1 Kings 20:16
And they went out at noon. But Benhadad was drinking himself drunk in the pavilions, he and the kings, the thirty and two kings that helped him.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
1 Kings 20:16; 1 Kings 20:18. And they went out at noon — When they knew the Syrians were at dinner, if not also drinking to excess, as their king was. And he said, Whether they be come for peace, take them alive, &c. — It was against the law of nations to apprehend those that came to treat of peace: but he, in his insolent pride, told his people not to trouble themselves to examine what they came for, but to take them alive, which he thought they might easily do, these Israelites being so few in number, and not able, he supposed, to stand the first brunt.

20:12-21 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.drinking himself drunk - Ben-hadad meant probably to mark his utter contempt of his foe. Compare the contempt of Belshazzar Daniel 5:1-4. 1Ki 20:13-20. The Syrians Are Slain.

13-21. behold, there came a prophet unto Ahab—Though the king and people of Israel had highly offended Him, God had not utterly cast them off. He still cherished designs of mercy towards them, and here, though unasked, gave them a signal proof of His interest in them, by a prophet's animating announcement that the Lord would that day deliver the mighty hosts of the enemy into his hand by means of a small, feeble, inadequate band. Conformably to the prophet's instructions, two hundred thirty-two young men went boldly out towards the camp of the enemy, while seven thousand more, apparently volunteers, followed at some little distance, or posted themselves at the gate, to be ready to reinforce those in front if occasion required it. Ben-hadad and his vassals and princes were already, at that early hour—scarcely midday—deep in their cups; and though informed of this advancing company, yet confiding in his numbers, or it may be, excited with wine, he ordered with indifference the proud intruders to be taken alive, whether they came with peaceful or hostile intentions. It was more easily said than done; the young men smote right and left, making terrible havoc among their intended captors; and their attack, together with the sight of the seven thousand, who soon rushed forward to mingle in the fray, created a panic in the Syrian army, who immediately took up flight. Ben-hadad himself escaped the pursuit of the victors on a fleet horse, surrounded by a squadron of horse guards. This glorious victory, won so easily, and with such a paltry force opposed to overwhelming numbers, was granted that Ahab and his people might know (1Ki 20:13) that God is the Lord. But we do not read of this acknowledgment being made, or of any sacrifices being offered in token of their national gratitude.

They went out at noon; when they were eating, and drinking, and secure from all fear and expectation of an assault.

And they went out at noon,.... From Samaria, the two hundred and thirty two young men, and the 7000 Israelites, openly, with great spirit and courage, fearless and undaunted; but it is not said that Ahab went out at the head of them; it seems as if he did not by what is said, 1 Kings 20:21,

but Benhadad was drinking himself drunk in the pavilions (or booths, or tents), he, and the kings, the thirty two kings that helped him; who either were his subjects, or his tributaries, or confederates; being secure, and having nothing to fear from Ahab, he and they gave themselves up to carousing and drinking, even at noon, and so destruction came upon them unawares, as on Belshazzar.

And they went out at noon. But Benhadad was drinking himself drunk in the pavilions, he and the kings, the thirty and two kings that helped him.
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
16. they went out at noon] They had probably learnt that the royal banquet was in progress, and the moment would appear a favourable one. When the leaders were giving themselves up to self-indulgence the army would not be well-prepared for action. The words which follow shew that the revelry in the camp of the Syrians had been carried to a perilous length.

Verse 16. - And they went out at noon. ["At the time when Ben-hadad, haughty and confident, had given himself up with his vassals, to the table, news of which had probably been received in the city" (Bahr). But it seems at least equally probable that the noon hour was selected either in obedience to the unrecorded directions of the prophet, or as being a time for rest and sleep, as it still is in the East.] But Ben-hadad was drinking himself drunk in the pavilions, he and the kings, the thirty and two kings that helped him. [Strong drink would seem to have been a besetment of the monarchs of that age (cf. 1 Kings 16:9; Proverbs 31:4; Daniel 5:1 sqq.; Esther 1:10; Esther 7:2; Habakkuk 2:5). It can hardly have been to "mark his utter contempt of the foe," Rawlinson, who compares Belshazzar's feast (Daniel 5:1-4) when besieged by Cyrus. But Ben-hadad was the besieger. We are rather reminded of Alexander's carouse at Babylon.] 1 Kings 20:16Ahab then mustered his fighting men: there were 232 servants of the provincial governors; and the rest of the people, all the children of Israel, i.e., the whole of the Israelitish fighting men that were in Samaria (החיל, 1 Kings 20:19), amounted to 7000 men. And at noon, when Benhadad and his thirty-two auxiliary kings were intoxicated at a carousal in the booths (שׁכּור שׁתה as in 1 Kings 16:9), he ordered his men to advance, with the servants of the provincial governors taking the lead. The 7000 men are not to be regarded as the 7000 mentioned in 1 Kings 19:18, who had not bowed their knee before Baal, as Rashi supposes, although the sameness in the numbers is apparently not accidental; but in both cases the number of the covenant people existing in Israel is indicated, though in 1 Kings 19:18 and 7000 constitute the ἐκλογή of the true Israel, whereas in the verse before us they are merely the fighting men whom the Lord had left to Ahab for the defence of his kingdom.
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