1Kings 22:1-38

Sunday Morning Bible Study

July 14, 2002


King Ahab of Israel had been at war against Benhadad, the king of Syria (1Kings 20).  They had a couple of years of wars, and God was gracious to wicked King Ahab to give him victory over the Syrians.  After the last victory, Benhadad had promised to give back to Ahab all the cities that the Syrians had taken from Israel (1Ki. 20:34).

:1-4 War plans

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

The Syrians seemed to have had the upper hand for years. One time they had laid siege to Ahab’s capital, Samaria. Yet God showed kindness to Ahab, and his outnumbered little army was able to route the superior Syrian force.

The next year, the Syrians came back, but challenged the Israelite army out on the plain rather than the hills of Samaria. And though they were outnumbered, God once again showed grace to Ahab, and the Syrians were defeated.

After this second defeat, Ahab was able to capture Benhadad, and rather than destroying his enemy, Ahab let him go. We might look at this as being merciful, but God had been wanting Ahab to bring judgment on Benhadad, and Ahab had frustrated God’s designs.
Ahab was rebuked for this by one of the prophets:
(1 Ki 20:42-43 KJV) And he said unto him, Thus saith the LORD, Because thou hast let go out of thy hand a man whom I appointed to utter destruction, therefore thy life shall go for his life, and thy people for his people. {43} And the king of Israel went to his house heavy and displeased, and came to Samaria.

:2 Jehoshaphat the king of Judah came down to the king of Israel.

Jehoshaphat[email protected] – “Yahweh has judged”

Jehoshaphat was considered a “good” king. He followed the Lord. He brought about a lot of wonderful spiritual reforms in the southern kingdom of Judah.

The parallel account tells us that at this time, good Jehoshaphat made an alliance by marriage to wicked Ahab (2Chr. 18:1).  He formed this alliance by having his son Joram marry Athaliah, the daughter of Ahab and Jezebel.  This alliance is going to cause Jehoshaphat a great deal of trouble.

:3 Know ye that Ramoth in Gilead is ours

Ramoth in Gilead – about fifty miles east from Samaria, across the Jordan River.

Benhadad had promised to return the cities to Ahab, but hadn’t kept that promise.

It was one of the “Cities of Refuge”.

(Deu 4:43 KJV) Namely, Bezer in the wilderness, in the plain country, of the Reubenites; and Ramoth in Gilead, of the Gadites; and Golan in Bashan, of the Manassites.
It was originally a part of the tribe of Gad.

Even though it was a part of the area belonging to Gad, the actual city itself was populated by Levites of the Merari family.

(1 Chr 6:80 KJV) And out of the tribe of Gad; Ramoth in Gilead with her suburbs, and Mahanaim with her suburbs,

It would be fought over many times, being traded back and forth between Israel and Syria.

:4 I am as thou art, my people as thy people

Jehoshaphat is committed to Ahab because of the marriage. He has to go.

:5-23 Asking the prophets

:5 Inquire, I pray thee, at the word of the LORD to day.

the LORDYahweh – When the English text is in all capital letters, this tells us that the underlying Hebrew word is God’s name, Yahweh. Jehoshaphat wants to know what God (Yahweh) thinks about this war.

:6 gathered the prophets together, about four hundred men

These seem to be “multipurpose-prophets”.  It seems that they will speak for whatever god you want them to speak for.  It is possible that this group is related to the four hundred prophets of the “groves” (the goddess Asherah) that had not been executed by Elijah (1Ki. 18:19,40).

There had been two groups of prophets invited to the showdown on Mt. Carmel.
(1 Ki 18:19 KJV) Now therefore send, and gather to me all Israel unto mount Carmel, and the prophets of Baal four hundred and fifty, and the prophets of the groves four hundred, which eat at Jezebel's table.
Yet Elijah only challenged, and then executed, the 450 prophets of Baal.
(1 Ki 18:40 KJV) And Elijah said unto them, Take the prophets of Baal; let not one of them escape. And they took them: and Elijah brought them down to the brook Kishon, and slew them there.
Could these men be the prophets of the “groves”, or, the Asherah?

:6 Go up; for the Lord shall deliver it into the hand of the king.

the Lord ‘Adonay – lord. At first, these prophets do not use God’s name, Yahweh. Instead, they simply use the generic title, “Lord”, which could refer to any god.

:7 Is there not here a prophet of the LORD besides

the LORDYahweh – this is God’s name. There must be something about Ahab’s four hundred prophets that tells Jehoshaphat that they are not real prophets of Yahweh.

:8 I hate him; for he doth not prophesy good concerning me

Ahab has had a problem every time someone reminds him he needs to change.


Be willing to listen to hard things

(Eph 4:14-15 KJV) That we henceforth be no more children, tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the sleight of men, and cunning craftiness, whereby they lie in wait to deceive; {15} But speaking the truth in love, may grow up into him in all things, which is the head, even Christ:
We learn to grow up when we speak the truth in love to each other.
I think it helps that we be honest and specific with each other. I don’t think it’s helpful to just say that “you have problems”. Sometimes we can’t see our own problems.
(1 Cor 13:6 KJV) …but rejoiceth in the truth;
Love is glad when it hears the truth. Sometimes the truth is a difficult thing for us to listen to, but if it’s the truth, then we ought to be glad we’re hearing it because that’s how we grow.
I don’t know many people who like to be criticized. We especially don’t like it when there are people like Micaiah in our lives who always say something negative. But be careful to ask yourself the question, “Is there any truth in this?”

:9 Hasten hither Micaiah the son of Imlah.

Micaiah[email protected] “who is like God”

:10 each on his throne, having put on their robes

a void placegoren – threshing-floor; barn, barn floor, corn floor, void place; A typical place for the kings to sit with their subjects, with plenty of open space for the people.

It’s a grand scene. A big, open area with lots of pomp and color.

:11 And Zedekiah …made him horns of iron: and he said, Thus saith the LORD …

ZedekiahTsidqiyah – “Yahweh is righteous”

horns of iron – Did he sing Wagner too?  (joke) It wasn’t unusual for a prophet to use a prop. Jeremiah used a wooden, then an iron yoke to signify the servitude to Babylon.

the LORDYahweh – this is God’s name.

This man is claiming to speak for Yahweh, yet he is one of the false prophets. He is not the prophet that is being called for, he is one of the four hundred. Perhaps he wants to be the one that will satisfy Jehoshaphat. He’s heard that Jehoshaphat wants to hear from Yahweh, so he “speaks” for Yahweh.

:12 all the prophets prophesied …prosper: for the LORD shall deliver it

prospertsalach – to advance, prosper, make progress, succeed, be profitable

the LORDYahweh – this is God’s name. The rest of the prophets also claim to be speaking for Yahweh.

:13 let thy word, I pray thee, be like the word of one of them

The messenger just wants Micaiah to go along with the program and not rock the boat.

:16 tell me nothing but that which is true in the name of the LORD?

Somehow Ahab can tell that Micaiah isn’t being sincere. Perhaps it was something in the tone of voice. Perhaps it was because he said the exact same thing the other prophets said. Perhaps it was because it was something good from Micaiah when he expected bad.

:17 I saw all Israel …as sheep that have not a shepherd

Micaiah shares a vision he’s had. Micaiah is saying that Israel will lose its king. Ahab will die in this battle.

:19 I saw the LORD sitting on his throne …

Ahab and Jehosphaphat, who are listening to Micaiah, are also sitting on their thrones right now.  They aren’t the only kings sitting on thrones.

:20 And the LORD said, Who shall persuade Ahab, that he may go up and fall at Ramothgilead?

The Lord’s intention is for Ahab to die at Ramothgilead.

:21 And there came forth a spirit, and stood before the LORD

There are two kinds of angels in heaven, good angels and bad angels.

Satan himself still has access to heaven, and presents himself before God.

(Job 1:6-7 KJV) Now there was a day when the sons of God came to present themselves before the LORD, and Satan came also among them. {7} And the LORD said unto Satan, Whence comest thou? Then Satan answered the LORD, and said, From going to and fro in the earth, and from walking up and down in it.

He is called the “accuser of the brethren”, and works night and day against us (Rev. 12:10)

:23 the LORD hath put a lying spirit in the mouth ...

This is a hard phrase. We need to be careful how we handle this.


God is not evil

While this may seem like I'm playing with words, we have to be careful to see the difference between God using evil to accomplish His purposes, and attributing evil directly to God.
The Bible says:
1John 1:5 This then is the message which we have heard of him, and declare unto you, that God is light, and in him is no darkness at all.
James 1:13 Let no man say when he is tempted, I am tempted of God: for God cannot be tempted with evil, neither tempteth he any man:


God may allow evil to occur to accomplish His will.

The decree was made that Ahab would fall at Ramoth Gilead. God had run out of patience with Ahab. It was time for his judgment.  Judgment is not evil, it’s good.
God will be allowing an evil spirit to work in Ahab's life, so the purpose will be accomplished.
Why does God allow evil to exist in the first place?
God allows evil for man to have a choice.
Without evil, there is no possibility of loving from a free will choice. Without a choice, how can that be love?
God doesn’t create us to be robots that love Him when He pushes a button. He has created us with free will so that we could choose to love Him or not to love Him. And to be able to make a choice, there has to be something to choose from. And so God allows Satan to continue to offer a choice.


God may allow some to be deceived.

It happens.  People get deceived.  I found four times in the New Testament where God even warns believers not to be deceived (1Cor. 3:18; Eph. 5:6; 2Th. 2:3; 1Jn. 3:7).
Yet when people are deceived, there’s a reason for it.
We see that this will happen during the coming Great Tribulation on the earth, when the antichrist is revealed.
(2 Th 2:8-12 KJV) And then shall that Wicked be revealed, whom the Lord shall consume with the spirit of his mouth, and shall destroy with the brightness of his coming: {9} Even him, whose coming is after the working of Satan with all power and signs and lying wonders, {10} And with all deceivableness of unrighteousness in them that perish; because they received not the love of the truth, that they might be saved. {11} And for this cause God shall send them strong delusion, that they should believe a lie: {12} That they all might be damned who believed not the truth, but had pleasure in unrighteousness.
God will send a strong delusion because people have made a choice of not loving the truth. Ahab is definitely in this category.
The ultimate truth is the truth about Jesus. If you choose to reject the truth about Jesus, don’t be surprised that you start believing in flying saucers and all kinds of silly things.
The truth is that we are all sinners.  The truth is that Jesus died on a cross to pay for our sins.  The truth is that if we turn from our sins and put our trust in Jesus, God will forgive us and give us eternal life.

:24-33 The battle begins

:24 Which way went the spirit of the LORD from me to speak unto thee?

NAS "How did the Spirit of the LORD pass from me to speak to you?"

:25 thou shalt go into an inner chamber to hide thyself

There would be a day when Zedekaiah would be looking for a place to hide, because the king would be killed after following his advice.

:27 feed him with bread of affliction and with water of affliction

bread … water of affliction – bad bread, foul water, barely enough to survive.

:28 And Micaiah said, If thou return at all in peace, the LORD hath not spoken by me.


Testing prophetic words

There are a couple of questions we need to ask:
Does it come to pass?

The things that God says will happen (Deut. 18:21-22)

(Deu 18:21-22 KJV) And if thou say in thine heart, How shall we know the word which the LORD hath not spoken? {22} When a prophet speaketh in the name of the LORD, if the thing follow not, nor come to pass, that is the thing which the LORD hath not spoken, but the prophet hath spoken it presumptuously: thou shalt not be afraid of him.

If a person says that something will happen, but it doesn’t, then God wasn’t speaking.

Does the person lead you closer to the God of the Bible.

Sometimes there will be miraculous things happening, but that doesn’t mean that something is from the Lord (Deut. 13:1-5).

Sometimes God will even allow miraculous things to happen to test whether or not you will still follow Him.

This is why it is dangerous to follow Mormonism or Jehovah’s Witnesses. They don’t teach about the God of the Bible. They twist what God says about Himself.



The punishment for being a false prophet was death (Deut. 13:5). It’s not something you want to be messing with or take lightly.
I think that sometimes we can use the phrase “God told me” a little too lightly.
Sometimes it’s just our own ideas. They may not be bad ideas, but they’re our ideas, not God’s.
God does not take kindly to people who will claim to speak for Him when He isn’t speaking.
Do I believe God speaks to people today?
I certainly do.
(1 Th 5:19-20 KJV)  Quench not the Spirit. {20} Despise not prophesyings.
But I think we ought to be VERY careful and very cautious about saying that God told us something if it’s just our own ideas.
What if someone says to me that they have a word from God for me?
I will listen to it. I will tell them that I will pray about it. I will read God’s Word. I will compare the word to God’s Word.  I will trust that if God is speaking to me, that He will speak TO ME as well.
The Bible says we are to judge prophecy.  We don’t just accept it at face value without evaluating it.  If you believe that God has given you a word, you need to also understand that your thought ought to be evaluated.  You may even be wrong.
(1 Cor 14:29 KJV)  Let the prophets speak two or three, and let the other judge.

:29 so the king ... went up to Ramothgilead

Ahab decides to go up and fight anyway. Perhaps he figured that 400 in favor and 1 opposed was good enough for him.  The problem is that the majority was not correct.

:30 I will disguise myself…but put thou on thy robes.

Ahab will not look like a king, and for a while, the enemy will go after Jehoshaphat as well.

Perhaps Ahab is thinking that if he doesn’t dress like the King of Israel, then the King of Israel can’t be slain.

Perhaps Ahab presented it to Jehophaphat as if he was just hungry for a little action, and rather than just sit back in his chariot like a king, he wanted to get down into the battle.

Perhaps it seemed to Jehoshaphat that Ahab is going to give him the honor of being the commanding king in this battle, but he will also be the target of the enemy.

But Ahab’s disguise isn’t going to work.

Also, how come Jehoshaphat is going at all!

Maybe Jehoshaphat wasn’t worried since the focus was on Ahab’s death, and not on himself.

:33 they turned back from pursuing him.

The writer of Chronicles gives us one more important detail:

2Chronicles 18:31 …Jehoshaphat cried out, and the LORD helped him; and God moved them to depart from him.


You’re never too far away to cry for help.

Here’s Jehoshaphat in an alliance he shouldn’t be in, in a battle he shouldn’t be in, and he calls to God for help.
If I were God, I might say, “Well buddy, you made your bed, now lie in it!”
God is much more gracious than that.
Psalms 34:4  I sought the LORD, and he heard me, and delivered me from all my fears.


Be careful who influences you

Jehoshaphat gets himself into a messy situation because he has made this ungodly alliance with the wicked king Ahab.
When he finally gets home after this whole episode, he will be rebuked:
(2 Chr 19:1-4 KJV) And Jehoshaphat the king of Judah returned to his house in peace to Jerusalem. {2} And Jehu the son of Hanani the seer went out to meet him, and said to king Jehoshaphat, Shouldest thou help the ungodly, and love them that hate the LORD? therefore is wrath upon thee from before the LORD. {3} Nevertheless there are good things found in thee, in that thou hast taken away the groves out of the land, and hast prepared thine heart to seek God. {4} And Jehoshaphat dwelt at Jerusalem: and he went out again through the people from Beersheba to mount Ephraim, and brought them back unto the LORD God of their fathers.

Now don’t misunderstand me. God wants us to love sinners. Jesus was the friend of sinners.

But the question is, are you influencing them, or are they influencing you?

If they took you to a party last night, you’re probably headed for trouble. If you took them to the Harvest Crusade last night, you’re probably headed in the right direction.

:34-38 Ahab dies

:34 And a certain man drew a bow at a venture …

Ahab gets the point. He can’t outsmart God.

:36 Every man to his city, and every man to his own country.

This is a common way to express that the war’s over. It’s like saying, “Hey guys, the games over, time to go home”

It’s used in 1Sa 4:10; 2Sa 19:8; 2Ki 14:12

:38 the dogs licked up his blood … according unto the word

God’s Word came true.

A partial fulfillment of the prophecy against Ahab.

1Kings 20:19 And thou shalt speak unto him, saying, Thus saith the LORD, Hast thou killed, and also taken possession? And thou shalt speak unto him, saying, Thus saith the LORD, In the place where dogs licked the blood of Naboth shall dogs lick thy blood, even thine.

But because of Ahab’s partial repentance, the rest of the prophecy wouldn’t actually occur until the time of Ahab’s son. (1Ki.21:29)


God’s Word

We all want God’s direction in our lives.  I think there is a sense that most of us would like to do what God asks us to do.
The surest place where we can know what God wants of us is in the Bible.
God’s Word will direct our life.
(Psa 119:105 KJV) Thy word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path.
God’s Word will change me, correct me, teach me.
(2 Tim 3:16-17 KJV) All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: {17} That the man of God may be perfect, thoroughly furnished unto all good works.
Even the kings were instructed to make their own personal copy of God’s Word, and read it all his life so that he would learn to do what was right (Deut. 17:18-20)
Jesus said that the way to survive the storms of life was to hear His Word, and obey it.
(Mat 7:24-27 KJV) Therefore whosoever heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth them, I will liken him unto a wise man, which built his house upon a rock: {25} And the rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and beat upon that house; and it fell not: for it was founded upon a rock. {26} And every one that heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth them not, shall be likened unto a foolish man, which built his house upon the sand: {27} And the rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and beat upon that house; and it fell: and great was the fall of it.


False prophecy

Jeremiah had a problem in his day. God was about to allow Jerusalem to be destroyed, but there were men who claimed to be prophets who kept telling the people that they were okay and nothing bad was going to happen. As a result, the people weren’t paying attention to Jeremiah’s warnings, which WERE from God.
(Jer 23:16-17,25-28 KJV) Thus saith the LORD of hosts, Hearken not unto the words of the prophets that prophesy unto you: they make you vain: they speak a vision of their own heart, and not out of the mouth of the LORD. {17} They say still unto them that despise me, The LORD hath said, Ye shall have peace; and they say unto every one that walketh after the imagination of his own heart, No evil shall come upon you.

These prophets were saying the wrong things to people who needed to change their behavior.

{25} I have heard what the prophets said, that prophesy lies in my name, saying, I have dreamed, I have dreamed. {26} How long shall this be in the heart of the prophets that prophesy lies? yea, they are prophets of the deceit of their own heart; {27} Which think to cause my people to forget my name by their dreams which they tell every man to his neighbour, as their fathers have forgotten my name for Baal. {28} The prophet that hath a dream, let him tell a dream; and he that hath my word, let him speak my word faithfully. What is the chaff to the wheat? saith the LORD.

Chaff is the husk on the kernel of wheat. It’s not the real deal. God wants us paying attention to the real deal. God’s Word is the real deal. The Bible is the Real Deal.