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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.(A) 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.

The New Rulers

41 Now Jehoshaphat the son of Asa became king over Judah in the fourth year of Ahab king of Israel. 42 Jehoshaphat was thirty-five years old when he became king, and he reigned twenty-five years in Jerusalem. His mother’s name was Azubah the daughter of Shilhi. 43 He walked in all the ways of Asa his father, without turning from them, doing right in the sight of the Lord. However, the high places were not removed; the people still sacrificed and burned incense on the high places. 44 Jehoshaphat also made peace with the king of Israel.

45 Now the rest of the acts of Jehoshaphat, his might which he displayed and how he made war, are they not written in the Book of the Chronicles of the Kings of Judah? 46 And the remnant of the sodomites (male cult prostitutes) who remained in the days of his father Asa, Jehoshaphat expelled from the land.

47 Now there was no king in Edom; a deputy (governor) was [serving as] king. 48 Jehoshaphat had [large cargo] ships of Tarshish constructed to go to Ophir for gold, but they did not go, because the ships were wrecked at Ezion-geber. 49 Then Ahaziah the son of Ahab said to Jehoshaphat, “Let my servants go with your servants in the ships,” But Jehoshaphat was unwilling and refused. 50 Jehoshaphat slept with his fathers [in death] and was buried with his fathers in the city of his father David, and Jehoram his son became king in his place.

51 Ahaziah the son of Ahab became king over Israel in Samaria in the seventeenth year of Jehoshaphat king of Judah, and he reigned over Israel for two years. 52 He did evil in the sight of the Lord and walked in the [idolatrous] way of his father [Ahab] and of his mother [Jezebel], and in the way of Jeroboam the son of Nebat, who made Israel sin. 53 He served Baal and worshiped him, and he provoked the Lord God of Israel to anger, in accordance with everything that his father [Ahab] had done.

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.

Jehoshaphat Allies with Ahab

18 Now Jehoshaphat had great wealth and honor, and was allied by [a]marriage with Ahab. Some years later he went down to [visit] Ahab in Samaria. And Ahab slaughtered many sheep and oxen for him and the people who were with him, and induced him to go up against Ramoth-gilead. Ahab king of Israel said to Jehoshaphat king of Judah, “Will you go with me to [fight against] Ramoth-gilead?” He answered, “I am as you are, and my people as your people [your hopes and concerns are ours]; we will be with you in the battle.”

Further, Jehoshaphat said to the king of Israel, “Please inquire [b]first for the word of the Lord.” Then the king of Israel assembled the prophets, four hundred men, and said to them, “Shall we go against Ramoth-gilead to battle, or shall I refrain?” And they said, “Go up, for God will hand it over to the king.” But Jehoshaphat said, “Is there no prophet of the Lord still here by whom we may inquire?” The king of Israel said to Jehoshaphat, “There is still one man by whom we may inquire of the Lord, but I hate him, for he never prophesies [anything] good for me, but always evil. He is Micaiah the son of Imla” And Jehoshaphat said, “Let not the king say so [perhaps this time it will be different].”

Ahab’s False Prophets Assure Victory

Then the king of Israel called for an officer and said, “Bring Micaiah the son of Imla quickly.” Now the king of Israel and Jehoshaphat the king of Judah were sitting, each on his throne, arrayed in their robes; they were sitting at the threshing floor at the entrance of the gate of Samaria; and all the prophets were prophesying before them. 10 Zedekiah the son of Chenaanah had made horns of iron for himself; and said, “Thus says the Lord: ‘With these you shall gore the Arameans (Syrians) until they are destroyed.’” 11 All the prophets prophesied this, saying, “Go up to Ramoth-gilead and succeed; the Lord will hand it over to the king.”

Micaiah Brings Word from God

12 The messenger who went to call Micaiah said to him, “Listen, the words of the prophets are of one accord, foretelling a favorable outcome for the king. So just let your word be like one of them and speak favorably.” 13 But Micaiah said, “As the Lord lives, I will [only] speak what my God says.”

14 When he came to the king, the king said to him, “Micaiah, shall we go to Ramoth-gilead to battle, or shall I refrain?” And he said, “Go up and succeed, for they will be handed over to you.” 15 Then the king said to him, “How many times must I warn you (make you swear an oath) to tell me nothing but the truth in the name of the Lord?” 16 Then Micaiah said,

“I saw all [the people of] Israel
Scattered on the mountains,
As sheep that have no shepherd;
And the Lord said,
‘These have no master.
Let each one return to his house in peace.’”

17 Then the king of Israel said to Jehoshaphat, “Did I not tell you that he would not prophesy good in regard to me, but [only] evil?”

18 So 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 on His right and on His left. 19 Then the Lord said, ‘Who will entice Ahab king of Israel to go up and fall [defeated] at Ramoth-gilead?’ And one said this and another said that. 20 Then a spirit came forward and stood before the Lord and said, ‘I will entice him.’ The Lord said to him, ‘By what means?’ 21 He said, ‘I will go out and be a deceptive spirit in the mouth of all his prophets.’ Then the Lord said, ‘You are to entice him and also succeed. Go and do so.’ 22 Now, you see, the Lord put a deceptive spirit in the mouth of these prophets of yours; and the Lord has [actually] proclaimed disaster against you.”

23 Then Zedekiah the son of Chenaanah came up and struck Micaiah on the cheek and said, “Which way did the Spirit of the Lord go [when he departed] from me to speak to you?” 24 Micaiah said, “Behold, you will see on that day when you go into an inner room [desperately trying] to hide yourself.” 25 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, 26 and say, ‘Thus says the king: “Put this man in prison and feed him just enough bread and water to survive until I return in peace (safely).”’” 27 But Micaiah said, “If you actually return in peace, the Lord has not spoken by me.” And he added, “Listen [to what I have said], you people, all of you.”

Ahab’s Defeat and Death

28 So [Ahab] the king of Israel and Jehoshaphat king of Judah went up against Ramoth-gilead. 29 The king of Israel said to Jehoshaphat, “[c]I will disguise myself and will go into battle, but you put on your [royal] robes.” So the king of Israel disguised himself, and they went into the battle. 30 Now the king of [d]Aram (Syria) had commanded the captains of his chariots, saying, “Do not fight with the small or the great, but only with the king of Israel.” 31 So when the captains of the chariots saw Jehoshaphat [of Judah], they said, “It is the king of Israel!” So they turned to fight against him, but Jehoshaphat called out [for God’s help], and the Lord helped him; and God diverted them away from him. 32 When the captains of the chariots saw that it was not the king of Israel, they turned back from pursuing him. 33 Then a certain man drew his bow at random and struck [Ahab] the king of Israel between the scales of his armor. So Ahab said to his chariot driver, “Turn around and take me out of the battle, because I am seriously wounded.” 34 The battle raged that day, and the king of Israel propped himself up in his chariot in front of the Arameans (Syrians) until the evening, and at sunset he died.

Footnotes

  1. 2 Chronicles 18:1 Jehoshaphat was married to Athaliah, Ahab’s daughter.
  2. 2 Chronicles 18:4 Lit as the day.
  3. 2 Chronicles 18:29 Jehoshaphat may have agreed to this because he thought it was a noble gesture on Ahab’s part; i.e. Ahab fighting incognito alongside his troops while Jehoshaphat would presumably stay aloof under the protection of his own bodyguard. More likely Ahab’s plan was simply to disguise himself and let Jehoshaphat be the target by unwittingly serving as Ahab’s double, and the plan very nearly succeeded.
  4. 2 Chronicles 18:30 The people of the kingdom of Aram were descendants of Aram, the son of Shem, son of Noah (Gen 10:22, 23). The territory of the Arameans also included areas later identified as Syria and Mesopotamia.

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