1 Kings 22:24
But Zedekiah the son of Chenaanah went near, and smote Micaiah on the cheek, and said, Which way went the Spirit of the LORD from me to speak to you?
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
(24) Smote Micaiah on the cheek.—The act is not only the expression of contempt (see Isaiah 1:6; Micah 5:1; Matthew 5:39), but of professed indignation at words of blasphemy against God, or of contempt for His vicegerents; as is seen clearly, when it is recorded as directed against Our Lord or against St. Paul (John 18:22-23; Acts 23:2). The words which accompany it evidently convey a sarcastic reference to the knowledge of the secret dealings of God, implied in Micaiah’s vision, with a view to turn it into ridicule. Micaiah’s answer accordingly passes them by, and merely declares the shame and terror, with which Zedekiah shall find out hereafter the truth of the prophecy of evil. Josephus has a curious addition, that Zedekiah challenged Micaiah to wither up his hand, like the hand of Jeroboam at Bethel, and scouted his prophecy as inconsistent with that of Elijah (Antt. viii. 15, § 4).

1 Kings 22:24-25. But Zedekiah went near — The chief of the false prophets, who was much in the king’s favour. Which way went the Spirit of the Lord, &c. — In what manner went it? Contemptuous language as well as behaviour: as much as to say, How dare you prophesy directly contrary to what I have done, who have the Spirit of the Lord! Behold, thou shalt go into an inner chamber — Into a secret place; to hide thyself — For fear of being seized and punished as a false prophet, and as the great author and abetter of this pernicious war, and of Ahab’s destruction. Probably he went with Ahab to the battle, after which he was glad to shelter himself where he could.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.Smote Micaiah on the cheek - As Micaiah had been brought from prison 1 Kings 22:26, it is probable that his hands were bound.

The prophet, thus standing before the great ones of the earth, bound and helpless, bearing testimony to the truth, and for his testimony smitten on the face by an underling, whose blow he receives without either shame or anger, is a notable type of our Lord before Caiaphas suffering the same indignity.

Which way ... - Zedekiah's meaning may perhaps be expounded as follows:

"The Spirit of Yahweh certainly came to me, and inspired me with the answer which I gave. If He afterward went to thee, as thou sayest that He did, perhaps thou canst tell us - as all the secrets of the invisible world are, thou pretendest, open to thee - which way He took."

24, 25. Zedekiah the son of Chenaanah went near, and smote Micaiah on the cheek—The insolence of this man, the leader of the false prophets, seems to have been provoked by jealousy at Micaiah's assumed monopoly of the spirit of inspiration. This mode of smiting, usually with a shoe, is both severe and ignominious. The calm reply of the Lord's prophet consisted in announcing the fate of the false prophets who suffered as the advisers of the disastrous expedition. Zedekiah the son of Chenaanah; the chief of the false prophets, who was much in the king’s favour, upon which he now presumed.

Smote Micaiah on the cheek, in way of contempt and scorn, Job 16:10 Jeremiah 20:2 Lamentations 3:30 Mark 14:65.

Which way went the Spirit of the Lord, i.e. in what manner went it? Forasmuch as I and my brethren have consulted the Lord, and answered in his name, and have the same Spirit which thou pretendest to have, and not a lying spirit, as thou dost falsely and maliciously affirm, how is it possible that the same Spirit should tell us one thing, and thee the quite contrary? But Zedekiah the son of Chenaanah went near,.... 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.

But Zedekiah the son of Chenaanah went near, and smote Micaiah on the cheek, and said, {s} Which way went the Spirit of the LORD from me to speak unto thee?

(s) Thus the wicked would that none were in the favour of God but they, and that God has given his graces to none so much as to them.

EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
24. But Zedekiah … went [R.V. came] near] The verb is the same as in 1 Kings 20:13. See note there.

Josephus has a great expansion of the narrative at this point, which leads up to the blow given to Micaiah. He says ‘the king began to ponder on what had been said, but Zedekiah, one of the false prophets, came near and advised him to pay no regard to Micaiah, for he spake no truth. And he brought forward, as a proof of this, what Elijah, who knew the future far better than this man, had prophesied. He prophesied in the city of Jezreel and said that dogs should lick the king’s blood in the field of Naboth, as they had licked that of Naboth who through him had been stoned by the people. It is clear then that this man lies, in contradicting the better prophet and declaring that the king shall die within three days. But ye shall know if he is true and has the power of the divine spirit. For let him, after I have struck him, blast my hand at once, as Jadon (see above on 1 Kings 13:1) withered the right hand of king Jeroboam, when he desired to arrest him. For, said he, you have heard what happened then. Whereupon he struck Micaiah, and when no harm befel him, Ahab took heart and was encouraged to lead his army against the Syrian.’

Which way went the spirit of the Lord] The whole account intimates that Zedekiah conceived himself prompted by the divine spirit and thought that he was telling the truth to Ahab. He was moved by the spirit of prophecy but knew not that God had willed it to be to him a spirit of lies.

The LXX. has rendered ‘what spirit of the Lord was it that has spoken in thee?’Verse 24. - But Zedekiah the son of Chenaanah [Rawlinson holds that he was a sort of coryphaeus of the false prophets. It is more probable that, having put himself forward on a former occasion (ver. 11), he now feels specially aggrieved at Micaiah's blunt assertion, that he and the rest have been possessed by a spirit of lies] went near, and smote Micaiah [A thoroughly natural touch. But the whole narrative has every mark of naturalness and veracity. It is easy to see how enraged Zedekiah would be at the slight cast upon his prophetic powers. Apparently this gross indignity elicited no protest or word of displeasure from either of the kings. Micaiah, like Elijah, was left alone], on the cheek [cf. Job 16:10; Lamentations 3:30; Luke 6:29; and above all Matthew 26:67; Luke 22:64; Acts 23:2. Herein Micaiah had "the fellowship of sufferings" (Philippians 3:10) with our blessed Lord. Rawlinson thinks that his hands would be bound, but this is extremely improbable. In that case Ahab could hardly have asked him to prophesy (ver. 15), or if he did, Jehoshaphat would know beforehand what to expect], and said, Which way [Heb. What, or where. The chronicler supplies "way," thereby bringing the expression into unison with 1 Kings 13:12; 2 Kings 3:8; Job 38:24] went [Heb. passed, crossed, עָבַר] the Spirit of the Lord [These words are important, as showing that the speaker had not identified "the spirit" of ver. 21 with the evil spirit: Job 1:6 sqq.] from me to speak unto thee? [It is pretty clear from these words, in connexion with ver. 23, that Zedekiah had been conscious of an inspiration, of a spirit not his own, which impelled him to speak and act as he did. We must not attach too much import-ante to a taunting and passionate speech, but its meaning appears to be: I have spoken in the name and by the spirit of Jehovah. Thou claimest to have done the same. How is it that the Spirit of God speaks one thing by me, another by thee? Thou hast seen (ver. 19) the secret counsels of Heaven. Tell us, then, which way, etc. But although Ahab had asked for a true word of the Lord, yet he endeavoured to attribute the unfavourable prophecy to Micah's persona enmity, saying to Jehoshaphat, "Did I not tell thee that he prophesies nothing good concerning me, but only evil (misfortune)?"
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