When you ask for too much

1 Kings Bible Background

Old Testament: 1Ki 20.9–22

To read the Bible in a year, read First Kings 19–20 on May 9, In the year of our Lord Christ 2020

By Don Ruhl

Ben-Hadad of Syria along with 32 other kings, had control of Israel and felt that he could ask the king of Israel for anything that he wanted. So he did. The king of Israel agreed to his request. Empowered by that, Ben-Hadad made another request, but this time it was too much:

Therefore he said to the messengers of Ben-Hadad, “Tell my lord the king, ‘All that you sent for to your servant the first time I will do, but this thing I cannot do.’” And the messengers departed and brought back word to him. Then Ben-Hadad sent to him and said, “The gods do so to me, and more also, if enough dust is left of Samaria for a handful for each of the people who follow me.” So the king of Israel answered and said, “Tell him, ‘Let not the one who puts on his armor boast like the one who takes it off.’” And it happened when Ben-Hadad heard this message, as he and the kings were drinking at the command post, that he said to his servants, “Get ready.” And they got ready to attack the city…

– 1 Kings 20:9–22

In a couple of battles Israel wiped out the Syrian army, causing them to lose 100,000 in one day, and 27,000 died when a wall fell on them.

Ben-Hadad was not content with what the control he had over Israel and he was not content with the willingness of Israel to give him whatever he wanted, so then his greed got to him and he asked for more and he suffered a devastating humiliation for it.


  • Who was the king of Israel during this time?
  • Have you ever asked for too much and regretted it later?

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