« PreviousContinue »
of it ; and had, Ahab improved this blessed opportunity by continuing humble, and resolving to forsake his evil ways and root out idolatry, he would have been par, doned, and the curse entirely removed. This instance of Divine forbearance shews the great mercy and goodness of the SUPREME BEING, who willeth not the death of a sinner, but rather that he should turn from his wickedness and live.
THE REIGN OF AHAB KING OF ISRAEL
From 1 Kings, Chap. xxii.--2 Chron. Chap. xviii.
And they continued three
years without war between Syria and Israel.
And it came to pass in the third year, that Jehoshaphat the king of Judah came down to the king of Israel.
Now Jehoshaphat had riches and honour in abundance, and joined affinity with Abab.
(And the king of Israel said unto his servants, Know ye that Ramoth in Gilead is ours, and we be still, and cake it not out of the hand of the king of Syria?) And he said unto Jehoshaphat, Wilt thou go with me to battle to Ramoth-gilead? And Jehoshaphat said to the king of Israel, I am as thou art, my people as thy people, my horses as thy horses.
And Jehoshaphat said unto the king of Israel, Enquire I pray thee, at the word of the LORD to day,
Then the king of Israel gathered the prophets toge. ther, about four hundred men, and said unto them, Shall I go against Ramoth-gilead to battle, or shall I forbear? And they said, Go up; for the LORD shall deliver it into the hand of the king.
And Jehoshaphat said, Is there not here a prophet of the LORD besides, that we might enquire of him? And the king of Israel said unto Jehoshaphat. There is yet one man (Micaiah the son of Imlah) by whom we may enquire of the Lord; but I hate him, for he doth not prophesy good concerning me, but evil. And Jehoshaphat said, Let not the king say so.
Then the king of Israel called an officer, and said Hæsten hither Micaiah the son of Imlah.
And the king of Israel, and Jehoshaphat the king of Judah, sat each on his throne, having put on their robes in a void place in the entrance of the gate of Samaria, and all the prophets prophesied before them.
And Zedekiah the son of Chenaanah made him horns of iron : and he said, Thus saith the Lord, with these shalt thou push the Syrians, until thou have consumed them.
And all the prophets prophesied so, saying, Go up to Ramoth-gilead, and prosper: for the Lord shall deliver it into the king's hand.
And the messenger that was gone to call Micaiah, spake unto him, saying, Behold now, the words of the prophets declare good unto the king with one mouth : let thy word, I pray thee, be like the word of one of them, and speak that which is good.
And Micaiah said, As the Lorg liyeth, what the LORD.saith-unto me, that will I speak.
So he came to the king, and the king said unto him, Micaiah, shall we go against Ramoth-gilead to battle, or shall we forbear ? And he answered him, Go, and prosper : for the Lord shall deliver it into the hand of the king.
And the king said un him, How many times shall I adjure thce that thou tell me nothing but that which
is true in the name of the Lord? And Micaiah said, I saw all Israel scattered upon the hills, as' sheep that have not a shepherd. And the Lord said, These have no master: let them return every man
to his house in peace.
And the king of Israel said unto Jehoshaphat, Did I not tell thee, that he would prophesy no good concerning me, but evil? And Micaiah said, Hear thou therefore the word of the LORD: I saw the Lord sitting on Iris throne, and all the host of heaven standing by him, on his right hand and on his left; And the LORD said, who shall persuade Ahab, that he may go up and fall at Ramoth-gilead ? and one said on this manner, and an. other said on that manner.
And there came forth a spirit, and stood before the Lord, and said, I will persuade him.
And the LORD said unto him, Wherewith ? and he said, I will go forth, and I will be a lying spirit in the mouth of all his prophets.' And he said, Thou shalt persuade him, and prevail also : go forth, and do so.
Now therefore behold, the Lord had put a lying spirit in the mouth of all these thy prophets, and the Lord hath spoken evil concerning thee.
But Zedekiah the son of Chenaanah' went near, and smote. Micaiah on the cheek, and said, Which
went the Spirit of the Lord from me to speak unto thee ?
And Micaiah said, Behold, thou shalt see in that day, when thou shalt go into an inner-chamber to hide thyself.
And the king of Israel said, Take Micaiah and carry him back unto Ammon the governor of the city, and to Joash the king's son; 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 come in peace.
And Micaiah said, if thou return at all in peace, thie Lord hath not spoken by me. And he said, Hearken, Oye people, every one of you.
So the king of Israel and Jehoshaphat the king of Ju. dah went up to Ramoth-gilead.
And the king of Israel said unto Jehoshaphat, I will disguise myself and enter into the battle, but put thou on thy robes. And the king of Israel disguised himself, and went into the battle.
But the king of Syria commanded his thirty-two cap. tains that had rule over his chariots, saying, Fight neither with small nor great, save only with the king of Israel.
And it canie to pass when the captains of the chariots saw Jehoshaphat, that they said, Surely, 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 bim.
And it came to pass, when the captains of the chariots perceived that it was not the king of Israel, that they turned back from pursuing him.
And a certain man drew a bow at a venture, and smote the king of Israel between the joints of the harpess : "wherefore he såid unto the driver of his chariots Turn thine hand, and carry me out of the host : for I am wounded.
And the battle increased that day; and the king was stayed up in his chariot against the Syrians, and died at even; and the blood ran out of the wound into the midst of the chariot.
And there went a proclamation throughout the hos about the going down of the sun, saying, Every man to his city, and every man to his own country.
So the king died, and was brought to Samaria, and they buried the king in Samaria.
And one washed the chariot in the pool of Samaria ; and the dogs licked up his blood; and they washed his armour ; according unto the word of the LORD which he spake.
So Ahab slept with his fathers; and Ahaziah his son reigned in his stead.
ANNOTATIONS AND REFLECTIONS. It is probable that Jehoshaphat, when he went to visit Ahab, supposed him to have been reformed, and thought that it would be to the advantage of the kingdom of Judah, if he made an alliance with the king of Israel, as a means of producing harmony amongst those tribes who had been for some time estranged from each other ; and he planned a scheme for strengthening the connection by a marriage between his son and Ahab's daughter; in this instance Jehoshaphat proceeded according to the rules of worldly policy, without consulting the will of the LORD, as he ought to have done ; but as he did it inconsiderately, and not presumptuously, he was only reproved for it, as we read afterwards.
When Ahab obtained his memorable victory over the Syrians, as related in a former Section, Ben-hadad entered into a covenant to restore all the cities which his father had formerly taken from the Israelites. Whether he performed any part of this engagement or not, is uncer: tain, but it is evident he did not completely full it; for Ramoth-gilead' originally belonged to the tribe of Gad Jehoshaphat too easily gave way to the benevolence of his disposition. We find, however, that he would not go out to battle till he had enquired the will of the LORD; neither would he hearken to the false prophets, who assured Ahab of success. Zedekiah - was a leading man amongst them, and to give force to his predictions, he