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Wednesday, June 4 2014

1 Kings 22: The Dogs of Ahab and Jezebel

"In the place where dogs licked the blood of Naboth shall dogs lick thy blood"

King Ahab of Israel and his wife Jezebel murdered Naboth for his vineyard (see 1 Kings 21: Naboth's Vineyard). In the eyes of the LORD (Who was and is Jesus Christ - see Genesis 1: In The Beginning Was The Word and The Kingdom Of The LORD God), it was the final atrocity committed by Ahab and Jezebel. Israel and Judah had already experienced corrupt mis-leaders (see 1 Kings 14: The First Kings Of Israel and Judah), "But there was none like unto Ahab, which did sell himself to work wickedness in the sight of the LORD, whom Jezebel his wife stirred up. And he did very abominably in following idols, according to all things as did the Amorites, whom the LORD cast out before the children of Israel."

The LORD sentenced Ahab and Jezebel to the same horrendous end that they had mercilessly inflicted upon innocent Naboth. To Ahab, "In the place where dogs licked the blood of Naboth shall dogs lick thy blood." To Jezebel: "The dogs shall eat Jezebel by the wall of Jezreel."

Elijah Confronts Ahab and Jezebel

"21:17 And the word of the LORD came to Elijah the Tishbite, saying,

21:18 Arise, go down to meet Ahab king of Israel, which is in Samaria: behold, he is in the vineyard of Naboth, whither he is gone down to possess it. 21:19 And thou shalt speak unto him, saying, Thus saith the LORD, Hast thou killed, and also taken possession? And thou shalt speak unto him, saying, Thus saith the LORD, In the place where dogs licked the blood of Naboth shall dogs lick thy blood, even thine.

21:20 And Ahab said to Elijah, Hast thou found me, O mine enemy?

And he answered, I have found thee: because thou hast sold thyself to work evil in the sight of the LORD. 21:21 Behold, I will bring evil upon thee, and will take away thy posterity, and will cut off from Ahab him that pisseth against the wall, and him that is shut up and left in Israel, 21:22 And will make thine house like the house of Jeroboam the son of Nebat, and like the house of Baasha the son of Ahijah, for the provocation wherewith thou hast provoked me to anger, and made Israel to sin.

21:23 And of Jezebel also spake the LORD, saying, The dogs shall eat Jezebel by the wall of Jezreel.

21:24 Him that dieth of Ahab in the city the dogs shall eat; and him that dieth in the field shall the fowls of the air eat.

21:25 But there was none like unto Ahab, which did sell himself to work wickedness in the sight of the LORD, whom Jezebel his wife stirred up. 21:26 And he did very abominably in following idols, according to all things as did the Amorites, whom the LORD cast out before the children of Israel." (1 Kings 21:17-26 KJV)

The Kingdom of Israel was adjacent to Syria (see 1 Kings 20: Benhadad of Syria), whereas the Kingdom of Judah was farther south (see the map below). Israel and Syria had been at war for years, during which Syria had captured some of the national territory of Israel that was east of the Jordan River (see the Fact Finder question below), including the city of Ramothgilead (i.e. Ramoth in Gilead). Israel and Judah themselves had been at war, but at that time, King Ahab of Israel requested that King Jehoshaphat of Judah assist him in recovering the territory that had been made Israelite before the division of Israel into Israel and Judah.

"22:1 And they continued three years without war between Syria and Israel. 22:2 And it came to pass in the third year, that Jehoshaphat the king of Judah came down to the king of Israel. 22:3 And the king of Israel said unto his servants, Know ye that Ramoth in Gilead is ours, and we be still, and take it not out of the hand of the king of Syria?

22:4 And he said unto Jehoshaphat, Wilt thou go with me to battle to Ramothgilead?

And Jehoshaphat said to the king of Israel, I am as thou art, my people as thy people, my horses as thy horses. 22:5 And Jehoshaphat said unto the king of Israel, Enquire, I pray thee, at the word of the LORD to day." (1 Kings 22:1-5 KJV)

Jehoshaphat agreed, but he seemed to sense that something strange was happening, apart from the war with Syria. Jehoshaphat was apparently not aware of the LORD's specific condemnation of Ahab, while Ahab himself arrogantly chose to ignore it - when he abused a prophet of the LORD.

Israel and Judah

"22:6 Then the king of Israel gathered the prophets together, about four hundred men, and said unto them, Shall I go against Ramothgilead to battle, or shall I forbear?

And they said, Go up; for the Lord shall deliver it into the hand of the king.

22:7 And Jehoshaphat said, Is there not here a prophet of the LORD besides, that we might enquire of him?

22:8 And the king of Israel said unto Jehoshaphat, There is yet one man, Micaiah the son of Imlah, by whom we may enquire of the LORD: but I hate him; for he doth not prophesy good concerning me, but evil.

And Jehoshaphat said, Let not the king say so.

22:9 Then the king of Israel called an officer, and said, Hasten hither Micaiah the son of Imlah.

22:10 And the king of Israel and Jehoshaphat the king of Judah sat each on his throne, having put on their robes, in a void place in the entrance of the gate of Samaria; and all the prophets prophesied before them. 22:11 And Zedekiah the son of Chenaanah made him horns of iron: and he said, Thus saith the LORD, With these shalt thou push the Syrians, until thou have consumed them.

22:12 And all the prophets prophesied so, saying, Go up to Ramothgilead, and prosper: for the LORD shall deliver it into the king's hand.

22:13 And the messenger that was gone to call Micaiah spake unto him, saying, Behold now, the words of the prophets declare good unto the king with one mouth: let thy word, I pray thee, be like the word of one of them, and speak that which is good.

22:14 And Micaiah said, As the LORD liveth, what the LORD saith unto me, that will I speak.

22:15 So he came to the king. And the king said unto him, Micaiah, shall we go against Ramothgilead to battle, or shall we forbear?

And he answered him, Go, and prosper: for the LORD shall deliver it into the hand of the king.

22:16 And the king said unto him, How many times shall I adjure thee that thou tell me nothing but that which is true in the name of the LORD?

22:17 And he said, I saw all Israel scattered upon the hills, as sheep that have not a shepherd: and the LORD said, These have no master: let them return every man to his house in peace.

22:18 And the king of Israel said unto Jehoshaphat, Did I not tell thee that he would prophesy no good concerning me, but evil?

22:19 And he said, Hear thou therefore 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 hand and on his left. 22:20 And the LORD said, Who shall persuade Ahab, that he may go up and fall at Ramothgilead?

And one said on this manner, and another said on that manner. 22:21 And there came forth a spirit, and stood before the LORD, and said, I will persuade him.

22:22 And the LORD said unto him, Wherewith?

And he said, I will go forth, and I will be a lying spirit in the mouth of all his prophets.

And he said, Thou shalt persuade him, and prevail also: go forth, and do so.

22:23 Now therefore, behold, the LORD hath put a lying spirit in the mouth of all these thy prophets, and the LORD hath spoken evil concerning thee.

22:24 But Zedekiah the son of Chenaanah went near, and smote Micaiah on the cheek, and said, Which way went the Spirit of the LORD from me to speak unto thee?

22:25 And Micaiah said, Behold, thou shalt see in that day, when thou shalt go into an inner chamber to hide thyself. 22:26 And the king of Israel said, Take Micaiah, and carry him back unto Amon the governor of the city, and to Joash the king's son; 22:27 And say, Thus saith the king, Put this fellow in the prison, and feed him with bread of affliction and with water of affliction, until I come in peace.

22:28 And Micaiah said, If thou return at all in peace, the LORD hath not spoken by me. And he said, Hearken, O people, every one of you." (1 Kings 22:6-28 KJV)

Ahab and Jehoshaphat entered the battle together. Jehoshaphat was wearing his normal royal attire, while Ahab chose to disguise himself as one of the regular troops (with the invention of long-range sniper rifles, it's a defensive measure used by most military forces today - generals are almost indistinguishable from privates at a distance - rank insignia are recognizable only up close). It didn't matter either way for doomed Ahab. An enemy archer fired at random into the mass of troops. The arrow could have hit anyone, but it hit Ahab. Moreover it not only hit Ahab, it hit him in the narrow opening of his armor - causing a mortal wound from which was fulfilled the prophecy that "the dogs licked up his blood; and they washed his armour; according unto the word of the LORD which he spake."

The Ruins of Jezreel

"22:29 So the king of Israel and Jehoshaphat the king of Judah went up to Ramothgilead. 22:30 And the king of Israel said unto Jehoshaphat, I will disguise myself, and enter into the battle; but put thou on thy robes. And the king of Israel disguised himself, and went into the battle.

22:31 But the king of Syria commanded his thirty and two captains that had rule over his chariots, saying, Fight neither with small nor great, save only with the king of Israel. 22:32 And it came to pass, when the captains of the chariots saw Jehoshaphat, that they said, Surely it is the king of Israel. And they turned aside to fight against him: and Jehoshaphat cried out. 22:33 And it came to pass, when the captains of the chariots perceived that it was not the king of Israel, that they turned back from pursuing him.

22:34 And a certain man drew a bow at a venture, and smote the king of Israel between the joints of the harness: wherefore he said unto the driver of his chariot, Turn thine hand, and carry me out of the host; for I am wounded. 22:35 And the battle increased that day: and the king was stayed up in his chariot against the Syrians, and died at even: and the blood ran out of the wound into the midst of the chariot. 22:36 And there went a proclamation throughout the host about the going down of the sun, saying, Every man to his city, and every man to his own country.

22:37 So the king died, and was brought to Samaria; and they buried the king in Samaria. 22:38 And one washed the chariot in the pool of Samaria; and the dogs licked up his blood; and they washed his armour; according unto the word of the LORD which he spake.

22:39 Now the rest of the acts of Ahab, and all that he did, and the ivory house which he made, and all the cities that he built, are they not written in the book of the chronicles of the kings of Israel? 22:40 So Ahab slept with his fathers; and Ahaziah his son reigned in his stead." (1 Kings 22:29-40 KJV)

Jehoshaphat of Judah, who survived the battle, "reigned twenty and five years in Jerusalem." He was relatively righteous, having even "the remnant of the sodomites, which remained in the days of his father Asa, he took out of the land" (the LORD doesn't actually regard any particular sexual abomination to be more evil than any other; see Leviticus 18: Sexual Abominations).

"22:41 And Jehoshaphat the son of Asa began to reign over Judah in the fourth year of Ahab king of Israel. 22:42 Jehoshaphat was thirty and five years old when he began to reign; and he reigned twenty and five years in Jerusalem. And his mother's name was Azubah the daughter of Shilhi. 22:43 And he walked in all the ways of Asa his father; he turned not aside from it, doing that which was right in the eyes of the LORD: nevertheless the high places were not taken away; for the people offered and burnt incense yet in the high places. 22:44 And Jehoshaphat made peace with the king of Israel.

22:45 Now the rest of the acts of Jehoshaphat, and his might that he shewed, and how he warred, are they not written in the book of the chronicles of the kings of Judah? 22:46 And the remnant of the sodomites, which remained in the days of his father Asa, he took out of the land. 22:47 There was then no king in Edom: a deputy was king.

22:48 Jehoshaphat made ships of Tharshish to go to Ophir for gold: but they went not; for the ships were broken at Eziongeber. 22:49 Then said Ahaziah the son of Ahab unto Jehoshaphat, Let my servants go with thy servants in the ships. But Jehoshaphat would not.

22:50 And Jehoshaphat slept with his fathers, and was buried with his fathers in the city of David his father: and Jehoram his son reigned in his stead." (1 Kings 22:41-50 KJV)

Ahaziah succeeded Ahab as king of Israel, but "he did evil in the sight of the LORD, and walked in the way of his father, and in the way of his mother, and in the way of Jeroboam the son of Nebat, who made Israel to sin.".

"22:51 Ahaziah the son of Ahab began to reign over Israel in Samaria the seventeenth year of Jehoshaphat king of Judah, and reigned two years over Israel. 22:52 And he did evil in the sight of the LORD, and walked in the way of his father, and in the way of his mother, and in the way of Jeroboam the son of Nebat, who made Israel to sin: 22:53 For he served Baal, and worshipped him, and provoked to anger the LORD God of Israel, according to all that his father had done." (1 Kings 22:51-53 KJV)

Fact Finder: How and when did land east of the Jordan River become a part of the Promised Land too?
See The Israel Of East Jordan


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This Day In History, June 4

781 BC: The first documented solar eclipse was recorded, in China.

1039: German King Henry III (Henry is the English version of Heinrich) became Holy Roman Emperor (see The Holy Roman Empire Of The German Nation).

1411: King Charles VI granted a monopoly for the exclusive production of Roquefort cheese to the people of Roquefort-sur-Soulzon (an area of southern France).

Montgolfier Brothers 1584: Sir Walter Raleigh established the first English colony on Roanoke Island, old Virginia (now North Carolina; Raleigh, North Carolina is named after Sir Walter Raleigh).

1760: 22 ships carrying New England planters arrived in Nova Scotia to replace the Acadians.

1783: First flight: French brothers Etienne and Joseph Montgolfier made the first public flight of a hot-air balloon.

1792: Captain George Vancouver claimed Puget Sound for Britain.

1800: Construction of the original White House was completed. It was burned in August 1814 by British Marines during the War of 1812-14 in retaliation for the U.S. burning and looting of the Parliament Building in Toronto months before.

1831: The Belgian Congress proclaimed Prince Leopold of Saxe-Coburg as the first king of Belgium after the southern provinces split with the Netherlands.

1878: Under the terms of the Cyprus Convention, the Ottoman Empire ceded Cyprus to the United Kingdom (see also A History Of Jerusalem: The British Mandate).

1920: The Treaty of Trianon. Signed after the First World War by Hungary and the allies (excluding U.S. and U.S.S.R.), it reduced Hungary by one third, and deprived it of access to the sea; it gave Transylvania, the East Banat, and other districts to Romania; Slovakia and Ruthenia to Czechoslovakia; Croatia, Slavonia and the West Banat to Yugoslavia; the Bergenland to Austria.

1928: Zhang Zuolin, the President of the Republic of China, was assassinated by Japanese agents.

1939: The MS St. Louis, a German ocean liner with 963 Jewish refugees aboard, was denied permission to land in Florida, after being turned away from Cuba. Forced to return to Europe, more than 200 of its passengers later died in Nazi concentration camps.

1940: The British completed the evacuation of 300,000 troops from Dunkirk. Prime Minister Winston Churchill made his famous speech to the House of Commons: "we shall defend our island, whatever the cost may be, we shall fight on the beaches, we shall fight on the landing grounds, we shall fight in the fields and in the streets, we shall fight in the hills; we shall never surrender..."

1941: Kaiser (the German form of Caesar) Wilhelm II, ninth king of Prussia and third German emperor from 1888-1918, died in exile in the Netherlands.

1942: The 3-day Battle of Midway, the turning point in the sea war in the Pacific during the Second World War, began. The Japanese lost 4 aircraft carriers, 1 cruiser and 248 aircraft, with a total of 3,057 killed; the U.S. lost 1 aircraft carrier, 1 cruiser and 150 aircraft, with a total of 307 killed.

1944: Rome fell to the Allied forces, becoming the first Axis (Berlin, Rome, Tokyo) capital to fall during the Second World War.

1961: At the Vienna summit, Soviet leader Nikita Khrushchev triggered the Berlin Crisis by threatening to sign a separate peace treaty with East Germany and ending U.S., British and French road access to East Berlin.

1986: Jonathan Pollard pleaded guilty to espionage for selling top secret U.S. military information to Israel.

1989: Hundreds of pro-democracy demonstrators in Tiananmen Square were killed by the Chinese army using tanks and machine guns.

1989: A natural gas explosion near Ufa, Russia, killed 575 people when two passenger trains passing each other threw sparks onto a leaking gas pipeline.

1998: Terry Nichols was sentenced to life in prison for his role in the bombing of the Federal Building in Oklahoma City. His co-conspirator, Timothy McVeigh, was sentenced to death.


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