As for the rest of the acts of Ahab, along with all his accomplishments and the ivory palace and all the cities he built, are they not written in the Book of the Chronicles of the Kings of Israel?
I. THAT AHAB SURVIVED IN AHAZIAH.
1. This was legally true.
(1) "So Ahab slept with his fathers; and Ahaziah his son reigned in his stead." In law, a man is said to "live in his heirs." He is never legally dead while he has an heir. There is a good reason for this. Ahaziah would never have mounted the throne of Israel unless his father had been there before him. He reigned in the posthumous influence of Ahab. His representative.
(2) When a man is what is called "the architect of his own fortune," he is said to have had "no father." But in this language the fact is ignored that, under Providence, this "architect" is indebted to his ancestry for his existence, for his faculties, and for the circumstances which he may have seized and moulded into this "fortune."
2. It was also morally true.
(1) In Ahaziah the vices of Ahab were reproduced. "He did evil in the sight of the Lord, and walked in the way of his father." The bad example of his father wrought its influence into his character, and thus Ahab survived in Ahaziah.
(2) The record descends to particulars. "He walked in the way of his father, and in the way of his mother." Here not only is Jezebel reproduced in Ahaziah, but Ahab's sin in marrying Jezebel also survives. "And in the way of Jeroboam the son of Nebat, who made Israel to sin." Here is not only the posthumous influence of Jeroboam, but also of the sin of Ahab in perpetuating it. "For he served Baal, and worshipped him." The establishment of this Canaanitish abomination was due to Ahab and Jezebel, and they infamously survive in its perpetuation.
(a) A Church is not the more true for being established. Here were two State Churches which were, in the Biblical sense, atheistic.
(b) For concurrent endowment, whatever may be said for its expediency, there can be no moral defence.
3. But there was no necessity for this.
(1) Legal representation is an accident over which we have no control. It is a notable truth that men have influences in spite of themselves, and that these also are posthumous.
(2) But moral representation is in a different category. Ahaziah might have reigned in Ahab's stead without imitating his vices. "Jehoram the son of Ahab," e.g., "wrought evil in the sight of the Lord; but not like his father, and like his mother; for he put away the image of Baal that his father had made" (2 Kings 3:2).
(3) Ahaziah should have been admonished by the history of the judgments of God upon the house of Jeroboam. He should have taken the warning given in the judgments of God on the sins of his father. His guilt, therefore, was upon his own head, and he suffered accordingly. He reigned two years. God makes short work with some sinners. His death was provoked by his perversity (see 2 Kings 1:3, 4). We see further -
II. THAT AHAB SURVIVES IN HISTORY.
1. He survived in secular history. His acts and works were written in the chronicles of his nation.
(1) Amongst these were mentioned "all the cities that he built." Perhaps this building of cities simply meant the construction of fortifications for their defence. Whether they reflected credit or discredit upon his memory we cannot pronounce. A man may do a great deal of work to very little profit.
(2) The chronicles mentioned "the ivory house which he made." This palace had its description probably from the quantity of that valuable substance used in its ornamentation. But this does not seem to have been to his honour. A kingdom impoverished through famines, wars, and idolatries was in no position to bear the cost of such a piece of luxurious and selfish vanity. Amos accordingly denounces this work of pride (Amos 3:15).
(3) The survival of Ahab in secular history was a consequence of his social position. The masons and carpenters, whose skill brought the works of Ahab to perfection, had no mention there. Social status is a talent from God, for the right use of which men are accountable.
2. He survives in sacred history.
(1) The sacred history consists of selections from the secular under the guiding influence of Divine inspiration, with a view to illustrating the principles of the providence, truth, and grace of God. To illustrate such principles is the noblest end of writing. So of reading. What quantities of trash, in which the claims of God are ignored, is both written and read!
(2) In these selections the notices of the wicked are generally brief. Perhaps no wicked man has a larger share of the sacred writings occupied with his acts than Ahab. Such acts are not agreeable to the Spirit of God. But in the hands of inspiration they are made an influence for good. They are recorded, apparently, because of their relation to the actions of prophets and good men. They are made to serve as a dark background to show up to admiration virtuous qualities, and to be made themselves odious in the contrast. The principles of the wicked should only be studied to be shunned. So God brings good out of evil.
(3) The sacred records have survived the secular. "The book of the chronicles of the kings of Israel" has long since perished. The sacred records have come down to our times. In these, after a lapse of nearly thirty centuries, Ahab survives. But for these his name would not be known. Note
(a) the Providence which has preserved the Scriptures evinces their Divine authenticity.
(b) Things are permanent as they stand related to the everlasting God.
(c) The posthumous influence points to the immortality of man. - J.A.M.
So the king died.1. Observe the madness of Ahab's policy, and note how often it is the policy which we ourselves are tempted to pursue. We suppose that if we do not consult the Bible we may take licence to do what seems good in our own eyes, and we imagine that by ignoring the Bible we have divested it of authority. We flatter ourselves that if we do not listen to an exposition of the Divine Word we shall be judged according to the light we have, forgetting the solemn law that it is not according to the light we have that we are to be judged, but according to the light we might have if we put ourselves in right relations to the opportunities created for us by Divine providence. What is this ostrich policy, but one that ought to be condemned by our sense as well as shrunk from by our piety? Our duty under all critical circumstances is to go to the truth-teller, and to get at the reality of things at all costs. Where the truth-teller disturbs our peace and disappoints our ambition, we ought to learn that it is precisely at that point that we have to become self-rectifying. The truth-teller is only powerful in proportion as he tells the truth; officially, he is nothing; his power is simply the measure of his righteousness.
2. Is it possible that there can be found any solitary man who dare oppose such unanimous testimony and complete enthusiasm? The messenger who was sent to call Micaiah was evidently a man of considerate feeling who wished the prophet well. Seeing that the words of the prophets had all declared good unto the king with one mouth, the messenger wished that Micaiah should for once agree with the other prophets and please the king by leaving undisturbed their emphatic and unanimous counsel. Thus the voice of persuasion was brought to bear upon Micaiah, and that voice is always the most difficult to resist. Micaiah lived in God, for God, and had nothing of his own to calculate or consider. Until preachers realise this same spiritual independence, they will be attempting to accommodate themselves to the spirit of the times, and even the strongest of them may be betrayed into connivances and compromises fatal to personal integrity and to the claims of truth.
3. Now came the critical moment. Now it was to be seen whether Micaiah was to be promoted to honour, or thrust away in contempt and wrath. It is easy to read of the recurrence of such moments, but difficult to realise them in their agony. The martyrs must never be forgotten. Dark will be the day in the history of any nation when the men who shed their blood that truth might be told and honour might be vindicated, are no longer held in remembrance. In vain do we bring forth from our hidden treasure the coins of ancient times, the robes worn in high antiquity by kings and priests, the rusty armour of warriors, if there is no longer in our heart the tenderest recollection of the men who wandered about in sheepskins and goatskins, being destitute, afflicted, tormented, that they might save the torch of truth from extinction and the standard of honour from overthrow.
4. Away the kings have gone, and instead of relying upon the word of the Lord, or taking refuge in the sanctuary of great principles, they invent little tricks for the surprise and dismay of the enemy. The King of Israel disguised himself, and Jehoshaphat made himself as the King of Israel, but all their inventions came to nothing. So will perish all the enemies of the Lord. Differences of merely accidental detail there will always be, but no honour can mark the death of those who have gone contrary to the will of heaven, and taken counsel of their own imagination. How long shall the lesson of history be wasted upon us? How long will men delude themselves with the mad infatuation that they can fight against God and prosper?
(J. Parker, D. D.)
PeopleAhab, Ahaziah, Amon, Aram, Asa, Azubah, Chenaanah, David, Geber, Imlah, Jehoram, Jehoshaphat, Jeroboam, Joash, Micah, Micaiah, Nebat, Ophir, Shilhi, Sodomites, Syrians, Tarshish, Tharshish, Zedekiah
PlacesEdom, Ezion-geber, Jerusalem, Ophir, Ramoth-gilead, Samaria, Syria, Tarshish
TopicsActs, Ahab, Ahab's, Annals, Aren't, Book, Builder, Built, Chronicles, Cities, Fortified, History, Including, Inlaid, Ivory, Kings, Matters, Palace, Recorded, Reign, Rest, Towns, Written
Outline1. 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 Themes1 Kings 22:39
'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
The Prophet Micah.
The Poetical Books (Including Also Ecclesiastes and Canticles).
The Assyrian Revival and the Struggle for Syria
Use to be Made of the Doctrine of Providence.
The Shepherd of Our Souls.
Of Councils and their Authority.
That the Employing Of, and Associating with the Malignant Party, According as is Contained in the Public Resolutions, is Sinful and Unlawful.
Of Passages from the Holy Scriptures, and from the Apocrypha, which are Quoted, or Incidentally Illustrated, in the Institutes.
He Does Battle for the Faith; He Restores Peace among those who were at Variance; He Takes in Hand to Build a Stone Church.
Sovereignty of God in Administration
Tit. 2:06 Thoughts for Young Men
General Principles of Interpretation. 1 Since the Bible Addresses Men in Human Language...
The Figurative Language of Scripture.
Instruction for the Ignorant:
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