|Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary|
22:1-14 The same easiness of temper, which betrays some godly persons into friendship with the declared enemies of religion, renders it very dangerous to them. They will be drawn to wink at and countenance such conduct and conversation as they ought to protest against with abhorrence. Whithersoever a good man goes, he ought to take his religion with him, and not be ashamed to own it when he is with those who have no regard for it. Jehoshaphat had not left behind him, at Jerusalem, his affection and reverence for the word of the Lord, but avowed it, and endeavoured to bring it into Ahab's court. And Ahab's prophets, to please Jehoshaphat, made use of the name of Jehovah: to please Ahab, they said, Go up. But the false prophets cannot so mimic the true, but that he who has spiritual senses exercised, can discern the fallacy. One faithful prophet of the Lord was worth them all. Wordly men have in all ages been alike absurd in their views of religion. They would have the preacher fit his doctrine to the fashion of the times, and the taste of the hearers, and yet to add. Thus saith the Lord, to words that men would put into their mouths. They are ready to cry out against a man as rude and foolish, who scruples thus to try to secure his own interests, and to deceive others.
Verse 3. - And the king of Israel said unto his servants [During the visit. It seems likely that Jehoshaphat went down to Samaria by Ahab's invitation, and that the latter then had this campaign in view. The chronicler says that Ahab "incited," or "stirred him up" (same word as in 1 Kings 21:25) to go with him to battle. Ahab was unable to contend single-handed, and without Divine assistance - which he could not now look for - against Syria; and saw no means of compelling the execution of the treaty which Ben-hadad had made with him (1 Kings 20:34), and which he appears to have shamelessly broken, except by the help of Jehoshaphat, whose military organizetion at this time must have been great, and, indeed, complete (2 Chronicles 17:10-19). It is in favour of this view that Ahab entertained him and his large retinue with such profuse hospitality. The chronicler, who dwells on the number of sheep and oxen slain for the feast, intimates that it was this generous reception "persuaded" Jehoshaphat to join in the war], Know ye that Ramoth in Gilead [Generally, as below (vers. 4, 6, etc.), "Ramoth-Gilead," i.e., of Gilead. See note on 1 Kings 4:13. This "great frontier fortress was, in the hands of Syria, even after many reverses, a constant menace against Israel" (Stanley)] is ours [i.e., it was one of the cities which Ben-hadad had promised to restore (1 Kings 20:34). This shows that, as we might expect from a man of Ben-hadad's overbearing yet pusillanimous character, he had not kept good faith. Though so long a time had elapsed, it was still in his hands], and we be still [חָשָׁה is onomatopoetic, like our "hush." Marg. rightly, silent from taking it. The word conveys very expressively that they had been afraid of making any movement to assert their rights, lest they should attract the attention and anger of their powerful and incensed neighbour], and take it not out of the hand of the king of Syria? [It is hardly likely that Ahab could have forgotten the warning of 1 Kings 20:42. It is probable that Ben-hadad's flagrant disregard of his treaty engagements determined him to run all risks, especially if he could secure the help of the then powerful king of Judah.]
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
(And the king of Israel said unto his servants,.... His nobles, those of his privy council, his ministers of state; or "had said" (n), 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.
(n) "et dixerat", Junius & Tremellius.
Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary
3-8. Know ye that Ramoth in Gilead is ours—a Levitical and free town on the north border of Gad (De 4:43; Jos 21:38), on the site of the present Salt Lake, in the province of Belka. It lay within the territories of the Israelitish monarch, and was unjustly alienated; but whether it was one of the cities usurped by the first Ben-hadad, which his son had promised to restore, or was retained for some other reasons, the sacred historian has not mentioned. In the expedition which Ahab meditated for the recovery of this town, the aid of Jehoshaphat was asked and promised (see 2Ch 18:3). Previous to declaring hostilities, it was customary to consult the prophets (see on 1Sa 28:8); and Jehoshaphat having expressed a strong desire to know the Lord's will concerning this war, Ahab assembled four hundred of his prophets. These could not be either the prophets of Baal or of Ashteroth (1Ki 18:19), but seem (1Ki 22:12) to have been false prophets, who conformed to the symbolic calf-worship of Jehovah. Being the creatures of Ahab, they unanimously predicted a prosperous issue to the war. But dissatisfied with them, Jehoshaphat inquired if there was any true prophet of the Lord. Ahab agreed, with great reluctance, to allow Micaiah to be summoned. He was the only true prophet then to be found residing in Samaria, and he had to be brought out of prison (1Ki 22:26), into which, according to Josephus, he had been cast on account of his rebuke to Ahab for sparing the king of Syria.
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