And the king of Israel said unto Jehoshaphat, Did I not tell thee that he would prophesy no good concerning me, but evil? 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. And the Lord said, Who shall persuade Ahab, that he may go up and fall at Ramothgilead? And one said on this manner, and another said on that manner. And there came forth a spirit, and stood before the Lord, and said, I will persuade him. 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. 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.( I Kings 22:18-23)
Micaiah goes further, showing an incredible vision of the God, sitting in the midst of His own Divine Council, consisting of the gathering of the Holy and unholy Angels, to discuss the manner of the execution of God’s sentence on King Ahab’s life. How should it be done?
One would think that such a vision, from an admittedly credible prophet would dissuade the Kings from going forth. But Jehoshaphat was bound by his foolish commitment, and Ahab had doubled down in pride, imprisoning Micaiah and promising that he would deal with him, when He returns “In Peace”.
Ahab”s imperious promise to return in peace, after God warned him that he was being led into a rout, amounted to a direct and open challenge to the Word of the LORD.
… 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. 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.( I Kings 22:28-29)
What we can take away from this mysterious account?
- That at this time in Israel, there were both true and false prophets operating in the name of Jahweh.
- That Ahab had surrounded himself with handpicked Prophets of his own choosing.
- That the flattery and “good words” of the false prophets were themselves an aspect of the Divine Judgment.
- In some way, Ahab perceived a true prophet, but hated Truth.
- Furthermore Ahab regarded a valid warning of the LORD thru Micaiah, as personal hostility against himself, and by personalizing it, he ignored it.
- Ahab would be destroyed, by his own self will and deliberate self blindness.
- There was another element to this scene of ominous horror, and that was when Zedekiah, the chief of the false prophets, lashed out at Micaiah, when He heard his prophecy. Something in it triggered him.
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? And Micaiah said, Behold, thou shalt see in that day, when thou shalt go into an inner chamber to hide thyself. ( I Kings 22:24-25)
It could well have been resentment on the part of Zedekiah, that in his heart he too perceived that Micaiah was an actual chosen vessel of God, and not contriving “words” as He and the other 400 were. The rage and resentment which triggered him to lash out, betray a conviction on his part.
When the destruction comes, Zedekiah and all who similarly prophesy falsely are going to be seen as contributing to it, and accountability will be demanded to the extent that the false prophets will be forced to hide themselves, and pretend that they were never prophets at all.
When Jehoshaphat and Ahab did go to war together, Jehoshaphat was taught a severe lesson about ecumenism; Ahab talked him into going to battle in Kingly regalia, but He himself disguised as a common foot soldier, thus allowing the Syrians to believe that Jehoshaphat was the King of Israel, and thus the target.
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. 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. 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. 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.( 1 Kings 22:30-33)
God had mercy on Jehoshaphat, although he had the fright of his life, almost being mistaken for Ahab, his ecumenical “friend”. When Jehoshaphat returned back to Judah, having barely escaped with his life, He was met by a prophet in Judah who gave him a penetrating admonition;
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. ( 2 Chronicles 19:2)
Ahab didn’t fare so well, for there is no counsel against the LORD,
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. 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. 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. So the king died, and was brought to Samaria; and they buried the king in Samaria.( I Kings 22:34-37)
Ahab was dying, but had himself propped up, in his chariot, to deceive his own people as He bled out…that He was still leading them. His blood and gore filled the chariot as He died, and this set things up for a horrifying fulfillment of prophecy and a portent of things to come for his wife, Jezebel.
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.( 2 Kings 22:38)
Dogs gathered to lick up his blood as it flowed out of the chariot floor. When the King James tells us that next they washed his armor, it is a mistranslation, which hides a very significant irony,
They washed out the chariot by the pool of Samaria, and the dogs licked up his blood (it was there that the prostitutes bathed themselves) in accordance with the word of the LORD which He had spoken.( New American Standard)
Most English translations have this verse as the New American Standard does. They all say something to the effect that dogs licked up the blood at the place where the prostitutes bathed themselves, ie ritual sacred pools, set up for the sacred prostitutes by which Astarte was worshipped, who were ordained by Jezebel in order to re-establish Baal worship in Canaan.
How ironic that the blood of Ahab flowed into the very ritual cleansing baths, of pagan priestesses set up by Ahab and his wife. As for dogs lapping it up, what a portent of the prophesied end of Jezebel, that Dogs would lap her up as a punishment for her part in the murder of Naboth.