1 Kings 22:13, A Lying Spirit, Part II of II

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.

//Yesterday, I posted a story from the book of Kings, about how God commissioned a “lying spirit” to convince King Ahab to go to battle so that he died. I found the explanation of Ahab’s decision for battle a little unlikely, and promised to weigh in with what I suspect really happened.

According to the Bible, Ahab is a bit skittish about provoking the fight with the Syrians, and inquires of his prophets. All of them tell him to go for it. Seeking a better answer, Ahab calls for Micaiah, a prophet whom he hates because the guy is a bit contrary, always advising him to do something he doesn’t want to do. Ahab sets the stage with a little reverse psychology by sending Micaiah the message in today’s verse: The prophets are all giving me good advice, telling me to go and fight, but what do you, Micaiah, propose I do?

But Micaiah sees right through the reverse psychology and once again manages to tell the king exactly what he doesn’t want to hear … this time by agreeing with the other prophets. “Go ye up, and prosper, and they shall be delivered into your hand.”

Furious, the king sends Micaiah to prison. But what can he do? 401 prophets now tell him to fight. Still nervous, the king heads out to the battlefield, but in disguise. It doesn’t work; he is recognized by the enemy and quickly killed.

At which point, one of the 401 advisers—Micaiah—changes his story. Yes, he says, he did advise the king to go into battle, but then later in private he warned the king about a “lying spirit” who fooled all his advisers. Who can dispute his story?

So far as we know, the ruse to get out of prison by claiming to be the one true prophet didn’t work. We read no more of Micaiah.

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