1 Kings 22:33
And when the chariot commanders saw that he was not the king of Israel, they turned back from pursuing him.
Character of JehoshaphatR. S. Candlish, D. D.1 Kings 22:2-50
The Character of AhabR. S. Candlish, D. D.1 Kings 22:2-50
The Certainty of God's ThreateningsJ. Urquhart 1 Kings 22:29-40
Lessons of the BattleJ.A. Macdonald 1 Kings 22:30-38

After disposing of Micaiah by sending him to prison with hard fare as the reward of his faithfulness, Ahab and Jehoshaphat gathered their forces and set out together to fight for the recovery of Ramoth-Gilead. The events of the day show -


1. Micaiah's words influenced Ahab's conduct.

(1) Though Ahab had imprisoned the prophet he could not shake off the influence of his prophecy. So with a view to obviating its effect he proposed to disguise himself. He speaks of himself in the third person (ver. 30), thus (אדנים), "He will [strip] disguise himself' - a form of speech, perhaps, considered suitable to an action in which he was to appear as a third person. To complete the deception, if we follow the LXX., he induced Jehoshaphat to put on his (Ahab's) robes.

(a) Note the subtlety of the wicked. Ahab's proposal to Jehoshaphat was ostensibly to give him the post of honour in commanding the army. This, too, may have suggested the use of the third person in speaking of himself. Ahab's real purpose was to divert from himself the fury of the battle; and probably he hoped Jehoshaphat might be slain. In that case his son-in-law would succeed to the throne of Judah, and he might be able so to manage him as to serve his own purposes.

(b) In all this we see the danger of bad company. We see it likewise in the sad fact that Jehoshaphat should become a party to a contrivance to falsify the word of God!

(2) But how useless are disguises when the providence of Omniscience is concerned! Ahab might hide himself from the Syrians, but he could not hide himself from God. Neither could he hide himself from angels and devils, who are instruments of Divine Providence, ever influencing men, and even natural laws, or forces of nature. Note: No disguise will avail to evade the scrutiny and retributions of the judgment day.

(3) Yet by his disguise Ahab, unwittingly, helped the prophecy. "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." Suppose Ahab had been in Jehoshaphat's place, and had fallen into the hands of the captains, what would have become of the words of Elijah? (See 1 Kings 21:19.) But as things worked out these words became literally true.

2. They also influenced the conduct of the Syrians.

(1) The Syrians would be aware of the prophecy of Micaiah dooming Ahab to fall at Ramoth-Gilead. For in a country about the size of North Wales, Samaria being distant from Ramoth-Gilead only thirty miles, the news of this public meeting of kings and contest of prophets could not be a secret. Ahab would facilitate the publication of the encouragement he had from the four hundred, to strike terror into the Syrians; but where the news of his encouragement went the words of Micaiah also would travel.

(2) Probably this intelligence determined the Syrians to "fight only against the king of Israel," in which they would have the God of Israel with them, the formidableness of whose hostility they had experienced in the last two battles (compare 2 Chronicles 35:21, 22). To this Jehoshaphat probably was indebted for the sparing of his life, for "God moved the Syrians to depart from him" (see 2 Chronicles 18:31). And probably they were influenced by it to agree to the proclamation to disband, when the death of Ahab became known (cf. vers. 17, 36).

3. Note a remarkable illustration of this principle in the zeal of Jehu in exterminating the house of Ahab (see 2 Kings 9:25, 26; 2 Kings 10:10, 11, 16, 17). Those who are "looking for," are thereby "hastening the coming of the day of God" (see 2 Peter 3:12).


1. This was evident in the case of Ahab. The purpose of Ben-hadad, should Ahab have fallen into his hands, is not recorded. Would he return Ahab's compliment of releasing him with a covenant? Would he show Ahab how he ought to have treated him?

(2) But God had other means than the captains of Ben-hadad to accomplish His purpose. A man drew a bow at a venture (marg. "in his simplicity") and smote the king of Israel between the joints and harness." A simpleton brings clown a king! (See Proverbs 1:32.) God guided the arrow to the opening in the joints of the armour, as He guided the pebble from the sling of David into the frontals of Goliath. No armour is proof against the shafts of Divine vengeance.

(3) The hand of God also was seen in the sequel. The prophecies of Elijah and Micaiah seem to be in conflict. The one speaks of the dogs licking the blood of Ahab at" Samaria;" the other of Ahab falling at "Ramoth-Gilead." Who but God could so order events that there should be no conflict here? "The blood ran out of the wound into the midst (Heb. bosom) of the chariot;" perhaps more correctly, "into the bosom of the charioteer," on which the king leaned. "And one washed the chariot;" or rather, "And the driver washed himself in the pool of Samaria, and the dogs licked his blood" i.e., the blood of Ahab which fell from the bosom of the driver. "And the things they washed." For זנות denotes the several kinds of things, being derived from זן, a kind or species. Before the person and things defiled with blood were permitted to enter the city, they were to be washed; and the dogs licked up the blood that fell from the driver's bosom, and off the things, as they lay to be washed (see Psalm 68:28).

(4) But were not the words of Elijah "In the place where the dogs licked the blood of Naboth" (viz., Jezreel) "shall dogs lick thy blood, even thine '? But in the context there, the vineyard of Naboth is said to be in Samaria (see 1 Kings 21:18, 19), because Jezreel, like Bethel, was one of the "cities of Samaria" (see 1 Kings 13:32). In the very vineyard of Naboth did the blood of Ahab flow from the veins of his son (see 2 Kings 9:25, 26). The providence that accomplished is no less admirable than the omniscience that predicted.

2. This was also evident in the case of Jehoshaphat.

(1) Micaiah did not say that the king of Judah should fall at Ramoth-Gilead; but his prophecy did intimate that he would be of little use to the army. The word (אדנים) in ver. 17 rendered "master" is plural, and evidently associates Jehoshaphat with Ahab. When Ahab was wounded to death and Jehoshaphat had fled for his life, the people had "no masters," so the proclamation soon followed which determined "every man to his house in peace."

(2) Jehoshaphat's danger lay in his being assimilated to Ahab. He should never have said, "I am as thou art" (ver. 4), then would he not have been persuaded to don Ahab's robes. By the influence of his company Jehoshaphat was becoming morally like him, and therefore was in danger of sharing his miserable fate (see Proverbs 13:20).

(3) To avoid this danger he had to become himself again. "He cried out" [to Jehovah] (see 2 Chronicles 18:81); and thus was discovered to the captains, who would expect to hear Ahab cry rather to Baal. The hand of God was evident in his deliverance; and this he might read as a parable assuring him that his future safety must lie in his renouncing evil companions and returning to the piety of his earlier years. - J.A.M.

Ramoth in Gilead is ours, and we be still, and take it not out of the hand of the King of Syria?
I. WHAT IS OURS AND NOT OURS. Every Christian man has large tracts of unannexed territory. unattained possibilities, unenjoyed blessings, things that are his and yet not his. How much more of God you and I have a right to than we have the possession of! The ocean is ours, but only the little pailful that we carry away home to our own houses is of use to us.

1. How much inward peace is ours? It is meant that there should never pass across a Christian's soul more than a ripple of agitation, which may indeed ruffle and curl the surface, but deep down there should be the tranquillity of the fathomless ocean, unbroken by any tempests and yet not stagnant because there is a vital current that runs through it, and every drop is being drawn upward to the surface and the sunlight. There may be a peace in our hearts deep as our lives; a tranquillity which may be superficially disturbed, but is never thoroughly, and down to the depths, broken.

2. What "heights" — for Ramoth means "high places" — what heights of consecration there are which are ours according to the Divine purpose and according to the fulness of God's gift! It is meant, and it is possible, and it is within the reach of every Christian soul, that he or she should live, day by day, in the continual and utter surrender of himself or herself to the will of God, and should say, "I do the little I can do, and leave the rest with Thee"; and should say again, "All is right that seems most wrong if it be His sweet will."

3. What noble possibilities of service, what power in the world is bestowed on Christ's people! "All power is given unto Me in heaven and in earth," says He. "And He breathed on them, and said, "As My Father hath sent Me, even so send I you" The Divine gift to the Christian community, and to the individuals that compose it — for there are no gifts given to the community but to the individuals that make it up — is of fulness, of power for all their work.

II. OUR STRANGE CONTENTMENT IN IMPERFECT POSSESSION. Is not that condition of passive acquiescence in their small present attainments, and of careless indifference to the great stretch of the unattained, the characteristic of the mass of professing Christians? They have got a foothold on a new continent, and their possession of it is like the world's knowledge of the map of Africa when we were children, which had a settlement dotted here and there along the coast, and all the broad regions of the interior undreamed of. The settlers huddle together upon the fringe of barren sand by the salt water, and never dream of pressing forward into the heart of the land. And so too many of us are content with what we have got, a little bit of God, when we might have Him all; a settlement on the fringe and edge of the land, when we might traverse the whole length of it; and behold! it is all ours.

III. THE EFFORT THAT IS NEEDED TO MAKE OUR OWN OURS. "We be still, and take it not out of the hands of the King of Syria." Then these things that are ours, by God's gift, by Christ's purchase, by the Spirit's influence, will need our effort to secure them. And that is no contradiction, nor any paradox. God does exactly in the same way with regard to a great many of His natural gifts which He does with regard to His spiritual ones. He gives them to us, but we hold them on this tenure, that we put forth our best efforts to get and to keep them. His giving them does not set aside our taking. And we Christian people have an endless prospect of that sort stretching before us. Oh, if we looked at it oftener, "having respect unto the recompense of the reward," we should find it easier to dash at any Ramoth-Gilead, and get it out of the hands of the strongest of the enemies that may bar our way to it. Let us familiarise ourselves with the thought of our present imperfection, and of our future, and of the possibilities which may become actualities even here and now; and let us not fitfully use what power we have, but make the best of what graces are ours, and enjoy and expatiate on the spiritual blessings of peace and rest which Christ has already given to us. "To him that hath shall be given." And the surest way to lose what we have is to neglect the increasing of it.

(A. Maclaren, D. D.)

A young fellow was in the habit of visiting the house of a rather wealthy lady. He never got beyond the drawing-room, where he was received and entertained. The drawing-room looked into the vinery, but the door between them was always closed, and evidently locked. In after days he was adopted into the family, and became heir to the house and estates. The friend who told me the story said to him, when hearing of his adoption: "And what was the first thing you did when you entered the house as heir?" He replied: "I opened the door into the vinery, and I went and cut down a cluster of grapes." When I heard the story I could not but think of our inheritance in Christ Jesus our Lord. We have a right to go to the vineyard and to eat of the King's grapes. How few of us exercise our privileges! How poor we are, when we might be passing rich! We live as though we were strangers and sojourners instead of sons. We move about our estates like visitors; we do not open the doors and the gates, and stride about like the lord and heir.

(Hartley Aspen.)

A Scotch laird, who shortly after arriving at his majority set out for the Continent, having ascended a certain mountain in the south of Italy, famous for the magnificent prospect which is enjoyed from the summit, struck with its beauty, inquired of the guide who accompanied him if there was anything in Europe equal to what he now beheld. "I have heard," replied the guide, "that this prospect is excelled by only one" "And where is that one?" eagerly demanded the traveller. "In the kingdom of Scotland," said the guide. "Indeed," said the view-hunter, "in what part? From the top of a hill named ——," was the reply. "Why," exclaimed the traveller, "that is on my own estate; and I have never been there."

The Christian World.
Niagara has for ages been flowing, a mighty force in the world. Yet it is only just being utilised as a motive power. And by tunnelling off but a portion, they have such a mighty power that it is almost impossible to estimate it. Electricity is to be supplied to cities, some far distant, from its motive power, and mills and works for miles are to be worked by it. So in Christ is untold wealth, power, love, waiting to be appropriated. Let us not pass by these gifts through our unbelief.

(The Christian World.)

Ahab, Ahaziah, Amon, Aram, Asa, Azubah, Chenaanah, David, Geber, Imlah, Jehoram, Jehoshaphat, Jeroboam, Joash, Micah, Micaiah, Nebat, Ophir, Shilhi, Sodomites, Syrians, Tarshish, Tharshish, Zedekiah
Edom, Ezion-geber, Jerusalem, Ophir, Ramoth-gilead, Samaria, Syria, Tarshish
Captains, Charioteers, Chariots, Commanders, Heads, Pass, Perceived, Pursuing, Seeing, Stopped, Turn, War-carriages
1. Ahab, seduced by false prophets, by Michaiah's word, is slain at Ramoth Gilead
37. The dogs lick up his blood, and Ahaziah succeeds him
41. Jehoshaphat's good reign
45. His acts
46. Jehoram succeeds him
51. Ahaziah's evil reign

Dictionary of Bible Themes
1 Kings 22:1-38

     8131   guidance, results

1 Kings 22:17-38

     6708   predestination

1 Kings 22:29-37

     5837   disguise

Unpossessed Possessions
'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?'--1 KINGS xxii. 3. This city of Ramoth in Gilead was an important fortified place on the eastern side of the Jordan, and had, many years before the date of our text, been captured by its northern neighbours in the kingdom of Syria. A treaty had subsequently been concluded and broken a war followed thereafter, in which Ben-hadad, King of Syria,
Alexander Maclaren—Expositions of Holy Scripture

Ahab and Micaiah
'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.'--1 KINGS xxii. 7,8. An ill-omened alliance had been struck up between Ahab of Israel and Jehoshaphat of Judah. The latter, who would have been much better in Jerusalem, had come down to Samaria
Alexander Maclaren—Expositions of Holy Scripture

The Prophet Micah.
PRELIMINARY REMARKS. Micah signifies: "Who is like Jehovah;" and by this name, the prophet is consecrated to the incomparable God, just as Hosea was to the helping God, and Nahum to the comforting God. He prophesied, according to the inscription, under Jotham, Ahaz, and Hezekiah. We are not, however, entitled, on this account, to dissever his prophecies, and to assign particular discourses to the reign of each of these kings. On the contrary, the entire collection forms only one whole. At
Ernst Wilhelm Hengstenberg—Christology of the Old Testament

The Poetical Books (Including Also Ecclesiastes and Canticles).
1. The Hebrews reckon but three books as poetical, namely: Job, Psalms, and Proverbs, which are distinguished from the rest by a stricter rhythm--the rhythm not of feet, but of clauses (see below, No. 3)--and a peculiar system of accentuation. It is obvious to every reader that the poetry of the Old Testament, in the usual sense of the word, is not restricted to these three books. But they are called poetical in a special and technical sense. In any natural classification of the books of the
E. P. Barrows—Companion to the Bible

The Assyrian Revival and the Struggle for Syria
Assur-nazir-pal (885-860) and Shalmaneser III. (860-825)--The kingdom of Urartu and its conquering princes: Menuas and Argistis. Assyria was the first to reappear on the scene of action. Less hampered by an ancient past than Egypt and Chaldaea, she was the sooner able to recover her strength after any disastrous crisis, and to assume again the offensive along the whole of her frontier line. Image Drawn by Faucher-Gudin, from a bas-relief at Koyunjik of the time of Sennacherib. The initial cut,
G. Maspero—History Of Egypt, Chaldaea, Syria, Babylonia, and Assyria, V 7

Use to be Made of the Doctrine of Providence.
Sections. 1. Summary of the doctrine of Divine Providence. 1. It embraces the future and the past. 2. It works by means, without means, and against means. 3. Mankind, and particularly the Church, the object of special care. 4. The mode of administration usually secret, but always just. This last point more fully considered. 2. The profane denial that the world is governed by the secret counsel of God, refuted by passages of Scripture. Salutary counsel. 3. This doctrine, as to the secret counsel of
John Calvin—The Institutes of the Christian Religion

The Shepherd of Our Souls.
"I am the good Shepherd: the good Shepherd giveth His life for the sheep."--John x. 11. Our Lord here appropriates to Himself the title under which He had been foretold by the Prophets. "David My servant shall be king over them," says Almighty God by the mouth of Ezekiel: "and they all shall have one Shepherd." And in the book of Zechariah, "Awake, O sword, against My Shepherd, and against the man that is My fellow, saith the Lord of Hosts; smite the Shepherd, and the sheep shall be scattered."
John Henry Newman—Parochial and Plain Sermons, Vol. VIII

Of Councils and their Authority.
1. The true nature of Councils. 2. Whence the authority of Councils is derived. What meant by assembling in the name of Christ. 3. Objection, that no truth remains in the Church if it be not in Pastors and Councils. Answer, showing by passages from the Old Testament that Pastors were often devoid of the spirit of knowledge and truth. 4. Passages from the New Testament showing that our times were to be subject to the same evil. This confirmed by the example of almost all ages. 5. All not Pastors who
John Calvin—The Institutes of the Christian Religion

That the Employing Of, and Associating with the Malignant Party, According as is Contained in the Public Resolutions, is Sinful and Unlawful.
That The Employing Of, And Associating With The Malignant Party, According As Is Contained In The Public Resolutions, Is Sinful And Unlawful. If there be in the land a malignant party of power and policy, and the exceptions contained in the Act of Levy do comprehend but few of that party, then there need be no more difficulty to prove, that the present public resolutions and proceedings do import an association and conjunction with a malignant party, than to gather a conclusion from clear premises.
Hugh Binning—The Works of the Rev. Hugh Binning

Of Passages from the Holy Scriptures, and from the Apocrypha, which are Quoted, or Incidentally Illustrated, in the Institutes.
TO THE AUTHORS QUOTED IN THE INSTITUTES PREFATORY ADDRESS TO HIS MOST CHRISTIAN MAJESTY, THE MOST MIGHTY AND ILLUSTRIOUS MONARCH, FRANCIS, KING OF THE FRENCH, HIS SOVEREIGN; [1] JOHN CALVIN PRAYS PEACE AND SALVATION IN CHRIST. [2] Sire,--When I first engaged in this work, nothing was farther from my thoughts than to write what should afterwards be presented to your Majesty. My intention was only to furnish a kind of rudiments, by which those who feel some interest in religion might be trained to
John Calvin—The Institutes of the Christian Religion

He Does Battle for the Faith; He Restores Peace among those who were at Variance; He Takes in Hand to Build a Stone Church.
57. (32). There was a certain clerk in Lismore whose life, as it is said, was good, but his faith not so. He was a man of some knowledge in his own eyes, and dared to say that in the Eucharist there is only a sacrament and not the fact[718] of the sacrament, that is, mere sanctification and not the truth of the Body. On this subject he was often addressed by Malachy in secret, but in vain; and finally he was called before a public assembly, the laity however being excluded, in order that if it were
H. J. Lawlor—St. Bernard of Clairvaux's Life of St. Malachy of Armagh

Sovereignty of God in Administration
"The LORD hath prepared His Throne In the heavens; and His Kingdom ruleth over all" (Psa. 103:19). First, a word concerning the need for God to govern the material world. Suppose the opposite for a moment. For the sake of argument, let us say that God created the world, designed and fixed certain laws (which men term "the laws of Nature"), and that He then withdrew, leaving the world to its fortune and the out-working of these laws. In such a case, we should have a world over which there was no intelligent,
Arthur W. Pink—The Sovereignty of God

Tit. 2:06 Thoughts for Young Men
WHEN St. Paul wrote his Epistle to Titus about his duty as a minister, he mentioned young men as a class requiring peculiar attention. After speaking of aged men and aged women, and young women, he adds this pithy advice, "Young men likewise exhort to be sober-minded" (Tit. 2:6). I am going to follow the Apostle's advice. I propose to offer a few words of friendly exhortation to young men. I am growing old myself, but there are few things I remember so well as the days of my youth. I have a most
John Charles Ryle—The Upper Room: Being a Few Truths for the Times

General Principles of Interpretation. 1 Since the Bible Addresses Men in Human Language...
CHAPTER XXXIV. GENERAL PRINCIPLES OF INTERPRETATION. 1. Since the Bible addresses men in human language, and according to human modes of thinking and speaking, the interpreter's first work is to ascertain the meaning of the terms employed. Here he must proceed as in the case of other writings, seeking by the aid of grammars, lexicons, cognate languages, ancient versions, ancient interpreters, and whatever other outward helps are available, to gain a thorough knowledge of the language employed by
E. P. Barrows—Companion to the Bible

The remarkable change which we have noticed in the views of Jewish authorities, from contempt to almost affectation of manual labour, could certainly not have been arbitrary. But as we fail to discover here any religious motive, we can only account for it on the score of altered political and social circumstances. So long as the people were, at least nominally, independent, and in possession of their own land, constant engagement in a trade would probably mark an inferior social stage, and imply
Alfred Edersheim—Sketches of Jewish Social Life

The Figurative Language of Scripture.
1. When the psalmist says: "The Lord God is a sun and shield" (Psa. 84:11), he means that God is to all his creatures the source of life and blessedness, and their almighty protector; but this meaning he conveys under the figure of a sun and a shield. When, again, the apostle James says that Moses is read in the synagogues every Sabbath-day (Acts 15:21), he signifies the writings of Moses under the figure of his name. In these examples the figure lies in particular words. But it may be embodied
E. P. Barrows—Companion to the Bible

Instruction for the Ignorant:
BEING A SALVE TO CURE THAT GREAT WANT OF KNOWLEDGE, WHICH SO MUCH REIGNS BOTH IN YOUNG AND OLD. PREPARED AND PRESENTED TO THEM IN A PLAIN AND EASY DIALOGUE, FITTED TO THE CAPACITY OF THE WEAKEST. 'My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge.'--Hosea 4:6 ADVERTISEMENT BY THE EDITOR. This little catechism is upon a plan perfectly new and unique. It was first published as a pocket volume in 1675, and has been republished in every collection of the author's works; and recently in a separate tract.
John Bunyan—The Works of John Bunyan Volumes 1-3

The book[1] of Kings is strikingly unlike any modern historical narrative. Its comparative brevity, its curious perspective, and-with some brilliant exceptions--its relative monotony, are obvious to the most cursory perusal, and to understand these things is, in large measure, to understand the book. It covers a period of no less than four centuries. Beginning with the death of David and the accession of Solomon (1 Kings i., ii.) it traverses his reign with considerable fulness (1 Kings iii.-xi.),
John Edgar McFadyen—Introduction to the Old Testament

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