1 Kings 22:28
And Micaiah said, If you return at all in peace, the LORD has not spoken by me. And he said, Listen, O people, every one of you.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
(28) Hearken, O people.—It is a curious coincidence that these are the opening words of the prophetic Book of Micah. They are not found in some MSS. of the LXX., and are supposed by some to be an early interpolation in this passage from that book.

1 Kings 22:28. Micaiah said, If thou return, &c., the Lord hath not spoken by me — Let me incur the reproach and punishment of a false prophet; and he — Namely, Micaiah; said, Hearken, O people, every one of you — Knowing in whom he had believed, and being fully assured of the truth of his prophecy, he calls all the people to be witnesses of it. 22:15-28 The greatest kindness we can do to one that is going in a dangerous way, is, to tell him of his danger. To leave the hardened criminal without excuse, and to give a useful lesson to others, Micaiah related his vision. This matter is represented after the manner of men: we are not to imagine that God is ever put upon new counsels; or that he needs to consult with angels, or any creature, about the methods he should take; or that he is the author of sin, or the cause of any man's telling or believing a lie. Micaiah returned not the blow of Zedekiah, yet, since he boasted of the Spirit, as those commonly do that know least of the Holy Spirit's operations, the true prophet left him to be convinced of his error by the event. Those that will not have their mistakes set right in time, by the word of God, will be undeceived, when it is too late, by the judgments of God. We should be ashamed of what we call trials, were we to consider what the servants of God have endured. Yet it will be well, if freedom from trouble prove not more hurtful to us; we are more easily allured and bribed into unfaithfulness and conformity to the world, than driven to them.Feed him with bread of affliction ... - Micaiah is to be once more put in prison, but, in order to punish him for his uncomplying spirit, upon a poorer and scantier diet than he had been previously allowed. This is to continue until Ahab returns in peace. Ahab introduces this expression purposely, in order to show his entire disbelief of Micaiah's prophecy. 27, 28. bread of affliction, water of affliction—that is, the poorest prison fare. Micaiah submitted, but reiterated aloud, in the presence of all, that the issue of the war would be fatal to Ahab. The Lord hath not spoken by me; I acknowledge myself to be an impostor, and to deserve death.

He said, i.e. Micaiah, the person last named, being assured of the truth of his prophecy, calls all the people to be witnesses of it. And Micaiah said, if thou return at all in peace, the Lord hath not spoken by me,.... I am content to be reckoned a false prophet, and to be punished as such:

and, he said, hearken, O people, everyone of you; he called aloud unto them to observe what he had predicted, and mark the issue of it, and to bear testimony for him, or against him, as things should be.

And Micaiah said, If thou return at all in peace, the LORD hath not spoken by me. And he said, {v} Hearken, O people, every one of you.

(v) That when you see these things come to pass you may give God the glory, and know that I am his true prophet.

EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
28. Hearken, O people, every one of you] R.V. Hear, ye peoples, all of you. This sentence is omitted by the LXX. as are also the words ‘And he said’ which precede. In consequence it has been thought that they are no part of the original text, but a marginal note of a later time, which some one put down to shew that the Micaiah here spoken of was the same with Micah the author of the prophecy. For that prophecy (Micah 1:2) opens with this same sentence, and beside this, in 2 Chronicles 18:14 the name Micah occurs in the text for Micaiah. No one however thinks that Micah the prophet lived in Ahab’s days. The R.V. however very properly translates in both places by the same English. For it may be that Micah at his opening took up the burden with which the Scripture record of Micaiah closes.

The plural rendered ‘peoples’ is very frequent in the O. Test., and the R.V. has introduced this rendering commonly. It signifies sometimes the various nations of the world at large, but often, as here, the tribes of Israel. Cf. Genesis 49:10; Deuteronomy 32:8, &c.Verse 28. - And Micaiah said, If thou return at all in peace, the Lord hath not spoken by me. And he said, Hearken, O people [Rather, O nations. Audite, populi crones, Vulgate. He appeals, so to speak, to the world], every one of you. [It is a curious circumstance that these same words are found at the beginning of the prophecy of Micah (1 Kings 1:2). The coincidence may be purely accidental, or the words may have been borrowed by the prophet, not, indeed, from our historian, but from some record, the substance of which is embodied in this history. Micah lived about a century and a half after Micaiah; about a century before the Book of Kings was given to the world. Micah was not led astray, however, by this, but disclosed to him by a further revelation the hidden ground of the false prophecy of his 400 prophets. וגו שׁמע לכן, "therefore, sc. because thou thinkest so, hear the word of Jehovah: I saw the Lord sit upon His throne, and all the army of heaven stand around him (עליו עמד as in 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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