1 Kings 22:7-8
“But Jehoshaphat said, “Is there not here another prophet of the LORD of whom we may inquire? And the king of Israel said to Jehoshaphat, “There is yet one man by whom we may inquire of the LORD, Micaiah the son of Imlah, but I hate him, for he never prophesies good concerning me, but evil.” And Jehoshaphat said, “Let not the king say so.”
Jehoshaphat, who had been king of Judah for 25 years, was faithful to the Lord. 2 Chronicles records that he sought to remove idol worship from Judah. He respected the prophets of the Lord.
Ahab, on the other hand, did not respect God’s prophets. He hated the messenger because of the message. In reality, his conflict was with God, but he focused his hatred against the prophet Micaiah. Still, Ahab acquiesced when Jehoshaphat advised that Ahab should listen to Micaiah.
This reveals the condition of Ahab’s heart. His humility is all but forgotten, and he has sunk back into the darkness of selfish arrogance. His entire life he had listened to the distorted, self-serving messages of false prophets, and he remains stuck in that pattern to the very end.
“Now the king of Israel and Jehoshaphat the king of Judah were sitting on their thrones, arrayed in their robes, at the threshing floor at the entrance of the gate of Samaria, and all the prophets were prophesying before them. And Zedekiah the son of Chenaanah made for himself horns of iron and said, “Thus says the Lord, ‘With these you shall push the Syrians until they are destroyed.’” And all the prophets prophesied so and said, “Go up to Ramoth-gilead and triumph; the Lord will give it into the hand of the king.” (1 Kings 22.10-12)
The prophets are gathered, and Ahab and Jehoshaphat sit at the entrance of the gate in the city of Samaria (capital of northern Israel) to listen. These unfaithful prophets prophesied in the name of the Lord, but they did not prophesy truthfully.
Some commentators believe these were pagan prophets, perhaps representatives of Asherah or other pagan gods or goddesses. Yet the text says they prophesied “in the name of the Lord.” Most likely they were prophets of God, but were self-serving and unfaithful.
The big lesson is that counterfeit teachers are a problem that has always plagued the people of God. Next week we will see the disastrous impact of these false prophets, which is a dire warning for God’s people in all generations … ours included.
“But false prophets also arose among the people, just as there will be false teachers among you, who will secretly bring in destructive heresies, even denying the Master who bought them, bringing upon themselves swift destruction. And many will follow their sensuality, and because of them the way of truth will be blasphemed. And in their greed they will exploit you with false words.” (2 Peter 2.1-3)