But about this time tomorrow I am going to send my officials to search your palace and the houses of your officials. They will seize everything you value and carry it away.’ ”
The king of Israel summoned all the elders of the land and said to them, “See how this man is looking for trouble! When he sent for my wives and my children, my silver and my gold, I did not refuse him.”
The elders and the people all answered, “Don’t listen to him or agree to his demands.”
So he replied to Ben-Hadad’s messengers, “Tell my lord the king, ‘Your servant will do all you demanded the first time, but this demand I cannot meet.’ ” They left and took the answer back to Ben-Hadad.
Then Ben-Hadad sent another message to Ahab: “May the gods deal with me, be it ever so severely, if enough dust remains in Samaria to give each of my men a handful.”
The king of Israel answered, “Tell him: ‘One who puts on his armor should not boast like one who takes it off.’ ”
Ben-Hadad heard this message while he and the kings were drinking in their tents, and he ordered his men: “Prepare to attack.” So they prepared to attack the city.
Meanwhile a prophet came to Ahab king of Israel and announced, “This is what the LORD says: ‘Do you see this vast army? I will give it into your hand today, and then you will know that I am the LORD.’ ”
“But who will do this?” asked Ahab. The prophet replied, “This is what the LORD says: ‘The junior officers under the provincial commanders will do it.’ ” “And who will start the battle?” he asked. The prophet answered, “You will.”
So Ahab summoned the 232 junior officers under the provincial commanders. Then he assembled the rest of the Israelites, 7,000 in all.
They set out at noon while Ben-Hadad and the 32 kings allied with him were in their tents getting drunk.