Now Jehoshaphat enjoyed great riches and high esteem, and he arranged for his son to marry the daughter of King Ahab of Israel.
A few years later, he went to Samaria to visit Ahab, who prepared a great banquet for him and his officials. They butchered great numbers of sheep and oxen for the feast. Then Ahab enticed Jehoshaphat to join forces with him to attack Ramoth-gilead.
"Will you join me in fighting against Ramoth-gilead?" Ahab asked.And Jehoshaphat replied, "Why, of course! You and I are brothers, and my troops are yours to command. We will certainly join you in battle."
Then Jehoshaphat added, "But first let's find out what the LORD says."
So King Ahab summoned his prophets, four hundred of them, and asked them, "Should we go to war against Ramoth-gilead or not?" They all replied, "Go ahead, for God will give you a great victory!"
But Jehoshaphat asked, "Isn't there a prophet of the LORD around, too? I would like to ask him the same question."
King Ahab replied, "There is still one prophet of the LORD, but I hate him. He never prophesies anything but bad news for me! His name is Micaiah son of Imlah." "You shouldn't talk like that," Jehoshaphat said. "Let's hear what he has to say."
So the king of Israel called one of his officials and said, "Quick! Go and get Micaiah son of Imlah."
King Ahab of Israel and King Jehoshaphat of Judah, dressed in their royal robes, were sitting on thrones at the threshing floor near the gate of Samaria. All of Ahab's prophets were prophesying there in front of them.
One of them, Zedekiah son of Kenaanah, made some iron horns and proclaimed, "This is what the LORD says: With these horns you will gore the Arameans to death!"
All the other prophets agreed. "Yes," they said, "go up to Ramoth-gilead and be victorious. The LORD will give you a glorious victory!"
Meanwhile, the messenger who went to get Micaiah said to him, "Look, all the prophets are promising victory for the king. Be sure that you agree with them and promise success."
But Micaiah replied, "As surely as the LORD lives, I will say only what my God tells me to say."
When Micaiah arrived before the king, Ahab asked him, "Micaiah, should we go to war against Ramoth-gilead or not?" And Micaiah replied, "Go right ahead! It will be a glorious victory!"
But the king replied sharply, "How many times must I demand that you speak only the truth when you speak for the LORD?"
So Micaiah told him, "In a vision I saw all Israel scattered on the mountains, like sheep without a shepherd. And the LORD said, 'Their master has been killed. Send them home in peace.'"
"Didn't I tell you?" the king of Israel said to Jehoshaphat. "He does it every time. He never prophesies anything but bad news for me."
Then Micaiah continued, "Listen to what the LORD says! I saw the LORD sitting on his throne with all the armies of heaven on his right and on his left.
And the LORD said, 'Who can entice King Ahab of Israel to go into battle against Ramoth-gilead so that he can be killed there?' There were many suggestions,
until finally a spirit approached the LORD and said, 'I can do it!'"' "How will you do this?"' the LORD asked.
"And the spirit replied, 'I will go out and inspire all Ahab's prophets to speak lies.'"' "You will succeed,' said the LORD. 'Go ahead and do it."
"So you see, the LORD has put a lying spirit in the mouths of your prophets. For the LORD has determined disaster for you."
Then Zedekiah son of Kenaanah walked up to Micaiah and slapped him across the face. "When did the Spirit of the LORD leave me to speak to you?" he demanded.
And Micaiah replied, "You will find out soon enough, when you find yourself hiding in some secret room!"
King Ahab of Israel then ordered, "Arrest Micaiah and take him back to Amon, the governor of the city, and to my son Joash.
Give them this order from the king: 'Put this man in prison, and feed him nothing but bread and water until I return safely from the battle!'"
But Micaiah replied, "If you return safely, the LORD has not spoken through me!" Then he added to those standing around, "Take note of what I have said."
So the king of Israel and King Jehoshaphat of Judah led their armies against Ramoth-gilead.
Now King Ahab said to Jehoshaphat, "As we go into battle, I will disguise myself so no one will recognize me, but you wear your royal robes." So Ahab disguised himself, and they went into battle.
Now the king of Aram had issued these orders to his charioteers: "Attack only the king of Israel!"
So when the Aramean charioteers saw Jehoshaphat in his royal robes, they went after him. "There is the king of Israel!" they shouted. But Jehoshaphat cried out to the LORD to save him, and God helped him by turning the attack away from him.
As soon as the charioteers realized he was not the king of Israel, they stopped chasing him.
An Aramean soldier, however, randomly shot an arrow at the Israelite troops, and the arrow hit the king of Israel between the joints of his armor. "Get me out of here!" Ahab groaned to the driver of his chariot. "I have been badly wounded!"
The battle raged all that day, and Ahab propped himself up in his chariot facing the Arameans until evening. Then, just as the sun was setting, he died.