You’ve helped me see there’s no reason to think Ahab was surprised by BH’s arrival.
You and I understand this b/c we’ve been looking in depth not only at what Kings tells us, but what the history and the archeology tell us as well. That puts you as the writer far ahead of your composite reader as I picture them. IOW, I think you’ve got some exposition ahead of you to introduce the idea to them that, yes, Kings is giving us an account of some of these actions, but by no means all of them. Nor is the Kings narrative necessarily relaying the ones it is telling as actual history. I think all of this will come as a jolt to some of your readers as you probably know better than I.
I presume you’re expecting that, but I think you have to work thru how you’re going to address it.
Does this feel like a logical extension of that idea?
He’s been watching the troop buildup and has sent for his district commanders, who brought with them 7,000 national guardsmen. 6,000 of these farmer/shopkeeper/soldiers are camped on the sides of the hill and 1,000 on the plaza.
The junior officers who serve them came along and are on the plaza, ready for Mikayhu to point them out as commandos.
Yes to all of this so far.
The Seventy elders have not responded as quickly or as a unit. But they’ve been drifting into town, so we have a couple dozen staying at Shuthellah’s, enough to give Ahab a consensus.
Writer’s option. I’ll have to see where this goes to get a better feel for it, but it sounds plausible at this stage.
On my way to the library to pick up 4 books on Sun Tzu’s, The Art of War, I got an idea which is still vague, but here goes….A&O know how a smart general leaves a way of escape for the city he has surrounded, so even after BH has them surrounded, they use that alley he left open to send and receive runners. Not sure how useful this is to the plot, but it might come in handy.
That could work. Another possibility would be for A & O to have shaped their battlefield so BH is the one with only one escape ally. Have they notified their nearby garrisons to loosely encircle BH, make themselves known, but not advance so far as to completely encircle him? Just saying, if BH was doing some kind of test probe of Ahab, maybe he wasn’t expecting to get a whole kingdom out of it in the first place; maybe he’s the one who’s bluffing, hoping to hell his messengers spook Ahab into talks that will save face?
Don’t know. Maybe I’m reading too much into this. Maybe I’ve been trying to get into BH’s head as if he was Putin. Anyway, there are some musings you can kick around for whatever they might be worth.
20 Now Ben-Hadad king of Aram mustered his entire army. Accompanied by thirty-two kings with their horses and chariots, he went up and besieged Samaria and attacked it. 2 He sent messengers into the city to Ahab king of Israel, saying, “This is what Ben-Hadad says: 3 ‘Your silver and gold are mine, and the best of your wives and children are mine.’”
Taken by itself, this passage sounds as if BH came on Samaria all unawares like a thief in the night. We don’t get enough details from this account to know how it went down. Could he actually have surprised Ahab that badly?
From Ahab’s reply – just as you sketched it out – he seems ready and expecting what both sets of messengers have to say. Was that part of the plan? Were A & O expecting him to come directly at Samaria and besiege it? Were they maybe counting on it? If they have gamed this out and actually are ready to surround BH’s troops when God’s messenger arrives with a new plan, it would all be consistent of what we think we know about Ahab outside the scriptural passages.
If you take the passage at face value the siege was not complete enough to keep Ahab’s messengers from getting out and about the kingdom. How good a siege is that in the first place? The picture of how things went down in Kings is just too sketchy for us to know. But if the actual layout of Samaria allows it, you might be able to engineer the siege as part of the plan that A & O then massage when they hear God’s instructions thru the kid.