Ahab’s last days are recorded in this chapter. War with Syria was enjoying a pause, but now there was a desired allegiance with Judah to reclaim what was taken by Syria (22:1-4). The king of Judah, Jehoshaphat, was willing to align him and his army with Israel to reclaim the land, but he desired guidance from the Lord before they undertook the action. The king’s prophets came and told him that the Lord would grant victory, but in this Jehoshaphat was not convinced of their credibility (22:7). The king of Israel mentions one more, but is cautious about him because his message is “always” negative. That prophet, Micaiah, comes and says the same thing as the previous prophets. However, Ahab knows better than that; this message is not a message of the Lord (22:5-16). The prophet gives the Lord’s true message, and the king is not disappointed in the trend of his messages to him (22:17-23). The other prophets were very put out, and especially Zedekiah. They let the true prophet of God know rather plainly (22:24-28)! The two kings prepare to go to battle and, sure enough, the king of Israel dies in battle. Knowing the Lord’s word, the king of Israel sought to disguise himself, only to have the Lord “find” him (22:29-40). The remainder of the chapter has brief words on Jehoshaphat’s reign over Judah for twenty-five years and Ahab’s son, Ahaziah, reigning for two years over Israel. Jehoshaphat’s reign was considered favorably by the Lord; not so for Ahaziah (22:41-53).
Application: Every time I read this chapter I can’t help but think that when the Lord declares something, that something is as good as done! Ahab was warned by the Lord’s prophet that he would not survive the battle. Instead of taking precaution toward piety, he takes precaution toward a disguise; Jehoshaphat, on the other hand, was fully garbed in royalty (and thus vulnerable), but the Lord protected him. Having gone into battle v. 34 pointedly (no pun) states the king’s battle wound. A soldier drew his arrow randomly, and the arrow penetrates where the armor does not cover. When the Lord is against you, you stand no chance! Conversely, when the Lord is on your side, you can’t be defeated.