1 Kings 19-22 Common English Bible (CEB)
Elijah runs to Mount Horeb
19 Ahab told Jezebel all that Elijah had done, how he had killed all Baal’s prophets with the sword. 2 Jezebel sent a messenger to Elijah with this message: “May the gods do whatever they want to me if by this time tomorrow I haven’t made your life like the life of one of them.”
3 Elijah was terrified. He got up and ran for his life. He arrived at Beer-sheba in Judah and left his assistant there. 4 He himself went farther on into the desert a day’s journey. He finally sat down under a solitary broom bush. He longed for his own death: “It’s more than enough, Lord! Take my life because I’m no better than my ancestors.” 5 He lay down and slept under the solitary broom bush.
Then suddenly a messenger tapped him and said to him, “Get up! Eat something!” 6 Elijah opened his eyes and saw flatbread baked on glowing coals and a jar of water right by his head. He ate and drank, and then went back to sleep. 7 The Lord’s messenger returned a second time and tapped him. “Get up!” the messenger said. “Eat something, because you have a difficult road ahead of you.” 8 Elijah got up, ate and drank, and went refreshed by that food for forty days and nights until he arrived at Horeb, God’s mountain. 9 There he went into a cave and spent the night.
The Lord’s word came to him and said, “Why are you here, Elijah?”
10 Elijah replied, “I’ve been very passionate for the Lord God of heavenly forces because the Israelites have abandoned your covenant. They have torn down your altars, and they have murdered your prophets with the sword. I’m the only one left, and now they want to take my life too!”
11 The Lord said, “Go out and stand at the mountain before the Lord. The Lord is passing by.” A very strong wind tore through the mountains and broke apart the stones before the Lord. But the Lord wasn’t in the wind. After the wind, there was an earthquake. But the Lord wasn’t in the earthquake. 12 After the earthquake, there was a fire. But the Lord wasn’t in the fire. After the fire, there was a sound. Thin. Quiet. 13 When Elijah heard it, he wrapped his face in his coat. He went out and stood at the cave’s entrance. A voice came to him and said, “Why are you here, Elijah?”
14 He said, “I’ve been very passionate for the Lord God of heavenly forces because the Israelites have abandoned your covenant. They have torn down your altars, and they have murdered your prophets with the sword. I’m the only one left, and now they want to take my life too.”
15 The Lord said to him, “Go back through the desert to Damascus and anoint Hazael as king of Aram. 16 Also anoint Jehu, Nimshi’s son, as king of Israel; and anoint Elisha from Abel-meholah, Shaphat’s son, to succeed you as prophet. 17 Whoever escapes from the sword of Hazael, Jehu will kill. Whoever escapes from the sword of Jehu, Elisha will kill. 18 But I have preserved those who remain in Israel, totaling seven thousand—all those whose knees haven’t bowed down to Baal and whose mouths haven’t kissed him.”
19 So Elijah departed from there and found Elisha, Shaphat’s son. He was plowing with twelve yoke of oxen before him. Elisha was with the twelfth yoke. Elijah met up with him and threw his coat on him. 20 Elisha immediately left the oxen and ran after Elijah. “Let me kiss my father and my mother,” Elisha said, “then I will follow you.”
Elijah replied, “Go! I’m not holding you back!” 21 Elisha turned back from following Elijah, took the pair of oxen, and slaughtered them. Then with equipment from the oxen, Elisha boiled the meat, gave it to the people, and they ate it. Then he got up, followed Elijah, and served him.
Ben-hadad’s wars with Ahab
20 King Ben-hadad of Aram brought together all his army along with thirty-two kings plus horses and chariots. He went up, surrounded Samaria, and made war against it. 2 He sent messengers to Ahab, Israel’s king, inside Samaria. 3 The message said, “This is what Ben-hadad says: ‘Your silver and your gold are mine. Your good-looking wives and children are mine.’”
4 Israel’s king answered, “Whatever you say, my master, great king. I am yours and so is everything I have.”
5 The messengers came back again: “This is what Ben-hadad says: ‘I sent you the message: Give me your silver and gold, your wives and your sons. 6 However, at this time tomorrow I will send my officers to you, and they will search your palace and the houses of your officers. Everything that you find valuable they will seize and take away.’”
7 Then Israel’s king called all the elders of the land and he said, “Please know and understand the evil this man wants to do! He demanded from me my wives and sons, and my silver and gold; and I didn’t refuse him.”
8 All of the elders and the people said to him, “Don’t obey and don’t give in!”
9 So the king said to Ben-hadad’s messengers, “Say to my master the king: ‘Everything that you first ordered your servant, I will do. But I can’t comply with this new command.’”
The messengers took this response to Ben-hadad, 10 who sent back this reply: “May the gods do whatever they want to me if there is even a handful of dust left in Samaria for the armies under me!”
11 Then Israel’s king replied, “The one who prepares for battle shouldn’t brag like one returning from battle.”
12 When Ben-hadad heard this message, he and the other kings were drinking in their tents. Ben-hadad said to his officers, “Take your positions!” So they took up their positions against the city.
13 Suddenly a prophet approached Israel’s King Ahab. He said, “This is what the Lord says: Do you see that great army? Today I am handing it over to you. Then you will know that I am the Lord.”
14 Ahab said, “Who will do it?”
The prophet answered, “This is what the Lord says: The servants of the district officials will do it.”
“Who should start the battle?” Ahab asked.
“You should,” the prophet replied.
15 So Ahab assembled the servants of the district officials. There were two hundred thirty-two of them. Next he assembled the entire Israelite army, seven thousand total. 16 At noon they marched for battle. Meanwhile, Ben-hadad and the thirty-two kings allied with him were getting drunk in their tents. 17 The servants of the district officials were at the head of the march. Ben-hadad sent for information and was told, “Some men have marched out of Samaria.”
18 He said, “If they have come out in peace, take them alive; if they have come out for war, take them alive as well.” 19 So the servants of the district governors with the army behind them marched out from the city. 20 Each one struck down his opponent, so that the Arameans fled. Israel chased after them. Ben-hadad, Aram’s king, escaped with some horses and chariots. 21 Israel’s king went out and attacked the horses and chariots. He attacked the Arameans with a fierce assault.
22 The prophet came to Israel’s king and said to him, “Maintain your strength! Know and understand that at the turn of the coming year, Aram’s king will attack you again.”
23 The officers of Aram’s king said to him, “Israel’s god is a god of the mountains. That’s why they were stronger than us. But if we fight them on the plains, we will certainly be stronger than they are. 24 This is what you need to do: Remove the kings from their military posts and appoint officials in their place. 25 Then raise another army like the one that was destroyed, with horses like those horses and chariots like those chariots. Then we will fight them on the plains, and we will certainly be stronger than they are.” The king took their advice and followed it.
26 So in the spring of the year, Ben-hadad assembled the Arameans and marched up to Aphek to fight with Israel. 27 Now the Israelites had already been assembled and provisioned, so they went to engage the Arameans. The Israelites camped before them like two small flocks of goats, but the Arameans filled the land.
28 Then the man of God came forward and said to Israel’s king, “This is what the Lord says: Because the Arameans said that the Lord is a god of the mountains but not a god of the valleys, I am handing this whole great army over to you. Then you will know that I am the Lord.”
29 The two armies camped opposite each other for seven days. On the seventh day, the battle began. The Israelites attacked and destroyed one hundred thousand Aramean foot soldiers in a single day. 30 Those who were left fled to Aphek, into the city where a wall fell on twenty-seven thousand more of them. But Ben-hadad escaped and hid in an inner room within the city.
31 Ben-hadad’s officers said to him, “Listen, we have heard that the kings of Israel are merciful kings. Allow us to put mourning clothes on our bodies and cords around our heads. We will then go to Israel’s king. Perhaps he will let you live.” 32 So they put mourning clothes on their bodies and cords around their heads. They went to Israel’s king and said, “Ben-hadad is your slave. He begs, ‘Please let me live!’”
Israel’s king said, “Is he still alive? He is my brother.”
33 Taking this as a good sign, Ben-hadad’s men quickly accepted this statement.[a] “Yes, Ben-hadad is your brother!” they said.
“Go and get him,” the king ordered. So Ben-hadad came to him, and the king received him into his chariot.
34 Ben-hadad said to the king, “I will return the towns that my father took from your father. Furthermore, you can set up markets for yourself in Damascus just as my father did in Samaria.”
The king replied,[b] “On the basis of this covenant, I will let you go.” So he made a covenant with Ben-hadad and set him free.
35 At the Lord’s command a certain man who belonged to a prophetic group said to his friend: “Please strike me.” But his friend refused to hit him. 36 So he said to his friend, “Because you didn’t obey the Lord’s voice, a lion will attack you as soon as you leave me.” And as the friend left the prophet, a lion found him and attacked him. 37 Then the prophet found another man and said, “Please strike me.” He hit the prophet, and the attack left a wound. 38 The prophet went and stood before the king by the road. He disguised himself by putting a bandage over his eyes. 39 When the king passed by, the prophet called out to the king, “Your servant was in the middle of the battle when someone brought a prisoner. ‘Guard this man,’ he said. ‘If he escapes it will be your life for his—that, or you will owe me a kikkar of silver.’ 40 Your servant got busy doing this and that, and the prisoner disappeared.”
Israel’s king replied, “It appears you have decided your own fate.”
41 The prophet quickly tore the bandage from over his eyes, and Israel’s king recognized him as one of the prophets. 42 Then the prophet said to the king, “This is what the Lord says: Because you freed a man I condemned to die, it will be your life for his life, and your people for his people.”
43 So Israel’s king went to his palace at Samaria, irritated and upset.
21 Now it happened sometime later that Naboth from Jezreel had a vineyard in Jezreel that was next to the palace of King Ahab of Samaria. 2 Ahab ordered Naboth, “Give me your vineyard so it can become my vegetable garden, because it is right next to my palace. In exchange for it, I’ll give you an even better vineyard. Or if you prefer, I’ll pay you the price in silver.”
3 Naboth responded to Ahab, “Lord forbid that I give you my family inheritance!”
4 So Ahab went to his palace, irritated and upset at what Naboth[c] had said to him—because Naboth had said, “I won’t give you my family inheritance!” Ahab lay down on his bed and turned his face away. He wouldn’t eat anything.
5 His wife Jezebel came to him. “Why are you upset and not eating any food?” she asked.
6 He answered her, “I was talking to Naboth. I said, ‘Sell me your vineyard. Or if you prefer, I’ll give you another vineyard for it.’ But he said, ‘I won’t give you my vineyard!’”
7 Then his wife Jezebel said to him, “Aren’t you the one who rules Israel? Get up! Eat some food and cheer up. I’ll get Naboth’s vineyard for you myself.” 8 So she wrote letters in Ahab’s name, putting his seal on them. She sent them to the elders and officials who lived in the same town as Naboth. 9 This is what she wrote in the letters: “Announce a fast and place Naboth at the head of the people. 10 Then bring in two liars in front of him and have them testify as follows: ‘You cursed God and king!’ Then take Naboth outside and stone him so he dies.”
11 The elders and the officials who lived in Naboth’s town did exactly as Jezebel specified in the letters that she had sent. 12 They announced a fast and placed Naboth at the head of the people. 13 Then the two liars came and sat in front of him. They testified against Naboth in front of the people, “Naboth cursed God and king!” So the people took Naboth outside the town and stoned him so that he died.
14 It was then reported to Jezebel, “Naboth was stoned. He’s dead.” 15 As soon as Jezebel heard that Naboth had been stoned to death, she said to Ahab, “Get up and take ownership of the vineyard of Naboth, which he had refused to sell to you. Naboth is no longer alive; he’s dead.” 16 When Ahab heard that Naboth had died, he got up and went down to Naboth’s vineyard to take ownership of it.
17 The Lord’s word came to Elijah from Tishbe: 18 Get up and go down to meet Israel’s King Ahab in Samaria. He is in Naboth’s vineyard. He has gone down to take ownership of it. 19 Say the following to him: This is what the Lord says: So, you’ve murdered and are now taking ownership, are you? Then tell him: This is what the Lord says: In the same place where the dogs licked up Naboth’s blood, they will lick up your own blood.
20 Ahab said to Elijah, “So you’ve found me, my old enemy!”
“I found you,” Elijah said, “because you’ve enslaved yourself by doing evil in the Lord’s eyes. 21 So I am now bringing evil on you! I will burn until you are consumed, and I will eliminate everyone who urinates on a wall that belongs to Ahab, whether slave or free. 22 I will make your household like that of Jeroboam, Nebat’s son, and like the household of Baasha, Ahijah’s son, because of the way you’ve angered me and because you’ve made Israel sin. 23 As for Jezebel, the Lord says this: Dogs will devour Jezebel in the area of Jezreel. 24 Dogs will eat anyone of Ahab’s family who dies in town, and birds will eat anyone who dies in the country.”
(25 Truly there has never been anyone like Ahab who sold out by doing evil in the Lord’s eyes—evil that his wife Jezebel led him to do. 26 Ahab’s actions were deplorable. He followed after the worthless idols exactly like the Amorites had done—the very ones the Lord had removed before the Israelites.)
27 When Ahab heard these words, he tore his clothes and put mourning clothes on his body. He fasted, even slept in mourning clothes, and walked around depressed. 28 The Lord’s word then came to Elijah from Tishbe: 29 Have you seen how Ahab has humbled himself before me? Because he has done so, I won’t bring the evil during his lifetime. Instead, I will bring the evil on his household in the days of his son.
Jehoshaphat and Ahab
22 For three years there was no war between Aram and the Israelites. 2 In the third year, Judah’s King Jehoshaphat visited Israel’s king. 3 Israel’s king said to his servants, “You know, don’t you, that Ramoth-gilead is ours? But we aren’t doing anything to take it back from the king of Aram.” 4 He said to Jehoshaphat, “Will you go with me into battle at Ramoth-gilead?”
Jehoshaphat said to Israel’s king, “I am with you, and my troops and my horses are united with yours. 5 But,” Jehoshaphat said to Israel’s king, “first let’s see what the Lord has to say.”
6 So Israel’s king gathered about four hundred prophets, and he asked them, “Should I go to war with Ramoth-gilead or not?”
“Attack!” the prophets answered. “The Lord will hand it over to the king.”
7 But Jehoshaphat said, “Isn’t there any other prophet of the Lord whom we could ask?”
8 “There is one other man who could ask the Lord for us,” Israel’s king told Jehoshaphat, “but I hate him because he never prophesies anything good about me, only bad. His name is Micaiah, Imlah’s son.”
“The king shouldn’t speak like that!” Jehoshaphat said.
9 So Israel’s king called an officer and ordered, “Bring Micaiah, Imlah’s son, right away.”
10 Now Israel’s king and Judah’s King Jehoshaphat were sitting on their thrones, dressed in their royal robes at the threshing floor beside the entrance to the gate of Samaria. All the prophets were prophesying in front of them. 11 Zedekiah, Chenaanah’s son, made iron horns for himself and said, “This is what the Lord says: With these horns you will gore the Arameans until there’s nothing left of them!”
12 All the other prophets agreed: “Attack Ramoth-gilead and win! The Lord will hand it over to the king!”
13 Meanwhile, the messenger who had gone to summon Micaiah said to him, “Listen, the prophets all agree that the king will succeed. You should say the same thing they say and prophesy success.”
14 But Micaiah answered, “As surely as the Lord lives, I will say only what the Lord tells me to say.”
15 When Micaiah arrived, the king asked him, “Micaiah, should we go to war with Ramoth-gilead or not?”
“Attack and win!” Micaiah answered. “The Lord will hand it over to the king!”
16 But the king said, “How many times must I demand that you tell me the truth when you speak in the name of the Lord?”
17 Then Micaiah replied, “I saw all Israel scattered on the hills like sheep without a shepherd! And then the Lord said: They have no master. Let them return safely to their own homes.”
18 Then Israel’s king said to Jehoshaphat, “Didn’t I tell you? He never prophesies anything good about me, only bad.”
19 Then Micaiah said, “Listen now to the Lord’s word: I saw the Lord enthroned with all the heavenly forces stationed beside him, at his right and at his left. 20 The Lord said, ‘Who will persuade Ahab so that he attacks Ramoth-gilead and dies there?’ There were many suggestions 21 until one particular spirit approached the Lord and said, ‘I’ll persuade him.’ ‘How?’ the Lord asked. 22 ‘I will be a lying spirit in the mouth of all his prophets,’ he said. The Lord agreed, ‘You will succeed in persuading him! Go ahead!’ 23 So now, since the Lord has placed a lying spirit in the mouths of every one of these prophets of yours, it is the Lord who has pronounced disaster against you!”
24 Zedekiah, Chenaanah’s son, approached Micaiah and slapped him on the cheek. “Just how did the Lord’s spirit leave me to speak to you?” he asked.
25 Micaiah answered, “You will find out on the day you try to hide in an inner room.”
26 “Arrest him,” ordered Israel’s king, “and turn him over to Amon the city official and to Joash the king’s son. 27 Tell them, ‘The king says: Put this man in prison and feed him minimum rations of bread and water until I return safely.’”
28 “If you ever return safely,” Micaiah replied, “then the Lord wasn’t speaking through me.” Then he added, “Pay attention, every last one of you!”
29 So Israel’s king and Judah’s King Jehoshaphat attacked Ramoth-gilead. 30 Israel’s king said to Jehoshaphat, “I will disguise myself when we go into battle,[d] but you should wear your royal attire.” When Israel’s king had disguised himself, they entered the battle.
31 Meanwhile, Aram’s king had commanded his thirty-two chariot officers, “Don’t bother with anyone big or small. Fight only with Israel’s king.”
32 As soon as the chariot officers saw Jehoshaphat, they assumed that he must be Israel’s king, so they turned to attack him. But Jehoshaphat cried out for help. 33 When the chariot officers realized that he wasn’t Israel’s king, they stopped chasing him. 34 But someone randomly shot an arrow that struck Israel’s king between the joints in his armor.[e]
“Turn around and get me out of the battle,” the king told his chariot driver. “I’ve been hit!”
35 While the battle raged all that day, the king stood propped up in the chariot facing the Arameans. But that evening he died after his blood had poured from his wound into the chariot. 36 When the sun set, a shout spread throughout the camp: “Retreat to your towns! Retreat to your land!” 37 Once the king had died, people came from Samaria and buried the king there. 38 They cleaned the chariot at the pool of Samaria. The dogs licked up the king’s blood and the prostitutes bathed in it, just as the Lord had spoken.
Ahab’s last days
39 The rest of Ahab’s deeds and all that he did—including the ivory palace he built and all the towns he constructed—aren’t they written in the official records of Israel’s kings? 40 Ahab lay down with his ancestors. His son Ahaziah succeeded him as king.
Jehoshaphat rules Judah
41 Jehoshaphat, Asa’s son, became king over Judah in the fourth year of Israel’s King Ahab. 42 Jehoshaphat was 35 years old when he became king, and he ruled for twenty-five years in Jerusalem. His mother’s name was Azubah; she was Shilhi’s daughter. 43 Jehoshapat walked in all the ways of his father Asa, not deviating from it. He did the right things in the Lord’s eyes, with the exception that he didn’t remove the shrines. The people continued to sacrifice and offer incense at them. 44 Jehoshaphat made peace with Israel’s king. 45 The rest of Jehoshaphat’s deeds, the great acts he did, and how he fought in battle, aren’t they written in the official records of Judah’s kings? 46 Additionally, Jehoshaphat purged the land of the consecrated workers[f] who remained from the days of Asa.
47 Now Edom had no king; only a deputy was ruler. 48 Jehoshaphat built Tarshish-styled ships to go to Ophir for gold. But the fleet didn’t go because it was wrecked at Ezion-geber. 49 Then Ahaziah, Ahab’s son, said to Jehoshaphat, “Let my sailors go with your sailors on the ships.” But Jehoshaphat didn’t agree to this. 50 Jehoshaphat died and was buried with his ancestors in his ancestor David’s City. His son Jehoram succeeded him as king.
Ahaziah rules Israel
51 In the seventeenth year of Judah’s King Jehoshaphat, Ahaziah, Ahab’s son, became king over Israel in Samaria. He ruled over Israel for two years. 52 He did evil in the Lord’s eyes. He walked in his father’s ways and his mother’s ways—that is, in the ways of Jeroboam, Nebat’s son, who had caused Israel to sin. 53 Ahaziah served Baal and worshipped him. He angered the Lord, Israel’s God, by doing all the same things his father had done.