Scripture reading – 2 Chronicles 18

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The focus of 1 Kings 22 was primarily upon King Ahab and the northern ten Tribes known as Israel. In contrast, 2 Chronicles 18 was authored after the Babylonian captivity and focused more on King Jehoshaphat and the kingdom of Judah (consisting of the tribes in the south, Judah and Benjamin).  The focus of this devotional commentary is 2 Chronicles 18.


2 Chronicles 18

As a nation, Judah enjoyed God’s blessings during the reign of Jehoshaphat. The king “had riches and honour in abundance” (18:1). Unfortunately, Jehoshaphat “joined affinity with Ahab,” king of Israel, and his son Jehoram married one of Ahab’s daughters (2 Chronicles 21:6). Three years later (1 Kings 22:2), Jehoshaphat traveled to visit Ahab in Samaria, the capital city of Israel. After a lavish banquet, Ahab proposed that Judah should support Israel in an attack on Ramoth-gilead, a Levite city of refuge occupied at that time by Syria (18:2).

King Ahab and King Jehoshaphat

Jehoshaphat, the king of Judah, was willing to go to war with Ahab and Israel, for they were family by marriage (18:3). Yet he was a spiritually-minded king and therefore requested that they seek “the word of the LORD” for his will (18:4). Obliging the king of Judah, “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?” (18:5). Ahab’s prophets, eager to please the king, answered his inquiry and said, “Go up; for God will deliver it into the king’s hand” (18:5).

Knowing the character of true prophets of the LORD was to speak independently without fear of consequences, Jehoshaphat was concerned Ahab’s prophets spoke with one voice. Therefore, the king of Judah asked Ahab, “Is there not here a prophet of the Lord besides, that we might inquire of him?” (18:6).

Ahab admitted there was another prophet, but he confessed concerning the prophet Micaiah, “I hate him; for he never prophesied good unto me, but always evil” (18:7).

Nevertheless, Micaiah, whom we met in an earlier Bible study (1 Kings 22), was commanded to come before the kings of Israel and Judah. When he came, the wise prophet delivered the message Ahab desired. Still, he did not attribute his words to the LORD (18:12). When the king of Israel realized the prophet failed to speak prophetically, he challenged Micaiah and said, “How many times shall I adjure thee that thou say nothing but the truth to me in the name of the Lord?” (18:15).

Micaiah then spoke of a vision of a heavenly council

Micaiah then spoke of a vision of a heavenly council gathered around the throne of God. In the vision, Israel was scattered “as sheep that have no shepherd” (18:16). Understanding that the king of Israel was identified as a shepherd of the people, the prophecy left no doubt that the vision foretold Ahab’s death.

The LORD’s prophet described how God requested that a messenger would go to Ahab and entice him to go to battle at Ramoth-gilead where he would be slain (18:19). In the vision, a spirit went out from the LORD and put “a lying spirit in the mouth of all [Ahab’s] prophets” (18:21). Then, Micaiah declared, “Behold, the Lord hath put a lying spirit in the mouth of these thy prophets, and the Lord hath spoken evil against thee [Ahab]” (18:22). Exposed as a lying prophet, “Zedekiah the son of Chenaanah [a false prophet of Ahab] came near, and smote Micaiah upon the cheek” (18:23).

Hearing his death foretold, Ahab was angry and demanded that Micaiah be imprisoned with bread and water until he returned from battle (18:25-26). Emboldened and confident in his prophecy, Micaiah warned the king, “If thou certainly return in peace, then hath not the Lord spoken by me. And he said, Hearken, all ye people” (18:27).

Despite the prophet Micaiah’s warning, Jehoshaphat went to war with the king of Israel and went into battle against the king of Syria (18:28). Lest he be discovered as the king of Israel, Ahab disguised himself that he might not be recognized, and targeted by the Syrian soldiers (18:29). Yet, in the providence of God, an arrow from a nameless soldier struck Ahab, and mortally wounded him (18:33).

Thus was the prophecy of Elijah fulfilled, for as the sun was setting that day, Ahab, the king of Israel, died (18:34). We read that “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” (1 Kings 21:19; 22:37-38).

I have found, almost without exception, that the compromises of leaders and their families precipitated the failures of their ministries.

Closing thoughts –

Though the consequences of Jehoshaphat’s alliance with Israel were not immediately evident, his compromise with Ahab through the marriage of his son to the king’s daughter introduced great wickedness in Judah and nearly terminated David’s royal lineage (2 Chronicles 21:6; 22:3; 22:10-12).

A personal observation – The king of Judah aligned himself with the wicked king of Israel because of his son’s marriage to Ahab’s daughter. The result of that compromised alliance ultimately invited God’s judgment. I have witnessed that same pattern in the past two decades in my small circle of conservative churches, schools, and Bible Colleges. Pastors, evangelists, teachers, and board members have followed the sin of Jehoshaphat, accommodated the sins of their children, and sacrificed God’s blessings and power.  

Application – Some reading this Bible study have observed and supported men and Bible institutions that have closed or are failing. I have found, almost without exception, that the compromises of leaders and their families precipitated the failures of their ministries.

Warning – When spiritual leaders accommodate their children’s sins and compromises, they sacrifice their testimonies and the ministries and institutions they lead.

Copyright © 2023 – Travis D. Smith 

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