A powerful alliance of 32 kings, led by Benhadad, king of Aram, besieges Samaria. King Ahab, who has the weaker hand in this conflict, is tempted to agree to the humiliating terms of capitulation. However, the elders of the land advise him not to cave. Ahab then crushes the complacent enemy’s armies in a surprise attack. Benhadad’s men convince him that the reason for his appalling defeat was the location of the battle. The king of Aram waits a whole year before taunting the Israelites again-this time, at Aphek. Once more, Israel emerges victorious despite their overwhelming numerical disadvantage. Benhadad and his men flee. Ahab entraps them, but ultimately decides to be merciful. He frees them and makes a treaty with them.
We must always believe in what is attainable and not succumb to our fears or previous disappointments. If we cling to our goals and mission, we will surely reach the highest spiritual levels. After the battle, a prophet of God tells Ahab a parable. The moral of the story implies that God is angry at the king of Israel for releasing his enemy after having them in his hands. Ahab’s punishment will be death. Ahab returns to Samaria, appalled by this harsh prophecy.
“if the dust of Samaria shall suffice for handfuls for all the people that follow me… Let not him that girdeth on his harnessboast himself as he that putteth it off” (1 Kings 20:10-11)
“and the children of Israel slew of the Syrians an hundred thousand footmen in one day” (1 Kings 20:29)
Devotion combines self-discovery with love; as we discover our life’s purpose, we devote ourselves to others and to our cause.