("son" i.e. "worshipper" of Hadad"), the Syrian sun-god. A name common to three kings of Damascus. Hadad-ezer ("Hadad helps") is a similar Syrian name. David, having conquered him, put garrisons in Syria of Damascus; Rezon retook Damascus, and reigned there "an adversary to Israel all the days of Solomon" (1 Kings 11:23). Ben-Hadad I grandson of Rezon (probably), as king in Damascus, which had absorbed by that time the petty kingdoms around, helped Baasha against (See ASA king of Judah. But the latter, by a present of "all the silver and gold left in the treasures of the Lord's house and of the king's house," tempted Ben-Hadad to "break his league with Baasha" (1 Kings 15:18-19). He therefore "smote Ijon, Dan, Abel-beth-Maachah, Cinneroth, with all Naphtali" in the northern kingdom, namely, that of the ten tribes under Baasha, thus enabling Asa to take away the stones of Ramah, which Baasha had built to prevent any repairing from the northern to the southern kingdom, Judah.
Ben-Hadad II, son of Ben-Hadad I; 32 vassal kings accompanied him in his first siege of Samaria (1 Kings 20:1) (See AHAB.) After Ahab's death, Moab having revolted from Ahaziah and Jehoram, successive kings of Israel (2 Kings 1:1; 2 Kings 1:6-7), Ben-Hadad took advantage of Israel's consequent weakness, and after having been baffled several times by Elisha besieged Samaria a second time so straitly that mothers gave their own sons to be eaten, a horror similar to what occurred in later times in Titus' siege of Jerusalem. A sudden panic, owing to a divinely sent noise, caused the Syrians to flee from their camp, and leave its rich contents to be spoiled, under the impression that Israel had hired the Hittite and Egyptian kings. The consequent plenty had been foretold by Elisha.
Shortly after Ben-Hadad fell sick, and sent Hazael with large presents to consult Elisha who was in Damascus (2 Kings 8:7-15). The prophet replied, "Thou mayest certainly recover," i.e. the disease is not mortal; "howbeit the Lord hath showed me that he shall surely die." Hazael's latent cruelty and ambition were awakened by what ought to have awakened remorse, Elisha's tears at the horrors which the prophet foresaw he would perpetrate. His murder of Ben-Hadad with a wet cloth (the wetting solidifying the cloth, and making it impervious to air) was consonant to his subsequent bloodthirstiness. Hazael is evidently the subject of 2 Kings 8:15; the introduction of his name at the end does not disprove this: it is introduced to emphasize Hazael's succession to the throne, in contrast to Ben-Hadad's decease. Many fancy the wet cloth was put on to cool the fevered face, and by Ben-Hadad himself, and that death naturally resulted from the sudden chill. (?) So ended with Ben-Hadad, after reigning about 30 years, the dynasty founded by Rezon.
Ben-Hadad III, Hazael's son and successor. Jehovah, moved by Jehoahaz' repentance of his previous wickedness, and by his beseeching prayers, and by the oppression suffered by his people from Hazael, "who had made them like the dust by threshing," gave Israel a savior from Ben-Hadad in Joash his son's days. Joash, visiting Elisha on his deathbed, by his direction shot arrows eastward, the pledge of the Lord's deliverance from Syria. But instead of smiting the ground repeatedly he only smote thrice from want of faith; so, instead of destroying the Syrians as he might have done, he only was to smite them thrice, which he did in Aphek (2 Kings 13:14-19) in the Esdraelon plain, where Ahab had defeated Ben-Hadad I (1 Kings 20:26); compare Amos 1:3-4, which foretells Ben-Hadad's overthrow. Jeroboam II completed Israel's deliverance, according to Jonah's prophecy (2 Kings 14:25).