Ahab’s Third Campaign against Aram
22 Three [a]years passed without war between Aram and Israel. 2 In the third year Jehoshaphat the king of Judah came down to the king of Israel. 3 Now the king of Israel said to his servants, “Do you know that Ramoth-gilead belongs to us, and we [b]are still doing nothing to take it out of the hand of the king of Aram?” 4 And he said to Jehoshaphat, “Will you go with me to battle at Ramoth-gilead?” And Jehoshaphat said to the king of Israel, “I am as you are, my people as your people, my horses as your horses.”
5 Moreover, Jehoshaphat said to the king of Israel, “Please inquire [c]first for the word of the Lord.” 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 refrain?” And they said, “Go up, for the Lord will give it into the hand of the king.” 7 But Jehoshaphat said, “Is there not yet a prophet of the Lord here that we may inquire of him?” 8 The king of Israel said to Jehoshaphat, “There is yet one man by whom we may inquire of the Lord, but I hate him, because he does not prophesy good concerning me, but evil. He is Micaiah son of Imlah.” But Jehoshaphat said, “Let not the king say so.” 9 Then the king of Israel called an officer and said, “[d]Bring quickly Micaiah son of Imlah.” 10 Now the king of Israel and Jehoshaphat king of Judah were sitting each on his throne, arrayed in their robes, at the threshing floor at the entrance of the gate of Samaria; and all the prophets were prophesying before them. 11 Then Zedekiah the son of Chenaanah made horns of iron for himself and said, “Thus says the Lord, ‘With these you will gore the Arameans until they are consumed.’” 12 All the prophets were prophesying thus, saying, “Go up to Ramoth-gilead and prosper, for the Lord will give it into the hand of the king.”
I love this dialog between the two kings:
Ahab: Hey J, we want to take back Ramoth-gilead, will you help us out?
Jehoshaphat: Sounds good to me, but let’s check with G first.
Ahab: No problem, I’ve got 400+ prophets here, let’s just ask them what G thinks.
Prophets: Yeah, go for it, God is with you!
Jehoshaphat: Really? How about we ask a real prophet?
Ahab: Oh, one of those… I know a guy, but he’s a real downer.
Jehoshaphat: I’m sure… maybe you should try following God, and His prophet might have something good to say for a change!
In the meantime, the prophets are still going nuts, and Zedekiah makes some crazy horns to wear around. I don’t know why they were still making stuff up, perhaps they thought they could convince Jehoshaphat that they were for real, but he wasn’t buying it.
At any rate, there’s something to be said here for “itching ears”. Ahab had all these “prophets” who would always say whatever they thought he wanted to hear, but that’s not how God works. And it certainly isn’t what real prophets should have been doing. Sometimes we all need a little Jehoshaphat or Micaiah in our lives: someone who won’t let us wander around in our blissful ignorance. After all, is it really “bliss” if you’re ignorant about the truth?
A true friend is very valuable, as Ahab should have realized (and maybe he did, and just didn’t want to admit it). So don’t scorn good advice from a good friend, but be willing to accept the truth and do something constructive about it!