1 Kings 22:34
However, a certain man drew his bow without taking special aim, and he struck the king of Israel between the joints of his armor. So the king said to his charioteer, "Turn around and take me out of the battle, for I am badly wounded!"
A Bow At a VentureThe Study1 Kings 22:34
Joints of the HarnessThomas Wilde.1 Kings 22:34
Providence in AccidentsA. Roberts, M. A.1 Kings 22:34
The Pierced ArmourA. Rowland 1 Kings 22:34
Venture in Christian WorkT. H. Darlow.1 Kings 22:34
Character of JehoshaphatR. S. Candlish, D. D.1 Kings 22:2-50
The Character of AhabR. S. Candlish, D. D.1 Kings 22:2-50
The Certainty of God's ThreateningsJ. Urquhart 1 Kings 22:29-40
Lessons of the BattleJ.A. Macdonald 1 Kings 22:30-38

This occurred during the third campaign of Ben-hadad against Israel. Micaiah had forewarned Ahab against the danger he incurred, and was cast into prison for his pains. The warning was, however, taken sufficiently to heart to induce the king to disguise himself. Describe the expedient adopted, and its remarkable failure. Ahab was in many respects a typical sinner. He was an idolater, a persecutor, impenitent, though sometimes touched; and in the plenitude of power he fell. We see here -

I. A MAN ARMED AGAINST GOD. True he was fighting against the Syrians, but as he girded on his armour he remembered and defied the words of the prophet. His ominous prophecy should not be fulfilled, he would yet come back safe and victorious to put Macaiah to death, and with this determination he put Jehoshaphat in command, and clad himself with proof armour. In spirit, therefore, he was fighting not only against the hosts of Syria, but against the word of God. Hence let us depict one who is armed against God. Reverse the description St. Paul gives (Ephesians 6.) of one armed by God. The impenitent sinner represented by Ahab defends himself.

1. By false hopes (Deuteronomy 29:19, 20). These constitute his "helmet," which wards off true thoughts of self and sin. He blindly trusts in Divine mercy, while sin is unrepented, forgetting that "a God all mercy is a God unjust" (Young). "There is none other name given under heaven whereby we may be saved," etc. "How shall we escape, if we neglect so great salvation?"

2. By a hardened heart. This is his "breastplate." A man impenitent is a man lost. Some are;' past feeling," their consciences are "seared as with a hot iron," and God gives them over to their "hardness of heart," and to an "impenitent mind." "Who has hardened himself against God, and prospered?" We may become "hardened by the deceitfulness of sin."

3. By defiant words. There is a tongue which is set on fire of hell Adduce examples. Ahab defied Micaiah.

4. By an unbelieving mind. The king questioned the truth of the prophet's message. He had more confidence in his own past success and in his military skill than in the declaration of a man who knew something of God but nothing of war. Unbelief ever prevents the inflowing of Divine goodness. Jesus "could do no mighty works because of their unbelief."

5. By a dumb spirit. No asking for pardon, no cry for mercy rose from Ahab's heart, or it would not have proved too late; for the Lord is "not willing that any should perish."

II. A MAN STRICKEN BY GOD. The chance arrow of the Syrian archer fulfilled the Divine purpose.

1. By the arrow of conviction. God's word is sharp and powerful, and pierces even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.

(1) It may be shot unwittingly, as the archer drew at a venture not knowing what he might hit. Let our words for God be pointed, and be winged by faith, and He will see that they hit the mark.

(2) It may touch the one vulnerable spot. That arrow pierced "between the joints of armour" otherwise proof. So David's stone would have fallen powerless on the greaves or the breastplate of the giant of Garb. God, who knows our hearts, tries every avenue. Through our reason, through our affections, through our conscience, His word seeks to find its way.

2. By the arrow of judgment.

(1) It was foretold (ver. 28). Ahab ran the risk. So do they who continue in sin after hearing of" a certain fearful looking for of judgment and fiery indignation, which shall devout-the adversaries."

(2) It was inevitable. All disguise and precaution were unavailing. The justice of God sooner or later reaches the right man.

(3) It was terrible. The weak, sensuous man, whose promise had sometimes been so fair, fell in a moment from kingship, from life, and from hope. "lie that being reproved hardeneth his neck, shall suddenly be destroyed, and that without often remedy." - A.R.

A certain man drew a bow at a venture.
I. THE LORD'S HAND IS CONCERNED IN THOSE EVENTS WHICH HAVE THE APPEARANCE OF BEING WHOLLY ACCIDENTAL, AND OF HAPPENING BY CHANCE OR LUCK. The man who drew the bow by which the King of Israel received his death, drew it, as our text says, "at a venture." He took no aim whatever. Men talk of chance, and luck, and fate, and accident, as if there was not a God that ruled the world. And some even pretend to think that it is doing a kind of dishonour to the Lord to suppose that He interferes in the events of life, beyond, perhaps, a mere general oversight or superintendence. But what says the Scripture? What says the Lord Himself of His own doings and appointments? He tells us that His hand is everywhere. He tells us that not a sparrow falleth to the ground without Him — that when "the lot is cast into the lap," yet "the whole disposal thereof is of Him."

II. GOD IS TRUE TO HIS OWN THREATENINGS. Look back into the former verses of this chapter, and you will find King Ahab was expressly warned of God that he should fall at Ramoth-Gilead, and that he should not return at all in peace. Men may "encourage themselves in an evil matter"; they may go on still in evil courses, with a most assured persuasion that their sins shall be unpunished; but true, nevertheless, is that word of the Lord which He hath spoken — "The wages of sin is death." "God shall shoot at them with an arrow; suddenly shall they be wounded."

III. THAT THERE IS NO FENCING OURSELVES AGAINST THE STROKE OF GOD BY ANY EFFORTS OR DEVICES OF OUR OWN. Ahab, seeming, as he did, to hold God's threatenings cheap, yet had some apprehensions notwithstanding. "He who made you can make His weapon to approach unto you," and that all self-defences are in vain! There is a spiritual arrow, very strong and sharp, which may be called "the arrow of conviction," and which consists in the bringing home a sense of guilt and danger to the sinner's conscience. Let us consider such a case as this — a case where the arrow of conviction has come home to a man's heart through the power of the Holy Ghost. The spiritual wound which this poor sinner has received is grievous. Blessed be God! it is not like that of Ahab, hopeless and incurable. There is "balm in Gilead," and there is "a Physician there." That very Lord who made the preaching of His law so sharp and piercing — who made the arrow of conviction strike so deep, can heal as well as wound. He hath provided in His gospel a cure for the transgression of His law. "To bind up the broken-hearted," to provide a precious remedy for dying sinners, was the errand of the Son of God when He visited our world.

(A. Roberts, M. A.)

The Study.
I. WHERE ALL IS VENTURE MEN ACT AS IF ALL WERE CERTAIN. Strong probability is not certainty.

1. No parent is certain that his child shall live to need the education he gives it.

2. No working man is certain that he shall require the provision he has made for "a rainy day."

3. No merchant is certain of reaching that "wealth with honour" for which he toils. Yet the parent, the working man, and the merchant act as reasonable and responsible agents. Still, we have no certainty as to the result of any act viewed apart from its moral element. Thus viewed, however, all is certainty.


1. As a man sows morally, so shall he also reap; not necessarily from his fellow-men, but from God, in the harvest field of his own soul, etc. Experience, etc.

2. The most wicked deed ever perpetrated was first a thought. The accumulative force of moral evil is a certainty. Yet men lust as if lust would never bring forth; and covet as if covetousness never issued in actual theft, etc.

3. The Gospel is a certainty alike in its promises and its threatenings.


1. Be not afraid to "draw a bow at a venture" for the sake of Christ.

2. Be careful of all bows at a venture which are not for Christ's sake.

(The Study.)

There is one recent example, vouched for by Miss Pratt of the Bible School, Yokohama. During the Chino-Japanese war a trainload of soldiers was passing the village of Suzakawa, and one of them tossed a copy of the Japanese gospels into the open window of a house. Through that single book, the owner of the house and his whole family have become Christians.

(T. H. Darlow.)

The joints of the harness.
We have here suggested the strength and the weakness of our defensive spiritual armour. We do not now refer to what St. Paul meant by "the whole armour of God," so much as to a humanly framed defensive system of rules and principles and habits which is necessary to protect us during this exposed earthly life.

I. WE MAY ARM OURSELVES AGAINST THE WORLD BY PLACING RESTRICTIONS UPON OUR INTERCOURSE WITH ITS SOCIAL LIFE. If specially susceptible to worldly influences, we may wisely make it a rule to keep absolutely clear from all its pleasant things in which any temptation can lurk; or we may allow ourselves some degree of liberty, which, however, we restrict by some rule or clearly drawn line beyond which we will not go. This is good defensive armour, but it will not make us invulnerable. No formal, outward separation from the world can absolutely shut out the spirit of the world. The armour of our restrictions may keep out the world bodily, so to speak; but the very trust we place in such armour may open the way for some arrow from the bow of the archer.

II. WE MAY ARM OURSELVES AGAINST THE WORLDLY INFLUENCES WHICH TOUCH US THROUGH OUR NECESSARY INTERCOURSE WITH THE WORLD — as, for instance, in our business relations with men — by joining regularly in religious services and Christian work. In business hours our life is on the open ground, where we are exposed to every temptation. But in the sanctuary of God what can harm us? It is surely from the standpoint of the sanctuary that we get our true ideals of life's duties and aims, and that all the weak things about us are seen. It is there that faith can see and realise Divine things most clearly, and heaven seems so near, and the things of earth so small and poor. But religious services and activities will not necessarily make us safe. The archer is subtle, and has many devices.

III. WE MAY FURTHER DEFEND OURSELVES BY AN ARMOUR OF RELIGIOUS HABITS. There is great strength and protection in habits as distinguished from fitful, varying acts. Let us keep our armour of defence as perfect as we can. Do not undervalue it because it is dangerous to overvalue it. Let the sense of weakness make us humble and watchful. Let us remember that there are places, books, company, and habits which should be labelled "dangerous." The wise man will not court danger, but will flea from it.

(Thomas Wilde.)

Ahab, Ahaziah, Amon, Aram, Asa, Azubah, Chenaanah, David, Geber, Imlah, Jehoram, Jehoshaphat, Jeroboam, Joash, Micah, Micaiah, Nebat, Ophir, Shilhi, Sodomites, Syrians, Tarshish, Tharshish, Zedekiah
Edom, Ezion-geber, Jerusalem, Ophir, Ramoth-gilead, Samaria, Syria, Tarshish
Armor, Battle, Bow, Carry, Chariot, Drew, Driver, Fighting, Hit, I've, Joints, Random, Sections, Severely, Struck, Turn, Wheel, Wounded
1. Ahab, seduced by false prophets, by Michaiah's word, is slain at Ramoth Gilead
37. The dogs lick up his blood, and Ahaziah succeeds him
41. Jehoshaphat's good reign
45. His acts
46. Jehoram succeeds him
51. Ahaziah's evil reign

Dictionary of Bible Themes
1 Kings 22:34

     5206   archers
     5209   armour
     5236   bow and arrow
     5237   breastplate

1 Kings 22:1-38

     8131   guidance, results

1 Kings 22:17-38

     6708   predestination

1 Kings 22:29-37

     5837   disguise

1 Kings 22:34-38

     4912   chance

Unpossessed Possessions
'And the king of Israel said unto his servants, Know ye that Ramoth in Gilead is ours, and we be still, and take it not out of the hand of the king of Syria?'--1 KINGS xxii. 3. This city of Ramoth in Gilead was an important fortified place on the eastern side of the Jordan, and had, many years before the date of our text, been captured by its northern neighbours in the kingdom of Syria. A treaty had subsequently been concluded and broken a war followed thereafter, in which Ben-hadad, King of Syria,
Alexander Maclaren—Expositions of Holy Scripture

Ahab and Micaiah
'And Jehoshaphat said, Is there not here a prophet of the Lord besides, that we might enquire of him? 8. And the king of Israel said unto Jehoshaphat, There is yet one man, Micaiah the son of Imlah, by whom we may enquire of the Lord: but I hate him; for he doth not prophesy good concerning me, but evil.'--1 KINGS xxii. 7,8. An ill-omened alliance had been struck up between Ahab of Israel and Jehoshaphat of Judah. The latter, who would have been much better in Jerusalem, had come down to Samaria
Alexander Maclaren—Expositions of Holy Scripture

The Prophet Micah.
PRELIMINARY REMARKS. Micah signifies: "Who is like Jehovah;" and by this name, the prophet is consecrated to the incomparable God, just as Hosea was to the helping God, and Nahum to the comforting God. He prophesied, according to the inscription, under Jotham, Ahaz, and Hezekiah. We are not, however, entitled, on this account, to dissever his prophecies, and to assign particular discourses to the reign of each of these kings. On the contrary, the entire collection forms only one whole. At
Ernst Wilhelm Hengstenberg—Christology of the Old Testament

The Poetical Books (Including Also Ecclesiastes and Canticles).
1. The Hebrews reckon but three books as poetical, namely: Job, Psalms, and Proverbs, which are distinguished from the rest by a stricter rhythm--the rhythm not of feet, but of clauses (see below, No. 3)--and a peculiar system of accentuation. It is obvious to every reader that the poetry of the Old Testament, in the usual sense of the word, is not restricted to these three books. But they are called poetical in a special and technical sense. In any natural classification of the books of the
E. P. Barrows—Companion to the Bible

The Assyrian Revival and the Struggle for Syria
Assur-nazir-pal (885-860) and Shalmaneser III. (860-825)--The kingdom of Urartu and its conquering princes: Menuas and Argistis. Assyria was the first to reappear on the scene of action. Less hampered by an ancient past than Egypt and Chaldaea, she was the sooner able to recover her strength after any disastrous crisis, and to assume again the offensive along the whole of her frontier line. Image Drawn by Faucher-Gudin, from a bas-relief at Koyunjik of the time of Sennacherib. The initial cut,
G. Maspero—History Of Egypt, Chaldaea, Syria, Babylonia, and Assyria, V 7

Use to be Made of the Doctrine of Providence.
Sections. 1. Summary of the doctrine of Divine Providence. 1. It embraces the future and the past. 2. It works by means, without means, and against means. 3. Mankind, and particularly the Church, the object of special care. 4. The mode of administration usually secret, but always just. This last point more fully considered. 2. The profane denial that the world is governed by the secret counsel of God, refuted by passages of Scripture. Salutary counsel. 3. This doctrine, as to the secret counsel of
John Calvin—The Institutes of the Christian Religion

The Shepherd of Our Souls.
"I am the good Shepherd: the good Shepherd giveth His life for the sheep."--John x. 11. Our Lord here appropriates to Himself the title under which He had been foretold by the Prophets. "David My servant shall be king over them," says Almighty God by the mouth of Ezekiel: "and they all shall have one Shepherd." And in the book of Zechariah, "Awake, O sword, against My Shepherd, and against the man that is My fellow, saith the Lord of Hosts; smite the Shepherd, and the sheep shall be scattered."
John Henry Newman—Parochial and Plain Sermons, Vol. VIII

Of Councils and their Authority.
1. The true nature of Councils. 2. Whence the authority of Councils is derived. What meant by assembling in the name of Christ. 3. Objection, that no truth remains in the Church if it be not in Pastors and Councils. Answer, showing by passages from the Old Testament that Pastors were often devoid of the spirit of knowledge and truth. 4. Passages from the New Testament showing that our times were to be subject to the same evil. This confirmed by the example of almost all ages. 5. All not Pastors who
John Calvin—The Institutes of the Christian Religion

That the Employing Of, and Associating with the Malignant Party, According as is Contained in the Public Resolutions, is Sinful and Unlawful.
That The Employing Of, And Associating With The Malignant Party, According As Is Contained In The Public Resolutions, Is Sinful And Unlawful. If there be in the land a malignant party of power and policy, and the exceptions contained in the Act of Levy do comprehend but few of that party, then there need be no more difficulty to prove, that the present public resolutions and proceedings do import an association and conjunction with a malignant party, than to gather a conclusion from clear premises.
Hugh Binning—The Works of the Rev. Hugh Binning

Of Passages from the Holy Scriptures, and from the Apocrypha, which are Quoted, or Incidentally Illustrated, in the Institutes.
TO THE AUTHORS QUOTED IN THE INSTITUTES PREFATORY ADDRESS TO HIS MOST CHRISTIAN MAJESTY, THE MOST MIGHTY AND ILLUSTRIOUS MONARCH, FRANCIS, KING OF THE FRENCH, HIS SOVEREIGN; [1] JOHN CALVIN PRAYS PEACE AND SALVATION IN CHRIST. [2] Sire,--When I first engaged in this work, nothing was farther from my thoughts than to write what should afterwards be presented to your Majesty. My intention was only to furnish a kind of rudiments, by which those who feel some interest in religion might be trained to
John Calvin—The Institutes of the Christian Religion

He Does Battle for the Faith; He Restores Peace among those who were at Variance; He Takes in Hand to Build a Stone Church.
57. (32). There was a certain clerk in Lismore whose life, as it is said, was good, but his faith not so. He was a man of some knowledge in his own eyes, and dared to say that in the Eucharist there is only a sacrament and not the fact[718] of the sacrament, that is, mere sanctification and not the truth of the Body. On this subject he was often addressed by Malachy in secret, but in vain; and finally he was called before a public assembly, the laity however being excluded, in order that if it were
H. J. Lawlor—St. Bernard of Clairvaux's Life of St. Malachy of Armagh

Sovereignty of God in Administration
"The LORD hath prepared His Throne In the heavens; and His Kingdom ruleth over all" (Psa. 103:19). First, a word concerning the need for God to govern the material world. Suppose the opposite for a moment. For the sake of argument, let us say that God created the world, designed and fixed certain laws (which men term "the laws of Nature"), and that He then withdrew, leaving the world to its fortune and the out-working of these laws. In such a case, we should have a world over which there was no intelligent,
Arthur W. Pink—The Sovereignty of God

Tit. 2:06 Thoughts for Young Men
WHEN St. Paul wrote his Epistle to Titus about his duty as a minister, he mentioned young men as a class requiring peculiar attention. After speaking of aged men and aged women, and young women, he adds this pithy advice, "Young men likewise exhort to be sober-minded" (Tit. 2:6). I am going to follow the Apostle's advice. I propose to offer a few words of friendly exhortation to young men. I am growing old myself, but there are few things I remember so well as the days of my youth. I have a most
John Charles Ryle—The Upper Room: Being a Few Truths for the Times

General Principles of Interpretation. 1 Since the Bible Addresses Men in Human Language...
CHAPTER XXXIV. GENERAL PRINCIPLES OF INTERPRETATION. 1. Since the Bible addresses men in human language, and according to human modes of thinking and speaking, the interpreter's first work is to ascertain the meaning of the terms employed. Here he must proceed as in the case of other writings, seeking by the aid of grammars, lexicons, cognate languages, ancient versions, ancient interpreters, and whatever other outward helps are available, to gain a thorough knowledge of the language employed by
E. P. Barrows—Companion to the Bible

The remarkable change which we have noticed in the views of Jewish authorities, from contempt to almost affectation of manual labour, could certainly not have been arbitrary. But as we fail to discover here any religious motive, we can only account for it on the score of altered political and social circumstances. So long as the people were, at least nominally, independent, and in possession of their own land, constant engagement in a trade would probably mark an inferior social stage, and imply
Alfred Edersheim—Sketches of Jewish Social Life

The Figurative Language of Scripture.
1. When the psalmist says: "The Lord God is a sun and shield" (Psa. 84:11), he means that God is to all his creatures the source of life and blessedness, and their almighty protector; but this meaning he conveys under the figure of a sun and a shield. When, again, the apostle James says that Moses is read in the synagogues every Sabbath-day (Acts 15:21), he signifies the writings of Moses under the figure of his name. In these examples the figure lies in particular words. But it may be embodied
E. P. Barrows—Companion to the Bible

Instruction for the Ignorant:
BEING A SALVE TO CURE THAT GREAT WANT OF KNOWLEDGE, WHICH SO MUCH REIGNS BOTH IN YOUNG AND OLD. PREPARED AND PRESENTED TO THEM IN A PLAIN AND EASY DIALOGUE, FITTED TO THE CAPACITY OF THE WEAKEST. 'My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge.'--Hosea 4:6 ADVERTISEMENT BY THE EDITOR. This little catechism is upon a plan perfectly new and unique. It was first published as a pocket volume in 1675, and has been republished in every collection of the author's works; and recently in a separate tract.
John Bunyan—The Works of John Bunyan Volumes 1-3

The book[1] of Kings is strikingly unlike any modern historical narrative. Its comparative brevity, its curious perspective, and-with some brilliant exceptions--its relative monotony, are obvious to the most cursory perusal, and to understand these things is, in large measure, to understand the book. It covers a period of no less than four centuries. Beginning with the death of David and the accession of Solomon (1 Kings i., ii.) it traverses his reign with considerable fulness (1 Kings iii.-xi.),
John Edgar McFadyen—Introduction to the Old Testament

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