For three years Aram and Israel were not at war. But in the third year Jehoshaphat, king of Judah, went to visit the king of Israel. The king of Israel had said to his officers, “Aren't you aware that Ramoth-gilead really belongs to us and yet we haven't done anything to take it back from the king of Aram?”
So he asked Jehoshaphat, “Will you join me in an attack to recapture Ramoth-gilead?”
Jehoshaphat replied to the king of Israel, “You and I are as one, my men and your men are as one, and my horses and your horses are as one.” Then Jehoshaphat said to the king of Israel, “But first though, please find out what the Lord says.”
So the king of Israel brought out the prophetsfour hundred of themand he asked them, “Should I go up and attack Ramoth-gilead, or should I not?”
Yes, go ahead,” they replied, “for the Lord will hand it over to the king.”
But Jehoshaphat asked, “Isn't there another prophet of the Lord here that we can ask?”
Yes, there's another man who could consult the Lord,” the king of Israel replied, “but I don't like him because he never prophesies anything good for me—it's always bad! His name is Micaiah, son of Imlah.”
You shouldn't talk like that,” said Jehoshaphat.
The king of Israel called over one of his officials and told him, “Bring me Micaiah, son of Imlah, right away.”
10 Dressed in their royal robes, the king of Israel and King Jehoshaphat of Judah, were sitting on their thrones at the threshing floor beside the gate of Samaria, with all of the prophets prophesying in front of them. 11 One of them, Zedekiah, son of Chenaanah, had made himself iron horns. He announced, “This is what the Lord says: ‘With these horns you will gore the Arameans until they're dead!”
12 All the prophets were prophesying the same thing, saying, “Go ahead, attack Ramoth-gilead; you will be successful, for the Lord will hand it over to the king.”
13 The messenger who went to call Micaiah told him, “Look, all the prophets are unanimous in prophesying positively to the king. So please make sure to speak positively like them.”
14 But Micaiah replied, “As the Lord lives, I can only say what my God tells me.”
15 When he came before the king, the king asked him, “Should we go up and attack Ramoth-gilead, or should we not?”
Yes, go ahead and be victorious,” Micaiah replied, “for the Lord will give it into the king's hand.”*
16 But the king said to him, “How many times must I make you swear to tell me only the truth in the name of the Lord?”
17 So Micaiah answered, “I saw all Israel scattered on the mountains like sheep without a shepherd. The Lord said, ‘These people have no master; let each of them go home in peace.’ ”
18 The king of Israel said to Jehoshaphat, “Didn't I tell you he never prophesies anything good for me, only bad?”
19 Micaiah went on to say, “So listen to what the Lord says. I saw the Lord sitting on his throne, surrounded by the whole army of heaven standing to his right and to his left. 20 The Lord asked, ‘Who will trick Ahab, king of Israel, into attacking Ramoth-gilead so he will be killed there?’
One said this, another said that, and another said something else. 21 Finally a spirit came and approached the Lord and said, ‘I will trick him.’
22 How are you going to do that?’ the Lord asked.
I will go and be a lying spirit and make all his prophets tell lies,’ the spirit replied.
That will work,’ the Lord responded. ‘Go and do it.’
23 As you see, the Lord has put a lying spirit into these prophets of yours, and the Lord has pronounced your death sentence.”
24 Then Zedekiah, son of Chenaanah, went and slapped Micaiah in the face, and demanded, “Which way did the Spirit of the Lord go when he left me to speak to you?”
25 “You'll soon find out when you try and find some secret place to hide!” Micaiah replied.
26 The king of Israel ordered, “Place Micaiah under arrest and take him back to Amon the governor of the city and to my son Joash. 27 Tell them these are the king's instructions: ‘Put this man in jail. Give him only bread and water until my safe return.’ ”
28 If you do in fact return safely then the Lord has not spoken through me,” Micaiah declared. “Pay attention everyone to all I've said!”
29 The king of Israel and Jehoshaphat, king of Judah, went to attack Ramoth-gilead. 30 The king of Israel told Jehoshaphat, “When I go into battle I will be in disguise, but you should wear your royal robes.” So the king of Israel disguised himself and went into battle.
31 The king of Aram had already given these orders to his chariot commanders: “Head straight for the king of Israel alone. Don't fight with anyone else, whoever they are.”
32 So when the chariot commanders saw Jehoshaphat, they shouted, “This must be the king of Israel!” So they turned to attack him, but when Jehoshaphat called out for help, 33 the chariot commanders saw it wasn't the king of Israel and stopped chasing him.
34 However, an enemy archer shot an arrow at random, hitting the king of Israel between the joints of his armor by his breastplate. The king told his charioteer, “Turn around and get me out of the fight, because I've been wounded!”
35 The battle lasted all day. The king of Israel was propped up in his chariot to face the Arameans, but in the evening he died. The blood had poured out of his wound onto the floor of the chariot. 36 At sunset, a shout went out from the lines: “Retreat! Every man back to his town, every man back to his own country!”
37 So the king died. He was taken back to Samaria where they buried him. 38 They washed his chariot at a pool in Samaria where the prostitutes came to bathe, and dogs licked up his blood, just as the Lord had said.
39 The rest of what happened in Ahab's reign, all that he did, the ivory palace he constructed and all the cities he built are recorded in the Book of Chronicles of the Kings of Israel. 40 Ahab died and his son Ahaziah succeeded him as king.
41 Jehoshaphat, son of Asa, became king of Judah in the fourth year of the reign of Ahab, king of Israel. 42 Jehoshaphat was thirty-five when he became king, and he reigned in Jerusalem for twenty-five years. His mother's name was Azubah, daughter of Shilhi. 43 He followed all the ways of his father; he did not depart from them, and he did what was right in the Lord's sight. However, the high places were not removed and the people still sacrificed and presented offerings there. 44 Jehoshaphat also made peace with the king of Israel.
45 The rest of what happened in Jehoshaphat's reign, his great achievements and the wars he fought are recorded in the Book of Chronicles of the Kings of Judah. 46 He expelled from the land any cult prostitutes who were left from the time of his father Asa. 47 (At that time there was no king in Edom; only a deputy who served as king.) 48 Jehoshaphat built sea-going ships to go to Ophir for gold, but they went because they were wrecked at Ezion-geber. 49 During that time Ahaziah, son of Ahab, asked Jehoshaphat, “Let my men sail with your men,” but Jehoshaphat refused.
50 Jehoshaphat died and was buried with his forefathers in the City of David. His son Jehoram succeeded him as king.
51 Ahaziah, son of Ahab, became king of Israel in Samaria in the seventeenth year of Jehoshaphat, king of Judah, and he reigned over Israel for two years. 52 He did what was evil in the Lord's sight and followed the ways of his father and mother, and of Jeroboam, son of Nebat, who had made Israel sin. 53 He served Baal and worshiped him, and angered the Lord, the God of Israel, just as his father had.
* 22:15 Perhaps Micaiah is using a sarcastic repetition of the other prophets, leading Ahab to respond as he does in the next verse. 22:17 “No master”: implying that their master is dead. 22:48 “Sea-going ships”: literally “ships of Tarshish” to indicate they were built for long-distance travel. See 2 Chronicles 20:35-37.