1 Kings 22:21
And there came forth a spirit, and stood before the LORD, and said, I will persuade him.
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(21) A spirit.—It should be the spirit. The definite article is explained by some, perhaps rather weakly, as simply anticipatory of the description which follows. Others take the phrase to signify “the spirit of prophecy,” a kind of emanation from the Godhead, looked upon as the medium of the prophetic inspiration, which is an expression conceivable, but certainly unprecedented. Perhaps without introducing into this passage the distinct idea of “the Satan,” i.e., the enemy, which we find in Job 1, 2; 1Chronicles 21:1; Zechariah 3:1-2. it may be best to interpret it by the conception, common to all religions recognising the terrible existence of evil in the world, of a spiritual power of evil (called euphemistically, “the spirit”) overruled to work out the judgments of God. The absolute subordination of such spirits of evil in every notice of them in the Old Testament precludes all danger of the monstrous dualism of so many Eastern religions. The reference of the power of divination to such spirits is found in the New Testament also. (See Acts 16:16-18.)

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.A spirit - "The spirit " - which some explain as "the evil spirit" - i. e. Satan; others as simply "the spirit" who should "persuade." 18-23. Did I not tell thee that he would prophesy no good concerning me, but evil?—Since Ahab was disposed to trace this unwelcome truth to personal enmity, Micaiah proceeded fearlessly to tell the incensed monarch in full detail what had been revealed to him. The Hebrew prophets, borrowing their symbolic pictures from earthly scenes, described God in heaven as a king in His kingdom. And as earthly princes do nothing of importance without asking the advice of their counsellors, God is represented as consulting about the fate of Ahab. This prophetic language must not be interpreted literally, and the command must be viewed as only a permission to the lying spirit (Ro 11:34) [Calmet]. An evil spirit came out of the knot or company of them, standing possibly on the left hand, and presented himself before the throne, as having something to say to the Lord. And there came forth a spirit,.... 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 (q), seeking revenge on Ahab; that was in a state of happiness, could not move from thence, and be capable of sinning.

(q) T. Bab. Sanhedrin, fol. 89. 1. & 102. 2. Targum in 2 Chronicles 18.20.

And there came forth a spirit, and {q} stood before the LORD, and said, I will persuade him.

(q) Here we see that though the devil is always ready to bring us to destruction, yet he has no more power than God gives him.

21. And there came forth a spirit] The Hebrew has ‘the spirit’ as is noted on the margin of the R.V. It seems therefore to imply some definite power which imparted to prophets their gifts; the prophetic spirit. That God allowed this power to delude Ahab was because of the king’s persistence in evil. God therefore gives him over to it, and causes the prophets whom he has chosen for himself, to the rejection of Micaiah and such as he, to be the instruments of his destruction. Thus when Isaiah is sent to rebellious Israel (Isaiah 6:10) his mission is described as of this nature. God says to him ‘Make the heart of this people fat and make their ears heavy, and shut their eyes, lest they see with their eyes, and hear with their ears, and understand with their hearts.’ In this wise and with like effect comes the spirit from God into the mouths of Ahab’s four hundred.Verse 21. - And there came forth a spirit [Heb. the spirit. By some, especially of the earlier commentators, understood of the evil spirit. But the view now generally adopted (Thenius, Keil, Bahr) is that "the spirit of prophecy" is meant, "the power which, going forth from God and taking possession of a man, makes him a prophet (1 Samuel 10:6, 10; 1 Samuel 19:20, 23). The נָביא is the אִישׁ הָרוּחַ (Hosea 9:7)" Bahr. This power is here personified], and stood before the Lord, and said, I [emphatic in the Hebrew] will persuade [or entice] him. Micah's prophecy concerning the war, and his testimony against the lying prophets. - 1 Kings 22:15, 1 Kings 22:16. When Micah had come into the presence of the king, he replied to his question, "Shall we go against Ramoth?" etc., in just the same words as the pseudo-prophets, to show the king how he would speak if he were merely guided by personal considerations, as the others were. From the verbal agreement in his reply, and probably also from the tone in which he spoke, Ahab perceived that his words were ironical, and adjured him to speak only truth in the name of Jehovah. Micah then told him what he had seen in the spirit (1 Kings 22:17): "I saw all Israel scatter itself upon the mountains, as sheep that have no shepherd;" and then added the word of the Lord: "These have no master; let them return every one to his house in peace." That is to say, Ahab would fall in the war against Ramoth in Gilead, and his army scatter itself without a leader upon the mountains of Gilead, and then every one would return home, without being pursued and slain by the enemy. Whilst Zedekiyah attempted to give greater emphasis to his prophecy by symbolically transferring to Ahab's enterprise the success predicted by Moses, Micah, on the other hand, showed to the king out of the law that would really take place in the intended war, namely, that very state of things which Moses before his departure sought to avert from Israel, by the prayer that the Lord would set a man over the congregation to lead them out and in, that the congregation might not become as sheep that have no shepherd (Numbers 27:16-17).
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