Ahab’s Third Campaign against Aram
22 Aram (Syria) and Israel continued without war for three years. 2 In the third year Jehoshaphat king of Judah came down to the [a]king of Israel. 3 Now the king of Israel said to his servants, “Do you know that Ramoth in Gilead is ours, yet we are still doing nothing to take it from the hand of the king of Aram?” 4 And Ahab said to Jehoshaphat, “Will you go with me to battle at Ramoth-gilead?” Jehoshaphat said to the king of Israel, “I am as you are, my people as your people, my horses as your horses.”
5 But Jehoshaphat said to the king of Israel, “Please inquire first for the word of the Lord.” 6 Then the king of Israel gathered the prophets together, about four hundred men, and said to them, “Shall I go to battle against Ramoth-gilead, or should I not?” And they said, “Go up, for the Lord has handed it over to the king.” 7 But Jehoshaphat [doubted and] said, “Is there not another prophet of the Lord here whom we may ask?” 8 The king of Israel said to Jehoshaphat, “There is one more man, Micaiah the son of Imlah, by whom we may inquire of the Lord, but I hate him, because he never prophesies good news for me, but only evil.” But Jehoshaphat said, “May the king not say that [Micaiah only tells bad news].” 9 Then the king of Israel summoned an officer and said, “Bring quickly Micaiah the son of Imlah.” 10 Now the king of Israel and Jehoshaphat king of Judah were each sitting on his throne, dressed in their [royal] robes, [in an open place] at the threshing floor at the entrance of the gate of Samaria; and all the prophets were prophesying before them. 11 Then Zedekiah the son of Chenaanah made for himself horns of iron and said, “Thus says the Lord: ‘With these you will gore the Arameans (Syrians) until they are destroyed.’” 12 All the prophets were prophesying in the same way [to please Ahab], saying, “Go up to Ramoth-gilead and be successful, for the Lord will hand it over to the king.”
Micaiah Predicts Defeat
13 Then the messenger who went to summon Micaiah said to him, “[b]Listen carefully, the words of the prophets are unanimously favorable to the king. Please let your words be like the word of one of them, and speak favorably.” 14 But Micaiah said, “As the Lord lives, I will speak what the Lord says to me.”
15 So when he came to the king, the king said to him, “Micaiah, shall we go against Ramoth-gilead in battle, or shall we not?” And he answered him, “Go up and be successful, for the Lord will hand it over to the king.” 16 But the king [doubted him and] said to him, “How many times must I make you swear to tell me nothing but the truth in the name of the Lord?” 17 And he said,
“I saw all Israel
Scattered upon the mountains,
Like sheep that have no shepherd.
And the Lord said,
‘These have no master.
Let each of them return to his house in peace.’”
18 Then the king of Israel said to Jehoshaphat, “Did I not tell you that he would not prophesy good concerning me, but evil?”
19 Micaiah said, “Therefore, hear the word of the Lord. I saw the Lord sitting on His throne, and all the host (army) of heaven standing by Him on His right hand and on His left. 20 The Lord said, ‘Who will entice Ahab to go up and fall at Ramoth-gilead?’ And one said this, while another said that. 21 Then a spirit came forward and stood before the Lord and said, ‘I will entice him.’ 22 The Lord said to him, ‘How?’ And he said, ‘I will go out and be a deceiving spirit in the mouth of all his prophets.’ Then the Lord said, ‘You are to entice him and also succeed. Go and do so.’ 23 Now then, behold, the Lord has put a deceiving spirit in the mouth of all these prophets; and the Lord has proclaimed disaster against you.”
24 But Zedekiah the son of Chenaanah approached and struck Micaiah on the cheek and said, “How did the Spirit of the Lord pass from me to speak to you?” 25 Micaiah said, “Behold, you shall see on that day [of the king’s defeat] when you enter an inner room [looking for a place] to hide yourself.” 26 Then the king of Israel said, “Take Micaiah and return him to Amon, the governor of the city, and to Joash, the king’s son, 27 and say, ‘Thus says the king, “Put this man in prison, and feed him sparingly with the bread and water until I return safely.”’” 28 Micaiah said, “If you indeed return safely, the Lord has not spoken by me.” Then he said, “Listen, all you people.”
Defeat and Death of 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 disguise myself and enter the battle, but you put on your [royal] clothing.” So the king of Israel disguised himself and went into the battle. 31 Now the king of Aram (Syria) had commanded the thirty-two captains of his chariots, saying, “Do not fight with [anyone, either] small or great, but with [Ahab] the king of Israel alone.” 32 When the captains of the chariots saw Jehoshaphat, they said, “Surely it is the king of Israel.” They turned to fight against him, and Jehoshaphat shouted out [in fear]. 33 When the captains of the chariots saw that it was not the king of Israel, they turned back from pursuing him.
34 But one man drew a bow at [c]random and struck the king of Israel in a joint of the armor. So he said to the driver of his chariot, “Turn around and take me out of the fight, because I have been seriously wounded.” 35 The battle raged that day, and [Ahab] the king was propped up in his chariot facing the Arameans (Syrians). And in the evening he died, and the blood from his wound ran down into the bottom of the chariot. 36 Then about sundown a resounding cry passed throughout the army, 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 They washed the chariot by the pool [on the outskirts] of Samaria, where the prostitutes bathed, and the dogs licked up his blood, in accordance with the word of the Lord which He had spoken.(A) 39 Now the rest of Ahab’s acts, and everything that he did, the ivory palace which he built and all the cities which he built, are they not written in the Book of the Chronicles of the Kings of Israel? 40 So Ahab slept with his fathers [in death], and Ahaziah his son became king in his place.
The New Rulers
41 Now Jehoshaphat the son of Asa became king over Judah in the fourth year of Ahab king of Israel. 42 Jehoshaphat was thirty-five years old when he became king, and he reigned twenty-five years in Jerusalem. His mother’s name was Azubah the daughter of Shilhi. 43 He walked in all the ways of Asa his father, without turning from them, doing right in the sight of the Lord. However, the high places were not removed; the people still sacrificed and burned incense on the high places. 44 Jehoshaphat also made peace with the king of Israel.
45 Now the rest of the acts of Jehoshaphat, his might which he displayed and how he made war, are they not written in the Book of the Chronicles of the Kings of Judah? 46 And the remnant of the sodomites (male cult prostitutes) who remained in the days of his father Asa, Jehoshaphat expelled from the land.
47 Now there was no king in Edom; a deputy (governor) was [serving as] king. 48 Jehoshaphat had [large cargo] ships of Tarshish constructed to go to Ophir for gold, but they did not go, because the ships were wrecked at Ezion-geber. 49 Then Ahaziah the son of Ahab said to Jehoshaphat, “Let my servants go with your servants in the ships,” But Jehoshaphat was unwilling and refused. 50 Jehoshaphat slept with his fathers [in death] and was buried with his fathers in the city of his father David, and Jehoram his son became king in his place.
51 Ahaziah the son of Ahab became king over Israel in Samaria in the seventeenth year of Jehoshaphat king of Judah, and he reigned over Israel for two years. 52 He did evil in the sight of the Lord and walked in the [idolatrous] way of his father [Ahab] and of his mother [Jezebel], and in the way of Jeroboam the son of Nebat, who made Israel sin. 53 He served Baal and worshiped him, and he provoked the Lord God of Israel to anger, in accordance with everything that his father [Ahab] had done.
- 1 Kings 22:2 The writer often refers to Ahab as “the king of Israel,” without using his name. This is probably because of Ahab’s reputation as a wicked king.
- 1 Kings 22:13 Lit Behold now.
- 1 Kings 22:34 Or innocently, i.e. not thinking that he would kill the king.