1 Kings 20:3
Thy silver and thy gold is mine; thy wives also and thy children, even the goodliest, are mine.
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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.

20:1-11 Benhadad sent Ahab a very insolent demand. Ahab sent a very disgraceful submission; sin brings men into such straits, by putting them out of the Divine protection. If God do not rule us, our enemies shall: guilt dispirits men, and makes them cowards. Ahab became desperate. Men will part with their most pleasant things, those they most love, to save their lives; yet they lose their souls rather than part with any pleasure or interest to prevent it. Here is one of the wisest sayings that ever Ahab spake, and it is a good lesson to all. It is folly to boast of any day to come, since we know not what it may bring forth. Apply it to our spiritual conflicts. Peter fell by self-confidence. Happy is the man who is never off his watch.It may be supposed that a considerable time had passed in the siege, that the city had been reduced to an extremity, and that ambassadors had been sent by Ahab to ask terms of peace short of absolute surrender, before Ben-hadad would make such a demand. He would expect and intend his demand to be rejected, and this would have left him free to plunder the town, which was evidently what he desired and purposed. 2-12. Thus said Ben-hadad, Thy silver and thy gold is mine—To this message sent him during the siege, Ahab returned a tame and submissive answer, probably thinking it meant no more than an exaction of tribute. But the demand was repeated with greater insolence; and yet, from the abject character of Ahab, there is reason to believe he would have yielded to this arrogant claim also, had not the voice of his subjects been raised against it. Ben-hadad's object in these and other boastful menaces was to intimidate Ahab. But the weak sovereign began to show a little more spirit, as appears in his abandoning "my lord the king" for the single "tell him," and giving him a dry but sarcastic hint to glory no more till the victory is won. Kindling into a rage at the cool defiance, Ben-hadad gave orders for the immediate sack of the city. I challenge them as my own, and accordingly expect to have them forthwith delivered into my possession, if thou expectest peace with me.

Thy silver and thy gold is mine,.... Not of right, but reckoning it as good as in his hands, Ahab not being able to resist him:

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,

even the goodliest are mine: some aggravate this, as if his view was to commit the unnatural sin with his male children, when in his possession.

Thy silver and thy gold is mine; thy wives also and thy children, even the goodliest, are mine.
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.] 1 Kings 20:3During the siege Benhadad sent messengers into the city to Ahab with this demand: "Thy silver and thy gold are mine, and the best of thy wives and thy sons are mine;" and Ahab answered with pusillanimity: "According to thy word, my lord king, I and all that is mine are thine." Benhadad was made still more audacious by this submissiveness, and sent messengers the second time with the following notice (1 Kings 20:6): "Yea, if I send my servants to thee to-morrow at this time, and they search thy house and thy servants' houses, all that is the pleasure of thine eyes they will put into their hands and take." אם כּי does not mean "only equals certainly" here (Ewald, 356, b.), for there is neither a negative clause nor an oath, but אם signifies if and כּי introduces the statement, as in 1 Kings 20:5; so that it is only in the repetition of the כּי that the emphasis lies, which can be expressed by yea. The words of Ahab in 1 Kings 20:9 show unquestionably that Benhadad demanded more the second time than the first. The words of the first demand, "Thy silver and thy gold," etc., were ambiguous. According to 1 Kings 20:5, Benhadad meant that Ahab should give him all this; and Ahab had probably understood him as meaning that he was to give him what he required, in order to purchase peace; but Benhadad had, no doubt, from the very first required an unconditional surrender at discretion. He expresses this very clearly in the second demand, since he announces to Ahab the plunder of his palace and also of the palaces of his nobles. כּל־מחמד עניך, all thy costly treasures. It was from this second demand that Ahab first perceived what Benhadad's intention had been; he therefore laid the matter before the elders of the land, i.e., the king's counsellors, 1 Kings 20:7 : "Mark and see that this man seeketh evil," i.e., that he is aiming at our ruin, since he is not contented with the first demand, which I did not refuse him.
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