1 Kings 20:23

23 And the servants of the king of Syria said unto him, Their gods are gods of the hills; therefore they were stronger than we; but let us fight against them in the plain, and surely we shall be stronger than they.

1 Kings 20:23 Meaning and Commentary

1 Kings 20:23

And the servants of the king of Syria said unto him
His ministers of state, his privy counsellors:

their gods are gods of the hills, therefore they were stronger than we;
and beat them in the last battle; this notion they might receive from what they had heard of Jehovah delivering the law on Mount Sinai to Moses, and of the miraculous things done lately on Mount Carmel, as well as of their worship being in high places, especially at Jerusalem, the temple there being built on an hill, as was Samaria itself, near to which they had their last defeat; and this notion of topical deities very much obtained among the Heathens in later times, some of which they supposed presided over rivers, others over woods, and others over hills and mountains F5: so Nemestinus the god of woods, Collina the goddess of hills, and Vallina of valleys F6; and Arnobins F7 makes mention of the god Montinus, and Livy F8 of the god Peninus, who had his name from a part of the Alps, so called where he was worshipped; and there also the goddess Penina was worshipped; and Lactantius F9 speaks of the gods of the mountains the mother of Maximilian was a worshipper of; and even Jupiter had names from mountains, as Olympius, Capitolinus and such was the great god Pan, called mountainous Pan {k}:

but let us fight against them in the plain, and surely we shall be
stronger than they;
and prevail over them, and conquer them.


FOOTNOTES:

F5 "Dii fumus agrestes, et qui dominemur in altis montibus.----" Ovid. Fast. l. 3.
F6 Vid. D. Herbert de Cherbury de Relig. Gent. c. 12. p. 198, 112.
F7 Adv. Gentes, l. 4.
F8 Hist. l. 21. c. 38.
F9 De Mort. Persecutor. c. 11. p. 22. Vid. Ovid. Metamorph. l. 1. Fab. 8. ver. 320. "Et numina montis adorant". See Ep. 4. ver. 171.
F11 Sophoclis Oedipus Tyr. ver. 1110.

1 Kings 20:23 In-Context

21 And the king of Israel went out, and smote the horses and chariots, and slew the Syrians with a great slaughter.
22 And the prophet came to the king of Israel, and said unto him, Go, strengthen thyself, and mark, and see what thou doest: for at the return of the year the king of Syria will come up against thee.
23 And the servants of the king of Syria said unto him, Their gods are gods of the hills; therefore they were stronger than we; but let us fight against them in the plain, and surely we shall be stronger than they.
24 And do this thing, Take the kings away, every man out of his place, and put captains in their rooms:
25 And number thee an army, like the army that thou hast lost, horse for horse, and chariot for chariot: and we will fight against them in the plain, and surely we shall be stronger than they. And he hearkened unto their voice, and did so.