Jehoshaphat Allies with Ahab
18 Now Jehoshaphat had great wealth and honor, and was allied by [a]marriage with Ahab. 2 Some years later he went down to [visit] Ahab in Samaria. And Ahab slaughtered many sheep and oxen for him and 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 [fight against] Ramoth-gilead?” He answered, “I am as you are, and my people as your people [your hopes and concerns are ours]; we will be with you in the battle.”
4 Further, Jehoshaphat said to the king of Israel, “Please inquire [b]first for the word of the Lord.” 5 Then the king of Israel assembled the prophets, four hundred men, and said to them, “Shall we go against Ramoth-gilead to battle, or shall I refrain?” And they said, “Go up, for God will hand it over to the king.” 6 But Jehoshaphat said, “Is there no prophet of the Lord still here by whom we may inquire?” 7 The king of Israel said to Jehoshaphat, “There is still one man by whom we may inquire of the Lord, but I hate him, for he never prophesies [anything] good for me, but always evil. He is Micaiah the son of Imla” And Jehoshaphat said, “Let not the king say so [perhaps this time it will be different].”
Ahab’s False Prophets Assure Victory
8 Then the king of Israel called for an officer and said, “Bring Micaiah the son of Imla quickly.” 9 Now the king of Israel and Jehoshaphat the king of Judah were sitting, each on his throne, arrayed in their robes; they were sitting at the threshing floor at the entrance of the gate of Samaria; and all the prophets were prophesying before them. 10 Zedekiah the son of Chenaanah had made horns of iron for himself; and said, “Thus says the Lord: ‘With these you shall gore the Arameans (Syrians) until they are destroyed.’” 11 All the prophets prophesied this, saying, “Go up to Ramoth-gilead and succeed; the Lord will hand it over to the king.”
Micaiah Brings Word from God
12 The messenger who went to call Micaiah said to him, “Listen, the words of the prophets are of one accord, foretelling a favorable outcome for the king. So just let your word be like one of them and speak favorably.” 13 But Micaiah said, “As the Lord lives, I will [only] speak what my God says.”
14 When he came to the king, the king said to him, “Micaiah, shall we go to Ramoth-gilead to battle, or shall I refrain?” And he said, “Go up and succeed, for they will be handed over to you.” 15 Then the king said to him, “How many times must I warn you (make you swear an oath) to tell me nothing but the truth in the name of the Lord?” 16 Then Micaiah said,
“I saw all [the people of] Israel
Scattered on the mountains,
As sheep that have no shepherd;
And the Lord said,
‘These have no master.
Let each one return to his house in peace.’”
17 Then the king of Israel said to Jehoshaphat, “Did I not tell you that he would not prophesy good in regard to me, but [only] evil?”
18 So 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 on His right and on His left. 19 Then the Lord said, ‘Who will entice Ahab king of Israel to go up and fall [defeated] at Ramoth-gilead?’ And one said this and another said that. 20 Then a spirit came forward and stood before the Lord and said, ‘I will entice him.’ The Lord said to him, ‘By what means?’ 21 He said, ‘I will go out and be a deceptive spirit in the mouth of all his prophets.’ Then the Lord said, ‘You are to entice him and also succeed. Go and do so.’ 22 Now, you see, the Lord put a deceptive spirit in the mouth of these prophets of yours; and the Lord has [actually] proclaimed disaster against you.”
23 Then Zedekiah the son of Chenaanah came up and struck Micaiah on the cheek and said, “Which way did the Spirit of the Lord go [when he departed] from me to speak to you?” 24 Micaiah said, “Behold, you will see on that day when you go into an inner room [desperately trying] to hide yourself.” 25 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, 26 and say, ‘Thus says the king: “Put this man in prison and feed him just enough bread and water to survive until I return in peace (safely).”’” 27 But Micaiah said, “If you actually return in peace, the Lord has not spoken by me.” And he added, “Listen [to what I have said], you people, all of you.”
Ahab’s Defeat and Death
28 So [Ahab] the king of Israel and Jehoshaphat king of Judah went up against Ramoth-gilead. 29 The king of Israel said to Jehoshaphat, “[c]I will disguise myself and will go into battle, but you put on your [royal] robes.” So the king of Israel disguised himself, and they went into the battle. 30 Now the king of [d]Aram (Syria) had commanded the captains of his chariots, saying, “Do not fight with the small or the great, but only with the king of Israel.” 31 So when the captains of the chariots saw Jehoshaphat [of Judah], they said, “It is the king of Israel!” So they turned to fight against him, but Jehoshaphat called out [for God’s help], and the Lord helped him; and God diverted them away from him. 32 When the captains of the chariots saw that it was not the king of Israel, they turned back from pursuing him. 33 Then a certain man drew his bow at random and struck [Ahab] the king of Israel between the scales of his armor. So Ahab said to his chariot driver, “Turn around and take me out of the battle, because I am seriously wounded.” 34 The battle raged that day, and the king of Israel propped himself up in his chariot in front of the Arameans (Syrians) until the evening, and at sunset he died.
- 2 Chronicles 18:1 Jehoshaphat was married to Athaliah, Ahab’s daughter.
- 2 Chronicles 18:4 Lit as the day.
- 2 Chronicles 18:29 Jehoshaphat may have agreed to this because he thought it was a noble gesture on Ahab’s part; i.e. Ahab fighting incognito alongside his troops while Jehoshaphat would presumably stay aloof under the protection of his own bodyguard. More likely Ahab’s plan was simply to disguise himself and let Jehoshaphat be the target by unwittingly serving as Ahab’s double, and the plan very nearly succeeded.
- 2 Chronicles 18:30 The people of the kingdom of Aram were descendants of Aram, the son of Shem, son of Noah (Gen 10:22, 23). The territory of the Arameans also included areas later identified as Syria and Mesopotamia.