1 Kings 22:1 For three years there was no war between Aram and Israel. 2 But in the third year Jehoshaphat king of Judah went down to see the king of Israel. 3 The king of Israel had said to his officials, “Don’t you know that Ramoth Gilead belongs to us and yet we are doing nothing to retake it from the king of Aram?”

4 So he asked Jehoshaphat, “Will you go with me to fight against Ramoth Gilead?”

Jehoshaphat replied to the king of Israel, “I am as you are, my people as your people, my horses as your horses.” 5 But Jehoshaphat also said to the king of Israel, “First seek the counsel of the Lord.”

6 So the king of Israel brought together the prophets—about four hundred men—and asked them, “Shall I go to war against Ramoth Gilead, or shall I refrain?”

“Go,” they answered, “for the Lord will give it into the king’s hand.”

7 But Jehoshaphat asked, “Is there no longer a prophet of the Lord here whom we can inquire of?”

8 The king of Israel answered Jehoshaphat, “There is still one prophet through whom we can inquire of the Lord, but I hate him because he never prophesies anything good about me, but always bad. He is Micaiah son of Imlah.”

“The king should not say such a thing,” Jehoshaphat replied.

9 So the king of Israel called one of his officials and said, “Bring Micaiah son of Imlah at once.”

10 Dressed in their royal robes, the king of Israel and Jehoshaphat king of Judah were sitting on their thrones at the threshing floor by the entrance of the gate of Samaria, with all the prophets prophesying before them. 11 Now Zedekiah son of Kenaanah had made iron horns and he declared, “This is what the Lord says: ‘With these you will gore the Arameans until they are destroyed.’”

12 All the other prophets were prophesying the same thing. “Attack Ramoth Gilead and be victorious,” they said, “for the Lord will give it into the king’s hand.”

13 The messenger who had gone to summon Micaiah said to him, “Look, the other prophets without exception are predicting success for the king. Let your word agree with theirs, and speak favorably.”

14 But Micaiah said, “As surely as the Lord lives, I can tell him only what the Lord tells me.”


So if I were in Israel at the time... what kind of prophets would I have? Would they say what I want them to say, or would they tell me the truth? I went to the easy English commentary this morning.

In chapter 20, Ahab (the king of Israel) made an agreement with the king of Syria. That agreement was the reason why there was peace for almost three years. When the kings made that agreement, the king of Syria promised to return certain cities to Israel.

However, Syria still controlled Ramoth-Gilead. This was a large city that belonged to the tribe of Levi. It was a special city of safety (Joshua 20:8).

Ahab discussed this matter with Jehoshaphat, who was the king of Judah. Jehoshaphat was a good king, who was loyal to the Lord. We do not know why Jehoshaphat chose to have a friendly relationship with Ahab’s family. Ahab was a very wicked king.

Ahab asked Jehoshaphat to help him to fight for Ramoth-Gilead. Jehoshaphat agreed. His army would fight with Ahab’s army. It seems that both Jehoshaphat and Ahab considered Syria to be their enemy. But Jehoshaphat wanted the prophets to give advice first. He wanted to know whether God approved of this plan.

Ahab asked 400 prophets. We cannot be sure about the religion of these prophets. They probably belonged to the religion that Jeroboam set up. So although they spoke about the Lord, they were not really prophets of the Lord. In fact, they worshipped idols.

This was an impressive event. The kings wore their royal clothes. They sat on their royal seats by the city gates. This was the place where all public meetings happened. All 400 prophets agreed that the battle would be successful. They spoke with great power. One prophet called Zedekiah made horns of iron. They represented the two kings in the fight against Syria.

Jehoshaphat listened to all these prophets. But they could not convince him. He knew that they worshipped idols. And Jehoshaphat only worshipped the Lord. Jehoshaphat would not agree to go to war until he had heard the advice from a real prophet of the Lord.

Ahab had such a prophet available, but he did not want to call him. That prophet was Micaiah. Verse 26 shows that Micaiah was probably already in prison. Ahab would have put Micaiah there because he was angry about his prophecies. Ahab complained that Micaiah’s prophecies were always bad. But the truth was that Ahab did not like Micaiah’s prophecies. Micaiah would only tell the king what God told him to say. But Ahab did not want to obey God. So Ahab was angry with this loyal prophet. The man who called Micaiah warned him about the situation. His words mean, ‘Tell the king what he wants to hear.’ But Micaiah refused. He would only say what the Lord had told him. A genuine prophet never changes the Lord’s message. Such a prophet speaks the truth, even if everyone opposes him.

The second witness this morning is from GodVine.

There is yet one man, Micaiah - Elijah, it appears, had withdrawn again after the events of the last chapter, and there was no known prophet of Yahweh within reach of Samaria except Micaiah.

He doth not prophesy good concerning me but evil - Whether the tradition in 1 Kings 20:41 note be true or not, it is certain that Ahab had imprisoned him 1 Kings 22:26, and probable that the imprisonment was on account of threatening prophecies. Ahab suggests to Jehoshaphat that Micaiah is one who allows his private feelings to determine the utterances which he delivers as if from Yahweh. Hence, the force of Jehoshaphat's answer, "Let not the king say so;" i. e., "Let not the king suppose that a prophet would be guilty of such impiety," - an impiety from which even Balaam shrank Numbers 22:18.

So do our preachers tell us what we want to hear or do they tell us what God wants us to know? I don't want to be preachy.

God's chosen are still divided in two nations, Israel and Judah. The king of Israel went with the king of Judah to discuss the city of Ramoth Gilead. Apparently the Syrians [Ben-Hadad] had been holding the city. Ahab [Israel's king] asked Jehoshaphat [Judah's king] to help him out. Jehoshaphat would only agree after talking to God first. Problem was.... Ahab had gotten rid of just about everyone in his church who would tell him the truth. They had to pull a prophet out of prison to get the Word from God for Jehoshaphat.