The Arrow That Killed a King
I Kings xxii: 1 to
the two victories which King Ahab gained over the
Syrians, there was peace between Syria and Israel
for three years. But in the third year the Syrians
became strong once more, and they seized a city of
Israel on the east of Jordan, called Ramoth-gilead.
At that time there was peace and friendship between
the kingdoms of Israel and Judah; and Ahab, the king
of Israel, sent to Jehoshaphat, the king of Judah,
saying, "Do you know that Ramoth-gilead is ours, and
yet we have done nothing to take it out of the hands
of the king of Syria? Will you go up with me to
battle at Ramoth-gilead?" And King Jehoshaphat sent
word to the king of Israel, "I am with you, and my
people are with your people, and my horses with your
So the king of Israel and the king of Judah gathered
their armies for war against the Syrians, and King
Jehoshaphat came to Samaria to meet King Ahab.
Jehoshaphat was a good man, and a worshipper of the
Lord. He said to Ahab, "Let us ask the prophets to
give us the word of the Lord before we go to
Then the king of Israel called together his
prophets, four hundred men, not prophets of the
Lord, but false prophets of the idols, and he asked
them, "Shall I go up to battle at Ramoth-gilead, or
shall I remain at home?" And the prophets of the
idols said, with one voice, "Go up; for the Lord
will give Ramoth-gilead to you."
But Jehoshaphat was not satisfied with the words of
these men. He asked, "Is there not here a prophet of
the Lord of whom we can ask the Lord's will?"
"There is one prophet," answered Ahab; "his name is
Micaiah, the son of Imlah; but I hate him; for he
never prophesies any good about me, but always
"Let not the king say that," said Jehoshaphat. "Let
us hear what Micaiah will speak."
Then King Ahab sent one of his officers to bring the
prophet Micaiah. And the officer said to Micaiah,
"All the prophets have spoken good to the king; now,
I pray you, let your words be like theirs, and do
you speak good also."
And Micaiah said, "As the Lord lives, what the Lord
say to me, that I will speak, and nothing else."
The king of Israel and the king of Judah were seated
together in their royal robes, at an open place in
front of the gate of Samaria. And King Ahab said to
Micaiah, "Micaiah, speak to me nothing but the
truth, in the name of the Lord."
Then Micaiah said, "I saw all Israel scattered upon
the mountains, as sheep that have no shepherd; and
the Lord said, 'These have no master; let every man
go back to his own house.' "
Then the king of Israel said to Jehoshaphat, "Did I
not tell you that Micaiah would prophesy about me no
good, but only evil?"
For Ahab knew that the words of Micaiah meant that
he would be slain in the battle.
And Micaiah went on and said, "Hear thou the word of
the Lord; I saw the Lord sitting on his throne, and
all the host of heaven standing around him, on his
right hand and on his left. And the Lord said, 'Who
will go and deceive Ahab, so that he will go up and
fall at Ramoth-gilead?' And one spirit came forth
and said, 'I will go, and will be a lying spirit in
the mouth of all Ahab's prophets.' And the Lord said
to the spirit, 'Go and deceive him.' Now, therefore,
the Lord has let all these false prophets deceive
you; and the Lord has spoken evil against you."
Then the king of Israel said to his guards, "Take
Micaiah, and lead him to the governor of the city,
and say, 'Put this fellow in prison, and let him
have nothing to eat but dry bread and water until I
come again in peace.' "
And Micaiah said, "If you return at all in peace,
then the Lord has not spoken by me. Hear my words,
all ye people."
So the kings of Israel and Judah led their armies
across the river Jordan and up the mountains on the
east, to battle at Ramoth-gilead. Ahab felt afraid
after the prophecy of Micaiah, and he said to
Jehoshaphat, "I will dress as a common soldier
before going into the battle; but do you wear your
Now the king of Syria had given word to all his
captains to look out especially for the king of
Israel, and to fight him, and kill him, even if they
should kill no other man. When they saw Jehoshaphat
in his kingly garments standing in his chariot, they
thought that he was King Ahab, and they turned all
battle toward him. But Jehoshaphat cried out, and
then they found that he was not the king of Israel,
and they left him. In the battle one soldier of the
Syrians drew his bow, and shot an arrow, not knowing
that he was aiming at the king of Israel. The arrow
struck King Ahab just between his breastplate and
his lower armor. He was badly wounded, but they held
him up in his chariot, so that the men might not see
him fall; and his blood was running out of the wound
upon the floor of the chariot, until the sun set,
when Ahab died. And the cry went through all the
host of Israel, "Every man to his city, and every
man to his country."
And then all knew that the king of Israel was dead.
They brought his body to Samaria, and buried him
there. And at the pool of Samaria they washed the
king's chariot and his armor. And there the wild
dogs of the city licked up Ahab's blood, according
to the word of the Lord spoken by Elijah.
Thus died King Ahab, the son of Omri. He was not a
bad man at heart, but he was weak in the hands of
his wife, Jezebel, who led him and his kingdom into
wickedness in the sight of the Lord.