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1 Kings 20:31

31 His officials said to him, “Look, we have heard that the kings of Israel are merciful. Let us go to the king of Israel with sackcloth around our waists and ropes around our heads. Perhaps he will spare your life.”

Read 1 Kings 20:31 Using Other Translations

And his servants said unto him, Behold now, we have heard that the kings of the house of Israel are merciful kings: let us, I pray thee, put sackcloth on our loins, and ropes upon our heads, and go out to the king of Israel: peradventure he will save thy life.
And his servants said to him, "Behold now, we have heard that the kings of the house of Israel are merciful kings. Let us put sackcloth around our waists and ropes on our heads and go out to the king of Israel. Perhaps he will spare your life."
Ben-hadad’s officers said to him, “Sir, we have heard that the kings of Israel are merciful. So let’s humble ourselves by wearing burlap around our waists and putting ropes on our heads, and surrender to the king of Israel. Then perhaps he will let you live.”

What does 1 Kings 20:31 mean?

John Gill's Exposition of the Bible
1 Kings 20:31

And his servants said unto him
Being reduced to the utmost extremity; for if he attempted to go out of the city, he would fall into the hands of the Israelites, and there was no safety in it, the wall of it being fallen down; and it could not be thought he could be concealed long in the chamber where he was, wherefore his servants advised as follows:

behold, now, we have heard that the kings of the Israel are merciful
kings;
not only the best of them as David and Solomon, but even the worst of them, in comparison of Heathen princes, were kind and humane to those that fell into their hands, and became their captives:

let us, I pray thee;
so said one in the name of the rest:

put sack cloth on our loins, and ropes upon our heads;
and so coming in such a mean and humble manner, and not with their armour on, they might the rather hope to have admittance; so, the Syracusans sent ambassadors to Athens, in filthy garments, with the hair of their heads and beards long, and all in slovenly habits, to move their pity F18;

and go out to the king of Israel:
and be humble supplicants to him:

peradventure he will save thy life;
upon a petition to him from him; to which the king agreed, and sent it by them.


FOOTNOTES:

F18 Justin e Trogo, l. 4. c. 4.
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