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1 Kings 20:23-22:9 New International Version - UK (NIVUK)

23 Meanwhile, the officials of the king of Aram advised him, ‘Their gods are gods of the hills. That is why they were too strong for us. But if we fight them on the plains, surely we will be stronger than they. 24 Do this: remove all the kings from their commands and replace them with other officers. 25 You must also raise an army like the one you lost – horse for horse and chariot for chariot – so we can fight Israel on the plains. Then surely we will be stronger than they.’ He agreed with them and acted accordingly.

26 The next spring Ben-Hadad mustered the Arameans and went up to Aphek to fight against Israel. 27 When the Israelites were also mustered and given provisions, they marched out to meet them. The Israelites camped opposite them like two small flocks of goats, while the Arameans covered the countryside.

28 The man of God came up and told the king of Israel, ‘This is what the Lord says: “Because the Arameans think the Lord is a god of the hills and not a god of the valleys, I will deliver this vast army into your hands, and you will know that I am the Lord.”’

29 For seven days they camped opposite each other, and on the seventh day the battle was joined. The Israelites inflicted a hundred thousand casualties on the Aramean foot soldiers in one day. 30 The rest of them escaped to the city of Aphek, where the wall collapsed on twenty-seven thousand of them. And Ben-Hadad fled to the city and hid in an inner room.

31 His officials said to him, ‘Look, we have heard that the kings of Israel are merciful. Let us go to the king of Israel with sackcloth round our waists and ropes round our heads. Perhaps he will spare your life.’

32 Wearing sackcloth round their waists and ropes round their heads, they went to the king of Israel and said, ‘Your servant Ben-Hadad says: “Please let me live.”’

The king answered, ‘Is he still alive? He is my brother.’

33 The men took this as a good sign and were quick to pick up his word. ‘Yes, your brother Ben-Hadad!’ they said.

‘Go and get him,’ the king said. When Ben-Hadad came out, Ahab brought him up into his chariot.

34 ‘I will return the cities my father took from your father,’ Ben-Hadad offered. ‘You may set up your own market areas in Damascus, as my father did in Samaria.’

Ahab said, ‘On the basis of a treaty I will set you free.’ So he made a treaty with him, and let him go.

A prophet condemns Ahab

35 By the word of the Lord one of the company of the prophets said to his companion, ‘Strike me with your weapon,’ but he refused.

36 So the prophet said, ‘Because you have not obeyed the Lord, as soon as you leave me a lion will kill you.’ And after the man went away, a lion found him and killed him.

37 The prophet found another man and said, ‘Strike me, please.’ So the man struck him and wounded him. 38 Then the prophet went and stood by the road waiting for the king. He disguised himself with his headband down over his eyes. 39 As the king passed by, the prophet called out to him, ‘Your servant went into the thick of the battle, and someone came to me with a captive and said, “Guard this man. If he is missing, it will be your life for his life, or you must pay a talent[a] of silver.” 40 While your servant was busy here and there, the man disappeared.’

‘That is your sentence,’ the king of Israel said. ‘You have pronounced it yourself.’

41 Then the prophet quickly removed the headband from his eyes, and the king of Israel recognised him as one of the prophets. 42 He said to the king, ‘This is what the Lord says: “You have set free a man I had determined should die.[b] Therefore it is your life for his life, your people for his people.”’ 43 Sullen and angry, the king of Israel went to his palace in Samaria.

Naboth’s vineyard

21 Some time later there was an incident involving a vineyard belonging to Naboth the Jezreelite. The vineyard was in Jezreel, close to the palace of Ahab king of Samaria. Ahab said to Naboth, ‘Let me have your vineyard to use for a vegetable garden, since it is close to my palace. In exchange I will give you a better vineyard or, if you prefer, I will pay you whatever it is worth.’

But Naboth replied, ‘The Lord forbid that I should give you the inheritance of my ancestors.’

So Ahab went home, sullen and angry because Naboth the Jezreelite had said, ‘I will not give you the inheritance of my ancestors.’ He lay on his bed sulking and refused to eat.

His wife Jezebel came in and asked him, ‘Why are you so sullen? Why won’t you eat?’

He answered her, ‘Because I said to Naboth the Jezreelite, “Sell me your vineyard; or if you prefer, I will give you another vineyard in its place.” But he said, “I will not give you my vineyard.”’

Jezebel his wife said, ‘Is this how you act as king over Israel? Get up and eat! Cheer up. I’ll get you the vineyard of Naboth the Jezreelite.’

So she wrote letters in Ahab’s name, placed his seal on them, and sent them to the elders and nobles who lived in Naboth’s city with him. In those letters she wrote:

‘Proclaim a day of fasting and give Naboth a prominent seat among the people. 10 But put two scoundrels opposite him and get them to bring charges that he has cursed both God and the king. Then take him out and stone him to death.’

11 So the elders and nobles who lived in Naboth’s city did as Jezebel directed in the letters she had written to them. 12 They proclaimed a fast and seated Naboth in a prominent place among the people. 13 Then two scoundrels came and sat opposite him and brought charges against Naboth before the people, saying, ‘Naboth has cursed both God and the king.’ So they took him outside the city and stoned him to death. 14 Then they sent word to Jezebel: ‘Naboth has been stoned to death.’

15 As soon as Jezebel heard that Naboth had been stoned to death, she said to Ahab, ‘Get up and take possession of the vineyard of Naboth the Jezreelite that he refused to sell you. He is no longer alive, but dead.’ 16 When Ahab heard that Naboth was dead, he got up and went down to take possession of Naboth’s vineyard.

17 Then the word of the Lord came to Elijah the Tishbite: 18 ‘Go down to meet Ahab king of Israel, who rules in Samaria. He is now in Naboth’s vineyard, where he has gone to take possession of it. 19 Say to him, “This is what the Lord says: have you not murdered a man and seized his property?” Then say to him, “This is what the Lord says: in the place where dogs licked up Naboth’s blood, dogs will lick up your blood – yes, yours!”’

20 Ahab said to Elijah, ‘So you have found me, my enemy!’

‘I have found you,’ he answered, ‘because you have sold yourself to do evil in the eyes of the Lord. 21 He says, “I am going to bring disaster on you. I will wipe out your descendants and cut off from Ahab every last male in Israel – slave or free.[c] 22 I will make your house like that of Jeroboam son of Nebat and that of Baasha son of Ahijah, because you have aroused my anger and have caused Israel to sin.”

23 ‘And also concerning Jezebel the Lord says: “Dogs will devour Jezebel by the wall of[d] Jezreel.”

24 ‘Dogs will eat those belonging to Ahab who die in the city, and the birds will feed on those who die in the country.’

25 (There was never anyone like Ahab, who sold himself to do evil in the eyes of the Lord, urged on by Jezebel his wife. 26 He behaved in the vilest manner by going after idols, like the Amorites the Lord drove out before Israel.)

27 When Ahab heard these words, he tore his clothes, put on sackcloth and fasted. He lay in sackcloth and went around meekly.

28 Then the word of the Lord came to Elijah the Tishbite: 29 ‘Have you noticed how Ahab has humbled himself before me? Because he has humbled himself, I will not bring this disaster in his day, but I will bring it on his house in the days of his son.’

Micaiah prophesies against Ahab

22 For three years there was no war between Aram and Israel. But in the third year Jehoshaphat king of Judah went down to see the king of Israel. The king of Israel had said to his officials, ‘Don’t you know that Ramoth Gilead belongs to us and yet we are doing nothing to retake it from the king of Aram?’

So he asked Jehoshaphat, ‘Will you go with me to fight against Ramoth Gilead?’

Jehoshaphat replied to the king of Israel, ‘I am as you are, my people as your people, my horses as your horses.’ But Jehoshaphat also said to the king of Israel, ‘First seek the counsel of the Lord.’

So the king of Israel brought together the prophets – about four hundred men – and asked them, ‘Shall I go to war against Ramoth Gilead, or shall I refrain?’

‘Go,’ they answered, ‘for the Lord will give it into the king’s hand.’

But Jehoshaphat asked, ‘Is there no longer a prophet of the Lord here whom we can enquire of?’

The king of Israel answered Jehoshaphat, ‘There is still one prophet through whom we can enquire of the Lord, but I hate him because he never prophesies anything good about me, but always bad. He is Micaiah son of Imlah.’

‘The king should not say such a thing,’ Jehoshaphat replied.

So the king of Israel called one of his officials and said, ‘Bring Micaiah son of Imlah at once.’

Footnotes:

  1. 1 Kings 20:39 That is, about 34 kilograms
  2. 1 Kings 20:42 The Hebrew term refers to the irrevocable giving over of things or persons to the Lord, often by totally destroying them.
  3. 1 Kings 21:21 Or Israel – every ruler or leader
  4. 1 Kings 21:23 Most Hebrew manuscripts; a few Hebrew manuscripts, Vulgate and Syriac (see also 2 Kings 9:26) the plot of ground at
New International Version - UK (NIVUK)

Holy Bible, New International Version® Anglicized, NIV® Copyright © 1979, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.

2 Chronicles 18:1-8 New International Version - UK (NIVUK)

Micaiah prophesies against Ahab

18 Now Jehoshaphat had great wealth and honour, and he allied himself with Ahab by marriage. Some years later he went down to see Ahab in Samaria. Ahab slaughtered many sheep and cattle for him and the people with him and urged him to attack Ramoth Gilead. Ahab king of Israel asked Jehoshaphat king of Judah, ‘Will you go with me against Ramoth Gilead?’

Jehoshaphat replied, ‘I am as you are, and my people as your people; we will join you in the war.’ But Jehoshaphat also said to the king of Israel, ‘First seek the counsel of the Lord.’

So the king of Israel brought together the prophets – four hundred men – and asked them, ‘Shall we go to war against Ramoth Gilead, or shall I not?’

‘Go,’ they answered, ‘for God will give it into the king’s hand.’

But Jehoshaphat asked, ‘Is there no longer a prophet of the Lord here whom we can enquire of?’

The king of Israel answered Jehoshaphat, ‘There is still one prophet through whom we can enquire of the Lord, but I hate him because he never prophesies anything good about me, but always bad. He is Micaiah son of Imlah.’

‘The king should not say such a thing,’ Jehoshaphat replied.

So the king of Israel called one of his officials and said, ‘Bring Micaiah son of Imlah at once.’

New International Version - UK (NIVUK)

Holy Bible, New International Version® Anglicized, NIV® Copyright © 1979, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.

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