by Clarence E. Macartney

This content is part of a series.

The Parable of the Lost Prisoner (3 of 15)
Series: The Parables of the Old Testament
Clarence Macartney
1 Kings 20:35-43

Israel had just won a great victory over her inveterate enemy, Benhadad, king of Syria. Because of the previous defeat in the hill country, the Syrians fancied that a battle in the valleys would bring them victory, for they said, ''Their god is a god of the hills, therefore they were stronger than we.'' But the battle in the plain proved even more disastrous than that of the hills. One hundred thousand fell in the combat, and the remaining twenty thousand perished in an earthquake. The very stars in their courses were fighting against Syria. The army had been beaten, but the heart and soul of that army was still alive.

There are some causes and some armies which are never beaten until the leader who incarnates them is beaten. From his secret hiding place, Benhadad sends messengers to Ahab. They find him in high feather over his victory. As he surveyed the field where so many Syrians had fallen and so few Israelites, he was tempted to a foolish magnanimity. Instead of destroying Benhadad, or at least taking precaution to prevent his further outbreaks, he gave him a ride in his chariot and sent him off to Syria with a treaty of peace which Benhadad at once proceeded to violate.

''But a certain man of the sons of the prophets!'' One of God's nameless ambassadors of conscience was at hand to rebuke the foolish king and pronounce his judgment. As in the parable of The Ewe Lamb, the plan is to have the king condemn himself by passing judgment on an imaginary case. In the disguise of a wounded soldier, the man of God sat lamenting by the roadside. As the chariot of the king rolled by, he sprang up with his tale of woe. ''Thy servant went out into the midst of the battle; and, behold, a man turned aside and brought a man unto me, and said, 'Keep this man: if by any means he be missing, then shall thy life be for his life.' And as thy ser ...

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