1 Kings 20:27
And the children of Israel were numbered, and were all present, and went against them: and the children of Israel pitched before them like two little flocks of kids; but the Syrians filled the country.
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(27) Were all present.—The marginal reading “were victualled,” or, perhaps, more generally, “were supplied,” with all things necessary for war, seems correct. The comparatively small number of the Israelite forces, even after the great victory of the year before, appears to show that, previous to the siege of Samaria, Ahab had suffered some great defeats, which had broken the strength of Israel.

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.Were all present - The marginal rendering is adopted by almost all critics.

Like two little flocks of kids - The word translated "little flocks" does not occur elsewhere in Scripture. It seems to mean simply "flocks." Compare the Septuagint, who render ὡσεί δύο ποίμνια αἰγῶν hōsei duo poimnia aigōn.

27-31. like two little flocks of kids—Goats are never seen in large flocks, or scattered, like sheep; and hence the two small but compact divisions of the Israelite force are compared to goats, not sheep. Humanly speaking, that little handful of men would have been overpowered by numbers. But a prophet was sent to the small Israelite army to announce the victory, in order to convince the Syrians that the God of Israel was omnipotent everywhere, in the valley as well as on the hills. And, accordingly, after the two armies had pitched opposite each other for seven days, they came to an open battle. One hundred thousand Syrians lay dead on the field, while the fugitives took refuge in Aphek, and there, crowding on the city walls, they endeavored to make a stand against their pursuers; but the old walls giving way under the incumbent weight, fell and buried twenty-seven thousand in the ruins. Ben-hadad succeeded in extricating himself, and, with his attendants, sought concealment in the city, fleeing from chamber to chamber; or, as some think it, an inner chamber, that is, a harem; but seeing no ultimate means of escape, he was advised to throw himself on the tender mercies of the Israelitish monarch. Were all present, i.e. all the forces of the Israelites were here gathered together to oppose the Syrians; so if these had been conquered, all had been lost.

Went against them; being persuaded and encouraged so to do; partly to invent the mischiefs of a siege in Samaria, and the waste of all the rest of their country; and partly by the remembrance of their former success, and an expectation of the same assistance from God again.

Pitched before them; probably upon some hilly ground, where they might secure themselves, and watch for advantage against their enemies; which may be the reason why the Syrians durst not assault them before the seventh day, 1 Kings 20:29.

Like two little flocks of kids, i.e. few, and weak, and heartless; being also for conveniency of fighting, and that they might seem to be more than they were, divided into two bodies.

And the children of Israel were numbered, and were all present,.... The same as before; the two hundred and thirty two young men of the princes of the provinces, and 7000 of the people, not one was missing:

and went against them; out of Samaria, towards Aphek:

and the children of Israel pitched before them like two little flocks of kids: being few and weak, the two hundred and thirty two young men in one body, and the 7000 in another:

but the Syrians filled the country: with their men, their horses, and their chariots.

And the children of Israel were numbered, and were all {l} present, and went against them: and the children of Israel pitched before them like two little flocks of kids; but the Syrians filled the country.

(l) All those who were in the battle of the previous years, 1Ki 20:15.

27. were all present] The R.V. has adopted the marginal rendering of A.V. were victualled. This is the rendering of the Vulg. cibaria exceperunt. The passive form of the verb occurs only here, but the active ‘to supply with victuals’ is found, Genesis 45:11; Genesis 50:21 and in several other places.

and the children of Israel pitched [R.V. encamped] before them] The R.V. is a very frequent translation of this word, and seems best when there is no object after the verb. When ‘their tents’ or some such expression is supplied, then ‘pitch’ is the more appropriate. The R.V. makes the same change in 1 Kings 20:29.

two little flocks] The rendering ‘little flocks’ is from the Vulg. ‘duo parvi greges’. The LXX. has δύο ποίμνια. The Hebrew word does not occur elsewhere.

The Israelite army had adopted a division into two parts, perhaps from the arrangement which had been so successful in the previous attack.

Verse 27. - And the children of Israel were numbered [lit., numbered themselves. Hith-pael], and were all present [Rather, and were provided with food, כּוּל = to nourish. The Alex. LXX. inserts καὶ διοικήθησαν. Vulgate accepetis cibariis. Marg. were victualled. This word of itself suggests that they were at a distance from their capital or other city], and went against them [Heb. to meet them]: and the children of Israel pitched before them like two little flocks חֲשִׂיפstrictly means separate& It is rightly translated "little flocks" (not "flocks," Rawlinson ), because the idea is that of two bands of stragglers separated from the main body of the flock. So the Vulgate, duo parvi greges caprarum; but LXX., δύο ποίμνια άγὧν. Ewald thinks the "two flocks" points to an an auxiliary fores furnished by Jehoshaphat, fighting with Israel. He also thinks goats are mentioned to convey the exalted position of the camp upon the hills. Flocks of goats as a rule are smaller than those of sheep, the former being more given to straying] of kids [lit., she-goats. "These flocks pasture mostly on the cliffs, and are smaller than the flocks of sheep" (Bahr)]; but the Syrians filled the country. [The whole plain swarmed with their legions in striking contrast to the two insignificant Bodies of Israelites.] 1 Kings 20:27The Israelites, mustered and provided for (כּלכּלוּ: supplied with ammunition and provisions), marched to meet them, and encamped before them "like two little separate flocks of goats" (i.e., severed from the great herd of cattle). They had probably encamped upon slopes of the mountains by the plain of Jezreel, where they looked like two miserable flocks of goats in contrast with the Syrians who filled the land.
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