But Benhadad sent messengers back [to Ahab]. They said, "Benhadad has sent this message to you: 'Your silver, gold, wives, and children are mine. Give [them to me].
At this time tomorrow I'm going to send my servants to search your palace and your servants' houses. They will take anything that you consider valuable.'"
Then the king of Israel called for all the leaders of the country. He said, "You can see how this man is looking for trouble. When he sent for my wives, children, silver, and gold, I didn't refuse him."
All the leaders and all the people told him, "Don't listen to him. Don't agree [to his demands]."
Ahab told Benhadad's messengers, "Tell His Majesty, 'I did everything your messengers told me the first time, but I can't do this.'" The messengers left to take back his answer.
Then Benhadad sent Ahab the following message: "May the gods strike me dead if there will be enough dust left from Samaria to give a handful to each soldier who follows me."
The king of Israel answered, "The saying goes, 'Don't brag about a victory before you have even dressed for battle.'"
Benhadad heard this as he and his allies were drinking in their tents. He told his officers to get ready. So they got ready [to attack] the city.
Then a prophet came to King Ahab of Israel and said, "This is what the LORD says: Have you seen this large army? I will hand it over to you today. Then you will know that I am the LORD."
Ahab asked, "How [will this be done]?" The prophet answered, "This is what the LORD says: by using the young officers of the district governors." "Who will start the battle?" Ahab asked. "You will," the prophet answered.
Ahab counted the young officers of the district governors. There were 232. After counting them, he counted all the Israelite soldiers. There were 7,000.