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Micaiah Warns King Ahab

18 Jehoshaphat had much wealth and honor. He made an agreement with King Ahab through marriage.* 2A few years later, Jehoshaphat visited Ahab in the town of Samaria. Ahab sacrificed* many sheep and cows for Jehoshaphat and the people with him. Ahab encouraged Jehoshaphat to attack the town of Ramoth Gilead. 3Ahab said to Jehoshaphat, “Will you go with me to attack Ramoth Gilead?” Ahab was the king of Israel and Jehoshaphat was the king of Judah. Jehoshaphat answered Ahab, “I am like you, and my people are like your people. We will join you in the battle.” 4Jehoshaphat also said to Ahab, “But first, let’s look for a message from the Lord.” 5So King Ahab gathered the prophets together, 400 men. Ahab said to them, “Should we go to war against the town of Ramoth Gilead, or not?” The prophets answered Ahab, “Go, because God will let you defeat Ramoth Gilead.” 6But Jehoshaphat said, “Is one of the Lord’s prophets here? We need to ask the Lord through one of his prophets.” 7Then King Ahab said to Jehoshaphat, “There is still one man here. We can ask the Lord through him. But I hate this man, because he never has a good message from the Lord about me. He always has bad messages for me. That man’s name is Micaiah. He is Imlah’s son.” But Jehoshaphat said, “Ahab, you should not say that!” 8Then King Ahab called one of his officials and said, “Hurry, bring Micaiah the son of Imlah here!” 9Ahab the king of Israel and Jehoshaphat the king of Judah had their kings’ robes on. They were sitting on their thrones at the threshing floor* near the front gate of the city of Samaria. Those 400 prophets were speaking their messages in front of the two kings. 10Zedekiah was the son of a man named Kenaanah. Zedekiah made some horns from iron. Zedekiah said, “This is what the Lord says: ‘You will use these iron horns to stab the Aramean people until they are destroyed.” 11All the prophets said the same thing. They said, “Go to the town of Ramoth Gilead. You will have success and win. The Lord will let the king defeat the Aramean people.” 12The messenger that went to get Micaiah said to him, “Micaiah, listen, all the prophets say the same thing. They are saying the king will have success. So say the same things they are saying. You also say good things.” 13But Micaiah answered, “As sure as the Lord lives, I can only say what my God says.” 14Then Micaiah came to King Ahab. The king said to him, “Micaiah, should we go to the town of Ramoth Gilead to fight or not?” Micaiah answered, “Go and attack. God will let you defeat those people.” 15King Ahab said to Micaiah, “Many times I made you promise to tell me only the truth in the name of the Lord!” 16Then Micaiah said, “I saw all the people of Israel scattered on the mountains. They were like sheep without a shepherd. The Lord said, ‘They have no leader. Let each person go home safely.’” 17Ahab, King of Israel said to Jehoshaphat, “I told you that Micaiah would not have a good message from the Lord about me! He only has bad messages about me!” 18Micaiah said, “Hear the message from the Lord: I saw the Lord sitting on his throne. All of heaven’s army was standing around him, some on his left side and some on his right side. 19The Lord said, ‘Who will trick Ahab, king of Israel, to attack the town of Ramoth Gilead so he may be killed there?’ Different ones who stood around the Lord said different things. 20Then a spirit came and stood before the Lord. That spirit said, ‘I will trick Ahab.’ The Lord asked that spirit, ‘How?’ 21That spirit answered, ‘I will go out and become a lying spirit in Ahab’s prophets’ mouths.’ And the Lord said, ‘You will succeed in tricking Ahab. So go out and do it.’ 22“Now look Ahab, the Lord has put a lying spirit in your prophets’ mouths. The Lord has said bad things will happen to you.” 23Then Zedekiah went over to Micaiah and hit him in the face. Zedekiah’s father’s name was Kenaanah. Zedekiah said, “Micaiah, which way did the spirit from the Lord go when he went from me to speak to you?” 24Micaiah answered, “Zedekiah, you will find out on the day you go to hide in an inside room!” 25Then King Ahab said, “Take Micaiah and send him to Amon the governor of the city and to Joash the king’s son. 26Say to Amon and Joash, ‘This is what the king says: Put Micaiah in prison. Don’t give him anything to eat except bread and water until I come back from the battle.’” 27Micaiah answered, “Ahab, if you come back from battle safely, then the Lord has not spoken through me. Hear and remember my words, all you people!"

Ahab Is Killed at Ramoth Gilead

28So Ahab king of Israel and Jehoshaphat king of Judah attacked the town of Ramoth Gilead. 29King Ahab said to Jehoshaphat, “I will change my appearance before I go into battle. But you wear your own robes.” So Ahab, king of Israel changed his appearance, and the two kings went into battle. 30The king of Aram gave an order to his chariot* commanders. He told them, “Don’t fight with any person, no matter how great or how humble. But fight only with Ahab, the king of Israel.” 31When the chariot commanders saw Jehoshaphat, they thought, “There is Ahab, the king of Israel!” They turned toward Jehoshaphat to attack him. But Jehoshaphat shouted out, and the Lord helped him. God made the chariot commanders turn away from Jehoshaphat. 32When they saw that Jehoshaphat was not the king of Israel, they stopped chasing him. 33But a soldier happened to shoot an arrow from his bow without aiming at anything. That arrow hit Ahab king of Israel. It hit Ahab in an open part of his armor. Ahab said to the man driving his chariot,* “Turn around and take me out of the battle. I am hurt!” 34The battle became worse that day. Ahab propped himself up in his chariot facing the Arameans until the evening. Then Ahab died at sunset.

Jehoshaphat … marriage Jehoshaphat’s son, Jehoram married Athaliah, Ahab’s daughter. See 2 Chron. 21:6. sacrifice(d) To kill a special animal and offer it on an altar as a gift to God. threshing floor A place where grain is beaten or walked on to remove the hulls from the grain. chariot(s) A small wagon used in war.

19 Jehoshaphat the king of Judah came back safely to his house in Jerusalem. 2Jehu the seer* went out to meet Jehoshaphat. Jehu’s father’s name was Hanani. Jehu said to King Jehoshaphat, “Why did you help evil people? Why do you love those people that hate the Lord? That is the reason the Lord is angry with you. 3But there are some good things in your life. You removed the Asherah poles* from this country, and you decided in your heart to follow God.”

Jehoshaphat Chooses Judges

4Jehoshaphat lived in Jerusalem. He went out again to be with the people from the town of Beersheba to the hill country of Ephraim. Jehoshaphat brought those people back to the Lord God their ancestors* followed. 5Jehoshaphat chose judges in Judah. He chose judges to be in each of the fortresses* of Judah. 6Jehoshaphat said to those judges, “Be careful in what you are doing, because you are not judging for people, but for the Lord. The Lord will be with you when you make a decision. 7Now each one of you must fear the Lord. Be careful in what you do because the Lord our God is fair. The Lord doesn’t treat some people more important than others. And he doesn’t accept money to change his judgments.” 8And in Jerusalem, Jehoshaphat chose some of the Levites, priests, and leaders of Israelite families to be judges. Those people were to use the law of the Lord to settle problems for the people living in Jerusalem. 9Jehoshaphat gave them commands. Jehoshaphat said, “You must serve faithfully with all your heart. You must fear the Lord. 10You will have cases about killing, about a law, command, rule, or some other law. All these cases will come to you from your brothers living in the cities. In all of these cases you must warn the people not to sin against the Lord. If you don’t serve faithfully you will cause the Lord’s anger to come against you and your brothers. Do this, then you won’t be guilty. 11Amariah is the leading priest. He will be over you in all things about the Lord. And Zebadiah will be over you in all things about the king. Zebadiah’s father’s name is Ishmael. Zebadiah is a leader in the family group of Judah. Also, the Levites will serve as scribes* for you. Have courage in all you do. May the Lord be with those people who do what is right.”

seer This is another name for a prophet. See 1 Sam. 9:9–11. Asherah poles Poles used to honor the goddess Asherah. People thought she could help them have many children.  ancestors Literally, “fathers,” meaning a person’s parents, grandparents, and all the people they are descended from. fortress(es) A building or city with tall, strong walls for protection. scribes Men that wrote down and copied books and letters. They often became experts at knowing the meaning of those writings (scriptures).

Jehoshaphat Faces War

20 Later the Moabite people, the Ammonite people, and some Meunite* people came to start a war with Jehoshaphat. 2Some men came and told Jehoshaphat, “There is a large army coming against you from Edom. They are coming from the other side of the {Dead} Sea. They are already in Hazazon Tamar!” (Hazazon Tamar is also called En Gedi.) 3Jehoshaphat became afraid, and he decided to ask the Lord what to do. He announced a time of fasting* for everyone in Judah. 4The people of Judah came together to ask for help from the Lord. They came from out of all the towns of Judah to ask for the Lord’s help. 5Jehoshaphat was in the Lord’s temple* in front of the new yard. He stood up in the meeting of the people from Judah and Jerusalem. 6He said, “Lord God of our ancestors,* you are the God in heaven! You rule over all the kingdoms in all the nations! You have power and strength! No person can stand against you! 7You are our God! You forced the people living in this land to leave. You did this in front of your people Israel. You gave this land to the descendants* of Abraham forever. Abraham was your friend. 8Abraham’s descendants lived in this land, and built a temple* for your name. 9They said, ‘If trouble comes to us—the sword, punishment, sicknesses, or famine, we will stand in front of this temple and in front of you. Your name is on this temple. We will shout to you when we are in trouble. Then you will hear and save us.’ 10“But now, here are men from Ammon, Moab, and Mount Seir! You would not let the people of Israel enter their lands when the people of Israel came out of Egypt.* So the people of Israel turned away and didn’t destroy those people. 11But see the kind of reward those people give us for not destroying them. They have come to force us out of your land. You gave this land to us. 12Our God, punish those people! We have no power against this large army that is coming against us! We don’t know what to do! That is why we look to you for help!”* 13All the men of Judah stood before the Lord with their babies, wives, and children. 14Then the Lord’s Spirit came on Jahaziel. Jahaziel was Zechariah’s son. Zechariah was Benaiah’s son. Benaiah was Jeiel’s son. And Jeiel was Mattaniah’s son. Jahaziel was a Levite and a descendant* of Asaph. In the middle of the meeting, 15Jahaziel said, “Listen to me King Jehoshaphat, all you people living in Judah and Jerusalem! The Lord says this to you: ‘Don’t be afraid or worry about this large army, because the battle is not your battle. It is God’s battle! 16Tomorrow, go down there and fight those people. They will come up through the Pass of Ziz. You will find them at the end of the valley on the other side of the Desert of Jeruel. 17You won’t need to fight in this battle. Stand strong in your places. You will see the Lord save you. Judah and Jerusalem, don’t be afraid! Don’t worry! The Lord is with you, so go out against those people tomorrow.’” 18Jehoshaphat bowed down low. His face touched the ground. And all the people of Judah and the people living in Jerusalem fell down in front of the Lord. And they all worshiped the Lord. 19The Levites from the Kohath family groups and the Korah family stood up to praise the Lord God of Israel. Their voices were very loud as they gave praise to the Lord. 20Jehoshaphat’s army went out into the Desert of Tekoa early in the morning. As they were starting out, Jehoshaphat stood and said, “Listen to me people of Judah and you people from Jerusalem. Have faith in the Lord your God, and then you will stand strong. Have faith in the Lord’s prophets. You will succeed!” 21Jehoshaphat encouraged and instructed the people. Then he chose men to be singers to the Lord. Those singers were chosen to give praise to the Lord because he is holy and wonderful. They marched in front of the army and praised the Lord. They sang the song, Praise the Lord, because his love continues forever!”* 22As those men began to sing and to praise God, the Lord set an ambush* for the people of Ammon, Moab, and Mount Seir. Those were the people that came to attack Judah. Those people were beaten. 23The Ammonites and the Moabites started to fight against the men from Mount Seir. The Ammonites and the Moabites killed and destroyed the men from Mount Seir. After they had killed the men from Seir, they killed each other. 24The men from Judah arrived at the lookout point in the desert. They looked for the enemy’s large army. But they only saw dead bodies lying on the ground. No person had survived. 25Jehoshaphat and his army came to take valuable things from the bodies. They found many animals, riches, clothes, and valuable things. Jehoshaphat and his army took those things for themselves. The things were more than Jehoshaphat and his people could carry away. They spent three days taking away the valuable things from the dead bodies, because there was so much. 26On the fourth day Jehoshaphat and his army met in the Valley of Beracah.* They gave praise to (blessed) the Lord in that place. That is why people still call that place, “The Valley of Beracah.” 27Then Jehoshaphat led all the men from Judah and Jerusalem back home to Jerusalem. The Lord made them very happy because their enemies were defeated. 28They came to Jerusalem with lyres,* harps, and trumpets and went to the Lord’s temple.* 29All the kingdoms in all the countries feared the Lord because they heard that the Lord fought against Israel’s enemies. 30That is why Jehoshaphat’s kingdom had peace. Jehoshaphat’s God gave him peace all around him.

The End of Jehoshaphat’s Rule

31Jehoshaphat ruled over the country of Judah. Jehoshaphat was 35 years old when he began to rule. He ruled 25 years in Jerusalem. His mother’s name was Azubah. Azubah was Shilhi’s daughter. 32Jehoshaphat lived the right way like Asa his father lived. Jehoshaphat didn’t turn from following Asa’s way. Jehoshaphat did right in the Lord’s sight. 33But the high places* were not taken away. And the people didn’t turn their hearts to follow the God their ancestors* followed. 34The other things Jehoshaphat did, from beginning to end, are written in The Official Records of Jehu son of Hanoni. These things were copied and included in the book, The History of the Kings of Israel. 35Later on, Jehoshaphat king of Judah made an agreement with Ahaziah, king of Israel. Ahaziah did evil. 36Jehoshaphat joined with Ahaziah to make ships to go to the town of Tarshish.* They made the ships in the town of Ezion Geber. 37Then Eliezer spoke against Jehoshaphat. Eliezer’s father’s name was Dodavahu. Eliezer was from the town of Mareshah. He said, “Jehoshaphat, you joined with Ahaziah, that is why the Lord will destroy your works.” The ships were wrecked, so Jehoshaphat and Ahaziah were not able to send them to Tarshish.*

Meunite Some ancient Greek translations have “Meunite.” The Hebrew has “Ammonite.” a time of fasting A time when no food was eaten. temple The special building in Jerusalem for Jewish worship. ancestors Literally, “fathers,” meaning a person’s parents, grandparents, and all the people they are descended from. descendants A person’s children and their future families. You would not let … Egypt See Deut. 2:4–9, 19. That is why … help Literally, “But our eyes are on you!” Praise … forever See Psalms 118 and 136. ambush A surprise attack by hidden enemies. Beracah This word means “blessing” or “praise.” lyres An instrument with several strings, like a harp. temple The special building in Jerusalem for Jewish worship. high places Places for worshiping God or false gods. These places were often on the hills and mountains. Tarshish A city far away from Israel, probably in Spain. Tarshish was famous for its large ships that sailed the Mediterranean Sea.

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