Bible: 1 Kings 16-22

16:1 Jehu son of Hanani received from the Lord this message predicting Baasha’s downfall: 1  16:2 I raised you up 2  from the dust and made you ruler over my people Israel. Yet you followed in Jeroboam’s footsteps 3  and encouraged my people Israel to sin; their sins have made me angry. 4  16:3 So I am ready to burn up 5  Baasha and his family, and make your family 6  like the family of Jeroboam son of Nebat. 16:4 Dogs will eat the members of Baasha’s family 7  who die in the city, and the birds of the sky will eat the ones who die in the country.”

16:5 The rest of the events of Baasha’s reign, including his accomplishments and successes, are recorded in the scroll called the Annals of the Kings of Israel. 8  16:6 Baasha passed away 9  and was buried in Tirzah. His son Elah replaced him as king. 16:7 The prophet Jehu son of Hanani received from the Lord the message predicting the downfall of Baasha and his family because of all the evil Baasha had done in the sight of the Lord. 10  His actions angered the Lord (including the way he had destroyed Jeroboam’s dynasty), so that his family ended up like Jeroboam’s. 11 

Elah’s Reign over Israel

16:8 In the twenty-sixth year of King Asa’s reign over Judah, Baasha’s son Elah became king over Israel; he ruled in Tirzah for two years. 16:9 His servant Zimri, a commander of half of his chariot force, conspired against him. While Elah was drinking heavily 12  at the house of Arza, who supervised the palace in Tirzah, 16:10 Zimri came in and struck him dead. (This happened in the twenty-seventh year of Asa’s reign over Judah.) Zimri replaced Elah as king. 13  16:11 When he became king and occupied the throne, he killed Baasha’s entire family. He did not spare any male belonging to him; he killed his relatives and his friends. 14  16:12 Zimri destroyed Baasha’s entire family, just as the Lord had predicted to Baasha 15  through Jehu the prophet. 16:13 This happened because of all the sins which Baasha and his son Elah committed and which they made Israel commit. They angered the Lord God of Israel with their worthless idols. 16 

16:14 The rest of the events of Elah’s reign, including all his accomplishments, are recorded in the scroll called the Annals of the Kings of Israel. 17 

Zimri’s Reign over Israel

16:15 In the twenty-seventh year of Asa’s reign over Judah, Zimri became king over Israel; he ruled for seven days in Tirzah. Zimri’s revolt took place while the army was deployed 18  in Gibbethon, which was in Philistine territory. 16:16 While deployed there, the army received this report: 19  “Zimri has conspired against the king and assassinated him.” 20  So all Israel made Omri, the commander of the army, king over Israel that very day in the camp. 16:17 Omri and all Israel went up from Gibbethon and besieged Tirzah. 16:18 When Zimri saw that the city was captured, he went into the fortified area of the royal palace. He set the palace on fire and died in the flames. 21  16:19 This happened because of the sins he committed. He did evil in the sight of 22  the Lord and followed in Jeroboam’s footsteps and encouraged Israel to continue sinning. 23 

16:20 The rest of the events of Zimri’s reign, including the details of his revolt, are recorded in the scroll called the Annals of the Kings of Israel. 24 

Omri’s Reign over Israel

16:21 At that time the people of Israel were divided in their loyalties. Half the people supported Tibni son of Ginath and wanted to make him king; the other half supported Omri. 16:22 Omri’s supporters were stronger than those who supported Tibni son of Ginath. Tibni died; Omri became king.

16:23 In the thirty-first year of Asa’s reign over Judah, Omri became king over Israel. He ruled for twelve years, six of them in Tirzah. 16:24 He purchased the hill of Samaria 25  from Shemer for two talents 26  of silver. He launched a construction project there 27  and named the city he built after Shemer, the former owner of the hill of Samaria. 16:25 Omri did more evil in the sight of 28  the Lord than all who were before him. 16:26 He followed in the footsteps of Jeroboam son of Nebat and encouraged Israel to sin; 29  they angered the Lord God of Israel with their worthless idols. 30 

16:27 The rest of the events of Omri’s reign, including his accomplishments and successes, are recorded in the scroll called the Annals of the Kings of Israel. 31  16:28 Omri passed away 32  and was buried in Samaria. His son Ahab replaced him as king. 33 

Ahab Promotes Idolatry

16:29 In the thirty-eighth year of Asa’s reign over Judah, Omri’s son Ahab became king over Israel. Ahab son of Omri ruled over Israel for twenty-two years in Samaria. 34  16:30 Ahab son of Omri did more evil in the sight of 35  the Lord than all who were before him. 16:31 As if following in the sinful footsteps of Jeroboam son of Nebat were not bad enough, he married Jezebel the daughter of King Ethbaal of the Sidonians. Then he worshiped and bowed to Baal. 36  16:32 He set up an altar for Baal in the temple of Baal he had built in Samaria. 16:33 Ahab also made an Asherah pole; he 37  did more to anger the Lord God of Israel than all the kings of Israel who were before him.

16:34 During Ahab’s reign, 38  Hiel the Bethelite rebuilt Jericho. 39  Abiram, his firstborn son, died when he laid the foundation; 40  Segub, his youngest son, died when he erected its gates, 41  just as the Lord had warned 42  through Joshua son of Nun. 43 

Elijah Visits a Widow in Sidonian Territory

17:1 Elijah the Tishbite, from Tishbe in Gilead, said to Ahab, “As certainly as the Lord God of Israel lives (whom I serve), 44  there will be no dew or rain in the years ahead unless I give the command.” 45  17:2 The Lord told him: 46  17:3 Leave here and travel eastward. Hide out in the Kerith Valley near the Jordan. 17:4 Drink from the stream; I have already told 47  the ravens to bring you food 48  there.” 17:5 So he did 49  as the Lord told him; he went and lived in the Kerith Valley near the Jordan. 17:6 The ravens would bring him bread and meat each morning and evening, and he would drink from the stream.

17:7 After a while, 50  the stream dried up because there had been no rain in the land. 17:8 The Lord told him, 51  17:9 Get up, go to Zarephath in Sidonian territory, and live there. I have already told 52  a widow who lives there to provide for you.” 17:10 So he got up and went to Zarephath. When he went through the city gate, there was a widow gathering wood. He called out to her, “Please give me a cup 53  of water, so I can take a drink.” 17:11 As she went to get it, he called out to her, “Please bring me a piece of bread.” 54  17:12 She said, “As certainly as the Lord your God lives, I have no food, except for a handful of flour in a jar and a little olive oil in a jug. Right now I am gathering a couple of sticks for a fire. Then I’m going home to make one final meal for my son and myself. After we have eaten that, we will die of starvation.” 55  17:13 Elijah said to her, “Don’t be afraid. Go and do as you planned. 56  But first make a small cake for me and bring it to me; then make something for yourself and your son. 17:14 For this is what the Lord God of Israel says, ‘The jar of flour will not be empty and the jug of oil will not run out until the day the Lord makes it rain on the surface of the ground.’ 17:15 She went and did as Elijah told her; there was always enough food for Elijah and for her and her family. 57  17:16 The jar of flour was never empty and the jug of oil never ran out, just as the Lord had promised 58  through Elijah.

17:17 After this 59  the son of the woman who owned the house got sick. His illness was so severe he could no longer breathe. 17:18 She asked Elijah, “Why, prophet, have you come 60  to me to confront me with 61  my sin and kill my son? 17:19 He said to her, “Hand me your son.” He took him from her arms, carried him to the upper room where he was staying, and laid him down on his bed. 17:20 Then he called out to the Lord, “O Lord, my God, are you also bringing disaster on this widow I am staying with by killing her son? 17:21 He stretched out over the boy three times and called out to the Lord, “O Lord, my God, please let this boy’s breath return to him.” 17:22 The Lord answered Elijah’s prayer; the boy’s breath returned to him and he lived. 17:23 Elijah took the boy, brought him down from the upper room to the house, and handed him to his mother. Elijah then said, “See, your son is alive! 17:24 The woman said to Elijah, “Now I know that you are a prophet and that the Lord really does speak through you.” 62 

Elijah Meets the King’s Servant

18:1 Some time later, in the third year of the famine, the Lord told Elijah, 63 Go, make an appearance before Ahab, so I may send rain on the surface of the ground.” 18:2 So Elijah went to make an appearance before Ahab.

Now the famine was severe in Samaria. 64  18:3 So Ahab summoned Obadiah, who supervised the palace. (Now Obadiah was a very loyal follower of the Lord. 65  18:4 When Jezebel was killing 66  the Lord’s prophets, Obadiah took one hundred prophets and hid them in two caves in two groups of fifty. He also brought them food and water.) 18:5 Ahab told Obadiah, “Go through the land to all the springs and valleys. Maybe we can find some grazing areas 67  so we can keep the horses and mules alive and not have to kill 68  some of the animals.” 18:6 They divided up the land between them; Ahab went 69  one way and Obadiah went the other.

18:7 As Obadiah was traveling along, Elijah met him. 70  When he recognized him, he fell facedown to the ground and said, “Is it really you, my master, Elijah? 18:8 He replied, “Yes, 71  go and say to your master, ‘Elijah is back.’ 72  18:9 Obadiah 73  said, “What sin have I committed that you are ready to hand your servant over to Ahab for execution? 74  18:10 As certainly as the Lord your God lives, my master has sent to every nation and kingdom in an effort to find you. When they say, ‘He’s not here,’ he makes them 75  swear an oath that they could not find you. 18:11 Now you say, ‘Go and say to your master, “Elijah is back.”’ 76  18:12 But when I leave you, the Lord’s spirit will carry you away so I can’t find you. 77  If I go tell Ahab I’ve seen you, he won’t be able to find you and he will kill me. 78  That would not be fair, 79  because your servant has been a loyal follower of 80  the Lord from my youth. 18:13 Certainly my master is aware of what I did 81  when Jezebel was killing the Lord’s prophets. I hid one hundred of the Lord’s prophets in two caves in two groups of fifty and I brought them food and water. 18:14 Now you say, ‘Go and say to your master, “Elijah is back,”’ 82  but he will kill me.” 18:15 But Elijah said, “As certainly as the Lord who rules over all 83  lives (whom I serve), 84  I will make an appearance before him today.”

Elijah Confronts Baal’s Prophets

18:16 When Obadiah went and informed Ahab, the king went to meet Elijah. 85  18:17 When Ahab saw Elijah, he 86  said to him, “Is it really you, the one who brings disaster 87  on Israel? 18:18 Elijah 88  replied, “I have not brought disaster 89  on Israel. But you and your father’s dynasty have, by abandoning the Lord’s commandments and following the Baals. 18:19 Now send out messengers 90  and assemble all Israel before me at Mount Carmel, as well as the 450 prophets of Baal and 400 prophets of Asherah whom Jezebel supports. 91 

18:20 Ahab sent messengers to all the Israelites and had the prophets assemble at Mount Carmel. 18:21 Elijah approached all the people and said, “How long are you going to be paralyzed by indecision? 92  If the Lord is the true God, 93  then follow him, but if Baal is, follow him!” But the people did not say a word. 18:22 Elijah said to them: 94  “I am the only prophet of the Lord who is left, but there are 450 prophets of Baal. 18:23 Let them bring us two bulls. Let them choose one of the bulls for themselves, cut it up into pieces, and place it on the wood. But they must not set it on fire. I will do the same to the other bull and place it on the wood. But I will not set it on fire. 18:24 Then you 95  will invoke the name of your god, and I will invoke the name of the Lord. The god who responds with fire will demonstrate that he is the true God.” 96  All the people responded, “This will be a fair test.” 97 

18:25 Elijah told the prophets of Baal, “Choose one of the bulls for yourselves and go first, for you are the majority. Invoke the name of your god, but do not light a fire.” 98  18:26 So they took a bull, as he had suggested, 99  and prepared it. They invoked the name of Baal from morning until noon, saying, “Baal, answer us.” But there was no sound and no answer. They jumped 100  around on the altar they had made. 101  18:27 At noon Elijah mocked them, “Yell louder! After all, he is a god; he may be deep in thought, or perhaps he stepped out for a moment or has taken a trip. Perhaps he is sleeping and needs to be awakened.” 102  18:28 So they yelled louder and, in accordance with their prescribed ritual, 103  mutilated themselves with swords and spears until their bodies were covered with blood. 104  18:29 Throughout the afternoon they were in an ecstatic frenzy, 105  but there was no sound, no answer, and no response. 106 

18:30 Elijah then told all the people, “Approach me.” So all the people approached him. He repaired the altar of the Lord that had been torn down. 107  18:31 Then Elijah took twelve stones, corresponding to the number of tribes that descended from Jacob, to whom the Lord had said, “Israel will be your new 108  name.” 109  18:32 With the stones he constructed an altar for the Lord. 110  Around the altar he made a trench large enough to contain two seahs 111  of seed. 18:33 He arranged the wood, cut up the bull, and placed it on the wood. 18:34 Then he said, “Fill four water jars and pour the water on the offering and the wood.” When they had done so, 112  he said, “Do it again.” So they did it again. Then he said, “Do it a third time.” So they did it a third time. 18:35 The water flowed down all sides of the altar and filled the trench. 18:36 When it was time for the evening offering, 113  Elijah the prophet approached the altar 114  and prayed: “O Lord God of Abraham, Isaac, and Israel, prove 115  today that you are God in Israel and that I am your servant and have done all these things at your command. 18:37 Answer me, O Lord, answer me, so these people will know that you, O Lord, are the true God 116  and that you are winning back their allegiance.” 117  18:38 Then fire from the Lord fell from the sky. 118  It consumed the offering, the wood, the stones, and the dirt, and licked up the water in the trench. 18:39 When all the people saw this, they threw themselves down with their faces to the ground and said, “The Lord is the true God! 119  The Lord is the true God! 18:40 Elijah told them, “Seize the prophets of Baal! Don’t let even one of them escape!” So they seized them, and Elijah led them down to the Kishon Valley and executed 120  them there.

18:41 Then Elijah told Ahab, “Go on up and eat and drink, for the sound of a heavy rainstorm can be heard.” 121  18:42 So Ahab went on up to eat and drink, while Elijah climbed to the top of Carmel. He bent down toward the ground and put his face between his knees. 18:43 He told his servant, “Go on up and look in the direction of the sea.” So he went on up, looked, and reported, “There is nothing.” 122  Seven times Elijah sent him to look. 123  18:44 The seventh time the servant 124  said, “Look, a small cloud, the size of the palm of a man’s hand, is rising up from the sea.” Elijah 125  then said, “Go and tell Ahab, ‘Hitch up the chariots and go down, so that the rain won’t overtake you.’ 126  18:45 Meanwhile the sky was covered with dark clouds, the wind blew, and there was a heavy rainstorm. Ahab rode toward 127  Jezreel. 18:46 Now the Lord energized Elijah with power; 128  he tucked his robe into his belt 129  and ran ahead of Ahab all the way to Jezreel.

Elijah Runs for His Life

19:1 Ahab told Jezebel all that Elijah had done, including a detailed account of how he killed all the prophets with the sword. 19:2 Jezebel sent a messenger to Elijah with this warning, 130 May the gods judge me severely 131  if by this time tomorrow I do not take your life as you did theirs! 132 

19:3 Elijah was afraid, 133  so he got up and fled for his life to Beer Sheba in Judah. He left his servant there, 19:4 while he went a day’s journey into the desert. He went and sat down under a shrub 134  and asked the Lord to take his life: 135  “I’ve had enough! Now, O Lord, take my life. After all, I’m no better than my ancestors.” 136  19:5 He stretched out 137  and fell asleep under the shrub. All of a sudden an angelic messenger 138  touched him and said, “Get up and eat.” 19:6 He looked and right there by his head was a cake baking on hot coals and a jug of water. He ate and drank and then slept some more. 139  19:7 The Lord’s angelic messenger came back again, touched him, and said, “Get up and eat, for otherwise you won’t be able to make the journey.” 140  19:8 So he got up and ate and drank. That meal gave him the strength to travel forty days and forty nights until he reached Horeb, the mountain of God.

19:9 He went into a cave there and spent the night. All of a sudden the Lord spoke to him, “Why are you here, Elijah? 19:10 He answered, “I have been absolutely loyal 141  to the Lord, the sovereign God, 142  even though the Israelites have abandoned the agreement they made with you, 143  torn down your altars, and killed your prophets with the sword. I alone am left and now they want to take my life.” 144  19:11 The Lord 145  said, “Go out and stand on the mountain before the Lord. Look, the Lord is ready to pass by.”

A very powerful wind went before the Lord, digging into the mountain and causing landslides, 146  but the Lord was not in the wind. After the windstorm there was an earthquake, but the Lord was not in the earthquake. 19:12 After the earthquake, there was a fire, but the Lord was not in the fire. After the fire, there was a soft whisper. 147  19:13 When Elijah heard it, he covered his face with his robe and went out and stood at the entrance to the cave. All of a sudden 148  a voice asked him, “Why are you here, Elijah? 19:14 He answered, “I have been absolutely loyal 149  to the Lord, the sovereign God, 150  even though the Israelites have abandoned the agreement they made with you, 151  torn down your altars, and killed your prophets with the sword. I alone am left and now they want to take my life.” 152  19:15 The Lord said to him, “Go back the way you came and then head for the Desert of Damascus. Go and anoint Hazael king over Syria. 19:16 You must anoint Jehu son of Nimshi king over Israel, and Elisha son of Shaphat from Abel Meholah to take your place as prophet. 19:17 Jehu will kill anyone who escapes Hazael’s sword, and Elisha will kill anyone who escapes Jehu’s sword. 19:18 I still have left in Israel seven thousand followers who have not bowed their knees to Baal or kissed the images of him.” 153 

19:19 Elijah went from there and found Elisha son of Shaphat. He was plowing with twelve pairs of oxen; he was near the twelfth pair. Elijah passed by him and threw his robe over him. 19:20 He left the oxen, ran after Elijah, and said, “Please let me kiss my father and mother goodbye, then I will follow you.” Elijah 154  said to him, “Go back! Indeed, what have I done to you? 19:21 Elisha 155  went back and took his pair of oxen and slaughtered them. He cooked the meat over a fire that he made by burning the harness and yoke. 156  He gave the people meat and they ate. Then he got up and followed Elijah and became his assistant.

Ben Hadad Invades Israel

20:1 Now King Ben Hadad of Syria assembled all his army, along with thirty-two other kings with their horses and chariots. He marched against Samaria 157  and besieged and attacked it. 158  20:2 He sent messengers to King Ahab of Israel, who was in the city. 159  20:3 He said to him, “This is what Ben Hadad says, ‘Your silver and your gold are mine, as well as the best of your wives and sons.’ 20:4 The king of Israel replied, “It is just as you say, my master, O king. I and all I own belong to you.”

20:5 The messengers came again and said, “This is what Ben Hadad says, ‘I sent this message to you, “You must give me your silver, gold, wives, and sons.” 20:6 But now at this time tomorrow I will send my servants to you and they will search through your palace and your servantshouses. They will carry away all your valuables.” 160  20:7 The king of Israel summoned all the leaders 161  of the land and said, “Notice how this man is looking for trouble. 162  Indeed, he demanded my wives, sons, silver, and gold, and I did not resist him.” 20:8 All the leaders and people said to him, “Do not give in or agree to his demands.” 163  20:9 So he said to the messengers of Ben Hadad, “Say this to my master, the king, ‘I will give you everything you demanded at first from your servant, but I am unable to agree to this latest demand.’” 164  So the messengers went back and gave their report.

20:10 Ben Hadad sent another message to him, “May the gods judge me severely 165  if there is enough dirt left in Samaria for my soldiers to scoop up in their hands.” 166  20:11 The king of Israel replied, “Tell him the one who puts on his battle gear should not boast like one who is taking it off.” 167  20:12 When Ben Hadad received this reply, 168  he and the other kings were drinking in their quarters. 169  He ordered his servants, “Get ready to attack!” So they got ready to attack the city.

The Lord Delivers Israel

20:13 Now a prophet visited King Ahab of Israel and said, “This is what the Lord says, ‘Do you see this huge army? 170  Look, I am going to hand it over to you this very day. Then you will know that I am the Lord.’ 20:14 Ahab asked, “By whom will this be accomplished?” 171  He answered, “This is what the Lord says, ‘By the servants of the district governors.’” Ahab 172  asked, “Who will launch the attack?” He answered, “You will.”

20:15 So Ahab 173  assembled the 232 servants of the district governors. After that he assembled all the Israelite army, numbering 7,000. 174  20:16 They marched out at noon, while Ben Hadad and the thirty-two kings allied with him were drinking heavily 175  in their quarters. 176  20:17 The servants of the district governors led the march. When Ben Hadad sent messengers, they reported back to him, “Men are marching out of Samaria.” 177  20:18 He ordered, “Whether they come in peace or to do battle, take them alive.” 178  20:19 They marched out of the city with the servants of the district governors in the lead and the army behind them. 20:20 Each one struck down an enemy soldier; 179  the Syrians fled and Israel chased them. King Ben Hadad of Syria escaped on horseback with some horsemen. 20:21 Then the king of Israel marched out and struck down the horses and chariots; he thoroughly defeated 180  Syria.

The Lord Gives Israel Another Victory

20:22 The prophet 181  visited the king of Israel and instructed him, “Go, fortify your defenses. 182  Determine 183  what you must do, for in the spring 184  the king of Syria will attack 185  you.” 20:23 Now the advisers 186  of the king of Syria said to him: “Their God is a god of the mountains. That’s why they overpowered us. But if we fight them in the plains, we will certainly overpower them. 20:24 So do this: Dismiss the kings from their command, and replace them with military commanders. 20:25 Muster an army like the one you lost, with the same number of horses and chariots. 187  Then we will fight them in the plains; we will certainly overpower them.” He approved their plan and did as they advised. 188 

20:26 In the spring 189  Ben Hadad mustered the Syrian army 190  and marched to Aphek to fight Israel. 191  20:27 When the Israelites had mustered and had received their supplies, they marched out to face them in battle. When the Israelites deployed opposite them, they were like two small flocks 192  of goats, but the Syrians filled the land. 20:28 The prophet 193  visited the king of Israel and said, “This is what the Lord says: ‘Because the Syrians said, “The Lord is a god of the mountains and not a god of the valleys,” I will hand over to you this entire huge army. 194  Then you will know that I am the Lord.’

20:29 The armies were deployed opposite each other for seven days. On the seventh day the battle began, and the Israelites killed 100,000 Syrian foot soldiers in one day. 20:30 The remaining 27,000 ran to Aphek and went into the city, but the wall fell on them. 195  Now Ben Hadad ran into the city and hid in an inner room. 196  20:31 His advisers 197  said to him, “Look, we have heard that the kings of the Israelite dynasty are kind. 198  Allow us to put sackcloth around our waists and ropes on our heads 199  and surrender 200  to the king of Israel. Maybe he will spare our lives.” 20:32 So they put sackcloth around their waists and ropes on their heads and went to the king of Israel. They said, “Your servant 201  Ben Hadad says, ‘Please let me live!’” Ahab 202  replied, “Is he still alive? He is my brother.” 203  20:33 The men took this as a good omen and quickly accepted his offer, saying, “Ben Hadad is your brother.” Ahab 204  then said, “Go, get him.” So Ben Hadad came out to him, and Ahab pulled him up into his chariot. 20:34 Ben Hadad 205  said, “I will return the cities my father took from your father. You may set up markets 206  in Damascus, just as my father did in Samaria.” 207  Ahab then said, “I want to make a treaty with you before I dismiss you.” 208  So he made a treaty with him and then dismissed him.

A Prophet Denounces Ahab’s Actions

20:35 One of the members of the prophetic guild, speaking with divine authority, ordered his companion, “Wound me!” 209  But the man refused to wound him. 20:36 So the prophet 210  said to him, “Because you have disobeyed the Lord, as soon as you leave me a lion will kill you.” When he left him, a lion attacked and killed him. 20:37 He found another man and said, “Wound me!” So the man wounded him severely. 211  20:38 The prophet then went and stood by the road, waiting for the king. He also disguised himself by putting a bandage down over his eyes. 20:39 When the king passed by, he called out to the king, “Your servant went out into the heat 212  of the battle, and then a man turned aside and brought me a prisoner. 213  He told me, ‘Guard this prisoner. If he ends up missing for any reason, 214  you will pay with your life or with a talent 215  of silver.’ 216  20:40 Well, it just so happened that while your servant was doing this and that, he disappeared.” The king of Israel said to him, “Your punishment is already determined by your own testimony.” 217  20:41 The prophet 218  quickly removed the bandage from his eyes and the king of Israel recognized he was one of the prophets. 20:42 The prophet 219  then said to him, “This is what the Lord says, ‘Because you released a man I had determined should die, you will pay with your life and your people will suffer instead of his people.’ 220  20:43 The king of Israel went home to Samaria 221  bitter and angry.

Ahab Murders Naboth

21:1 After this the following episode took place. 222  Naboth the Jezreelite owned a vineyard in Jezreel adjacent to the palace of King Ahab of Samaria. 223  21:2 Ahab said to Naboth, “Give me your vineyard so I can make a vegetable garden out of it, for it is adjacent to my palace. I will give you an even better vineyard in its place, or if you prefer, 224  I will pay you silver for it.” 225  21:3 But Naboth replied to Ahab, “The Lord forbid that I should sell you my ancestral inheritance.” 226 

21:4 So Ahab went into his palace, bitter and angry that Naboth the Jezreelite had said, 227 I will not sell to you my ancestral inheritance.” 228  He lay down on his bed, pouted, 229  and would not eat. 21:5 Then his wife Jezebel came in and said to him, “Why do you have a bitter attitude and refuse to eat? 21:6 He answered her, “While I was talking to Naboth the Jezreelite, I said to him, ‘Sell me your vineyard for silver, or if you prefer, I will give you another vineyard in its place.’ But he said, ‘I will not sell you my vineyard.’ 230  21:7 His wife Jezebel said to him, “You are the king of Israel! 231  Get up, eat some food, and have a good time. 232  I will get the vineyard of Naboth the Jezreelite for you.”

21:8 She wrote out orders, 233  signed Ahab’s name to them, 234  and sealed them with his seal. She then sent the orders 235  to the leaders 236  and to the nobles who lived in Naboth’s city. 237  21:9 This is what she wrote: 238  “Observe a time of fasting and seat Naboth in front of the people. 21:10 Also seat two villains opposite him and have them testify, ‘You cursed God and the king.’ Then take him out and stone him to death.”

21:11 The men of the 239  city, the leaders 240  and the nobles who lived there, 241  followed the written orders Jezebel had sent them. 242  21:12 They observed a time of fasting and put Naboth in front of the people. 21:13 The two villains arrived and sat opposite him. Then the villains testified against Naboth right before the people, saying, “Naboth cursed God and the king.” So they dragged him 243  outside the city and stoned him to death. 244  21:14 Then they reported to Jezebel, “Naboth has been stoned to death.” 245 

21:15 When Jezebel heard that Naboth had been stoned to death, she 246  said to Ahab, “Get up, take possession of the vineyard Naboth the Jezreelite refused to sell you for silver, for Naboth is no longer alive; he’s dead.” 21:16 When Ahab heard that Naboth was dead, 247  he got up and went down to take possession of the vineyard of Naboth the Jezreelite.

21:17 The Lord told Elijah the Tishbite: 248  21:18 Get up, go down and meet King Ahab of Israel who lives in Samaria. He is at the vineyard of Naboth; he has gone down there to take possession of it. 21:19 Say to him, ‘This is what the Lord says: “Haven’t you committed murder and taken possession of the property of the deceased?”’ Then say to him, ‘This is what the Lord says: “In the spot where dogs licked up Naboth’s blood they will also lick up your blood – yes, yours!”’

21:20 When Elijah arrived, Ahab said to him, 249 So, you have found me, my enemy!” Elijah 250  replied, “I have found you, because you are committed 251  to doing evil in the sight of 252  the Lord. 21:21 The Lord says, 253  ‘Look, I am ready to bring disaster 254  on you. I will destroy you 255  and cut off every last male belonging to Ahab in Israel, including even the weak and incapacitated. 256  21:22 I will make your dynasty 257  like those of Jeroboam son of Nebat and Baasha son of Ahijah because you angered me and made Israel sin.’ 258  21:23 The Lord says this about Jezebel, ‘Dogs will devour Jezebel by the outer wall 259  of Jezreel.’ 21:24 As for Ahab’s family, dogs will eat the ones 260  who die in the city, and the birds of the sky will eat the ones who die in the country.” 21:25 (There had never been anyone like Ahab, who was firmly committed 261  to doing evil in the sight of 262  the Lord, urged on by his wife Jezebel. 263  21:26 He was so wicked he worshiped the disgusting idols, 264  just like the Amorites 265  whom the Lord had driven out from before the Israelites.)

21:27 When Ahab heard these words, he tore his clothes, put on sackcloth, and fasted. He slept in sackcloth and walked around dejected. 21:28 The Lord said to Elijah the Tishbite, 266  21:29 Have you noticed how Ahab shows remorse 267  before me? Because he shows remorse before me, I will not bring disaster on his dynasty during his lifetime, but during the reign of his son.” 268 

Ahab Dies in Battle

22:1 There was no war between Syria and Israel for three years. 269  22:2 In the third year King Jehoshaphat of Judah came down to visit 270  the king of Israel. 22:3 The king of Israel said to his servants, “Surely you recognize that Ramoth Gilead belongs to us, though we are hesitant to reclaim it from the king of Syria.” 271  22:4 Then he said to Jehoshaphat, “Will you go with me to attack Ramoth Gilead?” Jehoshaphat replied to the king of Israel, “I will support you; my army and horses are at your disposal.” 272  22:5 Then Jehoshaphat added, 273 First seek an oracle from the Lord.” 274  22:6 So the king of Israel assembled about four hundred prophets and asked them, “Should I attack Ramoth Gilead or not?” 275  They said, “Attack! The sovereign one 276  will hand it over to the king.” 22:7 But Jehoshaphat asked, “Is there not a prophet of the Lord still here, that we may ask him? 22:8 The king of Israel answered Jehoshaphat, “There is still one man through whom we can seek the Lord’s will. 277  But I despise 278  him because he does not prophesy prosperity for me, but disaster. His name is Micaiah son of Imlah. 279  Jehoshaphat said, “The king should not say such things.” 22:9 The king of Israel summoned an official and said, “Quickly bring Micaiah son of Imlah.”

22:10 Now the king of Israel and King Jehoshaphat of Judah were sitting on their respective thrones, 280  dressed in their robes, at the threshing floor at the entrance of the gate of Samaria. 281  All the prophets were prophesying before them. 22:11 Zedekiah son of Kenaanah made iron horns and said, “This is what the Lord says, ‘With these you will gore Syria until they are destroyed.’ 22:12 All the prophets were prophesying the same, saying, “Attack Ramoth Gilead! You will succeed; the Lord will hand it over to the king.” 22:13 Now the messenger who went to summon Micaiah said to him, “Look, the prophets are in complete agreement that the king will succeed. 282  Your words must agree with theirs; you must predict success.” 283  22:14 But Micaiah said, “As certainly as the Lord lives, I will say what the Lord tells me to say.”

22:15 When he came before the king, the king asked him, “Micaiah, should we attack Ramoth Gilead or not?” He answered him, “Attack! You will succeed; the Lord will hand it over to the king.” 284  22:16 The king said to him, “How many times must I make you solemnly promise in 285  the name of the Lord to tell me only the truth? 22:17 Micaiah 286  said, “I saw all Israel scattered on the mountains like sheep that have no shepherd. Then the Lord said, ‘They have no master. They should go home in peace.’ 22:18 The king of Israel said to Jehoshaphat, “Didn’t I tell you he does not prophesy prosperity for me, but disaster? 22:19 Micaiah 287  said, “That being the case, hear the word of the Lord. I saw the Lord sitting on his throne, with all the heavenly assembly standing on his right and on his left. 22:20 The Lord said, ‘Who will deceive Ahab, so he will attack Ramoth Gilead and die 288  there?’ One said this and another that. 22:21 Then a spirit 289  stepped forward and stood before the Lord. He said, ‘I will deceive him.’ The Lord asked him, ‘How?’ 22:22 He replied, ‘I will go out and be a lying spirit in the mouths of all his prophets.’ The Lord 290  said, ‘Deceive and overpower him. 291  Go out and do as you have proposed.’ 22:23 So now, look, the Lord has placed a lying spirit in the mouths of all these prophets of yours; but the Lord has decreed disaster for you.” 22:24 Zedekiah son of Kenaanah approached, hit Micaiah on the jaw, and said, “Which way did the Lord’s spirit go when he went from me to speak to you? 22:25 Micaiah replied, “Look, you will see in the day when you go into an inner room to hide.” 22:26 Then the king of Israel said, “Take Micaiah and return him to Amon the city official and Joash the king’s son. 22:27 Say, ‘This is what the king says, “Put this man in prison. Give him only a little bread and water 292  until I safely return.”’ 293  22:28 Micaiah said, “If you really do safely return, then the Lord has not spoken through me.” Then he added, “Take note, 294  all you people.”

22:29 The king of Israel and King Jehoshaphat of Judah attacked Ramoth Gilead. 22:30 The king of Israel said to Jehoshaphat, “I will disguise myself and then enter 295  into the battle; but you wear your royal robes.” So the king of Israel disguised himself and then entered into the battle. 22:31 Now the king of Syria had ordered his thirty-two chariot commanders, “Do not fight common soldiers or high-ranking officers; 296  fight only the king of Israel.” 22:32 When the chariot commanders saw Jehoshaphat, they said, “He must be the king of Israel.” So they turned and attacked him, but Jehoshaphat cried out. 22:33 When the chariot commanders realized he was not the king of Israel, they turned away from him. 22:34 Now an archer shot an arrow at random, 297  and it struck the king of Israel between the plates of his armor. The king 298  ordered his charioteer, “Turn around and take me from the battle line, 299  because I’m wounded.” 22:35 While the battle raged throughout the day, the king stood propped up in his chariot opposite the Syrians. He died in the evening; the blood from the wound ran down into the bottom of the chariot. 22:36 As the sun was setting, a cry went through the camp, “Each one should return to his city and to his homeland.” 22:37 So the king died and was taken to Samaria, where they buried him. 300  22:38 They washed off the chariot at the pool of Samaria (this was where the prostitutes bathed); 301  dogs licked his blood, just as the Lord had said would happen. 302 

22:39 The rest of the events of Ahab’s reign, including a record of his accomplishments and how he built a luxurious palace and various cities, are recorded in the scroll called the Annals of the Kings of Israel. 303  22:40 Ahab passed away. 304  His son Ahaziah replaced him as king.

Jehoshaphat’s Reign over Judah

22:41 In the fourth year of King Ahab’s reign over Israel, Asa’s son Jehoshaphat became king over Judah. 22:42 Jehoshaphat was thirty-five years old when he became king and he reigned for twenty-five years in Jerusalem. 305  His mother was Azubah, the daughter of Shilhi. 22:43 He followed in his father Asa’s footsteps and was careful to do what the Lord approved. 306  307  However, the high places were not eliminated; the people continued to offer sacrifices and burn incense on the high places. 22:44 Jehoshaphat was also at peace with the king of Israel.

22:45 The rest of the events of Jehoshaphat’s reign, including his successes and military exploits, are recorded in the scroll called the Annals of the Kings of Judah. 308  22:46 He removed from the land any male cultic prostitutes who had managed to survive the reign of his father Asa. 309  22:47 There was no king in Edom at this time; a governor ruled. 22:48 Jehoshaphat built a fleet of large merchant ships 310  to travel to Ophir for gold, but they never made the voyage because they were shipwrecked in Ezion Geber. 22:49 Then Ahaziah son of Ahab said to Jehoshaphat, “Let my sailors join yours in the fleet,” 311  but Jehoshaphat refused.

22:50 Jehoshaphat passed away 312  and was buried with his ancestors in the city of his ancestor 313  David. His son Jehoram replaced him as king.

Ahaziah’s Reign over Israel

22:51 In the seventeenth year of King Jehoshaphat’s reign over Judah, Ahab’s son Ahaziah became king over Israel in Samaria. 314  He ruled for two years over Israel. 22:52 He did evil in the sight of 315  the Lord and followed in the footsteps 316  of his father and mother; like Jeroboam son of Nebat, he encouraged Israel to sin. 317  22:53 He worshiped and bowed down to Baal, 318  angering the Lord God of Israel just as his father had done. 319 

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