Scriptures

2 Chronicles 18

Introduction

‘Now Jehoshaphat had great wealth and honour, and he allied himself with Ahab by marriage. Some years later he went down to see Ahab in Samaria. Ahab slaughtered many sheep and cattle for him and the people with him and urged him to attack Ramoth Gilead. Ahab king of Israel asked Jehoshaphat king of Judah, “Will you go with me against Ramoth Gilead?” Jehoshaphat replied, “I am as you are, and my people as your people; we will join you in the war. But Jehoshaphat also said to the king of Israel, “First seek the counsel of the LORD.” 2 Chronicles 18:1-4

Jehoshaphat made an alliance with Syria which lasted for three years, 1 Kings 20:26-29, but at the end of those three years, Ahab made an alliance with Jehoshaphat and Judah, so that he could secure himself from the threat of Syria and Assyria in the north, 1 Kings 22:1-38.

He allied himself with Ahab by marriage, which tells us he is trying to unite the kingdoms of Israel and Judah, however, this was the wrong way of going about it. Athaliah, the daughter of Ahab and Jezebel, were given in marriage to Jehoram, the son of Jehoshaphat.

Sadly, the evil influence of Ahab and Jezebel came into the life of Jehoram, and so, when he came to the throne, wickedness once again came into the royal family of Judah.

Israel made an alliance with Syria which lasted for three years, 1 Kings 20:26-29, but at the end of those three years, Ahab made an alliance with Jehoshaphat and Judah, so that he could secure himself from the threat of Syria and Assyria in the north, 2 Chronicles 18:1-27.

It was to be a huge mistake for Jehoshaphat to go to Ahab, because this alliance or any marital alliances was ever given approval from God, 2 Chronicles 19:2.

He also ignored the huge differences which was happening between the two kingdoms. This was the first time that a king of Judah, of the house of David, had visited one of the kings who had revolted from that dynasty.

It appears that even though 450 false prophets of Baal were killed at Mount Carmel, 1 Kings 18:19 / 1 Kings 18:40, there were still other false prophets around, Isaiah 9:15 / Jeremiah 5:13 / Jeremiah 5:31 / Jeremiah 23:11 / Jeremiah 23:15-16 / Hosea 4:5 / Micah 3:5-7.

They were ‘ear tickling’ prophets who told Ahab what Ahab wanted to hear, 2 Timothy 4:3. The good news is that Jehoshaphat wasn’t like Ahab, he still relied on God for guidance, hence why he asks, ‘is there no longer a prophet of the LORD here whom we can inquire of?’ 1 Kings 22:1-12.

Micaiah Prophesies Against Ahab

‘So the king of Israel brought together the prophets—four hundred men—and asked them, “Shall we go to war against Ramoth Gilead, or shall I not?” “Go,” they answered, “for God will give it into the king’s hand.” But Jehoshaphat asked, “Is there no longer a prophet of the LORD here whom we can inquire of?” The king of Israel answered Jehoshaphat, “There is still one prophet through whom we can inquire of the LORD, but I hate him because he never prophesies anything good about me, but always bad. He is Micaiah son of Imlah.” “The king should not say such a thing,” Jehoshaphat replied. So the king of Israel called one of his officials and said, “Bring Micaiah son of Imlah at once.” Dressed in their royal robes, the king of Israel and Jehoshaphat king of Judah were sitting on their thrones at the threshing floor by the entrance of the gate of Samaria, with all the prophets prophesying before them. Now Zedekiah son of Kenaanah had made iron horns, and he declared, “This is what the LORD says: ‘With these you will gore the Arameans until they are destroyed.’” All the other prophets were prophesying the same thing. “Attack Ramoth Gilead and be victorious,” they said, “for the LORD will give it into the king’s hand.” 2 Chronicles 18:5-11

The king of Israel brought four hundred prophets, 1 Kings 22:4-39, however, they were being paid by Ahab, which would mean they would be bias in their political judgments. In other words, what they said couldn’t be trusted and so, it’s not surprising that Jehoshaphat was sceptical about they said.

Coffman in his commentary says the following.

‘We may be certain that Ahab called Micaiah reluctantly, and that while Micaiah was being summoned the false prophets redoubled their efforts in the hope of convincing Jehoshaphat. The occasion was a spectacular display of the kings on their thrones dressed in all their royal regalia at the gate of Samaria and those four hundred false prophets putting on a vigorous display of their false prophecies. It seems very likely that Micaiah was in prison when Ahab sent for him, this is indicated by the fact of his ready availability to Ahab and his being sent for by a eunuch, the type of officer usually in charge of the harem and of the prison, and likewise by the fact of Zedekiah’s arrogant slap of the defenceless Micaiah.’

Jehoshaphat’s asking for a prophet of God dramatically states that the four hundred prophets of Ahab were not prophets of God. Ahab’s god was Baal and his prophets were automatically prophets of Baal, not of God, 1 Kings 22:53.

He wanted a second opinion and so he goes to a true prophet of God, Micaiah. He knows that Micaiah will only speak the truth, no matter who he is being supported by. Since Ahab was living in wickedness, Micaiah could only say that which was contrary to the wicked wishes of Ahab.

‘The messenger who had gone to summon Micaiah said to him, “Look, the other prophets without exception are predicting success for the king. Let your word agree with theirs and speak favourably.” But Micaiah said, “As surely as the LORD lives, I can tell him only what my God says.” When he arrived, the king asked him, “Micaiah, shall we go to war against Ramoth Gilead, or shall I not?” “Attack and be victorious,” he answered, “for they will be given into your hand.” The king said to him, “How many times must I make you swear to tell me nothing but the truth in the name of the LORD?” Then Micaiah answered, “I saw all Israel scattered on the hills like sheep without a shepherd, and the LORD said, ‘These people have no master. Let each one go home in peace.’” The king of Israel said to Jehoshaphat, “Didn’t I tell you that he never prophesies anything good about me, but only bad?” Micaiah continued, “Therefore hear the word of the LORD: I saw the LORD sitting on his throne with all the multitudes of heaven standing on his right and on his left. And the LORD said, ‘Who will entice Ahab king of Israel into attacking Ramoth Gilead and going to his death there?’ “One suggested this, and another that. Finally, a spirit came forward, stood before the LORD and said, ‘I will entice him.’ “‘By what means?’ the LORD asked. “‘I will go and be a deceiving spirit in the mouths of all his prophets,’ he said. “‘You will succeed in enticing him,’ said the LORD. ‘Go and do it.’ “So now the LORD has put a deceiving spirit in the mouths of these prophets of yours. The LORD has decreed disaster for you.” Then Zedekiah son of Kenaanah went up and slapped Micaiah in the face. “Which way did the spirit from the LORD go when he went from me to speak to you?” he asked. Micaiah replied, “You will find out on the day you go to hide in an inner room.” The king of Israel then ordered, “Take Micaiah and send him back to Amon the ruler of the city and to Joash the king’s son, and say, ‘This is what the king says: Put this fellow in prison and give him nothing but bread and water until I return safely.’” Micaiah declared, “If you ever return safely, the LORD has not spoken through me.” Then he added, “Mark my words, all you people!” 2 Chronicles 18:12-27

Four hundred paid prophets had preached a united message and a messenger who was sent to Micaiah wanted to intimidate him into conforming to the opinion of the 400. However, Micaiah wasn’t intimidated by them, he only spoke what God told him to say.

It’s clear that the false prophets of Ahab were very confident in what they were saying because Jehoshaphat was present. They obviously assumed that that because the northern and southern kingdoms of Israel were united at this point in time, that victory in the battle with the Syrians was certain.

It’s also clear that Ahab was very familiar with Micaiah, because he asks, ‘how many times must I make you swear to tell me nothing but the truth in the name of the LORD?’

Ahab was also very familiar with other prophecies which Micaiah had made, 1 Kings 20:13 / 1 Kings 20:35. Notice that Ahab said that Micaiah never prophesied anything good him, but this isn’t the case, 1 Kings 20:13-34.

After asking that question, Micaiah replies by saying, ‘I saw all Israel scattered on the hills like sheep without a shepherd, and the LORD said, ‘These people have no master. Let each one go home in peace.’ These words are the same words which God told Moses concerning Israel, Numbers 27:17.

Everyone was well aware of the judgment which God brought upon Ahab and Jezebel because of the way they dealt with Naboth in order to steal his inherited vineyard, 1 Kings 21:17-29. And so, failure to win this battle would provide the perfect opportunity for God to fulfil his judgment on Ahab.

Micaiah exposed the false prophecies of the false prophets whom Ahab had asked to help him with his desires and at the same time he also revealed the judgment, which was now coming upon Ahab, 2 Thessalonians 2:10-12.

When we go back and look at the attitude of Ahab, 1 Kings 21:25-26 / 1 Kings 22:8 / 1 Kings 22:19-23, it becomes evident that God didn’t in reality command that the false prophets lie to Ahab. He simply permitted them to do so, as they had already been doing.

Micaiah’s vision simply related in figurative language how God would use Ahab’s own false prophets to bring about his downfall. The fact that Ahab was punished shows that Ahab himself was held responsible for rejecting the truth and believing the lie.

God didn’t lie to Ahab nor did He put lies in the mouth of Ahab’s prophets. God simply made use in a providential way of those who were already lying to Ahab. The false prophets lied because they chose to lie and Ahab believed them because he chose to believe them, Romans 1:24-25.

Notice they have Micaiah thrown in prison, this usually happens when people speak the truth and others don’t like it, Acts 14:22 / 2 Timothy 2:8-13 / 1 Peter 4:16.

Ahab Killed At Ramoth Gilead

‘So the king of Israel and Jehoshaphat king of Judah went up to Ramoth Gilead. The king of Israel said to Jehoshaphat, “I will enter the battle in disguise, but you wear your royal robes.” So the king of Israel disguised himself and went into battle. Now the king of Aram had ordered his chariot commanders, “Do not fight with anyone, small or great, except the king of Israel.” When the chariot commanders saw Jehoshaphat, they thought, “This is the king of Israel.” So they turned to attack him, but Jehoshaphat cried out, and the LORD helped him. God drew them away from him, for when the chariot commanders saw that he was not the king of Israel, they stopped pursuing him. But someone drew his bow at random and hit the king of Israel between the breastplate and the scale armor. The king told the chariot driver, “Wheel around and get me out of the fighting. I’ve been wounded.” All day long the battle raged, and the king of Israel propped himself up in his chariot facing the Arameans until evening. Then at sunset he died.’ 2 Chronicles 18:28-34

The people were frightened to death of Ahab, and because of men like Zedekiah, no one would say anything bad against him. However, when truth is spoken against what most people believed, the fulfilment of the prophecy was actually proof that the prophecy was from God Himself, 1 Kings 22:24-28 / Deuteronomy 18:18-22.

The prophecy was very clear, and everyone present would have heard the words that Ahab would die at Ramoth Gilead. Micaiah accepted the test of all true prophecy, namely, that it will come to pass, Jeremiah 28:9.

Notice God’s protection of Jehoshaphat when He cried out to Him, God helped him and God drew him away from the chariots. In the heat of the battle, a special effort was made to go after someone they thought was Ahab, the king of Israel, Jehoshaphat cried out to the Lord. Jehoshaphat’s prayer was answered immediately and in a direct manner.

When we read 1 Kings 22:29-36, it appears that Ahab to a degree anyway, believed what Micaiah has said, because he wants to go into battle in disguise. Because of this he asks Jehoshaphat to wear his royal robes, so that the Syrians wouldn’t be able to identify him asking of Israel in the battle, 2 Chronicles 18:28-34.

Ben-Hadad, the king of Aram commands his men not to fight with anyone, except the king of Israel, 1 Kings 22:35. The reason behind this is simply enough to understand, if any king of any nation was captured or killed in battle, then the opposing side would automatically claim the victory. It appears that Ben-Hadad wants his soldiers’ to focus on the king of the northern kingdom, not Jehoshaphat.

Notice that someone drew their bow at ‘random’ and killed Ahab, it’s surely possible that this arrow didn’t randomly hit Ahab but was guided by God Himself.

Remember this was God’s judgment upon Ahab, and although he disguised himself, he couldn’t escape the judgment of God. After news got around the Israelite army that Ahab was dead, every man dispersed and returned to their homes, 1 Kings 22:36.

Go To 2 Chronicles 19

DAILY BIBLE VERSE

"In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make your paths straight."

Proverbs 3:6

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