THE ARROW THAT KILLED A KING
I Kings xxii: 1 to 40.
FTER the two victories which King Ahab gained over the
Syrians (see Story 79), there was peace
between Syria and Israel for three years. But in the
third year the Syrians became strong once more, and
they seized a city of Israel on the east of Jordan,
called Ramoth-gilead. At that time there was peace and
friendship between the kingdoms of Israel and Judah;
and Ahab, the king of Israel, sent to Jehoshaphat, the
king of Judah, saying, "Do you know that Ramoth-gilead
is ours, and yet we have done nothing to take it out of
the hands of the king of Syria?
 Will you go up with me
to battle at Ramoth-gilead?" And King Jehoshaphat sent
word to the king of Israel, "I am with you, and my
people are with your people, and my horses with your
So the king of Israel and the king of Judah gathered
their armies for war against the Syrians, and King
Jehoshaphat came to Samaria to meet King Ahab.
Jehoshaphat was a good man, and a worshipper of the
Lord. He said to Ahab, "Let us ask the prophets to
give us the word of the Lord before we go to battle."
Then the king of Israel called together his prophets,
four hundred men, not prophets of the Lord, but false
prophets of the idols, and he asked them, "Shall I go
up to battle at Ramoth-gilead, or shall I remain at
home?" And the prophets of the idols said, with one
voice, "Go up; for the Lord will give Ramoth-gilead to
But Jehoshaphat was not satisfied with the words of
these men. He asked, "Is there not here a prophet of
the Lord of whom we can ask the Lord's will?"
"There is one prophet," answered Ahab; "his name is
Micaiah, the son of Imlah; but I hate him; for he
never prophesies any good about me, but always evil."
"Let not the king say that," said Jehoshaphat. "Let us
hear what Micaiah will speak."
Then King Ahab sent one of his officers to bring the
prophet Micaiah. And the officer said to Micaiah, "All
the prophets have spoken good to the king; now, I pray
you, let your words be like theirs, and do you speak
And Micaiah said, "As the Lord lives, what the Lord say
to me, that I will speak, and nothing else."
The king of Israel and the king of Judah were seated
together in their royal robes, at an open place in
front of the gate of Samaria. And King Ahab said to
Micaiah, "Micaiah, speak to me nothing but the truth,
in the name of the Lord."
Then Micaiah said, "I saw all Israel scattered upon the
mountains, as sheep that have no shepherd; and the Lord
said, 'These have no master; let every man go back to
his own house.' "
Then the king of Israel said to Jehoshaphat, "Did I not
tell you that Micaiah would prophesy about me no good,
but only evil?"
 For Ahab knew that the words of Micaiah meant that he
would be slain in the battle.
And Micaiah went on and said, "Hear thou the word of
the Lord; I saw the Lord sitting on his throne, and all
the host of heaven standing around him, on his right
hand and on his left. And the Lord said, 'Who will go
and deceive Ahab, so that he will go up and fall at
Ramoth-gilead?' And one spirit came forth and said, 'I
will go, and will be a lying spirit in the mouth of all
Ahab's prophets.' And the Lord said to the spirit, 'Go
and deceive him.' Now, therefore, the Lord has let
all these false prophets deceive you; and the Lord has
spoken evil against you."
Then the king of Israel said to his guards, "Take
Micaiah, and lead him to the governor of the city, and
say, 'Put this fellow in prison, and let him have
nothing to eat but dry bread and water until I come
again in peace.' "
And Micaiah said, "If you return at all in peace, then
the Lord has not spoken by me. Hear my words, all ye
So the kings of Israel and Judah led their armies
across the river Jordan and up the mountains on the
east, to battle at Ramoth-gilead. Ahab felt afraid
after the prophecy of Micaiah, and he said to
Jehoshaphat, "I will dress as a common soldier before
going into the battle; but do you wear your royal
Now the king of Syria had given word to all his
captains to look out especially for the king of Israel,
and to fight him, and kill him, even if they should
kill no other man. When they saw Jehoshaphat in his
kingly garments standing in his chariot, they thought
that he was King Ahab, and they turned all battle
toward him. But Jehoshaphat cried out, and then they
found that he was not the king of Israel, and they left
him. In the battle one soldier of the Syrians drew his
bow, and shot an arrow, not knowing that he was aiming
at the king of Israel. The arrow struck King Ahab just
between his breastplate and his lower armor. He was
badly wounded, but they held him up in his chariot, so
that the men might not see him fall; and his blood was
running out of the wound upon the floor of the chariot,
until the sun set, when Ahab died. And the cry went
through all the host of Israel, "Every man to his city,
and every man to his country."
And then all knew that the king of Israel was dead.
They brought his body to Samaria, and buried him there.
And at the
 pool of Samaria they washed the king's
chariot and his armor. And there the wild dogs of the
city licked up Ahab's blood, according to the word of
the Lord spoken by Elijah.
Thus died King Ahab, the son of Omri. He was not a bad
man at heart, but he was weak in the hands of his wife,
Jezebel, who led him and his kingdom into wickedness in
the sight of the Lord.