1 Kings 22: Jehoshaphat Makes Peace

The last chapter of Kings brings the southern kingdom of Judah back into focus. For the first time since the division of the kingdom, we see the two kingdoms come together.

Introduction

1 Kings 22 introduces us to a new king in Judah, Jehoshaphat, the son of Asa. For the first time since the split of the kingdom, the two kings are seen trying to broker peace.
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An Update to the War With Syria

The war between Syria and Israel mentioned in 1 Kings 18 had come to an unofficial end when Ahab signed a treaty with Benhadad. There hadn't been any battles for 3 years. However, Israel had not reclaimed all of their land that the Syrians had conquered during the war.
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Peace Between the Two Kingdoms

A Peaceful Scene
Photocredit: FreeImages.com/Tom Low
During this time, Jehoshaphat, the king of Judah, met with Ahab, the king of Israel. This is the first mentioning of the two kings coming together in peace, and leads to an agreement between the two to recapture Israel's lost city. Jehoshaphat says that if God gave His blessing, he would help Ahab reclaim the lost territory and reminds him that despite their differences, they are of the same people.

Often as Christians we forget that we are supposed to be of the same body. We allow petty differences to divide us, but that only makes all of us weaker. Had Israel been a unified nation, they may have never lost the territory in the first place.
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Consulting the Prophets

The king of Israel calls for his prophets and they claim God has blessed the task, however, Jehoshaphat enquires of a real prophet of God. Ahab's prophets must have been involved in pagan practices. Despite Elijah executing a large number of them, Jezebel and Ahab's promotion of paganism likely led more to spring up.

Ahab mentions that there is a prophet of God named Micaiah, but he is despised by the king. Like we saw with Ahab and Elijah, the king was at odds with this prophet because he spoke the Word of God, and the king was at odds with the Word of God. Anytime you are against God you will begin to despise those who uphold His Word. This happens in our world today, as well.

Jehoshaphat stands up for Micaiah and has him brought in for counsel. As Christians, we are to stand up for our fellow believers rather than let the world deny them. We are to stand together in Christ. Jehoshaphat understood this and knew that if he was going into battle, he need a real prophet to get instruction from God.
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Michaiah

Initially, Micaiah gives the same answer as the rest of the prophets, but Ahab seems to think Micaiah is being disingenuous and prompts him for a real answer. This time he foretells of the scattering of Israel. Micaiah says that God deliberately wants Ahab to attack the city, that he has sent an angel to persuade Ahab to go into battle. A lying spirit (possibly the devil) had come forth and agreed to put lies on the tongues of the prophets. This spirit apparently only had the power to deceive the false prophets. Just as in the end times, God's people can not be fooled because they are in one accord with Him.

One of the false prophets is angered and slaps Micaiah. This seems like something that would occur on a reality TV show today. Despite the false prophet being guilty of assault, Micaiah is the one sentenced to prison. Micaiah, seemingly unbothered, says that if the people return in peace he isn't a prophet of the Lord. This is the essence of Deuteronomy 18:22; the way to see a true prophet is to see if their prophecies come true. This past year, many so called "prophets" were predicting President Obama would be assassinated before the end of his term or declare martial law to stop the next president from taking office. Since neither of these things happened, we know they are false prophets. Similarly, if Israel was not scattered, the people would know that Micaiah was not a true prophet, as well.
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On to Battle

Despite these warnings, both kings went to battle. At the edge of battle, Ahab begins to fear, probably due to Michaiah's vision, and disguises himself. When the king of Syria commands his army to contend with the king of Israel, they attack Jehoshaphat instead of Ahab. When they realize their mistake, they retreat from attacking Jehoshaphat, find Ahab, and kill him. He dies in his chariot and is carried back to Samaria, where just as Elijah predicted, the dogs licked his blood. As Michaiah had warned, the battle was not for Ahab to win.
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Jehoshaphat & Ahaziah

Jehoshaphat was 35 years old when he took the throne; he reigned for 25 years in Judah. Like his father (Asa), he walked with God and did what was right. However, like Asa, he still refused to remove the altars for pagans and the people of Israel still committed idolatry. Jehoshaphat is the king that brought peace between Judah and Israel. His desire for God is what prompts him to reach out to Michaiah for consuel.

Ahaziah takes the throne after his father's death, during Jehoshaphat's 17th year, but he only takes the throne for 2 years. He was an evil king, like the kings of Israel before him. He served Baal and provoked God's wrath.

After the war, Jehoshaphat sends ships to Ophir for gold, but the ships are not able to make the journey. Instead they break at Eziongeber. Ahaziah offers to help, but Jehoshaphat refuses. Perhaps Jehoshaphat took this as a sign that God did not want him going after gold. It is also possible that after seeing the idolatry of the kings of Israel, Jehoshaphat no longer wanted to be associated with them.
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References

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Author Image Author Image I love reading the Word of God. With prayer God's Word reveals so much: from comfort to temperance, from perspective to affirmation. Digging into the depths of the Word, cross-referencing history, language and time differences, is a passion of mine. In March of 2015 I decided to go back through the Bible doing an in depth study on each section I read. Eventually I decided to share my journal of notes as I partake in this journey. I hope you are blessed by God and inspired to pursue a deeper relationship with Him. I love reading and learning about God, nature, and science. I am interested in how it all connects. The Creator's fingerprints are all over his creation. We can learn so much about Him and how we came to be by exploring the world around us. Join me as I explore the world and draw closer to the One who created it all.
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