April 20, 2007
I Kings 21-22
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- And it came to pass after these things, that Naboth the Jezreelite had a vineyard, which was in Jezreel, hard by the palace of Ahab king of Samaria.
- And Ahab spake unto Naboth, saying, Give me thy vineyard, that I may have it for a garden of herbs, because it is near unto my house: and I will give thee for it a better vineyard than it; or, if it seem good to thee, I will give thee the worth of it in money.
- And Naboth said to Ahab, The LORD forbid it me, that I should give the inheritance of my fathers unto thee.
- And Ahab came into his house heavy and displeased because of the word which Naboth the Jezreelite had spoken to him: for he had said, I will not give thee the inheritance of my fathers. And he laid him down upon his bed, and turned away his face, and would eat no bread.
- But Jezebel his wife came to him, and said unto him, Why is thy spirit so sad, that thou eatest no bread?
- And he said unto her, Because I spake unto Naboth the Jezreelite, and said unto him, Give me thy vineyard for money; or else, if it please thee, I will give thee another vineyard for it: and he answered, I will not give thee my vineyard.
- And Jezebel his wife said unto him, Dost thou now govern the kingdom of Israel? arise, and eat bread, and let thine heart be merry: I will give thee the vineyard of Naboth the Jezreelite.
- So she wrote letters in Ahab's name, and sealed them with his seal, and sent the letters unto the elders and to the nobles that were in his city, dwelling with Naboth.
- And she wrote in the letters, saying, Proclaim a fast, and set Naboth on high among the people:
- And set two men, sons of Belial, before him, to bear witness against him, saying, Thou didst blaspheme God and the king. And then carry him out, and stone him, that he may die.
- And the men of his city, even the elders and the nobles who were the inhabitants in his city, did as Jezebel had sent unto them, and as it was written in the letters which she had sent unto them.
- They proclaimed a fast, and set Naboth on high among the people.
- And there came in two men, children of Belial, and sat before him: and the men of Belial witnessed against him, even against Naboth, in the presence of the people, saying, Naboth did blaspheme God and the king. Then they carried him forth out of the city, and stoned him with stones, that he died.
- Then they sent to Jezebel, saying, Naboth is stoned, and is dead.
- And it came to pass, when Jezebel heard that Naboth was stoned, and was dead, that Jezebel said to Ahab, Arise, take possession of the vineyard of Naboth the Jezreelite, which he refused to give thee for money: for Naboth is not alive, but dead.
- And it came to pass, when Ahab heard that Naboth was dead, that Ahab rose up to go down to the vineyard of Naboth the Jezreelite, to take possession of it.
- And the word of the LORD came to Elijah the Tishbite, saying,
- Arise, go down to meet Ahab king of Israel, which is in Samaria: behold, he is in the vineyard of Naboth, whither he is gone down to possess it.
- And thou shalt speak unto him, saying, Thus saith the LORD, Hast thou killed, and also taken possession? And thou shalt speak unto him, saying, Thus saith the LORD, In the place where dogs licked the blood of Naboth shall dogs lick thy blood, even thine.
- And Ahab said to Elijah, Hast thou found me, O mine enemy? And he answered, I have found thee: because thou hast sold thyself to work evil in the sight of the LORD.
- Behold, I will bring evil upon thee, and will take away thy posterity, and will cut off from Ahab him that pisseth against the wall, and him that is shut up and left in Israel,
- And will make thine house like the house of Jeroboam the son of Nebat, and like the house of Baasha the son of Ahijah, for the provocation wherewith thou hast provoked me to anger, and made Israel to sin.
- And of Jezebel also spake the LORD, saying, The dogs shall eat Jezebel by the wall of Jezreel.
- Him that dieth of Ahab in the city the dogs shall eat; and him that dieth in the field shall the fowls of the air eat.
- But there was none like unto Ahab, which did sell himself to work wickedness in the sight of the LORD, whom Jezebel his wife stirred up.
- And he did very abominably in following idols, according to all things as did the Amorites, whom the LORD cast out before the children of Israel.
- And it came to pass, when Ahab heard those words, that he rent his clothes, and put sackcloth upon his flesh, and fasted, and lay in sackcloth, and went softly.
- And the word of the LORD came to Elijah the Tishbite, saying,
- Seest thou how Ahab humbleth himself before me? because he humbleth himself before me, I will not bring the evil in his days: but in his son's days will I bring the evil upon his house.
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- And they continued three years without war between Syria and Israel.
- And it came to pass in the third year, that Jehoshaphat the king of Judah came down to the king of Israel.
- 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?
- And he said unto Jehoshaphat, Wilt thou go with me to battle to Ramoth-gilead? And Jehoshaphat said to the king of Israel, I am as thou art, my people as thy people, my horses as thy horses.
- And Jehoshaphat said unto the king of Israel, Enquire, I pray thee, at the word of the LORD to day.
- Then the king of Israel gathered the prophets together, about four hundred men, and said unto them, Shall I go against Ramoth-gilead to battle, or shall I forbear? And they said, Go up; for the Lord shall deliver it into the hand of the king.
- And Jehoshaphat said, Is there not here a prophet of the LORD besides, that we might enquire of him?
- 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. And Jehoshaphat said, Let not the king say so.
- Then the king of Israel called an officer, and said, Hasten hither Micaiah the son of Imlah.
- And the king of Israel and Jehoshaphat the king of Judah sat each on his throne, having put on their robes, in a void place in the entrance of the gate of Samaria; and all the prophets prophesied before them.
- And Zedekiah the son of Chenaanah made him horns of iron: and he said, Thus saith the LORD, With these shalt thou push the Syrians, until thou have consumed them.
- And all the prophets prophesied so, saying, Go up to Ramoth-gilead, and prosper: for the LORD shall deliver it into the king's hand.
- And the messenger that was gone to call Micaiah spake unto him, saying, Behold now, the words of the prophets declare good unto the king with one mouth: let thy word, I pray thee, be like the word of one of them, and speak that which is good.
- And Micaiah said, As the LORD liveth, what the LORD saith unto me, that will I speak.
- So he came to the king. And the king said unto him, Micaiah, shall we go against Ramoth-gilead to battle, or shall we forbear? And he answered him, Go, and prosper: for the LORD shall deliver it into the hand of the king.
- And the king said unto him, How many times shall I adjure thee that thou tell me nothing but that which is true in the name of the LORD?
- And he said, I saw all Israel scattered upon the hills, as sheep that have not a shepherd: and the LORD said, These have no master: let them return every man to his house in peace.
- And the king of Israel said unto Jehoshaphat, Did I not tell thee that he would prophesy no good concerning me, but evil?
- And he said, Hear thou therefore the word of the LORD: I saw the LORD sitting on his throne, and all the host of heaven standing by him on his right hand and on his left.
- And the LORD said, Who shall persuade Ahab, that he may go up and fall at Ramoth-gilead? And one said on this manner, and another said on that manner.
- And there came forth a spirit, and stood before the LORD, and said, I will persuade him.
- And the LORD said unto him, Wherewith? And he said, I will go forth, and I will be a lying spirit in the mouth of all his prophets. And he said, Thou shalt persuade him, and prevail also: go forth, and do so.
- Now therefore, behold, the LORD hath put a lying spirit in the mouth of all these thy prophets, and the LORD hath spoken evil concerning thee.
- But Zedekiah the son of Chenaanah went near, and smote Micaiah on the cheek, and said, Which way went the Spirit of the LORD from me to speak unto thee?
- And Micaiah said, Behold, thou shalt see in that day, when thou shalt go into an inner chamber to hide thyself.
- And the king of Israel said, Take Micaiah, and carry him back unto Amon the governor of the city, and to Joash the king's son;
- And say, Thus saith the king, Put this fellow in the prison, and feed him with bread of affliction and with water of affliction, until I come in peace.
- And Micaiah said, If thou return at all in peace, the LORD hath not spoken by me. And he said, Hearken, O people, every one of you.
- So the king of Israel and Jehoshaphat the king of Judah went up to Ramoth-gilead.
- And the king of Israel said unto Jehoshaphat, I will disguise myself, and enter into the battle; but put thou on thy robes. And the king of Israel disguised himself, and went into the battle.
- But 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.
- And it came to pass, when the captains of the chariots saw Jehoshaphat, that they said, Surely it is the king of Israel. And they turned aside to fight against him: and Jehoshaphat cried out.
- And it came to pass, when the captains of the chariots perceived that it was not the king of Israel, that they turned back from pursuing him.
- And a certain man drew a bow at a venture, and smote the king of Israel between the joints of the harness: wherefore he said unto the driver of his chariot, Turn thine hand, and carry me out of the host; for I am wounded.
- And the battle increased that day: and the king was stayed up in his chariot against the Syrians, and died at even: and the blood ran out of the wound into the midst of the chariot.
- And there went a proclamation throughout the host about the going down of the sun, saying, Every man to his city, and every man to his own country.
- So the king died, and was brought to Samaria; and they buried the king in Samaria.
- And one washed the chariot in the pool of Samaria; and the dogs licked up his blood; and they washed his armour; according unto the word of the LORD which he spake.
- Now the rest of the acts of Ahab, and all that he did, and the ivory house which he made, and all the cities that he built, are they not written in the book of the chronicles of the kings of Israel?
- So Ahab slept with his fathers; and Ahaziah his son reigned in his stead.
- And Jehoshaphat the son of Asa began to reign over Judah in the fourth year of Ahab king of Israel.
- Jehoshaphat was thirty and five years old when he began to reign; and he reigned twenty and five years in Jerusalem. And his mother's name was Azubah the daughter of Shilhi.
- And he walked in all the ways of Asa his father; he turned not aside from it, doing that which was right in the eyes of the LORD: nevertheless the high places were not taken away; for the people offered and burnt incense yet in the high places.
- And Jehoshaphat made peace with the king of Israel.
- Now the rest of the acts of Jehoshaphat, and his might that he shewed, and how he warred, are they not written in the book of the chronicles of the kings of Judah?
- And the remnant of the sodomites, which remained in the days of his father Asa, he took out of the land.
- There was then no king in Edom: a deputy was king.
- Jehoshaphat made ships of Tharshish to go to Ophir for gold: but they went not; for the ships were broken at Ezion-geber.
- Then said Ahaziah the son of Ahab unto Jehoshaphat, Let my servants go with thy servants in the ships. But Jehoshaphat would not.
- And Jehoshaphat slept with his fathers, and was buried with his fathers in the city of David his father: and Jehoram his son reigned in his stead.
- Ahaziah the son of Ahab began to reign over Israel in Samaria the seventeenth year of Jehoshaphat king of Judah, and reigned two years over Israel.
- And he did evil in the sight of the LORD, and walked in the way of his father, and in the way of his mother, and in the way of Jeroboam the son of Nebat, who made Israel to sin:
- For he served Baal, and worshipped him, and provoked to anger the LORD God of Israel, according to all that his father had done.
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Thought for the day:
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This passage gives some of the details concerning the final years of Ahab's reign as king of Israel.
Chapter 21 opens with his taking of Naboth's vineyard. Ahab desired it, and offered to buy it, but Naboth refused to sell it because it was his inheritance, and should stay in his family (
Numbers 36:7). He would not sell it for any price, even when Ahab offered to throw in a better vineyard somewhere else. As a note here: some things simply should not be for sale. I'm not speaking of property or possessions, but rather spiritual things. The world will offer us money, prestige, power, and pleasure if we will simply surrender over our testimony, our standards, our ministries, and our families. May we have churches filled with Naboths who will not sell that which they should not sell, no matter what price they are offered!
Ahab was distraught, and his wife Jezebel plotted to get the land for him. She had Naboth killed, and Ahab took possession. Shortly thereafter, God sent Elijah to see Ahab. Ahab's greeting is once again significant:
"Hast thou found me, O mine enemy?" (
Elijah's ministry with Ahab had always been an attempt to get Ahab to do what was right. He was not Ahab's enemy; he was the best friend Ahab had! The person who attempts to bring another into a correct relationship with God is not an enemy.
Proverbs 27:6 states,
"Faithful are the wounds of a friend."
Sometimes a true friend has to expose another's sin in order to help him to mature, but someone who allows their friend to continue down the wrong path is no friend at all! Are we willing to risk our "friendship" in order to be a real friend?
Elijah was undeterred, and pronounced judgement upon Ahab and his family. His offspring would be cut off, his wicked wife would be eaten by dogs, and Ahab himself would have his blood licked up by dogs in the same spot where Naboth had been slain. It took three years, but Elijah's words came true. Ahab approached Jehoshaphat, the king of Judah, and suggested that they attack the Syrians. Before they went, they decided to check with the "prophets' to see if their mission would be successful. Ahab asked his false prophets, and they all told the king exactly what he wanted to hear: that everything would be just fine. I find Jehoshaphat's response to this almost amusing,
"Is there not here a prophet of the LORD besides, that we might enquire of him?" (
Clearly the king of Judah could see through the lies of Ahab's prophets. We read that Jehoshaphat was a good king, and he wanted to know exactly what the Lord said. How much better off we would be if we truly wanted to know what the Lord thought about things, and not just what our friends thought. We must know the mind of God in order to make appropriate decisions.
Ahab's response to Jehoshaphat's request is telling. He says,
"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," (
Again, this perfectly sums up the unsaved world's opinion of the vocal Christian. Ahab knows that Micaiah is a good man, but he doesn't like the message, and thus states that he "hates" Micaiah. The ungodly will hate a man who brings a message that they don't like, regardless of whether it is true or not. Christians today are being silenced through "hate speech" laws and restrictions on religious liberty. We should not be surprised about that.
Micaiah comes, and ultimately gives the correct prophecy - that disaster will strike and Ahab will die. He also reveals that the other prophets are liars. He is struck by their leader for saying that, and his response is:
"If thou return at all in peace, the LORD hath not spoken by me", (
The Bible often warns that any prophecy that does not come true does not come from God, and any true prophet of God will always be correct. We must remember this when others try to steer us towards modern day "prophets". Either every prophecy is 100% correct, or the prophet is false.
Finally the battle is begun. Ahab disguised himself because the king of Syria had said that the fight was to be directed against the king of Israel only (
31). He even went so far as to put his royal robe on Jehoshaphat, whom God mightily spared. However,
verse 34 tells us that a Syrian soldier drew his bow "at a venture", and mortally wounded Ahab. "At a venture" means that he wasn't aiming at anyone in particular; he just let the arrow fly. God guided it to the right man, and it struck him in one of the only areas where it could do harm, and Ahab died. The story concludes with the revelation that, when they washed out his chariot at the pool of Samaria, the dogs came and licked his blood, exactly as God had said.
Pastor Dr. Mark J Montgomery