Lord, I praise You and thank You that Your mercies are new every morning.
Read 1 Kings 22:1–5,29–53
Jehoshaphat and Ahab
22 For three years there was no war between Aram and Israel. 2 Then during the third year, King Jehoshaphat of Judah went to visit King Ahab of Israel. 3 During the visit, the king of Israel said to his officials, “Do you realize that the town of Ramoth-gilead belongs to us? And yet we’ve done nothing to recapture it from the king of Aram!”
4 Then he turned to Jehoshaphat and asked, “Will you join me in battle to recover Ramoth-gilead?”
Jehoshaphat replied to the king of Israel, “Why, of course! You and I are as one. My troops are your troops, and my horses are your horses.” 5 Then Jehoshaphat added, “But first let’s find out what the Lord says.”
1 Kings 22:29-53 New Living Translation (NLT)
The Death of Ahab
29 So King Ahab of Israel and King Jehoshaphat of Judah led their armies against Ramoth-gilead. 30 The king of Israel 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 the king of Israel disguised himself, and they went into battle.
31 Meanwhile, the king of Aram had issued these orders to his thirty-two chariot commanders: “Attack only the king of Israel. Don’t bother with anyone else!” 32 So when the Aramean chariot commanders saw Jehoshaphat in his royal robes, they went after him. “There is the king of Israel!” they shouted. But when Jehoshaphat called out, 33 the chariot commanders realized he was not the king of Israel, and they stopped chasing him.
34 An Aramean soldier, however, randomly shot an arrow at the Israelite troops and hit the king of Israel between the joints of his armor. “Turn the horses[a] and get me out of here!” Ahab groaned to the driver of his chariot. “I’m badly wounded!”
35 The battle raged all that day, and the king remained propped up in his chariot facing the Arameans. The blood from his wound ran down to the floor of his chariot, and as evening arrived he died. 36 Just as the sun was setting, the cry ran through his troops: “We’re done for! Run for your lives!”
37 So the king died, and his body was taken to Samaria and buried there. 38 Then his chariot was washed beside the pool of Samaria, and dogs came and licked his blood at the place where the prostitutes bathed,[b] just as the Lord had promised.
39 The rest of the events in Ahab’s reign and everything he did, including the story of the ivory palace and the towns he built, are recorded in The Book of the History of the Kings of Israel. 40 So Ahab died, and his son Ahaziah became the next king.
Jehoshaphat Rules in Judah
41 Jehoshaphat son of Asa began to rule over Judah in the fourth year of King Ahab’s reign in Israel. 42 Jehoshaphat was thirty-five years old when he became king, and he reigned in Jerusalem twenty-five years. His mother was Azubah, the daughter of Shilhi.
43 Jehoshaphat was a good king, following the example of his father, Asa. He did what was pleasing in the Lord’s sight. [c]During his reign, however, he failed to remove all the pagan shrines, and the people still offered sacrifices and burned incense there. 44 Jehoshaphat also made peace with the king of Israel.
45 The rest of the events in Jehoshaphat’s reign, the extent of his power, and the wars he waged are recorded in The Book of the History of the Kings of Judah. 46 He banished from the land the rest of the male and female shrine prostitutes, who still continued their practices from the days of his father, Asa.
47 (There was no king in Edom at that time, only a deputy.)
48 Jehoshaphat also built a fleet of trading ships[d] to sail to Ophir for gold. But the ships never set sail, for they met with disaster in their home port of Ezion-geber. 49 At one time Ahaziah son of Ahab had proposed to Jehoshaphat, “Let my men sail with your men in the ships.” But Jehoshaphat refused the request.
50 When Jehoshaphat died, he was buried with his ancestors in the City of David. Then his son Jehoram became the next king.
Ahaziah Rules in Israel
51 Ahaziah son of Ahab began to rule over Israel in the seventeenth year of King Jehoshaphat’s reign in Judah. He reigned in Samaria two years. 52 But he did what was evil in the Lord’s sight, following the example of his father and mother and the example of Jeroboam son of Nebat, who had led Israel to sin. 53 He served Baal and worshiped him, provoking the anger of the Lord, the God of Israel, just as his father had done.
a 22:34 Hebrew Turn your hand.
b 22:38 Or his blood, and the prostitutes bathed [in it]; or his blood, and they washed his armor.
c 22:43 Verses 22:43b-53 are numbered 22:44-54 in Hebrew text.
d 22:48 Hebrew fleet of ships of Tarshish.
New Living Translation (NLT)
Holy Bible, New Living Translation, copyright © 1996, 2004, 2015 by Tyndale House Foundation. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved.
ReflectWe’re familiar with Ahab by now. What else do we learn about him and about God today?
Here we find the two neighbor kings, each with different spiritual values, facing a common enemy. Ahab of Israel needed King Jehoshaphat of Judah to help block Aram’s military ambitions. Jehoshaphat agreed to join him, but notice how they differed. Jehoshaphat, unlike Ahab, looked to the Lord for guidance.
And how did the battle unfold? We read that the king of Aram planned to kill Ahab as his main opponent. Ahab anticipated this and wore inconspicuous clothing into the battle. And he left Jehoshaphat, in his kingly wardrobe, exposed as an obvious target. Did his plan work? No. We see that God—to whom Jehoshaphat prayed—still ruled the circumstances. Jehoshaphat survived while a random arrow killed Ahab “as the word of the Lord had declared” (38).
What followed? The trajectories of the two kingdoms continued in separate directions. Ahab’s son, Ahaziah, tried to renew a shared commercial sailing venture “but Jehoshaphat refused.” And when we read of Jehoshaphat’s death the obituary notes that Jerusalem was the “city of David his father” (50)—a small reminder of his godly heritage. Ahaziah, on the other hand, continued in the ungodly footsteps of Ahab.
A repeated Bible lesson is that wise souls seek God while the unfaithful trust their own plans. What is your experience?
Lord, even when I do not fully understand, I will seek to put my trust in You.