1 Kings 22:1-28

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!’