Micaiah Warns King Ahab
1 Jehoshaphat became very rich and famous. He made an agreement with King Ahab through marriage.* Jehoshaphat’s son, Jehoram, married Athaliah, Ahab’s daughter. See 2 Chronicles 21:6. 2 A few years later, Jehoshaphat visited Ahab in the town of Samaria. Ahab sacrificed many sheep and cattle for Jehoshaphat and the people with him. Ahab encouraged Jehoshaphat to join in an attack on the city of Ramoth Gilead. 3 Ahab said to Jehoshaphat, “Will you go with me to attack Ramoth Gilead?” Ahab was the king of Israel and Jehoshaphat was the king of Judah. Jehoshaphat answered, “Yes, you and I will be as one—my men will be as yours in battle. 4 But first let’s ask the LORD for advice.”
5 So Ahab called a meeting of the prophets. There were about 400 prophets at that time. Ahab asked the prophets, “Should we go and attack Ramoth Gilead or not?”
The prophets answered Ahab, “Yes, because God will let you defeat Ramoth Gilead.”
6 But Jehoshaphat said, “Doesn’t the LORD have another prophet here? Let’s ask him what God says.”
7 King Ahab answered, “Yes, there is another prophet. His name is Micaiah son of Imlah. But I hate him. He never says anything good about me when he speaks for the LORD. He always says things that I don’t like.”
Jehoshaphat said, “The king shouldn’t say things like that!”
8 So King Ahab told one of his officers to go and find Micaiah.
9 At that time the two kings were sitting on their thrones, with their royal robes on, at the judgment place near the gates of Samaria. All the prophets were standing before them, prophesying. 10 One of the prophets was named Zedekiah son of Kenaanah. Zedekiah made some iron horns† iron horns These were a symbol of great strength. and said to Ahab, “The LORD says, ‘You will use these iron horns to fight against the army of Aram. You will defeat them and destroy them.’ ” 11 All the other prophets agreed with Zedekiah and said, “Your army should march now to go fight against the Arameans at Ramoth Gilead. You will win the battle. The LORD will let you defeat them.”
12 While this was happening, the officer went to find Micaiah. When he found him, the officer told him, “All the other prophets have said that the king will succeed, so you should say the same thing.”
13 But Micaiah answered, “As surely as the LORD lives, I can say only what my God says.”
14 Micaiah went and stood before King Ahab. The king asked him, “Micaiah, should we go and attack the Arameans at Ramoth Gilead or not?”
Micaiah answered, “Yes, go and be successful! You will take the city.”
15 But Ahab answered, “How many times do I have to tell you? Tell me the truth. What does the LORD say?”
16 So Micaiah answered, “I can see the army of Israel scattered all over the hills, like sheep with no one to lead them. This is what the LORD says: ‘These men have no leaders. Let them go home in peace.’ ”
17 Then Ahab said to Jehoshaphat, “See, I told you! This prophet never says anything good about me. He always says something bad.”
18 Micaiah said, “Hear the message from the LORD: I saw the LORD sitting on his throne. All of heaven’s army was standing around him, some on his left side and some on his right side. 19 The LORD said, ‘Which of you will go fool Ahab into attacking the Arameans at Ramoth Gilead so that he will be killed?’ The angels discussed many different plans. 20 Then a spirit went and stood before the LORD. He said, ‘I will fool him!’ The LORD asked, ‘How will you do it?’ 21 He answered, ‘I will go out and become a spirit of lies in the mouths of Ahab’s prophets—they will all speak lies.’ So the Lord said, ‘Yes, that will fool Ahab. Go out and do that!’
22 “So that is what has happened here. The LORD made your prophets lie to you. The LORD himself decided to bring this disaster to you.”
23 Then the prophet Zedekiah went to Micaiah and hit him on the face. Zedekiah said, “How is it that the Spirit of the LORD left me to speak through you?”
24 Micaiah answered, “Look, what I said will happen! And when you see it, you will go into the deepest part of your house to hide!”
25 Then King Ahab ordered one of his officers to arrest Micaiah. Ahab said, “Arrest him and take him to Amon the governor of the city and prince Joash. 26 Tell them to put Micaiah in prison. Give him nothing but bread and water to eat. Keep him there until I come home from the battle.”
27 Micaiah said, “Listen to me, everyone! Ahab, if you come back alive from the battle, the LORD has not spoken through me.”
The Battle at Ramoth Gilead
28 King Ahab of Israel and King Jehoshaphat of Judah went to fight the Arameans at Ramoth Gilead. 29 Ahab said to Jehoshaphat, “Disguise yourself when you go into battle, but wear your own clothes. And I will disguise myself.” The king of Israel went into battle dressed like an ordinary soldier.
30 The king of Aram had 32 chariot commanders. He gave them this command, “Don’t go after anyone except the king of Israel, no matter how important they are!” 31 During the battle, the commanders saw King Jehoshaphat and thought he was the king of Israel. So they went to kill him. Jehoshaphat started shouting, and the LORD helped him. God made the chariot commanders turn away from Jehoshaphat. 32 When the commanders saw that he was not King Ahab, they stopped chasing him.
33 Then a soldier pulled back on his bow and shot an arrow into the air. By chance it hit the king of Israel between two pieces of his armor. King Ahab said to his chariot driver, “I’ve been hit! Turn the chariot around and take me off the battlefield!”
34 The armies continued fighting all that day. King Ahab leaned against the side of his chariot to hold himself up, facing the Arameans. He watched until evening. Then, just as the sun was setting, he died.
†18:10 iron horns These were a symbol of great strength.