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[389] But a certain prophet, whose name was Micaiah, 1 came to one of the Israelites, and bid him smite him on the head, for by so doing he would please God; but when he would not do so, he foretold to him, that since he disobeyed the commands of God, he should meet with a lion, and be destroyed by him. When that sad accident had befallen the man, the prophet came again to another, and gave him the same injunction; so he smote him, and wounded his skull; upon which he bound up his head, and came to the king, and told him that he had been a soldier of his, and had the custody of one of the prisoners committed to him by an officer, and that the prisoner being run away, he was in danger of losing his own life by the means of that officer, who had threatened him, that if the prisoner escaped he would kill him. And when Ahab had said that he would justly die, he took off the binding about his head, and was known by the king to be Micaiah the prophet, who made use of this artifice as a prelude to his following words; for he said that God would punish him who had suffered Benhadad, a blasphemer against him, to escape punishment; and that he would so bring it about, that he should die by the other's means 2 and his people by the other's army. Upon which Ahab was very angry at the prophet, and gave commandment that he should be put in prison, and there kept; but for himself, he was in confusion at the words of Micaiah, and returned to his own house.

1 It is here remarkable, that in Josephus's copy this prophet, whose severe denunciation of a disobedient person's slaughter by a lion had lately come to pass, was no other than Micaiah, the son of Imlah, who, as he now denounced God's judgment on disobedient Ahab, seems directly to have been that very prophet whom the same Ahab, in 1 Kings 22:8, 18, complains of, "as one whom he hated, because he did not prophesy good concerning him, but evil," and who in that chapter openly repeats his denunciations against him; all which came to pass accordingly; nor is there any reason to doubt but this and the former were the very same prophet.

2 What is most remarkable in this history, and in many histories on other occasions in the Old Testament, is this, that during the Jewish theocracy God acted entirely as the supreme King of Israel, and the supreme General of their armies, and always expected that the Israelites should be in such absolute subjection to him, their supreme and heavenly King, and General of their armies, as subjects and soldiers are to their earthly kings and generals, and that usually without knowing the particular reasons of their injunctions.

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