2 Chronicles Chapter 18
Verses 1-34: (See notes on 1 Kings 22:1-39). Ahab was king in Israel. Jehoshaphat arranged for his son (compare 21:6), to marry Athaliah, daughter of wicked Ahab, then made a military alliance with him. This folly had tragic results:
(1) Jehoshaphat drew God’s wrath (19:2);
(2) After Jehoshaphat died and Athaliah became queen, she seized the throne and almost killed all of David’s descendants (22:10); and
(3) She brought the wicked idols of Israel into Judah, which eventually led to the nation’s destruction and captivity in Babylon.
Jehoshaphat had a tendency to rely on other kings as evidenced by this unique report of a marriage alliance with Ahab (verse 1; see also 2 Chron. 20:35-37), concerning an alliance with Ahaziah (ca. 853 – 852 B.C.).
2 Chronicles 18:1 “Now Jehoshaphat had riches and honor in abundance, and joined affinity with Ahab.”
Jehoshaphat “joined affinity with Ahab” (the king of northern kingdom, Israel), by having his son Jehoram marry Ahab’s daughter, Athaliah. King Ahab was a wicked man who did not fear God (1 Kings chapters 16-22). Jehoshaphat’s decision would later drag him into war (18:28-34).
This was a terrible mistake on the part of Jehoshaphat. Those of God should never bind themselves together with the very worldly people. Ahab and his wife, Jezebel, were very evil. They could possibly be thought of as the evilest rule of the ten tribes of Israel. God had blessed Jehoshaphat so greatly that he was very rich. He had plenty of military men himself, and they were well-equipped. He did not need Ahab. The very worst thing that Jehoshaphat had done was to allow Ahab and Jezebel’s daughter, Athaliah, to marry his son Jehoram.
2 Chronicles 18:2 “And after [certain] years he went down to Ahab to Samaria. And Ahab killed sheep and oxen for him in abundance, and for the people that [he had] with him, and persuaded him to go up [with him] to Ramoth-gilead.”
Two years, according to the Syriac and Arabic versions, or in the third year after the affinity (or relationship), was contracted (see 1 Kings 22:2).
“He went down to Ahab to Samaria”: To pay him a visit upon the alliance, civil and matrimonial, contracted between them.
“And Ahab killed sheep and oxen for him in abundance, and for the people that he had with him”: Entertained him and his retinue in a very grand and liberal manner.
“And persuaded him to go up with him to Ramoth-gilead”: From here, to the end of the chapter, it is the same with (1 Kings 22:4).
This is actually many years after the marriage of Jehoshaphat’s son and Ahab’s wicked daughter. This journey was believed to be in the 17th year of Jehoshaphat’s reign. Ahab had probably invited Jehoshaphat to come, so he could talk him into helping him. The animals slaughtered were for a great feast for Jehoshaphat. Ramoth-gilead was the place for the battle that Ahab had planned. This was a city in the land of Gad.
2 Chronicles 18:3 “And Ahab king of Israel said unto Jehoshaphat king of Judah, Wilt thou go with me to Ramoth-gilead? And he answered him, I [am] as thou [art], and my people as thy people; and [we will be] with thee in the war.”
For the background to Jehoshaphat’s joining forces with “Ahab” (see the notes on 1 Kings 22:1-3 and 22:4(. For further details (see the notes on 1 Kings 22:6-8 and 22:37-38).
They were in-laws, since their children had married. Jehoshaphat would like to help him in his trouble.
2 Chronicles 18:4 “And Jehoshaphat said unto the king of Israel, Inquire, I pray thee, at the word of the LORD to day.”
“Inquire … at the word of the Lord”: Jehoshaphat was willing to help Ahab fight Syria (verse 4), but reminded Ahab of the need to seek the will of the Lord before going into battle (1 Sam. 23:1-5, 9-13; 2 Sam. 2:1; 5:19-25; 2 Kings 3:11-20).
Ahab was not a follower of the LORD. This request from Jehoshaphat was so that he would not be in a battle that would displease God. Since he was in the land of Ahab, it would have to be Ahab who would inquire of the LORD.
Verses 5-6: These 400 men may have been some of the prophets who survived the fiery contest on Mount Carmel (1 Kings 18:19-40). Clearly, these prophets were more willing to tell Ahab what he wanted to hear than to speak the truth of God to him.
2 Chronicles 18:5 “Therefore the king of Israel gathered together of prophets four hundred men, and said unto them, Shall we go to Ramoth-gilead to battle, or shall I forbear? And they said, Go up; for God will deliver [it] into the king’s hand.”
“Prophets”: These 400 prophets of Ahab were not true prophets of the Lord. They worshiped at Beth-el in the golden-calf center set up by Jeroboam (1 Kings 12:28-29), and were supported by Ahab, whose religious policy also permitted Baal worship. Their words were designed to please Ahab (verse 8), so they refused to begin with the authoritative “thus says the Lord” and did not use the covenant name for Israel’s God, “Lord.”
Evil kings had false prophets who told them what they wanted to hear (compare Isa. 30:10-11; Jer. 14:13-16; 23:16, 21, 30-36). The true prophet spoke God’s Word and was arrested (verse 26).
These 400 prophets were not of Baal or Ashteroth, but were the prophets that had been chosen to serve in the calf worship. They were not true prophets, however. They would say exactly what the king wanted to hear. They were not true prophets of God.
2 Chronicles 18:6 But Jehoshaphat said, [Is there] not here a prophet of the LORD besides, that we might inquire of him?
“A prophet of the Lord”: Jehoshaphat recognized that the 400 prophets were not true prophets of the Lord, and wished to hear from a true prophet.
Jehoshaphat was not impressed with these prophets, who had not been ordained of God to be prophets. He wants to hear from a true prophet of God.
2 Chronicles 18:7 “And the king of Israel said unto Jehoshaphat, [There is] yet one man, by whom we may inquire of the LORD: but I hate him; for he never prophesied good unto me, but always evil: the same[is] Micaiah the son of Imla. And Jehoshaphat said, Let not the king say so.”
Ahab did not like the prophet “Micaiah” because he would not conform to the king’s expectations.
“Micaiah”: His name means “Who is like the lord?”
Ahab did not like the prophet Micaiah, because he prophesied the truth about Ahab. Ahab did not want to hear the truth. He wanted the prophet to agree with him. He is the only true prophet among them all. There is little known about Micaiah, except what is here. He seemed to be a prophet who had warned Ahab in the past. Jehoshaphat seems to be courteous to Ahab here, but Ahab is aware that Jehoshaphat wants to hear the prophet, so he sends for him.
2 Chronicles 18:8 “And the king of Israel called for one [of his] officers, and said, Fetch quickly Micaiah the son of Imla.”
“And said, hasten hither Micaiah the son of Imlah”: Who, as it seems from (1 Kings 22:26), was in prison, where perhaps Ahab had cast him for his last prophecy to him, and where he had lain ever since. And this gives a reason why he could so readily send for him, knowing where he was.
Ahab felt he needed the help of Jehoshaphat so badly, that he would chance a bad report from him. He sends for him to come to the palace.
He seems to be well-known. The officer knew where to find him. He went and brought the prophet to speak to Ahab and Jehoshaphat.
2 Chronicles 18:9 “And the king of Israel and Jehoshaphat king of Judah sat either of them on his throne, clothed in [their] robes, and they sat in a void place at the entering in of the gate of Samaria; and all the prophets prophesied before them.”
In great state and majesty.
“Throne”: A portable, high-backed chair made of wood with arm rests and separate foot stool.
“Having put on their robes”: Their royal robes, which they wore when they appeared in pomp and grandeur.
“In a void place in the entrance of the gate of Samaria”: Where courts of judicature were held, and there was an open void space for the people to assemble in to hear. The word has the signification of a corn floor, and the Jews suppose they and their attendants sat in a semicircle like the half of a corn floor, after the same manner in which they say the Sanhedrim at Jerusalem sat.
“And all the prophets prophesied before them”: Concerning this affair of going to Ramoth-gilead.
These were their robes of authority as kings of their people. It is interesting that Jehoshaphat sat on his own throne. It was possibly a portable throne, carried with his for just such an occasion. The 400 prophesied even as they sent for Micaiah.
The place they were to accept the prophets, had to be a fairly large flat area for 401 prophets to be there. The robes meant that Jehoshaphat and Ahab were in their kingly robes. All of the prophets who had a message, would be heard.
2 Chronicles 18:10 “And Zedekiah the son of Chenaanah had made him horns of iron, and said, Thus saith the LORD, With these thou shalt push Syria until they be consumed.”
“Zedekiah”: He was the spokesman for the false prophets. He used the introductory formula and God’s covenant name.
The “horns of iron” was a familiar symbol of strong victory. It is found not only in the Scriptures (Dan. 8:7; Micah 4:13; Zech. 1:18-19), but also in the inscriptions and art of the ancient Near East.
“Zedekiah” means “Justice of Jehovah”. The name lets us know that these were not prophets of Astarte. “Horns” denote power. The fact they were made of iron; means they are almost unbreakable.
“Horns” symbolize strength or power. These horns of iron would show great strength. Zedekiah was saying, that the power of Ahab was so great, he could not lose. Syria would be nothing more than a push-over for him.
2 Chronicles 18:11 “And all the prophets prophesied so, saying, Go up to Ramoth-gilead, and prosper: for the LORD shall deliver [it] into the hand of the king.”
Saying, go up to Ramoth-gilead, and prosper”: All encouraged the king to go up against this place, and prophesied of victory, as Zedekiah did.
“For the Lord shall deliver it into the king’s hand”: (see 1 Kings 22:6).
It seems all 400 prophets agreed that they should attack Syria and take Ramoth-gilead. They are promising the blessings of the LORD on the army of Israel and the army of Judah.
Of course all of these false prophets would say the same thing, because that was what Ahab wanted to hear. They were prophesying to itching ears and not the truth.
2 Chronicles 18:12 “And the messenger that went to call Micaiah spake to him, saying, Behold, the words of the prophets [declare] good to the king with one assent; let thy word therefore, I pray thee, be like one of theirs, and speak thou good.”
“Behold, now, the words of the prophets declare good unto the king with one mouth”: They are unanimous that he shall prosper in his undertaking against the Syrians.
“Let thy word, I pray thee, be like the word of one of them, and speak that which is good”: Which, as an ignorant man, he might advise from good will to the prophet, that he might not be branded with singularity, and a spirit of contradiction. And that he might have the favor of the king, and be released from prison, pitying his miserable condition in which he found him.
Not only had Ahab sent for him to come and prophesy, but the messenger is trying to tell Micaiah what to say. He would not be a true prophet, if he prophesied what the king wanted to hear. He would have to speak the Words the LORD put into his mouth.
This messenger that went to get Micaiah, did not want any trouble. He asked Micaiah to say the same thing the 400 false prophets had said. This would not be much of a prophet that would allow a messenger from this evil king tell him what to prophesy.
2 Chronicles 18:13 “And Micaiah said, [As] the LORD liveth, even what my God saith, that will I speak.”
He swore by the living God, for the confirmation of what he was about to say.
“What the Lord saith unto me, that will I speak”: Truly and faithfully, keeping nothing back, nor adding anything, whether it be good or evil, pleasing or displeasing. It looks as if he had no instruction from the Lord what to say, and yet the vision he later declares seems to have been had by him before (1 Kings 22:17).
Micaiah would go, but he would say exactly what God tells him to say.
This is spoken like a true prophet. He is a messenger from God.
2 Chronicles 18:14 “And when he was come to the king, the king said unto him, Micaiah, shall we go to Ramoth-gilead to battle, or shall I forbear? And he said, Go ye up, and prosper, and they shall be delivered into your hand.”
“Micaiah” apparently gave to the “king” the words that he wanted. However, the sarcastic tone of his voice was clearly recognizable, and Ahab demanded that he speak what he really believed (verse 16).
“Go, and prosper”: Micaiah sarcastically repeated the message of the false prophets as he had been encouraged to do (verse 13). Ahab clearly sensed the sarcasm and demanded that Micaiah tell him the truth.
The initial response from the prophet “Micaiah” was likely a sarcastic parody of the message the other 400 prophets had delivered to Ahab. When Ahab asks for the truth, Micaiah does not hesitate to give it.
This was a true prophecy from God. They probably might win the battle. But not all would come back alive though. He did not tell a lie; he just did not tell all of the truth. This is really what he thought they wanted from him.
2 Chronicles 18:15 “And the king said to him, How many times shall I adjure thee that thou say nothing but the truth to me in the name of the LORD?”
Not that he had as yet urged him at all, or not till now; but he asks him how often he must be obliged to do it. And now he adjures him once for all, that he might not be forced to repeat it.
“That thou tell me nothing but that which is true in the name of the Lord?” For he observed he did not speak in the name of the Lord before, and what he said was not in a serious but ludicrous manner, and not to be regarded as truth.
This is the reply the king gives to Micaiah. He wants the absolute truth from the LORD.
King Ahab senses there was something wrong here. He usually prophesied against Ahab.
2 Chronicles 18:16 “Then he said, I did see all Israel scattered upon the mountains, as sheep that have no shepherd: and the LORD said, These have no master; let them return [therefore] every man to his house in peace.”
“Sheep that have not a shepherd”: The image of the king as a shepherd and his people as the sheep was a familiar one (Num. 27:16-17; Zech. 13:7). Micaiah’s point was that Israel’s shepherd, King Ahab, would be killed and his army scattered.
This parabolic vision depicts the shepherdless Israelite forces trying to find their way home after being defeated in the battle.
Now we get a few more of the details of the prophecy. Their leader Ahab, would die. They would be sheep without a shepherd. The battle would be over, and all would go home in peace. The only difference was Ahab would die.
2 Chronicles 18:17 “And the king of Israel said to Jehoshaphat, Did I not tell thee [that] he would not prophesy good unto me, but evil?”
Plainly perceiving that the prophet foretold that he should fall in battle.
“Did not I tell thee that he would prophesy no good concerning me, but evil?” Intimating that this proceeded from spite and malice, from ill will to him and hatred of him, and was not from the Lord, and therefore not to be regarded. He had told him three years ago his life should go for letting Ben-hadad go; but it had not proved true, and no more would this. And Jehoshaphat being an easy man, and too credulous, believed what Ahab said of the character of this prophet, or otherwise it is not to be accounted for that he should go with him to war after such a declaration made.
The king of Israel these verses keep referring to is speaking of Ahab. Ahab knew that he had displeased God. He could expect nothing more than what the prophet had said if he is a true prophet.
Ahab did not take this as a warning, but as an affront from this prophet of the LORD. He reminded Jehoshaphat, that he had said this prophet would speak evil of him.
Verses 18-22: The prophet spoke of two visions that revealed to him the Lord has put a “lying spirit in the mouth of all his prophets”. God had given these prophets over to their sinful desire to please the evil king rather than to please God (James 1:13-14).
2 Chronicles 18:18 “Again he said, Therefore hear the word of the LORD; I saw the LORD sitting upon his throne, and all the host of heaven standing on his right hand and [on] his left.”
Since he had represented what he had said as proceeding from hatred to him, he would make it clear and plain that what he had said was the word of the Lord, and according to his mind. And that what the other prophets had said was owing to a lying spirit in them, which the Lord suffered for his ruin. All which are represented as in a vision, in which things are brought down to the capacities of men, and not as really transacted.
“I saw the Lord sitting on his throne”: So it was represented to his mind, as if he had seen with his bodily eyes the divine Being in a glorious form, as a king sitting on his throne, to do justice and judgment. As Ahab and Jehoshaphat were now sitting on their thrones, only as a far greater King, even the King of kings, and in a more splendid manner.
“And all the host of heaven standing by him on his right hand and on his left”: The ministering angels ready to do his will.
This is Micaiah speaking on. He says let me tell you even more. This is a statement from the prophet, that it is truly the LORD who is the King of all the earth and the heavens. It is His will that is done. Those standing around Him are subject to do whatever He wishes.
Micaiah had a vision of heaven and the throne of God. Notice, this prophet was telling Ahab that these words were from God. The “host of heaven” here, would be angels that were there to do the wishes of the LORD. “Angels” are ministering spirits.
2 Chronicles 18:19 “And the LORD said, Who shall entice Ahab king of Israel, that he may go up and fall at Ramoth-gilead? And one spake saying after this manner, and another saying after that manner.”
Not that it can be supposed that the Lord entered into a consultation with the angels upon this subject; only that it was the decree of God that he should go thither, and fall by the hand of the man whom he had let go, as a just punishment of him.
“And one said on this manner, and another said on that manner”: Not that there was such an altercation among them; it only signifies, that there are various ways and means, by which the purposes and decrees of God may be and are brought about.
These angel spirits around the throne were included in the actions of the LORD. It is interesting, that God would use these angel spirits. He could have just as easily caused Ahab to believe the lie without all of this. He had chosen to bring the lie to Ahab through these 400 false prophets however. He would die at Ramoth-gilead, after they convinced him to go.
2 Chronicles 18:20 “Then there came out a spirit, and stood before the LORD, and said, I will entice him. And the LORD said unto him, Wherewith?”
Not from the heavenly host on the right hand or the left, for they are pure and holy spirits, and impeccable, and cannot lie or deceive. But the evil spirit, Satan, the father of lies, the old deceiver, who came forth from his own place and his own company.
“And stood before the Lord presented himself before him”: As Satan did, Job 1:6.
“And said, l will persuade him”: Or prevail upon him; evil spirits love to be employed in doing harm to men, they go about seeking whom they may devour. This could not be the spirit of Naboth, as the Jews say, seeking revenge on Ahab; that was in a state of happiness, could not move from thence, and be capable of sinning.
This is the vision that Micaiah had of what goes on in the heavenlies. The LORD dispatches a spirit to go, and persuade Ahab to go to the battle at Ramoth-gilead and fall there.
2 Chronicles 18:21 “And he said, I will go out, and be a lying spirit in the mouth of all his prophets. And [the LORD] said, Thou shalt entice [him], and thou shalt also prevail: go out, and do [even] so.”
“A lying spirit”: This must be Satan, whom the Lord allowed to speak through 400 demons who indwelt the 400 false prophets.
This lying spirit would enter into the 400 false prophets, and they would prophesy a lie.
2 Chronicles 18:22 Now therefore, behold, the LORD hath put a lying spirit in the mouth of these thy prophets, and the LORD hath spoken evil against thee.”
That is, suffered the lying spirit to suggest a lie to them, and sent them strong delusions to believe that lie, whose minds were disposed at any rate to flatter Ahab, to whom they told it. Which was the way designed to bring him to the ruin appointed for him.
“And the Lord hath spoken evil concerning thee”: He had decreed it in himself, declared it by Micaiah his prophet, and suffered all those steps to be taken by Satan and the false prophets, to bring him to it.
In a sense, he is accusing the 400 prophets, first brought before Ahab to be lying. He explains that the LORD, Himself sent the lying spirit to deceive even the prophets. They have given the message sent from the throne of the LORD, but it is placed in their mouths by the lying prophet.
Michaiah was telling Ahab the truth, but he preferred to listen to the lies of the false prophets, because they were telling him something he wanted to hear.
2 Chronicles 18:23 “Then Zedekiah the son of Chenaanah came near, and smote Micaiah upon the cheek, and said, Which way went the Spirit of the LORD from me to speak unto thee?”
“Smote … on the cheek”: This was a rebuke by the leader of the false prophets (verse 6), for the perceived insolence of Micaiah and his claim to truly speak for God. It was followed by a sarcastic question asking if the prophet could tell which direction the spirit in Zedekiah had gone.
Now Zedekiah is accusing Micaiah of lying. He strikes him on the face, to show his disgust for his prophecy.
We see that the slap of Micaiah by Zedekiah was a way of insulting him. Zedekiah was saying, you were not hearing from God. We do not have a lying spirit speaking through us.
2 Chronicles 18:24 “And Micaiah said, Behold, thou shalt see on that day when thou shalt go into an inner chamber to hide thyself.”
Who would accompany Ahab to the battle, and upon his being wounded, flee to the first place of secrecy for safety. Or, upon the news of his defeat brought to Samaria, would betake himself to a private chamber for security, fearing the enemy would pursue to the very place. Or else through fear of the populace, who would attribute the death of the king to the advice of him and the other prophets.
This is a true statement. Time will prove which of the prophets are telling the truth. Zedekiah will hide in an inner chamber when he discovers that Micaiah’s prophecy is true.
Micaiah told Zedekiah that time would settle this. A prophecy that comes true is from God.
2 Chronicles 18:25 “Then the king of Israel said, Take ye Micaiah, and carry him back to Amon the governor of the city, and to Joash the king’s son;”
To some of his officers.
“Take Micaiah, and carry him back unto Amon the governor of the city”: The chief magistrate under the king; a sort of sheriff, who had the care of malefactors, and of all committed to prison, from whom he was received by the messenger, and now sent back to him.
“And to Joash the king’s son”: Who might be over his household, as sometimes the king’s son was (2 Chron. 26:21). Or might be viceroy while the king was without the city, and at the gate of it, and about to go to war.
2 Chronicles 18:26 “And say, Thus saith the king, Put this [fellow] in the prison, and feed him with bread of affliction and with water of affliction, until I return in peace.”
In the common prison of the city, where he had been before, as it seems; and might be now ordered into a more confined place in it, and what might be called “little ease”.
“And feed him with bread of affliction, and with water of affliction”: With bad bread and foul water, and but little of either; just enough to keep alive, and to continue starving.
“Until I come in peace”: Which he seemed confident of, and intimates that then he would punish him more severely, even with death, as a false prophet.
It appears they had already had Micaiah locked up, because the king did not like his prophecies. This is probably speaking of the person in charge of the prison, not actually Ahab’s son. It would be highly unlikely the king’s son would be a jail-keeper.
2 Chronicles 18:27 “And Micaiah said, If thou certainly return in peace, [then] hath not the LORD spoken by me. And he said, Hearken, all ye people.”
“If thou return”: In accordance with (Deut. 18:21-22); Micaiah declared to Ahab that if he lived to return from the battle, then he had uttered a false prophecy.
A prophet had a rough life if he told the truth. Many times, the message for the king was not what he wanted to hear and he punished the prophet. In this particular case, they put him in prison and gave him nothing but bread and water. Ahab had believed a lie, and would go to war. He believes he will come back successful, so he says, “until I come in peace”. If Ahab returns, Micaiah is a false prophet.
If Ahab returned alive it would mean that Micaiah was not a true prophet. If Ahab died in the battle, Micaiah was the only true prophet of Ahab’s prophets. Micaiah wanted all of the people to remember this.
2 Chronicles 18:28 “So the king of Israel and Jehoshaphat the king of Judah went up to Ramoth-gilead.”
Which, according to Bunting, was twenty-four miles from Samaria. That Ahab went is no wonder, it was his own idea first, his inclination led to it, his prophets encouraged him, and, in bravado to the prophet of the Lord, was determined upon it. But it may seem much stranger that Jehoshaphat should, after such an account as Micaiah had given, and who, doubtless, could observe a great difference between him and the prophets of Ahab. And yet there is much to be said which might incline him to go, as that there were four hundred prophets all agreed, and who made use of the name of the Lord, and pretended to be true prophets. And though he might suspect them, he could not confute them. And Micaiah, he prophesied evil of Ahab only, and therefore Jehoshaphat might think himself safe in going. Besides, he had given his word to Ahab, and he did not choose to go from it; to which may be added, that Ahab’s cause was just, to recover a part of his own dominions.
Jehoshaphat would have been willing to listen to Micaiah’s advice and call off the battle against Syria. Ahab was determined that Micaiah was a false prophet, so he went ahead with the battle.
2 Chronicles 18:29 “And the king of Israel said unto Jehoshaphat, I will disguise myself, and will go to the battle; but put thou on thy robes. So the king of Israel disguised himself; and they went to the battle.”
Ahab never acted on spiritual advice, but he was taking no chances in the upcoming battle.
“Disguise myself”: Rejecting the prophecy, but fearing it also, Ahab decided not to wear his official robe, but the clothes of an ordinary soldier.
Ahab thought he could outsmart God by disguising himself. But God’s purposes are never thwarted by human schemes (1 Sam. 28:8).
This is a very evil request in itself. Ahab thought if anyone should be killed, it would be Jehoshaphat. He thought the king of Syria would mistake Jehoshaphat for him. Ahab put on the clothes of the common soldier and went into battle.
Jehoshaphat probably believed Michaiah, but he realized the harm would not come to him individually. In a sense Ahab believed him too, because he disguised himself, thinking they would not kill him if they thought him to be a commoner.
2 Chronicles 18:30 “Now the king of Syria had commanded the captains of the chariots that [were] with him, saying, Fight ye not with small or great, save only with the king of Israel.”
“Save only with the king of Israel”: The very Syrian king, Ben-hadad, whose life Ahab had spared (20:34), ungratefully singled him out for death.
Ben-hadad was still angry with Ahab for the two battles they had fought, when Ben-hadad lost thousands of his men. His anger is vented against Ahab personally. These thirty-two captains are specifically over the chariots, which is the strongest and best of the army. He is not saying that they should not kill any of the soldiers, if it is necessary. He is saying, concentrate on killing Ahab.
The orders from the king of Syria to his men was that they were not to kill anyone, except king Ahab. He had no quarrel with the men, just Ahab.
Verses 31-32: Like Abijah (chapter 13), and Asa (chapter 14), before him, Jehoshaphat “cried out” to God and God intervened to save him. The Lord’s favor on Jehoshaphat was clearly visible to people trying to kill him, something they realized they would not see in the king of Israel.
2 Chronicles 18:31 “And it came to pass, when the captains of the chariots saw Jehoshaphat, that they said, It [is] the king of Israel. Therefore they compassed about him to fight: but Jehoshaphat cried out, and the LORD helped him; and God moved them [to depart] from him.”
“Jehoshaphat cried out”: According to (2 Chron. 18:31), this was a prayer for the Lord’s deliverance. Jehoshaphat’s cry showed the Syrians that he was not Ahab.
Jehoshaphat had on the kingly robes, and the men of Syria thought he was Ahab. The had encircled him to kill him, but he cried out that he was Jehoshaphat, and they believed him. God had actually opened their understanding that this truly was not Ahab.
2 Chronicles 18:32 “For it came to pass, that, when the captains of the chariots perceived that it was not the king of Israel, they turned back again from pursuing him.”
Against whom only their orders were to fight.
“That they turned back from pursuing him”: For upon so great a force coming upon him he could not withstand, so he fled.
Perhaps, the king of Judah cried out and told them he was not Ahab. It was possible that the thirty-two captains knew Ahab’s voice and the voice of Jehoshaphat were not recognized as Ahab. He could have actually shouted something about Judah, which would have also caused them to know he was not Ahab. We do not know what showed them he was not Ahab, only that they did realize he was not. Their recognition of Jehoshaphat is what turned them away.
The men of Syria moved away from Jehoshaphat, when they realized he was not the king they were looking for.
2 Chronicles 18:33 “And a [certain] man drew a bow at a venture, and smote the king of Israel between the joints of the harness: therefore he said to his chariot man, Turn thine hand, that thou mayest carry me out of the host; for I am wounded.”
This bow, drawn “at a venture”, fulfilled the prophecy Micaiah had given earlier, and was certainly orchestrated by God.
The person who shot the arrow was not aiming at anything. He shot an arrow in the air at random, not expecting to hit anyone. God guided the arrow to the vital part of Ahab. He was shot in the area of his heart. This was the area covered by the breastplate. Ahab was not instantly killed, and requested his chariot man to turn the chariot around and take him out of the heat of the battle.
2 Chronicles 18:34 “And the battle increased that day: howbeit the king of Israel stayed [himself] up in [his] chariot against the Syrians until the even: and about the time of the sun going down he died.”
Whatever his faults might have been, Ahab did not die as a coward. He did not allow his mortal “wound” to be a source of discouragement, hence defeat for his troops.
It seemed he remained in his chariot, even though he was wounded and removed from the front lines. He possibly even continued to fight at his retreated position, until he died. There seemed to be a pool of blood in the bottom of the chariot he died in.
One thing we would have to say for Ahab, he was a brave man. He retired to the outer part of the battle and fought all day even wounded as he was, before he died. His blood collected in the bottom of the chariot. His chariot was washed at the pool of Samaria and his blood was licked up of the dogs, as was prophesied.
2 Chronicles Chapter 18 Questions
- What terrible thing did Jehoshaphat do in verse 1?
- Who was Ahab’s evil wife?
- What did Jehoshaphat do, that was even worse than joining affinity with Ahab?
- When did Jehoshaphat go to see Ahab in Samaria?
- What did Ahab do in his honor?
- Ramoth-gilead was the place of the __________.
- It was in the land of ______.
- What did Ahab ask Jehoshaphat to do?
- How did Jehoshaphat answer him?
- Who did Jehoshaphat want to consult before going to battle?
- How many prophets came to speak?
- Who were these prophets?
- What would these prophets say?
- Was Jehoshaphat satisfied with the 400 prophets?
- Why had Ahab not called Micaiah already?
- Where did Ahab receive the prophets?
- Who seemed to be the leader of the 400 prophets?
- What had he made of iron?
- “Horns” symbolize ____________, or __________.
- What message did the prophets give Ahab?
- What did the messenger, that went for Micaiah, try to get him to say?
- In verse 16, Micaiah saw what?
- What did that mean?
- What did Ahab do to Michaiah?
- What are the “host of heaven” spoken of here?
- What are “angels”?
- Whose mouth will the lie come from?
- What was meant by slapping Micaiah?
- What will determine which prophecy is true?
- What happens to Ahab?
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