I Kings 20: Ahab’s other activities

When Ahab wasn’t dealing with Elijah, he did other things. Like war with neighboring kingdoms. For instance, this one time, King Ben-hadad of Syria decided he would go kick some Hebrew ass, so he gathered his 32 best king/warlord pals and marched on Samaria. He sent a message in to Ahab, saying Give us your best women and all your gold.

Ahab looked out from the city walls at the immense army stretching as far as the eyes could see, and was all, Oh fuck. And he sent a message back saying, Sure, whatever. Women and gold, how much exactly?

Now, Ben-hadad was really just looking for a fight, so he sent back the message, We don’t know. Let us come in and take what we want!

This seemed a bit excessive to Ahab, so he sent for all the elders, and was all, look, first Ben-hadad asked for ransom, and I was all willing to negotiate, but he sent back that they wanted to raid the city and take whatever they want. I think this is a bit much to ask, but what would have me do?

The elders were all, Do what you see as right, sire. So Ahab sent back, An obliging message asking for easier terms, but Ben-hadad was all, This means war!

Late into the evening Ahab paced the walls, fretting about tomorrow’s fight with just the city guard and his honor guard and whatever help could be derived from the peasants inscripted into defend their lives and homes, when a prophet approached and was all, Be easy, Mighty king, tomorrow God will give Ben-hadad and his mighty host into your hand!

Duly, Ahab sent out his first wave early the next morning. Messengers ran to tell Ben-hadad about the approaching force. Drinking with his 32 bosom warlords, Ben-hadad was all, They’re prob’ly mess’ngers. Capture them alive! Or wait, he leered, even if they’re coming to fight, just capture them alive!

But when the Hebrew forces charged, the leaderless Syrians broke, and they turned tail to Damascus.

The prophet came again to Ahab and was, See, I told you, sire. But they’ll come again next spring.

Back in Damascus, the Syrians were all, How could we let those lowly Hebrews defeat us! It’s the fault of Ben-hadad’s choice of generals! Next year we should go again, but the troops should be led by proven generals! And we should draw them out of their hills and onto the plains!

In the spring, war again commenced, and again the Israelites won. Ben-hadad threw up the white flag and he and Ahab met to talk terms. Ben-hadad agreed to return the Hebrew cities that his father had captured and depart peacefully and to come no more against Israel. So Ahab and his men began marching home with jaunty step.

Then the prophet went up to a passing soldier and was all, Hit me in the face! But the dude was like, What? Are you crazy? Get away from me old man! So the prophet was all, Fine, because you won’t hit me, a lion will eat you. The man went on his way, but when he was marching under an over hand in the foothills of Israel, a lion lept out and ate him.

The prophet went up to another soldier and was all, Hit me in the face! This man obliged. Then the prophet wrapped his face up in a bandage and went and sat on the side of the road. When the king passed, the prophet was all, Oh Sire, hear my case and judge me! In the late war I was commanded to watch a Syrian prisoner, upon penalty, but he escaped me! Ahab was all, you said it yourself, pay your fine! As he called to his charioteer to go, the prophet lept up and was all, Wait, oh king! You said it yourself! Your life will pay the fine for allowing to escape a man whom God had earmarked for death!

As his chariot drove off, Ahab blanched, his jubilance  turned to ash.



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