1 Kings 22

The prophet Micaiah

1 There was no war between Syria and Israel for three years. 2 But after three years, Jehoshaphat, the king of Judah, went to visit the king of Israel.

3 The king of Israel said to his leaders, ‘You know that Ramoth Gilead belongs to us. But we are not doing anything to take it back from the king of Syria.’ 4 So the king of Israel asked Jehoshaphat, ‘Will you go with me to attack Ramoth Gilead?’ Jehoshaphat said to the king of Israel, ‘Yes, we should work together! Use my soldiers and my horses as if they belonged to you.’

5 Then Jehoshaphat said to the king of Israel, ‘Before we go to fight, we must ask the Lord what we should do.’ 6 So the king of Israel brought together about 400 prophets. He asked them, ‘Should I attack Ramoth Gilead, or not?’ They answered, ‘Yes, go and attack it, because the Lord God will give it to you, our king.’

7 But Jehoshaphat then asked, ‘Is there any other prophet of the Lord that we could ask?’ 8 The king of Israel said to Jehoshaphat, ‘There is still one man. We could ask him what the Lord wants us to do. But I do not like him, because he never says that anything good will happen to me. He only says that I will have trouble. He is Imlah's son, Micaiah.’ Jehoshaphat said, ‘The king should not talk like that.’ 9 So the king of Israel said to one of his officers, ‘Bring Imlah's son Micaiah here quickly.’

22:7Jehoshaphat probably thought that the 400 prophets were false prophets. They were only saying something that would make the king of Israel happy.

10 The king of Israel and Jehoshaphat, the king of Judah, were each sitting on their thrones. They were wearing their royal clothes. They sat near the threshing floor at Samaria's city gate. All the prophets stood in front of them and they were speaking messages from God. 11 Kenaanah's son Zedekiah had used iron to make sharp points like a bull's horns. He said, ‘This is what the Lord says: “With these sharp horns you will attack Syria's army. You will destroy them all.” ’ 12 All the other prophets were speaking the same message. They said, ‘Attack Ramoth Gilead. You will win the fight. The Lord will give the city to you, our king.’

22:10The gate into a city was an important place. The leaders of the town had meetings there.
22:11Zedekiah was the leader of Ahab's prophets.

13 The man who had gone to fetch Micaiah said to him, ‘All the other prophets are saying the same thing. They say that the king will win the fight. So you must agree with what they are saying. Promise that something good will happen.’ 14 But Micaiah said, ‘I can only speak what the Lord tells me to say. As surely as the Lord lives, that is what I must do.’

15 When Micaiah arrived, the king asked him, ‘Micaiah, should we attack Ramoth Gilead or not?’ Micaiah answered, ‘Yes, attack it. You will surely win the fight. The Lord will give it to you, our king.’ 16 Then King Ahab said to Micaiah, ‘I have already told you many times to tell me only what is true! You must promise to do this in the name of the Lord!’

17 Then Micaiah said, ‘I saw the whole army of Israel and they were walking about on the hills without any leader. They were like sheep with no shepherd as their guide. The Lord told me, “These people have no master. They should go home quietly and they should not fight.” ’

18 The king of Israel said to King Jehoshaphat, ‘I told you what he would say! He never says that anything good will happen to me. He only says that I will have trouble.’ 19 Then Micaiah said, ‘So now listen to the Lord's message! I saw the Lord as he was sitting on his throne. The great crowd of his angels in heaven were standing around him, on his right side and on his left side. 20 The Lord asked, “Who will go and deceive King Ahab so that he attacks Ramoth Gilead and he dies there?” Many of the angels suggested different things. 21 Then a spirit came and stood in front of the Lord. The spirit said, “I will deceive Ahab.” The Lord asked him, “How will you do it?” 22 The spirit said, “I will give a message to all Ahab's prophets. I will cause them to speak lies.” The Lord said, “Go and deceive King Ahab, as you have said. He will do what you say.”

22:21This may have been a special spirit who told prophets messages that would deceive people.

23 So you see what has happened. The Lord has sent a spirit to all these prophets who serve you. This spirit has caused them to speak lies. The Lord has decided that terrible trouble will come on you.’

24 Then Kenaanah's son Zedekiah went to Micaiah. He hit Micaiah on his face. He asked Micaiah, ‘Do you say that the Lord's spirit has gone away from me and has spoken to you instead? How did he do that?’ 25 Micaiah answered him, ‘One day, you will know which of us has spoken the truth. That will be the day that you go to hide in a room at the back of a house.’

22:25Micaiah probably meant that Zedekiah would be hiding from Syrian soldiers.

26 Then the king of Israel said to his men, ‘Take hold of Micaiah. Take him back to Amon, the city officer, and to Joash, the king's son. 27 Say to them, “The king commands you to put this man in prison. Feed him with only a little bread and water until I return safely from the battle.” ’ 28 Micaiah said, ‘If you do return safely, it will show that I have not spoken the Lord's message.’ Then he said to all the people who were there, ‘Remember what I have said to King Ahab!’

King Ahab dies in battle

29 So King Ahab of Israel and King Jehoshaphat of Judah went to attack Ramoth Gilead. 30 King Ahab said to Jehoshaphat, ‘When we go into the battle, I will wear ordinary clothes. People will not recognize me as the king. But you should wear your royal clothes.’ So the king of Israel went into the battle as if he was an ordinary soldier.

31 The king of Syria had said to his 32 chariot officers, ‘Only fight the king of Israel. Do not fight against anyone else, whoever they are.’ 32 The chariot officers saw King Jehoshaphat in his royal clothes. They thought, ‘Surely that man is the king of Israel.’ So they turned towards him to attack him. When King Jehoshaphat saw them, he shouted out. 33 Then the chariot officers realized that he was not the king of Israel. So they did not chase him any more.

22:31The 32 chariot officers were important leaders in the Syrian army.

34 Then a Syrian soldier shot an arrow into the air. He did not try to shoot at anyone, but the arrow hit the king of Israel. The arrow went through a space in the king's armour. The king commanded the man who drove his chariot, ‘Turn the chariot around. Take me away from the battle. An arrow has hit me.’

35 The soldiers fought the battle all day. While they were fighting, King Ahab sat in his chariot where he could see the Syrian soldiers. His blood poured out and it covered the floor of the chariot. When evening came, Ahab died. 36 At sunset, the Israelite soldiers shouted to each other, ‘Leave the battle! Every man should return home to the city where he lives.’

37 So the king of Israel died. They took him to Samaria. They buried him there. 38 They washed his blood from the chariot at the pool of water in Samaria. It was the place where the prostitutes washed themselves. The dogs drank Ahab's blood there. The Lord had said that this would happen.

22:38See 1 Kings 21:19.

39 The other things that happened while Ahab was king are written in a book. The book is called ‘The history of Israel's kings’. It tells about all the great things that he did. It also tells about the beautiful palace and the cities that he built.

40 Ahab died and they buried him beside his ancestors. His son Ahaziah became king after him.

King Jehoshaphat of Judah

41 In the fourth year that Ahab ruled Israel as king, Asa's son Jehoshaphat became the king of Judah. 42 Jehoshaphat was 35 years old when he became king. He ruled in Jerusalem for 25 years. His mother's name was Azubah. She was the daughter of Shilhi.

43 Jehoshaphat lived in the good way that his father Asa had lived. He only did things that the Lord says are right. But he did not remove all the altars that were on the hills. People continued to offer sacrifices on those altars and they continued to burn incense there. 44 Jehoshaphat agreed not to fight against the king of Israel.

45 The other things that happened while Jehoshaphat was king are written in a book. The book is called ‘The history of Judah's kings’. It tells about the great things that he did and the battles that he fought. 46 He also removed the male prostitutes who lived near the special altars. His father Asa had removed many of them when he ruled as king. Jehoshaphat removed those who were still there.

22:46The male prostitutes served the false god Baal.

47 At this time there was no king who ruled Edom. Their ruler was an officer that King Jehoshaphat had chosen. 48 Jehoshaphat built some big ships to bring back gold from Ophir. But they never left Ezion-Geber because a storm destroyed them. So they never travelled anywhere. 49 At that time, Ahab's son Ahaziah said to Jehoshaphat, ‘Let my sailors join with your sailors on the ships.’ But Jehoshaphat refused.

50 Jehoshaphat died and they buried him beside his ancestors in the City of David, his ancestor. Jehoshaphat's son Jehoram became king after him.

King Ahaziah of Israel

51 When Jehoshaphat had ruled Judah for 17 years, Ahab's son Ahaziah became the king of Israel in Samaria. Ahaziah ruled Israel as king for two years. 52 He did things that the Lord said were evil. He lived in the way that his father and mother had lived. He caused the Israelites to do bad things, as Nebat's son Jeroboam had done. 53 Ahaziah served Baal as his god and he worshipped him. He made the Lord, Israel's God, very angry, as his father had also done.

22:53The story of King Ahaziah is continued in 2 Kings 1.