A STUDY OF THE BOOK OF 1 KINGS: The End of an Evil Era 1 Kings 22

Dr. Jerry A. Collins



Verses 1-3: Three years passed without war between Aram and Israel. 2 In the third year Jehoshaphat the king of Judah came down to the king of Israel. 3 Now the king of Israel said to his servants, "Do you know that Ramoth-Gilead belongs to us, and we are still doing nothing to take it out of the hand of the king of Aram?" Previously, the King of Syria promised to return certain cities to Israel. Ben-hadad said to him, the cities which my father took from your father I will restore, and you shall make streets for yourself in Damascus, as my father made in Samaria." Ahab said, "And I will let you go with this covenant" So he made a covenant with him and let him go in exchange for leniency after defeat in battle (1 Kings 20:34). Apparently, this was a city that Ben-Hadad never returned to Israel and it was in a strategically important location. Jehoshaphat was a good king. There had not been good relations between Israel and Judah, since the breakup of the twelve tribes into Judah and Israel. Now we have a couple of key requests made here one by king and one by Jehoshaphet each revealing some character traits.

Verses 4-5: And he said to Jehoshaphat, (1) "Will you go with me to battle at Ramoth-gilead?" And Jehoshaphat said to the king of Israel, "I am as you are, my people as your people, my horses as your horses."5 Moreover, Jehoshaphat said to the king of Israel (2) "Please inquire first for the word of the Lord." Ahab wanting to exert his power and Jehoshaphat displaying he was a devotee of the Lord. It was typical of him to inquire concerning the Lord’s will.

PT— So, Ramoth-Gilead becomes the flash point, it was a gateway, that moved this narrative forward. Mentioned at least seven times, it was the strategic route from east to west cutting across the trans-jordanian highway and then connecting to the inter-coastal highway along the coast.
An Application— As frightening and adversarial our situations may become; we should always
inquire first for the word of the Lord. The reason is not that we get our instructions, but that we learn of the heart of God that we can then apply to that particular event. We need to apply revelation in real life moments so that the eternal tampers with the temporal.

Verses 6-9: Then the king of Israel gathered the prophets together, about four hundred men… But Jehoshaphat said, "Is there not yet a prophet of the Lord here that we may inquire of him?... The 400 prophets Ahab assembled may have been apostate prophets of the LORD since Baal prophets would probably have been unacceptable to Jehoshaphat. There is yet one man by whom we may inquire of the Lord, but I hate him, because he does not prophesy good concerning me, but evil. He is Micaiah son of Imlah." But Jehoshaphat said, "Let not the king say so." Then the king of Israel called an officer and said, "Bring quickly Micaiah son of Imlah." — Again, we see their character revealed in their responses to the circumstances in which they find themselves.

PT— When a person is not interested in the will of God, the last thing they want is someone telling them what they do not want to hear. Here is a picture in contrasts: A king wanting to sincerely enquire as to the will of God, and the other king who viscerally despises hearing it. We should therefore interpret Jehoshaphat’s request for a prophet of the LORD (v. 7) as a request for a faithful prophet. Ahab hated Micaiah because he always told the king the truth. Ahab wanted to feel good more than he wanted to know the truth. This is another evidence of Ahab’s continuing antagonism toward the LORD and His representatives. Ahab hated the messenger because of the message. His real conflict was with God, but he focused his hatred against the prophet Micaiah. 

PT— We do need to guard our hearts so that we are sensitive to the mind of God. That is not something that naturally happens. It must be cultivated. That’s the entire reason why we should have devotions and/or meditate upon Scripture. The book of Psalms is a meditative sequence of passages devoted to the transformation of the heart and mind of God’s people.



Verses 10-12— Now the king of Israel and Jehoshaphat king of Judah were sitting each on his throne, arrayed in their robes… all the prophets were prophesying before them. 11 Then Zedekiah the son of Chenaanah made horns of iron for himself and said, "Thus says the Lord, 'With these you will gore the Arameans until they are consumed.'" All the prophets were prophesying thus, saying, "Go up to Ramoth-gilead and prosper, for the Lord will give it into the hand of the king."   This illustrates the ancient custom of holding court and making decisions at the gates of the city. There were even thrones for high officials to sit on at the gates of the city of Samaria. This must have been a vivid and entertaining presentation. We can be certain that every eye was on Zedekiah when he used the horns of iron to powerfully illustrate the point. It was certainly persuasive to have 400 prophets speak in agreement on one issue. No matter how powerful and persuasive the presentation, their message was unfaithful.

Verses 13-1413 Then the messenger who went to summon Micaiah spoke to him saying, "Behold now, the words of the prophets are uniformly favorable to the king. Please let your word be like the word of one of them, and speak favorably." 14 But Micaiah said, "As the Lord lives, what the Lord says to me, that I shall speak." The assistants of King Ahab tried to persuade Micaiah to speak in agreement with the 400 other prophets. Micaiah assured him that he would simply repeat what God said to him. This was a dramatic scene. Micaiah was brought out from prison. (1 Kings 22:26 indicates that he came from prison). We see a prophet in rags and chains stand before two kings, ready to speak on behalf of the LORD.

An Application— Yes, life would be so much easier if we would just compromise what God says in order to bring peace to the situation. Let the majority rule is the way to decide. Agreement. Let’s COEXIST.

Verses 15-18 The king said to him, "Micaiah, shall we go to Ramoth-gilead to battle, or shall we refrain?" And he answered him, "Go up and succeed, and the Lord will give it into the hand of the king." 16 Then the king said to him, "How many times must I adjure you to speak to me nothing but the truth in the name of the Lord?"… Well, that is what he has been doing. Ahab wants a different truth.Like Elijah, Micaiah was willing to stand alone for God (v. 14). Micaiah had stood before Ahab many times before (v. 8). This time he told the king what he wanted to hear sarcastically (v. 15). Ahab’s reply was also sarcastic (v. 16). He had never had to tell Micaiah to speak the truth in the Lord’s name. That was the one consistent element that set him apart.

PT— Don’t you want your desire for the will of God and your passion for the Word of God to mark your life and distinguish you amongst the people of God? In our day and age this is an opportunity for one to stand out as a follower of Jesus.

Verses 17-18"I saw all Israel Scattered on the mountains, like sheep which have no shepherd. And the Lord said, 'These have no master. Let each of them return to his house in peace.'" 18 Then the king of Israel said to Jehoshaphat, "Did I not tell you that he would not prophesy good concerning me, but evil?"Micaiah’s vision of Israel was of defenseless sheep without a human shepherd, namely, Ahab. They would come home after the battle peacefully (v. 17). The king responded to this prophecy of his death glibly (v. 18). He could not have believed the Lord’s word and gone into battle. Micaiah was challenged to tell the truth, and now he changed his tone from mocking to serious. He said that not only would Israel be defeated, but also that their leader (shepherd) would perish. King Ahab said that he wanted the truth – but he couldn’t handle the truth. What he didn’t consider was that though Micaiah prophesied evil towards Ahab, he prophesied truth.

Verses 19-23— Micaiah said, "Therefore, hear the word of the Lord. I saw the Lord sitting on His throne, and all the host of heaven standing by Him on His right and on His left… The Lord said, 'Who will entice Ahab to go up and fall at Ramoth-gilead?'I will entice him.' 22 The Lord said to him, 'How?' And he said, 'I will go out and be a deceiving spirit in the mouth of all his prophets.' Then He said, 'You are to entice him and also prevail. Go and do so.' …the Lord has put a deceiving spirit in the mouth of all these your prophets; and the Lord has proclaimed disaster against you."— Micaiah proceeded to explain that Ahab was the target of God’s plan. He would lure him into battle. Still Ahab remained unbelieving. God was Ahab’s real enemy, not Aram. The identity of the spirit that stood before the Lord and offered to entice Ahab is problematic. 

PTThis “spirit” may be the personified spirit of prophecy, or it may have been a demon or Satan. Saul also saw a spirit shortly before he died (1 Sam. 28; 31). God wanted to bring judgment against Ahab, so He asked this group of the host of heaven for a volunteer to lead Ahab into battle. Since Ahab wanted to be deceived, God would give him what He wanted, using a willing fallen angel who worked through willing unfaithful prophets. For even the false prophets may be governed by supernatural or spiritual forces rather than merely human reason

PTThis 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. So, the entire point of this exchange is to give us a glimpse into how God dispatches his plans through the use of angels, demons, Satan and whomever in the heavens above. Here a spirit volunteers to deceive and apparently that it how it is—angels with a free will, demons with a free will and God in charge of the dispatching and colluding and deception. God decided to let us in on this episode.

An Application – We often say Gods ways are not our ways and of course that is true. We have no idea about so many things that God is doing. Sometimes, like at Jesus baptism, we hear the Father’s commitment to His Son, or at the transfiguration we learn of Moses and Elijah or at Jesus’ death, again we hear of the Father’s passion for His Son and the work He is doing on the Father’s behalf. Moments when the priorities of heaven become available to us on earth.



Verses 24-25— 24 Then Zedekiah the son of Chenaanah came near and struck Micaiah on the cheek and said, "How did the Spirit of the Lord pass from me to speak to you?" 25 Micaiah said, "Behold, you shall see on that day when you enter an inner room to hide yourself."— Zedekiah responded the way many do when they are defeated in argument. He responded with violence. Striking on the cheek (v. 24) was a much greater insult then than it is now. Zedekiah was bluffing to the very end. Apparently, after some type of judgment, Zedekiah will attempt to protect himself and fail after hiding an an inner room somewhere.

Verses 26-28— Then the king of Israel said, "Take Micaiah and return him to Amon the governor of the city and to Joash the king's son; 27 and say, 'Thus says the king, "Put this man in prison and feed him sparingly with bread and water until I return safely."'" 28 Micaiah said, "If you indeed return safely the Lord has not spoken by me." And he said, "Listen, all you people."— Ahab proved to be hard to the point of insensibility instead of repenting at this prophetic word of judgment, as he had previously done (vv. 26-27). Time would tell that Micaiah’s words were from the Lord (v. 28). King Ahab responded the way many tyrants do when they are confronted with the truth. Ahab wanted Micaiah imprisoned and deprived (feed him with the bread of affliction and water of affliction). The prophet Micaiah made one final and ultimate appeal. He was willing to be judged by whether his prophecy came to pass or not. And he said, "Listen, all you people.

NBA 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 you desire to pursue the will of God— then, first of all, determine that it is the will of God you are following. You can be deceived into thinking so just to get your way. This makes the Christian life a very fragile pathway.

·         Pursuing the will of God that is correctly discerned can bring a great amount of difficulty into your life. You may have to reset your priorities or your schedule or your lifestyle or your friendships or your finances or your…

·         What is important is that we are on the side of truth. We do not want to live in lies or deception where life is not lived in reality. Truth is the way things actually are and that is the only place our lives should be calibrated. Truth is reality. Reality is the way things actually are.