Jehoshaphat Allies with Ahab
18 Now Jehoshaphat had great riches and honor, and he made a marriage alliance with Ahab. After some years he went down to Ahab in Samaria. And Ahab killed an abundance of sheep and oxen for him and for 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 Ramoth-gilead?” He answered him, “I am as you are, my people as your people. We will be with you in the war.”
And Jehoshaphat said to the king of Israel, “Inquire first for the word of the LORD.” Then the king of Israel gathered the prophets together, four hundred men, and said to them, “Shall we go to battle against Ramoth-gilead, or shall I refrain?” And they said, “Go up, for God will give it into the hand of the king.” But Jehoshaphat said, “Is there not here another prophet of the LORD of whom we may inquire?” And the king of Israel said to Jehoshaphat, “There is yet one man by whom we may inquire of the LORD, Micaiah the son of Imlah; but I hate him, for he never prophesies good concerning me, but always evil.” And Jehoshaphat said, “Let not the king say so.” Then the king of Israel summoned an officer and said, “Bring quickly Micaiah the son of Imlah.” Now the king of Israel and Jehoshaphat the king of Judah were sitting on their thrones, arrayed in their robes. And they were sitting at the threshing floor at the entrance of the gate of Samaria, and all the prophets were prophesying before them. And Zedekiah the son of Chenaanah made for himself horns of iron and said, “Thus says the LORD, ‘With these you shall push the Syrians until they are destroyed.’” And all the prophets prophesied so and said, “Go up to Ramoth-gilead and triumph. The LORD will give it into the hand of the king.”
And the messenger who went to summon Micaiah said to him, “Behold, the words of the prophets with one accord are favorable to the king. Let your word be like the word of one of them, and speak favorably.” But Micaiah said, “As the LORD lives, what my God says, that I will speak.” And when he had come to the king, the king said to him, “Micaiah, shall we go to Ramoth-gilead to battle, or shall I refrain?” And he answered, “Go up and triumph; they will be given into your hand.” But the king said to him, “How many times shall I make you swear that you speak to me nothing but the truth in the name of the LORD?” And he said, “I saw all Israel scattered on the mountains, as sheep that have no shepherd. And the LORD said, ‘These have no master; let each return to his home in peace.’” And the king of Israel said to Jehoshaphat, “Did I not tell you that he would not prophesy good concerning me, but evil?” And Micaiah said, “Therefore hear the word of the LORD: I saw the LORD sitting on his throne, and all the host of heaven standing on his right hand and on his left. And the LORD said, ‘Who will entice Ahab the king of Israel, that he may go up and fall at Ramoth-gilead?’ And one said one thing, and another said another. Then a spirit came forward and stood before the LORD, saying, ‘I will entice him.’ And the LORD said to him, ‘By what means?’ And he said, ‘I will go out, and will be a lying spirit in the mouth of all his prophets.’ And he said, ‘You are to entice him, and you shall succeed; go out and do so.’ Now therefore behold, the LORD has put a lying spirit in the mouth of these your prophets. The LORD has declared disaster concerning you.”
Then Zedekiah the son of Chenaanah came near and struck Micaiah on the cheek and said, “Which way did the Spirit of the LORD go from me to speak to you?” And Micaiah said, “Behold, you shall see on that day when you go into an inner chamber to hide yourself.” And the king of Israel said, “Seize Micaiah and take him back to Amon the governor of the city and to Joash the king’s son, and say, ‘Thus says the king, Put this fellow in prison and feed him with meager rations of bread and water until I return in peace.’” And Micaiah said, “If you return in peace, the LORD has not spoken by me.” And he said, “Hear, all you peoples!”
The Defeat and Death of Ahab
So the king of Israel and Jehoshaphat the king of Judah went up to Ramoth-gilead. And the king of Israel said to Jehoshaphat, “I will disguise myself and go into battle, but you wear your robes.” And the king of Israel disguised himself, and they went into battle. Now the king of Syria had commanded the captains of his chariots, “Fight with neither small nor great, but only with the king of Israel.” As soon as the captains of the chariots saw Jehoshaphat, they said, “It is the king of Israel.” So they turned to fight against him. And Jehoshaphat cried out, and the LORD helped him; God drew them away from him. For as soon as the captains of the chariots saw that it was not the king of Israel, they turned back from pursuing him. But a certain man drew his bow at random and struck the king of Israel between the scale armor and the breastplate. Therefore he said to the driver of his chariot, “Turn around and carry me out of the battle, for I am wounded.” And the battle continued that day, and the king of Israel was propped up in his chariot facing the Syrians until evening. Then at sunset he died.
2 Chronicles 18 Commentary
by Hank Workman
Do you really want the truth?
The story that unfolds in this chapter is a tangible example of how we can surround ourselves with people who tell us what we want to hear. Picking and choosing who speaks into our lives has consequences. When we place people in our lives who speak only what we desire affirmation of we are easily misled.
Jehoshaphat and Ahab made an alliance to go against Ramoth-gilead. The decision of Jehoshaphat to even join forces with Ahab was not the wisest but God would use it to bring His own prophecy given of Ahab’s destruction. So here these men sat with 400 prophets who predicted nothing but victory for their quest. But something was amiss to Jehoshaphat. Something didn’t sit well with the parade of prophets predicting nothing but greatness.
“Is there a prophet of the Lord?” he asked. That simple question reveals he saw these 400 were simply mouthpieces.
Micaiah was indeed one but not invited to the party. He only stated bad things against Ahab. Ahab would rather hear what he wanted to hear and do what he wanted to do. It seems even the false prophets knew Micaiah was one who spoke God-given truth as he was warned to only speak what the king wanted to hear. As a man of God he had one choice: say what God had told him. Even though Micaiah started off like the other men who had said what they did, it was by design. For Ahab knew what he said was not accurate. Finally asking for truth, he was given it. And Micaiah paid a price.
Ironically, Ahab decided to go with the 400 voices that had predicted success. It’s a blatant example of how when we have set our thoughts and determination to do things our way, even truth gets blurred. The head-scratcher is Jehoshaphat also went along with the plan of Ahab after hearing the word of God.
This brings up two thoughts to ponder. First, are you willing to speak the truth even though it will cost you? Are you willing to speak what is needed even if it goes against the flow of everyone else?
But the second is probably more personal. Are you open to differing thoughts to what you’ve already set in your mind as to what you will do? Many times what we want to hear is not what we need to hear. We need people in our lives who are straight shooters and on point with God. How open and willing are you to hearing their perspective and then following through?
2 Chronicles 18 Commentary
by Brad Boyles
Would you rather be a well-liked king or a ridiculed prophet?
In a bizarre revelation, God asks for a lying, deceitful spirit to go an entice Ahab to fall at Ramoth-gilead. Why was Ramoth-gilead important to Ahab and Israel? First, it was a Levitical city, so it had important ties to Jewish history. During King Solomon’s time it was a key administrative center for the kingdom. It also served as a powerful military stronghold.
So why a deceitful spirit? Is this a demon, or Satan? We definitely know that the spirit is influenced by the power of Satan. It’s also safe to assume that the 400 prophets have been deceived by the same power. Why would God allow such a thing? I believe there are many reasons.
- Ahab was given every opportunity to repent. He was told prophetically what would happen if he went to war.
- Even though God allows sin, He doesn’t leave us without a compass. Ahab made a choice to refuse the truth and only wanted to be affirmed on his own sinful path.
- Ahab had surrounded himself with false idols. This goes to show us how such an act can begin to harden our hearts to God’s truth.
I think we need to take an honest look at both Micaiah and Ahab and do a self-assessment. So, I return to the question I first asked. Would you rather be a well-liked king or a ridiculed prophet?
How am I like Ahab?
- Do I indulge in decisions I know are wrong and justify it by the fact that I’m not as bad as the next person?
- Do I go to people who I know will agree with me when I’m seeking an opinion to a critical decision?
- Do I listen to those who truthfully oppose me, or do I seek to embarrass them and discredit their opinion?
How am I like Micaiah?
- Am I a people pleaser, or do I stand up for truth even when it means I will suffer because of it?
- Do I draw strength from the Lord in order to speak what He desires instead of compromising the on the message He has given me?
These are tough questions, but they lead us to think deeply about our actions. We need to understand that Jesus asks us to be loyal in giving everything we have to His purposes. Lord, help us to joyfully accept the role of being ridiculed for your glory!