1 Kings 22:27
And say, Thus said the king, Put this fellow in the prison, and feed him with bread of affliction and with water of affliction, until I come in peace.
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(27) Bread of affliction . . .—Comp. Isaiah 30:20. This is a command of severe treatment, as well as scanty fare. Ahab’s affectation of disbelief—which his subsequent conduct shows to be but affectation—simply draws down a plainer and sterner prediction, accompanied moreover, if our text be correct by an appeal to the whole assembly to bear witness of it. Of Micaiah’s fate we know nothing; but it is hard to suppose that his bold and defiant testimony could escape the extreme penalty of death, when Ahab’s fall gave opportunity of revival to the ruthlessness of Jezebel.

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.Feed him with bread of affliction ... - Micaiah is to be once more put in prison, but, in order to punish him for his uncomplying spirit, upon a poorer and scantier diet than he had been previously allowed. This is to continue until Ahab returns in peace. Ahab introduces this expression purposely, in order to show his entire disbelief of Micaiah's prophecy. 27, 28. bread of affliction, water of affliction—that is, the poorest prison fare. Micaiah submitted, but reiterated aloud, in the presence of all, that the issue of the war would be fatal to Ahab. i. e. With a very coarse and sparing diet, whereby he may be only supported to endure his torment. See Deu 16:3 2 Chronicles 18:26 Isaiah 30:20.

Until I come in peace; until I return in triumph, which I doubt not I shall do in spite of all his malicious suggestions to the contrary, and then I shall call him to an account for all his lies and impudence. And say, thus saith the king, put this fellow in prison,.... In the common prison of the city, where he had been before, as it seems; and might be now ordered into a more confined place in it, and what might be called "little ease":

and feed him with bread of affliction, and with water of affliction; with bad bread and foul water, and but little of either; just enough to keep alive, and to continue starving:

until I come in peace; which he seemed confident of, and intimates that then he would punish him more severely, even with death, as a false prophet.

And say, Thus saith the king, Put this fellow in the prison, and feed him with {t} bread of affliction and with water of affliction, until I come in peace.

(t) Let him waste away with hunger and be fed with a small portion of bread and water.

27. bread of affliction] Prison fare. The expression is found in Isaiah 30:20, of the suffering of Israel in captivity. Hence it indicates the food which would be procurable in a time of siege, or by prisoners in captivity.Verse 27. - And say [Heb. thou shalt say], Thus saith the king, Put this fellow in the prison [Heb. house of the prison. Bahr thinks that Micaiah had formerly been in arrest under Amon's charge, and now was to be committed to the prison proper. But more probably the words mean, "put him in the prison again." His superadded punishment was to be in the shape of prison diet. It is probable that it was owing to the presence of Jehoshaphat that Micaiah escaped with no severer sentence], and feed him with bread of affliction [or oppression, לָחַץ pressit; cf. Exodus 3:9; Numbers 22:25; 2 Kings 6:32], and with water of affliction [Josephus (Ant. 8:15. 4) relates that after Micaiah's prediction the king was in great suspense and fear, until Zedekiah deliberately smote him, in order to show that he was powerless to avenge an injury as the man of God did (1 Kings 13:4), and therefore no true prophet. This may be an "empty Rabbinical tradition" (Bahr), but we may be sure that Ahab did not hear Micaiah's words unmoved. He had had such convincing proofs of the foresight and powers of the Lord's prophets that he may well have trembled, even as he put on a bold front, and sent Micaiah back to the prison house], until I come in peace. [This looks like an effort to encourage himself and those around him. But it almost betrays his misgivings. He would have them think he had no fears. Micah was not led astray, however, by this, but disclosed to him by a further revelation the hidden ground of the false prophecy of his 400 prophets. וגו שׁמע לכן, "therefore, sc. because thou thinkest so, hear the word of Jehovah: I saw the Lord sit upon His throne, and all the army of heaven stand around him (עליו עמד as in Genesis 18:8, etc.) on His right hand and on His left. And the Lord said, Who will persuade Ahab to go up and fall at Ramoth in Gilead? and one spake so, the other so; and the spirit came forth (from the ranks of the rest), stood before Jehovah, and said, I will persuade him...I will go out and be a lying spirit in the mouth of all his prophets. And He (Jehovah) said, Persuade, and thou wilt also be able; go forth and do so. And now Jehovah has put a lying spirit into the mouth of all his prophets; but Jehovah (Himself) has spoken evil (through me) concerning thee." The vision described by Micah was not merely a subjective drapery introduced by the prophet, but a simple communication of the real inward vision by which the fact had been revealed to him, that the prophecy of those 400 prophets was inspired by a lying spirit. The spirit (הרוּח) which inspired these prophets as a lying spirit is neither Satan, nor any evil spirit whatever, but, as the definite article and the whole of the context show, the personified spirit of prophecy, which is only so far a πνεῦμα ἀκάθαρτον τῆς πλάνης (Zechariah 13:2; 1 John 4:6) and under the influence of Satan as it works as שׁקר רוּח in accordance with the will of God. For even the predictions of the false prophets, as we may see from the passage before us, and also from Zechariah 13:2 and the scriptural teaching in other passages concerning the spiritual principle of evil, were not mere inventions of human reason and fancy; but the false prophets as well as the true were governed by a supernatural spiritual principle, and, according to divine appointment, were under the influence of the evil spirit in the service of falsehood, just as the true prophets were moved by the Holy Spirit in the service of the Lord. The manner in which the supernatural influence of the lying spirit upon the false prophets is brought out in Micah's vision is, that the spirit of prophecy (רוח הנבואה) offers itself to deceive Ahab as שׁקר רוּח in the false prophets. Jehovah sends this spirit, inasmuch as the deception of Ahab has been inflicted upon him as a judgment of God for his unbelief. But there is no statement here to the effect that this lying spirit proceeded from Satan, because the object of the prophet was simply to bring out the working of God in the deception practised upon Ahab by his prophets. - The words of Jehovah, "Persuade Ahab, thou wilt be able," and "Jehovah has put a lying spirit," etc., are not to be understood as merely expressing the permission of God, as the fathers and the earlier theologians suppose. According to the Scriptures, God does work evil, but without therefore willing it and bringing forth sin. The prophet's view is founded upon this thought: Jehovah has ordained that Ahab, being led astray by a prediction of his prophets inspired by the spirit of lies, shall enter upon the war, that he may find therein the punishment of his ungodliness. As he would not listen to the word of the Lord in the mouth of His true servants, God had given him up (παρέδωκεν, Romans 1:24, Romans 1:26, Romans 1:28) in his unbelief to the working of the spirits of lying. But that this did not destroy the freedom of the human will is evident from the expression תּפתּה, "thou canst persuade him," and still more clearly from תּוּכל גּם, "thou wilt also be able," since they both presuppose the possibility of resistance to temptation on the part of man.

Zedekiah was so enraged at this unveiling of the spirit of lying by which the pseudo-prophets were impelled, that he smote Micah upon the cheek, and said (1 Kings 22:24): "Where did the Spirit of Jehovah depart from me, to speak to thee?" To אי־זה the Chronicles add as an explanation, הדּרך: "by what way had he gone from me?" (cf. 2 Kings 3:8, and Ewald, 326, a.) Zedekiah was conscious that he had not invented his prophecy himself, and therefore it was that he rose up with such audacity against Micah; but he only proved that it was not the Spirit of God which inspired him. If he had been inspired by the Spirit of the Lord, he would not have thought it necessary to try and give effect to his words by rude force, but he would have left the defence of his cause quietly to the Lord, as Micah did, who calmly replied to the zealot thus (1 Kings 22:25): "Thou wilt see it (that the Spirit of Jehovah had departed from thee) on the day when thou shalt go from chamber to chamber to hide thyself" (החבה for החבא, see Ges. 75, Anm. 21). This was probably fulfilled at the close of the war, when Jezebel or the friends of Ahab made the pseudo-prophets suffer for the calamitous result; although there is nothing said about this in our history, which confines itself to the main facts.

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