10 And it came to pass that when it was night he sent a secret embassy into the mount Antipas, desiring that the leader of those who were upon the mount, whose name was Lehonti, that he should come down to the foot of the mount, for he desired to speak with him.
11 And it came to pass that when Lehonti received the message he durst not go down to the foot of the mount. And it came to pass that Amalickiah sent again the second time, desiring him to come down. And it came to pass that Lehonti would not; and he sent again the third time.
12 And it came to pass that when Amalickiah found that he could not get Lehonti to come down off from the mount, he went up into the mount, nearly to Lehonti’s camp; and he sent again the fourth time his message unto Lehonti, desiring that he would come down, and that he would bring his guards with him.
In the story quoted above, the duplicitous commander Amalickiah tried to convince his opponent Lehonti to descend from the top of the mountain where he was stationed with his army. Lehonti rightly saw that Amalickiah couldn’t be trusted and refused to come down three times. Then Amalickiah made a different offer, which appeared to be much more generous: I’ll come nearly all the way to you. Just come down a little bit, and with your guards.
This time Lehonti capitulated, and Amalickiah tricked him into making a series of decisions which resulted in Lehonti’s death.
The story is reminiscent of the experience of Nehemiah in the Old Testament. As he was supervising the rebuilding of the wall of Jerusalem, his enemies repeatedly (four times, in fact) tried to get him to come down, just to talk with him. But Nehemiah resisted the temptation. He refused to leave his post, and sent them the following message: “I am doing a great work, so that I cannot come down” (Nehemiah 6:3).