Useful Bible Studies > 1 Kings Commentary > chapter 22

Jehoshaphat asks Ahab for a prophet of the true God

1 Kings 22:7

Ahab had gathered 400 of his prophets to convince Jehoshaphat that he should join the battle for Ramoth-Gilead. These were men who claimed to speak messages from God, or from the spirit world.

These prophets already knew the question that Ahab would ask them (verse 6). Perhaps many of them, like Zedekiah, had prepared carefully for this occasion (verse 11). When Ahab called them, probably there was a ceremony with special prayers. Then they spoke their messages from the spirit world, as verses 10-12 describe. They all agreed that the kings should lead their armies in battle. God would give them success, the prophets said.

Jehoshaphat listened to all of this, but he was uncomfortable. These prophets were impressive and they declared their messages boldly. They seemed to speak as a true prophet would. They insisted that their messages came from the true God (verse 12). However, Jehoshaphat was aware of important differences between the religion in Judah, and the religions in northern and central Israel.

In Judah, Jehoshaphat served only the true God as God’s law directed. There, he had opposed false religions firmly (2 Chronicles 17:3-6). In northern and central Israel, people had been serving false gods (16:32-33). Even the prophets of Jeroboam’s religion, who claimed to speak for the true God, did not obey his laws about religion (2 Chronicles 13:8-11).

So, Jehoshaphat asked Ahab to call a prophet who truly served the real God. Jehoshaphat said that he did not need so many prophets. A single prophet who genuinely served the true God, would convince him.

Next part: Ahab calls Micaiah the prophet (1 Kings 22:8-9)


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