God Sends False Prophets

1 Kings 22

In this chapter, we see the man who acquired wicked gain by lies (ch. 21, Naboth), now meets his fate by lies. God has a way of returning a man's ways upon him. They that live by the sword shall surly die by the sword. Ahab lived by lies, and now he dies by lies.


1 Kings 22:6 (Chapter 22 is almost word for word with 2 Chronicles 18.)

Jehoshaphat asked Ahab to call a prophet of God to see what God said concerning the coming battle. Ahab called together 400 men. Who were these false prophets? I like Pulpit Commentary's explanation here — these were probably 400 priests who replaced the true priesthood at Bethel and Dan when Israel split from Judah under Jeroboam's heresy: "You can worship God just as well here in this manner as you can there, as God Requires."

All 400 of these false preachers say, "Do it. God is with you. You will prosper."

V. 7. Jehoshaphat did not trust all of these people. (I don't know why he was willing to go to war over Israel's cause, if he knew or had enough doubt about the war that he would not trust these 400 men. "If in doubt, throw it out" is good advise.)

V. 8. Ahab says there is one other prophet, but he hates him, for he always speaks badly of him.

Micaiah - who is like Jehovah? (Not an unusual name in the Old Testament. It is used at lease three times.)

Vv. 9-12.

Can you imagine 400 men carrying on like a bunch of mad men here before the kings on their two thrones? I can see their indignation when one of the kings doubts their testimony. Zedekiah (Justice of Jehovah) seems to be the leader in leading the opposition to Micaiah. Here Zedekiah carried the right name, but was as wrong as sin. Just because a man calls himself a man of God, preacher, sure does not make him one. How does he line up with God's word? Zedekiah did not.

Micaiah, v. 26, seems to have been in prison for not speaking, preaching, according to the smooth words the king wanted.

Vv. 12-16.

The man who brings Micaiah warns Micaiah to speak what the king wants to hear. Micaiah says he will only speak what the Lord requires of him.

V. 15, Ahab questions him according to what he had already made up his mind to do. Ahab wanted to be deceived. Micaiah gives him the answer he wanted but in such a way as the king knew he was being mocked.

Ahab got the answer he wanted, but still was not happy.

V. 17. Micaiah tells the truth. Ahab did not want to hear the truth, and dismisses the truth as just a personal attack upon him. "Micaiah does not like me, so he is just saying that to spoil my plans." (V. 18.)

V. 19. Micaiah saw the Lord on his throne, and all the host of heaven before him.

V. 20, Who shall persuade Ahab... Without a strong faith in the total sovereignty of God over all creation, this would a hard statement. God had ordained that Ahab fall at Ramothgilead. Now he requires ‘someone' to carry out his plans. Is Ahab an exception, or is the secret counsel of God active in every situation?

God raises up and even sends false prophets, teachers, to tell people what they want to hear.

Vv. 20-23. Did the thrice Holy God put a lying spirit in Ahab's prophets mouth?

Vv. 24, 25, compare with 22:11, 12.

Zedekiah had a reputation to uphold. Here he had exalted himself as the chief of the 400 false prophets, and Micaiah just called him a liar. Of course, this would have to bring a violent reaction if he would keep his office.

Neither king got upset at Zedekiah for striking Micaiah. (See my notes on vv. 9-12.) As Zedekiah strikes Micaiah in the face, he phalanges him or ridicules him as a prophet. Micaiah does not even answer other than "When the time comes, we will know who is right – you or me." Micaiah does not defend himself.

Vv. 26-28.

Ahab sends Micaiah back to prison to be held until Ahab returns in victory. Is Ahab here holding God's prophet hostage with – "OK Lord. You give me the victory in this battle, let me return in peace, and I will turn your prophet lose"?

Vv. 29, 30.

They go to battle. Ahab convinces Jehoshaphat to ware his royal robes into battle, while Ahab disguised himself. Was he hoping for Jehoshaphat's death so Ahab's son-in-law could be king of Judah? Was Ahab here turning over the command of the united army to Jehoshaphat out of fear or precaution over Micaiah's prophecy? Was Ahab hiding from God behind Jehoshaphat? Or maybe taking precautions in case his hostage plan did not work?

Was Ahab depending on Jehoshaphat's relationship with the Lord to spare him? It almost worked if he was, because the Syrians went after the one in the royal robes, and could not find Ahab. Why did Ahab take all of the precautions if he did not believe Micaiah?

V. 31. The king of Syria is after only one person, Ahab. Why such a hatred for Ahab?

1. Because of the humiliating defeat he had suffered at Ahab's hands.
2. God commanded the king of Syria to kill Ahab. If God sent the deceiving spirit ot convince Ahab, then he do doubt sent the spirit to urge Syria to war also. V. 20.

Vv. 32, 33. Ahab's plan almost worked. Syria pursued the royal robe instead of Ahab. Jehoshaphat cries out. Did he cry out to the Lord, or did he cry out of fear? All we know here is that he cried out, and was spared. From what we saw in v. 20, God is the one who directed the battle, as a man with a chess board. God spared Jehoshaphat in his mercy. Jehoshaphat was differently in a presumptuous sin here. (2 Chronicles 18:31.)

V. 34. Drew a bow at a venture, and smote Ahab. Ahab used every human means to avoid this event, but he could not. God's purpose will be accomplished even at a venture. The bow to the man was at a venture, but God held the man's hands.

Vv. 35, 36.

Ahab was sorely wounded, but could not leave the battle; it was too hot and heavy. Jehoshaphat had had enough, and after v. 33, he got out of the battle. V. 36, the word went out to Israel's army to go home.

Did the king have to stay in the battle even though wounded because Jehoshapht left?

Vv. 37-40. It came to pass just as God said it would. We can try as hard as we might, but God's word is true. (21:19.)

V. 41ff. God records the good reign of Jehoshaphat. Over in 2 Chronicles 20:35-37, we have the record of Jehoshaphat joining with Ahab's son, Ahaziah, in building ships to bring back gold.

V. 44, Jehoshaphat made peace with the king of Israel for a profit.

1. An alliance with ungodly Ahab for mutual protection against Syria.
2. An alliance with ungodly Ahaziah, Ahab's son, for mutual profit, gold.

2 Chronicles 18:1-19:2, wrath from before the Lord. The lying spirit came to Ahab from before the Lord. Could this be a spirit of wrath from before the Lord against Jehoshaphat.

2 Chronicles 20:35, the Lord hath broken thy works. Christians by the score join with the ungodly for mutual protection and profit, and wonder why things do not go as they wanted them to go. Many professing Christians are not saved, though the claim to be.

Observe: The inner-marriage. Ahab's son reigned after Ahab. Jehoshaphat's son reigned after him, making the two kings, Israel and Judah, brothers-in-law, and later when Alhaliah took over the throne of Judah, you have brother and sister reigning. Brother in Israel, and sister in Judah, both the children of Ahab and Jezeble.

V. 43, the high places were a continual problem for Judah. They were unauthorized places of sacrifices, yet the sacrifices were supposed to be to the Lord God.

V. 49, evidently Jehoshaphat learned his lesson, and refused to join again with the king of Israel, no matter what the reward might be.

V. 50, Trapp gives a good comment on this verse, showing us the dangers of close alliances with the wrong people:

And Jehoram his son.] His most wicked son, for so he proved, {#2Ch 21:6, &c.} being the worse doubtless for his wife Athaliah, the daughter of Ahab; between whom and good Jehoshaphat there was so great a league, that they gave the same names to each other's children: Jehoshaphat called his son Jehoram—marrying him to Ahab's daughter; and Jehoram called his son Ahaziah; and Ahab called his sons Ahaziah and Jehoram. Jehoshaphat also, by Ahab's example, made his son Jehoram Prorex: whence Jehoram the son of Ahab is said {#2Ki 1:17} to have begun to reign in the second year of Jehoram son of Jehoshaphat king of Judah.

Lessons to learn:

First, it does not matter if the whole world lines up on one side and says, Do it! If the word of God says NO, then NO it must be. These 400 were not prophets of Baal, nor prophets of the groves. Rather, they were ‘Fundamental' prophets who just did not happen to see the need to go to Jerusalem to worship the Lord.

The majority has never been on God's side. God has always been the minority. "Every one else is doing it this way" is no reason for anything. What does Micaiah, the word of the Lord say?

Second, how many people, even good people, hunt around for churches and preachers who will tell falsehoods, lies, in convincing ways. Ahab here wanted God's man to tell the lie with as much force as the truth. The 400 false preachers were very sincere and convincing.

Even when they get the truth, like Ahab, they act as though the truth were a lie, and proceed to do what their mind was made up to do in the first place.


I knew a young lady who fit Ahab's description. She knew where I stood, and for what I stood. She knew how I felt about certain matters, But rather than believe her pastor and prosper, she went looking for a pastor who she could feel as ease under, and still do what she wanted to do.

She is responsible for her own actions, but the fault was with her parents. They never really took a stand with her. In fact, her parents had said, "We don't see things the way you preach", but they stayed anyway in the church. What kind of price will the young lady pay or is paying?

Micaiah's mockery was so open that Ahab says, "Tell me the truth", even though he did not want the truth. He was going to war anyway. And we know Christians just like Ahab. They say with their mouths, "I want the truth", but they only want it if the "truth" will permit them to continue on the way they want to go. They know the false prophets are wrong, but they like being told, "Go thou and prosper."

Third, very seldom are we allowed a view into the throne room of the secret counsels of God. I can think of only two: Job chapters 1-3, and here, 1 Kings 22. There are other instances where we see the spiritual movements of God, e.g., Isaiah 6, but Job and Kings are the only two where we are shown the secret counsel of God at work. Seeing these two instances makes me glad we are not shown more. These two raise more questions than answers, for both show that God is in control of even the evil that comes to pass upon this earth.

Micaiah saw the Lord sitting on his throne, as Isaiah saw the Lord sitting on his throne. When we see the Lord God Almighty sitting on his throne, the prison house of the ungodly earthly king won't look bad at all. The main problem is that most preachers have not seen the Lord at all, particularly on his throne. Or they have seen him only on the cross or in a baby crib. As we saw above, seeing the holiness of God will cause us to stand for him even when confronting Ahab.

Forth, there are several ways to look at the lying spirit from God:

1. Remember Job. At God's prompting, Satan asked permission to destroy Job. It was granted, except his life.

2. Ezekiel 14:

4 Therefore speak unto them, and say unto them, Thus saith the Lord GOD; Every man of the house of Israel that setteth up his idols in his heart, and putteth the stumblingblock of his iniquity before his face, and cometh to the prophet; I the LORD will answer him that cometh according to the multitude of his idols; 5 That I may take the house of Israel in their own heart, because they are all estranged from me through their idols. 6 Therefore say unto the house of Israel, Thus saith the Lord GOD; Repent, and turn yourselves from your idols; and turn away your faces from all your abominations.

The Lord answers his people according to what is in their hearts. In other words, he gives them what they want, so that he may justly judge them according to their sin.

Ahab was determined to go to war, and God provided the false prophets to assure him of victory, so he would go.

Ahab chose lies over truth, so much so that he threw Micaiah in prison for telling the truth. Ahab was determined to follow what he wanted to do, so God sent prophets to say what he wanted to hear.

3. God is God. All we have here is simply a record of what happened before his throne. We can neither explain nor understand God. God does not ask us to approve his actions. He does as he wills throughout history, and no one can say, What doest thou?

If this passage seems to us inconsistent with his Holy character, it is only because:
a. we cannot understand it properly.
b. we do not have all the facts.

Obviously, chapter 22 is an accurate account of what took place, as far as God wanted us to know. Any inconsistence on our part is due to a lack of understanding on our part. Or a lack of all the facts. Again, God has given us enough to show us that we will hear what we want to hear, and that we will reap what we sow.

Ahab lied about Naboth for personal gain. (21:10, 19.)
Ahab is now destroyed by lies.
Ahab put the reaping in motion, and now he gets a full crop as God permits the results to come to pass.
Ahab used lies to kill a man, and now lies are used to kill him.
No one can accuse God of being unjust because he allows Ahab to reap what he has sown. Ahab is the one who used lies for his personal gain. Thus, any fault at any door must be at Ahab's, not God's.

21:20-22, Ahab had been warned by God.
21:29, the warning ‘took hold'.
22:1-4, Ahab forgot the warning.
22:20-23, God permits him to pursue his own way, and now reap the crop he planted.

4) Trying to make a deal with God is very common with man: See Psalms 66:13-20 – David said, I will pay thee my vows, Which my lips have uttered, and my mouth hath spoken, when I was in trouble. If a man after God's own heart would try to make a deal with the Lord, how much more wicked Ahab?

A common practice among worshipers of false gods was, "If you don't protect me, I will destroy you." The original insurance deals were carried out at the pagan temples. They went to the temple of whatever god covered that area of concern, e.g., shipping. They offered an offering to this god seeking his or her protection for the voyage. If the god failed them, the next time, they would seek the protection from another until they found one that would be the best protector.

If they returned prosperous, they would bring back some of the profits from the venture to the god – male or female slaves as prostitutes from battle or money from the trading venture. If they failed in the venture, they might even come back and wreck the temple of that god.

I am sure this manner of worship was part of Ahab's thinking, as he tries to hold Micaiah hostage with the Lord.

How often do Christians do the same thing. They try to play "let's make a deal" with the Lord God almighty. We too often serve the god of Ahab and Jezebel, rather than the Lord God of Micaiah.

I'll serve you Lord. I'll let you be my God if you will work this out the way I think it should be – even if it is contrary to your word. And if it does not work out Lord, I will hold you and your man responsible.

Notice that Micaiah clearly told Ahab it would not work, but Ahab is still going to hold Micaiah responsible.

We warn our people that what they are trying will not work, but they do it anyway contrary to God's word. Then when it does not work out, they try to blame God for not letting it work out. Are they not trying to convince the Lord to be on their side, even though they are contrary to his word?

The worse thing, though, is Jehoshaphat: he would not believe Ahab's false prophets, so he requested the truth, Macaiah. Micaiah told the truth, which did not have any effect on Jehoshaphat – he went anyway. Why? His son married Ahab's daughter. Ungodly alliance will get us into trouble every time.

God is not going to be held hostage. The Lord God Almighty will answer to no man, especially to wicked Ahab. Many times in his mercy, though, he will answer pleas of Psalms 66:13-26.

Micaiah says, "Ahab, if you will return with any kind of victory at all, then you will know who is the false prophet: Zedekiah or myself. Then I will deserve the prison."

Fifth, God's laws work just as he sais they will, no matter how many precautions we may take. A man or nation will not avoid God's promised results.