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The first book of the Kings : with map, introduction and notes online

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have tbe colour of being legally carried out. did blaspheme]

R.V. did curse. they carried him forth out of the city] Tbis

explains what is meant by ' carry him out ' in verse 10. Tlie place
of execution was to be outside tbe walls, according to the legal



I. KINGS, XXI. 14—20. 131

with stones, that he died. Then they sent to Jezebel, saying, 14
Naboth is stoned, and is dead. And it came to pass, when 15
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 lfi
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, 17
saying, Arise, go down to meet Ahab king of Israel, which is 18
in Samaria : behold, he is in the vineyard of Naboth, whither
he is gone down to possess it. And thou shalt speak unto 19
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 20
said to Elijah, Hast thou found me, mine enemy ? And he



ordinance (Lev. xxiv. 14). that he died] Not only was Naboth

put to death, but, according to another passage (2 Kings ix. 26), his
sons were included in the destruction. 15. take possession

of the vineyard'] Some have thought that the king could do this,
because it is supposed that the property of one so executed would
become confiscated. Others have suggested that there was some
relationship between Ahab and the family of Naboth. Where so
much had been done unlawfully, it would be a small matter to seize
on the ground without any plea of law or kinship. 16. lohen

Ahab heard that Naboth was dead] Josephus says (Ant. viii. 13, 8)
' And Ahab was pleased with what had been done, and sprang up
from his bed, and went to see Naboth's vineyard.'

18. xohich is [R.V. dwelleth in Samaria] This change is
necessary for consistency in the narrative. The verbs describing
the action first of Ahab and then of Elijah, shew that both had
gone dotvn, the one from Samaria, and the other, perhaps, from
Carmel, to the city of Jezreel, which lay on lower ground than
either. to i^ossess it] R.V. to take possession of it.

19. Hast thou killed, and also taken possession ?] The guilt of all
that had been done is at once laid at Ahab's door. In the place
where dogs licked the blood of Naboth] From the history of Ahab's
death, in xxii. 38, it appears that his blood was thus licked by the
dogs, not at Jezreel, but near Samaria. The best explanation of
this is that the word 'place' does not here mean 'precise locality.'
Naboth's blood was shed outside the gate of Jezreel, and the pool of
Samaria, from the description in the next chapter, was appa-
rently outside the gate of that city. Thus there was a similarity
between the two cases. 20. Hast thou found me, mine
enemy] Ahab had not thought of a penalty to overtake him, but the
sight of Elijah makes him feel not penitent, but indignant that the

9—2



132 I. KINGS, XXI. 21—29.

answered, I have found thee : because thou hast sold thyself to

21 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

22 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

23 hast provoked me to anger, and made Israel to sin. And
of Jezebel also spake the Lord, saying, The dogs shall eat

24 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

25 the fowls of the air eat. (But there was none like unto Ahab,
which did sell himself to work wickedness in the sight of

26 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

•27 Israel.) And it came to pass, when Ahab heard those words,

that he rent his clothes, and put sackcloth upon his flesh, and

2tt fasted, and lay in sackcloth, and went softly. And the word of

29 the Lord came to Elijah the Tishbite, saying, Seest thou how

Ahab humbleth himself before me? because he humbleth



avenger of wrong is so soon at hand. because thou hast sold

thyself] The complete surrender of the king into the hands of others
is weft expressed by 'thou hast sold thyself.' to work evil]

B.V. to do that which is evil. 21. and will take away thy

posterity] K.V. and will utterly sweep thee away. See above
on xiv. 10. and left in Israel] R.Y. and him that is left at

large. The expression is a proverbial one, meant to indicate all
men of every kind. 22. and made [B.V. hast made Israel

to sin] Cf. xvi. 2. 23. the dogs shall eat Jezebel] For the

fulfilment, see 2 Kings ix. 35 — 37. by the vail [B.V. rampart]
of Jezreel] In 2 Kings ix. 10, 36, 37, the body is said to have been
devoured ' in the portion of Jezreel.' Both expressions mean the
same thing. The 'portion' is the land close to the walls outside.
Jezebel must have looked forth from a window of some building
that formed part of the city wall. Thus she would be able to shew
herself to Jehu as soon as he drew near. 25. to work wicked-

ness] B.V. to do that which was evil. See above, verse 20.
Ahab exceeded the wickedness of all the other kings in that he
introduced Baal-worship, and allowed his wife to proceed to all
lengths in her attempts to destroy any recognition of Jehovah.

26. he did very abominably Ahab himself cast aside the worship
which his predecessors had inaugurated and followed, and followed
Jezebel in her idolatry. according toall things as did the Amorites]
Better, with B.V. , according to all that the Amorites did. The
Amorites are mentioned probably because, being widely spread, the
name had become representative of all the nations cast out before
the children of Israel. whom the lord cast out] The B.V. has

usually changed 'cast' into 'drave' in these passages. See xiv. 21.



I. KINGS, XXII. 1—6. 133

himself before me, I will not bring the evil in his days : but in
his son's clays will I bring the evil upon his house.

And they continued three years without war between Syria 22
and Israel. And it came to pass on the third year, that 2
Jehoshaphat the king of Judah came down to the king of
Israel. And the king of Israel said unto his servants, Know ye 3
that Eamoth 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 4
Jehoshaphat, Wilt thou go with me to battle to Kamoth-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 5
Jehoshaphat said unto the king of Israel, Inquire, I pray thee,
at the word of the Lord to day. Then the king of Israel 6
gathered the prophets together, about four hundred men, and



There seems no reason why it should not be done here. 29. I will
not bring the evil in his days] That is, the whole penalty shall not be
inflicted on him. A portion of it was, as we are told in xxii. 37 —
38. but in his son's days] Fulfilled in the death of Jehoram,

Ahab's son. 2 Kings ix. 25.

XXII. 1. they continued three years without war] This pro-
bably means after the defeat of Ben-hadad described in chapter xx.
It must have been during this interval of peace that Naboth was put
to death. 2. Jehoshaphat... came down to the king of Israel]

The writer speaks as though Jerusalem was still regarded as the
capital-city of the whole nation. To leave it and go elsewhere was ' to
go down.' The Chronicler and Josephus connect this visit with the
mention of Jehoshaphat' s ' affinity with ' Ahab. Jehoram, Jehosha-
phat's son had married Ahab's daughter, Athaliab. And after this
event the king of Judah paid his visit to Samaria. 3. Know

ye that Ramoth in Gilead is ours] The statement of Josephus (Ant.
viii. 15, 3) is very probable, viz. that the father of Ben-hadad had
taken Ramoth-gilead, with other cities, from Omri. Ben-hadad had
stipulated (xx. 34), to restore these conquests, but apparently had
not carried out this part of his covenant. 4. / am as thou art]

The marriage between the royal children would no doubt make
Jehoshaphat more ready to comply with Ahab's request. my

horses as thy horses] From this expression it appears that cavalry
had now been largely introduced into both kingdoms.

5. Inquire, I pray thee, at the word of the Lord] The persuasion
has gamed from him a promise, but Jehoshaphat would still find
out whether the proposed expedition has the sanction of Jehovah.

to day] The Hebrew word is the same which is found in Gen.
xxv. 31, 33, where on the margin of K.V. the alternative rendering,
'first of all,' is given. This sense is very appropriate both there
and here, and will often explain what 'to day' in 0. Test, diction
signifies. Cf. above, i. 51. 6. gathered the prophets together,

about four hundred] These cannot have been the prophets of Baal,
for their ringleader, Zedekiah, in verse 11, begins his speech.
'Thus saith Jehovah,' and in verse 24 speaks of 'the spirit of



134 I. KINGS, XXII. 7—11.

said unto them, Shall I go against Ramoth-gilead to battle, or
shall I forbear? And they said, Go up; for the Lord shall

7 deliver it into the hand of the king. And Jehoshaphat said,
Is there not here a prophet of the Lord besides, that we might

8 inquire of him? And the king of Israel said unto Jehoshaphat,
There is yet one man, Micaiah the son of Irnlah, by whom we
may inquire of the Lord: but I hate him; for he doth not
prophesy good concerning me, but evil. And Jehoshaphat

i> said, Let not the king say so. Then the king of Israel called
an officer, and said, Hasten hither Micaiah the son of Imlah.

io 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

ii 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



Jehovah' as being with him. But they were not true adherents
of the Lord, otherwise Jehoshaphat would certainly have been
content with their words. Go up] The land of Gilead was

all mountainous. 7. Is there not here a prophet of the Lord

besides] The R.V. transposes besides, putting it after here. This
brings out more clearly the reason for Jehoshaphat's inquiry.
Besides what he has heard, he would gladly be told what to do by a
true prophet of Jehovah. 8. There is yet one man] In the

R.V. immediately after these words are placed ' by whom we may
inquire of the Lord.' This order of words shews that Ahab under-
stood what his guest required, and why he was not satisfied with the
prophets that had already come before him. Let not the king

my so] i.e. That he hates Micaiah. 9. Hasten hither] R.V.

Fetch quickly. This is the rendering in Chronicles, and enables
us to dispense with italics. 10. And [R.V. Now] the king of

Israel] The change is justified, as the sentence is a new feature in
the history. having put on their robes] R.V. arrayed in their

robes. The original language indicates a degree of display suited
to the meeting of two kings. What is described is not what the
kings did, but in what state they sat. in a void [R.V. an

open] place] The word in the Hebrew is most frequently rendered
4 a threshing-floor.' This was a large open space in which the oxen
could be driven round, to tread out the corn. Such a space is here
indicated, where chairs of state could be erected for the two kings,
and where the prophets could come about them. in [R.V. at]

the entrance of the gate of Samaria] There appears usually to have
been some place set apart near the gate of a city, mostly outside,
where important business proceedings, trials, and such matters
could be conducted in public. 11. Zedekiah] In verse 24

we see that Zedekiah was the leader of Ahab's prophets. His action
here is one of those symbolical proceedings not uncommon with
the prophets. Thus Ahijah significantly rent his garment into
twelve pieces (xi. 30) and gave Jeroboam ten. until thou have



I. KINGS, XXII. 12—17. 135

consumed them. And all the prophets prophesied so, saying, 12
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 13
him, saying, Behold now, the words of the prophets declare
good unto the king toith 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 14
unto me, that will I speak. So he came to the king. And the 15
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 16
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 scat- 17
tered upon the hills, as sheep that have not a shepherd: and

consumed them] R.V. until they be consumed. 12. into

the king's hand] R.V. into the hand of the king. A change
made to shew that the words are just the same as in verse 6.

13. And the messenger that icas gone [R.V. went] to call Mi-
caiah] The tradition, which Josephus preserves, that the ' son of
the prophets' mentioned in xx. 35, was Micaiah, and that Ahab put
him in prison for his actions at that time (see notes on xx. 35, 43)
has been derived from the circumstance that Micaiah on this occa-
sion was sent to prison, and the king uses the words (verse 26)
' Take Micaiah and carry him bach,' &c. But there is nothing in
this account of the message to him which proves that he was in
prison when Ahab sent to call him ; and ' Put this fellow in prison '
(verse 27) is no evidence that he had been there before, but rather
the reverse. speak that which is good] R.V. speak thou

good. 14. what the Lord saith] In 2 Cbron. xviii. 13 it is

'what my God saith.' 15. 80 he came to the king. And the

king said] R.V. And when he was come to the king, the
king said. Micaiah, shall we go against [R.V. to] Ramoth-

gilead] Another slight variation to make Kings and Chronicles
accord. Go, [R.V. Go up] and prosper] The words are the

same as were used by the other prophets hi verse 6. Ahab had
however asked his question this time in the plural number, ' Shall
we go?' and in 2 Cbron. Micaiah' s answer is given in accordance
therewith 'Go ye up,' &c. It is quite clear from the tone of
Ahab's language in the next verse, that, though Micaiah, in words,
repeated what had been said by Ahab's own prophets, yet by tone
and gesture he made it evident that his speech was not in earnest.

16. How many times shall I adjure thee] It would seem from
this that Ahab on former occasions had consulted Micaiah, and
been dissatisfied with his answers. that thou tell me nothing

but that which is true] R.V. that thou speak unto me nothing
hut the truth. 17. / saw all Israel] Here Micaiah in

true prophetic tone relates a vision which foretells the titter ruin
of the coming expedition. scattered upon the hills] R.V.



136 I. KINGS, XXII. 18—24.

the Lord said, These have no master: let them return every
i» man to his house in peace. And the king of Israel said unto
Jehoshaphat, Did I not tell thee that he would prophesy no
i!» good concerning me, but evil? And he said, Hear thou there-
fore the word of the Lord : I saw the Lord sitting on his
throne, and all the host of heaven standing by him on his
2(> 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
21 manner. And there came forth a spirit, and stood before the
■22 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.

23 Now therefore behold, the Lord hath put a tying spirit in the
mouth of all these thy prophets, and the Lord hath spoken

24 evil concerning thee. But Zedekiah the son of Chenaanah



mountains. as sheep that have not a [R.V. no, shepherd]

Again the rendering in 2 Chronicles is adopted. The language of
Micaiah spake in no doubtfiil tone of the coming death of Ahab.

let them return] The prophet pictures the great disaster as
falling specially upon Ahab. When he was slain, there would be
no attempt to prevent the escape of his army. 18. that

he would prophesy no good] R.V. (as in Chronicles) that he
would not prophesy good. Of course Ahab was desirous of
representing to Jehoshaphat that it was out of ill will that Micaiah
spake always evil ; and he appears to have weakened the effect of
the prophet's words in some way, or else, after such a solemn por-
tending of disaster, Jehoshaphat would hardly have joined the
expedition. 19. Hear thou therefore] R.V. Therefore

hear thou. Conforming to the order of the Hebrew, and the
order in 2 Chronicles. I saw the Lord] A vision in which

Micaiah had been shewn the heavenly council-chamber. Jehovah
was sitting as ruler of the universe, and all ministers waiting
around to speed at His bidding. 20. Who shall persuade

[R.V. entice] Ahab] The same change also is made in the two
following verses. 'Entice' represents much better the sense of
the verb which implies flattery and deception. 21. And

there came forth a spirit] The Hebrew has ' the spirit' as is noted
on the margin of the R.V. It seems therefore to imply some
definite power which imparted to prophets their gifts; the pro-
phetic spirit. That God allowed this power to delude Ahab was
because of the king's persistence in evil. 22. and I trill be]

The R.V. omits 'I' here, and later on inserts 'shalt' before 'pre-
vail,' to accord with 2 Chronicles, the English being thus as exactly
alike in the two passages as the Hebrew is. 23. The Lord

hath put a lying spirit] These words bear out what has been said
on verse 21. It was a messenger from Jehovah which led these
prophets astray. 24. But Zedekiah. ..went [R.V. came] wear]



I. KINGS, XXII. 25—31. 137

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 25
thou shalt go into an inner chamber to hide thyself. And the 2
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, 27
and feed him with bread of affliction and with water of afflic-
tion, until I come in peace. And Micaiah said, If thou return 2«
at all in peace, the Lord hath not spoken by me. And he
said, Hearken, people, every one of you.

So the king of Israel and Jehoshaphat the king of Judah 2u
went up to Eamoth-gilead. And the king of Israel said unto 30
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 com- 31

The verb is the same as in xx. 13. See note there. Which

way we7it the spirit of the Lord] The whole account intimates
that Zedekiah conceived himself prompted by the divine spirit and
thought that he was telling the truth to Ahab. He was moved by
the spirit of prophecy but knew not that God had willed it to be to
him a spirit of lies. 25. Behold, thou shalt see in [E.V.

on] that dap] The small change harmonizes this passage with
2 Chron. What Zedekiah was to see and be convinced of was, that
the spirit of God had passed away from bun and gone to Micaiah.
The events would bring proof with them. to hide thyself]

When the news of the defeat came Samaria would be terrified, and
such as expected the invader to come on, after his victory, would
seek the securest places of concealment. . 26. carry him

back unto Amon] As Ahab knew so well how to find Micaiah when
he was wanted, it may be that he was already under the charge of
Amon, in a sort of free custody. Joash the ling's son] We

have nothing to guide us in deciding how this man was related to
Ahab, or whether he was so at all. His occupation, as superin-
tendent of the prison-house, renders it improbable that he was very
closely connected with the reigning family. 27. bread of

affliction] Prison fare. The food which would be proem-able in a
time of siege, or by prisoners in captivity. 28. HearTcen,

people, every one of you] E.V. Hear, ye peoples, all of you.
The plural rendered 'peoples' is very frequent in the 0. Test., and
B.V. has introduced this rendering commonly. It signifies some-
times the various nations of the world at large, but often, as here,
the tribes of Israel. Cf. Gen. xlix. 10; Deut. xxxii. 8, tains]
These thirty-two captains were most likely those who had been
chosen to supply the places of the thirty-two kings that were removed
in the campaign of three years before (xx. 24). that had rule

over his chariots] R.V. of his chariots. For one word is rendered
twice over, first 'captains', and then 'that had rule.' The com-
mand was given to these officers because they were in the front
of the battle, the cavalry taking lead of the infantry. Fight

neither with small nor great] The meaning of the order is, that
they should let no engagement with other persons prevent them,
any more than they could help, from singling out Ahab and
attackmg him. It was the single combat of chiefs, but there were
32, any one of whom might attack him. 32. when the

captains of the chariots saio Jehoshaphat] They would recognise
from a distance that this was a royal personage, and would
naturally suppose that it could be none other than Ahab. On
approaching nearer they would probably discern that he was not
wearing the armour and insignia of Israel. and Jehoshaphat

cried out] Perhaps to his own men to rally round him for defence.
It can hardly have been a cry to his assailants to let them know
he was not the man they sought. For he could not be acquainted
with the orders they had received. 33. ichen the captains

...perceived that it was not the king of Israel] From this it is
plain that the pursuers gathered, by the cry, knowledge that it was
Jehoshaphat. A cry of supplication would have been no guide to
them, but a shout of ' Judah to the rescue,' or some similar word,
might make them aware that the king they were approaching was
the king of Judah. 34. And a certain man] Josephus

has given him a name. ' A certain youth of the royal family of
Adad [i.e. Ben-hadad] whose name was Aman.' 'Fate, the in-
evitable,' he says, 'found Ahab out even without his robes.'

drew a bow [R.V. his how] at a venture] The word rendered


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Online LibraryJoseph Rawson LumbyThe first book of the Kings : with map, introduction and notes → online text (page 17 of 18)