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New American Bible

2002 11 11
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Chapter 22


Three years passed without war between Aram and Israel.


In the third year, however, King Jehoshaphat of Judah came down to the king of Israel,


who said to his servants, "Do you not know that Ramoth-gilead is ours and we are doing nothing to take it from the king of Aram?"


He asked Jehoshaphat, "Will you come with me to fight against Ramoth-gilead?" Jehoshaphat answered the king of Israel, "You and I are as one, and your people and my people, your horses and my horses as well."


Jehoshaphat also said to the king of Israel, "Seek the word of the LORD at once."


The king of Israel gathered together the prophets, about four hundred of them, and asked, "Shall I go to attack Ramoth-gilead or shall I refrain?" "Go up," they answered. "The LORD will deliver it over to the king."


But Jehoshaphat said, "Is there no other prophet of the LORD here whom we may consult?"


The king of Israel answered, "There is one other through whom we might consult the LORD, Micaiah, son of Imlah; but I hate him because he prophesies not good but evil about me." Jehoshaphat said, "Let not your majesty speak of evil against you."


So the king of Israel called an official and said to him, "Get Micaiah, son of Imlah, at once."


The king of Israel and King Jehoshaphat of Judah were seated, each on his throne, clothed in their robes of state on a threshing floor at the entrance of the gate of Samaria, and all the prophets were prophesying before them.


Zedekiah, son of Chenaanah, made himself horns of iron and said, "The LORD says, 'With these you shall gore Aram until you have destroyed them.'"


The other prophets prophesied in a similar vein, saying: "Go up to Ramoth-gilead; you shall succeed. The LORD will deliver it over to the king."


The messenger who had gone to call Micaiah said to him, "Look now, the prophets are unanimously predicting good for the king. Let your word be the same as any of theirs; predict good."


"As the LORD lives," Micaiah answered, "I shall say whatever the LORD tells me."


When he came to the king, the king said to him, "Micaiah, shall we go to fight against Ramoth-gilead, or shall we refrain?" "Go up," he answered, "you shall succeed! The LORD will deliver it over to the king."


But the king answered him, "How many times must I adjure you to tell me nothing but the truth in the name of the LORD?"


So Micaiah said: "I see all Israel scattered on the mountains, like sheep without a shepherd, and the LORD saying, 'These have no master! Let each of them go back home in peace.'"


The king of Israel said to Jehoshaphat, "Did I not tell you he prophesies not good but evil about me?"


1 Micaiah continued: "Therefore hear the word of the LORD: I saw the LORD seated on his throne, with the whole host of heaven standing by to his right and to his left.


The LORD asked, 'Who will deceive Ahab, so that he will go up and fall at Ramoth-gilead?' And one said this, another that,


until one of the spirits came forth and presented himself to the LORD, saying, 'I will deceive him.' The LORD asked, 'How?'


He answered, 'I will go forth and become a lying spirit in the mouths of all his prophets.' The LORD replied, 'You shall succeed in deceiving him. Go forth and do this.'


So now, the LORD has put a lying spirit in the mouths of all these prophets of yours, but the LORD himself has decreed evil against you."


Thereupon Zedekiah, son of Chenaanah, came up and slapped Micaiah on the cheek, saying, "Has the spirit of the LORD, then, left me to speak with you?"


"You shall find out," Micaiah replied, "on that day when you retreat into an inside room to hide."


The king of Israel then said, "Seize Micaiah and take him back to Amon, prefect of the city, and to Joash, the king's son,


and say, 'This is the king's order: Put this man in prison and feed him scanty rations of bread and water until I return in safety.'"


2 But Micaiah said, "If ever you return in safety, the LORD has not spoken through me."


The king of Israel and King Jehoshaphat of Judah went up to Ramoth-gilead,


and the king of Israel said to Jehoshaphat, "I will disguise myself and go into battle, but you put on your own clothes." So the king of Israel disguised himself and entered the fray.


In the meantime the king of Aram had given his thirty-two chariot commanders the order, "Do not fight with anyone at all except the king of Israel."


When the chariot commanders saw Jehoshaphat, they cried out, "That must be the king of Israel!" and shifted to fight him. But Jehoshaphat shouted his battle cry,


and the chariot commanders, aware that he was not the king of Israel, gave up pursuit of him.


Someone, however, drew his bow at random, and hit the king of Israel between the joints of his breastplate. He ordered his charioteer, "Rein about and take me out of the ranks, for I am disabled."


The battle grew fierce during the day, and the king, who was propped up in his chariot facing the Arameans, died in the evening. The blood from his wound flowed to the bottom of the chariot.


At sunset a cry went through the army, "Every man to his city, every man to his land,


for the king is dead!" So they went to Samaria, where they buried the king.


When the chariot was washed at the pool of Samaria, the dogs licked up his blood and harlots bathed there, as the LORD had prophesied.


The rest of the acts of Ahab, with all that he did, including the ivory palace and all the cities he built, are recorded in the book of the chronicles of the kings of Israel.


Ahab rested with his ancestors, and his son Ahaziah succeeded him as king.


Jehoshaphat, son of Asa, began to reign over Judah in the fourth year of Ahab, king of Israel.


Jehoshaphat was thirty-five years old when he began to reign, and he reigned twenty-five years in Jerusalem. His mother's name was Azubah, daughter of Shilhi.


He followed all the ways of his father Asa unswervingly, doing what was right in the LORD'S sight.


Nevertheless, the high places did not disappear, and the people continued to sacrifice and to burn incense on the high places.


Jehoshaphat also made peace with the king of Israel.


The rest of the acts of Jehoshaphat, with his prowess, what he did and how he fought, are recorded in the book of the chronicles of the kings of Judah.


He removed from the land the rest of the cult prostitutes who had remained in the reign of his father Asa.


There was no king in Edom, but an appointed regent.


Jehoshaphat made Tarshish ships to go to Ophir for gold; but in fact the ships did not go, because they were wrecked at Ezion-geber.


Then Ahaziah, son of Ahab, said to Jehoshaphat, "Let my servants accompany your servants in the ships." But Jehoshaphat would not agree.


Jehoshaphat rested with his ancestors; he was buried in his forefathers' City of David. His son Jehoram succeeded him as king.


3 Ahaziah, son of Ahab, began to reign over Israel in Samaria in the seventeenth year of Jehoshaphat, king of Judah; he reigned two years over Israel.


He did evil in the sight of the LORD, behaving like his father, his mother, and Jeroboam, son of Nebat, who caused Israel to sin.


He served and worshiped Baal, thus provoking the LORD, the God of Israel, just as his father had done.


1 [19-23] The prophet Micaiah uses as a last resort to deter Ahab from his foolhardy design of fighting against Ramoth-gilead the literary device of describing false prophets as messengers of a lying spirit which God, after holding counsel with his angels, permits to deceive them.

2 [28] A note in the Hebrew text after this verse attributes to Micaiah ben Imlah the first words of the book of a different Micaiah, the minor prophet of Moreshet.

3 [52] Seventeenth year: so the present Hebrew text. More consistent with 2 Kings 1:17 would be a date in the twenty-fourth year of Jehoshaphat for Ahab's death; see note on 2 Kings 3:1.

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