Story Six

 •  4 min. read  •  grade level: 6
THE country nearest to Ĭś̝ ra-el on the north was Sy̆ŕ ĭ-ȧ of which the chief city and capital was Dā̇-măś cus; and its king was named Bĕn=hā́ dăd. His kingdom was far greater and stronger than Ĭś̝ ra-el; and when he went to make war upon King Ā́ hăb, such was the fear of the Ĭś̝ ra-el-ītes for the Sy̆ŕ ĭ-ans̝, that Ā́ hăb could bring only seven thousand men against the Sy̆ŕ ĭ-an army. The host of the Syŕ ĭ-ans̝ filled all the valleys and plains around Sā̇-mā́ ri-ȧ; but Bĕn=hā́ dăd and his chief rulers were drinking wine when they should have been making ready for the battle; and the little army of Ĭś̝ ra-el won a great victory over the Sy̆ŕ ĭ-ans̝, and drove them back to their own land.
Again the Sy̆ŕ ĭ-an came against Ĭś̝ ra-el, with an army as large as before; but again God gave to Ā́ hăb and the Ĭś̝ ra-el-ītes a victory, and the Sy̆ŕ ĭ-an army was destroyed. King Bĕn=hā́ dăd fled away to his palace, and King Ā́ hăb might easily have taken him prisoner and conquered all Sy̆ŕ ĭ-ȧ If he had done this, all danger from that land might have been forever removed. But Bĕn=hā́ dăd dressed himself in sackcloth, and put a rope around his waist, and came as a beggar to Ā́ hăb, and pleaded with him for his life and his kingdom. Ā́ hăb felt very proud to have so great a king as Bĕn=hā́ dăd come kneeling before him. He spared his life, and gave him back his kingdom. This was not wise; and God soon showed to Ā́ hăb what a mistake he had made.
By this time, through the teaching of Ē̇-lī́ jah and Ē̇-lī́ sha, there were many prophets of the Lord in Ĭś̝ ra-el. The word of the Lord came to one of these prophets, and he said to a fellow-prophet, "Strike me, and give me a wound.”
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 Ā́ hăb 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 for the man's life.”
But the king said, "You have given sentence against yourself, 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 Ā́ hăb heard this he was greatly troubled and displeased. He went to his palace in Sā̇-mā́ rĭ-ȧ full of alarm, for he saw that he had not done wisely for his own kingdom in sparing his kingdom's greatest enemy.