel?) Their gods were “plain gods.” You could not expect them to give victory if you were fighting in the mountains, now could you? The only solution was to be sure to wage the next warfare on the plains. Knowing what they now know (or think that they do) they are unwilling to admit defeat and grant this victory of the Israelites. They want to stage a come-back contest. They would re-stage the contest, sending exactly the same number of men into battle. This victory would overturn the defeat they had just suffered.

Two other changes must be made. One is very clearly stated, the other carefully ignored. The 32 kings who accompanied Ben Hadad into battle were replaced by military commanders. They now knew the victory was not as easy as they had assumed earlier. They wanted to put their best foot forward in the coming war. Ben Hadad should therefore replace the kings with top military commanders. Was part of the reason for their defeat unproven men? They may have thought so. This is sort of like the owners of a losing football team replacing the coaching staff. There is yet another element, which may never have been spoken but which had to enter the minds of Ben Hadad and his army—drinking on duty. I imagine that when the Syrians stage their next attack on Israel, the king and his commanders (not to mention the warriors) will all be stone sober. Who could avoid seeing how their drunkenness hindered their efforts?

So.... the Arameans [Syrians] figured it out... God is only in the mountains and all they have to do is snag them on the plains.... yeah right. Based on what happened in Egypt when the pharoah thought he was god.... and what just happened when God used Elijah to show just how useless Baal was in a God-off... you'd think word would have gotten to everyone by now.... God is God and there aren't any little gods or men who can beat Him. God already knows how it's going to turn out because He controls time... and if God wants to... God can tinker with the results... right?

I can hardly wait to post the next battle.... God's going to show them they can't hide. I can feel it in my bones...