Being the LORD’s prophet carried with it the utmost responsibility to God because prophets were bound to speak God’s Word accurately [“Thus says the LORD”] regardless of the consequences (Deut. 13, 18). Many of them suffered immeasurably for the truth they heralded, and often their divine call encompassed warning evil, disobedient, and prideful kings of God’s impending judgment. Moreover, because of their continual admonitions, many times their lives were in jeopardy. Micaiah1 was one of those courageous prophets, who God called to prophesy the shameful and terminal fate of an evil king. Furthermore, Micaiah’s stern warning opposed the evil kings favored four-hundred false prophets, who loyally placated their master.
This occurred in approximately 850 B.C., during the time when Israel was a divided nation consisting of ten northern tribes (Israel) and two southern tribes (Judah). There were also two kings—the exceedingly wicked King Ahab who ruled the north and King Jehoshaphat who ruled the south. King Ahab desired to wage war against the nation of Syria to reclaim the city of Ramoth-Gilead, which Syria occupied. Ahab requested Jehoshaphat that they join forces to conquer Syria and take back what belonged to Israel. Jehoshaphat wanted Ahab to seek a word from the LORD to determine if attacking Syria would be propitious (1 Kin. 22:3-5, 2 Chr. 18:3-4). King Ahab sought counsel from false four-hundred prophets that were under his rule: “And they said, ‘Go up, for the Lord will give it into the hand of the king.’” (1 Kin. 22:6b). The New American Commentary notes: “not one of whom was an acceptable prophet of Yahweh. One of the marks of a true prophet was that he often stood alone against the opinion of others who made prophetic claims (1 Chr. 36:16; 2 Kgs 17:13-15; Neh 9:26; Jer 25:4, 26:4-5, 28, 29:24-32; cf. Matt 23:33-37). For Jehoshaphat the fact that all those prophets agreed was sufficient evidence they were in collusion.” 2
Unsatisfied with King Ahab’s illegitimate prophets, King Jehoshaphat asked Ahab if there was a legitimate prophet of the LORD to consult (1 Kin. 22:7, 2 Chr. 18:6). Reluctantly, Ahab called for the prophet Micaiah whom he loathed, claiming: “… He does not prophesy good concerning me, but evil.” (1 Kin. 22:8, 2 Chr. 18:7) –ironically, Micaiah was a truthful prophet. Attempting to pressure Micaiah Ahab’s messenger said: “Please let your word be like the word of one of them [the false prophets] and speak favorably.” (1 Kin. 22:13, 2 Chr. 18:12). Micaiah answered exhibiting a courageous and obedient faith: “As the LORD lives, what the LORD says to me, that I will speak.” (1 Kin. 22:14, cf. 2 Chr. 18:13, Num. 22:38, 24:13). Moreover, he was aware he would be opposing the placating predictions of King Ahab’s prophets. Contrastingly, they touted a glorious victory for Ahab (1 Kin. 22:6, 11-12), while Micaiah predicted an entirely different outcome:
“And Micaiah said, ‘Therefore, hear the word of the LORD. I saw the LORD sitting on His throne, and all the host of heaven standing by Him on His right and on His left. And the LORD said, ‘Who will entice Ahab to go up and fall at Ramoth-gilead?’ And one said this while another said that. Then a spirit came forward and stood before the LORD and said, ‘I will entice him.’ And the LORD said to him, ‘How?’ And he said, ‘I will go out and be a deceiving spirit in the mouth of all his prophets.’ Then He said, ‘You are to entice him and also prevail. Go and do so. Now therefore, behold, the LORD has put a deceiving spirit in the mouth of all these your prophets; and the LORD has proclaimed disaster against you.’” (1 Kin. 22:19-23, cf. 2 Chr. 18:18-22).
Micaiah’s forecast of imminent doom greatly enraged King Ahab who commanded: “Thus says the king, ‘Put this man in prison, and feed him sparingly with bread and water until I return safely.’” (1 Kin. 22:27, cf. 2 Chr. 18:26). However, God’s prophet was undaunted by Ahab’s harsh sentencing and further antagonized him by declaring: “If you indeed return safely the LORD has not spoken by me.’” (1 Kin. 22:28, 2 Chr. 18:27). Just as Micaiah predicted, King Ahab did not return safely, and was brutally slain in the battle against the Syrians (1 Kin. 22:34-37).
“Do not be deceived, God is not mocked; for whatever a man sows, this he will also reap.” (Gal. 6:7).
Besides all the wickedness of King Ahab, he also mocked God by cursing His prophet who had spoken truth: “…I will bless those who bless you, and I will curse him who curses you…” (Gen.12:3a).
Yes, Micaiah was a true prophet of God, who suffered for speaking God’s truth. According to God’s law, a prophet should have been stoned to death for prophesying falsely (Deut. 13:1-11, 18:20), the very fate Ahab’s false prophets should have met. The godly and courageous Micaiah boldly stood against the four hundred deceptive imposters. The immovable prophet trusted in the God who delivers the righteous soul: “Oh, love the LORD, all you His saints! For the LORD preserves the faithful, and fully repays the proud person.” (Ps. 31:23b).
Micaiah’s steadfast courage and allegiance to God’s Word, ought to be a powerful reminder for those who proclaim the Gospel today. Dr. Philip Graham Ryken asserts: “We are called…to become men and women like the prophet Micaiah. When Micaiah heard the word of God, he believed it and obeyed it. He refused to do anything except to trust in the word of God. He was even bold enough to suffer for its truth.”3
“Therefore do not be ashamed of the testimony of our Lord, or of me His prisoner; but join with me in suffering for the gospel according to the power of God… for which I suffer trouble as an evildoer, even to the point of chains; but the word of God is not chained. Therefore I endure all things for the sake of the elect, that they also may obtain the salvation which is in Christ Jesus with eternal glory.” (2 Tim. 1:8, 2:9-10).
1 New American Commentary, 1,2 Chronicles, J.A. Thompson, 1994, p. 285—brackets added
2 Micaiah translated means, “Who is like the LORD”.
3 Philip Graham Ryken, Reformed Expository Commentary, 1 Kings, P & R Publications, 2011, p. 584