Jehoshaphat and Ahab
2 Chronicles 18:1-19:11 2 Chronicles 18:1-19:11 2 Chronicles 18:1-19:11 2 Chronicles 18:1-19:11
2 Chronicles 18-19
18:1 Now Jehoshaphat had great riches and honor, and he made a marriage alliance with Ahab. 2 After some years he went down to Ahab in Samaria. And Ahab killed an abundance of sheep and oxen for him and for the people who were with him, and induced him to go up against Ramoth-gilead. 3 Ahab king of Israel said to Jehoshaphat king of Judah, “Will you go with me to Ramoth-gilead?” He answered him, “I am as you are, my people as your people. We will be with you in the war.”
4 And Jehoshaphat said to the king of Israel, “Inquire first for the word of the Lord.” 5 Then the king of Israel gathered the prophets together, four hundred men, and said to them, “Shall we go to battle against Ramoth-gilead, or shall I refrain?” And they said, “Go up, for God will give it into the hand of the king.” 6 But Jehoshaphat said, “Is there not here another prophet of the Lord of whom we may inquire?” 7 And the king of Israel said to Jehoshaphat, “There is yet one man by whom we may inquire of the Lord, Micaiah the son of Imlah; but I hate him, for he never prophesies good concerning me, but always evil.” And Jehoshaphat said, “Let not the king say so.” 8 Then the king of Israel summoned an officer and said, “Bring quickly Micaiah the son of Imlah.” 9 Now the king of Israel and Jehoshaphat the king of Judah were sitting on their thrones, arrayed in their robes. And they were sitting at the threshing floor at the entrance of the gate of Samaria, and all the prophets were prophesying before them. 10 And Zedekiah the son of Chenaanah made for himself horns of iron and said, “Thus says the Lord, ‘With these you shall push the Syrians until they are destroyed.’” 11 And all the prophets prophesied so and said, “Go up to Ramoth-gilead and triumph. The Lord will give it into the hand of the king.”
12 And the messenger who went to summon Micaiah said to him, “Behold, the words of the prophets with one accord are favorable to the king. Let your word be like the word of one of them, and speak favorably.” 13 But Micaiah said, “As the Lord lives, what my God says, that I will speak.” 14 And when he had come to the king, the king said to him, “Micaiah, shall we go to Ramoth-gilead to battle, or shall I refrain?” And he answered, “Go up and triumph; they will be given into your hand.” 15 But the king said to him, “How many times shall I make you swear that you speak to me nothing but the truth in the name of the Lord?” 16 And he said, “I saw all Israel scattered on the mountains, as sheep that have no shepherd. And the Lord said, ‘These have no master; let each return to his home in peace.’” 17 And the king of Israel said to Jehoshaphat, “Did I not tell you that he would not prophesy good concerning me, but evil?” 18 And Micaiah said, “Therefore hear the word of the Lord: I saw the Lord sitting on his throne, and all the host of heaven standing on his right hand and on his left. 19 And the Lord said, ‘Who will entice Ahab the king of Israel, that he may go up and fall at Ramoth-gilead?’ And one said one thing, and another said another. 20 Then a spirit came forward and stood before the Lord, saying, ‘I will entice him.’ And the Lord said to him, ‘By what means?’ 21 And he said, ‘I will go out, and will be a lying spirit in the mouth of all his prophets.’ And he said, ‘You are to entice him, and you shall succeed; go out and do so.’ 22 Now therefore behold, the Lord has put a lying spirit in the mouth of these your prophets. The Lord has declared disaster concerning you.”
23 Then Zedekiah the son of Chenaanah came near and struck Micaiah on the cheek and said, “Which way did the Spirit of the Lord go from me to speak to you?” 24 And Micaiah said, “Behold, you shall see on that day when you go into an inner chamber to hide yourself.” 25 And the king of Israel said, “Seize Micaiah and take him back to Amon the governor of the city and to Joash the king's son, 26 and say, ‘Thus says the king, Put this fellow in prison and feed him with meager rations of bread and water until I return in peace.’” 27 And Micaiah said, “If you return in peace, the Lord has not spoken by me.” And he said, “Hear, all you peoples!”
28 So the king of Israel and Jehoshaphat the king of Judah went up to Ramoth-gilead. 29 And the king of Israel said to Jehoshaphat, “I will disguise myself and go into battle, but you wear your robes.” And the king of Israel disguised himself, and they went into battle. 30 Now the king of Syria had commanded the captains of his chariots, “Fight with neither small nor great, but only with the king of Israel.” 31 As soon as the captains of the chariots saw Jehoshaphat, they said, “It is the king of Israel.” So they turned to fight against him. And Jehoshaphat cried out, and the Lord helped him; God drew them away from him. 32 For as soon as the captains of the chariots saw that it was not the king of Israel, they turned back from pursuing him. 33 But a certain man drew his bow at random and struck the king of Israel between the scale armor and the breastplate. Therefore he said to the driver of his chariot, “Turn around and carry me out of the battle, for I am wounded.” 34 And the battle continued that day, and the king of Israel was propped up in his chariot facing the Syrians until evening. Then at sunset he died.
19:1 Jehoshaphat the king of Judah returned in safety to his house in Jerusalem. 2 But Jehu the son of Hanani the seer went out to meet him and said to King Jehoshaphat, “Should you help the wicked and love those who hate the Lord? Because of this, wrath has gone out against you from the Lord. 3 Nevertheless, some good is found in you, for you destroyed the Asherahs out of the land, and have set your heart to seek God.”
4 Jehoshaphat lived at Jerusalem. And he went out again among the people, from Beersheba to the hill country of Ephraim, and brought them back to the Lord, the God of their fathers. 5 He appointed judges in the land in all the fortified cities of Judah, city by city, 6 and said to the judges, “Consider what you do, for you judge not for man but for the Lord. He is with you in giving judgment. 7 Now then, let the fear of the Lord be upon you. Be careful what you do, for there is no injustice with the Lord our God, or partiality or taking bribes.”
8 Moreover, in Jerusalem Jehoshaphat appointed certain Levites and priests and heads of families of Israel, to give judgment for the Lord and to decide disputed cases. They had their seat at Jerusalem. 9 And he charged them: “Thus you shall do in the fear of the Lord, in faithfulness, and with your whole heart: 10 whenever a case comes to you from your brothers who live in their cities, concerning bloodshed, law or commandment, statutes or rules, then you shall warn them, that they may not incur guilt before the Lord and wrath may not come upon you and your brothers. Thus you shall do, and you will not incur guilt. 11 And behold, Amariah the chief priest is over you in all matters of the Lord; and Zebadiah the son of Ishmael, the governor of the house of Judah, in all the king's matters, and the Levites will serve you as officers. Deal courageously, and may the Lord be with the upright!”
Micaiah Warns King Ahab of Israel
(1 Kings 22.1-28)
1 Jehoshaphat was now very rich and famous. He signed a treaty with King Ahab of Israel by arranging the marriage of his son and Ahab's daughter.
2 One day, Jehoshaphat went to visit Ahab in his capital city of Samaria. Ahab slaughtered sheep and cattle and prepared a big feast to honor Jehoshaphat and the officials with him. Ahab talked about attacking the city of Ramoth in Gilead, 3 and finally asked, “Jehoshaphat, would you go with me to attack Ramoth?”
“Yes,” Jehoshaphat answered. “My army is at your command. 4 But first let's ask the Lord what to do.”
5 Ahab sent for 400 prophets and asked, “Should I attack the city of Ramoth?”
“Yes!” the prophets answered. “God will help you capture the city.”
6 But Jehoshaphat said, “Just to make sure, is there another of the Lord's prophets we can ask?”
7 “We could ask Micaiah son of Imlah,” Ahab said. “But I hate Micaiah. He always has bad news for me.”
“Don't say that!” Jehoshaphat replied. 8 Then Ahab sent someone to bring Micaiah as soon as possible.
9 All this time, Ahab and Jehoshaphat were dressed in their royal robes and were seated on their thrones at the threshing place near the gate of Samaria, listening to the prophets tell them what the Lord had said.
10 Zedekiah son of Chenaanah was one of the prophets. He had made some horns out of iron and shouted, “Ahab, the Lord says you will attack the Syrians like a bull with iron horns and wipe them out!”
11 All the prophets agreed that Ahab should attack the Syrians at Ramoth and promised that the Lord would help him defeat them.
12 Meanwhile, the messenger who went to get Micaiah whispered, “Micaiah, all the prophets have good news for Ahab. Now go and say the same thing.”
13 “I'll say whatever the living Lord my God tells me to say,” Micaiah replied.
14 Then Micaiah went up to Ahab, who asked, “Micaiah, should we attack Ramoth?”
“Yes!” Micaiah answered. “The Lord will help you capture the city.”
15 Ahab shouted, “Micaiah, I've told you over and over to tell me the truth! What does the Lord really say?”
16 Micaiah answered, “In a vision I saw Israelite soldiers wandering around, lost in the hills like sheep without a shepherd. The Lord said, ‘These troops have no leader. They should go home and not fight.’ ”
17 Ahab turned to Jehoshaphat and said, “I told you he would bring me bad news!”
18 Micaiah replied:
I then saw the Lord seated on his throne with every creature in heaven gathered around him. 19 The Lord asked, “Who can trick Ahab and make him go to Ramoth where he will be killed?”
They talked about it for a while, 20 then finally a spirit came forward and said to the Lord, “I can trick Ahab.”
“How?” the Lord asked.
21 “I'll make Ahab's prophets lie to him.”
“Good!” the Lord replied. “Now go and do it. You will be successful.”
22 Ahab, this is exactly what has happened. The Lord made all your prophets lie to you, and he knows you will soon be destroyed.
23 Zedekiah walked over and slapped Micaiah on the face. Then he asked, “Do you really think the Lord would speak to you and not to me?”
24 Micaiah answered, “You'll find out on the day you have to hide in the back room of some house.”
25 Ahab shouted, “Arrest Micaiah! Take him to Prince Joash and Governor Amon of Samaria. 26 Tell them to put him in prison and to give him nothing but bread and water until I come back safely.”
27 Micaiah said, “If you do come back, I was wrong about what the Lord wanted me to say.” Then he told the crowd, “Don't forget what I said!”
Ahab Dies at Ramoth
(1 Kings 22.29-35)
28 Ahab and Jehoshaphat led their armies to Ramoth in Gilead. 29 Before they went into battle, Ahab said, “Jehoshaphat, I'll disguise myself, but you wear your royal robe.” Ahab disguised himself and went into battle.
30 The king of Syria had ordered his chariot commanders to attack only Ahab. 31 So when they saw Jehoshaphat in his robe, they thought he was Ahab and started to attack him. But Jehoshaphat prayed, and the Lord made the Syrian soldiers stop. 32 And when they realized he wasn't Ahab, they left him alone.
33 However, during the fighting a soldier shot an arrow without even aiming, and it hit Ahab between two pieces of his armor. He shouted to his chariot driver, “I've been hit! Get me out of here!”
34 The fighting lasted all day, with Ahab propped up in his chariot so he could see the Syrian troops. He stayed there until evening, and by sundown he was dead.
1 Jehoshaphat returned safely to his palace in Jerusalem. 2 But the prophet Jehu son of Hanani met him and said:
By helping that wicked Ahab, you have made friends with someone who hates the Lord. Now the Lord God is angry with you! 3 But not everything about you is bad. You destroyed the sacred poles used in worshiping the goddess Asherah—that shows you have tried to obey the Lord.
Jehoshaphat Appoints Judges To Settle Cases
4 Jehoshaphat lived in Jerusalem, but he often traveled through his kingdom, from Beersheba in the south to the edge of the hill country of Ephraim in the north. He talked with the people and convinced them to turn back to the Lord God and worship him, just as their ancestors had done.
5 He assigned judges to each of the fortified cities in Judah 6 and told them:
Be careful when you make your decisions in court, because you are judging by the Lord's standards and not by human standards, and he will know what you decide. 7 So do your work in honor of him and know that he won't allow you to be unfair to anyone or to take bribes.
8 Jehoshaphat also chose some Levites, some priests, and some of the family leaders, and he appointed them to serve as judges in Jerusalem. 9 He told them:
Faithfully serve the Lord! 10 The people of Judah will bring you legal cases that involve every type of crime, including murder. You must settle these cases and warn the people to stop sinning against the Lord, so that he won't get angry and punish Judah. Remember, if you follow these instructions, you won't be held responsible for anything that happens.
11 Amariah the high priest will have the final say in any religious case. And Zebadiah, the leader of the Judah tribe, will have the final say in all other cases. The rest of the Levites will serve as your assistants. Be brave, and I pray that the Lord will help you do right.
The Prophet Micaiah Warns Ahab
1 When King Jehoshaphat of Judah became rich and famous, he arranged a marriage between a member of his family and the family of King Ahab of Israel. 2 A number of years later Jehoshaphat went to the city of Samaria to visit Ahab. To honor Jehoshaphat and those with him, Ahab had a large number of sheep and cattle slaughtered for a feast. He tried to persuade Jehoshaphat to join him in attacking the city of Ramoth in Gilead. 3 He asked, “Will you go with me to attack Ramoth?”
Jehoshaphat replied, “I am ready when you are, and so is my army. We will join you.” 4 Then he added, “But first let's consult the Lord.”
5 So Ahab called in the prophets, about four hundred of them, and asked them, “Should I go and attack Ramoth, or not?”
“Attack it,” they answered. “God will give you victory.”
6 But Jehoshaphat asked, “Isn't there another prophet through whom we can consult the Lord?”
7 Ahab answered, “There is one more, Micaiah son of Imlah. But I hate him because he never prophesies anything good for me; it's always something bad.”
“You shouldn't say that!” Jehoshaphat replied.
8 So King Ahab called in a court official and told him to go and get Micaiah at once.
9 The two kings, dressed in their royal robes, were sitting on their thrones at the threshing place just outside the gate of Samaria, and all the prophets were prophesying in front of them. 10 One of them, Zedekiah son of Chenaanah, made iron horns and said to Ahab, “This is what the Lord says, ‘With these you will fight the Syrians and totally defeat them.’” 11 All the other prophets said the same thing. “March against Ramoth and you will win,” they said. “The Lord will give you victory.”
12 Meanwhile, the official who had gone to get Micaiah said to him, “All the other prophets have prophesied success for the king, and you had better do the same.”
13 But Micaiah answered, “By the living Lord I will say what my God tells me to!”
14 When he appeared before King Ahab, the king asked him, “Micaiah, should King Jehoshaphat and I go and attack Ramoth, or not?”
“Attack!” Micaiah answered. “Of course you'll win. The Lord will give you victory.”
15 But Ahab replied, “When you speak to me in the name of the Lord, tell the truth! How many times do I have to tell you that?”
16 Micaiah answered, “I can see the army of Israel scattered over the hills like sheep without a shepherd. And the Lord said, ‘These men have no leader; let them go home in peace.’”
17 Ahab said to Jehoshaphat, “I told you that he never prophesies anything good for me; it's always something bad!”
18 Micaiah went on: “Now listen to what the Lord says! I saw the Lord sitting on his throne in heaven, with all his angels standing beside him. 19 The Lord asked, ‘Who will deceive Ahab so that he will go and get killed at Ramoth?’ Some of the angels said one thing, and others said something else, 20 until a spirit stepped forward, approached the Lord, and said, ‘I will deceive him.’ ‘How?’ the Lord asked. 21 The spirit replied, ‘I will go and make all of Ahab's prophets tell lies.’ The Lord said, ‘Go and deceive him. You will succeed.’”
22 And Micaiah concluded: “This is what has happened. The Lord has made these prophets of yours lie to you. But he himself has decreed that you will meet with disaster!”
23 Then the prophet Zedekiah went up to Micaiah, slapped his face, and asked, “Since when did the Lord's spirit leave me and speak to you?”
24 “You will find out when you go into some back room to hide,” Micaiah replied.
25 Then King Ahab ordered one of his officers, “Arrest Micaiah and take him to Amon, the governor of the city, and to Prince Joash. 26 Tell them to throw him in prison and to put him on bread and water until I return safely.”
27 “If you return safely,” Micaiah exclaimed, “then the Lord has not spoken through me!” And he added, “Listen, everyone, to what I have said!”
The Death of Ahab
28 Then King Ahab of Israel and King Jehoshaphat of Judah went to attack the city of Ramoth in Gilead. 29 Ahab said to Jehoshaphat, “As we go into battle, I will disguise myself, but you wear your royal garments.” So the king of Israel went into battle in disguise.
30 The king of Syria had ordered his chariot commanders to attack no one else except the king of Israel. 31 So when they saw King Jehoshaphat, they all thought that he was the king of Israel, and they turned to attack him. But Jehoshaphat gave a shout, and the Lord God rescued him and turned the attack away from him. 32 The chariot commanders saw that he was not the king of Israel, so they stopped pursuing him. 33 By chance, however, a Syrian soldier shot an arrow which struck King Ahab between the joints of his armor. “I'm wounded!” he cried out to his chariot driver. “Turn around and pull out of the battle!” 34 While the battle raged on, King Ahab remained propped up in his chariot, facing the Syrians. At sunset he died.
A Prophet Reprimands Jehoshaphat
1 King Jehoshaphat of Judah returned safely to his palace in Jerusalem. 2 A prophet, Jehu son of Hanani, went to meet the king and said to him, “Do you think it is right to help those who are wicked and to take the side of those who hate the Lord? What you have done has brought the Lord's anger on you. 3 But even so, there is some good in you. You have removed all the symbols of the goddess Asherah which people worshiped, and you have tried to follow God's will.”
4 Even though King Jehoshaphat lived in Jerusalem, he traveled regularly among the people, from Beersheba in the south to the edge of the hill country of Ephraim in the north, in order to call the people back to the Lord, the God of their ancestors. 5 He appointed judges in each of the fortified cities of Judah 6 and instructed them: “Be careful in pronouncing judgment; you are not acting on human authority, but on the authority of the Lord, and he is with you when you pass sentence. 7 Honor the Lord and act carefully, because the Lord our God does not tolerate fraud or partiality or the taking of bribes.”
8 In Jerusalem Jehoshaphat appointed Levites, priests, and some of the leading citizens as judges in cases involving a violation of the Law of the Lord or legal disputes between inhabitants of the city. 9 He gave them the following instructions: “You must perform your duties in reverence for the Lord, faithfully obeying him in everything you do. 10 Whenever your fellow citizens from any of the cities bring before you a case of homicide or any other violation of a law or commandment, you must instruct them carefully how to conduct themselves during the trial, so that they do not become guilty of sinning against the Lord. Unless you do, you and your fellow citizens will feel the force of the Lord's anger. But if you do your duty, you will not be guilty. 11 Amariah the High Priest will have final authority in all religious cases, and Zebadiah son of Ishmael, governor of Judah, will have final authority in all civil cases. The Levites have the responsibility of seeing that the decisions of the courts are carried out. Be courageous and carry out these instructions, and may the Lord be on the side of the right!”
Jehoshaphat Allies with Ahab
18:1 Jehoshaphat was very wealthy and greatly respected. He made an alliance by marriage with Ahab, 2 and after several years went down to visit Ahab in Samaria. Ahab slaughtered many sheep and cattle to honor Jehoshaphat and those who came with him. He persuaded him to join in an attack against Ramoth Gilead. 3 King Ahab of Israel said to Jehoshaphat, “Will you go with me to attack Ramoth Gilead?” Jehoshaphat replied to the king of Israel, “I will support you; my army is at your disposal and will support you in battle.” 4 Then Jehoshaphat added, “First seek an oracle from the
9 Now the king of Israel and King Jehoshaphat of Judah were sitting on their respective thrones, dressed in their royal robes, at the threshing floor at the entrance of the gate of Samaria. All the prophets were prophesying before them. 10 Zedekiah son of Kenaanah made iron horns and said, “This is what the
14 Micaiah came before the king and the king asked him, “Micaiah, should we attack Ramoth Gilead or not?” He answered him, “Attack! You will succeed; they will be handed over to you.” 15 The king said to him, “How many times must I make you solemnly promise in the name of the
28 The king of Israel and King Jehoshaphat of Judah attacked Ramoth Gilead. 29 The king of Israel said to Jehoshaphat, “I will disguise myself and then enter the battle; but you wear your royal attire.” So the king of Israel disguised himself and they entered the battle. 30 Now the king of Syria had ordered his chariot commanders, “Do not fight common soldiers or high ranking officers; fight only the king of Israel!” 31 When the chariot commanders saw Jehoshaphat, they said, “He must be the king of Israel!” So they turned and attacked him, but Jehoshaphat cried out. The
19:1 When King Jehoshaphat of Judah returned home safely to Jerusalem, 2 the prophet Jehu son of Hanani confronted him; he said to King Jehoshaphat, “Is it right to help the wicked and be an ally of those who oppose the
Jehoshaphat Appoints Judges
4 Jehoshaphat lived in Jerusalem. He went out among the people from Beer Sheba to the hill country of Ephraim and encouraged them to follow the
8 In Jerusalem Jehoshaphat appointed some Levites, priests, and Israelite family leaders to judge on behalf of the