Day 163 (June 12): Ben-Hadad’s second attack, Ahab condemned, Jezebel tricks Naboth, Judah, Israel join forces against Ramoth-gilead

Ahab and Jezebel. Jezebel schemes to kill man and take over his vineyard.
Sweet Publishing /

Welcome to Livin’ Light’s Bible-In-A-Year challenge of discovering God’s love for us and His purpose for our lives. Here is the format for this great adventure: The daily reading assignment is posted at 5 a.m. After each day’s reading, Leigh An Coplin, the blog host, shares observations and poses questions about difficult passages to Rob Fields, who studied Christian Education at Asbury Seminary and currently teaches Biology in the Orlando area. To start from the beginning, click on 365 Bible Readings and scroll down to Day 1. The reading schedule is taken from The One Year Chronological Bible NLT. 

Today’s Reading
1 Kings 20:23-22:9
2 Chronicles 18:1-8
(857-853 BC) Click here for a timeline of the entire Bible.

Questions & Observations

Q. (1 Kings 20:23-34): Did God have a purpose for the conflict between Ben-Hadad and Ahab?  Was this God’s planning or was it just two kings rivaling?  The Bible tells us that Ben-Hadad wanted Israel’s riches?

A. While on some level it is just rivaling kings, God is attempting to get Ahab’s attention by giving him military victory and foretelling this victory through these anonymous prophets.  It works, to a degree.

Q. (20:35-43): This story is troubling.  Why would anyone, especially a prophet, tell someone to hit them and why would the guy do it?  Then, the guy dies because he wouldn’t hit the man.  And in v. 42, is the prophet telling of Ahab sparing Ben-Hadad?  If so, that means Ahab must die?

A. Yes, this is an odd story.  The striking thing and the penalty for not doing it are indeed troubling.  But the larger story it the prophet disguising an injury to get close to the king.  When he is there, he uses a very similar technique to how Nathan tricked David back in 2 Samuel 12: He gets the king to inadvertently confess his sin, and reveal the guilt he should have known about.  In this case, it was sparing the life of Ben-Hadad, which would have cost him his own life, but his later humility and repentance spares him this fate.  His sin still cost him his dynasty, however.

Q. (21:8-10, 25): I don’t think there is any woman in the Bible more evil than Jezebel!  Where did she come from anyway?  From v. 25, we can see the meaning in the nickname “Jezebel.”  Ahab seems to struggle between his faith for God and being swayed by Jezebel.

A. She was the daughter of a foreign king — we don’t know exactly where, the guess is what is now known as Tyre — who was given to Ahab to seal an alliance between the king and Ahab’s father Omri.  That’s about all we know, other then she was apparently quite a powerful influence on her husband.

Q. (21:17-24): Getting eaten by dogs is mentioned several times here.  That’s just a major insult?

A. Dogs were unclean animals in this era, and packs of wild dogs roamed outside of cities, scavenging and eating things that didn’t get properly buried or processed, like bodies.  To be eaten by dogs would mean that you did not receive a proper burial, which as we mentioned was a major deal at the time.

Q. (21:28-29): Good for Ahab that he humbled himself and God spared him.  But, his descendants still get the punishment?  Will they have a chance to redeem themselves too?

A. Oh, that would be no fun to tell you.  You’ll see.

Q. (22:6-7): Here Ahab summoned 400 prophets and asked them if he should go into battle.  They said, “The LORD will give the king victory.”  But then, Jehoshaphat asked if there was a prophet of the Lord there.  But weren’t the 400 prophets that he already asked God’s prophets because they answered with the Lord’s name?

A. They were not prophets of God, even if they used His name.  They were some sort of pagan religious officials, but they understood that using God’s name would make their message well received.  They are basically “yes” men.  So you can probably see why Jehoshaphat asked for a “second” opinion.

Q. (2 Chronicles 18:1-8): This account sure starts out more picturesque than the 1 Kings 22 version.  It’s nice to see Judah and Israel bonding together!  Will this continue?

A. To a certain extent, but in a few chapters, it won’t matter anyway.  Stay tuned!

For further study: Lessons for today from Jezebel,

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Tomorrow’s reading
— 1 Kings 22:10-28
— 2 Chronicles 18:9-27
— 1 Kings 22:29-35
— 2 Chronicles 18:28-34
— 1 Kings 22:36-40
— 1 Kings 22:51-53
— 2 Chronicles 19
— 2 Chronicles 20:1-30

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