1 Kings 22

The prophet Micaiah and Ahab

1 There was no war between Aram and Israel for three years. 2 But after three years, Jehoshaphat, the king of Judah, went to see the king of Israel. 3 The king of Israel had said to his leaders, ‘You know that Ramoth Gilead belongs to us. But we are not doing anything to take it from the king of Aram.’ 4 So the king of Israel asked Jehoshaphat, ‘Will you go with me to fight against Ramoth Gilead?’ Jehoshaphat said to the king of Israel, ‘I am like you are. My people are your people and my horses are your horses.’

5 But Jehoshaphat also said to the king of Israel, ‘First, we must know what the LORD wants us to do.’ 6 So the king of Israel brought together about 400 prophets. He asked them, ‘Should I fight a war against Ramoth Gilead, or not?’ And they answered, ‘Go, because the Lord will give it into the hands of the king.’ 7 But Jehoshaphat asked, ‘Can we not ask someone who is really a prophet of the LORD?’ 8 The king of Israel said to Jehoshaphat, ‘There is still one man, called Micaiah the son of Imlah. We can ask him what the LORD wants us to do. But I do not like him, because he never says anything good about me.’ ‘The king should not say that’, replied Jehoshaphat. 9 So the king of Israel said to one of his officers, ‘Bring Micaiah the son of Imlah to me, quickly.’ 10 The king of Israel and Jehoshaphat the king of Judah were wearing their kings' clothes. They sat on thrones by the gate of Samaria. The gate was near the place where farmers made flour from wheat. All the 400 prophets were speaking in front of them. 11 Zedekiah was the son of Kenaanah. He had used iron to make sharp points like a cow has on its head. Zedekiah said, ‘This is what the LORD is saying. “With these sharp points you will attack the soldiers from Aram. You will kill them all.” ’ 12 All the other prophets said the same. They said, ‘Attack Ramoth Gilead. You will beat it. The LORD will give it into the hands of the king.’

13 The man who had fetched Micaiah said to him, ‘All the 400 prophets have said that the king would beat Aram. What you say must agree with their words. Say something that people want to hear.’ 14 But Micaiah said, ‘I can only tell the king what the LORD orders me to say. I say that as surely as the LORD is alive.’ 15 When he arrived at Samaria, the king asked him, ‘Micaiah, should we attack Ramoth Gilead or not?’ He answered, ‘If you attack it, you will beat it. This is because the LORD has given it into the king's hands.’ 16 The king Ahab said to Micaiah, ‘I always have to order you to say only what is true in the name of the LORD!’

17 Then Micaiah said,

‘I saw all the people of Israel.

They were moving about on the hills like sheep.

They did not have a leader.

The LORD said, “These people have no master.

Let each of them go home and not fight.” ’

18 The king of Israel said to Jehoshaphat, ‘I told you what he would say! He will never say anything that is good about me. He will only say bad things.’ 19 Micaiah also said, ‘So now listen to the word of the LORD. I saw the LORD. He was sitting on his throne. All the armies from God's home were standing round him on both sides. 20 And the LORD said, “Who will cause Ahab to attack Ramoth Gilead, where he will die?” One spirit suggested this thing and another suggested that thing. 21 In the end, a spirit came and stood in front of the LORD. The spirit said, “I will cause Ahab to do it.” 22 “How will you do it?” the LORD asked. The spirit said, “I will go to all the prophets. And I will put words that are not true into their mouths.” The LORD said, “Go and do it. You will be able to cause Ahab to do it.” 23 So, the LORD has now put a spirit into the mouths of all your prophets. This spirit will cause them to say words that are not true. The LORD has decided that you will die.’

24 Then Zedekiah the son of Kenaanah went to Micaiah. Zedekiah hit Micaiah's face. Zedekiah asked Micaiah, ‘Which way did the spirit from the LORD go, when he went from me to speak to you?’ 25 Micaiah answered him, ‘You will know on the day that you go to hide in a secret room.’ 26 Then the king of Israel said to his servants, ‘Take Micaiah and send him back to Amon. Amon is the ruler of the city. Send him also to Joash the king's son. 27 Say to them, “This is what the king wants you to do. Put this man Micaiah in a prison. Give him only bread and water until I return safely.” ’ 28 Micaiah said, ‘If you ever return safely, the LORD has not spoken by me.’ Then he said to all the people, ‘Remember my words, all you people!’

An arrow kills King 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 go into the war and I will wear a soldier's clothes. People will not recognise me. But you wear your king's clothes.’ So the king of Israel caused himself to seem like somebody else. Then he went into the war. 31 Now the king of Aram had said to his 32 chariot leaders, ‘Do not fight with anybody, whether they are small or great. Only fight the king of Israel.’ 32 The chariot leaders saw Jehoshaphat. They thought, ‘Surely this is the king of Israel.’ So they turned to attack him. But Jehoshaphat shouted something aloud. 33 Then the chariot leaders saw that Jehoshaphat was not the king of Israel. So they did not follow him.

34 Then, someone shot an arrow from his bow. He did not shoot at anyone, but he hit the king of Israel. The arrow went between the parts of the king's war clothes. The king said to the man that drove his chariot, ‘Turn the chariot round. Take me away from where they are fighting. An arrow hurt me badly.’ 35 The soldiers fought all day. The king of Israel sat in his chariot. He was looking at the soldiers from Aram. The blood from where the arrow had hit him went down to the floor of the chariot. That evening, Ahab died. 36 When the sun started to go behind the hills, people in the army shouted, ‘Every man must now go back to his town or to his farm.’

37 So the king of Israel died and they brought him to Samaria. They buried him there. 38 They washed the chariot in a pool of water in Samaria. It was where the prostitutes bathed. And the dogs drank Ahab's blood. The word of the LORD had said that this would happen. 39 There is a book with reports about the kings of Israel. People wrote in it everything that King Ahab did. It includes the palace that he built. And it includes the cities that he made strong. 40 They buried Ahab with his ancestors. His son Ahaziah became the king of Israel after him.

King Jehoshaphat of Judah

41 After Ahab had been king of Israel for nearly 4 years, Jehoshaphat the son of Asa 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, daughter of Shilhi. 43 Jehoshaphat was like his father Asa in everything that he did. He did not do anything that was wrong. He did what the LORD wanted him to do. But he did not remove the altars on hills. People continued to offer sacrifices on the hills and they continued to burn incense there. 44 Also Jehoshaphat did not fight against the king of Israel.

45 There is a book with reports about the kings of Judah. People wrote in it everything that King Jehoshaphat did. It includes the wars that he fought. 46 He also removed the male prostitutes from their special altars. They were there even when his father Asa was the king of Judah. 47 At this time there was no king in the country called Edom. Someone less important than a king ruled in Edom. 48 Also, Jehoshaphat built some ships. He wanted them to bring back gold from Ophir. But they never went. A storm destroyed them at Ezion Geber. 49 At that time, Ahaziah the son of Ahab had said to Jehoshaphat, ‘Let my men sail with your men.’ But Jehoshaphat refused. 50 So Jehoshaphat died and they buried him with his ancestors in the city of his father David. Jehoram his son ruled Judah after him.

King Ahaziah of Israel

51 Ahaziah son of Ahab became the king of Israel in Samaria. This was nearly 17 years after Jehoshaphat became the king of Judah. Ahaziah ruled Israel for two years. 52 He did things that the LORD did not like. He did the things that his father and mother did. And he did the things that Jeroboam the son of Nebat did. Jeroboam had caused Israel's people to sin. 53 Ahaziah was the servant of Baal and he also worshipped him. He made the LORD the God of Israel very angry. That was what his father had also done.

22:53Verse 4. ‘I am like you’ means that an enemy in Ramoth Gilead was dangerous to both kings. So Jehoshaphat's people (army) and horses (chariots) would join with Ahab's army.
22:53Verse 6. ‘into the hands of the king’ means that Ahab would beat Aram. It also means that in verses 12 and 15.
22:53Verse 7. Maybe Jehoshaphat thought that the 400 prophets were false prophets.
22:53Verse 10. The gate into a city was an important place. The leaders of the town decided there what they should do.
22:53Verse 11. Zedekiah was the leader of Ahab's prophets.
22:53Verse 21. Because the Hebrew Bible has ‘the spirit’, Bible students think this: He was a special spirit. He told prophets what to say. He caused them to say what was not true.
22:53Verse 30. Maybe Ahab thought that Micaiah was right. So he caused himself to seem like somebody else.
22:53Verse 31. The king of Aram had 32 chariot leaders now, instead of the 32 princes in 1 Kings 20:16. These chariot leaders were important soldiers.
22:53Verse 34. This soldier did not shoot at King Ahab. But his arrow hit the king, who died after some time! Maybe the soldier did not know what he had done.
22:53Verse 46. The male prostitutes were part of what people did for the false god Baal.
22:53Verses 51-53. The story of Ahaziah is continued in 2 Kings Chapter 1.