1 Kings 20:31
New International Version
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.”

New Living Translation
Ben-hadad’s officers said to him, “Sir, we have heard that the kings of Israel are merciful. So let’s humble ourselves by wearing burlap around our waists and putting ropes on our heads, and surrender to the king of Israel. Then perhaps he will let you live.”

English Standard Version
And his servants said to him, “Behold now, we have heard that the kings of the house of Israel are merciful kings. Let us put sackcloth around our waists and ropes on our heads and go out to the king of Israel. Perhaps he will spare your life.”

Berean Study Bible
Then the servants of Ben-hadad said to him, “Look now, we have heard that the kings of the house of Israel are merciful. Let us go out to the king of Israel with sackcloth around our waists and ropes around our heads. Perhaps he will spare your life.”

King James Bible
And his servants said unto him, Behold now, we have heard that the kings of the house of Israel are merciful kings: let us, I pray thee, put sackcloth on our loins, and ropes upon our heads, and go out to the king of Israel: peradventure he will save thy life.

New King James Version
Then his servants said to him, “Look now, we have heard that the kings of the house of Israel are merciful kings. Please, let us put sackcloth around our waists and ropes around our heads, and go out to the king of Israel; perhaps he will spare your life.”

New American Standard Bible
But his servants said to him, “Behold now, we have heard that the kings of the house of Israel are merciful kings. Please let’s put sackcloth around our waists and ropes on our heads, and go out to the king of Israel; perhaps he will let you live.”

NASB 1995
His servants said to him, “Behold now, we have heard that the kings of the house of Israel are merciful kings, please let us put sackcloth on our loins and ropes on our heads, and go out to the king of Israel; perhaps he will save your life.”

NASB 1977
And his servants said to him, “Behold now, we have heard that the kings of the house of Israel are merciful kings, please let us put sackcloth on our loins and ropes on our heads, and go out to the king of Israel; perhaps he will save your life.”

Amplified Bible
But his servants said to him, “We have heard that the kings of the house (royal line) of Israel are merciful kings. Please let us put sackcloth around our loins and ropes on our necks [as symbols of submission], and go out to the king of Israel; perhaps he will spare your life.”

Christian Standard Bible
His servants said to him, “Consider this: we have heard that the kings of the house of Israel are merciful kings. So let’s put sackcloth around our waists and ropes around our heads, and let’s go out to the king of Israel. Perhaps he will spare your life.”

Holman Christian Standard Bible
His servants said to him, “Consider this: we have heard that the kings of the house of Israel are merciful kings. So let’s put sackcloth around our waists and ropes around our heads, and let’s go out to the king of Israel. Perhaps he will spare your life.”

American Standard Version
And his servants said unto him, Behold now, we have heard that the kings of the house of Israel are merciful kings: let us, we pray thee, put sackcloth on our loins, and ropes upon our heads, and go out to the king of Israel: peradventure he will save thy life.

Aramaic Bible in Plain English
And his Servants approached and they were saying to him: “Behold, we hear that Kings of Israel are good Kings; let us bind sackcloth on our heads and ropes on our loins and we will go forth to the King of Israel; perhaps he will save our lives.”

Brenton Septuagint Translation
And he said to his servants, I know that the kings of Israel are merciful kings: let us now put sackcloth upon our loins, and ropes upon our heads, and let us go forth to the king of Israel, if by any means he will save our souls alive.

Contemporary English Version
His officials said, "Your Majesty, we've heard that Israel's kings keep their agreements. We will wrap sackcloth around our waists, put ropes around our heads, and ask Ahab to let you live."

Douay-Rheims Bible
And his servants said to him: Behold, we have heard that the kings of the house of Israel are merciful: so let us put sackcloth on our loins, and ropes on our heads, and go out to the king of Israel: perhaps he will save our lives.

English Revised Version
And his servants said unto him, Behold now, we have heard that the kings of the house of Israel are merciful kings: let us, we pray thee, put sackcloth on our loins, and ropes upon our heads, and go out to the king of Israel: peradventure he will save thy life.

Good News Translation
His officials went to him and said, "We have heard that the Israelite kings are merciful. Give us permission to go to the king of Israel with sackcloth around our waists and ropes around our necks, and maybe he will spare your life."

GOD'S WORD® Translation
His officers told him, "We have heard that the kings of Israel are merciful. Allow us to dress in sackcloth, put ropes around our necks, and go to the king of Israel. Maybe he'll let you live."

International Standard Version
"Look, now," his advisors suggested, "we've heard that the Israeli kings are merciful. So let's clothe ourselves with sackcloth, tie our hair back with ropes, and go out to the king of Israel. Maybe he'll spare your life."

JPS Tanakh 1917
And his servants said unto him: 'Behold now, we have heard that the kings of the house of Israel are merciful kings; let us, we pray thee, put sackcloth on our loins, and ropes upon our heads, and go out to the king of Israel; peradventure he will save thy life.'

Literal Standard Version
And his servants say to him, “Now behold, we have heard that the kings of the house of Israel—that they are kind kings; please let us put sackcloth on our loins and ropes on our heads, and we go out to the king of Israel; it may be he keeps you alive.”

NET Bible
His advisers said to him, "Look, we have heard that the kings of the Israelite dynasty are kind. Allow us to put sackcloth around our waists and ropes on our heads and surrender to the king of Israel. Maybe he will spare our lives."

New Heart English Bible
His servants said to him, "See now, we have heard that the kings of the house of Israel are merciful kings. Please let us put sackcloth on our bodies, and ropes on our heads, and go out to the king of Israel. Maybe he will save your life."

World English Bible
His servants said to him, "See now, we have heard that the kings of the house of Israel are merciful kings. Please let us put sackcloth on our bodies, and ropes on our heads, and go out to the king of Israel. Maybe he will save your life."

Young's Literal Translation
And his servants say unto him, 'Lo, we pray thee, we have heard that the kings of the house of Israel -- that they are kind kings; let us put, we pray thee, sackcloth on our loins, and ropes on our heads, and we go out unto the king of Israel; it may be he doth keep thee alive.'

Additional Translations ...
Context
Ahab Spares Ben-hadad
31Then the servants of Ben-hadad said to him, “Look now, we have heard that the kings of the house of Israel are merciful. Let us go out to the king of Israel with sackcloth around our waists and ropes around our heads. Perhaps he will spare your life.” 32So with sackcloth around their waists and ropes around their heads, they went to the king of Israel and said, “Your servant Ben-hadad says, ‘Please spare my life.’ ” And the king answered, “Is he still alive? He is my brother.”…

Cross References
Genesis 37:34
Then Jacob tore his clothes, put sackcloth around his waist, and mourned for his son many days.

2 Samuel 3:31
Then David ordered Joab and all the people with him, "Tear your clothes, put on sackcloth, and mourn before Abner." And King David himself walked behind the funeral bier.

1 Kings 20:23
Meanwhile, the servants of the king of Aram said to him, "Their gods are gods of the hills. That is why they prevailed over us. Instead, we should fight them on the plains; surely then we will prevail.

1 Kings 20:32
So with sackcloth around their waists and ropes around their heads, they went to the king of Israel and said, "Your servant Ben-hadad says, 'Please spare my life.'" And the king answered, "Is he still alive? He is my brother."

Psalm 69:11
I made sackcloth my clothing, and I was sport to them.


Treasury of Scripture

And his servants said to him, Behold now, we have heard that the kings of the house of Israel are merciful kings: let us, I pray you, put sackcloth on our loins, and ropes on our heads, and go out to the king of Israel: peradventure he will save your life.

the men

Proverbs 25:13
As the cold of snow in the time of harvest, so is a faithful messenger to them that send him: for he refresheth the soul of his masters.

Luke 16:8
And the lord commended the unjust steward, because he had done wisely: for the children of this world are in their generation wiser than the children of light.

and he caused

2 Kings 10:15
And when he was departed thence, he lighted on Jehonadab the son of Rechab coming to meet him: and he saluted him, and said to him, Is thine heart right, as my heart is with thy heart? And Jehonadab answered, It is. If it be, give me thine hand. And he gave him his hand; and he took him up to him into the chariot.

Acts 8:31
And he said, How can I, except some man should guide me? And he desired Philip that he would come up and sit with him.









(31) Ropes upon our heads--like "the ropes round the necks" of the burghers of Calais, in the days of Edward III. The envoys offer themselves as naked, helpless criminals, to sue for mercy.

Verse 31. - And his servants [Possibly the very same men who (ver. 23) had counselled this second expedition] said unto him, Behold now, we have heard that the kings of the house of Israel are merciful kings [As no doubt they were when compared with contemporary pagan sovereigns]: let us, I pray thee, put sackcloth on our loins [in token of humiliation and contrition, שַׂק is identical, radically, with σάκκος, saccus, and our sack], and ropes upon our heads [i.e., round our necks. To show how completely they were at Ahab's mercy. Bahr shows that this custom still exists in China but the well-known story of the citizens of Calais, after its siege by Edward III., supplies a closer illustration], and go out [Heb. go] to the king of Israel [It would appear from the language of ver. 33 am if Ahab's army was now besieging the place. He himself may have kept at a safe distance from it]: peradventure he will save thy life. [LXX. our lives, τὰς ψυχὰς ἡμῶν.]

Parallel Commentaries ...


Hebrew
Then the servants of [Ben-hadad]
עֲבָדָיו֒ (‘ă·ḇā·ḏāw)
Noun - masculine plural construct | third person masculine singular
Strong's 5650: Slave, servant

said
וַיֹּאמְר֣וּ (way·yō·mə·rū)
Conjunctive waw | Verb - Qal - Consecutive imperfect - third person masculine plural
Strong's 559: To utter, say

to him,
אֵלָיו֮ (’ê·lāw)
Preposition | third person masculine singular
Strong's 413: Near, with, among, to

“Look
הִנֵּֽה־ (hin·nêh-)
Interjection
Strong's 2009: Lo! behold!

now,
נָ֣א (nā)
Interjection
Strong's 4994: I pray', 'now', 'then'

we have heard
שָׁמַ֔עְנוּ (šā·ma‘·nū)
Verb - Qal - Perfect - first person common plural
Strong's 8085: To hear intelligently

that
כִּ֗י (kî)
Conjunction
Strong's 3588: A relative conjunction

the kings
מַלְכֵי֙ (mal·ḵê)
Noun - masculine plural construct
Strong's 4428: A king

of the house
בֵּ֣ית (bêṯ)
Noun - masculine singular construct
Strong's 1004: A house

of Israel
יִשְׂרָאֵ֔ל (yiś·rā·’êl)
Noun - proper - masculine singular
Strong's 3478: Israel -- 'God strives', another name of Jacob and his desc

are merciful.
חֶ֖סֶד (ḥe·seḏ)
Noun - masculine singular
Strong's 2617: Kindness, piety, reproof, beauty

Let us go out
וְנֵצֵא֙ (wə·nê·ṣê)
Conjunctive waw | Verb - Qal - Conjunctive imperfect Cohortative if contextual - first person common plural
Strong's 3318: To go, bring, out, direct and proxim

to
אֶל־ (’el-)
Preposition
Strong's 413: Near, with, among, to

the king
מֶ֣לֶךְ (me·leḵ)
Noun - masculine singular construct
Strong's 4428: A king

of Israel
יִשְׂרָאֵ֔ל (yiś·rā·’êl)
Noun - proper - masculine singular
Strong's 3478: Israel -- 'God strives', another name of Jacob and his desc

[with]
נָשִׂ֣ימָה (nā·śî·māh)
Verb - Qal - Imperfect Cohortative - first person common plural
Strong's 7760: Put -- to put, place, set

sackcloth
שַׂקִּ֨ים (śaq·qîm)
Noun - masculine plural
Strong's 8242: A mesh, coarse loose cloth, sacking, a bag

around our waists
בְּמָתְנֵ֜ינוּ (bə·mā·ṯə·nê·nū)
Preposition-b | Noun - mdc | first person common plural
Strong's 4975: The waist, small of the back, the loins

and ropes
וַחֲבָלִ֣ים (wa·ḥă·ḇā·lîm)
Conjunctive waw | Noun - masculine plural
Strong's 2256: A rope, a measuring line, a district, inheritance, a noose, a company, a throe, ruin

around our heads.
בְּרֹאשֵׁ֗נוּ (bə·rō·šê·nū)
Preposition-b | Noun - masculine singular construct | first person common plural
Strong's 7218: The head

Perhaps
אוּלַ֖י (’ū·lay)
Adverb
Strong's 194: Perhaps

he will spare
יְחַיֶּ֥ה (yə·ḥay·yeh)
Verb - Piel - Imperfect - third person masculine singular
Strong's 2421: To live, to revive

your life.?
נַפְשֶֽׁךָ׃ (nap̄·še·ḵā)
Noun - feminine singular construct | second person masculine singular
Strong's 5315: A soul, living being, life, self, person, desire, passion, appetite, emotion


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OT History: 1 Kings 20:31 His servants said to him See now (1Ki iKi i Ki 1 Kg 1kg)
1 Kings 20:30
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