But even though Jehoshaphat was very rich and much honored, he made a marriage alliance with Ahab of Israel.
Some time later he paid a visit to Ahab at Samaria. Ahab celebrated his visit with a feast - a huge barbecue with all the lamb and beef you could eat. But Ahab had a hidden agenda; he wanted Jehoshaphat's support in attacking Ramoth Gilead.
Then Ahab brought it into the open: "Will you join me in attacking Ramoth Gilead?" Jehoshaphat said, "You bet. I'm with you all the way; you can count on me and my troops."
Then Jehoshaphat said, "But before you do anything, ask God for guidance."
The king of Israel got the prophets together - all 400 of them - and put the question to them: "Should I attack Ramoth Gilead or should I hold back?" "Go for it," they said. "God will hand it over to the king."
But Jehoshaphat dragged his feet, "Is there another prophet of God around here we can consult? Let's get a second opinion."
The king of Israel told Jehoshaphat, "As a matter of fact, there is another. But I hate him. He never preaches anything good to me, only doom, doom, doom - Micaiah son of Imlah." "The king shouldn't talk about a prophet like that!" said Jehoshaphat.
So the king of Israel ordered one of his men, "Quickly, get Micaiah son of Imlah."
Meanwhile, the king of Israel and Jehoshaphat were seated on their thrones, dressed in their royal robes, resplendent in front of the Samaria city gates. All the prophets were staging a prophecy-performance for their benefit.
Zedekiah son of Kenaanah had even made a set of iron horns, and brandishing them, called out, "God's word! With these horns you'll gore Aram until there's nothing left of them!"
All the prophets chimed in, "Yes! Go for Ramoth Gilead! An easy victory! God's gift to the king!"
The messenger who went to get Micaiah told him, "The prophets have all said Yes to the king. Make it unanimous - vote Yes!"
But Micaiah said, "As sure as God lives, what God says, I'll say."
With Micaiah before him, the king asked him, "So, Micaiah - do we attack Ramoth Gilead? Or do we hold back?" "Go ahead," he said, "an easy victory! God's gift to the king."
"Not so fast," said the king. "How many times have I made you promise under oath to tell me the truth and nothing but the truth?"
"All right," said Micaiah, "since you insist . . . I saw all of Israel scattered over the hills, sheep with no shepherd. Then God spoke, 'These poor people have no one to tell them what to do. Let them go home and do the best they can for themselves.'"
The king of Israel turned to Jehoshaphat, "See! What did I tell you? He never has a good word for me from God, only doom."
Micaiah kept on, "I'm not done yet; listen to God's word: I saw God enthroned, and all the Angel Armies of heaven standing at attention, ranged on his right and his left.
And God said, "How can we seduce Ahab into attacking Ramoth Gilead?" Some said this, and some said that.
Then a bold angel stepped out, stood before God, and said, "I'll seduce him." "And how will you do it?" said God.
"Easy," said the angel, "I'll get all the prophets to lie." "That should do it," said God; "On your way - seduce him!"
"And that's what has happened. God filled the mouths of your puppet prophets with seductive lies. God has pronounced your doom."
Just then Zedekiah son of Kenaanah came up and slapped Micaiah in the face, saying, "Since when did the Spirit of God leave me and take up with you?"
Micaiah said, "You'll know soon enough; you'll know it when you're frantically and futilely looking for a place to hide."
The king of Israel had heard enough: "Get Micaiah out of here! Turn him over to Amon the city magistrate and to Joash the king's son
with this message: 'King's orders! Lock him up in jail; keep him on bread and water until I'm back in one piece.'"
Micaiah said, If you ever get back in one piece, I'm no prophet of God. He added, When it happens, O people, remember where you heard it!
So the king of Israel and Jehoshaphat king of Judah went ahead and attacked Ramoth Gilead.
The king of Israel said to Jehoshaphat, "Wear my kingly robe; I'm going into battle disguised." So the king of Israel entered the battle in disguise.
Meanwhile, the king of Aram had ordered his chariot commanders (there were thirty-two of them), "Don't bother with anyone whether small or great; go after the king of Israel and him only."
When the chariot commanders saw Jehoshaphat, they said, "There he is! The king of Israel!" and took after him. Jehoshaphat yelled out,
and the chariot commanders realized they had the wrong man - it wasn't the king of Israel after all. God intervened and they let him go.
Just then someone, without aiming, shot an arrow into the crowd and hit the king of Israel in the chink of his armor. The king told his charioteer, "Turn back! Get me out of here - I'm wounded."
All day the fighting continued, hot and heavy. Propped up in his chariot, the king watched from the sidelines. He died that evening.
Published by permission. Originally published by NavPress in English as THE MESSAGE: The Bible in Contemporary Language copyright 2002 by Eugene Peterson. All rights reserved. (The Message Bible Online)