1 Kings 20:20
And they slew every one his man: and the Syrians fled; and Israel pursued them: and Benhadad the king of Syria escaped on an horse with the horsemen.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
(20) And they slew . . .—The attack of this handful of men, supported by a sally of the whole garrison, is not unlike the slaughter of the Philistine garrison and host in the days of Saul (1 Samuel 14), or the still earlier rout of the army of Midian by the night attack of Gideon (Judges 7:16-23). Probably, as in these cases, the Israelites may have risen from various lurking-places to join in the pursuit and slaughter. It does not necessarily follow that the event was miraculous. Such dispersions of vast Oriental armies are not uncommon in history. The lesson is that drawn with noble simplicity by Jonathan: “There is no restraint to the Lord to save by many or by few” (1Samuel 14:6).

1 Kings 20:20-21. They slew every one his man — Who came to apprehend him. And the Syrians fled — Amazed at the undaunted and unexpected courage of the Israelites, and struck with a divine terror. And Ben-hadad escaped on a horse — That proud boaster durst not face them; but mounted immediately, drunk as he was, and made the best of his way to escape. And the king of Israel went out — Proceeded further in his pursuit of them. And smote the horses and chariots — The men that fought in them. And slew the Syrians with great slaughter — Improving this advantage to the utmost. Thus ended Ben-hadad’s proud boastings; and thus does God often make one wicked man a scourge to another!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.Ben-hadad sent out, and they told him - The Septuagint has a better reading: "they sent and told the king of Syria." 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 slew every one his man, i.e. him who came to fight with him, or to seize upon him, as Ben-hadad had commanded.

The Syrians fled; being amazed at the unexpected and undaunted courage of the Israelites, and being struck with a Divine terror. And they slew everyone his man,.... The Syrian army, or at least a body of men detached from them, met them, opposed them, and fought them, and they slew of them 7232 men; as many as they themselves were:

and the Syrians fled; not expecting such a rebuff:

and Israel pursued them; to make some further advantage of their victory:

and Benhadad the king of Syria escaped on an horse, with the horsemen; with two couple of horsemen, as the Targum; with these to guard him he galloped away as fast as he could for his life.

And they slew every one his man: and the Syrians fled; and Israel pursued them: and Benhadad the king of Syria escaped on an horse with the {i} horsemen.

(i) They who were appointed for the preservation of his person.

EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
20. on a horse with the horsemen] The distinction usually drawn between the two Hebrew nouns in this expression is that the first word describes a chariot horse, the second a horse for riding. If this be so (and there seems good ground for the distinction) the king of Syria fled away in such haste that he did not get a proper riding-horse for himself, but took a carriage-horse and on that made his escape among the mounted troops.Verse 20. - And they slew every one his man [The LXX., which differs here considerably from the Hebrew, inserts at this point καὶ ἐδευτέρωσεν ἕκαστος τὸν παρ αὐτοῦ. Ewald thinks the Hebrew text ought to be made to correspond, and would read ׃ך׃ך וַיּשְׁנוּ אישׁ אישׁו, each repeatedly killed his man, as in 1 Samuel 14:16]: and the Syrians fled [When a few had fallen, utter panic seized the rest. The separate kings, with their divided interests, thought only of their own safety. It was a sauve qui pout. "The hasty and disordered flight of a vast Oriental army before an enemy contemptible in numbers is no uncommon occurrence. Above 1,000,000 of Persians fled before 47,000 Greeks at Arbela" (Rawlinson). The very size of such hosts, especially where the command is divided and where the generals are drunk or incapable, contributes to their defeat]; and Israel pursued them: and Ben-hadad the king of Syria escaped on an horse [Thenius suggests that this was a chariot horse, the first that presented] with the horsemen. [Heb. and horsemen; sc., escaped with him Keil). He had an escort in some of his fugitive cavalry.] While the Syrians were preparing for the attack, a prophet came to Ahab and told him that Jehovah would deliver this great multitude (of the enemy) into his hand that day, "that thou mayest know that I am Jehovah," and that through the retainers of the governors of the provinces (המּדינות שׂרי, who had fled to Samaria), i.e., by a small and weak host. In the appearance of the prophet in Samaria mentioned here and in 1 Kings 20:28, 1 Kings 20:35. there is no such irreconcilable contradiction to 1 Kings 18:4, 1 Kings 18:22, and 1 Kings 19:10, as Thenius maintains; it simply shows that the persecution of the prophets by Jezebel had somewhat abated, and therefore Elijah's labour had not remained without fruit. מי יאסר הם, who shall open the battle? אסר answers to the German anfdeln (to string, unite; Eng. join battle - Tr.); cf. 2 Chronicles 13:3.
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