The Agora
Bible Commentary
1 Kings

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22

1 Kings 22

1Ki 22:1

1Ki 22: "It was a time of compromise. The nations of the north and south had an interlude of neither peace nor war, when each side developed its military potential (v 1). At the end of three years, the Syrian war was resumed. (1) Jehoshaphat visits Ahab: vv 2-4. (2) He allies himself with Ahab on conditions: v 5. (3) False prophets proclaim smooth things: v 6. (4) Jehoshaphat demands a prophet of Yahweh: v 7. (5) Micaiah's sarcastic prophecy: vv 8-23. (6) A challenge to Micaiah: vv 24,25. (7) Micaiah is imprisoned: vv 26-28. (8) The kings march to war: vv 29,30. (9) Death of Ahab: vv 31-36. (10) Elijah's prophecies fulfilled: vv 37,38. (11) Summary of Ahab's reign: vv 39,40. (12) Summary of Jehoshaphat's reign: vv 41-50. (13) Summary of Ahaziah's reign: vv 51-53" (GEM).

1Ki 22:4

I AM AS YOU ARE: Jehoshaphat's son had married Ahab's daughter (2Ki 8:18).

1Ki 22:5

FIRST SEEK THE COUNSEL OF THE LORD: Why did not Jehoshaphat inquire for himself?

1Ki 22:8

"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 to join in an assault on the kingdom of Damascus; but, like a great many other people, Jehoshaphat first made up his mind without asking God, and then thought that it might be well to get some kind of varnish of a religious sanction for his decision. So he proposes to Ahab to inquire of the Lord about this matter. One would have thought that that should have been done before, and not after, the determination was made. Ahab does not at all see the necessity for such a thing, but, to please his scrupulous ally, he sends for his priests. They came, four hundred of them, and of course they all played the tune that Ahab called for. It is not difficult to get prophets to pat a king on the back, and tell him, 'Do what you like.'

"But Jehoshaphat was not satisfied yet. Perhaps he thought that Ahab's clergy were not exactly God's prophets, but at all events he wanted an independent opinion; and so he asks if there is not in all Samaria a man that can be trusted to speak out. He gets for answer the name of this 'Micaiah the son of Imlah.' Ahab had had experience of him, and knew his man; and the very name leads him to an explosion of passion, which, like other explosions, lays bare some very ugly depths. 'I hate him; for he doth not prophesy good concerning me, but evil.'

"That is a curious mood, is it not? that a man should know another to be a messenger of God, and therefore know that his words are true, and that if he asked his counsel he would be forbidden to do the thing that he is dead set on doing, and would be warned that to do it was destruction; and that still he should not ask the counsel, nor ever dream of dropping the purpose, but should burst out in a passion of puerile rage against the counsellor, and will have none of his reproofs. Very curious! But there are a great many of us that have something of the same mood in us, though we do not speak it out as plainly as Ahab did. It lurks more or less in us all, and it largely determines the attitude that some of us take to Christianity and to Christ" (MacL).

1Ki 22:24

ZEDEKIAH... WENT UP AND SLAPPED MICAIAH IN THE FACE: 'And we will see if MY hand withers... like Jeroboam's!' (1Ki 13). But it did not!

1Ki 22:34

AT RANDOM: Heb "tom", lit complete, perfect. Not as translation here: instead, he (Naaman? see 2Ki 5:1n) took "perfect" aim, and slew Ahab on purpose.

1Ki 22:43

THE HIGH PLACES, HOWEVER, WERE NOT REMOVED: Specific mention is made, several times, of the high places not being taken away: by Asa (1Ki 15:14); Jehoshaphat (1Ki 22:43); Jehoash (2Ki 12:3); Amaziah (2Ki 14:4); Azariah/Uzziah (2Ki 15:4); and Jotham (2Ki 15:35) -- demonstrating the importance of this action in God's sight. These kings did not make a full return to God. The high places (which had been used for idol worship) might have been out of use for the time being, but it seems they were not totally destroyed until the time of Hezekiah (2Ki 18:4; 2Ch 32:12); and even then their prohibition did not last beyond his reign (2Ch 33:3).

Do we have other shrines at which we worship? We must be sure that we remove the "high places" from our lives completely, even if they are currently "out of use".

1Ki 22:46

MALE SHRINE PROSTITUTES: "Sodomites" (AV). " 'Qadhesh' denotes properly a male temple prostitute, one of the class attached to certain sanctuaries of heathen deities, and 'consecrated' [the Heb rt word means lit, and sarcastically, 'holy'!] to the impure rites of their worship. Such gross and degrading practices in Yahweh's land could only be construed as a flagrant outrage; and any association of these with His pure worship was abhorrent (Deu 23:17,18): The presence of Sodomites is noted as a mark of degeneracy in Rehoboam's time (1Ki 14:24). Asa endeavored to get rid of them (1Ki 15:12), and Jehoshaphat routed them out (1Ki 22:46). Subsequent corruptions opened the way for their return, and Josiah had to break down their houses which were actually "in the house of the Lord" (2Ki 23:7). The feminine 'qedheshah' is translated 'prostitute' in Gen 38:21,22; Hos 4:14; Deu 23:17 (the KJV mg has 'sodomitess'; the RV mg simply transliterates). The English word is, of course, derived from Sodom, the inhabitants of which were in evil repute for unnatural vice" (ISBE).

1Ki 22:48

TRADING SHIPS: As mg, "ships of Tarshish": See Lesson, Tarshish.

OPHIR: See Lesson, Ophir.
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