1 Kings 20:41
And he hurried, and took the ashes away from his face; and the king of Israel discerned him that he was of the prophets.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
1 Kings 20:41. And he hasted, and took the ashes away from his face — Threw off his disguise immediately, by pulling off the cloth or bandage wherewith his face, or a part of it, had been concealed. And the king of Israel discerned him — Either by his face, which was known to the king, or to some of the courtiers there present: or, by the manner of his address to him, which, being changed, was now such as the prophets generally used.20:31-43 This encouragement sinners have to repent and humble themselves before God; Have we not heard, that the God of Israel is a merciful God? Have we not found him so? That is gospel repentance, which flows from an apprehension of the mercy of God, in Christ; there is forgiveness with him. What a change is here! The most haughty in prosperity often are most abject in adversity; an evil spirit will thus affect a man in both these conditions. There are those on whom, like Ahab, success is ill bestowed; they know not how to serve either God or their generation, or even their own true interests with their prosperity: Let favour be showed to the wicked, yet will he not learn righteousness. The prophet designed to reprove Ahab by a parable. If a good prophet were punished for sparing his friend and God's when God said, Smite, of much sorer punishment should a wicked king be thought worthy, who spared his enemy and God's, when God said, Smite. Ahab went to his house, heavy and displeased, not truly penitent, or seeking to undo what he had done amiss; every way out of humour, notwithstanding his victory. Alas! many that hear the glad tidings of Christ, are busy and there till the day of salvation is gone.He was of the prophets - Josephus and others conjecture that this prophet was Micaiah, the son of Imlah (but compare 1 Kings 20:13 note). 39. a talent of silver—£342. Either,

1. By his face, which was known either to the king, or to some of his courtiers there present. Or,

2. By the change of the manner of his address to him, which now was such as the prophets used. And he hasted, and took away the ashes from his face,.... Took off the linen cloth from his eyes, unveiled or unmasked himself:

and the king of Israel discerned him, that he was of the prophets; he knew him again, having seen him once or twice before; otherwise there could be nothing in his face that could discover him to be a prophet, rather he was to be known by his habit.

And he hasted, and took the ashes away from his face; and the king of Israel discerned him that he was of the prophets.
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
41. the ashes away from his face] Here R.V. (as in 38) the head band from his eyes.

that he was of the prophets] It is clear that the prophets were distinguished by dress, or in some evident manner, so that they were easy of recognition. Perhaps the hairy prophetic mantle was the usual garb, and that on the present occasion the prophet had some wrapping thrown over that, which he laid aside along with the head band, and then the king recognised his character.

out of thy hand] The LXX. represents the pronoun, which is omitted in the Hebrew text, perhaps only by a slip of the scribe.Verse 41. - And he hasted, and took the ashes away from his face [Heb. removed the covering from upon his eyes]; and the king of Israel discerned him that he was of the prophets. [That is, he was one of the prophets who were known to him The face alone would hardly have proclaimed him a prophet. And the prophet's dress would of course have been laid aside when the disguise was assumed.] The verdict of God upon Ahab's conduct towards Benhadad. - 1 Kings 20:35, 1 Kings 20:36. A disciple of the prophets received instructions from God, to announce to the king that God would punish him for letting Benhadad go, and to do this, as Nathan had formerly done in the case of David (2 Samuel 12:1.), by means of a symbolical action, whereby the king was led to pronounce sentence upon himself. The disciples of the prophets said to his companion, "in the word of Jehovah," i.e., by virtue of a revelation from God (see at 1 Kings 13:2), "Smite me;" and when the friend refused to smite him, he announced to him that because of this disobedience to the voice of the Lord, after his departure from him a lion would meet him and smite him, i.e., would kill him; a threat which was immediately fulfilled. This occurrence shows with how severe a punishment all opposition to the commandments of God to the prophets was followed, as a warning for others; just as in the similar occurrence in 1 Kings 13:24.
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