2 Chronicles 18The Voice (VOICE)
18 In spite of his great wealth and honor, Jehoshaphat still wanted an alliance with the Northern Kingdom. So he arranged for his son, Jehoram, to marry Athaliah, the daughter of Ahab, the king of Israel. 2 Several years later, Jehoshaphat traveled north to Samaria (Israel’s capital city) to visit Ahab, and Ahab prepared a feast. He used this feast of sheep and goats to entice Jehoshaphat and his entourage into attacking Ramoth-gilead.
Ahab (to Jehoshaphat): 3 I want to recover Ramoth-gilead from the Arameans and return it to my own country. Will you help me attack it?
Jehoshaphat: You and I and all of our people are brothers, descended from the same ancestor, Jacob. We will certainly help you in the battle. 4 But first I want to know if the Eternal agrees with your aggression. Let’s consult some of His prophets.
5 Then Ahab assembled 400 court prophets, who wanted to appease their king.
Ahab (to the prophets): Should we fight Ramoth-gilead or not?
Prophets: Go up to Ramoth-Gilead. You will win because the True God will give the city to you.
Jehoshaphat: 6 Is there a prophet of the Eternal, not just one of your own court prophets, whom we can ask?
Ahab: 7 There is only one prophet of the Eternal here, Micaiah, son of Imla, but I hate him and distrust his prophecies. He always prophesies evil about me and my country, never anything good.
Jehoshaphat: You should not say such a thing about a prophet of the Lord.
Ahab (to an officer): 8 Bring Micaiah, Imla’s son, to us quickly.
9 While they waited for Micaiah to arrive, Ahab and Jehoshaphat each sat on his own throne in his unique robes on the threshing floor inside Samaria’s gate. All the prophets were revealing their divine insights to the kings, 10 and Zedekiah, son of Chenaanah, cast iron horns to illustrate his prophecy.
Zedekiah (with the horns): The Eternal says, “With these horns you will stab the Arameans until they are destroyed.”
Prophets: 11 Go up to Ramoth-gilead. You will win because the Eternal will give the city to the king.
12 When the messenger who went to summon Micaiah found him, he told Micaiah of the other prophets’ unanimous blessing for the battle. The messenger asked that Micaiah agree with the other prophets and support the battle. 13 Micaiah swore by the Eternal that he would only speak what the True God told him. He would not go along with the crowd just to please Ahab.
Ahab: 14 Micaiah, should we fight Ramoth-gilead or not?
Micaiah: Go up to Ramoth-gilead. You will win because the city will be given to you.
Ahab: 15 How many times must I persuade you to tell me nothing but the truth when you claim to use the authority of the Eternal?
Micaiah: 16 I saw all Israel wandering aimlessly on the mountains, like sheep without a shepherd. Then I heard the Eternal say, “These have no master. Let each of them go his own way and return to his own house in peace.”
Ahab (aside to Jehoshaphat): 17 Didn’t I tell you that he prophesies only evil about me?
The prophets often use the “bad shepherd” metaphor to demonstrate how Israelite and Judean kings do not rule their people well.
Micaiah: 18 Hear what the Eternal One says. I saw Him sitting on His throne, with the armies of heaven flanking Him, 19 asking, “Who will entice Ahab, king of Israel, to go up to Ramoth-gilead and die there?”
The heavenly soldiers were murmuring to each other 20 when a spirit stepped before the Eternal and answered, “I will entice him.”
The Eternal One questioned, “How?”
21 “I will mislead all of his prophets so that he will go to his death willingly and unaware.”
Then He said, “You will indeed entice him. Go, and do as you have said.”
22 In this way, the Eternal has deceived your prophets and proclaimed your death.
23 Then Zedekiah, son of Chenaanah, slapped Micaiah.
Zedekiah: Which way did that enticing spirit from the Eternal pass when he left me and entered you, prompting your ridiculous oracle?
Micaiah: 24 Seer, you won’t see anything until the day when you enter an inner room to hide yourself.
Ahab: 25 Take Micaiah to Amon (the governor of the city) and to my son Joash. 26 Tell them I said to imprison this man and feed him only a little bread and water until I return from this battle safely.
Micaiah: 27 If you do return safely, then the Eternal has not spoken through me. Everyone, listen to me and remember my words.
28 So Ahab, king of the Northern Kingdom, and Jehoshaphat, king of the Southern Kingdom, attacked Ramoth-gilead together.
Ahab (to Jehoshaphat): 29 I will wear a disguise when we go into battle, but you should wear your royal robes.
Both men did as Ahab suggested, Jehoshaphat in his robes and Ahab in his disguise, and they attacked Ramoth-gilead.
30 Meanwhile, the Aramean king (who occupied Ramoth-gilead) had commanded the captains of his chariots to target only Ahab. 31 When they saw Jehoshaphat in the royal robes, they assumed that he was the king of Israel, not knowing that Judah had joined Ahab in the battle. The Aramean chariots pursued Jehoshaphat, but he called out to the Eternal for help. The True God diverted them. 32 When the captains of the chariots realized he was not Ahab, they retreated.
33 Meanwhile, an archer randomly shot an arrow that landed in a joint of Ahab’s armor.
Since Ahab has not worn his royal robes on the battlefield, the archer never knows whom he has hit.
Ahab (to his chariot driver): Turn around, and take me away from the battlefield. I am severely injured.
34 The battle continued all day, but Ahab could only prop himself up in his chariot. So he watched from his chariot in front of the Arameans. At sunset, he died.
2 Chronicles 18New International Version (NIV)
Micaiah Prophesies Against Ahab
18 Now Jehoshaphat had great wealth and honor, and he allied himself with Ahab by marriage. 2 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. 3 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.” 4 But Jehoshaphat also said to the king of Israel, “First seek the counsel of the Lord.”
5 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.”
6 But Jehoshaphat asked, “Is there no longer a prophet of the Lord here whom we can inquire of?”
7 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.
8 So the king of Israel called one of his officials and said, “Bring Micaiah son of Imlah at once.”
9 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. 10 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.’”
11 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.”
12 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.”
13 But Micaiah said, “As surely as the Lord lives, I can tell him only what my God says.”
14 When he arrived, the king asked him, “Micaiah, shall we go to war against Ramoth Gilead, or shall I not?”
“Attack and be victorious,” he answered, “for they will be given into your hand.”
15 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?”
16 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.’”
17 The king of Israel said to Jehoshaphat, “Didn’t I tell you that he never prophesies anything good about me, but only bad?”
18 Micaiah continued, “Therefore hear the word of the Lord: I saw the Lord sitting on his throne with all the multitudes of heaven standing on his right and on his left. 19 And the Lord said, ‘Who will entice Ahab king of Israel into attacking Ramoth Gilead and going to his death there?’
“One suggested this, and another that. 20 Finally, a spirit came forward, stood before the Lord and said, ‘I will entice him.’
“‘By what means?’ the Lord asked.
21 “‘I will go 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.’
22 “So now the Lord has put a deceiving spirit in the mouths of these prophets of yours. The Lord has decreed disaster for you.”
23 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.
24 Micaiah replied, “You will find out on the day you go to hide in an inner room.”
25 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, 26 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.’”
27 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
28 So the king of Israel and Jehoshaphat king of Judah went up to Ramoth Gilead. 29 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.
30 Now the king of Aram had ordered his chariot commanders, “Do not fight with anyone, small or great, except the king of Israel.” 31 When the chariot commanders saw Jehoshaphat, they thought, “This is the king of Israel.” So they turned to attack him, but Jehoshaphat cried out, and the Lord helped him. God drew them away from him, 32 for when the chariot commanders saw that he was not the king of Israel, they stopped pursuing him.
33 But someone drew his bow at random and hit the king of Israel between the breastplate and the scale armor. The king told the chariot driver, “Wheel around and get me out of the fighting. I’ve been wounded.” 34 All day long the battle raged, and the king of Israel propped himself up in his chariot facing the Arameans until evening. Then at sunset he died.