- Ahab invites Jehoshaphat to join in recovering Ramoth-gilead, verse 1-4.
- His false prophets promise him success, verse 5, 6.
- He sends for Micaiah, verse 7-10.
- Farther promises, verse 11, 12.
- Micaiah's uprightness and prediction, verse 13-23.
- He is abused and imprisoned, verse 24-28.
- An account of the battle, wherein Ahab is slain, verse 29-40.
- The good reign of Jehoshaphat, verse 41-50.
- The wicked reign of Ahaziah, verse 51-53.
Came down, &c. - It is strange, that so good a man would be so closely connected with a king revolted from the worship of God! But he appears to have been of too easy a temper, which betrayed him to many inconveniencies.
Is ours - Belongeth to us by right. both by God's donation, and by our last agreement with Ben-hadad, chap. 20:34, which yet he refuseth to deliver up.
Enquire - A good man, wherever he goes, will take God along with him, will acknowledge him in all his ways, and look to him for success. And wherever he goes, he ought to take his religion along with him: and not be ashamed to own it, even among those who have no kindness for it.
The prophets - Doubtless his own false prophets, or the priests of the groves; who yet gave in their answer in the name of Jehovah; either, in compliance with Jehoshaphat, or by Ahab's direction, that Jehoshaphat might be deceived by them, into a good opinion of the war.
One man - In this place, for whom I can speedily send: for there were also other prophets elsewhere in the kingdom, but these were not at hand. Micaiah - Not one of the twelve prophets, who lived about a hundred and fifty years after this time, but another of that name. Let not, &c. - Let us neither hate his person, nor despise his message; but first hear it, and then do as we see cause.
Micaiah - It seems, he had imprisoned him; for verse 26, he bids the officer carry him back, namely to the place where he was before. Probably this was he that had reproved him, for letting Ben-hadad go: And for that, had lain in prison three years. But this did not make him less confident, or less faithful in delivering his message.
Said - What answer God shall put in to my mouth. Bravely resolved! And as became one who had an eye to a greater king than either of these.
Go - Using the very words of the false prophets, in way of derision. Micaiah's meaning is plainly this, because thou dost not seek to know the truth, but only to please thyself, go to the battle, as all thy prophets advise thee, and try the truth of their prediction by thy own experience.
I saw - In the spirit, or in a vision. The hills - Upon the mountains of Gilead, nigh Ramoth, where they lay encamped by Ahab's order. As sheep - As people who have lost their king. Return - Discharged from the war: which was fulfilled, verse 26.
Evil - Nay, but what evil was it, to tell him, what would be the event, if he proceeded in his expedition, while it was in his own power, whether he would proceed, or no? The greatest kindness we can do to one that is walking in a dangerous way, is to tell him of his danger.
He said - I will give thee a distinct and true account of the whole matter, in God's name and presence. I saw - By the eyes of my mind: for he could not see the Lord with bodily eyes. The Host - The angels, both good and bad, the one possibly on his right, the other on his left hand. Nor is it strange that the devils are called the host of heaven; if you consider, first, that their original seat was in heaven. Secondly, that the name of heaven is often given to all that part of the world which is above the earth, and among the rest, to the air, and where the devil's residence and dominion lies, Ephesians 2:2, and that both Michael and his angels, and the Dragon and his angels, are said to be, and to wage war in heaven, Revelation 12:7, either the air, or the church.
Who shall - This is not to be grossly understood, as if God were at a loss to find out an expedient to accomplish his own will; but only to bring down divine things to our shallow capacities, and to express the various means which God hath to execute his own designs.
A spirit - An evil spirit came, and presented himself before the throne.
He said - I will inspire a lie into the minds and mouths of his prophets. Thou shalt - I will give them up into thy hands, and leave them to their own ignorance and wickedness. Go - This is not a command, but only a permission.
Zedekiah - The chief of the false prophets, who was much in the king's favour. Which way - In what manner went it? Forasmuch as I and my brethren have consulted the Lord, and have the same spirit which thou pretendest to have.
Hide thyself - Probably he went with Ahab to the battle, after which he was glad to shelter himself where he could.
Bread, &c. - With a very course and sparing diet, whereby he may be only supported to endure his torment.
Save only - This he ordered, truly supposing this to be the best way to put an end to the war: and by the providence of God, which disposeth the hearts of kings as he pleaseth; and inclined them to this course, that they might, though ignorantly, accomplish his counsel. Perhaps Ben-hadad only designed to have taken him prisoner, that he might now give him as honourable a treatment, as he had formerly received from him.
The joints - Where the several parts of his armour were joined together. The only place about him where this arrow of death could find entrance. No armour is proof against the darts of divine vengeance. Case the criminal in steel, and it is all one: he that made him, can make his sword approach him. And that which to us seems altogether casual, comes by the determinate counsel of God.
Died - Finding too late the truth of Micaiah's words; and Zedekiah's horns of iron, pushing not the Syrians, but himself, into destruction.
Ivory house - Not that it was made of solid ivory, but because the other materials were covered, or inlaid with ivory.
Of Ahab - Who reigned twenty two years; therefore he reigned about eighteen years with Ahab.
High places - He took them away, but not fully; or not in the beginning of of his reign.
Made peace - With Ahab first, and then with his son. This is noted as a blemish in his government, 2 Chronicles 19:2, and proved of most mischievous consequence to his posterity.
A deputy - Sent, and set over them by the kings of Judah, from the time of David, until the days of Jehoram, 2 Chronicles 21:8.
Would not - He did join with Ahaziah before this time, and before the ships were broken: for the breaking of the ships mentioned here, is noted to be the effect of his sin, in joining with Ahaziah, 2 Chronicles 20:37. And Jehoshaphat being warned and chastised by God for this sin, would not be persuaded to repeat it.
Ahaziah, &c. - Ahaziah was made king by his father, and reigned in conjunction with him a year or two before Ahab's death, and as long after it; even as Jehoram the son of Jehoshaphat was made king by his father in his life-time, which possibly was done in compliance with Ahab's desire upon marriage of his daughter to Jehoshaphat's son; and it may be Ahab, to induce him to do so, give him an example of it, and made his son his partner in the kingdom.
In the way - Which seems added, to shew, how little the example of parents, or ancestors, is to be valued where it is opposed to the will and word of God.
His father, &c. - Most unhappy parents, that thus help to damn their own children's souls!