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phat said to the king of Israel, I dam as thou art, their robes, in a tvoid place in the entrance of the my people as thy people, my horses as thy horses. gate of Samaria : and all the prophets prophesied

5 And Jehoshaphat said unto the king of Israel, before them. Inquire, I pray thee, at the word of the Lord to 11 And Zedekiah the son of Chenaanah made day.

him horns of iron : and he said, Thus saith the 6 Then the king of Israel gathered the prophets LORD, With these shalt thou push the Syrians, Itogether, about four hundred men, and said unto until thou have consumed them. them, Shall I go against Ramoth-gilead to battle, 12 And "all the prophets prophesied so, saying, or shall I forbear? And they said, Go up; for the Go up to Ramoth-gilead, and prosper; for the Lord shall deliver it into the hand of the king. Lord shall deliver it into the king's hand.

7 And Jehoshaphat said, Is "there not here a pro 13 And the messenger that was gone to call phet of the Lord besides, that we might inquire of | Micaiah spake unto him, saying, Behold now, the him?

words of the prophets declare good unto the king 8 And the king of Israel said unto Jehoshaphat, with one mouth : let thy word, I pray thee, be like There is yet one man, Micaiah the son of Imlah, by the word of one of them, and speak that which is whom we may inquire of the Lord: but I hate him; good.m for he doth not prophesy good concerning me, but 14 And Micaiah said, As the LORD liveth, what evil. And Jehoshaphat said, Let not the king say "the Lord saith unto me, that will I speak.

15 So he came to the king. And the king said 9 Then the king of Israel called an *officer, and unto him, Micaiah, shall we go against Ramothsaid, Hasten hither Micaiah the son of Imlah. gilead to battle, or shall we forbear? And he an

10 And the king of Israel and Jehosha phat the swered him, Go, and prosper : for the LORD shall king of Judah sat each on his throne, having put on deliver it into the hand of the king. d 2 Kings 3.7.

& Jer. 5. 31, k 2 Kings 3.

SO.

m Is. 30. 10.

& Prov. 3. 6. Jer. 21. 2. s c. 18. 19. 11. Ps. 34. 21. or, eunuch.

+ poor.

k Ex. 13. 6-9. Mic. 3. 11. I Job 9. 4.
Jer. 23. 28. Acta 20. 27. Gal. 1. 10.

n Num. 22. 38. 24. 13.

for his father's fault, in joining with Syria against Israel, ch. carry him back; namely, to the place whence he came. Wo 15. 19, 20.

may suppose that this was he that reproved him for his cleIIL' At the special instance and request of Jehoshaphat, he mency to Ben-hadad, (ch. 20. 38, &c.) and for that was cast asks counsel of the prophets concerning this expedition. Ahab into prison, where he had lain these three years, And hence thought it enough to consult with his statesmen, but Jehosha- Ahab knew where to find him so readily, v. 9. But his imphat moves that they should inquire of the word of the Lord, v.5. prisonment had not excluded him from divine visits, the spirit Note, 1. Whithersoever a good man goes, he desires to take of prophecy continued with him there; he was bound, but the God along with him, and will acknowledge him in all his ways, word of the Lord was not. Nor did it in the least abate his ask leave of him, and look up to him for success. 2. Whither

courage, or make him less confide or faithful in delivering his soever a good man goes, he ought to take his religion along with message. Jehoshaphat gave too gentle a reproof to Ahab, for him, and not be ashamed to own it, no not when he is with those expressing his indignation against a faithful prophet, Let not the who have no kindness for it. Jehoshaphat has not left behind king say so, v. 8. He should have said, “Thou art unjust to him, at Jerusalem, his affection and veneration for the word of the prophet, unkind to thyself, and puttest an affront upon his the Lord, but both avows it, and endeavours to introduce it into Lord and thine, in saying so.” Such sinners as Ahab must be Ahab's court. If Ahab drew him into his wars, he will draw rebuked sharply. However, he so far yielded to the reproof, Ahab into his devo:ions.

that, for fear of provoking Jehoshaphat to break off from his alIV. Ahab's 400 prophets, the standing regiment he had of liance with him, he orders Micaiah to be sent for with all them, (prophets of the groves they called them,) agreed to en- speed, v. 9. The two kings sat each in their robes and chairs courage him in this expedition, and to assure him of success, of state, in the gate of Samaria, ready to receive this poor v. 6. He put the question to them with a seeming fairness, prophet, and to hear what he has to say; for many will givo Shall I go, or shall I forbear? But they knew which way his God's word the hearing, that will not lend it an obedient ear. inclination was, and designed only to humour the two kings. They were attended with a crowd of flattering prophets, that To please Jehoshaphat, they made use of the name Jehovah, could not think of prophesying any thing but what was very He shall deliver it into the hand of the king ; they stole the word sweet, and very smooth, to two such glorious princes now in from the true prophets, (Jer. 23. 30,) and spake their language. confederacy. They that love to be flattered, shall not want

To please Ahab, they said, Go up: They had indeed, probabili fatterers. ties on their side; Ahab had, not long since, beaten the Syrians Lastly, Micaiah is pressed by the officer that fetched him, to twice; he had now a good cause, and was much strengthened follow the cry, v. 13. That officer was unworthy the name of by his alliance with Jehoshaphat; but they pretended to speak an Israelite, who pretended to prescribe to a prophet; but he by prophecy, not by rational conjecture; by divine, not human, thought him altogether such a one as the rest, who studied to foresight : " Thou shalt certainly recover Ramoth-gilead." please men, and not God. He tells him how unanimous the Zedekiah, a leading man among these prophets, in imitation of Other prophets were in foretelling the king's good success; how the true prophets, illustrated his false prophecy with a sign, agreeable it was to the king: that it was his interest to say as v. 11. He made him a pair of iron horns, representing the two they said; he might gain not only enlargement, but preferment, kings, and their honour and power, (both which were signified by it. They that dote upon worldly things themselves, think by horns, exaltation and force,) and with these the Syrians every body else should do so too, and, true or false, right or must be pushed. All the prophets agreed, as one man, that wrong, speak and act for their secular interest only. He intiAhab should return from this expedition, a conqueror, v. 12, mates likewise, that it would be to no purpose to contradict Unity is not always the mark of a true church, and true minis- such a numerous and unanimous vote; he would be ridiculed, try. Here were 400 men that prophesied with one mind and as affecting a foolish singularity, if he should. But Micaiah one mouth, and yet all in an error.

knows better things, protests it, and backs his protestation with V. Jehoshaphat cannot relish this sort of preaching; it is not an oath, that he will deliver his message from God with all like what he was used to; the false prophets cannot so mimic the faithfulness, whether it be pleasing or displeasing to his prince ; true, but, that he who had spiritual senses exercised, could dis- (v. 14,) What the Lord saith to me, that will I speak, without cern the fallacy, and therefore he inquires for a prophet of the addition, diminution, or alteration. Bravely resolved! And as Lord besides, u.'7. He is too much a courtier to say any ihing became one who had his eye to a greater King than either of by way of reflection on the king's chaplains, but he waits to see these, arrayed with brighter robes, and sitting on a higher a prophet of the Lord; intimating that he could not look upon throne. these to be so. They seemed to be somewhat, (whatever they

V. 15–28. Here Micaiah does well, but, as is common, were, it made no matter to him,) but, in conference, they added suffers ill for so doing: nothing to him, they gave him no satisfaction, Gal. 2. 6. One 1. We are here told how faithfully he delivered his message, faithful prophet of the Lord was worth them all.

as one that was more solicitous to please God than to humour VI. Ahab has another, but one he hates, Micaiah by name, either the great or the many. Three ways he delivers the and, to please Jehoshaphat, he is willing to have him sen: for, message, and all displeasing io Ahab. v. 8-10. Ahab owned they might inquire of the Lord by him, 1. He speaks as the rest of the prophets did, but ironically, that he was a true prophet, and one that knew God's mind! Go, and prosper, v, 15. Ahab put the same question to him, And yet, 1. He hated him, and was not ashamed to own to the that he had put to his own prophets, Shall we go, or shall we king of Judah that he did so, and to give this for his reason, Heforhear? Seeming desirous to know God's mind, when, like doth not prophesy good concerning me, but evil.

And whose Balaam, he was strongly bent to do his own ; which Micaiah fault was that? (If Ahab had done well, he had heard accords plairly took notice of, when he bado him go, but with such an ingly from heaven; if he do ill, he may thank himself for all air of pronunciation, as plainly showed he spake it by way of the uneasiness which the reproofs and threats of God's word derision; as if he had said, “I know you are determined to go, give him. Note, Those are wretchedly hardened in sin, and are and I hear your own prophets are unanimous in assuring you ripening apace for ruin, who hate God's ministers, because they of success; go then, and take what follows. They say, The deal plainly with them, and faithfully warn them of their misery Lord shall deliver it into the hand of the king; but I do not tell and danger by reason of sin, and reckon those their enemies, thee that thus saith the Lord; no, he saith otherwise. Note, that tell them the truth. 2. He had (it should seem) imprisoned Those deserve to be bantered, that love to be flattered; and it him; for when he committed him, (v. 26,) he bade the officer is just with God to give up those to their own counsels, that

16 And the king said unto him, How many times spirit in the mouth of all his prophets. And he shall I adjure thee that thou tell me nothing but that said, Thou shalt persuade him, and prevail also: which is true in the name of the LORD ?

go forth, and do so. 17 And he said, I saw all Israel "scattered upon 23 Now rtherefore, behold, the Lord hath put a the hills

, as sheep that have not a shepherd : and lying spirit in the mouth of all these thy prophets, the Lord said, 'These have no master; let them and the Lord hath spoken evil concerning thee. return every man to his house in peace.

24 But Zedekiah the son of Chenaanah went near, 18 And the king of Israel said unto Jehoshaphat, and smote Micaiah on the cheek, and said, Which Did I not tell thee that he would prophesy no good way went the Spirit of the Lord from me to speak concerning me, but evil?

unto thee? 19 And he said, Hear thou, therefore, the word 25 And Micaiah said, Behold, thou shalt see in of the

Lord: I saw 'the Lord'sitting on his throne, that day, when thou shalt go into an inner cha mand all the host of heaven standing by him, on his ber to hide thyself. right hand and on his left.

26 And the king of Israel said, Take Micaiah, and 20 And the Lord said, Who shall *persuade Ahab, carry him back unto Amon the governor of the city, that he may go up and fall at Ramoth-gilead? And and to Joash the king's son; one said on this manner, and another said on that 27 And say, Thus saith the king, Put this fellow

in the prison,' and feed him with bread of affliction, 21 And there came forth a Spirit, and stood before and with water of affliction, until I come in peace. the Lord, and said, I will persuade him.

28 And Micaiah said, If *thou return at all in 22 And the Lord said unto him, Wherewith? | peace, the Lord hath not spoken by me. And he And he said, I will go forth, and I will be a lying said, “Hearken, 0 people, every one of you. o Zech. 13. 7. Matt. 9.36. p Is. 6.1–3. Dan. 7.9, 10. Job 1.6. P. 103. 21.

manner.

Mall, 25. 31. Rev. 5. 11. or, deceive. 2 Thes. 2, 10-12. Acts 23. 2.

Judg. 9. 23. Job 12. 16. Ez. 14. 9.

tor, from chamber to chanber. I acharber in a chaber, c. 20. 30. 1 Jer, 88. 6. Acts 5. 18. Rev. 2. 10. Deut. 16. 3. Is. 30. 20. # Num. 16. 29. Deut. 1S. 20, 22. to Matt. 13. 9, 13.

give up themselves to their own lusts, Ec. 11.9. In answer to but presides over, all the affairs of this lower world, and overthis, Ahab adjures him to tell him the truth, and not to jest with rules them according to the counsel of his own will: the risc him, (v. 16,) as if he sincerely desired to know both what God and fall of princes, the issues of war, and all the great affairs would have him do, and what he would do with him; yet in- of state, which are the subject of the consullations of wise and tending to represent the prophet as a perverse ill-humoured great men, are no more above God's direction, than the meanest man, that would not tell him the truth, till he was thus put to concerns of the poorest cottagers are below his notice. (4.) God his oath, or adjured to do it.

has many ways of bringing about his own counsels, parti2. Being thus pressed, he plainly foretold that the king would cularly concerning the fall of sinners when they are ripe for ruin ; be cut off in this expedition, and his army scattered, v. 17. he can do it either in this manner or in that manner. (5.) That He saw them in a vision, or dream, dispersed upon the moun- there are malicious and lying spirits, which go about continutains, as sheep that have no one to guide them: Smile the shep-ally seeking to devour, and, in order to that, seeking to deceive, herd, and the sheep will be scattered, Zech. 13. 7. This inti- and especially to put lies into the mouths of prophets, by them mates, (1.). That Israel should be deprived of their king, who to entice many to their destruction. (6.) It is not without the was their shepherd; God took notice of it, These have no mas- divine permission, that the devil deceives men. Thereby God ler. (2.) Thai they would be obliged to retire re infectawithout serves his own purposes. With him is strength and wisdom; accomplishing what they went for. He does not foresee any great the deceived and the deceiver are his, Job 12. 16. When he slaughter in the army, but that they should make a dishonour- pleases, for the punishment of those who receive not the truth able retreat ; Let them return every man to his house in peace : in the love of it, he not only lets Satan loose to deceive them, put into disorder indeed for the present, but no great losers, by (Rev. 20.7, 8,) but gives up men to strong delusions to believe the death of their king? he shall fall in war, but they shall go him, ? Thes. 2. 11, 12, (7.) Those are manifestly marked home in peace. Thus Micaiah, in his prophecy, testified what for ruin, that are thus given up; God has certainly spoken evil he had seen and heard, (let them take it how they pleased,) concerning those whom he has given up to be imposed upon by while the others prophesied merely out of their own hearts; see lying prophets; thus Micaiah gave Ahab fair warning, not only Jer. 23. 28. The prophet that has a dream, let him tell that, of the danger of proceeding in this war, but of the danger of and so quote his authority; and he that has my word, let him believing those that encouraged bim to proceed; thus we are speak my word faithfully, and not his own; for what is the chaff wamed to beware of false prophets, and io try the spirits; the to the wheat ? Now Ahab finds himself aggrieved, turns to lying spirit never deceives so fatally, as in the mouth of prophets, Jehoshaphat, and appeals to him, whether Micaiah had not II. We are here told, how he was abused for delivering his manifestly a spite against him, v. 18. They that bear malice message thus faithfully, thus plainly, in a way so very proper to others, are generally willing to believe that they bear malice both to convince and to affect. to them, though they have no cause for it, and therefore to put 1. Zedekiah, a wicked prophet, impudenty insulted him in the worst constructions upon all they say. What evil did Mis the face of the court, smole him on the cheek, to reproach him, cajah prophesy to Ahab, in telling him, if he proceeded in this to silence him and stop his mouth, and to express his indignaexpedition, it would be fatal to him, while he might choose tion at him; (thus was our blessed Saviour abused, Matt. 26. whether he would proceed in it or no? The greatest kindness 67, that Judge of Israel, Mic. 5. 1,) and as if he not only had we can do to one that is going in a dangerous way, is, to tell the Spirit of the Lord, but the monopoly of this Spirit, that he him of his danger.

might not go without his leave, he asks, Which way went the 3. He informed the king how it was, that all his prophets Spirit of the Lord from me to speak lo thee? v. 24. The false encouraged him to proceed ; God permitted Satan, by them, prophets were always the worst enemies the true prophets had, to deceive him into his ruin, and he, by vision, knew of it: it and not only stirred up the government against them, but were was represented to him, and he represented it to Ahab, that themselves abusive to them, as Zedekiah here. To strike the God of heaven had determined he should fall at Ramoth- within the verge of the court, especially in the king's presence, gilead, (v. 19, 20;) that the favour he had wickedly shown to is looked upon by our law as a high misdemeanor, yet this Ben-hadad, might be punished by him and his Syrians, and wicked prophet gives this abuse to a prophet of the Lord, and that, he being in some doubt whether he should go to Ramoth is not reprimanded or bound to his good behaviour for it; Ahab gilead or no, and resolving to be advised by his prophets, they was pleased with it, and Jehoshapha! had not courage to appear should persuade him to it, and prevail, (v. 21, 22 ;) and hence for the injured prophet, pretending it was out of his jurisdicit was, that they encouraged him with so much assurance, (v. tion; but Micaiah, though he returns not his blow, (God's 23;) it was a lie from the father of lies, but by the divine per- prophets are no strikers nor persecutors, dare not avenge themmission. This matter is here represented after the manner of selves, render blow for blow, or be any way accessory to the men; we are not to imagine that God is ever put upon new breach of the peace,) yet, since he boasted so much of the Spirit, counsels, or is ever at a loss for means whereby to effect his as those commonly do that know least of his operations, he leaves purposes, or that he needs to consult with angels, or any crea- him to be convinced of his error by the event, Thou shalt know ture, about the methods he should take, or that he is the Author when thou hidest thy self in an inner chamber, v. 25. It is likely, of sin, or the cause of any man's either telling or believing a Zedekiah went with Ahab to the batue, and took his horns of iron lie ; but beside what was intended by this, with reference to with him, to encourage the soldiers, to see with pleasure the Ahab himself, it is to teach us, (1.) That God is a great king accomplishment of his prophecy, and return in triumph with above all kings, and has a throne above all the thrones of earthly the king; but the army being routed, he fled among the rest princes; "You have your thrones,” (said Micaiah to these from the sword of the enemy, sheltered himself as Ben-hadad two kings,) "and you ihink you may do what you will, and we had done, in a chamber within a chamber, (ch. 20, 30,) lest he must all say as you would have us ; but I saw the Lord sitting should perish, as he knew he deserved to do, with those whom upon his throne, and every man's judgment proceeding from he had deluded, as Balaam did, (Num. 31. 8,) and lest the lajm, and therefore I must say as he says; he is not a man as blind prophet should fall into the dilch, with the blinded prince you are.” (2.) That he is continually attended and served by whom he had misled. Note, Those that will not have their an innumerable company of angels, those heavenly hosts, who mistakes rectified in time by the word of God, will be undestand by him, ready to go where he sends them, and to do what ceived, when it is too late, by the judgments of God. he biils them, messengers of mercy on his right hand, of wrath 2. Ahab, that wicked king, committed him to prison; (v. 27,) on his left hand. (3.) That he not only takes cognizance of, I not only ordered him to be taken into custody, or remitted to

ascended.

1 bosom,

2 ver. 17, 28.

came.

29 So the king of Israel, and Jehoshaphat the his chariot, Turn thine hand, and carry me out king of Judah, went up to Ramoth-gilead.

of the host; for I am $wounded. 30 And the king of Israel said unto Jehoshaphat, 35 And the battle "increased that day; and the *I will disguise myself, and enter into the battle; but king was stayed up in his chariot against the Syriput thou on thy robes. And the king of Israel -dis- ans, and died at even: and the blood ran out of the guised himself, and went into the battle.

wound into the midst of the chariot. 31 But the king of Syria commanded his thirty 36 And there went a proclamation throughout and two captains that had rule over his chariots, the host about the going down of the sun, saying, saying, Fight neither with small nor great, save Every man to his city, and every man to his own only with the king of Israel.

country. 32 And it came to pass, when the captains of the 37 So the king died, and **was brought to Samachariots saw Jehoshaphat, that they said, Surely it ria ; and they buried the king in Samaria. is the king of Israel. And ythey turned aside to 38 And one washed the chariot in the pool of fight against him: and Jeboshaphat cried out. Samaria, and the dogs licked up his blood, (and they

33 And it came to pass, when the captains of the washed his armour,) according unto the word of chariots perceived that it was not the king of Israel, the Lord which he spake.a that they turned back from pursuing him.

39 Now the rest of the acts of Ahab, and all that 34 And a certain man drew a bow at a venture, he did, and the ivory 'house which he made, and all and smote the king of Israel between the joints .of the cities that he built, are they not written in the the harness : wherefore he said unto the driver of book of the chronicles of the ngs of Israel? * or, when he was to disguise himself. * 2 Chr. 36. 22. y Prov. 13. 20.1 in his and the breastplate., s made wick. simplicity. 2 Sam. 15. 11.

a c. 21. 19. b Am. 3. 15. the prison whence he came, but to be fed with bread and water, Ahab was justly repaid for sparing Ben-hadad, who, as the seed coarse bread and puddle water, till he should return; not doubt of the serpent commonly do, stung the bosom in which he was ing but he should return a conqueror, and then he would put fostered, and saved from perishing; some think that he designed him to death for a false prophet, v. 27. Hard usage for one only to have him taken prisoner, that he might now give him as that would have prevented his ruin! But by this it appeared honourable a treatment as he had formerly received from him. that God had determined to destroy him, as 2 Chr. 25. 16. Whatever was the reason, this charge the officers received, and How confident is Ahab of success! He doubts not but he endeavoured to oblige their prince in this matter; for, seeing shall return in peace, forgetting what he himself had reminded Jehoshaphat in his royal habit, they took him for the king of Ben-hadad of, Let not lum that girdeth on the harness, boast; Israel, and surrounded him. Now, 1. By his danger, God let but there was little likelihood of his coming home in peace when him know that he was displeased with him for joining in conhe left one of God's prophets behind him in prison. Micaiah federacy with Ahab; he had said, in compliment to Ahab, (0.4,) puts it upon the issue, and calls all the people to be witnesses I am as thou art, and now he was indeed taken for him; they that he did so," If thou return in peace, the Lord has not spoken that associate with evil-doers, are in danger of sharing in their by me, v. 28. Let me incur the reproach and punishment of a plagues. 2. By his deliverance, God let him know that though false prophet, if the king come home alive.” He ran no hazard he was displeased with him, yet he had not deserted him; some by this appeal, for he knew whom he had believed; he that is of the captains that knew him, perceived their mistake, and so terrible to the kings of the earth, and treads upon princes as retired from the pursuit of him; but it is said, (2 Chr. 18. 31,) mortar, will rather let thousands of them fall to the ground, than God moved them (for he has all hearts in his hand) to depart one jot or tittle of his own word; he will not fail to confirm the from him; to him he cried out, not in cowardice, but devotion, word of his servants, Is. 44. 26.

and from him his relief came; Ahab was in no care to succour V. 23—40. The matter in contest between God's prophet him; God is a Friend that will not fail us, when other friends and Ahab's prophets, is here soon determined, and it is made do. to appear which was in the right. Here,

IV. Ahab received his mortal wound in the battle, notwithI. The two kings mareh with their forces to Ramoth-gilead, standing his endeavours to secure himself in the habit of a priv. 29. That the king of Israel, who hated God's prophet, should vate sentinel. Let no man think to hide hinself from God's so far disbelieve his admonition, as to persist in his resolution, judgments, no, noi in masquerade; Thine hand shall find out notwithstanding, is not strange; but that Jehoshaphat, that all thine enemies, whatever disguise they are in, v. 34. The pious prince, who had desired to inquire by a prophet of the Syrian that shot him, little thought of doing such a piece of Lord, as disrelishing and discrediting Ahab's prophets, should service to God and his king, for he dreu, a bow at a venture, not yet proceed, after so fair a warning, is matter of astonishment; aiming particularly at any man; yet God so directed the arrow, but by the easiness of his temper he was carried away with the that, I. He hit the righi person, the man that was marked for delusion (as Barnabas was with the dissimulation, Gal. 2. 13,) destruction, whom, if they had taken alive, as was designed, of his friends; he gave too much heed to Ahab's prophets, perhaps Ben-hadad would have spared; those cannot escape because they pretended to speak from God too, and in his coun- with life, whom God hath doomed to death. 2. He hit him in try he had never been imposed upon by such cheats; he was the right place, between the joints of the harness, the only ready to give his opinion with the majority, and to conclude about him where this arrow of death could find entrance. No that it was 400 to one but they should succeed ; Micaiah had armour is of proof against the darts of divine vengeance : case the not forbidden them to go; nay, at first, he said, Go, and pros- criminal in steel, and it is all one; he that made him, can make per; if it came to the worst, it was only Ahab's fall that was his sword to approach to him. That which to us seems altogether foretold, and therefore he hoped he might venture.

casual, is done by the determinate counsel and foreknowledge II. Ahab contrives to secuire himself, and expose his friend; of God. (v. 30,) " I will disguise myself, and go in the habit of a com V. The army was dispersed by the enemy, and sent home mon soldier, but let Jehoshaphat put on his robes, to appear in by the king. Either Jehoshaphat or Ahab ordered the retreat the dress of a general.” He pretended hereby to do honour to of the sheep, when the shepherd was smitten : "Every man to Jehoshaphal, and to compliment him with the sole command his city, for it is to no purpose to attempt any thing more,' of the army in this action; he shall direct and give orders, v. 36. Ahab himself lived long enough to see that part of and Ahab will serve as a soldier under him ; but he intended, Micaiah's prophecy accomplished, that all Israel should be 1. To make a liar of a good prophet; thus he hoped to elude scattered upon the mountains of Gilead, (v. 17,) and perhaps the danger, and so to defeat the threatening, as if, by disguising with his dying lips did himself give orders for it; for though he himself, he could escape the divine cognizance, and the judg- would be carried out of the army, to have his wounds dressed, ments that pursued himn. 2. To make a fool of a good king, (v. 34,) yet he would be stayed up in his chariot, to see if his whom he did not cordially love, because he was one that ad- army were victorious ; but when he saw the battle increase hered to God, and so condemned his apostacy; he knew that against them, his spirits sunk, and he died, but his death was if any perished, it must be the shepherd, so Micaiah had fore- so lingering, that he had time to feel himself die ; and we may told; and perhaps he had intimation of the charge the enemy well imagine with what horror he now reflected upon the wickhad, lo fight chiefly against the king of Israel, and therefore edness he had committed, the warnings he had slighted, Baal's basely intended to betray Jehosha phat to the danger, that he altars, Naboth's vineyard, Micajah's imprisonment; now he might secure himself. Ahab was marked for ruin: one would sees himself Aattered into his own ruin, and Zedekiah's horns not have been in his allire, for a great sum; yet he will over- of iron, pushing, not the Syrians, but himself, into destruction. persuade this godly king to muster for him. See what they Thus is he brought to the king of terrors without hope in his ge', that join in affinity with vicious men, whose consciences death. are debrauched, and who are lost to every thing that is honour VI. The royal corpse was brought to Samaria, and buried able. How can it be expected that he should be true to his there, (v. 37,) and thither were brought the bloody chariot and friend, that has been false to his God?

bloody armour in which he died, v. 38. One particular circumIII. Jehosha phat, having more picty than policy, put himself stance is taken notice of, because there was in it the accominto the post of honour, though it was the post of danger, and plishment of a prophecy, that when they brought the chariot was thereby brought into peril of his life, but God graciously to the pool of Samaria, to be washed, the dogs (and swine, says delivered him: the king of Syria charged his captains to level the Septuagint) gathered about it, and, as is usual, licked the their force, not against the king of Judah, for with him he had blood, or, as some ihink, the water in which it was washed, with no quarrel, but with the king of Israel only, (v. 31,) to aim at which the blood was mingled: the dogs made no difference his porson, as if against him he had a particular enmity; now between royal blood and other blood. Now Naboth's blood

ce

40 So Ahab slept with his fathers; and Ahaziah 47 There was then no king "in Edom: a deputy his son reigned in his stead.

was king. 41 And Jehoshaphat the son of Asa began to 48 Jehosha phat *made ships 'of Tharshish to go reign over Judah in the fourth year of Ahab king to Ophir for gold: but they went not; for the ships of Israel.

were bruken at Ezion-geber. 42 Jehoshaphat was thirty and five years old when 49 Then said Ahaziah the son of Ahab unto Jehe began to reign; and he reigned twenty and five hoshaphat, Let my servants go with thy servants in years in Jerusalem. And his mother's name was the ships : but Jehoshaphat would not. Azubah, the daughter of Shilhi.

50 And mJehoshaphat slept with his fathers, and 43 And the walked in all the ways of Asa his was buried with his fathers in the city of David father; he turned not aside from it, doing that which his father : and Jehoram his son reigned in his was right in the eyes of the LORD: nevertheless the stead. high places were not taken away; for the people 51 Ahaziah "the son of Ahab began to reign over offered and burnt incense yet in the high places. Israel in Samaria the seventeenth year of Jehosha

44 And Jehoshaphat made peace with the king phat king of Judah, and reigned two years over of Israel.

Israel. 45 Now the rest of the acts of Jehoshaphat, and 52 And he did evil in the sight of the Lord, and his might that he showed, and how he warred, are walked in the way °of his father, and in the way of they not written in the book of the chronicles of the his mother, and in the way of Jeroboam Pthe son kings of Judah?

of Nebat, who made Israel to sin : 46 And the remnant of the Sodomites, which 53 For he served Baal, and worshipped him, and remained in the days of his father Asa, he took out provoked to anger the Lord God of Israel, accordof the land.

ing to all that his father had done. c 2 Chr. 20. 31, &c. d 2 Chr. 17. 3. e c. 14. 23. 15. 14. 2 Kings 12. 3. / 2 Kings 2 Kings 3.9. 8. 20. or, had ten shipe. i 2 Chr. 20. 35, &c. k c. 10. 2. 16.9. 8. 18. 2 Chr. 19. 2. 2 Cor. 6. 14. &c. 14. 24. 15. 12. A Gen. 25. 23. 2 Sam. 8. 14. 20. m 2 Chr, 21. 1. n ver. 40. O c. 16.30, &c. p e. 12. 28–33. Judg. 2. 11. was avenged, (ch. 21. 19,) and that word of David, as well as the kingdom of Israel. If Jehoshaphat reigned not so long as Elijah's word, was fulfilled, (Ps. 68. 23,) That thy foot may be his father, to balance that, he had not those blemishes on the dipped in the blood of thine enemies, and the tongue of thy dogs lauter end of his reign, that his father had, (2 Chr. 16. 9, 10, 12;) in the same. The dogs licking the guilty blood, was perhaps and it is better for a man that has been in reputation for wisdesigned to represent the terrors that prey upon the guilty soul dom and honour, to die in the midst of it, than to outlive it. after death.

2. Yet it was one of the best, both in respect of piety and pros. Lastly, The story of Ahab is here concluded in the usual perity. (1.) He did well, he did that which was right in the form, v. 39, 40. Among his works, mention is made of an ivory eyes of the Lord, (v. 43;) observed the commands of his God, house which he built, so called, because many parts of it were and trod in the steps of his good father, and persevered therein, inlaid with ivory ; perhaps it was intended to vie with the he turned not aside from it; yet every man's character has some stately palace of the kings of Judah, which Solomon built. but or other, so had his; the high places were not taken away, V. 41-53. Here is,

no, not out of Judah and Benjamin, though those tribes lay so 1. A short account of the reign of Jehosha phat king of Judah, near Jerusalem, that they might easily bring their offerings and which we shall have a much fuller narrative of in the book of incense to the altar there, and could not pretend, as some other Chronicles, and of the greatness and goodness of that prince, of the tribes, the inconveniency of lying remote; but old corpeither of which was lessened or sullied by any thing but his ruptions are with difficulty rooted out, especially when they intimacy with the house of Ahab, which, upon several accounts, have formerly had the patronage of those that were good, as the was a diminution to him; his confederacy with Ahab in war, high places had of Samuel, Solomon, and some others. (2.) His we have already found dangerous to him, and his confederacy affairs did well; he prevented the mischiefs which had attended with Ahaziah his son in trade, sped no better; he offered to go their wars with the kingdom of Israel, establishing a lasting partner with him in a fleet of merchant ships, that should fetch peace, (v. 44,) which had been a greater blessing, if he had gold from Ophir, as Solomon's navy did, v. 48. See 2 Chr. 20. contented himself with a peace, and not carried it on to an affi35, 36. But while they were preparing to set sail, they were nity with Israel : he put a deputy, or viceroy, in Edom, so that exceedingly damaged and disabled by a storm, broken at Ezion that kingdom was tributary to him, (v. 47:) and therein the progeber, which a prophet gave Jehoshaphat to understand was a phecy concerning Esau and Jacob was fulfilled, that the elder rebuke to him for his league with wicked Ahaziah, 2 Chr. 20. 37. should serve the younger; and, in general, mention is made of And therefore, as we are told here, (v. 49,) when Ahaziah de- his might and his wars, v. 45. He pleased God, and God blesssired a second time to be a partner with him, or if that could ed him with strength and success; his death was spoken of, not be obtained, that he might but send his servants with some (v. 50,) to shut up his story, yet, in the bistory of the kings of effects on board Jehoshaphat's ships, he refused; Jehoshaphat Israel, we find mention of him afterward, 2 Kings 3. 7. would not; the rod of God, expounded by the word of God, had Il. The beginning of the story of Ahaziah the son of Ahab; effectually broken him off from his confederacy with that un- (v. 51-53,) his reign was very short, not two years. Some godly unhappy prince. Better buy wisdom dear than be with sinners God makes quick work with. It is a very bad characout it; but experience is therefore said to be the mistress of ter that is here given him; he not only kept up Jeroboamn's fools, because they are fools that will not learn till they are idolatry, but the worship of Baal likewise; though he had heard taught by experience, and particularly, till they are taught the of the ruin of Jeroboam's family, and had seen his own father danger of associating with wicked people.

drawn into destruction by the prophets of Baal, who had often Now Jehoshaphat's reign appears here to have been none of been proved false prophets, yet he received no instruction, took the longest, but one of the best. 1. It was none of the longest, no warning, but followed the example of his wicked father, and for he reigned but 25 years, (v. 42;) but then it was in the the counsel of his more wicked mother Jezebel, who was still prinie of his time, between 35 and 60, and these 25, added to his living. Miserable are the children that not only derive a stock father's happy 41, give us a grateful idea of the flourishing con- of corruption from their parents, but are thus taught by them to dition of the kingdom of Judah, and of religion in it, for a great trade with it; and unhappy, most unhappy parents, they that while even when things were very bad upon all accounts, in help to damn their children's souls.

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AY

Ε Χ Ρ OSITIO N,

WITH

PRACTICAL OBSERVATIONS OF THE SECOND BOOK OF

KINGS.

This second book of the Kings (which the Septuagint, numbering from Samuel, calls the fourth) is a continuation of the former book ; and, some think, might better have been made to begin with the 51st verse of the foregoing chapter, where the reign of Ahaziah begins. The former book had an illustrious beginning, in the glories of the kingdom of Israel, when it was entire ; this has a melancholy conclusion, in the desolations of the kingdoms of Israel first, and then of Judah, after they had been long broken into two; for a kingdom, divided against itself, cometh to destruction. But as Elijah's mighly works were very much the glory of the former book, toward the latter end of it; so were Elisha's the glory of this, toward the beginning of it. These

prophets outshone their princes; and therefore, as far as they go, the history shall be accounted for in them. Here is,
I. Elijah fetching fire from heaven, and ascending in fire to heaven, ch. 1. and 2.
II. Elisha working many miracles, both for prince and people, Israelites and foreigners, ch. 3.-7.
III. Hazael and Jehu anointed, the former for the correction of Israel, the latter for the destruction of the house of Ahab, and

the worship of Baal, ch. 8.-10.
IV. The reigns of several of the kings, both of Judah and Israel, ch. 11.-16.
V. The captivity of the ten tribes, ch. 17.
VI. The good and glorious reign of Hezekiah, ch. 18.-20.
VII. Manasseh's wicked reign, and Josiah's good one, ch. 21.-23.
VIII. The destruction of Jerusalem by the king of Babylon, ch. 24. 25. This history, in the several passages of it, confirms

that observation of Solomon, That righteousness eralls a nation, but sin is the reproach of any people.

THEN

Ahaziah's Sickness.

B. C. 896. CHAPTER 1.

HEN Moab rebelled aagainst Israel after the

death of Ahab. We bere find Ahaziah, the genuine son and successor of Ahab, on the throne of Israel. His reign continued not two years; he died by a fall in his own house ; 2 And Ahaziah fell down through a lattice in his which, after the mention of the revolt of Moab. (v. 1,) we have bere an account of: Ti The message, which, on that occasion. he sent to the god or eekronoun upper chamber that was in Samaria, and was sick: !!. The message he received from the God of Israel, v. 3–8. 111. The destrue and he sent messengers, and said unto them, Go, in1. His compassion to, and compliance with, the third messenger, upon his quire of Baal-zebub, the god of "Ekron, whether I submission, and the delivery of the message to the king himself, v. 13-16. shall recover cof this disease. V. The death of Ahaziah, v. 17, 18. In the story we may observe how great the prophet looks, and how little the prince.

3 But the angel of the LORD said to Elijah the a 2 Sam. 8. 2. c. 3. 5. 61 Sam. 5. 10.

c 1 Kings 14. 3. c. 8. 9, 10. NOTES TO CHAPTER 1.

not always yield firm footing. The snare is laid for the sinner V.1-8. We have here, Ahaziah, the wicked king of Is- in the ground where he thinks least of it, Job 18.9, 10. The rael, under God's rebukes, both by his providence and by his whole creation, which groans under the burden of man's sin, prophet; by his rod and by his word.

will, at length, sink and break under the weight, like this laltice. I. He is crossed in his affairs. How can those expect to He is never safe, that has God for his Enemy. prosper, that do evil in the sight of the Lord, and provoke him to III. In his distress, he sends messengers to inquire of the anger? When he rebelled against God, and revolted from his god of Ekron, whether he should recover or no, v.2.

And here, allegiance to him, Moab rebelled against Israel, and revolted i. His inquiry was very foolish; Shall I recover ? Even nafrom the subjection they had long paid to the kings of Israel, ture itself would rather have asked, “What means may

use, v. 1. The Edomites that bordered on Judah, and were tributa- that I may recover ?" But as one solicitous only to know his ries to the kings of Judah, still continued so, as we find in the fortune, not to know his duty, his question is only this, Shall chapter before, (v. 47,) till, in the wicked reign of Joram, they I recover ? which a little time would give answer to. Wo broke that yoke, (ch. 8. 22,) as the Moabites did now.

should be more thoughtful what will become of us after death, break their covenants with us, and withdraw their duty, we than how, or when, or where, we shall die ; and more desirous must reflect upon our breach of covenant with God, and the to be told how we may conduct ourselves well in our sickness, neglect of our duty to him. Sin weakens impoverishes and get good to our souls by it, than whether we shall recover We shall hear of the Moabites, ch. 3. 5.

from it. 2. His sending to Baal-zebub was very wicked; to II. He is seized with sickness in body, not from any inward make a dead and dumb idol, perhaps newly erecied, (for idolcause, but by a severe accident; He fell down through a lattice, aters were fond of new gods,) his oracle, was no less a reproach and was much bruised with the fall; perhaps it threw him into to his reason than to his religion. Baal-zebub signifies the lord a fever, v. 2. Wherever we go, there is but a step between us of a fly; one of their Baals, that, perhaps, gave his answers and death. A man's house is his castle, but not to secure him either by the power of the demons, or the craft of the priests, against the judgments of God. The cracked latrice is as fatal ) with a humming noise, like that of a great fly; or that had (as to the son, when God pleases to make it so, as the bow drawn they fancied) rid their country of the swarms of fies wherewith at a venture was to the father. Ahaziah would not attempt to it was infested, or of some pestilential disease brought among reduce the Moabites, lest he should perish in the field of baitle; them by flies. Perhaps this dunghill deity was as famous then, but he is not safe, though he tarry at home. Royal palaces do l as the oracle of Delphos was, long after in Greece. In the New

If men

us.

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