1-4: An Alliance
Ahab had been at peace with Syria (1 Kings 20:31-34) and had even joined with Syria in other military ventures (the twelve kings versus the Assyrian Shalmaneser III at the Battle of Qarqar, 853 BC). But eventually Ahab grew weary of the peace and began thinking more of the cities that had been lost to Syria. Thus, Ahab allied himself with Jehoshaphat to attack the Syrians.
5-9 Ahab’s Prophets
Jehoshaphat was a faithful king (1 Kings 22:43 and 46) and wanted to hear from the Lord before beginning this campaign. Ahab gathered his prophets, a host of around 400 men. Apparently, about 400 was the necessary number to be a respectable prophetic host (1 Kings 18:19). Ahab had gathered his prophets together before and it didn’t go well for him. Learning from lessons doesn’t seem to be his strength. But Jehoshaphat wanted to hear from one of the Lord’s prophets.
10-14 On the Threshing Floor
Two scenes unfold at the same time. The first was Zedekiah before Ahab. The threshing floor was a wide open place that was only used for threshing at a certain time of the year, and therefore was available for large gatherings the rest of the year. Essentially, you can think of the threshing floor like we would think of
Zedekiah really prepared for this moment and brought his own prop. Horns signify might and power. They show up in horned crowns in ANE images, see also Deut 33:17 and Jer. 48:25. At the same time, the messenger comes to Micaiah, the prophet of the Lord and gives him a warning. The prophets have all agreed upon the word that would be given and they have spoken with “one mouth.”
15-23 The Real Truth
We learn a whole world about Ahab in verses 15 and 16. Ahab both wanted a lie and didn’t want a lie. He was deceived and knew the truth. And so Micaiah gives him the real truth. Israel will lose their king and they will be “like sheep without a shepherd.”
Micaiah has given a glimpse into the throne-room of God, where the host of heaven is gathered. The host of heaven is the angelic realm of both unfallen and fallen angels. It includes the demonic powers that were worshipped as pagan deities. And though the host includes fallen powers, it is clear from this passage that they are all under the sovereign power of God (Deut. 4:19, 17:3, 2 Kings 17:16, 21:3, Jer. 8:2, 19:13, 33:22).
24-28 Micaiah the Prophet
Micaiah’s words are rejected and he is struck by Zedekiah (cf. John 18:22, Acts 23:2). He is thrown into prison (cf. Jer. 20:2, 32:2, 37:15, Mat. 21:35, 23:29, Acts 7:51-53) This is how prophets are treated.
29-37 The Random Arrow
The king of Syria wanted Ahab dead and ordered his troops to hunt for him. But Ahab disguised himself in the battle and sent Jehoshaphat in his royal robes (v. 30). But Ahab’s disguise was not nearly as effective as the decree of the Lord. The flight of an arrow, shot at random, that hit right between the joint of the armor, strikes Ahab down.
38-40 The End of Ahab
Ahab’s inglorious death fulfilled the prophecies of Elijah and of Micaiah. And Israel was left without a shepherd. Despite the glory of the buildings that Ahab built, his house was left desolate.