THE 400 PROPHETS OF AHAB AND THE DECEPTION.
DID MICAIAH SON OF IMLAH LIE?
The first thing we must notice is that the prophet named Micaiah is not Micah the Morasthite, who wrote one of the last books of the Old Testament. Instead we are speaking of Micaiah the son of Imlah.
Before we begin to analyze the passage that might lead us to believe
lied, it is good to be familiar
with the 400 prophets of Ahab, king of
There are two reasons that lead me to believe that the 400 were not prophets of Baal. The first reason is because Elijah, not long before, had killed the 450 prophets of Baal. It would have been extremely difficult to gather another 400 in such a small amount of time. The second reason is that even though they were false prophets of Jehovah, they would speak in the name of God, as we can see in 22:11-12 and 24. It is not uncommon to see this today. There are many people who preach in the name of God and Christ, yet do not believe in them. The case of the prophet Hananiah, in the 28th chapter of Jeremiah, is a good example of this.
11 And Zedekiah son of Chenaanah maketh for himself horns of iron, and saith: Thus said Jehovah: By these thou dost push the Aramaeans till they are consumed. 12 And all the prophets are prophesying so, saying: Go up to Ramoth-Gilead, and prosper, and Jehovah hath given it into the hand of the king. (I K 22:11-12)
24 And Zedekiah son of Chenaanah draweth nigh, and smiteth Micaiah on the cheek, and saith: Where is this he hath passed over the Spirit of Jehovah from me to speak with thee? (I K 22:24)
Besides, this passage only
mentions the 400 living prophets,
which would confirm the execution of the 450 prophets of
Baal. In I K
18:19 we see that Elijah mentions
the 400 prophets of the shrine as well as the 450 prophets of
Elijah kills only those who acknowledged
Baal. It could be that the 400
prophets of the shrine were considered ministers of
Jehovah, even though they had
irregular services in the shrines and not in the
send, gather unto me all
40 And Elijah saith to them: Catch ye the prophets of Baal; let not a man escape of them; and they catch them, and Elijah bringeth them down unto the stream Kishon, and doth slaughter them there. (I K 18:40)
In addition to the prior reasoning, we see that Jehoshaphat of Judah asks Ahab of Israel to consult Jehovah (5). Ahab brings him the 400 prophets. It is not logical to think that if they avowedly were prophets of Baal, Ahab would try to pass them to Jehoshaphat as prophets of Jehovah. Therefore we should conclude that these men classified themselves as prophets of Jehovah, even though they were partial or absolute impersonators.
5 And Jehoshaphat
saith unto the king of
When Jehoshaphat of Judah (where they worshipped
God not Baal) asked Ahab to consult
God, he brings him these 400 prophets
(6). But it looks as if
Jehoshaphat wasn't sold on the faith of these 400
Jehovah because he asks
(7) if there was any other prophet of
God. Despite the resistance of
Ahab King of Israel to call on the true prophet of God, in the presence of the insistence of
King Jehoshaphat of
And he saith unto
Dost thou go with me to battle to
Jehoshaphat saith unto
the king of
Because of this, despite resistance from Ahab, the prophet Micaiah enters the scene. As you'll see further ahead, Micaiah in reality was sent by God to explain how there was a spirit of error in the 400 prophets; showing us that God doesn't neglect the truth from anyone looking for it.
And he cometh in unto the
king, and the king
do we go unto
to battle, or do we forbear?
And he saith
unto him: Go up, and prosper, and Jehovah hath given it into the hand of
the king. 16 And the king
How many times am I adjuring thee that thou speak nothing unto me
but truth in the name of Jehovah? 17
I have seen all
Even though Micaiah says something in verse 15 that is not true, it cannot be classified as a lie. It is obviously said in a way that nobody, not even Ahab (16), would believe him. It is possible that the tone of voice, the gestures of his hands or face, etc., indicated that he spoke in an ironic form or jeering fashion. By the context we can tell that Micaiah said this in a way that everyone would understand that it wasn't true.
To believe this, I base myself on Ahab's reaction in verse 16. If Micaiah would have said it in a way that could have been taken seriously, Ahab, who would have benefited from people thinking Micaiah prophesized in his favor, would have kept his mouth shut and wouldn't have scolded, like he did in verse 16. However we can tell by King Ahab's annoyance, that he could not take what Micaiah said as something acceptable. Therefore Micaiah, son of Imlah, did not lie. Instead he said this in an ironic form that was evident to everyone.
If Micaiah would have said this in a credible way (15), Ahab would have kept his mouth shut and let it pass. This would have benefited him and his purpose of motivating his people for war. If we cannot perceive the true meaning of what he said today, it is because we didn't here his tone of voice and didn't see his facial or manual gestures. But we can guide ourselves by the context in which it was used.
In everyday life we frequently speak like Micaiah. Say someone asks, have you seen Johnny? and his interlocutor responds, Yeah, I saw a dog carrying him by the mouth. We can come to the conclusion that this person hasn't seen Johnny. Even though what he said is not true, it also isn't a lie, because it is said in a way that no one would believe.
What occurred with Micaiah is the complete opposite of what occurred with the 400 prophets. Micaiah says something false in a way that no one would believe it is true, but things are cleared up later. The 400 prophets say something false so that everyone would believe it is true, without trying to clear anything up. Now, who fooled the prophets?
In reading 19-23 we see that during this time period rebellious spirits lived in heaven, and would stand in front of the Throne of God the same way that we see it done in Job chapter one. It would stay this way until an attempt on the life of Jesus was made. It was then when they were expulsed from Heaven to Earth.
Anyhow, one of those rebellious angels tried to deceive the 400 prophets of Ahab. God allowed such a thing (22), but didn't allow the deception to remain deceptive. Even in front of King Ahab, who wanted to induce his troops to battle Ramoth-Gilead.
19 And he saith: Therefore, hear a word of Jehovah: I have seen Jehovah sitting on His throne, and all the host of the heavens standing by Him, on His right and on His left; 20 and Jehovah saith: Who doth entice Ahab, and he doth go up and fall in Ramoth-Gilead? And this one saith thus, and that one is saying thus. 21 And the spirit goeth out, and standeth before Jehovah, and saith: I do entice him; and Jehovah saith unto him: By what? 22 And he saith: I go out, and have been a spirit of falsehood in the mouth of all his prophets. And He saith: Thou dost entice, and also thou art able; go out and do so. 23 And now, lo, Jehovah hath put a spirit of falsehood in the mouth of all these thy prophets, and Jehovah hath spoken concerning thee evil. (I K 22:19-23)
26 And the king of Israel saith: Take Micaiah, and turn him back unto Amon head of the city, and unto Joash son of the king, 27 and thou hast said: Thus said the king: Place ye this one in the house of restraint, and cause him to eat bread of oppression, and water of oppression, till my coming in peace. 28 And Micaiah saith: If thou at all return in peace, Jehovah hath not spoken by me. And he saith: Hear, O peoples, all of them. (I K 22:26-28)
As we see in 19-23 and 28, a true prophet of God would clear up everything that occurred in detail; therefore there was no deceit. Not only did he tell the truth; he clarified the lie that the false prophets were prophesizing. The fault was with those who didn't want to believe the truth and decided to believe the false prophets instead, since they were the ones telling them what they wanted to hear.
It's the same with fallen angels, which seem to ignore their destiny. This is also seen in false religions and in the true one, Christianity. God allows false religions (spiritism, buddhism, judaism, ruselism, armstrongism, islam, mormonism, romanism, etc.,) which are the false prophets of today. They tell their lies, yet God has kept his Sacred Scriptures so anyone could find the truth. Those who preach these lies know the truth. They also know they are lying. The fault also lies with those who prefer to believe the ones who flatter them with lies.
In the case of King Ahab, despite being face to face with the truth, he chose to reject it. He preferred the lies coming from 400 false prophets, which would concord with his hunger for power and his eagerness to conquer that city.