1 For three years there was no war between Aram and Israel.
2 Then during the third year, King Jehoshaphat of Judah went to visit King Ahab of Israel.
3 During the visit, Ahab said to his officials, "Do you realize that the Arameans are still occupying our city of Ramoth-gilead? And we haven't done a thing about it!"
4 Then he turned to Jehoshaphat and asked, "Will you join me in fighting against Ramoth-gilead?" And Jehoshaphat replied to King Ahab, "Why, of course! You and I are brothers, and my troops are yours to command. Even my horses are at your service."
5 Then Jehoshaphat added, "But first let's find out what the LORD says."
6 So King Ahab summoned his prophets, about four hundred of them, and asked them, "Should I go to war against Ramoth-gilead or not?" They all replied, "Go right ahead! The Lord will give you a glorious victory!"
7 But Jehoshaphat asked, "Isn't there a prophet of the LORD around, too? I would like to ask him the same question."
8 King Ahab replied, "There is still one prophet of the LORD, but I hate him. He never prophesies anything but bad news for me! His name is Micaiah son of Imlah." "You shouldn't talk like that," Jehoshaphat said. "Let's hear what he has to say."
9 So the king of Israel called one of his officials and said, "Quick! Go and get Micaiah son of Imlah."
10 King Ahab of Israel and King Jehoshaphat of Judah, dressed in their royal robes, were sitting on thrones at the threshing floor near the gate of Samaria. All of Ahab's prophets were prophesying there in front of them.
11 One of them, Zedekiah son of Kenaanah, made some iron horns and proclaimed, "This is what the LORD says: With these horns you will gore the Arameans to death!"
12 All the other prophets agreed. "Yes," they said, "go up to Ramoth-gilead and be victorious, for the LORD will give you victory!"
13 Meanwhile, the messenger who went to get Micaiah said to him, "Look, all the prophets are promising victory for the king. Be sure that you agree with them and promise success."
14 But Micaiah replied, "As surely as the LORD lives, I will say only what the LORD tells me to say."
15 When Micaiah arrived before the king, Ahab asked him, "Micaiah, should we go to war against Ramoth-gilead or not?" And Micaiah replied, "Go right ahead! The LORD will give the king a glorious victory!"
16 But the king replied sharply, "How many times must I demand that you speak only the truth when you speak for the LORD?"
17 So Micaiah told him, "In a vision I saw all Israel scattered on the mountains, like sheep without a shepherd. And the LORD said, `Their master has been killed. Send them home in peace.' "
18 "Didn't I tell you?" the king of Israel said to Jehoshaphat. "He does it every time. He never prophesies anything but bad news for me."
19 Then Micaiah continued, "Listen to what the LORD says! I saw the LORD sitting on his throne with all the armies of heaven around him, on his right and on his left.
20 And the LORD said, `Who can entice Ahab to go into battle against Ramoth-gilead so that he can be killed there?' There were many suggestions,
21 until finally a spirit approached the LORD and said, `I can do it!'
22 " `How will you do this?' the LORD asked. "And the spirit replied, `I will go out and inspire all Ahab's prophets to speak lies.' " `You will succeed,' said the LORD. `Go ahead and do it.'
23 "So you see, the LORD has put a lying spirit in the mouths of your prophets. For the LORD has determined disaster for you."
24 Then Zedekiah son of Kenaanah walked up to Micaiah and slapped him across the face. "When did the Spirit of the LORD leave me to speak to you?" he demanded.
25 And Micaiah replied, "You will find out soon enough when you find yourself hiding in some secret room!"
26 King Ahab of Israel then ordered, "Arrest Micaiah and take him back to Amon, the governor of the city, and to my son Joash.
27 Give them this order from the king: `Put this man in prison, and feed him nothing but bread and water until I return safely from the battle!' "