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This chapter relates, that after three years’ peace with the king of Syria, Ahab was inclined to go to war with him, to take Ramothgilead out of his hands; and he drew in Jehoshaphat, king of Judah, to join him in it, ( <112201> Kings 22:1-4), but before they went into it, they took advice, Ahab of his four hundred prophets, which Jehoshaphat not being satisfied with, a true prophet of the Lord, Micahah, was sent for, ( 1 Kings 22:5-14) who, when he came, jeered Ahab with what his prophets had said to him; intimated that he should be killed, and explained it to him how he came to be deceived by his prophets, ( 1 Kings 22:15-23) upon which he was smitten on the cheek by Zedekiah, one of the false prophets, and imprisoned by the order of Ahab, ( 1 Kings 22:24-28), after which the two kings went to the battle, and Jehoshaphat was in great danger of his life; but Ahab was wounded, and died, ( 1 Kings 22:29-40), and the chapter is concluded with an account of the reign of Jehoshaphat king of Judah, ( 1 Kings 22:41-50), and of Ahaziah king of Israel, ( 1 Kings 22:51-53).
Ver. 1 . And they continued three years without war between Syria and Israel .] From the time that Benhadad made a covenant with Ahab; not three full years, but part of them: it was threatened by Elijah from the Lord, that Ahab’s life should go for Benhadad’s, because he had let him, go, ( 1 Kings 22:42), but because of his humiliation, as is thought by Ben Gersom and others, it was respited for those three years; and now an opportunity and occasion would be given for the fulfilment of what was threatened.
Ver. 2 . And it came to pass in the third year , etc.] Of the peace, before it was expired: that Jehoshaphat the king of Judah came down to the king of Israel ; to Ahab, from Jerusalem to Samaria, reckoned thirty two miles f456 ; either to make peace with him, and put an end to the wars which subsisted between Israel and Judah since the division of the kingdom, ( 1 Kings 22:44) or to contract an affinity with him, by marrying his son to a daughter of Ahab, ( 2 Kings 8:18,26) or rather after peace was made, and that strengthened by the marriage; and so he went merely to pay a visit, as he judged he might then with great safety; and he and all his retinue were entertained by Ahab in a very sumptuous and liberal manner, ( 2 Chronicles 18:1,2).
Ver. 3 . (And the king of Israel said unto his servants , etc.] His nobles, those of his privy council, his ministers of state; or “had said” f457 , some little time before Jehoshaphat came: know ye that Ramoth in Gilead is ours a city of refuge beyond Jordan, in the tribe of Gad, and so of course must belong to the kingdom of Israel, of which (see Joshua 20:8) and we be still, and take it not out of the hand of the king of Syria?) neither demand it, nor take any measures to oblige him to deliver it up; representing it as a great omission, and as a piece of negligence and slothfulness, or cowardice.
Ver. 4 And he said unto Jehoshaphat, wilt thou go with me to battle to Ramothgilead ? etc.] This affair being lately canvassed at the council board, and very much on Ahab’s mind, he puts this question to Jehoshaphat, his visitor, relation, and ally; wisely considering that his own forces were small, and that to have such an auxiliary might be of great advantage to him: and Jehoshaphat said to the king of Israel, I am as thou art, my people as thy people, my horses as thy horses ; meaning, that he and his soldiers, foot and horse, were at his service.
Ver. 5 . And Jehoshaphat said unto the king of Israel, inquire, I pray thee, at the word of the Lord today .] Being a pious and religious prince, he did not choose to go into a war at once, without consulting the Lord by his prophets, whether it was his will and pleasure they should engage in it, and should prosper; and he was desirous of having this done immediately, before they proceeded any further.
Ver. 6 . Then the king of Israel gathered the prophets together, about four hundred men , etc.] False prophets, as the Targum and Arabic version; and they are called Ahab’s prophets, and not the Lord’s, ( 1 Kings 22:23) perhaps these were the prophets of the groves, that ate at Jezebel’s table, and were preserved when the prophets of Baal were destroyed, since the number agrees with them, (see 1 Kings 18:19) and said unto them, shall I go against Ramothgilead to battle, or shall I forbear ? which would you advise to? signifying he should take their advice: and they said, go up; for the Lord shall deliver it into the hand of the king : which words are very ambiguous, like the oracles of the Heathens; for they do not express who or what should be delivered up, for the word it is a supplement, nor to what king the delivery should be made; whether the Syrians, and the place they held should be given up to king Ahab, which they would have understood; or whether the Israelites should be delivered up to king Benhadad; so that, whichever had been the case, the credit of their prophecy would be secured. They used the word “Lord”, and not Baal, in complaisance to Jehoshaphat, and perhaps as directed by Ahab.
Ver. 7 . And Jehoshaphat said, is there not here a prophet of the Lord besides, that we might inquire of him ?] He suspected these to be false prophets, though he would not call them so; nor suggest that they were not the prophets of the Lord, because he would not affront Ahab, who had an opinion of them; and therefore asks, if there were no other that went under the character of a prophet of the Lord, that he might inquire of him for his further satisfaction.
Ver. 8 . And the king of Israel said unto Jehoshaphat, there is yet one man (Micaiah the son of Imlah), by whom we may inquire of the Lord , etc.] And but one in Samaria; Elijah and Elisha were elsewhere: but I hate him, for he doth not prophesy of good concerning me, but evil ; who is thought to be the same that was several times with him when engaged in the war with the king of Syria, ( 1 Kings 20:13,22,28,35,38) and each time, excepting the last, he brought him good tidings; but because, in his last message, he told him, that, since he had let Benhadad go, his life should go for his life, and his people for his people, for that he hated him: and Jehoshaphat said, let not the king say so ; which was very modestly, though perhaps too gently, said; suggesting that the prophets of the Lord should be heard, respected, and honoured, let their message be as it would, since they spake not of their own mind and will, but what they were moved unto by the Spirit of God.
Ver. 9 . Then the king of Israel called an officer , etc.] An eunuch, as the word is sometimes used, one of pages: and said, hasten hither Micaiah the son of Imlah ; who, as it seems from ( 1 Kings 22:26) was in prison, where perhaps Ahab had cast him for his last prophecy to him, and where he had lain ever since; and this gives a reason why he could so readily send for him, knowing where he was.
Ver. 10 . And the king of Israel, and Jehoshaphat the king of Judah, sat each on his throne , etc.] In great state and majesty: having put on their robes ; their royal robes, which they wore when they appeared in pomp and grandeur: in a void place in the entrance of the gate of Samaria ; where courts of judicature were held, and there was an open void space for the people to assemble in to hear; the word has the signification of a corn floor, and the Jews suppose they and their attendants sat in a semicircle like the half of a corn floor, after the same manner in which they say the sanhedrim at Jerusalem sat f458 : and all the prophets prophesied before them ; concerning this affair of going to Ramothgilead.
Ver. 11 . And Zedekiah the son of Chenaanah made him horns of iron , etc.] Horns are emblems of power and might, and iron ones of greater strength still; the prophets sometimes made use of visible signs, to represent the things they prophesied of should come to pass, (see Isaiah 20:2,3 Jeremiah 27:2), and the same method this prophet took: and he saith, thus saith the Lord; imitating the true prophets: with these shall thou push the Syrians until thou hast consumed them : Abarbinel thinks he had in view the blessing of Joseph by Moses, ( Deuteronomy 33:17) where he is compared to a bullock with horns; and these said to be the ten thousands of Ephraim, and the thousands of Manasseh; and Ahab being of the tribe of Joseph, and ruling in Ephraim and Manasseh, the prophet chose to make use of this emblem for his encouragement. Ver. 12 . And all the prophets prophesied so, saying, go up to Ramothgilead, and prosper , etc.] All encouraged the king to go up against this place, and prophesied of victory, as Zedekiah did: for the Lord shall deliver it into the king’s hand , (see Gill on “ 1 Kings 22:6”).
Ver. 13 . And the messenger that was gone to call Micaiah spake unto him , etc.] By the way, as they came along together, as Josephus observes: behold, now, the words of the prophets declare good unto the king with one mouth ; they are unanimous that he shall prosper in his undertaking against the Syrians: let thy word, I pray thee, be like the word of one of them, and speak that which is good ; which, as an ignorant man, he might advise to from good will to the prophet, that he might not be branded with singularity, and a spirit of contradiction, and that he might have the favour of the king, and be released from prison, pitying his miserable condition in which he found him.
Ver. 14 . And Micaiah said, as the Lord liveth , etc.] He swore by the living God, for the confirmation of what he was about to say: what the Lord saith unto me, that will I speak ; truly and faithfully, keeping nothing back, nor adding anything, whether it be good or evil, pleasing or displeasing; it looks as if as yet he had no instruction from the Lord what to say, and yet the vision he later declares seems to have been had by him before, ( 1 Kings 22:17,19).
Ver. 15 . So he came to the king , etc.] Being introduced by the officer: and the king said unto him, Micaiah, shall we go up against Ramothgilead to battle, or shall we forbear? the same question in the same words that was put to the other prophets, ( 1 Kings 22:6), only there he uses the singular number, here the plural, including Jehoshaphat with him: and he answered him, go, and prosper: for the Lord shall deliver [it] into the hand of the king ; he answered not in the name of the Lord, saying, “thus saith the Lord”, nor did he speak his own sense and in his own words, nor seriously, but by way of derision; he took up the words of the prophets, and bantered them; it is as if he should say, the prophets bid you go, and tell you that you shall “prosper”, and that the city will be delivered into the king’s hand; do as they direct you, and see what the issue will be, no doubt it will be good, since they are all agreed; but he delivered the above words with such gestures, and such a tone, and with a contemptuous smile in his countenance, which showed that he spoke not seriously, but sarcastically; and this the king plainly discovered, as appears by what follows.
Ver. 16 . And the king said unto him, how many times shall I adjure thee , etc.] Not that he had as yet adjured him at all, or not till now; but he asks him how often he must be obliged to do it; and now he adjures him once for all, that he might not be forced to repeat it: that thou tell me nothing but that which is true in the name of the Lord ? for he observed he did not speak in the name of the Lord before, and what he said was not in a serious but ludicrous manner, and not to be regarded as truth.
Ver. 17 . And he said , etc.] The prophet, in a serious and solemn manner, being adjured by the king: I saw all Israel scattered on the hills, as sheep that have not a shepherd ; the armies of Israel routed, dispersed, and fleeing, some one way and some another, on the mountains of Gilead near Ramoth, weak and helpless, not knowing where to go for safety, having none to direct them; and this was either now instantly represented to his mind, or what had been before in a dream or vision: and the Lord said, these have no master ; these sheep have no shepherd this army hath no general, [Israel] has [lost its king]: let them return every man to his house in peace , very few slain, Jarchi thinks Ahab only, (see 1 Kings 22:31) that part of the threatening, ( 1 Kings 20:42) was now to he accomplished, “thy life shall go for his life”, but the other part, “and thy people for his people”, was to be deferred to another time.
Ver. 18 . And the king of Israel said unto Jehoshaphat , etc.] Plainly perceiving that the prophet foretold that he should fall in battle: did not I tell thee that he would prophesy no good concerning me, but evil ? intimating that this proceeded from spite and malice, from ill will to him and hatred of him, and was not from the Lord, and therefore not to be regarded; he had told him three years ago his life should go for letting Benhadad go; but it had not proved true, and no more would this; and Jehoshaphat being an easy man, and too credulous, believed what Ahab said of the character of this prophet, or otherwise it is not to be accounted for that he should go with him to war after such a declaration made.
Ver. 19 . And he saith, hear thou therefore the word of the Lord , etc.] Since he had represented what he had said as proceeding from hatred to him, he would make it clear and plain that what he had said was the word of the Lord, and according to his mind; and that what the other prophets had said was owing to a lying spirit in them, which the Lord suffered for his ruin; all which are represented as in a vision, in which things are brought down to the capacities of men, and not as really transacted: I saw the Lord sitting on his throne ; so it was represented to his mind, as if he had seen with his bodily eyes the divine Being in a glorious form, as a king sitting on his throne, to do justice and judgment; as Ahab and Jehoshaphat were now sitting on their thrones, only as a far greater King, even the King of kings, and in a more splendid manner: and all the host of heaven standing by him on his right hand and on his left the ministering angels ready to do his will.
Ver. 20 . And the Lord said, who shall persuade Ahab, that he may go up and fall at Ramothgilead ? etc.] Not that it can be supposed that the Lord entered into a consultation with the angels upon this subject; only that it was the decree of God that he should go thither, and fall by the hand of the man whom he had let go, as a just punishment of him: and one said on this manner, and another said on that manner ; not that there was such an altercation among them; it only signifies, that there are various ways and means, by which the purposes and decrees of God may be and are brought about.
Ver. 21 . And there came forth a spirit , etc.] Not from the heavenly host on the right hand or the left, for they are pure and holy spirits, and impeccable, and cannot lie or deceive; but the evil spirit, Satan, the father of lies, the old deceiver, who came forth from his own place and his own company: and stood before the Lord presented himself before him, as Satan did, ( Job 1:6), and said, l will persuade him ; or prevail upon him; evil spirits love to be employed in doing harm to men, they go about seeking whom they may devour. This could not be the spirit of Naboth, as the Jews say f460 , seeking revenge on Ahab; that was in a state of happiness, could not move from thence, and be capable of sinning.
Ver. 22 . And the Lord said unto him, wherewith ? etc.] What way and method did he propose, to persuade Ahab to go up to Ramoth? the Lord is introduced in this visionary narrative as asking this question, not as ignorant of the scheme of the evil spirit, but in order to bring it out, and lead on to the following account: and he said, I will go forth, and I will be a lying spirit in the mouth of all his prophets ; put them on encouraging Ahab to go up, and promising him success, as he had in former battles with the king of Syria, and which might both encourage them to give forth such a prediction, and him to believe it to be true; this proposal was quite agreeable to the character of the devil, as the father of lies: and he said, thou shalt persuade him, and prevail also ; not only make use of this artifice to persuade, but succeed also; the Lord knew that what he should suggest to the prophets, and they should deliver to Ahab, would be agreeable to his inclination, nor would he do anything in the course of his providence to hinder its taking effect: go forth, and do so ; which was giving leave to try his skill in the art of persuasion, in which he knew he would succeed, and bring on the righteous judgment of God upon Ahab; with this compare ( John 13:27).
Ver. 23 . Now therefore behold, the Lord hath put a lying spirit in the mouths of all these thy prophets , etc.] That is, suffered the lying spirit to suggest a lie to them, and sent them strong delusions to believe that lie, whose minds were disposed at any rate to flatter Ahab, to whom they told it; which was the way designed to bring him to the ruin appointed for him: and the Lord hath spoken evil concerning thee : he had decreed it in himself, declared it by Micaiah his prophet, and suffered all those steps to be taken by Satan and the false prophets, to bring him to it.
Ver. 24 . But Zedekiah the son of Chenaanah went near , etc.] Stepped in haste and passion from the place where he was: and smote Micaiah on the cheek ; in contempt of him, and to show his indignation at what he said; this he did in open court, before two kings; one he believed would favour and screen him in this lawless action, and the other, out of his own jurisdiction, had not courage and presence of mind to resent it: and said, which way went the Spirit of the Lord from me to speak unto thee? hereby boasting that he had the Spirit of the Lord, and was directed by him in what he said, and still remained with him, and could not possibly go to Micaiah, and suggest the very reverse; and therefore pertly asks him which way the spirit went, intimating that it was impossible he could steer a course contrary to himself.
Ver. 25 . And Micaiah said, behold, thou shalt see in the day when thou shalt go into an inner chamber to hide thyself .] Who would either accompany Ahab to the battle, and, upon his being wounded, flee to the first place of secrecy for safety; or, upon the news of his defeat brought to Samaria, would betake himself to a private chamber for security, fearing the enemy would pursue to the very place; or else through fear of the populace, who would attribute the death of the king to the advice of him and the other prophets.
Ver. 26 . And the king of Israel said , etc.] To some of his officers: take Micaiah, and carry him back unto Amon the governor of the city : the chief magistrate under the king; a sort of sheriff, who had the care of malefactors, and of all committed to prison, from whom he was received by the messenger, and now sent back to him: and to Joash the king’s son ; who might be over his household, as sometimes the king’s son was, ( 2 Chronicles 26:21) or might be viceroy while the king was without the city, and at the gate of it, and about to go to war.
Ver. 27 . And say, thus saith the king, put this fellow in prison , etc.] In the common prison of the city, where he had been before, as it seems; and might be now ordered into a more confined place in it, and what might be called “little ease”: and feed him with bread of affliction, and with water of affliction ; with bad bread and foul water, and but little of either; just enough to keep alive, and to continue starving: until I come in peace ; which he seemed confident of, and intimates that then he would punish him more severely, even with death, as a false prophet.
Ver. 28 . And Micaiah said, if thou return at all in peace, the Lord hath not spoken by me , etc.] I am content to be reckoned a false prophet, and to be punished as such: and, he said, hearken, O people, everyone of you ; he called aloud unto them to observe what he had predicted, and mark the issue of it, and to bear testimony for him, or against him, as things should be.
Ver. 29 . So the king of Israel, and Jehoshaphat the king of Judah, went up to Ramothgilead .] Which, according to Bunting f461 , was twenty four miles from Samaria. That Ahab went is no wonder, it was his own motion first, his inclination led to it, his prophets encouraged him, and, in bravado to the prophet of the Lord, was determined upon it; but it may seem much more strange that Jehoshaphat should, after such an account as Micaiah had given, and who, doubtless, could observe a great difference between him and the prophets of Ahab; and yet there is much to be said which might incline him to go, as that there were four hundred prophets all agreed, and who made use of the name of the Lord, and pretended to be true prophets; and though he might suspect them, he could not confute them; and Micaiah, he prophesied evil of Ahab only, and therefore Jehoshaphat might think himself safe in going; and besides, he had given his word to Ahab, and he did not choose to go from it; to which may be added, that Ahab’s cause was just, to recover a part of his own dominions.
Ver. 30 . And the king of Israel said unto Jehoshaphat, I will disguise myself, and enter into the battle , etc.] Change his clothes, his royal robes, and put on others, perhaps the habit of a common soldier; having, it may be, been informed by some deserters or spies, of the design of Benhadad against him. Abarbinel thinks the meaning is, that he would clothe himself with a coat of mail, and take to him the each of the instruments of war, and so go into the battle secure; this seems probable from ( 1 Kings 22:34) and this he might do to elude the prophecy of Micaiah: but put thou on thy robes ; his royal robes, or rather keep them on, that he might appear to be the chief commander of the army. There seems to be a good deal of insincerity and treachery in this conduct of Ahab’s, whatever honour he might pretend to Jehoshaphat, or safety he might promise him in such a situation; his view seems to be to save himself at the hazard of the life of Jehoshaphat, especially if the Septuagint version could be established, “and put on my clothes”; which is natural enough, but would have been too barefaced: and the king of Israel disguised himself, and went into the battle ; as if he had been a common soldier.
Ver. 31 . But the king of Syria commanded his thirty and two captains that had the rule over his chariots , etc.] This was the number of his kings in the first battle with Israel, and of his captains in the second, ( 1 Kings 20:1,24,25), and the same number he had now, being very probably not only the number of his chariots, but the division of his army was into so many battalions, under the command of these captains of chariots: saying, fight neither with small nor great ; of those that belonged to Jehoshaphat: save only with the king of Israel ; and his men; for it can hardly be thought that his orders were to fight with none, nor kill any in the battle but Ahab personally; though it is very probable he might give them directions to aim at him chiefly, knowing that, if he was killed or taken, his army would flee or surrender; and he might be desirous of getting him into his hands, as he had been in his; and the rather his spite was against him, as he was the mover of the war.
Ver. 32 . And it came to pass, when the captains of the chariots saw Jehoshaphat , etc.] In his royal robes: that they said, surely it is the king of Israel ; for they might not know the persons either of Ahab or him, but judged by his habit: and they turned aside to fight against him ; pressed upon him with all their force, either to take him or slay him: and Jehoshaphat cried out ; with a loud voice, either to the captains to let them know who he was, or to his men to come to his assistance, or rather to God to help and deliver him; since it is said in ( 2 Chronicles 18:31) that the Lord helped him, and moved or inclined the hearts of the captains to depart from him, as it follows here. Ver. 33 . And it came to pass, when the captains of the chariots perceived that it was not the king of Israel , etc.] Against whom only their orders were to fight: that they turned back from pursuing him ; for upon so great a force coming upon him he could not withstand, he fled.
Ver. 34 . And a certain man drew a bow at a venture , etc.] Not aiming at the king of Israel, or knowing whereabout he was. In the Targum on ( Chronicles 18:33), this man is said to be Naaman, the general of the army of the king of Syria, and so Jarchi here; but though he did this in his simplicity, as the word signifies, without any intention to smite any particular person; yet God directed the arrow to the man he had marked for destruction, and neither his disguise, nor coat of mail, could secure from that: and smote the king of Israel between the joints of the harness : of which the pieces of armour on him were joined together, the higher and lower parts of it, the breastplate, and what covered the belly; and though these were joined as close as they were capable of joining them in those times, yet the arrow, guided by divine Providence, found its way into his body: wherefore he said unto the driver of his chariot, turn thine hand ; or hands, with which he held the reins, and turn the horses on one side: and carry me out of the host ; where the battle was hottest, to a place more remote and private, that he might have the wound examined, and the blood stopped, and return again, as it seems he did: for I am wounded ; or rather “I am sick” f462 , or ill, as the Targum; somewhat out of order, and therefore chose to retire a little while; not caring it should be known that he was smitten and wounded, lest his soldiers should be disheartened.
Ver. 35 . And the battle increased that day , etc.] It went on, and did not stop upon Ahab’s going out of the host, but was very hot, and both sides fought furiously: and the king was stayed up in his chariot against the Syrians : the Targum is, “he strengthened himself, and stood;” he exerted himself to the uttermost, and stood as long as he could, or could be supported, fighting against the Syrians, to animate his army, and that the Syrians might not have any notion of his being wounded: and died at even : in his chariot: and the blood ran out of the wound into the midst of the chariot ; or “bosom” of it, the hollow part of it.
Ver. 36 . And there went a proclamation throughout the host, about the going down of the sun , etc.] Much about the time that Ahab died; and this proclamation by an herald might be made by his order, as he was dying, or by Jehoshaphat, when he understood he was dead: saying, every man to his city, and every man to his own country ; the order was to cease fighting, and make the best of their way as fast as they could to their own homes, since their shepherd and master was dead, which fulfilled the vision of Micaiah, ( 1 Kings 22:17). It seems to have been a drawn battle, at least there is no account of the advantage on either side.
Ver. 38 . And one washed the chariot in the pool of Samaria , etc.] After the body was taken out, very likely the chariot driver, who drove it into the pool, and plunged it into it, as the word signifies, to cleanse it from the blood of his master: and the dogs licked up his blood ; mixed with the water of the pool; the Septuagint adds, “the swine”, which is not probable, such creatures not being bred in the land of Israel: and they washed his armour ; his coat of mail, through the joints of which the blood issued, and ran upon it. The word is sometimes used for whores, and is so translated here in the Greek version, and by Munster and Castalio; and both Ben Gersom and Abarbinel say, that women, who were harlots, washed here in his blood, mixed with water; and so Josephus f464 writes, that afterwards it was a custom for whores to wash in this pool; though some say two whores were painted on Ahab’s chariot, by the order of Jezebel, to inflame his lust, and these were what were washed; but the word signifies armour, or rather ornaments, clothes, jewels, etc. and now all this was according to the word of the Lord which he spake ; both by Elijah, that as the dogs licked the blood of Naboth, so they should his, as they now did, though not in the same place; nor was it necessary to fulfil the prophecy, (see Gill on “ 1 Kings 21:19”), though some have thought that his blood, mixed with the water of the pool of Samaria, was carried in a stream down to Jezreel, and there licked by the dogs, where Naboth’s was; but chiefly what was spoken by Micaiah is here respected, that thus Ahab fell at Ramothgilead, as he had prophesied, ( Kings 22:17,20,28) and his life went for the life of Benhadad, as he had before declared, ( 1 Kings 20:42).
Ver. 39 . Now the rest of the acts of Ahab, and all that he did, and the ivory house which he made , etc.] Which, being a very curious and extraordinary thing, is particularly mentioned; though perhaps it might not be made wholly of ivory, but inlaid with it; we read of ivory houses in ( Amos 3:15), and all the cities that he built, are they not written in the book of the chronicles of the kings of Israel ? in which the acts of his predecessors were recorded, (see 1 Kings 14:19 15:31 16:14,20,27) not the Scripture book of Chronicles, for there none of these things are related.
Ver. 40 . So Ahab slept with his fathers, and Ahaziah his son reigned in his stead ,] Of whom more is said in the latter part of this chapter, and in the following book.
Ver. 41 . And Jehoshaphat the son of Asa began to reign over Judah in the fourth year of Ahab king of Israel .] And as Ahab reigned twenty two years, ( 1 Kings 16:29), Jehoshaphat must reign about eighteen years with him, and seven years after him.
Ver. 42 . Jehoshaphat was thirty five years old when he began to reign, and he reigned twenty and five years in Jerusalem , etc.] So that he must be sixty years of age when he died: and his mother’s name was Azubah, the daughter of Shilhi ; but of what family they were is not said. Ver. 43 . And he walked in all the ways of Asa his father , etc.] Who was a good prince: he turned not aside from doing that which was right in the eyes of the Lord ; in his moral conversation, religious worship, and civil government: nevertheless, the high places were not taken away, for the people offered and burnt incense yet in the high places ; he took away the high places and groves for idolatrous worship, ( 2 Chronicles 17:6), but not the high places in which sacrifices were offered to the Lord, which ought to have been, especially since the temple was built; and those in the tribes of Judah and Benjamin were altogether inexcusable, being near to the temple, and under no restraint, as those of the ten tribes were; but the people were fond of them, because of their antiquity, and it was difficult for religious princes to remove them, if inclined.
Ver. 44 . And Jehoshaphat made peace with the king of Israel .] First with Ahab, with whom he contracted an affinity, and joined with him in his expedition to Ramothgilead, and with Ahaziah his successor.
Ver. 45 . And all the rest of the acts of Jehoshaphat, and all his might that he showed, and all his wars, are they not written in the book of the Chronicles of the kings of Israel ?] Many of them are recorded in the canonical book of Scripture, which bears the name of Chronicles; and more might be in this referred to, out of which might be taken what God has thought fit to transmit to future times; (see 2 Chronicles 17:1-20:37).
Ver. 46 . And the remnant of the Sodomites, which remained in the days of his father Asa, he took out of the land .] His father Asa removed many of these filthy creatures, but not all; as many, no doubt, as came within his knowledge, but some remained, whom this his son removed, being of the same disposition with his father, (see 1 Kings 15:12).
Ver. 47 . There was then no king in Edom, a deputy was king .] Which had been the case from the times of David, who subdued Edom, and placed garrisons in it, and governors over it, ( 2 Samuel 8:14) and continued through the reign of Jehoshaphat, unto the times of his son, under whom the Edomites revolted, and set up a king of their own, ( 2 Kings 8:20), with a view to which this is observed, as also to account for it how Jehoshaphat could build ships in Eziongeber, which was in the land of Edom, of which in the next verse, because the whole country was governed by a viceroy, or deputy, under him.
Ver. 48 . Jehoshaphat made ships of Tarshish , etc.] Ships to go to sea, particularly the Indian sea, ( 1 Kings 10:22). Tarshish is used for the sea in general, ( Psalm 48:7 Isaiah 2:16), in the Cetib, or text, it is “ten”; in the Keri, or margin, it is “made”, which we follow, and may be put together, as in the Tigurine version, and read, “he made ten ships to go by sea”: even to go to Ophir for gold ; as Solomon did; of which place (see Kings 9:28), but they went not, for the ships were broken at Eziongeber ; the port where they were built: as soon as they were launched, or sailed, they were broken to pieces against the rocks near the harbour, which stood up like a man’s backbone, whence the port had its name; (see Gill on “ 1 Kings 9:26”), and if this was Calzem, as there observed, near to it was a dangerous place for ships, and where many were lost, and is supposed to be the place where Pharaoh and his host were drowned f467 ; the reason of this shipwreck was, because Jehoshaphat joined himself with Ahaziah king of Israel, for which he was reproved by the prophet Eliezer, and this was his punishment, ( Chronicles 20:35-37).
Ver. 49 . Then said Ahaziah the son of Ahab unto Jehoshaphat , etc.] Who very probably had built some more ships on his own, having broke off his partnership with Ahaziah: let my servants go with thy servants in the ships ; since he was refused a part in the ships themselves, he desires leave to send men aboard them to traffic for him abroad: but Jehoshaphat would not ; having been reproved by a prophet of the Lord, and had suffered the loss of his ships by joining with him already.
Ver. 50 . And Jehoshaphat slept with his fathers, and was buried with his fathers in the city of David his father , etc.] In the city of Sion, where David, Rehoboam, Abijam, and Asa, were buried: and Jehoram his son reigned in his stead ; who was now thirty two years of age, and he reigned ten years. Ver. 51 . Ahaziah the son of Ahab began to reign over Israel in Samaria the seventeenth year of Jehoshaphat king of Judah , etc.] It is observed, that Jehoshaphat began to reign in the fourth year of Ahab, and Ahab reigned twenty two years, (see 1 Kings 22:41 16:29), and therefore Ahab’s son must begin to reign in the eighteenth year of Jehoshaphat; but perhaps he was made king in his father’s lifetime, before he went on his expedition to Ramothgilead, or Ahab’s reign was not twenty two years complete: and reigned two years over Israel ; not complete, as appears from ( <120301> Kings 3:1).
Ver. 52 And he did evil in the sight of the Lord , etc.] Which evil was idolatry: and walked in the way of his father ; his father Ahab, who worshipped Baal: and in the way of his mother ; his mother Jezebel, who was still living, and served Baal and Astarte, the deities of her country: and in the way of Jeroboam the son of Nebat ; who set up and worshipped the golden calves: who made Israel to sin ; by the worship of the same, into which he drew them by his example and authority.
Ver. 53 . For he served Baal, and worshipped him , etc.] That is, Ahaziah served him, as his father had done, and his mother still did: and provoked to anger the Lord God of Israel, according to all that his father had done; of which there is an instance in the first chapter of the following book; for falling through a lattice, and becoming sick upon it, he quickly died, having sent messengers to inquire of the god of Ekron whether he should die or not.