1. Ben-hadad, king of Aram, gathered together his entire army. With him were thirty-two kings. With horses and chariots, he went to Samaria and besieged it.
2. He then sent messengers into the city to Ahab, king of Israel, and said to him, "Thus says Ben-hadad:
3. Your silver and gold are mine and so are your fairest wives and children."
4. The king of Israel answered, "As you say, my master, O king, I am yours with all that I possess."
5. Again Ben-hadad sent messengers to say, "I sent this message to you: 'Hand over to me your silver and gold, along with your wives and children,'
6. but now I will send my servants to you tomorrow about this time. They shall search your house and those of your officials and take with them whatever they want to take."
7. Then the king of Israel summoned all the elders of the land and said, "Look now and see how this man acts with evil intentions. He will send his officers to take my wives and children, and my silver and gold, although I agreed to deliver all to him."
8. The elders and the people said to him, "Pay no attention to him and do not agree to what he asks."
9. So the king of Israel told Ben-hadad's messengers, "Tell my master, the king, I will do everything you first demanded of me, but now it is too much." The messengers left and reported this to
10. Ben-hadad who then answered, "May I be cursed if enough dust remains of Samaria to give a handful to all the people who follow me."
11. But the king of Israel answered, "Let not he who puts on his armor boast like one who takes it off."
12. Ben-hadad was drinking with the kings in the booths when he heard this message. So he said to his officers, "Take your positions." And they took their positions against the city.
13. Then a prophet approached Ahab king of Israel and said, "Have you seen this immense crowd? This is the word of Yahweh: I will deliver it into your hands today and you shall know that I am Yahweh."
14. Ahab asked, "Who is to win over him?" The prophet replied, "The guards of the governors of the districts, for this is Yahweh's order." Again the king asked, "Who shall begin the battle?" He replied, "You!"
15. And so the king of Israel mustered the guards of the governors of the districts, numbering two hundred and thirty-two. After that, he mustered all the Israelites, numbering seven thousand.
16. They set out at noon while Ben-hadad was drinking himself drunk in the booths, together with the thirty-two kings who helped him.
17. The guards of the governors of the districts went out first. Someone reported to Ben-hadad, "People are coming out from Samaria."
18. He said, "If they have come out for peace, take them alive; if for war, take them alive as well."
19. So the guards of the governors of the city went out, and the army followed them,
20. and each one began to kill his man. The Arameans fled, with the Israelites pursuing them. Ben-hadad, king of Aram was able to escape on a horse with horsemen,
21. but the king of Israel captured horses and chariots and utterly defeated the Arameans.
22. Then the prophet came again to the king of Israel and said to him,"Courage, be on your guard and ponder well your next action, for next year the king of Aram will come up against you."
23. The officers of the king of Aram said to him, "Their gods are gods of the hills; that is why they were stronger than us.
24. Let us fight against them on the plain and we shall overcome them. But you must also replace the princes with officers appointed by you.
25. When you have gathered an army like the one you have lost, with the same amount of horses and chariots, we will fight on the plain, then we shall see who is stronger." Ben-hadad listened to their advice and did just that.
26. In the spring, Ben-hadad mustered the Arameans and set out for Aphek to fight against Israel.
27. The Israelites were also mustered and they set out against the Arameans. As they encamped, the Israelites looked like two little herds of goats, whereas the Arameans filled the countryside.
28. A man of God approached the king of Israel and said to him, "Thus says Yahweh: Because the Arameans have said: 'Yahweh is a god of the hills but not of the valleys,' therefore I will deliver this immense crowd into your hands and you shall know that I am Yahweh."
29. And they encamped facing each other for seven days. On the seventh day, the battle was engaged and that day the Israelites killed a hundred thousand Aramean foot soldiers.
30. As the rest fled into the city of Aphek, the wall fell on the twenty-seven thousand men that were left. Ben-hadad himself fled and entered an inner room in the city.
31. His officers said to him, "People say that the kings of Israel are merciful kings. Let us put sackcloth around our waists; perhaps he will spare your life."
32. So, putting sackcloth around their waists and ropes around their necks, they went to the king of Israel and said, "Your servant, Ben-hadad, pleads, 'Please, let me live." He then asked, "Is he still alive? He is my brother."
33. They quickly took up his word and said, "Yes, Ben-hadad is your brother." The king of Israel then said, "Go, bring him here." Ben-hadad came to him and he let Ben-hadad get into his chariot.
34. Ben-hadad then said to him, "I will give back the cities which my father took from your father, and you may put up business establishments for yourself in Damascus just as my father did in Samaria." He then made an agreement with Ben-hadad and let him go.
35. Now the word of Yahweh was directed to one of the fellow prophets, so he said to his companion, "Strike me, please." But his companion refused to strike him.
36. So he said to him, "Since you have not obeyed the voice of Yahweh, once you leave me, a lion shall kill you." And, indeed, as soon as he had left, a lion found him and killed him.
37. Then the fellow prophet found another man to whom he said, "Please, strike me." This man struck him, wounding him.
38. Then this prophet left, disguising himself with a bandage over his eyes, and waited for the king along the road.
39. When the king passed, he called to him and said, "O King! I, your servant, went into the thick of the battle when a soldier left the line and brought me a man, saying: 'Guard this man. Should he escape, your life shall be in exchange for his, or else you shall pay a talent of silver.'
40. While I was busy running around, my prisoner disappeared." The king of Israel said to him, "You yourself have said what your sentence shall be."
41. At once the man removed the bandage from his eyes and the king of Israel recognized him as one of the prophets.
42. Then the prophet told him, "Because you have released the man whom I have decreed to die, your life shall be in exchange for his and your people for his people."
43. And the king of Israel went back home to Samaria, resentful and sad.