1 Kings 20:24
And do this thing, Take the kings away, every man out of his place, and put captains in their rooms:
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1 Kings 20:24. Do this — take the kings away, &c. — He had made the thirty- two kings, who were his tributaries, chief commanders in his former army; which his counsellors represent to him as a great error, and therefore advise him to displace them, and put his own captains in their stead, who would fight better. The kings, they thought, had had a softer education; and, being less inured to hardships, and less experienced in military matters, were less fit for service: besides, being many of them mercenaries, and therefore less concerned in his good success, they judged they would be more cautious in venturing themselves, and risking their lives in his cause, and not so obedient to discipline, as captains from his own subjects would be. These latter, they supposed, would faithfully obey the commands of their general, to whom the kings would not readily yield, and would use their utmost skill and valour for their own interest and advancement.

20:22-30 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.The Syrian chiefs evidently thought that want of unity had weakened their army. They therefore proposed the deposition of the kings, and the substitution, in their place, of Syrian governors: not "captains." The term used always denotes a civil office. 22-26. the prophet came to the king of Israel, and said—The same prophet who had predicted the victory shortly reappeared, admonishing the king to take every precaution against a renewal of hostilities in the following campaign.

at the return of the year—that is, in spring, when, on the cessation of the rainy season, military campaigns (2Sa 11:1), were anciently begun. It happened as the prophet had forewarned. Brooding over their late disastrous defeat, the attendants of Ben-hadad ascribed the misfortune to two causes—the one arose from the principles of heathenism which led them to consider the gods of Israel as "gods of the hills"; whereas their power to aid the Israelites would be gone if the battle was maintained on the plains. The other cause to which the Syrian courtiers traced their defeat at Samaria, was the presence of the tributary kings, who had probably been the first to take flight; and they recommended "captains to be put in their rooms." Approving of these recommendations, Ben-hadad renewed his invasion of Israel the next spring by the siege of Aphek in the valley of Jezreel (compare 1Sa 29:1, with 1Sa 28:4), not far from En-dor.

The kings being of softer education, and less experienced in military matters, were less fit for his service; and being many of them but mercenaries, and therefore less concerned in his good success, would be more negligent and cautious in venturing themselves for his good.

Captains, i.e. experienced soldiers of his own subjects, who will faithfully obey the commands of the general, (to which the kings would not so readily yield,) and use their utmost skill and valour for their own interest and advancement.

And do this thing,.... Also take this further piece of advice:

take the kings away, every man out of his place: for being brought up delicately, they were not inured to war, nor expert in the art of it; and being addicted to pleasure, gave themselves to that, and drew the king into it, which they observed was the case before, though they did not care to mention it; and if they were tributaries or allies, they would not fight as men do for their own country:

and put captains in their rooms; of his own people, men of skill and courage, and who would fight both for their own honour, and for the good of their country.

And do this thing, Take the kings away, every man out of his place, and put captains in their rooms:
24. Take the kings away] That is, the thirty and two, whose attendance on the court, and the wassail consequent on their presence, had done much harm to the expedition. We need not suppose that these kings were to be deprived of their power and deposed, though the text would bear that interpretation, but only that they were no longer to take part in the war. Their places were to be supplied by those who had made war their trade, and who would give their attention to the battle and not to revelry.

Verse 24. ? And do this thing. Take the kings away, every man out of his place, and put captains [Same word as in 1 Kings 10:15, where see note] in their rooms. [Not so much because (Bahr) the kings only fought through compulsion, for they appear to have been in complete accord with Ben-hadad (vers. 1, 12, 16), as because of their incapacity and divided interests and plans. The captains would presumably be selected because of their valour, military skill, etc.; the kings would owe their command to the accident of birth, etc. Moreover an army with thirty-three leaders could not have the necessary solidarity. Bahr assumes that the removal of the kings would involve the withdrawal of the auxiliaries which they contributed. But this does not appear to have occurred to Ben-ha(lad's advisers when they said, "put captains in their rooms." If the auxiliaries were withdrawn, what were the thirty-two captains to command ?] 1 Kings 20:24The Second Victory. - 1 Kings 20:23, 1 Kings 20:24. The servants (ministers) of Benhadad persuaded their lord to enter upon a fresh campaign, attributing the defeat they had sustained to two causes, which could be set aside, viz., to the supposed nature of the gods of Israel, and to the position occupied by the vassal-kings in the army. The gods of Israel were mountain gods: when fighting with them upon the mountains, the Syrians had had to fight against and succumb to the power of these gods, whereas on the plain they would conquer, because the power of these gods did not reach so far. This notion concerning the God of Israel the Syrians drew, according to their ethnical religious ideas, from the fact that the sacred places of this God - not only the temple at Jerusalem upon Moriah, but also the altars of the high places - were erected upon mountains; since heathenism really had its mountain deities, i.e., believed in gods who lived upon mountains and protected and conducted all that took place upon them (cf. Dougtaei Analect. ss. i. 178,179; Deyling, Observv. Songs 3.pp. 97ff.; Winer, bibl. R. W. i. p. 154), and in Syrophoenicia even mountains themselves had divine honours paid to them (vid., Movers, Phniz. i. p. 667ff.). The servants of Benhadad were at any rate so far right, that they attributed their defeat to the assistance which God had given to His people Israel; and were only wrong in regarding the God of Israel as a local deity, whose power did not extend beyond the mountains. They also advised their lord (1 Kings 20:24) to remove the kings in his army from their position, and appoint governors in their stead (פּחות, see 1 Kings 10:15). The vassal-kings had most likely not shown the desired self-sacrifice for the cause of their superior in the war. And, lastly (1 Kings 20:25), they advised the king to raise his army to its former strength, and then carry on the war in the plain. "Number thyself an army, like the army which has fallen from thee." מאותך, "from with thee," rendered correctly de tuis in the Vulgate, at least so far as the sense is concerned (for the form see Ewald, 264, b.). But these prudently-devised measures were to be of no avail to the Syrians; for they were to learn that the God of Israel was not a limited mountain-god.
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