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Monday, June 2 2014
1 Kings 20: Benhadad of Syria
"Benhadad the king of Syria gathered all his host together: and there were thirty and two kings with him, and horses, and chariots: and he went up and besieged Samaria, and warred against it"
Syria (not to be confused with Assyria; see the three maps below) is one of the most ancient and Biblically-relevant nations. The territorial definition of Syria has varied widely over the course of history. Although it was centered primarily upon what are the borders of modern-day Syria, in more ancient times it extended from northeast of Phoenicia to beyond the Tigris and Euphrates Rivers. Among its main cities were Damascus (see Damascus In History And Prophecy) and Antioch (the disciples were first called Christians at Antioch; see Antioch On The Orontes).
Syria is rich in Bible history. It is located along the "fertile crescent" that Abraham knew as he made his journey from his native Iraq to the land of Canaaan and Egypt (see A Biography Of Abraham: From Ur To Canaan). The patriarchs of the tribes of Israel originated in Syria (see the Fact Finder question below). The original "abomination of desolation" was committed by a Syrian king in Jerusalem (see A History Of Jerusalem: Abomination Of Desolation). Jesus Christ spoke Aramaic, the Syrian language (see the Fact Finder question below).
Benhadad, or Ben-Hadad I, was "the king of Syria" in the time of King Baasha and King Ahab of Israel (see Baasha Of Israel and Ahab Of Israel) and King Asa of Judah (see Asa Of Judah). Geographically, the Kingdom of Israel was immediately adjacent to Syria, while the Kingdom of Judah was located farther south.
When Benhadad attacked Samaria, the heartland of the Kingdom of Israel, Ahab proved himself weak in the defense of his nation. Rather than annihilating the invaders (for those who love their country, the only good invader is a dead one), Ahab whined to Benhadad "My lord, O king, according to thy saying, I am thine, and all that I have."
"20:1 And Benhadad the king of Syria gathered all his host together: and there were thirty and two kings with him, and horses, and chariots: and he went up and besieged Samaria, and warred against it. 20:2 And he sent messengers to Ahab king of Israel into the city, and said unto him, Thus saith Benhadad, 20:3 Thy silver and thy gold is mine; thy wives also and thy children, even the goodliest, are mine.
When Benhadad demanded more ("Thou shalt deliver me thy silver, and thy gold, and thy wives, and thy children"), Ahab refused.
"20:5 And the messengers came again, and said, Thus speaketh Benhadad, saying, Although I have sent unto thee, saying, Thou shalt deliver me thy silver, and thy gold, and thy wives, and thy children; 20:6 Yet I will send my servants unto thee to morrow about this time, and they shall search thine house, and the houses of thy servants; and it shall be, that whatsoever is pleasant in thine eyes, they shall put it in their hand, and take it away.
"20:13 And, behold, there came a prophet unto Ahab king of Israel, saying, Thus saith the LORD, Hast thou seen all this great multitude? behold, I will deliver it into thine hand this day; and thou shalt know that I am the LORD.
In the spring of the next year, Benhadad attacked again with a large army. Once again, "the children of Israel slew of the Syrians an hundred thousand footmen in one day." The second defeat made Benhadad, dressed in sackcloth, to seek a peace treaty with Ahab who allowed him to live - contrary to the LORD's Command. "Then said Ahab, I will send thee away with this covenant. So he made a covenant with him, and sent him away."
"20:26 And it came to pass at the return of the year, that Benhadad numbered the Syrians, and went up to Aphek, to fight against Israel. 20:27 And the children of Israel were numbered, and were all present, and went against them: and the children of Israel pitched before them like two little flocks of kids; but the Syrians filled the country.
Ahab was then confronted by a prophet of the LORD with the declaration "Because thou hast let go out of thy hand a man whom I appointed to utter destruction, therefore thy life shall go for his life, and thy people for his people." Ahab's fate was sealed.
"20:35 And a certain man of the sons of the prophets said unto his neighbour in the word of the LORD, Smite me, I pray thee. And the man refused to smite him.
Fact Finder: (a) Were nearly all of the Israelite patriarchs, including Judah, born in Syria? (b) What was the Messiah's native language?
This Day In History, June 2
455: Gaiseric and the Vandals (from which the term "vandalism originated) captured and plundered Rome (see also The Arian Kingdoms).
597: Augustine, missionary to England and the first archbishop of Canterbury, baptized Saxon king Ethelbert. The Christian-professing faith then spread rapidly among the Angles and Saxons.
1098: During the First Crusade (see Constantine's Crusades In History And Prophecy), the first Siege of Antioch ended when Crusader forces captured the city.
1420: King Henry V of England married Catherine of Valois, daughter of King Charles VI of France.
1692: Bridget Bishop became the first woman to face the witch trials in Salem, Massachusetts. She was hanged on June 10.
1734: During the War of the Polish Succession, Russia and Austria took Danzig after a siege which had begun in October of the year before.
1740: Comte Donatien Alphonse Francois de Sade, known as the Marquis de Sade, French writer and man of letters, was born. The perversion term "sadism" is derived from his name.
1763: During Pontiac's Rebellion in Michigan, Chippewas captured Fort Michilimackinac by diverting the defender's attention with a game of lacrosse, then chasing a ball into the fort.
1780: Riots began in London in protest against Parliament's plans to extend the Catholic Relief Act, canceling restrictions on Roman Catholics.
1793: Maximillian Robespierre, a member of France’s Committee on Public Safety, began the "Reign of Terror," a purge of those accused of disloyalty against the French Republic.
1818: The British defeated the alliance of Maratha in Bombay, India.
1848: The Slavic congress in Prague began.
1886: U.S. President Grover Cleveland married Frances Folsom in the White House, becoming the only President to be married in the White House. The groom was 49, the bride was 22.
1896: Guglielmo Marconi applied for a patent for his new invention: the radio.
1910: Charles Stewart Roll became the first man to fly an airplane across the English Channel.
1924: The U.S. granted full citizenship to the native people, the "Indians" (ironically, the "American" government granted citizenship to the original Americans who lived there for millennia before the European immigrants, who later claimed themselves to be the Americans, came).
1928: Nationalist Chiang Kai-shek captured Peking in a bloodless takeover.
1949: Transjordan was renamed Jordan (see also Beyond Jordan).
1953: The coronation of Queen Elizabeth II took place at Westminster Abbey in London, 4 months after the death of her father King George VI. It was the first coronation seen on television.
1969: The Australian aircraft carrier Melbourne collided with the U.S. destroyer Frank E. Evans off the coast of South Vietnam. The destroyer was split in two.
1979: Pope John Paul II arrived in Poland in the first visit by a Pope to a communist country.
1997: A jury in Denver found Timothy McVeigh guilty of the terrorist bombing of the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building in Oklahoma City in 1995 that killed 168 people.
2003: The European Space Agency launched its first space vehicle to another planet, the Mars Express. It was launched from the Baikonur space center in Kazakhstan.