1 Kings 20:26
And it came to pass at the return of the year, that Benhadad numbered the Syrians, and went up to Aphek, to fight against Israel.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
(26) Aphek.—The name, signifying simply a “fortress,” as applied to several different places. There are two places which suit well enough with the Aphek of this passage and 2Kings 13:17, as being a battlefield in the plain country between Israel and Syria. One is the Aphek of 1Samuel 29:1, evidently in the plain of Esdraelon; the other a place on the road to Damascus, about six miles east of the Sea of Galilee.

1 Kings 20:26-27. Ben-hadad numbered the Syrians, and went up to Aphek —

A city in the tribe of Asher; which, it is probable, was one of those that Ben-hadad’s father had taken from the king of Israel, (1 Kings 20:34,) not far from which was the plain of Galilee, where he intended to fight. And the children of Israel went against them — Being encouraged by the remembrance of their former success, and an expectation of assistance from God. And pitched before them — Probably upon some hilly ground where they might secure themselves, and watch for advantage against their enemies; which might be the reason why the Syrians durst not assault them before the seventh day, 1 Kings 20:29. Like two little flocks of kids — Few and weak; being also, for convenience of fighting, and that they might seem more than they were, divided into two bodies.

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.Aphek - There were several places of this name in Palestine (see the marginal reference). This Aphek has been almost certainly identified with the modern Fik, a large village on the present high road from Damascus to Nablous and Jersalem. The expression "went up to Aphek" is appropriate, for Fik, though in a level country, is at a much higher elevation than Damascus. 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.

Not that Aphek in Judah, of which Joshua 13:4 Joshua 15:31; but that in Asher, of which Joshua 19:30 Judges 1:31, nigh unto which was the great plain of Galilee. And this seems to be one of those cities which Ben-hadad’s father had taken from Israel, 1 Kings 20:34. Here also the Syrians might retreat, if they should be worsted.

And it came to pass at the return of the year,.... In the spring, or autumn, as some think; see Gill on 2 Samuel 11:1.

that Benhadad numbered the Syrians; took a muster of his army, to see if he had got the number he had before:

and went up to Aphek, to fight against Israel; not that in Judah, Joshua 15:53, rather that in Asher, Joshua 19:30, but it seems to be that which Adrichomius (l) places in Issachar, near to the famous camp of Esdraelon, or valley of Jezreel, where it is probable the king of Syria intended to have fought; the battle; and some travellers, as he observes, say (m), the ruins of that city are still shown in that great camp or plain, not far from Gilboa, to the east of Mount Carmel, and five miles from Tabor; according to Bunting (n), it was fourteen miles from Samaria; but it may be Aphaca near Mount Lebanon, and the river Adonis (o), is meant.

(l) Theatrum Terrae Sanct. p. 35. (m) Brocard. & Breidenbach. in ib. (n) Travels, &c. p. 164. (o) Vid. Sozomen. Hist. l. 2. c. 5.

And it came to pass at the return of the year, that Benhadad numbered the Syrians, and went up to Aphek, to fight against Israel.
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
26. numbered] R.V. mustered, and so in the next verse. See above on 1 Kings 20:15.

up to Aphek] There were several places of this name. One was at the foot of Lebanon, in the tribe of Asher (see Joshua 13:4; Joshua 19:30). Another was in the hill country on the east of the sea of Galilee. But as Ben-hadad’s policy was to fight in the plain, the Aphek here intended must be the city of that name which lay in the plain of Jezreel. On the fitness of this place for a large encampment cf. 1 Samuel 29:1.

Verse 26. ? And it came to pass at the return of the year, that Ben-hadad numbered the Syrians [Heb. Syria], and went up to Aphek [As the word signifies "fortress," it is only natural that several different places should bear this name, and the commentators are not agreed as to which of them is here intended. Keil and Bahr identify it with the Aphek hard by Shunem (1 Samuels 29:1; cf. 28:4), and therefore in the plain of Esdraelon, while Gesenius and Grove the latter because of its connection with הַמִּישׁור the plain, a word applied, κατ ἐξοχὴν to the plain in the tribe of Reuben (Deuteronomy 3:10; Deuteronomy 4:43; Joshua 13:9, 16, 17, 21, etc.) - would see in it the Aphek east of the Jordan, the Apheca of Eusebius, and perhaps the place mentioned 2 Kings 13:17 (where, however, see note). This trans-Jordanic Aphek is new represented by the village of Fik, six miles east of the sea of Galilee, and standing, as Aphek must have then stood, on the high road between Damascus and Jerusalem. On the whole, the balance of probability inclines to the latter. It would follow hence that the Israelites, emboldened by their victory of the preceding year, had crossed the river to meet the enemy], to fight against Israel. [Heb. to the war with Israel.] 1 Kings 20:26With the new year (see 1 Kings 20:22) Benhadad advanced to Aphek again to fight against Israel. Aphek is neither the city of that name in the tribe of Asher (Joshua 19:30 and Joshua 13:4), nor that on the mountains of Judah (Joshua 15:53), but the city in the plain of Jezreel not far from Endor (1 Samuel 29:1 compared with 1 Samuel 28:4); since Benhadad had resolved that this time he would fight against Israel in the plain.
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