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[381] At the beginning of the spring, Benhadad took his army with him, and led it against the Hebrews; and when he was come to a certain city which was called Aphek, he pitched his camp in the great plain. Ahab also went to meet him with his army, and pitched his camp over against him, although his army was a very small one, if it were compared with the enemy's; but the prophet came again to him, and told him, that God would give him the victory, that he might demonstrate his own power to be, not only on the mountains, but on the plains also; which it seems was contrary to the opinion of the Syrians. So they lay quiet in their camp seven days; but on the last of those days, when the enemies came out of their camp, and put themselves in array in order to fight, Ahab also brought out his own army; and when the battle was joined, and they fought valiantly, he put the enemy to flight, and pursued them, and pressed upon them, and slew them; nay, they were destroyed by their own chariots, and by one another; nor could any more than a few of them escape to their own city Aphek, who were also killed by the walls falling upon them, being in number twenty-seven thousand. 1 Now there were slain in this battle a hundred thousand more; but Benhadad, the king of the Syrians, fled away, with certain others of his most faithful servants, and hid himself in a cellar under ground; and when these told him that the kings of Israel were humane and merciful men, and that they might make use of the usual manner of supplication, and obtain deliverance from Ahab, in case he would give them leave to go to him, he gave them leave accordingly. So they came to Ahab, clothed in sackcloth, with ropes about their heads, (for this was the ancient manner of supplication among the Syrians,) 2 and said, that Benhadad desired he would save him, and that he would ever be a servant to him for that favor. Ahab replied he was glad that he was alive, and not hurt in the battle; and he further promised him the same honor and kindness that a man would show to his brother. So they received assurances upon oath from him, that when he came to him he should receive no harm from him, and then went and brought him out of the cellar wherein he was hid, and brought him to Ahab as he sat in his chariot. So Benhadad worshipped him; and Ahab gave him his hand, and made him come up to him into his chariot, and kissed him, and bid him be of good cheer, and not to expect that any mischief should be done to him. So Berthadad returned him thanks, and professed that he would remember his kindness to him all the days of his life; and promised he would restore those cities of the Israelites which the former kings had taken from them, and grant that he should have leave to come to Damascus, as his forefathers had to come to Samaria. So they confirmed their covenant by oaths, and Ahab made him many presents, and sent him back to his own kingdom. And this was the conclusion of the war that Benhadad made against Ahab and the Israelites.

1 Josephus's number, two myriads and seven thousand, agrees here with that in our other copies, as those that were slain by the falling down of the walls of Aphek; but I suspected at first that this number in Josephus's present copies could not be his original number, because he calls them "oligoi," a few, which could hardly be said of so many as twenty-seven thousand, and because of the improbability of the fall of a particular wall killing so many; yet when I consider Josephus's next words, how the rest which were slain in the battle were "ten other myriads," that twenty-seven thousand are but a few in comparison of a hundred thousand, and that it was not "a wall," as in our English version, but "the walls" or "the entire walls" of the city that fell down, as in all the originals, I lay aside that suspicion, and firmly believe that Josephus himself hath, with the rest, given us the just number, twenty-seven thousand.

2 This manner of supplication for men's lives among the Syrians, with ropes or halters about their heads or necks, is, I suppose, no strange thing in later ages, even in our own country.

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