2 Chronicles 18
The story of this chapter we had just as it is here related in the
story of the reign of Ahab king of Israel,
2 Kings 22:41-50
There it looks more creditable to Ahab than any thing else recorded of
him that he was in league with so good a man as Jehoshaphat; here it is
a great blemish in the reign of Jehoshaphat that he thus connected
himself with so bad a man as Ahab. Here is,
I. The alliance he contracted himself with Ahab,
2 Chronicles 18:1.
II. His consent to join with him in his expedition for the recovery of
Ramoth-Gilead out of the hands of the Syrians,
2 Chronicles 18:2,3.
III. Their consulting with the prophets, false and true, before they
2 Chronicles 18:4-27.
IV. The success of their expedition. Jehoshaphat hardly escaped
(2 Chronicles 1*;28-32)
and Ahab received his death's wound,
2 Chronicles 18:33,34.
|Jehoshaphat's Alliance with Ahab.
||B. C. 897.|
1 Now Jehoshaphat had riches and honour in abundance, and
joined affinity with Ahab.
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.
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.
I. Jehoshaphat growing greater. It was said before
(2 Chronicles 17:5)
that he had riches and honour in abundance; and here it is said
again that his wealth and honour increased upon him by piety and good
II. Not growing wiser, else he would not have joined with Ahab, that
degenerate Israelite, who had sold himself to work wickedness. What
good could he get by a man that was so bad? What good could he do to a
man that was so obstinately wicked--an idolater, a persecutor? With him
he joined in affinity, that is, married his son Jehoram to Ahab's
1. This was the worst match that ever was made by any of the house of
David. I wonder what Jehoshaphat could promise himself by it.
(1.) Perhaps pride made the match, as it does many a one, which speeds
accordingly. His religion forbade him to marry his son to a daughter of
any of the heathen princes that were about him--Thou shalt not take
their daughters to thy sons; and, having riches and honour in
abundance, he thought it a disparagement to marry him to a subject. A
king's daughter it must be, and therefore Ahab's, little considering
that Jezebel was her mother.
(2.) Some think he did it in policy, hoping by this expedient to unite
the kingdoms in his son, Ahab perhaps flattering him with hopes that he
would make him his heir, when he intended no such thing.
2. This match drew Jehoshaphat,
(1.) Into an intimate familiarity with Ahab. He paid him a visit at
Samaria, and Ahab, proud of the honour which Jehoshaphat did him, gave
him a very splendid entertainment, according to the splendour of those
times: He killed sheep and oxen for him, plain meat, in
2 Chronicles 18:2.
In this Jehoshaphat did not walk so closely as he should have done in
the ways of his father David, who hated the congregation of
evil-doers and would not sit with the wicked
nor desired to eat of their dainties,
(2.) Into a league with Ahab against the Syrians. Ahab persuaded him to
join forces with him in an expedition for the recovery of
Ramoth-Gilead, a city in the tribe of Gad, on the other side Jordan.
Did not Ahab know that that, and all the other cities of Israel, did of
right belong to Jehoshaphat, as heir of the house of David? With what
face then could he ask Jehoshaphat to assist him in recovering it for
himself, whose title to the crown was usurped and precarious? Yet
Jehoshaphat, an easy man, yields to go with him: I am as thou
2 Chronicles 18:3.
Some men's kindnesses are dangerous, as well as their society
infectious. The feast Ahab made for Jehoshaphat was designed only to
wheedle him into the expedition. The kisses of an enemy are
|The Prophets Are Consulted.
||B. C. 897.|
4 And Jehoshaphat said unto the king of Israel, Enquire, I pray
thee, at the word of the LORD to day.
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.
6 But Jehoshaphat said, Is there not here a prophet of the
LORD besides, that we might enquire of him?
7 And the king of Israel said unto Jehoshaphat, There is yet
one man, by whom we may enquire 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
8 And the king of Israel called for one of his officers, and
said, Fetch quickly Micaiah the son of Imla.
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.
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.
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.
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.
13 And Micaiah said, As the LORD liveth, even what my God
saith, that will I speak.
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.
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
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.
17 And the king of Israel said to Jehoshaphat, Did I not tell
thee that he would not prophesy good unto me, but evil?
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.
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.
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?
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.
22 Now therefore, behold, the LORD hath put a lying spirit in
the mouth of these thy prophets, and the LORD hath spoken evil
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?
24 And Micaiah said, Behold, thou shalt see on that day when
thou shalt go into an inner chamber to hide thyself.
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
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.
27 And Micaiah said, If thou certainly return in peace, then
hath not the LORD spoken by me. And he said, Hearken, all ye
This is almost word for word the same with what we had,
1 Kings 22:41-50
We will not repeat what was there said, nor have we much to add, but
may take occasion to think,
1. Of the great duty of acknowledging God in all our ways and
enquiring at his word, whatever we undertake. Jehoshaphat was not
willing to proceed till he had done this,
2 Chronicles 18:4.
By particular believing prayer, by an unbiased consultation of the
scripture and our own consciences, and by an observant regard to the
hints of providence, we may make such enquiries and very much to our
2. Of the great danger of bad company even to good men. Those that
have more wisdom, grace, and resolution, cannot be sure that they can
converse familiarly with wicked people and get no hurt by them.
Jehoshaphat here, in complaisance to Ahab, sits in his robes, patiently
hearing the false prophets speaking lies in the name of the Lord
(2 Chronicles 18:9),
can scarcely find in his heart to give him a too mild and gentle
reproof for hating a prophet of the Lord
(2 Chronicles 18:7),
and dares not rebuke that false prophet who basely abused the faithful
seer nor oppose Ahab who committed him to prison. Those who venture
among the seats of the scornful cannot come off without a great deal of
the guilt attaching to at least the omission of their duty, unless they
have such measures of wisdom and courage as few can pretend to.
3. Of the unhappiness of those who are surrounded with flatterers,
especially flattering prophets, who cry peace to them and prophesy
nothing but smooth things. Thus was Ahab cheated into his ruin, and
justly; for he hearkened to such, and preferred those that humoured him
before a good prophet that gave him fair warning of his danger. Those
do best for themselves that give their friends leave, and particularly
their ministers, to deal plainly and faithfully with them, and take
their reproofs not only patiently, but kindly. That counsel is not
always best for us that is most pleasing to us.
4. Of the power of Satan, by the divine permission, in the children
of disobedience. One lying spirit can make 400 lying prophets and
make use of them to deceive Ahab,
2 Chronicles 18:21.
The devil becomes a murderer by being a liar and destroys men by
5. Of the justice of God in giving those up to strong delusions, to
believe a lie, who will not receive the love of the truth, but rebel
2 Chronicles 18:21.
Let the lying spirit prevail to entice those to their ruin that
will not be persuaded to their duty and happiness.
6. Of the hard case of faithful ministers, whose lot it has often been
to be hated, and persecuted, and ill-treated, for being true to their
God and just and kind to the souls of men. Micaiah, for discharging a
good conscience, was buffeted, imprisoned, and condemned to the bread
and water of affliction. But he could with assurance appeal to the
issue, as all those may do who are persecuted for their faithfulness,
2 Chronicles 18:27.
The day will declare who is in the right and who in the wrong, when
Christ will appear, to the unspeakable consolation of his persecuted
people and the everlasting confusion of their persecutors, who will be
made to see in that day
(2 Chronicles 18:24)
what they will not now believe.
|Ahab Slain in Battle.
||B. C. 897.|
28 So the king of Israel and Jehoshaphat the king of Judah went
up to Ramoth-gilead.
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
We have here,
1. Good Jehoshaphat exposing himself in his robes, thereby endangered,
and yet delivered. We have reason to think that Ahab, while he
pretended friendship, really aimed at Jehoshaphat's life, to take him
off, that he might have the management of his successor, who was his
son-in-law, else he would never have advised him to enter into the
battle with his robes on, which was but to make himself an easy mark to
the enemy: and, if really he intended that, it was as unprincipled a
piece of treachery as ever man was guilty of, and justly was he himself
taken in the pit he digged for his friend. The enemy had soon an eye
upon the robes, and vigorously attacked the unwary prince who now, when
it was too late, wished himself in the habit of the poorest soldier,
rather than in his princely raiment. He cried out, either to his
friends to relieve him (but Ahab took no care of that), or to his
enemies, to rectify their mistake, and let them know that he was not
the king of Israel. Or perhaps he cried to God for succour and
deliverance (to whom else should he cry?) and he found it was not in
vain: The Lord helped him out of his distress, by moving the
captains to depart from him,
2 Chronicles 18:31.
God has all men's hearts in his hand, and turns them as he pleases,
contrary to their own first intentions, to serve his purposes. Many are
moved unaccountably both to themselves and others, but an invisible
power moves them.
2. Wicked Ahab disguising himself, arming himself thereby as he
thought securing himself, and yet slain,
2 Chronicles 18:33.
No art, no arms, can save those whom God has appointed to ruin. What
can hurt those whom God will protect? And what can shelter those whom
God will destroy? Jehoshaphat is safe in his robes, Ahab killed in his
armour; for the race is not to the swift nor the battle to the