Afterward, the prophet1 came to the king of Israel and said, "Strengthen your position and see what must be done, because next spring2 the king of Aram will attack you again."
Meanwhile, the officials of the king of Aram advised him, "Their gods are gods3 of the hills. That is why they were too strong for us. But if we fight them on the plains, surely we will be stronger than they.
Do this: Remove all the kings from their commands and replace them with other officers.
You must also raise an army like the one you lost--horse for horse and chariot for chariot--so we can fight Israel on the plains. Then surely we will be stronger than they." He agreed with them and acted accordingly.
The next spring4 Ben-Hadad mustered the Arameans and went up to Aphek5 to fight against Israel.
When the Israelites were also mustered and given provisions, they marched out to meet them. The Israelites camped opposite them like two small flocks of goats, while the Arameans covered the countryside.628
The man of God came up and told the king of Israel, "This is what the LORD says: 'Because the Arameans think the LORD is a god of the hills and not a god7 of the valleys, I will deliver this vast army into your hands, and you will know8 that I am the LORD.' "
For seven days they camped opposite each other, and on the seventh day the battle was joined. The Israelites inflicted a hundred thousand casualties on the Aramean foot soldiers in one day.
The rest of them escaped to the city of Aphek,9 where the wall collapsed10 on twenty-seven thousand of them. And Ben-Hadad fled to the city and hid11 in an inner room.
His officials said to him, "Look, we have heard that the kings of the house of Israel are merciful.12 Let us go to the king of Israel with sackcloth13 around our waists and ropes around our heads. Perhaps he will spare your life."
Wearing sackcloth around their waists and ropes around their heads, they went to the king of Israel and said, "Your servant Ben-Hadad says: 'Please let me live.' " The king answered, "Is he still alive? He is my brother."
The men took this as a good sign and were quick to pick up his word. "Yes, your brother Ben-Hadad!" they said. "Go and get him," the king said. When Ben-Hadad came out, Ahab had him come up into his chariot.
"I will return the cities14 my father took from your father," Ben-Hadad15 offered. "You may set up your own market areas16 in Damascus,17 as my father did in Samaria." [Ahab said, ] "On the basis of a treaty18 I will set you free." So he made a treaty with him, and let him go.