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The Oxford Study Bible Study Bible supplemented with commentary from scholars of various religions.

Chapter 22

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1 FOR three years there was no war between the Aramaeans and the Israelites. 2 a 22:2–35 Cp. 2 Chr. 18:2–34 . In the third year King Jehoshaphat of Judah went down to visit the king of Israel, 3who had said to his ministers, ‘You know that Ramoth-gilead belongs to us, and yet we do nothing to recover it from the king of Aram’; 4and to Jehoshaphat he said, ‘Will you join me in attacking Ramoth-gilead?’ Jehoshaphat replied, ‘What is mine is yours: myself, my people, and my horses,’ 5but he said to the king of Israel, ‘First let us seek counsel from the LORD.’

6The king of Israel assembled the prophets, some four hundred of them, and asked, ‘Shall I attack Ramoth-gilead or not?’ ‘Attack,’ was the answer; ‘the Lord will deliver it into your majesty's hands.’ 7Jehoshaphat asked, ‘Is there no other prophet of the LORD here through whom we may seek guidance?’ 8‘There is one more’, the king of Israel answered, ‘through whom we may seek guidance of the LORD, but I hate the man, because he never prophesies good for me, never anything but evil. His name is Micaiah son of Imlah.’ Jehoshaphat exclaimed, ‘My lord king, let no such word pass your lips!’ 9So the king of Israel called one of his eunuchs and told him to fetch Micaiah son of Imlah with all speed.

10The king of Israel and King Jehoshaphat of Judah in their royal robes were seated on their thrones at the entrance to the gate of Samaria, and all the prophets were prophesying before them. 11One of them, Zedekiah son of Kenaanah, made himself iron horns and declared, ‘This is the word of the LORD: With horns like these you will gore the Aramaeans and make an end of them.’ 12In the same vein all the prophets prophesied, ‘Attack Ramoth-gilead and win the day; the LORD will deliver it into your hands.’

13The messenger sent to fetch Micaiah told him that the prophets had unanimously given the king a favourable answer. ‘And mind you agree with them,’ he added. 14‘As the LORD lives,’ said Micaiah, ‘I shall say only what the LORD tells me to say.’ 15When he came into the king's presence, the king asked, ‘Micaiah, shall I attack Ramoth-gilead, or shall I b 22:15 I: so Gk; Heb. we. refrain?’ ‘Attack and win the day,’ he replied; ‘the LORD will deliver it into your hands.’ 16‘How often must I adjure you’, said the king, ‘to tell me nothing but the truth in the name of the LORD?’ 17Then Micaiah said,

‘I saw all Israel scattered on the mountains, like sheep without a shepherd; and I heard the LORD say, “They have no master; let them go home in peace.” ’

18The king of Israel said to Jehoshaphat, ‘Did I not tell you that he never prophesies good for me, never anything but evil?’ 19Micaiah went on, ‘Listen now to the word of the LORD: I saw the LORD seated on his throne, with all the host of heaven in attendance on his right and on his left. 20The LORD said, “Who will entice Ahab to go up and attack Ramoth-gilead?” One said one thing and one said another, 21until a spirit came forward and, standing before the LORD, said, “I shall entice him.” 22“How?” said the LORD. “I shall go out”, he answered, “and be a lying spirit in the mouths of all his prophets.” “Entice him; you will succeed,” said the LORD. “Go and do it.” 23You see, then, how the LORD has put a lying spirit in the mouths of all these prophets of yours, because he has decreed disaster for you.’

24At that, Zedekiah son of Kenaanah came up to Micaiah and struck him in the face: ‘And how did the spirit of the LORD pass from me to speak to you?’ he demanded. 25Micaiah retorted, ‘That you will find out on the day when you run into an inner room to hide.’ 26The king of Israel ordered Micaiah to be arrested and committed to the custody of Amon the governor of the city and Joash the king's son c 22:26 son: or deputy. . 27‘Throw this fellow into prison,’ he said, ‘and put him on a prison diet of bread and water until I come home in safety.’ 28Micaiah declared, ‘If you do return in safety, the LORD has not spoken by me d 22:28 by me: so Gk; Heb. adds and he said, ‘Listen, peoples, all together.’ .’

29The king of Israel and King Jehoshaphat of Judah marched on Ramoth-gilead. 30The king of Israel went into battle in disguise, for he had said to Jehoshaphat, ‘I shall disguise myself to go into battle, but you must wear your royal robes.’ 31The king of Aram had ordered the thirty-two captains of his chariots not to engage all and sundry, but the king of Israel alone. 32When the captains saw Jehoshaphat, they thought he was the king of Israel and turned to attack him, but Jehoshaphat cried out, 33and when the captains saw that he was not the king of Israel, they broke off the attack on him. 34One man, however, drew his bow at random and hit the king of Israel where the breastplate joins the plates of the armour. The king said to his driver, ‘Turn about and take me out of the line; I am wounded.’ 35When the day's fighting reached its height, the king was facing the Aramaeans, propped up in his chariot, and the blood from his wound flowed down to the floor of the chariot; and in the evening he died. 36At sunset the herald went through the ranks, crying, ‘Every man to his city, every man to his country.’ 37Thus the king died. He was brought to Samaria and buried there. 38The chariot was swilled out at the pool of Samaria where the prostitutes washed themselves, and dogs licked up the blood, in fulfilment of the word the LORD had spoken.

39The other acts and events of Ahab's reign, the palace he decorated with ivory and all the towns he built, are recorded in the annals of the kings of Israel. 40Ahab rested with his forefathers and was succeeded by his son Ahaziah.

41 e 22:41–43 Cp. 2 Chr. 20:31–33 . Jehoshaphat son of Asa had become king of Judah in the fourth year of King Ahab of Israel. 42He was thirty-five years old when he came to the throne, and he reigned in Jerusalem for twenty-five years; his mother was Azubah daughter of Shilhi. 43He followed in the footsteps of Asa his father and did not deviate from them; he did what was right in the eyes of the LORD. But the shrines were allowed to remain; the people continued to sacrifice and burn offerings there f 22:43 But … there: verse 44 in Heb. . 44Jehoshaphat remained at peace with the king of Israel. 45The other events of Jehoshaphat's reign, his exploits and his wars, are recorded in the annals of the kings of Judah. 46He expelled from the land such of the male prostitutes attached to the shrines as were still left from the days of Asa his father.

47There was no king in Edom, only g 22:47 only: prob. rdg; Heb. omits. a viceroy of Jehoshaphat; 48he built merchantmen h 22:48 merchantmen: lit. ships of Tarshish. to sail to Ophir for gold, but they never made the voyage because they were wrecked at Ezion-geber. 49Ahaziah son of Ahab proposed to Jehoshaphat that his men should go to sea with Jehoshaphat's; but Jehoshaphat would not agree.

50Jehoshaphat rested with his forefathers and was buried with them in the city of David his father; he was succeeded by his son Joram.

51Ahaziah son of Ahab became king of Israel in Samaria in the seventeenth year of King Jehoshaphat of Judah, and reigned over Israel for two years. 52He did what was wrong in the eyes of the LORD, following in the footsteps of his father and mother and in those of Jeroboam son of Nebat, who had led Israel into sin. 53He served Baal and worshipped him, and provoked the anger of the LORD the God of Israel, as his father had done.

Notes:

a 22:2–35 Cp. 2 Chr. 18:2–34 .

b 22:15 I: so Gk; Heb. we.

c 22:26 son: or deputy.

d 22:28 by me: so Gk; Heb. adds and he said, ‘Listen, peoples, all together.’

e 22:41–43 Cp. 2 Chr. 20:31–33 .

f 22:43 But … there: verse 44 in Heb.

g 22:47 only: prob. rdg; Heb. omits.

h 22:48 merchantmen: lit. ships of Tarshish.

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