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This is the August 28 reading. Select here for a new reading date:


BibleTrack Summary: August 28
Kings & Prophets
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I Kings 22; II Chronicles 18     Listen Podcast

 

 

Thinking of going to battle? You need a prophet. (I Kings 22:1-28; II Chronicles 18:1-27)

I Kings 22
II Chronicles 18
1 And they continued three years without war between Syria and Israel.
2 And it came to pass in the third year, that Jehoshaphat the king of Judah came down to the king of Israel.
3 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?
4 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.
5 And Jehoshaphat said unto the king of Israel, Enquire, I pray thee, at the word of the LORD to day.
6 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.
7 And Jehoshaphat said, Is there not here a prophet of the LORD besides, that we might enquire of him?
8 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.
9 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.
1 Now Jehoshaphat had riches and honour in abundance, and joined affinity with Ahab.
2 And after certain years he went down to Ahab to Samaria. And Ahab killed sheep and oxen for him in abundance, and for the people that he had with him, and persuaded him to go up with him to Ramothgilead.
3 And Ahab king of Israel said unto Jehoshaphat king of Judah, Wilt thou go with me to Ramothgilead? And he answered him, I am as thou art, and my people as thy people; and we will be with thee in the war.
4 And Jehoshaphat said unto the king of Israel, Enquire, I pray thee, at the word of the LORD to day.
5 Therefore the king of Israel gathered together of prophets four hundred men, and said unto them, Shall we go to Ramothgilead to battle, or shall I forbear? And they said, Go up; for God will deliver it into the king’s hand.
6 But Jehoshaphat said, Is there not here a prophet of the LORD besides, that we might enquire of him?
7 And the king of Israel said unto Jehoshaphat, There is yet one man, by whom we may enquire of the LORD: but I hate him; for he never prophesied good unto me, but always evil: the same is Micaiah the son of Imla. And Jehoshaphat said, Let not the king say so.
8 And the king of Israel called for one of his officers, and said, Fetch quickly Micaiah the son of Imla.
9 And the king of Israel and Jehoshaphat king of Judah sat either of them on his throne, clothed in their robes, and they sat in a void place at the entering in of the gate of Samaria; and all the prophets prophesied before them.
10 And Zedekiah the son of Chenaanah had made him horns of iron, and said, Thus saith the LORD, With these thou shalt push Syria until they be consumed.
11 And all the prophets prophesied so, saying, Go up to Ramothgilead, and prosper: for the LORD shall deliver it into the hand of the king.
12 And the messenger that went to call Micaiah spake to him, saying, Behold, the words of the prophets declare good to the king with one assent; let thy word therefore, I pray thee, be like one of theirs, and speak thou good.
13 And Micaiah said, As the LORD liveth, even what my God saith, that will I speak.
14 And when he was come to the king, the king said unto him, Micaiah, shall we go to Ramothgilead to battle, or shall I forbear? And he said, Go ye up, and prosper, and they shall be delivered into your hand.
15 And the king said to him, How many times shall I adjure thee that thou say nothing but the truth to me in the name of the LORD?
16 Then he said, I did see all Israel scattered upon the mountains, as sheep that have no shepherd: and the LORD said, These have no master; let them return therefore every man to his house in peace.
17 And the king of Israel said to Jehoshaphat, Did I not tell thee that he would not prophesy good unto me, but evil?
18 Again he said, Therefore hear the word of the LORD; I saw the LORD sitting upon his throne, and all the host of heaven standing on his right hand and on his left.
19 And the LORD said, Who shall entice Ahab king of Israel, that he may go up and fall at Ramothgilead? And one spake saying after this manner, and another saying after that manner.
20 Then there came out a spirit, and stood before the LORD, and said, I will entice him. And the LORD said unto him, Wherewith?
21 And he said, I will go out, and be a lying spirit in the mouth of all his prophets. And the LORD said, Thou shalt entice him, and thou shalt also prevail: go out, and do even so.
22 Now therefore, behold, the LORD hath put a lying spirit in the mouth of these thy prophets, and the LORD hath spoken evil against thee.
23 Then Zedekiah the son of Chenaanah came near, and smote Micaiah upon the cheek, and said, Which way went the Spirit of the LORD from me to speak unto thee?
24 And Micaiah said, Behold, thou shalt see on that day when thou shalt go into an inner chamber to hide thyself.
25 Then the king of Israel said, Take ye Micaiah, and carry him back to Amon the governor of the city, and to Joash the king’s son;
26 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 return in peace.
27 And Micaiah said, If thou certainly return in peace, then hath not the LORD spoken by me. And he said, Hearken, all ye people.

So, here's Jehoshaphat, the good King of Judah (according to II Chronicles 17:1-19, see notes), with a massive army, and who does he hang with? Jezebel's husband, Ahab, King of Israel, a man who held the record for wickedness in his day according to I Kings 16:33 (see notes). Ahab decides he wants to go to battle with Syria to take back Ramoth in Gilead and asks for Jehoshaphat's help. According to the Jewish historian Josephus (Ant., VIII, xv, 3 ff), King Omri of Israel (I Kings 16:21-28, see notes) had lost it to the Syrians. It had been one of Israel's cities of refuge in Gad on the east side of the Jordan (Joshua 20-21, see notes), and Ahab wants it back. Jehoshaphat tells Ahab, "Call in the prophets so we can get some success probabilities." If you're a prophet in Israel under Ahab, you better give just "good" prophecies, or Ahab will land you in prison.

They're sitting on their thrones listening to Ahab's yes-men prophets when Jehoshaphat gets a little suspicious of these glowing, identical prophesies. One even shows up with props in II Chronicles 18:10 to illustrate his positive-scenario prophecy. Jehoshaphat queries Ahab, "Wonder why all these prophets agree? You got anybody else?" Actually, Jehoshaphat asks specifically, "Is there not here a prophet of the LORD besides, that we might enquire of him?" Here's the deal: Ahab didn't ordinarily keep a troop of prophets who were Jehovah prophets. Ahab liked prophets who were loyal to his double-calf religion - the religion of the Northern Kingdom. So, Jehoshaphat wonders if there is at least one prophet of the LORD (Jehovah aka Yahweh) available for questioning. Well, as a matter of fact, Ahab does have one, and he keeps in housed in prison. Well, that figures, doesn't it?

Ahab describes his Jehovah-loyal prophet to Jehoshaphat, "but I hate him; for he never prophesied good unto me, but always evil." Jehoshaphat's reply to Ahab is interesting here in II Chronicles 18:7, "Let not the king say so." In other words, "Hey, Ahab, don't talk like that!" Well, after 400 (false) prophets say "go for it," the guy in charge of fetching Micaiah, the real prophet from the LORD, from prison warns Micaiah that he should give a favorable prophecy to match that of the 400 prophets which preceded him.

Micaiah's detailed prophecy

When Micaiah explains what he saw taking place in Heaven, he went into great detail. He saw "the LORD [Jehovah] sitting on his throne, and all the host of heaven standing by him on his right hand and on his left." Who were these "host of heaven?" Undoubtedly they were the "sons of God" of Job 1:6 (see notes). Elijah had already prophesied to Ahab that he would die (I Kings 21:17-29, see notes). This planning meeting in Heaven was simply to devise the way to carry out the prophecy, and these lying prophets turn out to be part of that plan.

When Micaiah shows up before Ahab and Jehoshaphat, he is asked by Ahab what he should do regarding the battle against the Syrians, Micaiah, with a lack of enthusiasm for being a yes man, says something like, "Yeah, yeah, yeah - go for it; you'll be victorious." Ahab apparently senses some sarcasm or insincerity in his voice and pursues him further - makes him pledge to tell the truth. Okay, Ahab, you asked for it! Micaiah then cuts loose on him with the whole truth and nothing but the truth, "You're gonna die in battle, Ahab!" King Ahab's reply to King Jehoshaphat then is, "See! I told you!" Micaiah goes on to explain in great detail that the other prophets were evil and were sent to intentionally deceive him into believing he would be victorious in battle. Then one of those false prophets, Zedekiah, goes over and smacks Micaiah and subsequently taunts Micaiah by saying, in essence in II Chronicles 18:23, "Hey prophet...I'll bet you didn't see that coming!" Micaiah simply retorts, "You're going to see the day when you'll go into hiding over this episode."

So...is Ahab grateful for an honest prophet from the LORD? Naaaaa! "It's back to prison for you, Micaiah, until I return from battle!" replies Ahab. Michaiah cleverly replies in II Chronicles 18:27, "If thou certainly return in peace, then hath not the LORD spoken by me." In other words Ahab, "You won't be coming back!"

Even with all of this unfolding before Jehoshaphat's eyes, Ahab gets Jehoshaphat to pitch in to do battle against Syria. Jehoshaphat was the good King of Judah, but he makes a bad decision here to work with Ahab. It makes you wonder what was going through Jehoshaphat's mind; he listened to the prophecy of the good prophet, Micaiah, and makes a decision to participate anyway...remarkable!

By the way, we see another prophet show up to speak with Jehoshaphat in II Chronicles 19 (see notes) with an addendum to this story. His own prophet, Jehu, delivers the message from God in 19:2, "Shouldest thou help the ungodly, and love them that hate the LORD? therefore is wrath upon thee from before the LORD."

Of course! Ahab dies in battle (I Kings 22:29-40; II Chronicles 18:28-34)

I Kings 22
II Chronicles 18
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.
28 So the king of Israel and Jehoshaphat the king of Judah went up to Ramothgilead.
29 And the king of Israel said unto Jehoshaphat, I will disguise myself, and will go to the battle; but put thou on thy robes. So the king of Israel disguised himself; and they went to the battle.
30 Now the king of Syria had commanded the captains of the chariots that were with him, saying, Fight ye not with small or great, save only with the king of Israel.
31 And it came to pass, when the captains of the chariots saw Jehoshaphat, that they said, It is the king of Israel. Therefore they compassed about him to fight: but Jehoshaphat cried out, and the LORD helped him; and God moved them to depart from him.
32 For it came to pass, that, when the captains of the chariots perceived that it was not the king of Israel, they turned back again from pursuing him.
33 And a certain man drew a bow at a venture, and smote the king of Israel between the joints of the harness: therefore he said to his chariot man, Turn thine hand, that thou mayest carry me out of the host; for I am wounded.
34 And the battle increased that day: howbeit the king of Israel stayed himself up in his chariot against the Syrians until the even: and about the time of the sun going down he died.

Syria's king had instructed his officers regarding their battle against Israel, "Don't get distracted; focus only on getting King Ahab." Well...Ahab takes a cowardly approach to this battle - dresses up like a regular soldier rather than the King of Israel. When the Syrians see King Jehoshaphat in the battle, they mistakenly identify him as Ahab and take off after him before they realize he's not the right king. Of course that's after Jehoshaphat cries out to God for help. Then, a quirky thing happens; a Syrian soldier shoots an arrow at random and hits Ahab - didn't even know he was shooting at the King of Israel. Ahab just couldn't catch a break that day. Boom! He's dead by sunset - didn't even have his king uniform on. It looks as though Micaiah was right! We don't know what happened to Micaiah after that, but I'm guessing it wasn't good. Prophets were often held accountable for bad events as though they were responsible for their cause; it's like blaming the weather man for a hurricane.

Wait! There's more about this passage worth noting in I Kings 22:38, "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." That's a fulfillment of Elijah's prophecy in I Kings 21:19 (see notes) after Naboth was framed and executed, "And thou shalt speak unto him, saying, Thus saith the LORD, Hast thou killed, and also taken possession? And thou shalt speak unto him, saying, Thus saith the LORD, In the place where dogs licked the blood of Naboth shall dogs lick thy blood, even thine."

Jehoshaphat: a good man - except for two shortcomings (I Kings 22:41-50)

41 And Jehoshaphat the son of Asa began to reign over Judah in the fourth year of Ahab king of Israel.
42 Jehoshaphat was thirty and five years old when he began to reign; and he reigned twenty and five years in Jerusalem. And his mother’s name was Azubah the daughter of Shilhi.
43 And he walked in all the ways of Asa his father; he turned not aside from it, doing that which was right in the eyes of the LORD: nevertheless the high places were not taken away; for the people offered and burnt incense yet in the high places.
44 And Jehoshaphat made peace with the king of Israel.
45 Now the rest of the acts of Jehoshaphat, and his might that he shewed, and how he warred, are they not written in the book of the chronicles of the kings of Judah?
46 And the remnant of the sodomites, which remained in the days of his father Asa, he took out of the land.
47 There was then no king in Edom: a deputy was king.
48 Jehoshaphat made ships of Tharshish to go to Ophir for gold: but they went not; for the ships were broken at Eziongeber.
49 Then said Ahaziah the son of Ahab unto Jehoshaphat, Let my servants go with thy servants in the ships. But Jehoshaphat would not.
50 And Jehoshaphat slept with his fathers, and was buried with his fathers in the city of David his father: and Jehoram his son reigned in his stead.

He was King of Judah. He was a good king before God. He continued on like his Dad in getting rid of the remnant of the male prostitutes in the land. Two bad moves though: first, he formed an alliance with evil Ahab. Second, he didn't insist that all the "high places" be torn down in Judah. These were the altars to the false gods. He didn't worship them himself, but he didn't rid Judah of these altars. After losing his fleet of ships, he declined to strike up another commercial venture with Ahab's son (Ahaziah) in verses 47-49. Jehoshaphat dies, "and Jehoram his son reigned in his stead."

We get two more chapters of Jehoshaphat in II Chronicles 19-20 (see notes).

A Summary of King #4 from 873 to 848 B.C. over Judah: Jehoshaphat
References The Good The Bad

I Kings 22
II Chronicles 17-20

II Chronicles 17:3-4 And the LORD was with Jehoshaphat, because he walked in the first ways of his father David, and sought not unto Baalim; But sought to the LORD God of his father, and walked in his commandments, and not after the doings of Israel.

II Chronicles 20:32 And he walked in the way of Asa his father, and departed not from it, doing that which was right in the sight of the LORD.

I Kings 22:43 And he walked in all the ways of Asa his father; he turned not aside from it, doing that which was right in the eyes of the LORD: nevertheless the high places were not taken away; for the people offered and burnt incense yet in the high places.

I Kings 22:46 And the remnant of the sodomites, which remained in the days of his father Asa, he took out of the land.

I Kings 22:43b ...nevertheless the high places were not taken away; for the people offered and burnt incense yet in the high places.

II Chronicles 20:33 Howbeit the high places were not taken away: for as yet the people had not prepared their hearts unto the God of their fathers.

Jehoshaphat spent a lot of quality time around the notoriously evil King of Israel, Ahab, for which he was rebuked in II Chronicles 19:2, "And Jehu the son of Hanani the seer went out to meet him, and said to king Jehoshaphat, Shouldest thou help the ungodly, and love them that hate the LORD? therefore is wrath upon thee from before the LORD."

He was also rebuked for his joint ventures with the wicked King Ahaziah of Israel in II Chronicles 20:37, "Then Eliezer the son of Dodavah of Mareshah prophesied against Jehoshaphat, saying, Because thou hast joined thyself with Ahaziah, the LORD hath broken thy works. And the ships were broken, that they were not able to go to Tarshish."

Then there was Ahaziah, Ahab's son (I Kings 22:51-53)

51 Ahaziah the son of Ahab began to reign over Israel in Samaria the seventeenth year of Jehoshaphat king of Judah, and reigned two years over Israel.
52 And he did evil in the sight of the LORD, and walked in the way of his father, and in the way of his mother, and in the way of Jeroboam the son of Nebat, who made Israel to sin:
53 For he served Baal, and worshipped him, and provoked to anger the LORD God of Israel, according to all that his father had done.

No, Ahaziah was no better than his Dad, Ahab. Verse 53 summarizes his life, "For he served Baal, and worshipped him, and provoked to anger the LORD God of Israel, according to all that his father had done."

A Summary of King #8 from 853 to 852 B.C. over Israel: Ahaziah
References The Good The Bad

I Kings 22:51-53
II Kings 1:2-18

Not specified - He was evil.

I Kings 22:52-53 And he did evil in the sight of the LORD, and walked in the way of his father, and in the way of his mother, and in the way of Jeroboam the son of Nebat, who made Israel to sin: For he served Baal, and worshipped him, and provoked to anger the LORD God of Israel, according to all that his father had done.


For commentary on another passage, click here.


Copyright 2003-2011 by Wayne D. Turner