I Kings 22

He who joins himself in affinity with vicious men,
rejects the counsels of God and hates the preachers of God’s Word,
will find that no masquerade will hide him from God’s judgment and that no armor is proof against His vengeance.

1 And they continued three years without war between Syria and Israel.

2 And it came to pass in the third year, that Jehoshaphat the king of Judah came down to the king of Israel.

3 And the king of Israel said unto his servants, Know ye that Ramoth in Gilead is our’s, and we be still, and take it not out of the hand of the king of Syria?

4 And he said unto Jehoshaphat, Wilt thou go with me to battle to Ramoth-gilead? And Jehoshaphat said to the king of Israel, I am as thou art, my people as thy people, my horses as thy horses.

5 And Jehoshaphat said unto the king of Israel, Enquire, I pray thee, at the word of the LORD to day.

6 Then the king of Israel gathered the prophets together, about four hundred men, and said unto them, Shall I go against Ramoth-gilead to battle, or shall I forbear? And they said, Go up; for the Lord shall deliver it into the hand of the king.

7 And Jehoshaphat said, Is there not here a prophet of the LORD besides, that we might enquire of him?

8 And the king of Israel said unto Jehoshaphat, There is yet one man, Micaiah the son of Imlah, by whom we may enquire of the LORD: but I hate him; for he doth not prophesy good concerning me, but evil. And Jehoshaphat said, Let not the king say so.

9 Then the king of Israel called an officer, and said, Hasten hither Micaiah the son of Imlah.

10 And the king of Israel and Jehoshaphat the king of Judah sat each on his throne, having put on their robes, in a void place in the entrance of the gate of Samaria; and all the prophets prophesied before them.

11 And Zedekiah the son of Chenaanah made him horns of iron: and he said, Thus saith the LORD, With these shalt thou push the Syrians, until thou have consumed them.

12 And all the prophets prophesied so, saying, Go up to Ramoth-gilead, and prosper: for the LORD shall deliver it into the king’s hand.

13 And the messenger that was gone to call Micaiah spake unto him, saying, Behold now, the words of the prophets declare good unto the king with one mouth: let thy word, I pray thee, be like the word of one of them, and speak that which is good.

14 And Micaiah said, As the LORD liveth, what the LORD saith unto me, that will I speak.

15 ¶ So he came to the king. And the king said unto him, Micaiah, shall we go against Ramoth-gilead to battle, or shall we forbear? And he answered him, Go, and prosper: for the LORD shall deliver it into the hand of the king.

16 And the king said unto him, How many times shall I adjure thee that thou tell me nothing but that which is true in the name of the LORD?

17 And he said, I saw all Israel scattered upon the hills, as sheep that have not a shepherd: and the LORD said, These have no master: let them return every man to his house in peace.

18 And the king of Israel said unto Jehoshaphat, Did I not tell thee that he would prophesy no good concerning me, but evil?

19 And he said, Hear thou therefore the word of the LORD: I saw the LORD sitting on his throne, and all the host of heaven standing by him on his right hand and on his left.

20 And the LORD said, Who shall persuade Ahab, that he may go up and fall at Ramoth-gilead? And one said on this manner, and another said on that manner.

21 And there came forth a spirit, and stood before the LORD, and said, I will persuade him.

22 And the LORD said unto him, Wherewith? And he said, I will go forth, and I will be a lying spirit in the mouth of all his prophets. And he said, Thou shalt persuade him, and prevail also: go forth, and do so.

23 Now therefore, behold, the LORD hath put a lying spirit in the mouth of all these thy prophets, and the LORD hath spoken evil concerning thee.

24 But Zedekiah the son of Chenaanah went near, and smote Micaiah on the cheek, and said, Which way went the Spirit of the LORD from me to speak unto thee?

25 And Micaiah said, Behold, thou shalt see in that day, when thou shalt go into an inner chamber to hide thyself.

26 And the king of Israel said, Take Micaiah, and carry him back unto Amon the governor of the city, and to Joash the king’s son;

27 And say, Thus saith the king, Put this fellow in the prison, and feed him with bread of affliction and with water of affliction, until I come in peace.

28 And Micaiah said, If thou return at all in peace, the LORD hath not spoken by me. And he said, Hearken, O people, every one of you.

29 So the king of Israel and Jehoshaphat the king of Judah went up to Ramoth-gilead.

30 And the king of Israel said unto Jehoshaphat, I will disguise myself, and enter into the battle; but put thou on thy robes. And the king of Israel disguised himself, and went into the battle.

31 But the king of Syria commanded his thirty and two captains that had rule over his chariots, saying, Fight neither with small nor great, save only with the king of Israel.

32 And it came to pass, when the captains of the chariots saw Jehoshaphat, that they said, Surely it is the king of Israel. And they turned aside to fight against him: and Jehoshaphat cried out.

33 And it came to pass, when the captains of the chariots perceived that it was not the king of Israel, that they turned back from pursuing him.

34 And a certain man drew a bow at a venture, and smote the king of Israel between the joints of the harness: wherefore he said unto the driver of his chariot, Turn thine hand, and carry me out of the host; for I am wounded.

35 And the battle increased that day: and the king was stayed up in his chariot against the Syrians, and died at even: and the blood ran out of the wound into the midst of the chariot.

36 And there went a proclamation throughout the host about the going down of the sun, saying, Every man to his city, and every man to his own country.

37 ¶ So the king died, and was brought to Samaria; and they buried the king in Samaria.

38 And one washed the chariot in the pool of Samaria; and the dogs licked up his blood; and they washed his armour; according unto the word of the LORD which he spake.

39 Now the rest of the acts of Ahab, and all that he did, and the ivory house which he made, and all the cities that he built, are they not written in the book of the chronicles of the kings of Israel?

40 So Ahab slept with his fathers; and Ahaziah his son reigned in his stead.

41 ¶ And Jehoshaphat the son of Asa began to reign over Judah in the fourth year of Ahab king of Israel.

42 Jehoshaphat was thirty and five years old when he began to reign; and he reigned twenty and five years in Jerusalem. And his mother’s name was Azubah the daughter of Shilhi.

43 And he walked in all the ways of Asa his father; he turned not aside from it, doing that which was right in the eyes of the LORD: nevertheless the high places were not taken away; for the people offered and burnt incense yet in the high places.

44 And Jehoshaphat made peace with the king of Israel.

45 Now the rest of the acts of Jehoshaphat, and his might that he shewed, and how he warred, are they not written in the book of the chronicles of the kings of Judah?

46 And the remnant of the sodomites, which remained in the days of his father Asa, he took out of the land.

47 There was then no king in Edom: a deputy was king.

48 Jehoshaphat made ships of Tharshish to go to Ophir for gold: but they went not; for the ships were broken at Ezion-geber.

49 Then said Ahaziah the son of Ahab unto Jehoshaphat, Let my servants go with thy servants in the ships. But Jehoshaphat would not.

50 ¶ And Jehoshaphat slept with his fathers, and was buried with his fathers in the city of David his father: and Jehoram his son reigned in his stead.

51 ¶ Ahaziah the son of Ahab began to reign over Israel in Samaria the seventeenth year of Jehoshaphat king of Judah, and reigned two years over Israel.

52 And he did evil in the sight of the LORD, and walked in the way of his father, and in the way of his mother, and in the way of Jeroboam the son of Nebat, who made Israel to sin:

53 For he served Baal, and worshipped him, and provoked to anger the LORD God of Israel, according to all that his father had done.

1 Kings 22:1-12 – ​Entering into a New Partnership

   It seems strange that so good a man as the king of Judah should have entered into such an alliance. It began with the marriage of Jehoram, son of Jehoshaphat, and Athaliah, Ahab’s daughter; but it was a terrible descent from the high standing of a servant of Jehovah for Jehoshaphat to say to a practically heathen king: “I am as thou art, my people as thy people, my horses as thy horses.” Partnerships like this, either in marriage or in business, are not only absolutely forbidden, but they are disastrous, in their ultimate outworking. “Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers” (2 Corinthians 6:14).
   Micaiah stands out in splendid contrast. His was the proud honor of being hated by Ahab, as was John the Baptist by Herod. But the prophet in his dungeon, with the bread and water of affliction, was a happier man by far than the king, though clad in royal robes and held in high respect. Is it not clear that Ahab, in his heart of hearts, feared this man of God? We shall see that he put off his royal robes and dressed in a common uniform, that he might evade the death that Micaiah predicted as his fate. Of course it did not avail. God cannot be evaded in that way. His purpose is irresistible.

1 Kings 22:13-28 – ​What Jehovah Saith… That Will I Speak

   Ramoth was one of the cities of refuge, situated across the Jordan. The false prophets spake as they knew would please the king and gain the popular ear. But Micaiah did not scruple to say that the spirit of a demon was making use of their lips for the utterance of beguiling falsehood. He was evidently speaking metaphorically. By an ironical method of speech he suggested that the voices of such prophets were not to be accepted as truth. He knew well enough God’s living voice. In the silence and solitude of his prison, shut away from all the world besides, he had learned to detect the accent of truth, and could easily discriminate between it and the lying boasts of the false prophets. We must try the spirits, whether they are of God, I John 4:1. Beware of being beguiled by every voice that speaks in your heart. God’s voice almost always calls you to take up the cross and stand alone against the crowd. It summons to the straight gate and the narrow way.
   “Carry him back” cried the king. He hated the man of God, as the thief dreads a watch-dog. But better a thousand times be in that dungeon with Micaiah than faring sumptuously at Ahab’s table. Do not hide yourself from the truth. Let it search, though it hurt you. It will save you from the unerring arrow.

1 Kings 22:29-40 – ​The Bow at a Venture Executes God’s Sentence

   The cup of Ahab’s sins was full, and the arrow at a venture executed divine retribution. Had Micaiah not spoken, men would have attributed this apparently chance arrow to misfortune; now, however, it became invested with quite another significance. There is no such thing as chance in this world. The bird does not fall to the ground, the arrow does not find its way to the heart, without a superintending Providence. Whether you live or die, your life is under the immediate supervision of the Almighty. In the battlefield, not a single bullet can hit your beloved, apart from the permitting providence of God. All is under law.
   Put on the whole armor of God that you may be able to stand in the evil day. Take the shield of faith, as covering your whole being, lest the joints of the armor open to the fiery darts of your foe. Watch and pray that you enter not into temptation. Note the contrast in the end of these men. The one went to his own place; no disguise could avert his doom. The other seems to have returned to God, I Kings 22:32 and II Chronicles 18:31, and God gave him years of rest, victory, and prosperity, of which further details are given in II Chronicles 19 and 20.

1 Kings 22:34—A certain man… smote the king of Israel between the joints of the harness.

   Every man we meet is clothed in armor; in other words, we all cover ourselves with plates on which to receive the thrust of accusation and reproach. “I only do as others.” “I do not see any special harm in it.” “My father did it before me.” “I cannot help it.” Such are some of the plates in the armor of the soul; and our work as Christian workers becomes abortive in so many instances, because we are content to belabor the plates, instead of striking home to the one place where the armor-joints are. Successful soul-winning depends on discovering the vulnerable part of a man, and striking there. But all this demands a very special discernment of spirits, and anointing of the Holy Ghost. Only so can we detect where best to bring about conviction, and make men know their need of the Gospel of God’s grace. The great need of the present day is a sharper and more searching analysis of sin. Men need to be shown how they are violating the Laws of God. They assent generally to the Scriptural statements of what God requires, but fail to realize how greatly they have come short. You are almost sure to hit, if you begin to show the various ways in which respectably-living people are coming under the Divine sentence.
   But several conditions must be fulfilled. (1) Study well your own heart. (2) Be a deep student of the biographies of Scripture. Because every type of human character is delineated in Holy Writ. (3) Open your heart to the Holy Ghost, through whom alone you can discern spirits. He is a discerner of the thoughts of the heart, and will teach you to cut to the dividing asunder of the soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow.

1 Kings 22:41-53 – ​“Broken Ships”

   Further details of Jehoshaphat’s good reign are given in II Chronicles 17-20. He made strenuous efforts to rid the land of the more obvious evils that disgraced it, though some of the abuses seemed too deeply rooted even for his strong hand, I Kings 22:43. The great defect of Jehoshaphat’s character was the ease with which he associated himself with Ahab and his family; for this subsequent generations paid a heavy penalty, II Kings 11.
   Jehoshaphat attempted to re-open the sea-commerce with Ophir, and entered into partnership with Ahaziah to build ships in Solomon’s old port of Ezion-geber, to make the circuit of Africa en route for Spain. But, as we learn from II Chronicles 20:37, a prophet of Jehovah remonstrated with him for renewing the alliance with the king of Israel; and the storm that shattered the ships on the rocks, before they set sail, gave evidence of the displeasure of the Almighty. Let us beware of these alliances and partnerships with the ungodly. Sooner or later they meet with disaster. God blocks our path and defeats our plans; and if only we are led to repentance, our broken ships may give us cause for thanksgiving in eternity.