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THE WOUNDED PROPHET AND HIS STORY
I Kings xx: 1 to 43.
HE country nearest to Israel on the north was Syria,
of which the chief city and capital was Damascus; and
its king was named Ben-hadad. His kingdom was far
greater and stronger than Israel; and when he went to
make war upon King Ahab, such was the fear of the
Israelites for the Syrians, that Ahab could bring only
seven thousand men against the Syrian army. The host
of the Syrians filled all the valleys and plains around
Samaria; but Ben-hadad and his chief rulers were
drinking wine when they should have been making ready
for the battle; and the little army of Israel won a
great victory over the Syrians, and drove them back to
their own land.
Again the Syrians came against Israel, with an army as
large as before; but again God gave to Ahab and the
Israelites a victory, and the Syrian army was
destroyed. King Ben-hadad fled away to his palace, and
King Ahab might easily have taken him prisoner and
conquered all Syria. If he had done this, all danger
from that land might have been forever removed. But
Ben-hadad dressed himself in sackcloth, and put a rope
around his waist, and came as a beggar to Ahab, and
pleaded with him for his life and his kingdom. Ahab
felt very proud to have so great a king as Ben-hadad
come kneeling before him. He spared his life, and gave
him back his kingdom. This was not wise; and God soon
showed to Ahab what a mistake he had made.
By this time, through the teaching of Elijah and
Elisha, there were many prophets of the Lord in Israel.
The word of the Lord came to one of these prophets, and
he said to a fellow-prophet, "Strike me, and give me a
 But the man would not strike him, and the prophet said,
"Because you have not obeyed the voice of the Lord, as
soon as you go away from me, a lion shall kill you."
And as the man was going away, a lion rushed out upon
him, and killed him. Then the prophet said to another
man, "Strike me, I pray you!"
The man struck him, and wounded him, so that the blood
flowed. Then the prophet, all bloody, with his face
covered, stood by the road as King Ahab passed by, and
he cried out to the king. The king saw him, and
stopped, and asked him what had happened to him. Then
the prophet said, "O king, I was in the battle; and a
soldier brought to me a prisoner, and said to me, ‘Keep
this man; if you lose him, then your life shall go for
his life, or you shall pay me a talent of silver for
him.' And while I was busy here and there, the
prisoner escaped. Now, O king, do not let my life be
taken or the man's life."
But the king said, "You have given sentence against
 and it shall be as you have said. Your life
shall go for your prisoner's life."
Then the prophet threw off the covering from his face,
and the king saw that he was one of the prophets. And
the prophet said to the king, "Thus saith the Lord,
'Because you have let go the king whom I willed to have
destroyed, therefore your life shall go for his life,
and your people for his people.' "
When Ahab heard this he was greatly troubled and
displeased. He went to his palace in Samaria full of
alarm, for he saw that he had not done wisely for his
kingdom in sparing his kingdom's greatest enemy.
THE PROPHET MAKES HIMSELF KNOWN TO THE KING