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[401] So Ahab called his own prophets, being in number about four hundred, and bid them inquire of God whether he would grant him the victory, if he made an expedition against Benhadad, and enable him to overthrow that city, for whose sake it was that he was going to war. Now these prophets gave their counsel for making this expedition, and said that he would beat the king of Syria, and, as formerly, would reduce him under his power. But Jehoshaphat, understanding by their words that they were false prophets, asked Ahab whether there were not some other prophet, and he belonging to the true God, that we may have surer information concerning futurities. Hereupon Ahab said there was indeed such a one, but that he hated him, as having prophesied evil to him, and having foretold that he should be overcome and slain by the king of Syria, and that for this cause he had him now in prison, and that his name was Micaiah, the son of Imlah. But upon Jehoshaphat's desire that he might be produced, Ahab sent a eunuch, who brought Micaiah to him. Now the eunuch had informed him by the way, that all the other prophets had foretold that the king should gain the victory; but he said, that it was not lawful for him to lie against God, but that he must speak what he should say to him about the king, whatsoever it were. When he came to Ahab, and he had adjured him upon oath to speak the truth to him, he said that God had shown to him the Israelites running away, and pursued by the Syrians, and dispersed upon the mountains by them, as flocks of sheep are dispersed when their shepherd is slain. He said further, that God signified to him, that those Israelites should return :in peace to their own home, and that he only should fall in the battle. When Micalab had thus spoken, Ahab said to Jehoshaphat, "I told thee a little while ago the disposition of the man with regard to me, and that he uses to prophesy evil to me." Upon which Micaiah replied, that he ought to hear all, whatsoever it be, that God foretells; and that in particular, they were false prophets that encouraged him to make this war in hope of victory, whereas he must fight and be killed. Whereupon the king was in suspense with himself: but Zedekiah, one of those false prophets, came near, and exhorted him not to hearken to Micaiah, for he did not at all speak truth; as a demonstration of which he instanced in what Elijah had said, who was a better prophet in foretelling futurities than Micaiah 1 for he foretold that the dogs should lick his blood in the city of Jezreel, in the field of Naboth, as they licked the blood of Naboth, who by his means was there stoned to death by the multitude; that therefore it was plain that this Micalab was a liar, as contradicting a greater prophet than himself, and saying that he should be slain at three days' journey distance: "and [said he] you shall soon know whether he be a true prophet, and hath the power of the Divine Spirit; for I will smite him, and let him then hurt my hand, as Jadon caused the hand of Jeroboam the king to wither when he would have caught him; for I suppose thou hast certainly heard of that accident." So when, upon his smiting Micaiah, no harm happened to him, Ahab took courage, and readily led his army against the king of Syria; for, as I suppose, fate was too hard for him, and made him believe that the false prophets spake truer than the true one, that it might take an occasion of bringing him to his end. However, Zedekiah made horns of iron, and said to Ahab, that God made those horns signals, that by them he should overthrow all Syria. But Micaiah replied, that Zedekiah, in a few days, should go from one secret chamber to another to hide himself, that he might escape the punishment of his lying. Then did the king give orders that they should take Micaiah away, and guard him to Amon, the governor of the city, and to give him nothing but bread and water.

1 These reasonings of Zedekiah the false prophet, in order to persuade Ahab not to believe Micaiah the true prophet, are plausible; but being omitted in our other copies, we cannot now tell whence Josephus had them, whether from his own temple copy, from some other original author, or from certain ancient notes. That some such plausible objection was now raised against Micaiah is very likely, otherwise Jehoshaphat, who used to disbelieve all such false prophets, could never have been induced to accompany Ahab in these desperate circumstances.

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