The following spring he called up his men and marched with them to the city of Aphek to attack the Israelites.
The Israelites were called up and equipped; they marched out and camped in two groups facing the Syrians. The Israelites looked like two small flocks of goats compared to the Syrians, who spread out over the countryside.
A prophet went to King Ahab and said, "This is what the Lord says: "Because the Syrians say that I am a god of the hills and not of the plains, I will give you victory over their huge army, and you and your people will know that I am the Lord.' "
For seven days the Syrians and the Israelites stayed in their camps, facing each other. On the seventh day they started fighting, and the Israelites killed a hundred thousand Syrians.
The survivors fled into the city of Aphek, where the city walls fell on twenty-seven thousand of them. Benhadad also escaped into the city and took refuge in the back room of a house.
His officials went to him and said, "We have heard that the Israelite kings are merciful. Give us permission to go to the king of Israel with sackcloth around our waists and ropes around our necks, and maybe he will spare your life."
So they wrapped sackcloth around their waists and ropes around their necks, went to Ahab and said, "Your servant Benhadad pleads with you for his life." Ahab answered, "Is he still alive? Good! He's like a brother to me!"
Benhadad's officials were watching for a good sign, and when Ahab said "brother," they took it up at once, and said, "As you say, Benhadad is your brother!" "Bring him to me," Ahab ordered. When Benhadad arrived, Ahab invited him to get in the chariot with him.
Benhadad said to him, "I will restore to you the towns my father took from your father, and you may set up a commercial center for yourself in Damascus, just as my father did in Samaria." Ahab replied, "On these terms, then, I will set you free." He made a treaty with him and let him go.
At the Lord's command a member of a group of prophets ordered a fellow prophet to hit him. But he refused,
so he said to him, "Because you have disobeyed the Lord's command, a lion will kill you as soon as you leave me." And as soon as he left, a lion came along and killed him. 1