Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary on the Whole Bible
back to: 1 Kings
Book: 1 Kings
Chapter: 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.