Enticing Ben Hadad

Some of this will depend on what motive you assign to BH’s incursion.  Is this an all out attempt to take over the NK?  Or is he just making some kind of point to Ahab?  Does he need some extra income he intends to steal?  Once you know that, you know how long he’s spent building up his forces and what their size is.  And I don’t think anything in Kings limits you as to what that could be.  It only says he’s there besieging Samaria.  But I’ll remind you once again “Samaria” can be the NK, the region around the capital and the capital compound itself depending on the context.  Kings does not make clear which it is.

But let’s say for the sake of discussion that BH is after something.  Maybe he wants the fall olive oil haul to make up for some real or imagined slight by Ahab.  So he’s there with enough guys to take what he’s after and to humiliate Ahab for the slight at the same time.
By making it easier for BH’s forces to move in the desired direction they could lure him where they want him.  Is there a large storage reservoir of oil somewhere in the valley?  Does Ahab know that’s what he’s after?  Has he long since beefed up the defenses at Jezreel and Schechem and Jerash and made it an easy decision for BH to come after Samaria City?  And has BH already got the oil and now he’s just there to show up Ahab? Or is the oil what he intends to deal for once they get down to it?  Once you work that out, it will be pretty easy to “lead” him where they want him.

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