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1 Kings 22:1-40Amplified Bible (AMP)

Ahab’s Third Campaign against Aram

22 Aram (Syria) and Israel continued without war for three years. In the third year Jehoshaphat king of Judah came down to the [a]king of Israel. Now the king of Israel said to his servants, “Do you know that Ramoth in Gilead is ours, yet we are still doing nothing to take it from the hand of the king of Aram?” And Ahab said to Jehoshaphat, “Will you go with me to battle at Ramoth-gilead?” Jehoshaphat said to the king of Israel, “I am as you are, my people as your people, my horses as your horses.”

But Jehoshaphat said to the king of Israel, “Please inquire first for the word of the Lord.” Then the king of Israel gathered the prophets together, about four hundred men, and said to them, “Shall I go to battle against Ramoth-gilead, or should I not?” And they said, “Go up, for the Lord has handed it over to the king.” But Jehoshaphat [doubted and] said, “Is there not another prophet of the Lord here whom we may ask?” The king of Israel said to Jehoshaphat, “There is one more man, Micaiah the son of Imlah, by whom we may inquire of the Lord, but I hate him, because he never prophesies good news for me, but only evil.” But Jehoshaphat said, “May the king not say that [Micaiah only tells bad news].” Then the king of Israel summoned an officer and said, “Bring quickly Micaiah the son of Imlah.” 10 Now the king of Israel and Jehoshaphat king of Judah were each sitting on his throne, dressed in their [royal] robes, [in an open place] at the threshing floor at the entrance of the gate of Samaria; and all the prophets were prophesying before them. 11 Then Zedekiah the son of Chenaanah made for himself horns of iron and said, “Thus says the Lord: ‘With these you will gore the Arameans (Syrians) until they are destroyed.’” 12 All the prophets were prophesying in the same way [to please Ahab], saying, “Go up to Ramoth-gilead and be successful, for the Lord will hand it over to the king.”

Micaiah Predicts Defeat

13 Then the messenger who went to summon Micaiah said to him, “[b]Listen carefully, the words of the prophets are unanimously favorable to the king. Please let your words be like the word of one of them, and speak favorably.” 14 But Micaiah said, “As the Lord lives, I will speak what the Lord says to me.”

15 So when he came to the king, the king said to him, “Micaiah, shall we go against Ramoth-gilead in battle, or shall we not?” And he answered him, “Go up and be successful, for the Lord will hand it over to the king.” 16 But the king [doubted him and] said to him, “How many times must I make you swear to tell me nothing but the truth in the name of the Lord?” 17 And he said,

“I saw all Israel
Scattered upon the mountains,
Like sheep that have no shepherd.
And the Lord said,
‘These have no master.
Let each of them return to his house in peace.’”

18 Then the king of Israel said to Jehoshaphat, “Did I not tell you that he would not prophesy good concerning me, but evil?”

19 Micaiah said, “Therefore, hear the word of the Lord. I saw the Lord sitting on His throne, and all the host (army) of heaven standing by Him on His right hand and on His left. 20 The Lord said, ‘Who will entice Ahab to go up and fall at Ramoth-gilead?’ And one said this, while another said that. 21 Then a spirit came forward and stood before the Lord and said, ‘I will entice him.’ 22 The Lord said to him, ‘How?’ And he said, ‘I will go out and be a deceiving spirit in the mouth of all his prophets.’ Then the Lord said, ‘You are to entice him and also succeed. Go and do so.’ 23 Now then, behold, the Lord has put a deceiving spirit in the mouth of all these prophets; and the Lord has proclaimed disaster against you.”

24 But Zedekiah the son of Chenaanah approached and struck Micaiah on the cheek and said, “How did the Spirit of the Lord pass from me to speak to you?” 25 Micaiah said, “Behold, you shall see on that day [of the king’s defeat] when you enter an inner room [looking for a place] to hide yourself.” 26 Then the king of Israel said, “Take Micaiah and return him to Amon, the governor of the city, and to Joash, the king’s son, 27 and say, ‘Thus says the king, “Put this man in prison, and feed him sparingly with the bread and water until I return safely.”’” 28 Micaiah said, “If you indeed return safely, the Lord has not spoken by me.” Then he said, “Listen, all you people.”

Defeat and Death of Ahab

29 So [Ahab] the king of Israel and Jehoshaphat the king of Judah went up to Ramoth-gilead. 30 The king of Israel said to Jehoshaphat, “I will disguise myself and enter the battle, but you put on your [royal] clothing.” So the king of Israel disguised himself and went into the battle. 31 Now the king of Aram (Syria) had commanded the thirty-two captains of his chariots, saying, “Do not fight with [anyone, either] small or great, but with [Ahab] the king of Israel alone.” 32 When the captains of the chariots saw Jehoshaphat, they said, “Surely it is the king of Israel.” They turned to fight against him, and Jehoshaphat shouted out [in fear]. 33 When the captains of the chariots saw that it was not the king of Israel, they turned back from pursuing him.

34 But one man drew a bow at [c]random and struck the king of Israel in a joint of the armor. So he said to the driver of his chariot, “Turn around and take me out of the fight, because I have been seriously wounded.” 35 The battle raged that day, and [Ahab] the king was propped up in his chariot facing the Arameans (Syrians). And in the evening he died, and the blood from his wound ran down into the bottom of the chariot. 36 Then about sundown a resounding cry passed throughout the army, saying, “Every man to his city and every man to his own country!”

37 So the king died and was brought to Samaria, and they buried the king in Samaria. 38 They washed the chariot by the pool [on the outskirts] of Samaria, where the prostitutes bathed, and the dogs licked up his blood, in accordance with the word of the Lord which He had spoken. 39 Now the rest of Ahab’s acts, and everything that he did, the ivory palace which he built and all the cities which he built, are they not written in the Book of the Chronicles of the Kings of Israel? 40 So Ahab slept with his fathers [in death], and Ahaziah his son became king in his place.

Footnotes:

  1. 1 Kings 22:2 The writer often refers to Ahab as “the king of Israel,” without using his name. This is probably because of Ahab’s reputation as a wicked king.
  2. 1 Kings 22:13 Lit Behold now.
  3. 1 Kings 22:34 Or innocently, i.e. not thinking that he would kill the king.
Amplified Bible (AMP)

Copyright © 2015 by The Lockman Foundation, La Habra, CA 90631. All rights reserved.

1 Kings 22:1-40King James Version (KJV)

22 And they continued three years without war between Syria and Israel.

And it came to pass in the third year, that Jehoshaphat the king of Judah came down to the king of Israel.

And the king of Israel said unto his servants, Know ye that Ramoth in Gilead is ours, and we be still, and take it not out of the hand of the king of Syria?

And he said unto Jehoshaphat, Wilt thou go with me to battle to Ramothgilead? And Jehoshaphat said to the king of Israel, I am as thou art, my people as thy people, my horses as thy horses.

And Jehoshaphat said unto the king of Israel, Enquire, I pray thee, at the word of the Lord to day.

Then the king of Israel gathered the prophets together, about four hundred men, and said unto them, Shall I go against Ramothgilead to battle, or shall I forbear? And they said, Go up; for the Lord shall deliver it into the hand of the king.

And Jehoshaphat said, Is there not here a prophet of the Lord besides, that we might enquire of him?

And the king of Israel said unto Jehoshaphat, There is yet one man, Micaiah the son of Imlah, by whom we may enquire of the Lord: but I hate him; for he doth not prophesy good concerning me, but evil. And Jehoshaphat said, Let not the king say so.

Then the king of Israel called an officer, and said, Hasten hither Micaiah the son of Imlah.

10 And the king of Israel and Jehoshaphat the king of Judah sat each on his throne, having put on their robes, in a void place in the entrance of the gate of Samaria; and all the prophets prophesied before them.

11 And Zedekiah the son of Chenaanah made him horns of iron: and he said, Thus saith the Lord, With these shalt thou push the Syrians, until thou have consumed them.

12 And all the prophets prophesied so, saying, Go up to Ramothgilead, and prosper: for the Lord shall deliver it into the king's hand.

13 And the messenger that was gone to call Micaiah spake unto him, saying, Behold now, the words of the prophets declare good unto the king with one mouth: let thy word, I pray thee, be like the word of one of them, and speak that which is good.

14 And Micaiah said, As the Lord liveth, what the Lord saith unto me, that will I speak.

15 So he came to the king. And the king said unto him, Micaiah, shall we go against Ramothgilead to battle, or shall we forbear? And he answered him, Go, and prosper: for the Lord shall deliver it into the hand of the king.

16 And the king said unto him, How many times shall I adjure thee that thou tell me nothing but that which is true in the name of the Lord?

17 And he said, I saw all Israel scattered upon the hills, as sheep that have not a shepherd: and the Lord said, These have no master: let them return every man to his house in peace.

18 And the king of Israel said unto Jehoshaphat, Did I not tell thee that he would prophesy no good concerning me, but evil?

19 And he said, Hear thou therefore the word of the Lord: I saw the Lord sitting on his throne, and all the host of heaven standing by him on his right hand and on his left.

20 And the Lord said, Who shall persuade Ahab, that he may go up and fall at Ramothgilead? And one said on this manner, and another said on that manner.

21 And there came forth a spirit, and stood before the Lord, and said, I will persuade him.

22 And the Lord said unto him, Wherewith? And he said, I will go forth, and I will be a lying spirit in the mouth of all his prophets. And he said, Thou shalt persuade him, and prevail also: go forth, and do so.

23 Now therefore, behold, the Lord hath put a lying spirit in the mouth of all these thy prophets, and the Lord hath spoken evil concerning thee.

24 But Zedekiah the son of Chenaanah went near, and smote Micaiah on the cheek, and said, Which way went the Spirit of the Lord from me to speak unto thee?

25 And Micaiah said, Behold, thou shalt see in that day, when thou shalt go into an inner chamber to hide thyself.

26 And the king of Israel said, Take Micaiah, and carry him back unto Amon the governor of the city, and to Joash the king's son;

27 And say, Thus saith the king, Put this fellow in the prison, and feed him with bread of affliction and with water of affliction, until I come in peace.

28 And Micaiah said, If thou return at all in peace, the Lord hath not spoken by me. And he said, Hearken, O people, every one of you.

29 So the king of Israel and Jehoshaphat the king of Judah went up to Ramothgilead.

30 And the king of Israel said unto Jehoshaphat, I will disguise myself, and enter into the battle; but put thou on thy robes. And the king of Israel disguised himself, and went into the battle.

31 But the king of Syria commanded his thirty and two captains that had rule over his chariots, saying, Fight neither with small nor great, save only with the king of Israel.

32 And it came to pass, when the captains of the chariots saw Jehoshaphat, that they said, Surely it is the king of Israel. And they turned aside to fight against him: and Jehoshaphat cried out.

33 And it came to pass, when the captains of the chariots perceived that it was not the king of Israel, that they turned back from pursuing him.

34 And a certain man drew a bow at a venture, and smote the king of Israel between the joints of the harness: wherefore he said unto the driver of his chariot, Turn thine hand, and carry me out of the host; for I am wounded.

35 And the battle increased that day: and the king was stayed up in his chariot against the Syrians, and died at even: and the blood ran out of the wound into the midst of the chariot.

36 And there went a proclamation throughout the host about the going down of the sun, saying, Every man to his city, and every man to his own country.

37 So the king died, and was brought to Samaria; and they buried the king in Samaria.

38 And one washed the chariot in the pool of Samaria; and the dogs licked up his blood; and they washed his armour; according unto the word of the Lord which he spake.

39 Now the rest of the acts of Ahab, and all that he did, and the ivory house which he made, and all the cities that he built, are they not written in the book of the chronicles of the kings of Israel?

40 So Ahab slept with his fathers; and Ahaziah his son reigned in his stead.

1 Kings 22:1-40Holman Christian Standard Bible (HCSB)

Jehoshaphat’s Alliance with Ahab

22 There was a lull of three years without war between Aram and Israel. However, in the third year, Jehoshaphat king of Judah went to visit the king of Israel. The king of Israel had said to his servants, “Don’t you know that Ramoth-gilead is ours, but we have failed to take it from the hand of the king of Aram?” So he asked Jehoshaphat, “Will you go with me to fight 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 said to the king of Israel, “First, please ask what the Lord’s will is.”

So the king of Israel gathered the prophets, about 400 men, and asked them, “Should I go against Ramoth-gilead for war or should I refrain?”

They replied, “March up, and the Lord will hand it over to the king.”

But Jehoshaphat asked, “Isn’t there a prophet of Yahweh here anymore? Let’s ask him.”

The king of Israel said to Jehoshaphat, “There is still one man who can ask Yahweh, but I hate him because he never prophesies good about me, but only disaster. He is Micaiah son of Imlah.”

“The king shouldn’t say that!” Jehoshaphat replied.

So the king of Israel called an officer and said, “Hurry and get Micaiah son of Imlah!”

10 Now the king of Israel and Jehoshaphat king of Judah, clothed in royal attire, were each sitting on his own throne. They were on the threshing floor at the entrance to Samaria’s gate, and all the prophets were prophesying in front of them. 11 Then Zedekiah son of Chenaanah made iron horns and said, “This is what the Lord says: ‘You will gore the Arameans with these until they are finished off.’” 12 And all the prophets were prophesying the same: “March up to Ramoth-gilead and succeed, for the Lord will hand it over to the king.”

Micaiah’s Message of Defeat

13 The messenger who went to call Micaiah instructed him, “Look, the words of the prophets are unanimously favorable for the king. So let your words be like theirs, and speak favorably.”

14 But Micaiah said, “As the Lord lives, I will say whatever the Lord says to me.”

15 So he went to the king, and the king asked him, “Micaiah, should we go to Ramoth-gilead for war, or should we refrain?”

Micaiah told him, “March up and succeed. Yahweh will hand it over to the king.”

16 But the king said to him, “How many times must I make you swear not to tell me anything but the truth in the name of Yahweh?”

17 So Micaiah said:

I saw all Israel scattered on the hills
like sheep without a shepherd.
And the Lord said,
“They have no master;
let everyone return home in peace.”

18 So the king of Israel said to Jehoshaphat, “Didn’t I tell you he never prophesies good about me, but only disaster?”

19 Then Micaiah said, “Therefore, hear the word of the Lord: I saw the Lord sitting on His throne, and the whole heavenly host was standing by Him at His right hand and at His left hand. 20 And the Lord said, ‘Who will entice Ahab to march up and fall at Ramoth-gilead?’ So one was saying this and another was saying that.

21 “Then a spirit came forward, stood before the Lord, and said, ‘I will entice him.’

22 “The Lord asked him, ‘How?’

“He said, ‘I will go and become a lying spirit in the mouth of all his prophets.’

“Then He said, ‘You will certainly entice him and prevail. Go and do that.’

23 “You see, the Lord has put a lying spirit into the mouth of all these prophets of yours, and the Lord has pronounced disaster against you.”

24 Then Zedekiah son of Chenaanah came up, hit Micaiah in the face, and demanded, “Did[a] the Spirit of the Lord leave me to speak to you?”

25 Micaiah replied, “You will soon see when you go to hide yourself in an inner chamber on that day.”

26 Then the king of Israel ordered, “Take Micaiah and return him to Amon, the governor of the city, and to Joash, the king’s son, 27 and say, ‘This is what the king says: Put this guy in prison and feed him only bread and water[b] until I come back safely.’”

28 But Micaiah said, “If you ever return safely, the Lord has not spoken through me.” Then he said, “Listen, all you people!”[c]

Ahab’s Death

29 Then the king of Israel and Judah’s King Jehoshaphat went up to Ramoth-gilead. 30 But the king of Israel said to Jehoshaphat, “I will disguise myself and go into battle, but you wear your royal attire.” So the king of Israel disguised himself and went into battle.

31 Now the king of Aram had ordered his 32 chariot commanders, “Do not fight with anyone at all except the king of Israel.”

32 When the chariot commanders saw Jehoshaphat, they shouted, “He must be the king of Israel!” So they turned to fight against him, but Jehoshaphat cried out. 33 When the chariot commanders saw that he was not the king of Israel, they turned back from pursuing him.

34 But a man drew his bow without taking special aim and struck the king of Israel through the joints of his armor. So he said to his charioteer, “Turn around and take me out of the battle,[d] for I am badly wounded!” 35 The battle raged throughout that day, and the king was propped up in his chariot facing the Arameans. He died that evening, and blood from his wound flowed into the bottom of the chariot. 36 Then the cry rang out in the army as the sun set, declaring:

Each man to his own city,
and each man to his own land!

37 So the king died and was brought to Samaria. They buried the king in Samaria. 38 Then someone washed the chariot at the pool of Samaria. The dogs licked up his blood, and the prostitutes bathed in it, according to the word of the Lord that He had spoken.

39 The rest of the events of Ahab’s reign, along with all his accomplishments, including the ivory palace he built, and all the cities he built, are written in the Historical Record of Israel’s Kings. 40 Ahab rested with his fathers, and his son Ahaziah became king in his place.

Footnotes:

  1. 1 Kings 22:24 Lit Which way did
  2. 1 Kings 22:27 Lit him on bread of oppression and water of oppression
  3. 1 Kings 22:28 LXX omits Then he said, “Listen, all you people!”
  4. 1 Kings 22:34 LXX; MT reads camp

1 Kings 22:1-40New International Version (NIV)

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 inquire of?”

The king of Israel answered Jehoshaphat, “There is still one prophet through whom we can inquire 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.”

10 Dressed in their royal robes, the king of Israel and Jehoshaphat king of Judah were sitting on their thrones at the threshing floor by the entrance of the gate of Samaria, with all the prophets prophesying before them. 11 Now Zedekiah son of Kenaanah had made iron horns and he declared, “This is what the Lord says: ‘With these you will gore the Arameans until they are destroyed.’”

12 All the other prophets were prophesying the same thing. “Attack Ramoth Gilead and be victorious,” they said, “for the Lord will give it into the king’s hand.”

13 The messenger who had gone to summon Micaiah said to him, “Look, the other prophets without exception are predicting success for the king. Let your word agree with theirs, and speak favorably.”

14 But Micaiah said, “As surely as the Lord lives, I can tell him only what the Lord tells me.”

15 When he arrived, the king asked him, “Micaiah, shall we go to war against Ramoth Gilead, or not?”

“Attack and be victorious,” he answered, “for the Lord will give it into the king’s hand.”

16 The king said to him, “How many times must I make you swear to tell me nothing but the truth in the name of the Lord?”

17 Then Micaiah answered, “I saw all Israel scattered on the hills like sheep without a shepherd, and the Lord said, ‘These people have no master. Let each one go home in peace.’”

18 The king of Israel said to Jehoshaphat, “Didn’t I tell you that he never prophesies anything good about me, but only bad?”

19 Micaiah continued, “Therefore hear the word of the Lord: I saw the Lord sitting on his throne with all the multitudes of heaven standing around him on his right and on his left. 20 And the Lord said, ‘Who will entice Ahab into attacking Ramoth Gilead and going to his death there?’

“One suggested this, and another that. 21 Finally, a spirit came forward, stood before the Lord and said, ‘I will entice him.’

22 “‘By what means?’ the Lord asked.

“‘I will go out and be a deceiving spirit in the mouths of all his prophets,’ he said.

“‘You will succeed in enticing him,’ said the Lord. ‘Go and do it.’

23 “So now the Lord has put a deceiving spirit in the mouths of all these prophets of yours. The Lord has decreed disaster for you.”

24 Then Zedekiah son of Kenaanah went up and slapped Micaiah in the face. “Which way did the spirit from[a] the Lord go when he went from me to speak to you?” he asked.

25 Micaiah replied, “You will find out on the day you go to hide in an inner room.”

26 The king of Israel then ordered, “Take Micaiah and send him back to Amon the ruler of the city and to Joash the king’s son 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.’”

28 Micaiah declared, “If you ever return safely, the Lord has not spoken through me.” Then he added, “Mark my words, all you people!”

Ahab Killed at Ramoth Gilead

29 So the king of Israel and Jehoshaphat king of Judah went up to Ramoth Gilead. 30 The king of Israel said to Jehoshaphat, “I will enter the battle in disguise, but you wear your royal robes.” So the king of Israel disguised himself and went into battle.

31 Now the king of Aram had ordered his thirty-two chariot commanders, “Do not fight with anyone, small or great, except the king of Israel.” 32 When the chariot commanders saw Jehoshaphat, they thought, “Surely this is the king of Israel.” So they turned to attack him, but when Jehoshaphat cried out, 33 the chariot commanders saw that he was not the king of Israel and stopped pursuing him.

34 But someone drew his bow at random and hit the king of Israel between the sections of his armor. The king told his chariot driver, “Wheel around and get me out of the fighting. I’ve been wounded.” 35 All day long the battle raged, and the king was propped up in his chariot facing the Arameans. The blood from his wound ran onto the floor of the chariot, and that evening he died. 36 As the sun was setting, a cry spread through the army: “Every man to his town. Every man to his land!”

37 So the king died and was brought to Samaria, and they buried him there. 38 They washed the chariot at a pool in Samaria (where the prostitutes bathed),[b] and the dogs licked up his blood, as the word of the Lord had declared.

39 As for the other events of Ahab’s reign, including all he did, the palace he built and adorned with ivory, and the cities he fortified, are they not written in the book of the annals of the kings of Israel? 40 Ahab rested with his ancestors. And Ahaziah his son succeeded him as king.

Footnotes:

  1. 1 Kings 22:24 Or Spirit of
  2. 1 Kings 22:38 Or Samaria and cleaned the weapons
New International Version (NIV)

Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.

1 Kings 22:1-40The Message (MSG)

22 1-3 They enjoyed three years of peace—no fighting between Aram and Israel. In the third year, Jehoshaphat king of Judah had a meeting with the king of Israel. Israel’s king remarked to his aides, “Do you realize that Ramoth Gilead belongs to us, and we’re sitting around on our hands instead of taking it back from the king of Aram?”

4-5 He turned to Jehoshaphat and said, “Will you join me in fighting for Ramoth Gilead?”

Jehoshaphat said, “You bet. I’m with you all the way—my troops are your troops, my horses are your horses.” He then continued, “But before you do anything, ask God for guidance.”

The king of Israel got the prophets together—all four hundred of them—and put the question to them: “Should I attack Ramoth Gilead? Or should I hold back?”

“Go for it,” they said. “God will hand it over to the king.”

But Jehoshaphat dragged his heels: “Is there still another prophet of God around here we can consult?”

The king of Israel told Jehoshaphat, “As a matter of fact, there is still one such man. But I hate him. He never preaches anything good to me, only doom, doom, doom—Micaiah son of Imlah.”

“The king shouldn’t talk about a prophet like that,” said Jehoshaphat.

So the king of Israel ordered one of his men, “On the double! Get Micaiah son of Imlah.”

10-12 Meanwhile, the king of Israel and Jehoshaphat were seated on their thrones, dressed in their royal robes, resplendent in front of the Samaria city gates. All the prophets were staging a prophecy-performance for their benefit. Zedekiah son of Kenaanah had even made a set of iron horns, and brandishing them called out, “God’s word! With these horns you’ll gore Aram until there’s nothing left of him!” All the prophets chimed in, “Yes! Go for Ramoth Gilead! An easy victory! God’s gift to the king!”

13 The messenger who went to get Micaiah said, “The prophets have all said Yes to the king. Make it unanimous—vote Yes!”

14 But Micaiah said, “As surely as God lives, what God says, I’ll say.”

15 With Micaiah before him, the king asked him, “So Micaiah—do we attack Ramoth Gilead, or do we hold back?”

“Go ahead,” he said. “An easy victory. God’s gift to the king.”

16 “Not so fast,” said the king. “How many times have I made you promise under oath to tell me the truth and nothing but the truth?”

17 “All right,” said Micaiah, “since you insist.

I saw all of Israel scattered over the hills,
    sheep with no shepherd.
Then God spoke: ‘These poor people
    have no one to tell them what to do.
Let them go home and do
    the best they can for themselves.’”

18 Then the king of Israel turned to Jehoshaphat, “See! What did I tell you? He never has a good word for me from God, only doom.”

19-23 Micaiah kept on: “I’m not done yet; listen to God’s word:

I saw God enthroned,
    and all the angel armies of heaven
Standing at attention
    ranged on his right and his left.
And God said, ‘How can we seduce Ahab
    into attacking Ramoth Gilead?’
Some said this,
    and some said that.
Then a bold angel stepped out,
    stood before God, and said,
‘I’ll seduce him.’
    ‘And how will you do it?’ said God.
‘Easy,’ said the angel,
    ‘I’ll get all the prophets to lie.’
‘That should do it,’ said God.
    ‘On your way—seduce him!’

“And that’s what has happened. God filled the mouths of your puppet prophets with seductive lies. God has pronounced your doom.”

24 Just then Zedekiah son of Kenaanah came up and punched Micaiah in the nose, saying, “Since when did the Spirit of God leave me and take up with you?”

25 Micaiah said, “You’ll know soon enough; you’ll know it when you’re frantically and futilely looking for a place to hide.”

26-27 The king of Israel had heard enough: “Get Micaiah out of here! Turn him over to Amon the city magistrate and to Joash the king’s son with this message, ‘King’s orders: Lock him up in jail; keep him on bread and water until I’m back in one piece.’”

28 Micaiah said, “If you ever get back in one piece, I’m no prophet of God.”

He added,“When it happens, O people, remember where you heard it!”

29-30 The king of Israel and Jehoshaphat king of Judah attacked Ramoth Gilead. The king of Israel said to Jehoshaphat, “Wear my kingly robe; I’m going into battle disguised.” So the king of Israel entered the battle in disguise.

31 Meanwhile, the king of Aram had ordered his chariot commanders (there were thirty-two of them): “Don’t bother with anyone, whether small or great; go after the king of Israel and him only.”

32-33 When the chariot commanders saw Jehoshaphat they said, “There he is! The king of Israel!” and took after him. Jehoshaphat yelled out, and the chariot commanders realized they had the wrong man—it wasn’t the king of Israel after all. They let him go.

34 Just then someone, without aiming, shot an arrow randomly into the crowd and hit the king of Israel in the chink of his armor. The king told his charioteer, “Turn back! Get me out of here—I’m wounded.”

35-37 All day the fighting continued, hot and heavy. Propped up in his chariot, the king watched from the sidelines. He died that evening. Blood from his wound pooled in the chariot. As the sun went down, shouts reverberated through the ranks, “Abandon camp! Head for home! The king is dead!”

37-38 The king was brought to Samaria and there they buried him. They washed down the chariot at the pool of Samaria where the town whores bathed, and the dogs lapped up the blood, just as God’s word had said.

39-40 The rest of Ahab’s life—everything he did, the ivory palace he built, the towns he founded, and the defense system he built up—is all written up in The Chronicles of the Kings of Israel. He was buried in the family cemetery and his son Ahaziah was the next king.

The Message (MSG)

Copyright © 1993, 1994, 1995, 1996, 2000, 2001, 2002 by Eugene H. Peterson

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