Your silver and your gold is mine; your wives also and your children, even the best, are mine.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)1 Kings 20:3-4. Thy silver and thy gold is mine — I challenge them as my own, and expect to have them forthwith delivered, if thou expect peace with me. The king said, My lord, O king, I am thine — I do so far comply with thy demand, that I will own thee for my lord, and myself for thy vassal, and will hold my wives, and children, and estate, as by thy favour, and with an acknowledgment.
and thy wives also; for it seems he had more than Jezebel:
and thy children; which were many, for he had no less than seventy sons, 2 Kings 10:1,Thy silver and thy gold is mine; thy wives also and thy children, even the goodliest, are mine.
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)3. even the goodliest] These words are omitted in the LXX. The claim laid to the wives and children would in Oriental eyes amount to a deposition of the monarch, or a deprivation of his royal power. It was one of the first acts of a conqueror to seize the wives of the vanquished opponent. Ahab’s fear of going forth would encourage Ben-hadad to treat him thus, just as his submissive answer at first only led to larger demands on the part of the besieger.Verse 3. - Thy silver and thy gold is mine [Heb. mine it is]; thy wives also and thy children [Nothing reveals Ben-hadad's object more clearly than the mention of Ahab's wives. When we consider how jealously the seraglio of an Eastern prince is guarded, and how the surrender of the harem is a virtual surrender of the throne (2 Samuel 16:21, 22; note on 1 Kings 2:22), and certainly a surrender of all manhood and self-respect, we see that his aim was to wound Ahab in his tenderest point, to humble him to the lowest depths of degradation, and possibly to force a quarrel upon him], even the goodliest [The LXX. omits this. Bahr says the word can only apply to the sons, and that it must mean the most eminent young men of the city - not Ahab's children - whom Ben-hadad demanded as hostages. But against this is
(1) Ahab's answer, "All that I have," etc.;
(2) the fact that Ben-hadad obviously meant insult and plunder; and
(3) the language of ver. 7, where see note], are mine. [Heb. mine are they. Rawlinson would explain this excessive demand of the Syrian king by the assumption that when it was made the siege had already lasted a long time, and that the people were now reduced to the greatest straits, circumstances which the historian, with the characteristic brevity of the sacred writers, omits to mention. But really no such supposition is needed. The overwhelming force which Ben-hadad had at his back would, in his eyes, justify any demands. And the prima facie view of ver. 2 is that the messengers were sent on the first approach of the army, or rather at the beginning of the siege.] Deuteronomy 4:41; Joshua 12:1, etc.; cf. Ewald, 216, b.), i.e., the desert lying to the south and east of the city of Damascus, which is situated on the river Barady; not per desertum in Damascum (Vulg., Luth., etc.); for although Elijah would necessarily pass through the Arabian desert to go from Horeb to Damascus, it was superfluous to tell him that he was to go that way, as there was no other road. The words "return by thy way ... and anoint Hazael," etc., are not to be understood as signifying that Elijah was to go at once to Damascus and anoint Hazael there, but simply that he was to do this at a time which the Spirit would more precisely indicate. According to what follows, all that Elijah accomplished immediately was to call Elisha to be his successor; whereas the other two commissions were fulfilled by Elisha after Elijah's ascension to heaven (2 Kings 8 and 9). The opinion that Elijah also anointed Hazael and Jehu immediately, but that this anointing was kept secret, and was repeated by Elisha when the time for their public appearance arrived, has not only very little probability in itself, but is directly precluded by the account of the anointing of Jehu in 2 Kings 9. The anointing of Hazael and Jehu is mentioned first, because God had chosen these two kings to be the chief instruments of His judgments upon the royal family and people for their idolatry. It was only in the case of Jehu that a real anointing took place (2 Kings 9:6); Hazael was merely told by Elisha that he would be king (2 Kings 8:13), and Elisha was simply called by Elijah to the prophetic office by having the cloak of the latter thrown upon him. Moreover, the Messianic passage, Isaiah 61:1, is the only one in which there is any allusion to the anointing of a prophet. Consequently משׁח must be taken figuratively here as in Judges 9:8, as denoting divine consecration to the regal and prophetic offices. And so, again, the statement that Elisha would slay those who escaped the sword of Jehu is not to be understood literally. Elisha slew by the word of the Lord, which brought judgments upon the ungodly, as we see from 2 Kings 2:24 (cf. Jeremiah 1:10; Jeremiah 18:7). The "seven thousand," who had not bowed the knee before Baal, are a round number for the ἐκλογν́ of the godly, whom the Lord had preserved for Himself in the sinful kingdom, which was really very large in itself, however small it might be in comparison with the whole nation. The number seven is the stamp of the works of God, so that seven thousand is the number of the "remnant according to the election of grace" (Romans 11:5), which had then been preserved by God. Kissing Baal was the most usual form in which this idol was worshipped, and consisted not merely in throwing kisses with the hand (cf. Job 31:27, and Plin. h. n. 28, 8), but also in kissing the images of Baal, probably on the feet (cf. Cicero in Verr. 4, 43).
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