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with Catholic Commentary by George Leo Haydock

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1 Kings 22

Jehoshaphat makes a league with Ahab. (1-14) Micaiah predicts the death of Ahab. (15-28) Death of Ahab. (29-40) Jehoshaphat’s good reign over Judah. (41-50) Ahaziah’s evil reign over Israel. (51-53)

1 Kings 22 Audio:

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Jehoshaphat makes a league with Ahab

1 And they continued three years without war between Syria and Israel.

2 And it came to pass in the third year, that Jehoshaphat the king of Judah came down to the king of Israel.

3 And the king of Israel said unto his servants, Know ye that Ramoth in Gilead is ours, and we be still, and take it not out of the hand of the king of Syria?

4 And he said unto Jehoshaphat, Wilt thou go with me to battle to Ramothgilead? And Jehoshaphat said to the king of Israel, I am as thou art, my people as thy people, my horses as thy horses.

5 And Jehoshaphat said unto the king of Israel, Enquire, I pray thee, at the word of the LORD to day.

6 Then the king of Israel gathered the prophets together, about four hundred men, and said unto them, Shall I go against Ramothgilead to battle, or shall I forbear? And they said, Go up; for the LORD shall deliver it into the hand of the king.

7 And Jehoshaphat said, Is there not here a prophet of the LORD besides, that we might enquire of him?

8 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.

9 Then the king of Israel called an officer, and said, Hasten hither Micaiah the son of Imlah.

10 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.

11 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.

12 And all the prophets prophesied so, saying, Go up to Ramothgilead, and prosper: for the LORD shall deliver it into the king’s hand.

13 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.

14 And Micaiah said, As the LORD liveth, what the LORD saith unto me, that will I speak.

Micaiah predicts the death of Ahab

15 So he came to the king. And the king said unto him, Micaiah, shall we go against Ramothgilead 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.

16 And the king said unto him, How many times shall I adjure thee that thou tell me nothing but that which is true in the name of the LORD?

17 And he 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.

18 And the king of Israel said unto Jehoshaphat, Did I not tell thee that he would prophesy no good concerning me, but evil?

19 And he said, Hear thou therefore 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 hand and on his left.

20 And the LORD said, Who shall persuade Ahab, that he may go up and fall at Ramothgilead? And one said on this manner, and another said on that manner.

21 And there came forth a spirit, and stood before the LORD, and said, I will persuade him.

22 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.

23 Now therefore, behold, the LORD hath put a lying spirit in the mouth of all these thy prophets, and the LORD hath spoken evil concerning thee.

24 But Zedekiah the son of Chenaanah went near, and smote Micaiah on the cheek, and said, Which way went the Spirit of the LORD from me to speak unto thee?

25 And Micaiah said, Behold, thou shalt see in that day, when thou shalt go into an inner chamber to hide thyself.

26 And the king of Israel said, Take Micaiah, and carry him back unto Amon the governor of the city, and to Joash the king’s son;

27 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.

28 And Micaiah said, If thou return at all in peace, the LORD hath not spoken by me. And he said, Hearken, O people, every one of you.

Death of Ahab

29 So the king of Israel and Jehoshaphat the king of Judah went up to Ramothgilead.

30 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.

31 But the king of Syria commanded his thirty and two captains that had rule over his chariots, saying, Fight neither with small nor great, save only with the king of Israel.

32 And it came to pass, when the captains of the chariots saw Jehoshaphat, that they said, Surely it is the king of Israel. And they turned aside to fight against him: and Jehoshaphat cried out.

33 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.

34 And a certain man drew a bow at a venture, and smote the king of Israel between the joints of the harness: wherefore he said unto the driver of his chariot, Turn thine hand, and carry me out of the host; for I am wounded.

35 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.

36 And there went a proclamation throughout the host about the going down of the sun, saying, Every man to his city, and every man to his own country.

37 So the king died, and was brought to Samaria; and they buried the king in Samaria.

38 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.

39 Now the rest of the acts of Ahab, and all that he did, and the ivory house which he made, and all the cities that he built, are they not written in the book of the chronicles of the kings of Israel?

40 So Ahab slept with his fathers; and Ahaziah his son reigned in his stead.

Jehoshaphat’s good reign over Judah

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

42 Jehoshaphat was thirty and five years old when he began to reign; and he reigned twenty and five years in Jerusalem. And his mother’s name was Azubah the daughter of Shilhi.

43 And he walked in all the ways of Asa his father; he turned not aside from it, doing that which was right in the eyes of the LORD: nevertheless the high places were not taken away; for the people offered and burnt incense yet in the high places.

44 And Jehoshaphat made peace with the king of Israel.

45 Now the rest of the acts of Jehoshaphat, and his might that he shewed, and how he warred, are they not written in the book of the chronicles of the kings of Judah?

46 And the remnant of the sodomites, which remained in the days of his father Asa, he took out of the land.

47 There was then no king in Edom: a deputy was king.

48 Jehoshaphat made ships of Tharshish to go to Ophir for gold: but they went not; for the ships were broken at Eziongeber.

49 Then said Ahaziah the son of Ahab unto Jehoshaphat, Let my servants go with thy servants in the ships. But Jehoshaphat would not.

50 And Jehoshaphat slept with his fathers, and was buried with his fathers in the city of David his father: and Jehoram his son reigned in his stead.

Ahaziah’s evil reign over Israel

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

52 And he did evil in the sight of the LORD, and walked in the way of his father, and in the way of his mother, and in the way of Jeroboam the son of Nebat, who made Israel to sin:

53 For he served Baal, and worshipped him, and provoked to anger the LORD God of Israel, according to all that his father had done.

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G Haydock's Catholic Bible Commentary

Ver. 1. Israel, from the time when Benadad and Achab had made a league. C. xx. 34.

Ver. 2. Josaphat. It is wonderful that a prince of so great piety, should be on terms of such strict friendship with a most wicked king. God did not approve of it; and the event was unfortunate. 2 Par. xx. 37. Achab received the king of Juda with extraordinary magnificence. 2 Par. xviii. 2. It is thought that (C.) the latter had married his daughter, (Grot.) or rather (H.) he had taken Athalia for his son Joram. 2 Par. xviii. 1. T. M.

Ver. 3. Syria. Benadad had not restored it; either because he no longer regarded his treaty, or because the city had not been taken by his father. C.

Ver. 5. One, in concord, (H.) and ready to march against the same enemy. — Lord. This was rather late, if (M.) the army was already receiving its pay under the walls of Samaria. Joseph. viii. 15. — God ought to have been consulted at first. M.

Ver. 6. Men, probably the prophets of the groves, who had not gone to Carmel. C. xviii. 19. 22. C. — The recent slaughter had not deterred others from imitating the example of the false prophets. H.

Ver. 7. Lord. Josaphat knew that these four hundred were addicted to idol worship, (H.) and suspected that they only flattered their king. Josephus.

Ver. 8. One man. Perhaps Micheas alone resided at Samaria. Elias and his disciples were in the country. Josephus and some others think, (C.) that the son of Jemla had been cast into prison for what he had said to Achab, when he had dismissed the king of Syria. C. xx. 43. H. — Not so. Good advice should be followed, though it be not pleasant. M. — Josaphat justly suspected the schismatical false prophets. W.

Ver. 9. Eunuch. Heb. saris, denotes also “a servant;” or Achab might have purchased this stranger.

Ver. 10. Court, or barn floor. They were in or near cities, that they might be so protected from the incursions of enemies, who strove to set the corn on fire. 1 K. xxiii. 1. Judg. xv. 5.

Ver. 11. Push, “with the horn,” ( keratiseis; Sept.) and throw into the air, (M.) like a bull. C. — Nothing shall withstand thy power. The actions of Sedecias were of the same import as his words. H. — See Jer. xxvii. 2. and xxviii. 10. — Such horns were shewn to Zacharias; (i. 18.) as false prophets often do, like the true ones. W.

Ver. 15. Go up, &c. This was spoken ironically, and by way of jesting at the flattering speeches of the false prophets: and so the king understood it, as appears by his adjuring Micheas, in the following verse, to tell him the truth in the name of the Lord. Ch. — Micheas had only repeated their words, and by his accent and gestures (D.) might easily explain his meaning. H. — Similar examples of irony may be seen. C. xviii. 27, and Gen. iii. 22. C. — The prophet might also pray for success. But the king begged for a positive answer. W.

Ver. 17. No shepherd….no master, clearly intimated (M.) that the king should perish in the battle. Paral. reads: These have no masters. H.

Ver. 19. He, Micheas, added, (M.) not fearing the king’s displeasure, who seemed to regard his former denunciation as an effect of his ill-will. Hence he explains his vision more at large. God often conforms to our ideas, and even prejudices. The people were then accustomed to look upon him as a king, environed with his army of good and evil spirits; the one at his right-hand, to execute his designs of mercy, and the other at his left, to execute his judgments. Job (i. 6, 12.) speaks in the like manner. We know that God stands in need of no counsellors; (Rom. xi. 34.) and that the angels of satan have no place in heaven. Isai. xiv. 12. Apoc. xii. 9. Jude 6.

Ver. 20. The Lord said, &c. God standeth not in need of any counsellor; nor are we suppose, that things pass in heaven in the manner here described: but this representation was made to the prophet, to be delivered by min in a manner adopted to the common ways and notions of men. Ch. S. Greg. Mor. ii. 21. &c. W. — God did not enable the king to discern the falsehood. Bellarm. ii. 13. Grat. Amis.

Ver. 22. Go forth, and do so. This was not a command, but a permission; for God never ordaineth lies, though he often permitteth the lying spirit to deceive those who love not the truth. 2 Thessal. ii. 10. And in this sense it is said in the following verse, the Lord hath given a lying spirit in the mouth of all thy prophets. Ch. — What is translated in the imperative, denotes frequently what will come to pass, though it be displeasing to God. C. — He permits it, therefore, only by not exerting his power to prevent the execution. H. — The devils can do nothing without such a permission. Achab deserved to be deceived by the false prophets, as he would not hearken to a true one. S. Aug. con. Jul. v. 4. and q. 53. inter. 83.

Ver. 24. Cheek. Josephus says he had told the king, that if his hand did not wither, like that of Jeroboam, he might conclude that Micheas was a false prophet; particularly as his prediction was at variance with that of Elias; who had asserted that Achab should die at Jezrahel, while Micheas seemed to condemn him to death at Ramoth. But these circumstances are by no means certain, though they be adopted by the author of the Scholastic History, by Lyran, &c. C. — If Sedecias had the assurance to make such a declaration, God was not obliged to work a miracle to prevent the king’s mistake; and Micheas had never said that Achab should die at Ramoth. H. — Hath. In 2 Par. xviii. 23, it is expressed, Which way went the spirit of the Lord from me to speak to thee? If he could have proved that he had ever possessed the spirit, he might have spoken with some confidence; though sin may easily banish him. Thus Catholics may ask the pretended reformers, who boast of the spirit, how He came to abandon the Church with which all agree He once resided, to establish a contrary one? The spirit of God cannot be at variance with himself, nor reveal contradictory things. H.

Ver. 25. Go into a chamber, &c. This happened when he heard the king was slain, and justly apprehended that he should be punished for his false prophecy; (Ch.) though this be nowhere recorded, (C.) except in Josephus. W. — He probably escaped death. Salien.

Ver. 27. Distress, both “in small quantity,” (Paral.) and very bad. Grot. T. Isai. xxx. 20. — Peace, when I will punish thee, as an impostor. M. — How grating must this have been to the good king Josaphat; and still he does not abandon the company of such infatuated people! v. 29. H.

Ver. 30. Thy own. Sept. “I will disguise myself, and go into the battle; and do thou put on my garment.” Hence the Syrians mistook Josaphat for Achab, (v. 32. C.) as “it had been agreed between them, that he should wear the robes of Achab, to elude more easily the prediction of Micheas.” Joseph. viii. 15. — Vain and impious attempt! Providence found him out, though unadorned. H. — Achab might pretend thus to honour the king of Juda! (M.) and perhaps he had been apprized of the order given to the Syrians, to single him out, v. 31. What could prompt such an order, cannot be easily ascertained. Benadad might with to revenge himself, for being brought out as a prisoner to Achab; or he might be informed of the prediction of Micheas.

Ver. 31. Captains of, or mounted “on chariots.” There would hardly be so many general officers over the chariots alone. The same number of kings had been in a former engagement, and they had been replaced by these captains. C. xx. 24. C. — Only. Not that the Syrians were to avoid hurting any body else, as they could not thus come at the king; (Salien) and we find one shot an arrow at the army of Israel; (v. 34. H.) but the main onset was to be directed against Achab, either to kill or to take him prisoner. M.

Ver. 32. Cried out. Par. add, to the Lord, and he helped him, and turned them away from him. The Jews (in Seder. Olam xvii.) acknowledge the same thing; and thus it was known that Josaphat was not the king of Israel, who would rather have invoked Baal. M. — Perhaps he also declared the truth, and who he was, when he saw the Syrians surround him, crying, This is the king of Israel! 2 Par. xviii. 31. T.

Ver. 34. Stomach. Par. between the neck and the shoulders. The arrow went in at the lungs, and came out at the shoulders, as it was shot from a lower ground. M. — Some explain the Heb. “between the joints and the coat of mail.” Prot. “joints of the harness.” Sept. “between the lungs and the thorax.” H. — Syr. “between the juncture of the coat of mail,” where it is connected with the armour of the thighs. Grot. — God directed the random shot. Salien. W. — Hand. It was deemed unbecoming for the king to touch the reins. Diod. Sic. xvii. Brisson iii. p. 383.

Ver. 35. Evening. Achab had only retired to the hinder ranks, while Josaphat, by his valour, maintained the day, till the death of the former put an end to the war.

Ver. 38. Of Samaria. Josephus says, of Jezara, (Jezrahel) conformably to the prediction. But God had relented in that particular, on Achab’s repentance; (C. C. xxi. 24. 29.) unless it regarded his son Joram. H. Salien. — Reins. Heb. zonoth, may also signify “arms,” (Munster) and “harlots.” Sept. Some suspect that such were painted on the chariot. Josephus intimates, with the Sept. that “harlots bathed in the blood,” (Ant. viii. 15.) which would tend to the greater contempt of Achab. M. — Spoken, respecting dogs licking up Achab’s blood. No mention had been made of the chariot. God was thus pleased to shew how easily he could have executed the sentence in all its rigour.

Ver. 39. Of ivory. The palace was greatly adorned with it, (see Amos iii. 15. and Ps. xliv. 9. C.) like the palace of Solomon. C. x. 18. Pliny (xvi. 43.) speaks of bedsteads and vehicles of ivory, in the same sense. T.

Ver. 44. He took not away, &c. He left some of the high places, viz. those in which they worshipped the true God: but took away all others, 2 Par. xvii. 6; (Ch.) and even those also, before the end of his reign; (C.) as they were contrary to the law. M. — Others think that the passage in Par. is incorrect; ula being substituted for vaud. He took away the high places, (C. xix. 3.) and the groves. Grot. Capell. — We know that such remained in the days of Joas; and Josaphat in not ranked among the irreproachable kings. Eccli. xlix. 5. C. — He attempted perhaps to remove those places, but was prevented by the people. M. See C. xv. 14.

Ver. 45. Israel. The five subsequent verses are omitted in the Roman Sept.

Ver. 47. Effeminate. Men addicted to unnatural lust. C. xiv. 24. and xv. 12.

Ver. 48. Edom. Heb. and Chal. “but a deputy king,” or viceroy; (T.) so that the kings of Juda might equip fleets at Asiongaber, as the country of Idumea was subject to them ever since the time of David. 2 Par. viii. 17. Under Ochozias, the son of Josaphat, the kings of Edom became independent, 4 K. viii. 20. C. — Hitherto they had paid tribute. M.

Ver. 49. Made. Heb. incorrectly reads hasar, “ten,” instead of hasa, “made;” (C.) which the Prot. follow, “made ships of Tharshish, to go to Ophir.” H. See C. iv. 26. and 28.

Ver. 50. Would not. He had been reprehended before for admitting such a partner: and therefore would have no more to do with him. Ch. — They had formerly joined in equipping such a fleet, (2 Par. xx. 36. and 37. C.) and it had been dashed to pieces in the very port. H.

Ver. 52. Years, not complete; as the first is comprized in the reign of Achab, and the last in that of Joram. 4 K. iii. 1. Usher, A. 3108. — Yet, his very short reign was memorable for many disasters; the revolt of the dependant king of Moad, the ruin of his navy, &c. that he might thus be reclaimed from his evil ways. Salien, A.C. 915. — Houbigant allows this king two full years; and rejects the notion of his being associated by his father, as he does on other similar occasion, where the Scripture is silent. He makes Ochozias commence in the 19th, and end in the 22d of Josaphat, and not in the second of Joram. 4 K. i. 17. The Heb. and Greek copies vary. H.