1 Kings 22:17
And he said, I saw all Israel scattered on the hills, as sheep that have not a shepherd: and the LORD said, These have no master: let them return every man to his house in peace.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
1 Kings 22:17. And he said, I saw — Namely, in the Spirit, or in a vision; all Israel scattered upon the hills — Upon the mountains of Gilead, where they lay encamped by Ahab’s order, or to which they fled from the enemy. As sheep that have no shepherd — As people that have lost their king. The Lord said, These have no master; let them return, &c. — Discharged from the war. This was fulfilled, 1 Kings 22:36.22:15-28 The greatest kindness we can do to one that is going in a dangerous way, is, to tell him of his danger. To leave the hardened criminal without excuse, and to give a useful lesson to others, Micaiah related his vision. This matter is represented after the manner of men: we are not to imagine that God is ever put upon new counsels; or that he needs to consult with angels, or any creature, about the methods he should take; or that he is the author of sin, or the cause of any man's telling or believing a lie. Micaiah returned not the blow of Zedekiah, yet, since he boasted of the Spirit, as those commonly do that know least of the Holy Spirit's operations, the true prophet left him to be convinced of his error by the event. Those that will not have their mistakes set right in time, by the word of God, will be undeceived, when it is too late, by the judgments of God. We should be ashamed of what we call trials, were we to consider what the servants of God have endured. Yet it will be well, if freedom from trouble prove not more hurtful to us; we are more easily allured and bribed into unfaithfulness and conformity to the world, than driven to them.Thus adjured, Micaiah wholly changes his tone. Ahab cannot possibly mistake the meaning of his vision, especially as the metaphor of "sheep and shepherd" for king and people was familiar to the Israelites from the prayer of Moses Numbers 27:17. 17. I saw all Israel scattered upon the hills, as sheep that have not a shepherd—The purport of this was that the army of Israel would be defeated and dispersed; that Ahab would fall in the battle, and the people return without either being pursued or destroyed by the enemy. I saw; in the spirit, or in a vision.

Upon the hills; upon the mountains of Gilead, nigh Ramoth; either where they lay encamped by Ahab’s order, or to which they fled from the enemy, esteeming that the safest place. See Matthew 24:16.

As sheep that have not a shepherd; as people who have lost their king. See Numbers 27:17 Isaiah 40:11 44:28 Ezekiel 34:23.

Every man to his house in peace; discharged from the war; which was fulfilled, 1 Kings 22:36. And he said,.... 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.

And he said, I saw all Israel scattered upon the hills, as sheep that have not a shepherd: and the LORD said, {o} These have no master: let them return every man to his house in peace.

(o) It is better for them to return home than to be punished and scattered because they go to war without God's counsel and approval.

EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
17. And he said] Here the LXX. adds οὐχ οὕτως, ‘Not so,’ and there is a similar insertion at the beginning of 1 Kings 22:19, where see note.

I saw all Israel] Here Micaiah in true prophetic tone relates a vision which foretells the utter ruin of the coming expedition.

scattered upon the hills] R.V. mountains. This is A.V. in 2 Chronicles, and the change gives a sense of greater dispersion. But in any case the two places should be alike.

as sheep that have not a [R.V. no] shepherd] Again the rendering in 2 Chronicles is adopted. The language of Micaiah spake in no doubtful tone of the coming death of Ahab. For the simile cf. Numbers 27:17, a passage which may have been in Micaiah’s thoughts.

let them return] The prophet pictures the great disaster as falling specially upon Ahab. When he was slain, there would be no attempt to prevent the escape of his army.Verse 17. - And he said [We may imagine how entire was the change of tone. He now speaks with profound seriousness. Thenius sees in the peculiarity and originality of this vision a proof of the historical truth of this history. "We feel that we are gradually drawing nearer to the times of the later prophets. It is a vision which might rank amongst those of Isaiah or Ezekiel" (Stanley)], I saw all Israel scattered upon the hills, as sheep that have not a shepherd: and the Lord said, These have no master: let them return every man to his house in peace. [The last words are illustrated by the command of ver. 31; compare ver. 36. We may also picture the effect these words would have on the assembly at the city gate. For, however much they might be inclined to discredit Micaiah's words, and however much the reckless, unreasoning war spirit might possess them, there were none who did not understand that this vision portended the dispersion of the Israelite army and the death of its leader. King and people had been constantly represented under the figure of shepherd and sheep, and notably by Moses himself, who had used these very words, "sheep without a shepherd" (Numbers 27:17; cf. Psalm 78:70, 71; Isaiah 44:28; Jeremiah 23:1, 2; Ezekiel 34, passim. It is observable that Micaiah's vision, like Zedekiah's parable, borrows the language of the Pentateuch. Coincidences of this remote character are the most powerful proofs that the Pentateuch was then written.] In the meantime the prophets of the calves continued to prophesy success before the two kings, who sat upon thrones "clothed in robes," i.e., in royal attire, upon a floor in front of the gate of Samaria. גּרן, a threshing-floor, i.e., a levelled place in the open air. In order to give greater effect to their announcement, one of them, named Zedekiyah the son of Cnaanah, made himself iron horns, probably iron spikes held upon the head (Thenius), and said, "With these wilt thou thrust down Aram even to destruction." This symbolical action was an embodiment of the figure used by Moses in the blessing of Joseph (Deuteronomy 33:17): "Buffalo horns are his (Joseph's) horns, with them he thrusts down nations" (vid., Hengstenberg, Beitrr. ii. p. 131), and was intended to transfer to Ahab in the case before them that splendid promise which applied to the tribe of Ephraim. But the pseudo-prophet overlooked the fact that the fulfilment of the whole of the blessing of Moses was dependent upon fidelity to the Lord. All the rest of the prophets adopted the same tone, saying, "Go to Ramoth, and prosper," i.e., and thou wilt prosper. (On this use of two imperatives see Ges. 130, 2).
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