1 Kings 21-22 Easy-to-Read Version (ERV)
21 There was a vineyard near King Ahab’s palace in Samaria. A man from Jezreel named Naboth owned it. 2 One day Ahab said to Naboth, “Give me your vineyard that is near my palace. I want to make it a vegetable garden. I will give you a better vineyard in its place. Or, if you prefer, I will pay you for it.”
3 Naboth answered, “By the Lord, I will never give my land to you. This land belongs to my family.”
4 So Ahab went home angry and upset because Naboth told him, “I will not give you my family’s land.” Ahab went to bed, turned away from everyone, and refused to eat.
5 His wife Jezebel went to him and asked him, “Why are you upset? Why do you refuse to eat?”
6 Ahab answered, “I asked Naboth from Jezreel to give me his vineyard. I told him that I would pay him the full price. Or, if he preferred, I would give him another vineyard. But he refused to give it to me.”
7 Jezebel answered, “But you are the king over Israel! Get out of bed and eat something, and you will feel better. I will get Naboth’s vineyard for you.”
8 Then Jezebel wrote some letters. She signed Ahab’s name to them and used his seal to seal the letters. Then she sent them to the elders and important men who lived in the same town as Naboth. 9 This is what the letter said:
“Announce that there will be a day of fasting when the people will eat nothing. Then call all the people of the town together for a meeting. At the meeting we will talk about Naboth. 10 Find some men who will tell lies about Naboth. They should say that they heard Naboth speak against the king and against God. Then take Naboth out of the city and kill him with stones.”
11 So the elders and important men of Jezreel obeyed the command. 12 The leaders announced that there would be a day when all the people would eat nothing. On that day they called all the people together for a meeting. They put Naboth in a special place before the people. 13 Then two men told the people that they heard Naboth speak against God and the king. So the people carried Naboth out of the city and killed him with stones. 14 Then the leaders sent a message to Jezebel that said: “Naboth has been killed.”
15 When Jezebel heard this, she said to Ahab, “Naboth is dead. Now you can go and take the vineyard that you wanted.” 16 So Ahab went to the vineyard and took it for his own.
17 Then the Lord spoke to Elijah, the prophet from Tishbe: 18 “Go to King Ahab in Samaria. He will be at Naboth’s vineyard. He is there to take the vineyard as his own. 19 Tell Ahab that I, the Lord, say to him, ‘Ahab! You killed the man Naboth and now you are taking his land. So I, the Lord, tell you this: Where the dogs licked up the blood of Naboth, they will lick up your blood as well.’”
20 So Elijah went to Ahab. When Ahab saw him, he said, “Well, my enemy has found me again!”
Elijah answered, “Yes, I found you, because you have again sold yourself out to do what the Lord says is evil. 21 So this is what he says to you: ‘I will make something bad happen to you. I will kill you and every male in your family. 22 I will destroy your family just as I destroyed the families of King Jeroboam son of Nebat and King Baasha. I will do this to you because you have made me angry and you have caused the Israelites to sin.’ 23 The Lord also says this about your wife Jezebel: ‘Dogs will eat the body of Jezebel by the wall of the city of Jezreel. 24 As for the family of Ahab, whoever dies in the city will be eaten by dogs, and whoever dies in the fields will be eaten by birds.’”
25 So Ahab sold himself out to do what the Lord says is evil. There is no one who did as much evil as Ahab and his wife Jezebel, who caused him to do these things. 26 Ahab committed the terrible sin of worshiping those filthy idols, just as the Amorites did. And that is why the Lord took the land from them and gave it to the Israelites.
27 When Ahab heard what Elijah said, he tore his clothes to show how sad he was. Then he put on sackcloth and refused to eat. He even slept in these clothes. He was very sad and upset.
28 The Lord said to the prophet Elijah from Tishbe, 29 “Look, Ahab has humbled himself before me. So I will not make that disaster happen during his lifetime. I will wait until his son is king. Then I will destroy his family.”
Micaiah Warns King Ahab
22 For the next two years there was peace between Israel and Aram. 2 Then during the third year, King Jehoshaphat of Judah went to visit King Ahab of Israel.
3 Ahab asked his officials, “Remember when the king of Aram took Ramoth Gilead from us? That city is ours, so why have we done nothing to get it back?” 4 So Ahab asked King Jehoshaphat, “Will you join with us to go fight the Arameans at Ramoth Gilead?”
Jehoshaphat answered, “Yes, you and I will be as one—my men and my horses will be as yours. 5 But first let’s ask the Lord for advice.”
6 So Ahab called a meeting of the prophets. There were about 400 prophets at that time. Ahab asked the prophets, “Should I go and attack the Arameans at Ramoth Gilead or not?”
The prophets answered Ahab, “Yes, because the Lord will let you defeat Ramoth Gilead.”
7 But Jehoshaphat said, “Doesn’t the Lord have another prophet here? Let’s ask him the same question.”
8 King Ahab answered, “Yes, there is another prophet. His name is Micaiah son of Imlah. But I hate him because he will not say anything good about me when he speaks for the Lord. He always says things that I don’t like.”
Jehoshaphat said, “The king should not say that!”
9 So King Ahab told one of his officers to go and find Micaiah.
10 At that time the two kings were sitting on their thrones, with their royal robes on, at the judgment place near the gates of Samaria. All the prophets were standing before them, prophesying. 11 One of the prophets was named Zedekiah son of Kenaanah. Zedekiah made some iron horns[a] and said to Ahab, “The Lord says, ‘You will use these iron horns to fight against the army of Aram. You will defeat them and destroy them.’” 12 All the other prophets agreed with Zedekiah and said, “Your army should march now to go fight against the Arameans at Ramoth Gilead. You will win the battle. The Lord will let you defeat them.”
13 While this was happening, the officer went to find Micaiah. When he found him, the officer told him, “All the other prophets have said that the king will succeed, so you should say the same thing.”
14 But Micaiah answered, “As surely as the Lord lives, I can say only what the Lord says.”
15 Micaiah went and stood before King Ahab. The king asked him, “Micaiah, should we go and attack the Arameans at Ramoth Gilead or not?”
Micaiah answered, “Yes, go and be successful! The Lord will let you take the city.”
16 But Ahab answered, “How many times do I have to tell you? Tell me the truth. What does the Lord say?”
17 So Micaiah answered, “I can see the army of Israel scattered all over the hills, like sheep with no one to lead them. This is what the Lord says: ‘These men have no leaders. Let them go home in peace.’”
18 Then Ahab said to Jehoshaphat, “See, I told you! This prophet never says anything good about me. He always says something bad.”
19 But Micaiah said, “Listen to this message from the Lord: I saw the Lord sitting on his throne. All of heaven’s army was standing around him, some on his left side and some on his right side. 20 The Lord said, ‘Which of you will go fool Ahab into attacking the Arameans at Ramoth Gilead so that he will be killed?’ The angels discussed many different plans. 21 Then a spirit[b] went and stood before the Lord and said, ‘I will fool him!’ The Lord asked, ‘How will you do it?’ 22 The spirit answered, ‘I will go to Ahab’s prophets and cause them to tell lies.’ So the Lord said, ‘Yes, that will fool Ahab. Go out and do that.’
23 “So that is what has happened here. The Lord made your prophets lie to you. The Lord himself decided to bring this disaster to you.”
24 Then the prophet Zedekiah went to Micaiah and hit him on the face. Zedekiah said, “How is it that the Spirit of the Lord left me to speak through you?”
25 Micaiah answered, “Look, what I said will happen! And you will see it one day when you are in a secret room somewhere hiding.”
26 Then King Ahab ordered one of his officers to arrest Micaiah. Ahab said, “Arrest him and take him to Amon the governor of the city and prince Joash. 27 Tell them to put Micaiah in prison. Give him nothing but bread and water to eat. Keep him there until I come home from the battle.”
28 Micaiah said, “Listen to me, everyone! Ahab, if you come back alive from the battle, the Lord has not spoken through me.”
The Battle at Ramoth Gilead
29 King Ahab of Israel and King Jehoshaphat of Judah went to fight the Arameans at Ramoth Gilead. 30 Ahab said to Jehoshaphat, “Disguise yourself when you go into battle, but wear your own clothes. And I will disguise myself.” The king of Israel went into battle dressed like an ordinary soldier.
31 The king of Aram had 32 chariot commanders. He gave them this command, “Don’t go after anyone except the king of Israel, no matter how important they are.” 32 When the commanders saw King Jehoshaphat, they thought he was the king of Israel, and so they went to kill him. Jehoshaphat started shouting. 33 When the commanders saw that he was not King Ahab, they stopped chasing him.
34 Then a soldier in the distance pulled back as far as he could on his bow and shot an arrow into the air. The arrow happened to hit the king of Israel in a small hole where his armor was fastened together. King Ahab said to his chariot driver, “I’ve been hit! Turn the chariot around and take me off the battlefield!”
35 The armies continued to fight while King Ahab was propped up in his chariot. He was leaning against the sides of the chariot, looking out toward the Arameans. His blood ran down onto the floor of the chariot. Later in the evening, he died. 36 At sunset all the Israelites cheered when they were told to go home. So they all went back to their hometowns.
37 And that is how King Ahab died. Some men carried his body to Samaria and buried him there. 38 They took his chariot to the large pool in Samaria to clean it. The dogs licked up Ahab’s blood while the prostitutes washed the chariot. This happened just as the Lord said it would.
39 The rest of what King Ahab did during the time he ruled is written in the book, The History of the Kings of Israel. That book tells about all the cities he built and about all the ivory that he used to decorate his palace. 40 Ahab died and was buried with his ancestors. His son Ahaziah became the next king after him.
Summary of Jehoshaphat’s Rule
41 Jehoshaphat son of Asa became the king of Judah in Ahab’s fourth year as king of Israel. 42 Jehoshaphat was 35 years old when he became king, and he ruled in Jerusalem for 25 years. His mother was Azubah, the daughter of Shilhi. 43 Like his father Asa, Jehoshaphat was good and did everything that the Lord wanted, but he did not destroy the high places. The people continued offering sacrifices and burning incense there.
44 Jehoshaphat made a peace agreement with the king of Israel. 45 Jehoshaphat was very brave and fought many wars. The rest of what he did is written in the book, The History of the Kings of Judah.
46 Jehoshaphat forced all the men and women who sold their bodies for sex to leave the places of worship. They had served in these places of worship while his father Asa was king.
47 In those days Edom did not have a king; it was ruled by a governor who was chosen by the king of Judah.
48 King Jehoshaphat built some cargo ships. He wanted the ships to sail to Ophir for gold, but they never went there—they were destroyed in their home port at Ezion Geber. 49 Then King Ahaziah of Israel offered to put some of his own sailors with Jehoshaphat’s men on the ships,[c] but Jehoshaphat refused to accept his help.
50 Jehoshaphat died and was buried with his ancestors in the City of David. Then his son Jehoram became the next king.
Ahaziah, King of Israel
51 Ahaziah was the son of Ahab. He became king of Israel during the 17th year that King Jehoshaphat ruled Judah. Ahaziah ruled in Samaria for two years. 52 He sinned against the Lord just as his parents, Ahab and Jezebel, did. He caused Israel to sin just as Jeroboam son of Nebat did. 53 Ahaziah served the false god Baal and worshiped him, just as his father did before him. He did all the things that his father did to make the Lord, the God of Israel, angry.