1 Kings 22

Why did Ahab enter into a military alliance with Jehoshaphat?
Ahab entered into a military alliance with Jehoshaphat for the purpose of recovering the ancient Israelite city of Ramoth-gilead from the Syrians (22:1-4). This city “was strategic in controlling the eastern caravan route” (Layman’s Bible Book Commentary, Volume 6). This was a city which Ben-hadad should have given back to Israel according to the terms of 1 Kings 20:34.

What did Jehoshaphat ask Ahab to do before going into battle?
Jehoshaphat asked Ahab to “inquire first for the word of the Lord” (22:5).

Who did Ahab consult?
Ahab gathered 400 prophets to inquire of them regarding the outcome of the proposed military campaign (22:6). These court prophets told Ahab exactly what he wanted to hear (22:10-12). They told Ahab that the military campaign would be a success. These were not prophets of the Lord as is suggested by Jehoshaphat’s question in 1 Kings 22:7.

What did Jehoshaphat request?
Jehoshaphat requested that “a prophet of the Lord” (22:7) be consulted. The only man available was Micaiah son on Imlah. Ahab hated this particular prophet because “he does not prophesy good concerning me, but evil” (22:8). Ahab however, agreed to call and inquire of Micaiah (22:9).

What did Micaiah prophesy?
The messenger who went after Micaiah asked him to prophesy in agreement with the 400 prophets already consulted. The 400 were in unanimous agreement. Micaiah was being pressured to agree with them. Micaiah responded, “As the Lord lives, what the Lord says to me, that I will speak” (22:14). And indeed Micaiah was faithful to tell Ahab what the Lord had said to him (although he mocked Ahab with the words of his court prophets in 22:15). Micaiah prophesied the death of Ahab in battle and the defeat of Israel (22:15-23).

How did Ahab respond to this unfavorable word from Micaiah?
He had Micaiah imprisoned and put on a meager diet of bread and water until such time as he returned safely from battle (22:26-28).

What happened to Ahab in battle?
Ahab went into battle disguised as an ordinary soldier (22:30). Perhaps Ahab disguised himself [1] as a precaution in case Micaiah’s prophesy be true, or [2] because he had heard through spies that Ben-hadad had ordered his captains to go after the king of Israel. At any rate, Ahab did not escape death. “Now a certain man drew his bow at random and struck the king of Israel in a joint of the armor” (22:34). Ahab bled to death in his chariot (22:35). He was taken back to Samaria where he was buried (22:37). His chariot was washed by the pool of Samaria “and the dogs licked up his blood, according to the word of the Lord which He spoke” (22:38). His son Ahaziah became king in his place (22:40) and had an evil and unproductive two-year reign (22:51-53). He was no different than his parents.

What became of Jezebel?
Jezebel met a violent end eleven years after the death of Ahab (2 Kings 9:7, 30-37). Jehu ordered her thrown from a window (2 Kings 9:33). She landed on the ground and her blood was sprinkled on the wall and on Jehu’s horses. Jehu then “trampled her under foot” (2 Kings 9:33). Before she could be buried, dogs had eaten all but her skull, feet, and hands (2 Kings 9:35). Even the dogs did not want to eat a skull that had conceived evil, hands that had done evil, and feet that had walked an evil course!

Practical Considerations

We must speak the truth even in the face of opposition.
Micaiah was unwilling to tell the king only what he wanted to hear or what seemed expedient. He did not compromise the word he had received from God. As a result he was imprisoned. We must be willing to speak the truth even when it is unpopular to do so.

1 Kings 22 NIV

22:13 The messenger [Ahab’s messenger] who had gone to summon Micaiah [a true prophet of God] said [advised] to him, “Look, as one man [indicates Ahab’s prophets were unanimous] the other prophets [about 400 prophets (1 Kings 22:6); read Ezek. 13:3 re: prophets who “follow their own spirit and have seen nothing”] are predicting success [in the matter of liberating Ramoth Gilead from Aram] for the king. Let your word agree with theirs, and speak favorably.”

Note: How can pressure cause us to compromise Christian convictions and integrity? What kind of pressures have you experienced that tempted you to relax or soften your commitment to God?

22:14 But Micaiah said, “As surely as the LORD lives, I [even at the risk of personal death] can tell him only what the LORD tells me.”

22:15 When he [Micaiah] arrived, the king asked him, “Micaiah, shall we [King Ahab of Israel and King Jehoshaphat of Judah] go to war against Ramoth Gilead [Israelite city located east of the Jordan River; controlled by Aram for 70 years; a city of refuge (Deut. 4:41-43); a Levitical city (Josh. 21:8,38)], or shall I refrain?” “Attack and be victorious,” he answered [in a way that communicated obvious insincerity (perhaps sarcasm) and indicated he felt pressured to tell the king what he wanted to hear], “for the LORD will give it into the king’s hand.”

22:16 The king [perhaps detected a sarcastic, mocking, or insincere tone in Michaiah’s voice] said to him, “How many times must I make you swear to tell me nothing but the truth in the name of the LORD?”

22:17 Then Micaiah answered, “I saw all Israel scattered on the hills like sheep without a shepherd [a common metaphor for king], and the LORD said, `These people have no master. Let each one go home [thus breaking off the attack on Ramoth Gilead] in peace.'”

22:18 The king of Israel said to Jehoshaphat, “Didn’t I tell you that he [Micaiah’s integrity prevented him from being a “yes man” to the king] never prophesies anything good about me, but only bad [1 Kings 22:8]?”

22:19 Micaiah continued, “Therefore hear [and heed] the word of the LORD: I saw [vision emphasizes God’s power and sovereignty…] the LORD sitting on his throne [in control; cf. Ps. 103:19] with all the host of heaven [cf. Ps. 103:20-21] standing around him on his right and on his left.

22:20 And the LORD said, `Who will entice [to delude] Ahab into attacking Ramoth Gilead and going to his death [God already had decreed Ahab’s death as judgment for his sins (cf. 1 Kings 21:17-24)] there [God’s death sentence on Ahab would be carried out at the battle at Ramoth Gilead]?’ “One suggested this, and another that.

22:21 Finally, a spirit [represented God’s judgment on Ahab] came forward, stood before the LORD and said, `I will entice him.’

22:22 ” `By what means?’ the LORD asked. ” `I will go out and be a lying spirit [symbolized the judgment God already had passed on Ahab] in the mouths of all his prophets [telling Ahab what he wanted to hear; Ahab rejected God’s words through Micaiah],’ he said.” `You will succeed in enticing him,’ said the LORD. `Go and do it.’

22:23 “So now the LORD has put a lying spirit in the mouths of all these prophets [about 400 prophets (1 Kings 22:6)] of yours. The LORD has decreed disaster for you.”

22:24 Then Zedekiah [one of Ahab’s prophets] son of Kenaanah went up and slapped [a grave insult] Micaiah in the face. “Which way did the spirit from the LORD go when he went from me to speak to you [implies that Zedekiah believed he had prophesied under the Lord’s leadership and that Micaiah was the lying prophet]?” he asked.

22:25 Micaiah replied, “You will find out [which of them really had prophesied under the leadership of God’s Spirit] on the day you go to hide [after Aram defeated Israel at Ramoth Gilead] in an inner room.”

22:26 The king of Israel [Ahab continued to stubbornly refuse to heed God’s warning through Micaiah] then ordered, “Take Micaiah and send him back to Amon the ruler of the city and to Joash the king’s son

22:27 and say, `This is what the king says: Put this fellow in prison and give him nothing but bread and water until I return safely.'”

22:28 Micaiah declared [he appealed to the test of a true prophet (cf. Deut. 18:21-22)], “If you ever return safely, the LORD has not spoken through me.” Then he added, “Mark [literally “hear”] my words [his prophecy], all you people!”

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