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Deeper Commentary

1Ki 22:1 They continued three years without war between Syria and Israel-
I suggested on 1 Kings 20:1; 21:1 that 1 Kings 20 and 21 should be the other way around, as they are in the LXX. In this case, 1 Kings 22 continues straight on from 1 Kings 20. That concluded with Ahab making a treaty with Benhadad of Syria, allowing him to go free if he renamed streets in Damascus after Ahab's God, and restored the cities his father had captured from Israel. Had Ahab done what he was told to and slain Benhadad, the events in this chapter which led to his death may not have happened. And all the treaty achieved was three years without war. Ahab is represented as a weak minded fool in making that agreement, caught up in the pride and glory of the moment.

1Ki 22:2 It happened in the third year, that Jehoshaphat the king of Judah came down to the king of Israel-
One sin and weakness led to another. We learn from Chronicles that Jehoshaphat's son Jehoram had wrongly married Ahab’s daughter, Athaliah; probably under some false mantra of 'unity amongst God's people'. The visit was likely in connection with this. Had Jehoshaphat not fraternized with wicked Ahab, the possibility of the doomed venture which follows wouldn't have arisen. And if Ahab had slain Benhadad as commanded, Ramoth Gilead would have been returned to Israel. And indeed if Benhadad kept his covenant, it should have been returned anyway (1 Kings 20:34).  


1Ki 22:3 The king of Israel said to his servants, You know that Ramoth Gilead is ours, and we are sitting still, and don’t take it out of the hand of the king of Syria?-
"Ours" suggests he was playing on the false mantra of "unity amongst God's people" noted on :2. Ahab clearly intended the city to remain under his control and not that of Judah. So much foolishness, unwisdom and sacrifice of basic Godly principle has gone on under this mantra of "unity".


1Ki 22:4 He said to Jehoshaphat, Will you go with me to battle to Ramoth Gilead? Jehoshaphat said to the king of Israel, I am as you are, my people as your people, my horses as your horses-
Chronicles says "Ahab persuaded Jehoshaphat to go up with him to Ramoth-gilead", just as Jezebel persuaded Ahab to do wickedness (1 Kings 21:25 Heb.). It is a story of sin leading to sin, and sinful attitudes and behaviour spreading through wrong and unwise associations. We note they both have "horses", which were forbidden for the kings of Israel under the law of Moses. Jehoshaphat likely reasoned that a weak Syria on the east bank of Jordan was good for Judah, but he was also caught up in the false mantra of "unity" which had led his son to marry Ahab's daughter. 


1Ki 22:5 Jehoshaphat said to the king of Israel, Please inquire first for the word of Yahweh-
Ahab responded to the request for a word from Yahweh by summoning the group of 400 false prophets (:5). He had so mixed Yahweh worship with paganism that he considered their word to be that of Yahweh. And he gathered such a huge group in order to argue that the majority must surely be right. And the Bible consistently teaches that in these situations, the majority is usually wrong.


1Ki 22:6 Then the king of Israel gathered the prophets together, about four hundred men, and said to them, Shall I go against Ramoth Gilead to battle, or shall I forbear?-
Ahab had 400 false prophets earlier in his reign (1 Kings 18:19), who were slain on Carmel. So it seems that he didn't learn his lesson, and raised up another such group. This fits with the common theme of purges and repentances at the time of the kings needing to be repeated. For the purges were only surface level, despite all the evidence for them at the time. "Forbear" means 'to cease'. Ahab, like us at times, had already started the project without asking God's guidance, and his request for guidance in the project was compromised in integrity by the fact he had already begun it.

They said, Go up; for the Lord will deliver it into the hand of the king-
This recalls the instant answer of Nathan when David enquired about building a temple for Yahweh. Too easily we assume we know the will of God, and speak and act as if we have His blessing on our endeavours already.


1Ki 22:7 But Jehoshaphat said, Isn’t there here a prophet of Yahweh, that we may inquire of Him?-
Ahab had provided the 400 prophets of Baal in response to the request for a word from Yahweh. Jehoshaphat realized this; and ought to have immediately pulled out of working with someone who was presenting Baal worship as Yahweh worship. He means of course 'an old time, old school prophet of Yahweh who is not also a prophet of Baal and repudiates Baal'.

1Ki 22:8 The king of Israel said to Jehoshaphat, There is yet one man-
The idea is, "one more man". He considered that the 400 prophets of Baal were also in touch with Yahweh (see on :5), and Micaiah was just one more who could do that, although he repudiated Baal worship.

By whom we may inquire of Yahweh, Micaiah the son of Imlah-
Again we are introduced to a true prophet of Yahweh who existed at the time of Elijah. His claim to be the only prophet of Yahweh is continually demonstrated to be false. Presumably Elijah knew these other prophets, but considered that they had all gone wrong on this or that point of doctrine or practice. And perhaps they had, but God still counted them as His prophets, and used them as such. And it was Elijah who was removed from the prophetic ministry because of his arrogance in considering none of them genuine, and he alone being the true representative of Yahweh. Micaiah had previously spoken critical things to Ahab in Yahweh's Name, hence Ahab says that this prophet only says "evil" about him and he doesn't want to consult him. Elijah was quite wrong to discount all these brave prophets as somehow not genuine.  

But I hate him; for he does not prophesy good concerning me, but evil. Jehoshaphat said, Don’t let the king say so-
Again we sense the pouting, spoilt kid characteristics of Ahab. His characterization in the records is absolutely consistent and credible, as we would expect of a Divinely inspired history. We have here a parade example of how men come to God's word having already decided what they want to hear. Indeed there is a tendency to have "itching ears", heaping up teachers to confirm us in our own desires, lusts and hunches (2 Tim. 4:3; maybe a reference to Ahab heaping up 400 such teachers to tell him what he wanted to hear). This is why there are so many different interpretations of the Bible. Because readers / hearers like to hear only what confirms that which they already had a hunch about. To achieve a second naivety as we come to God's word, to be a born again virgin, is hard indeed. Jehoshaphat realized what Ahab was doing, and asked him not to talk like that- but to accept Yahweh's word. The fact Jehoshaphat himself still went into battle shows how he himself perceived the truth of all this, but didn't do accordingly. The "evil" prophesied was presumably of Ahab's condemnation, confirming Elijah's words.


1Ki 22:9 Then the king of Israel called an officer, and said, Quickly get Micaiah the son of Imlah-
"Who is like Yah?" was a direct challenge to the idea that Yahweh could be worshipped through Baal worship (see on :5). According to :26, Micaiah was imprisoned at this time. The 'quick' summoning from prison by an officer to speak God's word would have recalled to Micaiah the example of faithful Joseph.


1Ki 22:10 Now the king of Israel and Jehoshaphat the king of Judah were sitting each on his throne, arrayed in their robes, in an open place at the entrance of the gate of Samaria; and all the prophets were prophesying before them-
This was an impressive sight, and the area had clearly been especially prepared so that so many prophets could prophesy together. It was designed to sway Jehoshaphat according to the false maxim that the majority must be right, and how could so many be wrong. See on Ez. 10:5


1Ki 22:11 Zedekiah the son of Chenaanah made him horns of iron and said, Thus says Yahweh, ‘With these you shall push the Syrians, until they are consumed’-
Zedekiah, like a typical apostate, is mixing the truth of God out of context with wrong ideas. He alludes to Moses'  blessing of Joseph in Dt. 33:17 to the northern tribes of Ephraim and Manasseh: “Buffalo horns are his (Joseph's) horns, with them he thrusts down nations”. But of course he overlooked the fact that the blessings of Moses were predicated upon obedience to the covenant. He probably made the horns and held them on his forehead. Micaiah's response is to also quote from the law of Moses, but about the judgment for disobedience to the covenant (:17). 

1Ki 22:12 All the prophets prophesied so, saying, Go up to Ramoth Gilead, and prosper; for Yahweh will deliver it into the hand of the king-
These 400 prophets of Baal [for they were the equivalent of the 400 executed on Mount Carmel] still used the name of Yahweh. Their position was that they conducted Yahweh worship through Baal worship. Perhaps their usage of the Hebrew word for "prosper" alluded to how the word is four times used of the prospering of Abraham's servant on his journey and mission (Gen. 24:21,40,42,56). And this is probably our most common temptation as believers; to mix the flesh and the spirit, to justify sin in the name of serving God. But Ahab had broken the covenant, and would not prosper (s.w. Dt. 28:29). Jehoshaphat later learnt this lesson, for he uses the word in saying that only those who hear Yahweh's prophets will "prosper" (2 Chron. 20:20).  


1Ki 22:13 The messenger who went to call Micaiah spoke to him saying, See now, the prophets declare good to the king with one mouth. Please let your word be like the word of one of them, and speak good-
We sense the build up of pressure upon Micaiah. He was imprisoned for having spoken God's word against Ahab (see on :9,26), and would be under huge pressure from the presence of the 400 prophets and the audience watching (:28 "all you people"). And as the officer led him from prison towards the huge crowd of people gathered before the two kings, he too added his pressure. The request of the officer was perhaps because he actually liked Micaiah and could foresee the death sentence being given if he again "spoke evil" and not "good" to Ahab, and he didn't want to have to carry that out. But he still totally fails to perceive that God's word cannot be changed or controlled by man. 


1Ki 22:14 Micaiah said, As Yahweh lives, what Yahweh says to me, that I will speak-
If Micaiah was at that time imprisoned for prophesying evil against Ahab (see on :9,26), bearing in mind Naboth had been slain for allegedly cursing the king, he would have been sorely tempted to now buy his freedom by saying what Ahab wanted to hear. And despite his determination not to do so, I suggest on :15 that he did temporarily fail. The pressure on him was intense. Micaiah uses the words and ideas of Balaam when pressured to not say Yahweh's word. He was clearly a spiritually minded man who was deeply aware of Biblical precedent for his situation, as we ought to be.


1Ki 22:15 When he had come to the king, the king said to him, Micaiah, shall we go to Ramoth Gilead to battle, or shall we forbear? He answered him, Go up and prosper; and Yahweh will deliver it into the hand of the king-
It could be argued that by repeating the very words of the false prophets, Micaiah was just repeating them sarcastically, with the tone of his voice indicating that. But I prefer to conclude that this faithful man, who had gone to prison for his witness of God's word to Ahab, now faltered under the pressure of the presence of the 400 false prophets. He acted like Nathan when David enquired about building a temple for Yahweh, who gave the answer that his enquirer wanted to hear. Such failure of a moment would be absolutely true to human experience and would be psychologically and spiritually credible. See on :14.   

1Ki 22:16 The king said to him, How many times do I have to adjure you that you speak to me nothing but the truth in the name of Yahweh?-
See on :15. We are left to speculate which singular "king" it was who said this, Ahab or Jehoshaphat. The Biblical record is intentionally open ended at some points, to encourage us to think ourselves into the situation. The king sensed that Micaiah was cowed by the situation, and really wanted to know what Yahweh thought. So we sense "the king" in view was Jehoshaphat.


1Ki 22:17 He said, I saw all Israel scattered on the mountains, as sheep that have no shepherd. Yahweh said, ‘These have no master. Let them each return to his house in peace’-
As explained on :11, Zedekiah had quoted Moses' blessings of the tribes as justification for a successful battle- which were conditional upon obedience to the covenant. Micaiah responds by quoting the curses for disobedience to the covenant (Num. 27:16,17). The removal of the master / shepherd implies that the shepherd or king of Israel is to be slain, and the sheep would return to their homes once the shepherd was slain. And that is just what happened when it was recognized that Ahab had been slain.


1Ki 22:18 The king of Israel said to Jehoshaphat, Didn’t I tell you that he would not prophesy good concerning me, but evil?-
Ahab intuitively sensed what Yahweh's true word was even before Micaiah pronounced it. His insistence on going ahead was therefore the more culpable. And God's word is often intuitively recognized as "truth" even by those who reject it, which is why they tend towards anger and other psychological reactions appropriate to denial.

1Ki 22:19 Micaiah said, Therefore hear the word of Yahweh-
There does not follow a "Thus says the Lord", but rather a description of the vision Micaiah had seen, a peek into the heavenly throne room, the court of heaven. Discerning the vision was perhaps the essential "word of Yahweh" which the kings were to "hear".

I saw Yahweh sitting on His throne, and all the army of heaven standing by Him on His right hand and on His left-
The visions of 1 Kings 22:19-23, Isaiah 6 and Rev. 4 show God seated on a throne with Angels before Him, bringing information and requests to Him and departing with commands to obey; the idea of a council in Heaven is clearly hinted at in Job 1; Gen. 1:26; Ps. 89:7. God sitting on a throne implies that each request or piece of information presented is 'judged' and an appropriate decision made. The 'case' of the adversaries to God is presented by a 'satan' Angel in Job.


1 Kings 22:19-23 gives perhaps the most detailed picture of the Heavenly council. God told them His desire- for Ahab to die at Ramoth-Gilead. He then asked which Angel wanted to effect this- "Who shall persuade Ahab, that he may go up and fall at Ramoth Gilead? And one (Angel) said on this manner, and another said on that manner". We thus learn that like us, on hearing God's desire the elohim all have different ways of trying to fulfil it. One "Spirit" (Angel) suggested that He would put a lying spirit in the mouth of Ahab's prophets, and this was the suggestion chosen and enabled by God. This shows that the Angels do not all automatically know the best way of bringing about God's purpose, and therefore they need to seek His advice and perhaps discuss things amongst themselves first before acting. Note that "all the host of Heaven" were there around the throne of God participating in this decision. And so all the Angels are involved in the decisions God and the Angels make about us. Lk. 15:6 implies the same. 

The division of the Angels into groups on His right and left is interesting. Why would it be mentioned, if it were insignificant? All the Angels are of God's nature and obedient to Him, there are no sinful Angels. But there are Angels of evil, Angels specifically tasked with bringing evil (see on Ps. 78:49). We think of the Angel called "the destroyer" at Passover time, who was restrained by the Passover Angel from destroying the Israelite firstborn. And so one wonders whether "the destroyer" was one of those on the left hand side, and the Passover Angel one of those on the right hand.


1Ki 22:20 Yahweh said, ‘Who shall entice Ahab, that he may go up and fall at Ramoth Gilead?’ One said one thing; and another said another-
"Entice" is the word elsewhere translated 'deceive'. Clearly God does deceive; for He confirms men in the mental path in which they themselves wish to go. Ez. 14:9 uses the word very clearly in this connection (see commentary there); and the teaching is confirmed in 2 Thess. 2:11. 

In Revelation we see the incense of human prayers arising into Heaven, resulting in Angels coming to earth, pouring out bowls, blowing trumpets, and major events happening on earth (Rev. 5:8; 8:3). Prayer is noticed; it brings forth quite out of proportion responses. The Angels discuss their plans for us in the court of Heaven, coming up with various possibilities of how to act in our lives, discussing them with God (1 Kings 22:20-22). They play some part in the whole process of our prayers. When we read that “Surely the Lord does nothing without revealing his secret to his servants the prophets” (Am. 3:7), we might tend to take that as a statement of absolute principle that is obvious to all the Angels. But we find an Angel discussing with others: “Shall I hide from Abraham [who was a prophet] what I am about to do?” (Gen. 18:17). The Angels have more debate, expend more mental and physical energy than we surely realize, in order to operationalize things which we might consider to be standard and automatic in God’s work with men. In our context, what this means is that when men reject the machinations and schemings of God’s love, they reject an awful lot; and it grieves and disappoints Him, and appears tragic to those like the prophets who see things from His viewpoint.


1Ki 22:21 A spirit-
God makes His Angels "spirits" (Ps. 104:4), and Angels are in view here. But the word 'spirit' has a wide range of meaning. It can refer to power, but also to the thought which is then expressed through the power of action. The Angel is here called a "spirit" because the idea was to place a thought in the mind or spirit of the false prophets, and thereby Ahab. 

Came out-
This is the same word as in :22 "I will go out". The Angel was as it were demonstrating how he intended acting.

And stood before Yahweh-
It was the true prophets who stood before Yahweh (1 Kings 17:1). The connection is to show that the true prophets were represented by the Angels in the court of heaven, and this Angel was as it were on their side.

And said, ‘I will entice him’-
Ahab had been persuaded or enticed to do evil by Jezebel, and had enticed or persuaded Jehoshaphat to go to battle. But this was because he had himself been persuaded or enticed by God.


1Ki 22:22 Yahweh said to him, ‘How?’ He said, ‘I will go out and will be a lying spirit in the mouth of all his prophets’. He said, ‘You will entice him, and will also prevail-
God deceived prophets to speak things in His Name which were actually false (1 Kings 22:20-22; Ez. 14:9). He chose Israel's delusions by making their idols answer them (Is. 66:3,4). Jeremiah feared God had deceived him (Jer. 20:7)- showing he knew such a thing was possible. Dt. 13:1-3 warns Israel not to believe prophets whose prophecies came true although they taught false doctrines, because they may have been raised up to test their obedience. God deceived Israel by telling them about the peace which would come on Jerusalem in the future Kingdom; they didn't consider the other prophecies which were given at the same time concerning their imminent judgment, and therefore they thought that God was pleased with them and was about to establish the Messianic Kingdom; when actually the very opposite was about to happen (Jer. 4:10). This is why the Bible is confusing to those who aren’t humble to God’s word.

Go out and do so’-
This describes the Angels being sent out from the court of Heaven to do God’s word. So when we read of God sending lions (2 Kings 17:25,26), sending wild beasts and famine (Lev. 26:22; Ez. 5:17; Dt. 32:24), sending locusts (Joel 2:25), it would seem that Angels are sent forth from God’s throne in order to command animals to obey God’s word. And moreover, He sends an evil spirit between men (Jud. 9:23) and stubborn hearts are also sent from God (Ps. 81:13). The same Angels who are sent to control the animals can also therefore work to give men certain attitudes of mind.

1Ki 22:23 Now therefore, behold, Yahweh has put a lying spirit in the mouth of all these your prophets; and Yahweh has spoken evil concerning you-
This was exactly what Micaiah had said before about Ahab, and Ahab intuitively knew that this was coming.


1Ki 22:24 Then Zedekiah the son of Chenaanah came near and struck Micaiah on the cheek, and said, Which way did the Spirit of Yahweh go from me to speak to you?-
"Cheek" can be "ear". The idea was that Zedekiah implied Micaiah was saying that the spirit had left him and entered Micaiah through his ear. And so he smote that ear. To strike on the cheek was the punishment for a heretic, and was applied to the Lord Jesus (Mic. 5:1).


1Ki 22:25 Micaiah said, Behold, you will see on that day when you go into an inner room to hide yourself-
When Ahab was defeated and slain, everyone in Samaria would be looking for the false prophets to kill them. Not least Jezebel. For the defeat would have been blamed upon them. So Zedekiah would have hid from shame and fear of being killed. There is a connection between Benhadad going into an inner room to hide when Ahab was given victory against him (1 Kings 20:30), and the false prophet Zedekiah going into an inner room to hide when Ahab was defeated (1 Kings 22:25). The same Hebrew words are used, and the connection becomes more apparent if we accept that 1 Kings 20 and 21 should be placed the other way around, as in LXX. This would mean that the hiding of Benhadad is recorded just a short time before that of Zedekiah. The connection would be to show that the false prophets were in fact bracketed together by God with Israel's enemies; whereas they had claimed that they were nationalists on Israel's side, proclaiming Israel's certain victory against their enemies. God sees not as man sees, and the real spiritual realities are often the very opposite of what appears.    


1Ki 22:26 The king of Israel said, Take Micaiah, and carry him back to Amon the governor of the city, and to Joash the king’s son-
These men were those who ran the prison, for "carry him back" means Micaiah was already in prison. See on :9. Again we see how wrong Elijah had been to claim that no prophet of Yahweh existed apart from himself. Micaiah had gone to prison for speaking God's word to Ahab. But Elijah presumably considered there was some curious point of theology or matter of legal practice which enabled Elijah to rubbish Micaiah as not sincere and not a true prophet. It reminds us of how truly committed Christians who have gone to jail or even death for their witness... are trashed by others as somehow not the real Christians. And only they the critics are in fellowship with God. They really need to learn the lesson of Elijah. For he was ejected from his ministry because of those attitudes.


1Ki 22:27 Say, ‘Thus says 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’-
I suggest on :9,26 that he was already in prison for his faithful witness against Ahab. So the idea here seems to be that he was to be put in the inner prison and given a very tough regime.


1Ki 22:28 Micaiah said, If you return at all in peace, Yahweh has not spoken by me. He said, Listen, all you people!-
If I were Micaiah, I think I would have just shrugged and remained silent, fearing the harsh regime of punishment in :27 could easily be changed into the death sentence. For Naboth had been slain for 'cursing the king'. But Micaiah bravely invites the large audience to listen and take note, because he seeks their conversion. 


1Ki 22:29 So the king of Israel and Jehoshaphat the king of Judah went up to Ramoth Gilead-
The record is intentionally silent about the utter folly of Jehoshaphat in going ahead with this. He was keenly interested to 'know the truth' from God's word, and didn't want to hear false teaching. But when the truth was presented, he didn't follow it. We can take a huge lesson from this. He allowed the intense pressure of the crowd of prophets, and his family relationship with Ahab as the in-law of his son, to lead him to walk right against the 'truth' he had sought. And there are many who seem to rejoice more in 'searching for the truth' than in actually following it when they are find it or have it presented to them.


1Ki 22:30 The king of Israel said to Jehoshaphat, I will disguise myself, and go into the battle; but you put on your robes. The king of Israel disguised himself, and went into the battle-
LXX even suggests that Ahab asked Jehoshaphat to wear Ahab's robes. The next verse describes why this was; Ahab was aware of the king of Syria's desire to resolve the issue by capturing or killing Ahab. The incident is a parade example of 'bad friends'. We marvel at Jehoshaphat's stupidity in agreeing. For surely he must have foreseen what could happen. This was the pressure he felt from Ahab and Jezebel, the in-laws of his son. And so often family pressure leads otherwise solid believers into uncharacteristic actions, seriously unwise behaviour and positions which are utterly the opposite of all they stand for. Because quite simply, they do not really commit to following God's word, even if they stand with their backs to the world.


1Ki 22:31 Now the king of Syria had commanded the thirty-two captains of his chariots saying, Fight neither with small nor great, except only with the king of Israel-
Only three years previously (see on :1), the king of Syria had been foolishly spared by Ahab. Perhaps he couldn't live down that humiliation, and wanted to kill the man who had shown him so much mercy. That again is absolutely true to observed human experience, and the record time and again is absolutely psychologically credible.


1Ki 22:32 It happened, when the captains of the chariots saw Jehoshaphat, that they said, Surely that is the king of Israel! And they turned aside to fight against him. Jehoshaphat cried out-
The Hebrew implies that they surrounded him. He was clearly "lucky" to escape with his life. It was only by Divine grace that he did. His 'crying out' was surely to God to save him from his foolishness. 


1Ki 22:33 It happened, when the captains of the chariots saw that it was not the king of Israel, that they turned back from pursuing him-
This was in response to his crying out to God for salvation in :32. Chronicles adds: "and the Lord helped him and turned them off from him. And yet he was strongly rebuked by God in 2 Chron. 19:2. His actions provoked "the wrath of Yahweh", but God saved a man by grace whilst at the same time having great wrath against him. This is so different to human wrath and attempts to show grace, which seem usually to be displayed without any other pole of feeling in mind. But God had both in perfect balance at the same time. This is the wonder of His Name, which includes all these poles of feeling toward men within His personality.

1Ki 22:34 A certain man drew his bow at random, and struck the king of Israel between the joints of the armour. Therefore he said to the driver of his chariot, Turn your hand, and carry me out of the battle; for I am severely wounded-
The gaps in armour around vital organs would have been relatively small. This is evidence for all time that there is no such thing as "random". This was so clearly of God. 


1Ki 22:35 The battle increased that day. The king was propped up in his chariot facing the Syrians, and died at evening. The blood ran out of the wound into the bottom of the chariot-
The weak minded Ahab genuinely wanted to do the best for his troops, and therefore remained in his chariot, propped up. Presumably Israelite soldiers knew where and who he was. It was this policy of not being removed from his chariot which resulted in the blood accumulating within it, which was required for the fulfilment of the prophecies about his blood.


1Ki 22:36 A cry went throughout the army about the going down of the sun saying, Every man to his city, and every man to his country!-
This was the exact fulfilment of Micaiah's prophecy that the shepherd of Israel would be slain, and the sheep would return to their homes (:17).


1Ki 22:37 So the king died, and was brought to Samaria; and they buried the king in Samaria-
The double emphasis upon the death and burial of "the king" is perhaps to signpost attention to the fact that the prophecy of Micaiah about the death of the shepherd / master of the flock had been fulfilled (:17).


1Ki 22:38 They washed the chariot by the pool of Samaria; and the dogs licked up his blood where the prostitutes washed themselves; according to the word of Yahweh which He spoke-
The idea may be that the women were washing in the pool whilst the blood of Ahab was washed off into it. According to 1 Kings 21:19 "In the place where dogs licked the blood of Naboth, dogs will lick your blood, even yours" (Ahab's). But in 1 Kings 22:38 the dogs [LXX "the swine and the dogs"] licked Ahab's blood in the pool of Samaria, just outside the gate of Samaria; not in Jezreel. It could be argued that "the place" refers not to a geographical locality, but rather to the place where the garbage was thrown outside a city gate. The Lord uses 'Gehenna' to describe such a place as a figure for condemnation. The way 1 Kings 22:38 triumphs in the fulfilment of the prophecy suggests there was no perceived gap between the prediction and its fulfilment. But another possibility is that because of Ahab's repentance, the sentence was modified, just as that upon Adam was (for he didn't die in the day he sinned, although he did die). This reflects God's openness to human repentance in response to His stated judgments. In the gap between statement and fulfilment, there can be repentance and a change of outcomes. This is what gives intensity to our living in that gap. LXX adds to 1 Kings 21:19 "and the harlots shall wash in thy blood". 1 Kings 22:38 LXX says that this was fulfilled. Perhaps the idea is that they washed themselves in a spring in the rubbish dump where Ahab's blood as it were was eternally present.


1Ki 22:39 Now the rest of the acts of Ahab, and all that he did, and the ivory house which he built, and all the cities that he built, aren’t they written in the book of the chronicles of the kings of Israel?-
This may not refer necessarily to the same books of Chronicles we have in our Bibles. Houses adorned with ivory were condemned by God in Am. 3:15. All of the Bible seems to cry out against high luxury living, in a world of such great spiritual and material need.

1Ki 22:40 So Ahab slept with his fathers; and Ahaziah his son reigned in his place-
Ahab's naming his sons with the 'Yah' suffix in their names (he had another son called Jehoram, 2 Kings 3:1) would be a nod toward Yahweh worship. And yet he is famed as a Baal worshipper. This helps us better understand the nature of the Baal worship then practiced; it was a mixture of Yahweh worship with Baal worship, claiming to worship Yahweh through Baal worship. This is why when Ahab is asked to produce a prophet of Yahweh, he calls up the 400 prophets of Baal who had replaced those slain by Elijah on Carmel. And this is typical of so much of our failure; justifying sin in the name of worshipping God.

1Ki 22:41 Jehoshaphat the son of Asa began to reign over Judah in the fourth year of Ahab king of Israel-
Jehoshaphat means 'whom Jehovah judges'. And this is largely the point of his life, which Chronicles records in more detail. He made major mistakes in his relationships with Israel, incited the wrath of God against him (2 Chron. 19:2), died without removing the high places, and yet overall was judged as having a faithful heart before God (:43; 2 Chron. 19:3). And so we have a parade example of how indeed 'Jehovah judges', factoring in the various dimensions of a man's life in a way in which we cannot. The lesson is indeed that we cannot judge, nor should we be tempted to judge a person according to the high and low points on their spiritual graph, nor upon the fact they may die with unconquered weaknesses.

1Ki 22:42 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 the daughter of Shilhi-
Again the mother is maybe mentioned because of her great influence upon the spiritual path of her children. However, there is also the theme that believers arise from unbelieving backgrounds. "Azubah" means "forsaken". It is the same word used in 2 Chron. 15:2, where Jehoshaphat's father Asa was told of God "If you forsake Him, He will forsake you". It could be that Asa forsook Azubah and she was effectively a divorced woman; or perhaps the wife was renamed this because Asa felt she had forsaken Yahweh, which is how the word "forsaken" ('Azubah') is usually used.


1Ki 22:43 He walked in all the way of Asa his father; he didn’t turn aside from it, doing that which was right in the eyes of Yahweh: however the high places were not taken away; the people still sacrificed and burnt incense in the high places-
Again we marvel at God's positive overall opinion of Jehoshaphat. For he rejected Yahweh's word in going to fight at Ramoth Gilead, and was condemned by God for working together with those who hated Him, and "therefore is wrath upon you from Yahweh" (2 Chron. 19:2). A man may fail repeatedly, as Jehoshaphat did in his relations with Ahab and allowing his son to marry Jezebel's daughter, and even experience God's wrath. And yet finally be judged as having done what was right in God's eyes. That doing of right may refer therefore not to a spotless track record of behaviour, but rather to a basic faith in God, repentance and what the New Testament calls "abiding in Him". It is not the dramatic ups and downs on the graph of human spirituality over time which are significant to God. It is the overall state of the heart. And we can take courage from this in our own lives, and be guided therefore not to think too highly of those who at specific points show great commitment, nor to think too lowly of those who fail in specific points of their journey. We also learn that some men die with weaknesses, such as not taking away the high places. But this does not necessarily tip the balance towards their condemnation. This needs to be factored in to our thinking about the spiritual fate of those who die committing suicide.   


1Ki 22:44 Jehoshaphat made peace with the king of Israel-
Or, "kings". Ahab, Ahaziah, and Joram were all contemporary with Jehoshaphat, and he seems to be commended for this. And yet the Chronicles record clearly shows that he was too close to them. His son married a daughter of Ahab (2 Chron. 18:1), and his insistence on supporting Ahab was seen as loving those who hated Yahweh, and the wrath of God was upon him because of it (2 Chron. 19:2). And yet he is commended for having peace with the kings of Israel (1 Kings 22:44), even though  that desire for peace with them led him into major sin. But he was judged as having a heart right with God (2 Chron. 19:3). We sense God weighting Jehoshaphat's sins with his relations with Israel against his genuine desire for peace within God's people. And overall, as he was judged on the state of his heart, his desire for unity and peace was judged as his dominant desire. We simply cannot factor in or weight all the dimensions in a man's heart. Only God can. And the reason we are not to judge is because in fact we cannot judge, in that we don't have access to human hearts.  


1Ki 22:45 Now the rest of the acts of Jehoshaphat, and his might that he showed, and how he warred, aren’t they written in the book of the chronicles of the kings of Judah?-
This is the common rubric found in the histories of the kings (1 Kings 15:23; 16:5,27; 22:45; 2 Kings 10:34; 13:8,12; 14:15,28; 20:20). "His might that he showed" uses a word for "might" which has the sense of victory / achievement. But the contrast is marked with the way that David so often uses this word for "might / victory / achievement" in the context of God's "might"; notably in 1 Chron. 29:11, which the Lord Jesus places in our mouths as part of His model prayer: "Yours is the power [s.w. "might"], and the glory and the majesty". The kings about whom the phrase is used were those who trusted in their own works. It therefore reads as a rather pathetic memorial; that this man's might / achievement was noted down. But the unspoken further comment is elicited in our own minds, if we are in tune with the spirit of David: "But the only real achievement is the Lord's and not man's". All human victory and achievement must be seen in this context. The same word is used in Jer. 9:23,24: "Don’t let the wise man glory in his wisdom, neither let the mighty man glory in his might [s.w.]... but let him who glories glory in this, that he has understanding, and knows Me, that I am Yahweh who exercises loving kindness, justice, and righteousness, in the earth". The glorification of human "might" is often condemned. "Their might [s.w.] is not right" (Jer. 23:10; also s.w. Jer. 51:30; Ez. 32:29; Mic. 7:16 and often).  


1Ki 22:46 The remainder of the sodomites, from the days of his father Asa, he put away out of the land-
Here we again encounter the theme of partial purges and partial living according to God's standards; and also the reality of the fact that no soon was one apostacy stamped out by a king that it rose up again. It was this lack of abiding spiritual change which led the nation to a downward spiral which climaxed in their rejection by God as having sinned worse than Israel (Ez. 16,23).


1Ki 22:47 There was no king in Edom: a deputy was king-
This explains why Solomon could have access to Ezion Geber (:48) which was in Edom (1 Kings 9:26). The "deputy" was surely one imposed by Jehoshaphat (s.w. 1 Kings 4:7). Perhaps this effective subjugation of Edom (2 Kings 8:20,22) by Jehoshaphat is part of the overall scene of his power over the surrounding nations which we find in 2 Chron. 17:10,11. Hadad of Edom had been an adversary to Solomon, who also traded through Ezion Geber (1 Kings 11:14); but not to Jehoshaphat.              

1Ki 22:48 Jehoshaphat made ships of Tarshish to go to Ophir for gold: but they didn’t go; for the ships were broken at Ezion Geber-
2 Chron. 20:36,37 says that this was a joint venture with Ahab's son Ahaziah. He was so slow to learn the lesson that he should not work together with the apostate ten tribe kingdom. He had almost lost his life because of this whilst fighting at Ramoth Gilead. And like us, the situations were repeated, but he was so slow to learn. 

"Ships of Tarshish" is clearly a technical term for a long distance trading vessel. "Tarshish" appears to have been the source of gold, peacocks, silver etc., which are only found together in southern India. But a ship of Tarshish wasn't necessarily a ship which went to Tarshish. "Tarshish" means 'endurance' and refers to vessels which had a capacity for long distance trading. At that time, India was the end of the earth for someone living in Israel. There is an analogous situation with how 19th century long distance trading vessels were known as "Indiamen", not because they necessarily sailed the routes to India, but because they were long distance vessels of the kind which had sailed to India. This is why 'going to Tarshish' in 2 Chron. 20:36,37 is paralleled with 'going to Ophir in ships of Tarshish' in 1 Kings 22:48.

 "Ophir" may have been a generic name for areas to the east, including southern Arabia (famed for gold in Ps. 72:15; Ez. 27:22) and India; Ophir was in Arabia according to Gen. 10:29. Sheba was nearby and was famed for gold, so it was through this trading that the Queen of Sheba heard of the wisdom of Solomon. 1 Kings 10:1 goes on to speak of her after mentioning gold of Ophir in 1 Kings 9:28, connecting her with this gold trade with Ophir. But 1 Kings 10:11 connects Ophir with "almug trees and precious stones". "Almug" appears to refer to sandalwood, "the Hebraized form of the Deccan word for sandal". This points to "Ophir" as being in the east, possibly as far as the Indian coast where these trees grow.

1Ki 22:49 Then Ahaziah the son of Ahab said to Jehoshaphat, Let my servants go with your servants in the ships. But Jehoshaphat would not-
Jehoshaphat learned his lesson of not associating with the ten tribes because of their apostacy. But he was so very slow in learning it. We would have thought that his experience in the battle at Ramoth Gilead would have taught him. But it didn't. His ships had to be broken by the wind / storm of God's wrath (:48). And then when Ahaziah proposes another join venture, Jehoshaphat apparently learns the lesson. I say apparently, because after Ahaziah dies, Jehoshaphat again repeats the same mistake with Ahab's other son Jehoram (2 Kings 3:7). And yet he was finally counted righteous with God because his basic state of heart was for Him. We marvel again at God's patience with men. This means that we are to continue seeking the repentance of men and never cut them off, as is typically done by small minded churches 'disfellowshipping' people.

1Ki 22:50 Jehoshaphat slept with his fathers, and was buried with his fathers in the city of David his father; Jehoram his son reigned in his place-
"Jehoram", 'Raised by Yah', would reflect spirituality in Jehoshaphat. We note that so many of the kings of Israel didn't have the covenant Name within their names, whereas the kings of Judah did.


1Ki 22:51 Ahaziah the son of Ahab began to reign over Israel in Samaria in the seventeenth year of Jehoshaphat king of Judah, and he reigned two years over Israel-
The fact Ahab gave his son a name with the 'Yah' suffix ['Yah has seized'] indicates that Ahab did have some desire to show commitment to Yahweh despite Jezebel; for Jezebel surely would have been against this name. But he failed to raise the boy to be a follower of Yahweh, and in the end, Jezebel's influence was stronger upon him. We again see in Ahab a man who knew better than to live how he did, and who showed moments and aspects of commitment to the true God, but lived a life of overall failure until his final repentance. 


1Ki 22:52 He did that which was evil in the sight of Yahweh, 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, in which he made Israel to sin-
The language here and in :53 appears to give no credit to Ahab for his repentance which had so pleased Yahweh. Perhaps that was of no abiding value, seeing that immediately before his death he specifically rejected the word of Yahweh for that of the false prophets, which led him to his death.


1Ki 22:53 He served Baal and worshipped him, and provoked to anger Yahweh, the God of Israel, according to all that his father had done
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God can be grieved [s.w. 'provoke to anger']. He has emotions, and His potential foreknowledge doesn't mean that these feelings are not legitimate. They are presented as occurring in human time, as responses to human behaviour. This is the degree to which He has accommodated Himself to human time-space limits, in order to fully enter relationship and experience with us. As He can limit His omnipotence, so God can limit His omniscience, in order to feel and respond along with us.