And the king of Israel said to Jehoshaphat, I will disguise myself, and enter into the battle; but put you on your robes. And the king of Israel disguised himself, and went into the battle.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)I will disguise myself.—The precaution of Ahab is almost ludicrously characteristic of his temper of half-belief and half-unbelief. In itself it is, of course, plainly absurd to believe that God’s judgment has in all probability been pronounced, and yet to suppose that it can be averted by so puerile a precaution. But, as experience shows, it is not the less on that account true to human nature, especially such a nature as his, always “halting between two opinions.”1 Kings 22:30. The king of Israel said, I will disguise myself — Put off my imperial habit, and appear as a private man, that the Syrians may not know me, and direct their main force against me. This he judged they would do, as knowing him to be the principal author of this war, and that it was likely to die with him. But put thou on thy robes — Thy royal robes, which thou mayest do without danger, because thou art not the object of the rage of the Syrians, nor of this false prophecy. Thus, while he pretended to do honour to Jehoshaphat, and compliment him with the sole command of the army in this action, he hoped to elude the danger, and so defeat the threatening, as if by disguising himself he could escape the divine cognizance, and the judgments that pursued him.1 Kings 22:31. I will disguise myself, i.e. put off my imperial habit, that the Syrians may not know me, and direct their main force against me; which they will assuredly endeavour, as knowing that this war proceedeth from me, and is likely to die with me; and then thou shalt see that this man is a false prophet, and I shall have the success which I desire and expect, notwithstanding all his presages.
Thy robes; thy royal robes; which thou mayest do without any danger, because thou art not the object either of the Syrians’ rage, or of this false prophecy. 1 Kings 22:34 and this he might do to elude the prophecy of Micaiah:
but put thou on thy robes; his royal robes, or rather keep them on, that he might appear to be the chief commander of the army. There seems to be a good deal of insincerity and treachery in this conduct of Ahab's, whatever honour he might pretend to Jehoshaphat, or safety he might promise him in such a situation; his view seems to be to save himself at the hazard of the life of Jehoshaphat, especially if the Septuagint version could be established, "and put on my clothes"; which is natural enough, but would have been too barefaced:And the king of Israel said unto Jehoshaphat, I will disguise myself, and enter into the battle; but put thou on thy robes. And the king of Israel disguised himself, and went into the battle.
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)29–40. Battle of Ramoth-gilead. Defeat and death of Ahab (2 Chronicles 18:28-34)
30. I will disguise myself, and enter [R.V. go] into the battle] Another tense of the same verb is translated ‘went’ in this verse, and ‘go’ is the rendering in 2 Chronicles 18:29.
There must have been some mark by which the king of Judah could be distinguished from the king of Israel; something answering to modern blazonry or a coat of arms, or else the action of Ahab would have been one designed to put his brother-king into the greatest possible peril. This we can hardly think he would have wished to do, nor would Jehoshaphat alone have gone to the post of greatest danger. Ahab seems to have been alarmed lest after all there should be some truth in Micaiah’s words. He will therefore clothe himself like an ordinary soldier and let the king of Judah alone appear in kingly robes, for against him the attack would not be particularly directed.
put thou on thy robes] The LXX. has ‘my’ (τὸν ἱματισμὸν μοῦ). But this would have been to expose Jehoshaphat to all the peril which he himself desired to avoid. Josephus says, Ahab meant to falsify (κατασοφίζεσθαι) the predictions of Micaiah.Verse 30. - And the king of Israel said unto Jehoahaphat [At Ramoth-Gilead, on the eve of the battle], I will disguise himself." [same word 1 Kings 20:38] and enter [The margin," when he was to disguise himself," etc., is quite mistaken. The Hebrew has two infinitives; lit., to disguise oneself and enter; a construction which is frequently employed to indicate an absolute command. Cf. Genesis 17:10; Exodus 20:8; Isaiah 14:31; and see Ewald, 828 c. "The infinitive absolute is the plainest and simplest form of the voluntative for exclamations" (Bahr). It agrees well with the excitement under which Ahab was doubtless labouring] into the battle. [It is not necessary to suppose with Ewald, Rawlinson, el., that he had heard of Ben-hadad's command to his captain, (ver. 81). It is hardly likely that such intelligence could be brought by spies, and there would be no deserters from the Syrian army to that of the Jews. It is enough to remember that Micaiah's words, "these have no master," could not fail to awaken come alarm in his bosom, especially when connected with the prophecy of 1 Kings 20:42. He will not betray his fear by keeping out of the fray - which, indeed, he could not do without abdicating one of the principal functions of the king (1 Samuel 8:20), and without exposing himself to the charge of cowardice; but under the circumstances he thinks it imprudent to take the lead of the army, as kings were wont to do (2 Samuel 1:10), in his royal robes. He hopes by his disguise to escape all clanger]: but put thou on thy robes [LXX. τὸν ἱματισμόν μου. "My robed" "We can neither imagine Ahab's asking nor Jehoshaphat's consenting to such a procedure. Jehoshaphat had his own royal robes with him, as appears from ver. 10" (Rawlinson). If this LXX. interpretation could be maintained it would lend some colour to the supposition, otherwise destitute of basis, that Ahab by this arrangement was plotting the death of Jehoshaphat in order that he might incorporate Judah into his own kingdom. It is clear, however, that Ahab then had other work on his hands, and it is doubtful whether even he was capable of such a pitch of villainy. What he means is, either
(1) that the Syrians have a personal enmity against himself (ver. 81), whereas they could have none against the king of Judah; or
(2) that Jehoshaphat's life had not been threatened as his own had. "These words וְאַתָּה לְּבשׁ are not to be taken as a command, but simply in this sense: Thou canst put on thy royal dress, since there is no necessity for thee to take any such precautions as I have to take" (Keil). Do they not rather mean that Jehoshaphat should be the recognized leader of the army in which Ahab would serve in a more private capacity?] And the king of Israel disguised himself and went into the battle. 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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