2 Chronicles Chapter 18

Jehoshaphat ruled in righteousness in the kingdom of Judah. At the time of his reign, Ahab ruled in Israel. Ahab was the most wicked king of Israel. He led his people in idolatry. Prior to the events of this chapter, Ahab had made alliances with other nations in order to defend his nation from Assyria. He had not been successful in it. This chapter begins:

1 Now Jehoshaphat had riches and honour in abundance, and joined affinity with Ahab.
2 And after certain years he went down to Ahab to Samaria. And Ahab killed sheep and oxen for him in abundance, and for the people that he had with him, and persuaded him to go up with him to Ramoth-gilead.
3 And Ahab king of Israel said unto Jehoshaphat king of Judah, Wilt thou go with me to Ramoth-gilead? And he answered him, I am as thou art, and my people as thy people; and we will be with thee in the war.

Jehoshaphat and Ahab made an alliance. At one point, Jehoshaphat visited Ahab in Samaria. Ahab asked him to join him in a fight at Ramoth-gilead, a prominent Israelite city, to which Jehoshaphat agreed because their nations were of the same people.

4 And Jehoshaphat said unto the king of Israel, Inquire, I pray thee, at the word of the Lord to day.
5 Therefore the king of Israel gathered together of prophets four hundred men, and said unto them, Shall we go to Ramoth-gilead to battle, or shall I forbear? And they said, Go up; for God will deliver it into the king’s hand.
6 But Jehoshaphat said, Is there not here a prophet of the Lord besides, that we might inquire of him?
7 And the king of Israel said unto Jehoshaphat, There is yet one man, by whom we may inquire of the Lord: but I hate him; for he never prophesied good unto me, but always evil: the same is Micaiah the son of Imla. And Jehoshaphat said, Let not the king say so.
8 And the king of Israel called for one of his officers, and said, Fetch quickly Micaiah the son of Imla.

As any righteous leader should do, Jehoshaphat desired to know what the Lord would say about them going to fight. He asked Ahab to ask the Lord, so Ahab gathered his wise men or prophets of their gods to ask if they should go. The men said they should and that the battle would be delivered into his hands. Jehoshaphat, however, sought the word of the Lord, so he asked if there were any prophets of the Lord. Ahab told him of one, Micaiah, but also said that he despised him because he never gave Ahab any prophesies that pleased him. This makes perfect sense, seeing as how Ahab was a wicked leader and was not following after the ways of the Lord. In any case, Ahab was willing to have the prophet brought to Jehoshaphat, and so he called for him.

9 And the king of Israel and Jehoshaphat king of Judah sat either of them on his throne, clothed in their robes, and they sat in a void place at the entering in of the gate of Samaria; and all the prophets prophesied before them.
10 And Zedekiah the son of Chenaanah had made him horns of iron, and said, Thus saith the Lord, With these thou shalt push Syria until they be consumed.
11 And all the prophets prophesied so, saying, Go up to Ramoth-gilead, and prosper: for the Lord shall deliver it into the hand of the king.
12 And the messenger that went to call Micaiah spake to him, saying, Behold, the words of the prophets declare good to the king with one assent; let thy word therefore, I pray thee, be like one of theirs, and speak thou good.
13 And Micaiah said, As the Lord liveth, even what my God saith, that will I speak.
14 And when he was come to the king, the king said unto him, Micaiah, shall we go to Ramoth-gilead to battle, or shall I forbear? And he said, Go ye up, and prosper, and they shall be delivered into your hand.
15 And the king said to him, How many times shall I adjure thee that thou say nothing but the truth to me in the name of the Lord?
16 Then he said, I did see all Israel scattered upon the mountains, as sheep that have no shepherd: and the Lord said, These have no master; let them return therefore every man to his house in peace.

The two kings sat on the throne, prepared to hear the words of prophecy. The prophets of Ahab continued to say they would defeat Syria. One, called Zedekiah, even brought iron horns that he claimed would be Ahab’s weapon against them or a sign of how mighty Ahab would be against them. Ahab wanted Micaiah to share in their sentiment and tell him it would all work out well for them. Micaiah said that he would speak the word of God. After being told to speak the truth, Micaiah told him that he saw the scattering of the people of Israel because they no longer had a master. This would suggest that they would not be successful in battle, and that Ahab would die.

17 And the king of Israel said to Jehoshaphat, Did I not tell thee that he would not prophesy good unto me, but evil?
18 Again he said, Therefore hear the word of the Lord; I saw the Lord sitting upon his throne, and all the host of heaven standing on his right hand and on his left.
19 And the Lord said, Who shall entice Ahab king of Israel, that he may go up and fall at Ramoth-gilead? And one spake saying after this manner, and another saying after that manner.
20 Then there came out a spirit, and stood before the Lord, and said, I will entice him. And the Lord said unto him, Wherewith?
21 And he said, I will go out, and be a lying spirit in the mouth of all his prophets. And the Lord said, Thou shalt entice him, and thou shalt also prevail: go out, and do even so.
22 Now therefore, behold, the Lord hath put a lying spirit in the mouth of these thy prophets, and the Lord hath spoken evil against thee.

Ahab was upset with these words and claimed they were evil against him. Micaiah prophesied further, that he saw the Lord with his host and the Lord asked who would tempt Ahab to go up and fall at Ramoth-gilead. He saw that many responded, but one lying spirit of the host said he would entice Ahab with a lying spirit from the mouth of his prophets. This he did, because the Lord allowed it to be so for those who had lived in wickedness. So, Micaiah said that the prophets of Ahab were lying and that the Lord had said this plan to fight would not work out well for him. The Joseph Smith Translation of verse 22 reads, “Now therefore, behold, the Lord hath found a lying spirit in the mouth of these thy prophets, and the Lord hath spoken evil against thee.” The Lord does not put evil upon people, but he allows evil to influence those who do not seek after him. He watches over the details of our lives, finding the temptations and our responses to them, and he will do what he can to call us to repentance, so that we have the chance to return to him.

23 Then Zedekiah the son of Chenaanah came near, and smote Micaiah upon the cheek, and said, Which way went the Spirit of the Lord from me to speak unto thee?
24 And Micaiah said, Behold, thou shalt see on that day when thou shalt go into an inner chamber to hide thyself.
25 Then the king of Israel said, Take ye Micaiah, and carry him back to Amon the governor of the city, and to Joash the king’s son;
26 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 return in peace.
27 And Micaiah said, If thou certainly return in peace, then hath not the Lord spoken by me. And he said, Hearken, all ye people.
28 So the king of Israel and Jehoshaphat the king of Judah went up to Ramoth-gilead.

The false prophet, Zedekiah, slapped Micaiah for his words and asked him where the spirit of the Lord went from him, Zedekiah. Micaiah said that he would see on the day when he would hide himself in an inner chamber. Ahab commanded that Micaiah be carried away to the governor, that he would cast him into prison until Ahab returned in peace from the battle. Micaiah told all the people there to witness, that if Ahab did return in peace, the Lord did not speak through him. Which also means, that if Ahab did not return, the Lord did speak through Micaiah. With that, Ahab and Jehoshaphat went to fight at Ramoth-gilead. With the belief of the word of the Lord, it is a curious thing for Jehoshaphat to continue into the battle. However, he had given his word of fellowship, to do what Ahab asked of him. It would be interesting to know, if Jehoshaphat had attempted to persuade Ahab against going, in order to preserve Ahab’s life.

29 And the king of Israel said unto Jehoshaphat, I will disguise myself, and will go to the battle; but put thou on thy robes. So the king of Israel disguised himself; and they went to the battle.
30 Now the king of Syria had commanded the captains of the chariots that were with him, saying, Fight ye not with small or great, save only with the king of Israel.
31 And it came to pass, when the captains of the chariots saw Jehoshaphat, that they said, It is the king of Israel. Therefore they compassed about him to fight: but Jehoshaphat cried out, and the Lord helped him; and God moved them to depart from him.
32 For it came to pass, that, when the captains of the chariots perceived that it was not the king of Israel, they turned back again from pursuing him.
33 And a certain man drew a bow at a venture, and smote the king of Israel between the joints of the harness: therefore he said to his chariot man, Turn thine hand, that thou mayest carry me out of the host; for I am wounded.
34 And the battle increased that day: howbeit the king of Israel stayed himself up in his chariot against the Syrians until the even: and about the time of the sun going down he died.

Ahab told Jehoshaphat, that he would go to battle in disguise and he wanted Jehoshaphat to be adorned as normal. The king of Syria had told his men that they were only to fight with the king of Israel, and no one else, no matter how small or great. When they saw Jehoshaphat, they mistook him for the king of Israel, and they surrounded him in order to start a fight. Jehoshaphat prayed for help and the Lord caused the men to leave him alone. They did this because, at that point, they were able to see that this was not Ahab and they turned away from him, so he was able to get away from the fight. However, one of the men of the Syrians, drew his bow and hit Ahab, in spite of his disguise. Ahab told his driver to take his chariot out of the battle, because he was wounded. The battle went on increasingly. Ahab managed to keep himself up in his chariot as the fight continued, until the sun was setting. Then Ahab died, just as Micaiah had prophesied.

It did not even matter that their enemy did not know the man was Ahab. They still shot him early in the fight, the prophecy was fulfilled, and Ahab was not successful. The words of the Lord will always be fulfilled. They will not be easy to hear for those who do not seek to follow after Him. In 1 Nephi 16:2 we read, “And it came to pass that I said unto them that I knew that I had spoken hard things against the wicked, according to the truth; and the righteous have I justified, and testified that they should be lifted up at the last day; wherefore, the guilty taketh the truth to be hard, for it cutteth them to the very center.” Ahab would not find the words of Micaiah pleasing, because they reflected the idea that he was not living righteously. If he had been righteous, the Lord would have been able to bless him for the good. On the other hand, Ahab knew that his own wise men would tell him the things that would make him feel good. They did this, because they did not seek after the word of God, they sought to please their king. The words of the world will be easier, because it takes a greater effort to live in righteousness. To the faithful, this should not matter because it is worth the effort. Followers of Christ, should follow after the words of the prophets of the Lord, which are true, and turn from the false and enticing words of the world. The prophet Thomas S. Monson once said, “May we ever choose the harder right instead of the easier wrong.” Blessings come to those who do this and who choose to live as Jehoshaphat, who sought the word of the Lord and trusted Him in his times of difficulty.

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