2 Chronicles 18 – “War with the Arameans”

arrows-highres-webHebrew-English Text
I. Summary
King Jehoshaphat becomes allies with king Ahab. While Ahab’s prophets favor war with the Arameans, Micaiah the prophet discourages it. The two kings ignore Micaiah’s warning, and Ahab is killed in battle.

II. Photo
Ahab is killed in battle: “Then a man drew his bow at random and hit the king of Israel between the plates of the armor…” (v. 33)

III. Important Verses
v. 1: So Jehoshaphat had wealth and honor in abundance, and he allied himself by marriage to Ahab.
vv. 3-4: King Ahab of Israel said to King Jehoshaphat of Judah, “Will you accompany me to Ramoth-gilead?” He answered him, “I will do what you do; my troops shall be your troops and shall accompany you in battle.” Jehoshaphat then said to the king of Israel, “But first inquire of the LORD.”
vv. 14-16: When he came before the king, the king said to him, “Micah, shall we march against Ramoth-gilead for battle or shall we not?” He answered him, “March and be victorious! They will be delivered into your hands.” The king said to him, “How many times must I adjure you to tell me nothing but the truth in the name of the LORD?” Then he said, “I saw all Israel scattered over the hills like sheep without a shepherd; and the LORD said, ‘These have no master; let everyone return to his home in safety.’”
vv. 33-34: Then a man drew his bow at random and hit the king of Israel between the plates of the armor and he said to his charioteer, “Turn around and get me behind the lines; I am wounded.” The battle raged all day long, and the king remained propped up in the chariot facing Aram until dusk; he died as the sun was setting.

IV. Outline
1. Jehoshaphat and Ahab are allied by marriage
2-4. Jehoshaphat agrees to help Ahab, but only if God agrees
5. Four hundred prophets support the war
6-22. Micaiah prophesies against the war
23-27. Micaiah is beaten and imprisoned
28-32. Jehoshaphat is saved in battle
33-34. Ahab is killed in battle

V. Comment
Chapter 18 recounts how Jehoshaphat and Ahab go to war with the Arameans in spite of Micaiah’s ominous prediction. Keeping in line with the Chronicler’s “theology of divine retribution,” the righteous Jehoshaphat is saved but the wicked Ahab is killed. While the book of Chronicles contains a longer narrative about Jehoshaphat than the book of Kings, Dillard points out that the Chronicler was basing himself upon the book of Kings. Dillard writes: “Though the Chronicler has devoted much more space to this king than did the [the book of Kings], one should not overstate the contrast. Most of the account in Kings is cited nearly verbatim by the Chronicler (1 Kgs 22:1–35// 2 Chr 18:2–34; 1 Kgs 22:41–46, 49// 2 Chr 20:31–36). Of those portions unique to Chronicles, many contain elaborations on themes alluded to in the Kings account, suggesting a greater influence for the author’s Kings Vorlage than might be apparent simply from noting verbatim parallels. The following issues mentioned in Kings may have precipitated the Chronicler’s elaboration: the issue of the high places (1 Kgs 22:43; cf. 2 Chr 17:3–6), the comparison with Asa (1 Kgs 22:43; 2 Chr 17:3; 20:32), peace with Israel (1 Kgs 22:44; cf. 2 Chr 17:1; 18:1), his military exploits (1 Kgs 22:45), particularly with reference to Edom (1 Kgs 22:47; 2 Chr 20).” (130)

VI. Works Used
(see “Commentaries” page)
Dillard, Raymond B. “2 Chronicles” (Waco Texas: Word Books, 1988).
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