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AND there passed three years without war between Syria and Israel.

Ver. 1.  Israel, from the time when Benadad and Achab had made a league.  C. xx. 34.




2 And in the third year, Josaphat king of Juda came down to the king of Israel.

Ver. 2.  Josaphat.  It is wonderful that a prince of so great piety, should be on terms of such strict friendship with a most wicked king.  God did not approve of it; and the event was unfortunate.  2 Par. xx. 37.  Achab received the king of Juda with extraordinary magnificence.  2 Par. xviii. 2.  It is thought that (C.) the latter had married his daughter, (Grot.) or rather (H.) he had taken Athalia for his son Joram.  2 Par. xviii. 1.  T.  M.



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3 (And the king of Israel said to his servants: Know ye not that Ramoth Galaad is ours, and we neglect to take it out of the hand of the king of Syria?)

Ver. 3.  Syria.  Benadad had not restored it; either because he no longer regarded his treaty, or because the city had not been taken by his father.  C.




4 And he said to Josaphat: Wilt thou come with me to battle to Ramoth Galaad?


5 And Josaphat said to the king of Israel: As I am, so art thou: my people and thy people are one: and my horsemen, thy horsemen. And Josaphat said to the king of Israel: Inquire, I beseech thee, this day, the word of the Lord.

Ver. 5.  One, in concord, (H.) and ready to march against the same enemy.

 

--- Lord.  This was rather late, if (M.) the army was already receiving its pay under the walls of Samaria.  Joseph. viii. 15.

 

--- God ought to have been consulted at first.  M.


6 Then the king of Israel assembled the prophets, about four hundred men, and he said to them: Shall I go to Ramoth Galaad to fight, or shall I forbear? They answered: Go up, and the Lord will deliver it into the hand of the king.

Ver. 6.  Men, probably the prophets of the groves, who had not gone to Carmel.  C. xviii. 19. 22.  C.

 

--- The recent slaughter had not deterred others from imitating the example of the false prophets.  H.




7 And Josaphat said: Is there not here some prophet of the Lord, that we may inquire by him?

Ver. 7.  Lord.  Josaphat knew that these four hundred were addicted to idol worship, (H.) and suspected that they only flattered their king.  Josephus.


8 And the king of Israel said to Josaphat: There is one man left, by whom we may inquire of the Lord: Micheas the son of Jemla; but I hate him, for he doth not prophesy good to me, but evil. And Josaphat said: Speak not so, O king.

Ver. 8.  One man.  Perhaps Micheas alone resided at Samaria.  Elias and his disciples were in the country.  Josephus and some others think, (C.) that the son of Jemla had been cast into prison for what he had said to Achab, when he had dismissed the king of Syria.  C. xx. 43.  H.

 

--- Not so.  Good advice should be followed, though it be not pleasant.  M.

 

--- Josaphat justly suspected the schismatical false prophets.  W.


9 Then the king of Israel called an eunuch, and said to him: Make haste, and bring hither Micheas the son of Jemla.

Ver. 9.  Eunuch.  Heb. saris, denotes also "a servant;" or Achab might have purchased this stranger.


10 Then the king of Israel, and Josaphat king of Juda, sat each on his throne clothed with royal robes, in a court by the entrance of the gate of Samaria, and all the prophets prophesied before them.

Ver. 10.  Court, or barn floor.  They were in or near cities, that they might be so protected from the incursions of enemies, who strove to set the corn on fire.  1 K. xxiii. 1.  Judg. xv. 5.




11 And Sedecias the son of Chanaana made himself horns of iron, and said: Thus saith the Lord: With these shalt thou push Syria, till thou destroy it.

Ver. 11.  Push, "with the horn," ( keratiseiV; Sept.) and throw into the air, (M.) like a bull.  C.

 

--- Nothing shall withstand thy power.  The actions of Sedecias were of the same import as his words.  H.

 

--- See Jer. xxvii. 2. and xxviii. 10.

 

--- Such horns were shewn to Zacharias; (i. 18.) as false prophets often do, like the true ones.  W.




12 And all the prophets prophesied in like manner, saying: Go up to Ramoth Galaad, and prosper, for the Lord will deliver it into the king's hands.


13 And the messenger, that went to call Micheas, spoke to him, saying: Behold the words of the prophets with one month declare good things to the king: let thy word therefore be like to theirs, and speak that which is good. 14 But Micheas said to him: As the Lord liveth, whatsoever the Lord shall say to me, that will I speak. 15 So he came to the king, and the king said to him: Micheas, shall we go to Ramoth Galaad to battle, or shall we forbear? He answered him: Go up, and prosper, and the Lord shall deliver it into the king's hands.

Ver. 15.  Go up, &c.  This was spoken ironically, and by way of jesting at the flattering speeches of the false prophets: and so the king understood it, as appears by his adjuring Micheas, in the following verse, to tell him the truth in the name of the Lord.  Ch.

 

--- Micheas had only repeated their words, and by his accent and gestures (D.) might easily explain his meaning.  H.

 

--- Similar examples of irony may be seen.  C. xviii. 27, and Gen. iii. 22.  C.

 

--- The prophet might also pray for success.  But the king begged for a positive answer.  W.




16 But the king said to him: I adjure thee again and again, that thou tell me nothing but that which is true in the name of the Lord. 17 And he said: I saw all Israel scattered upon the hills, like sheep that have no shepherd: and the Lord said: These have no master: let every man of them return to his house in peace.

Ver. 17.  No shepherd....no master, clearly intimated (M.) that the  king should perish in the battle.  Paral. reads: These have no masters.  H.



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18 (Then the king of Israel said to Josaphat: Did I not tell thee, that he prophesieth no good to me, but always evil?) 19 And he added and said: Hear thou therefore the word of the Lord: I saw the Lord sitting on his throne, and all the army of heaven standing by him on the right hand and on the left:

Ver. 19.  He, Micheas, added, (M.) not fearing the king's displeasure, who seemed to regard his former denunciation as an effect of his ill-will.  Hence he explains his vision more at large.  God often conforms to our ideas, and even prejudices.  The people were then accustomed to look upon him as a king, environed with his army of good and evil spirits; the one at his right-hand, to execute his designs of mercy, and the other at his left, to execute his judgments.  Job (i. 6, 12.) speaks in the like manner.  We know that God stands in need of no counsellors; (Rom. xi. 34.) and that the angels of satan have no place in heaven.  Isai. xiv. 12.  Apoc. xii. 9.  Jude 6.



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20 And the Lord said: Who shall deceive Achab king of Israel, that he may go up, and fall at Ramoth Galaad? And one spoke words of this manner, and another otherwise.

Ver. 20.  The Lord said, &c.  God standeth not in need of any counsellor; nor are we suppose, that things pass in heaven in the manner here described: but this representation was made to the prophet, to be delivered by min in a manner adopted to the common ways and notions of men.  Ch.  S. Greg. Mor. ii. 21. &c.  W.

 

--- God did not enable the king to discern the falsehood.  Bellarm. ii. 13. Grat. Amis.




21 And there came forth a spirit, and stood before the Lord, and said: I will deceive him. And the Lord said to him: By what means? 22 And he said: I will go forth, and be a lying spirit in the mouth of all his prophets. And the Lord said: Thou shalt deceive him, and shalt prevail: a go forth, and do so.

Ver. 22.  Go forth, and do so.  This was not a command, but a permission; for God never ordaineth lies, though he often permitteth the lying spirit to deceive those who love not the truth.  2 Thessal. ii. 10.  And in this sense it is said in the following verse, the Lord hath given a lying spirit in the mouth of all thy prophets.  Ch.

 

--- What is translated in the imperative, denotes frequently what will come to pass, though it be displeasing to God.  C.

 

--- He permits it, therefore, only by not exerting his power to prevent the execution.  H.

 

--- The devils can do nothing without such a permission.  Achab deserved to be deceived by the false prophets, as he would not hearken to a true one.  S. Aug. con. Jul. v. 4. and q. 53. inter. 83.



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23 Now therefore behold the Lord hath given a lying spirit in the mouth of all thy prophets that are here, and the Lord hath spoken evil against thee. 24 And Sedecias the son of Chanaana came, and struck Micheas on the cheek, and said: Hath then the spirit of the Lord left me, and spoken to thee?

Ver. 24.  Cheek.  Josephus says he had told the king, that if his hand did not wither, like that of Jeroboam, he might conclude that Micheas was a false prophet; particularly as his prediction was at variance with that of Elias; who had asserted that Achab should die at Jezrahel, while Micheas seemed to condemn him to death at Ramoth.  But these circumstances are by no means certain, though they be adopted by the author of the Scholastic History, by Lyran, &c.  C.

 

--- If Sedecias had the assurance to make such a declaration, God was not obliged to work a miracle to prevent the king's mistake; and Micheas had never said that Achab should die at Ramoth.  H.

 

--- Hath.  In 2 Par. xviii. 23, it is expressed, Which way went the spirit of the Lord from me to speak to thee?  If he could have proved that he had ever possessed the spirit, he might have spoken with some confidence; though sin may easily banish him.  Thus Catholics may ask the pretended reformers, who boast of the spirit, how He came to abandon the Church with which all agree He once resided, to establish a contrary one?  The spirit of God cannot be at variance with himself, nor reveal contradictory things.  H.


25 And Micheas said: Thou shalt see in the day when thou shalt go into a chamber within a chamber to hide thyself.

Ver. 25.  Go into a chamber, &c.  This happened when he heard the king was slain, and justly apprehended that he should be punished for his false prophecy; (Ch.) though this be nowhere recorded, (C.) except in Josephus.  W.

 

--- He probably escaped death.  Salien.


26 And the king of Israel said: Take Micheas, and let him abide with Ammon the governor of the city, and with Joas the son of Amalech.


27 And tell them: Thus saith the king: Put this man in prison, and feed him with bread of affliction, and water of distress, till I return in peace.

Ver. 27.  Distress, both "in small quantity," (Paral.) and very bad.  Grot.  T.  Isai. xxx. 20.

 

--- Peace, when I will punish thee, as an impostor.  M.

 

--- How grating must this have been to the good king Josaphat; and still he does not abandon the company of such infatuated people!  v. 29.  H.


28 And Micheas said: If thou return in peace, the Lord hath not spoken by me. And he said: Hear, all ye people. 29 So the king of Israel, and Josaphat king of Juda went up to Ramoth Galaad.


30 And the king of Israel said to Josaphat: Take armour, and go into the battle, and put on thy own garments. But the king of Israel changed his dress, and went into the battle.

Ver. 30.  Thy own.  Sept. "I will disguise myself, and go into the battle; and do thou put on my garment."  Hence the Syrians mistook Josaphat for Achab, (v. 32.  C.) as "it had been agreed between them, that he should wear the robes of Achab, to elude more easily the prediction of Micheas."  Joseph. viii. 15.

 

--- Vain and impious attempt!  Providence found him out, though unadorned.  H.

 

--- Achab might pretend thus to honour the king of Juda! (M.) and perhaps he had been apprized of the order given to the Syrians, to single him out, v. 31.  What could prompt such an order, cannot be easily ascertained.  Benadad might with to revenge himself, for being brought out as a prisoner to Achab; or he might be informed of the prediction of Micheas.


31 And the king of Syria had commanded the two and thirty captains of the chariots, saying: You shall not fight against any, small or great, but against the king of Israel only.

Ver. 31.  Captains of, or mounted "on chariots."  There would hardly be so many general officers over the chariots alone.  The same number of kings had been in a former engagement, and they had been replaced by these captains.  C. xx. 24.  C.

 

--- Only.  Not that the Syrians were to avoid hurting any body else, as they could not thus come at the king; (Salien) and we find one shot an arrow at the army of Israel; (v. 34.  H.) but the main onset was to be directed against Achab, either to kill or to take him prisoner.  M.




32 So when the captains of the chariots saw Josaphat, they suspected that he was the king of Israel, and making a violent assault they fought against him: and Josaphat cried out.

Ver. 32.  Cried out.  Par. add, to the Lord, and he helped him, and turned them away from him.  The Jews (in Seder. Olam xvii.) acknowledge the same thing; and thus it was known that Josaphat was not the king of Israel, who would rather have invoked Baal.  M.

 

--- Perhaps he also declared the truth, and who he was, when he saw the Syrians surround him, crying, This is the king of Israel!  2 Par. xviii. 31.  T.


33 And the captains of the chariots perceived that he was not the king of and they turned away from him. 34 And a certain man bent his bow, shooting at a venture, and chanced to strike the king of Israel between the lungs and the stomach. But he said to the driver of his chariot: Turn thy hand, and carry me out of the army, for I am grievously wounded.

Ver. 34.  Stomach.  Par. between the neck and the shoulders.  The arrow went in at the lungs, and came out at the shoulders, as it was shot from a lower ground.  M.

 

--- Some explain the Heb. "between the joints and the coat of mail."  Prot. "joints of the harness."  Sept. "between the lungs and the thorax."  H.

 

--- Syr. "between the juncture of the coat of mail," where it is connected with the armour of the thighs.  Grot.

 

--- God directed the random shot.  Salien.  W.

 

--- Hand.  It was deemed unbecoming for the king to touch the reins.  Diod. Sic. xvii.  Brisson iii. p. 383.



Ahab Wounded In Battle

Ahab Wounded In Battle

And a certain man bent his bow, shooting at a venture, and chanced to strike the king of Israel between the lungs and the stomach. But he said to the driver of his chariot: Turn thy hand, and carry me out of the army, for I am grievously wounded.

35 And the battle was fought that day, and the king of Israel stood in his chariot against the Syrians, and he died in the evening: and the blood ran out of the wound into the midst of the chariot.

Ver. 35.  Evening.  Achab had only retired to the hinder ranks, while Josaphat, by his valour, maintained the day, till the death of the former put an end to the war.



Death Of Ahab

Death Of Ahab

And the battle was fought that day, and the king of Israel stood in his chariot against the Syrians, and he died in the evening: and the blood ran out of the wound into the midst of the chariot.

36 And the herald proclaimed through all the army before the sun set, saying: Let every man return to his own city, and to his own country.
37 And the king died, and was carried into Samaria: and they buried the king in Samaria.


38 And they washed his chariot in the pool of Samaria, and the dogs licked up his blood, and they washed the reins, according to the word of the Lord which he had spoken.

Ver. 38.  Of Samaria.  Josephus says, of Jezara, (Jezrahel) conformably to the prediction.  But God had relented in that particular, on Achab's repentance; (C.  C. xxi. 24. 29.) unless it regarded his son Joram.  H.  Salien.

 

--- Reins.  Heb. zonoth, may also signify "arms," (Munster) and "harlots."  Sept.  Some suspect that such were painted on the chariot.  Josephus intimates, with the Sept. that "harlots bathed in the blood," (Ant. viii. 15.) which would tend to the greater contempt of Achab.  M.

 

--- Spoken, respecting dogs licking up Achab's blood.  No mention had been made of the chariot.  God was thus pleased to shew how easily he could have executed the sentence in all its rigour.



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39 But the rest of the acts of Achab, and all that he did, and the house of ivory that he made, and all the cities that he built, are they not written in the book of the words of the days of the kings of Israel?

Ver. 39.  Of ivory.  The palace was greatly adorned with it, (see Amos iii. 15. and Ps. xliv. 9.  C.) like the palace of Solomon.  C. x. 18.  Pliny (xvi. 43.) speaks of bedsteads and vehicles of ivory, in the same sense.  T.


40 So Achab slept with his fathers, and Ochozias his son reigned in his stead. 41 But Josaphat the son of Asa began to reign over Juda in the fourth year of Achab king of Israel.

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42 He was five and thirty years old when he began to reign, and he reigned five and twenty years in Jerusalem: the name of his mother was Azuba the daughter of Salai.


43 And he walked in all the way of Asa his father, and he declined not from it: and he did that which was right in the sight of the Lord. 44 Nevertheless he took not away the high places: for as Set the people offered sacrifices and burnt incense in the high places.

Ver. 44.  He took not away, &c.  He left some of the high places, viz. those in which they worshipped the true God: but took away all others, 2 Par. xvii. 6; (Ch.) and even those also, before the end of his reign; (C.) as they were contrary to the law.  M.

 

--- Others think that the passage in Par. is incorrect; ula being substituted for vaud.  He took away the high places, (C. xix. 3.) and the groves.  Grot.  Capell.

 

--- We know that such remained in the days of Joas; and Josaphat in not ranked among the irreproachable kings.  Eccli. xlix. 5.  C.

 

--- He attempted perhaps to remove those places, but was prevented by the people.  M.  See C. xv. 14.


45 And Josaphat had peace with the king of Israel.

Ver. 45.  Israel.  The five subsequent verses are omitted in the Roman Sept.


46 But the rest of the acts of Josaphat, and his works which he did, and his batties, are they not written in the book of the words of the days of the kings of Juda?


47 And the remnant also of the effeminate, who remained in the days of Asa his father, he took out of the land.

Ver. 47.  Effeminate.  Men addicted to unnatural lust.  C. xiv. 24. and xv. 12.


48 And there was then no king appointed in Edom.

Ver. 48.  Edom.  Heb. and Chal. "but a deputy king," or viceroy; (T.) so that the kings of Juda might equip fleets at Asiongaber, as the country of Idumea was subject to them ever since the time of David.  2 Par. viii. 17.  Under Ochozias, the son of Josaphat, the kings of Edom became independent, 4 K. viii. 20.  C.

 

--- Hitherto they had paid tribute.  M.




49 But king Josaphat made navies on the sea, to sail into Ophir for gold: but they could not go, for the ships were broken in Asiongaber.

Ver. 49.  Made.  Heb. incorrectly reads hasar, "ten," instead of hasa, "made;" (C.) which the Prot. follow, "made ships of Tharshish, to go to Ophir."  H.  See C. iv. 26. and 28.



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Asiongaber

Asiongaber. Some place this station on the Mediterranean, where Strabo fixes the city of Gassion Gaber, the Beto Gabria of Ptolemy. But the Scripture informs us it lay on the Red Sea. 3 K. ix. 16. Cellarius thinks most probably upon the Elanitic gulf, to the east of that of Suez, or Heroopolis, where Josephus maintains Asiongaber or I101Bernice stood. The Hebrews came to this station from that of Elat. Deut. ii. 8. C. --- Asiongaber, which was called Bernice, (Joseph. viii. 2.) and now Suez. T. --- Asion-gaber was on the Red Sea; and ships would not have been built there, to trade on the Mediterranean. C. ix. 21. T.

50 Then Ochozias the son of Achab said to Josaphat: Let my servants go with thy servants in the ships. And Josaphat would not.

Ver. 50.  Would not.  He had been reprehended before for admitting such a partner: and therefore would have no more to do with him.  Ch.

 

--- They had formerly joined in equipping such a fleet, (2 Par. xx. 36. and 37.  C.) and it had been dashed to pieces in the very port.  H.


51 And Josaphat slept with his fathers. and was buried with them in the city of David his father: and Joram his son reigned in his stead.

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52 And Ochozias the son of Achab began to reign over Israel in Samaria, in the seventeenth gear of Josaphat king of Juda, and he reigned over Israel two years,

Ver. 52.  Years, not complete; as the first is comprized in the reign of Achab, and the last in that of Joram.  4 K. iii. 1.  Usher, A. 3108.

 

--- Yet, his very short reign was memorable for many disasters; the revolt of the dependant king of Moad, the ruin of his navy, &c. that he might thus be reclaimed from his evil ways.  Salien, A.C. 915.

 

--- Houbigant allows this king two full years; and rejects the notion of his being associated by his father, as he does on other similar occasion, where the Scripture is silent.  He makes Ochozias commence in the 19th, and end in the 22d of Josaphat, and not in the second of Joram.  4 K. i. 17.  The Heb. and Greek copies vary.  H.




53 And he did evil in the sight of the Lord, and walked in the way of his father and his mother, and in the way of Jeroboam the son of Nabat, who made Israel to sin. 54 He served also Baal, and worshipped him, and provoked the Lord the God of Israel, according to all that his father had done.

Baal

Baal (1Chron 4:33), probably identical with Baalath Beer Ramath (Josh 19:8; Simeon), poss. Biâr Mãyîn, or Tell el-Lekiyeh, N. of Bersabee. Baal, or Ballath. Jos. xix. 1.

Mt Mk Lk Jn Acts Rom 1 Cor 2 Cor Gal Eph Phil Col 1 Thess 2 Thess 1 Tim 2 Tim Tit Philem Heb Jas 1 Pet 2 Pet 1 Jn 2 Jn 3 Jn Jude Rev

 

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