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Elijah #6

top Elijah #6      Saturday, December 16, 2017

Ahab's Death

The Death Of Ahab

Elijah The Tishbite
By James L. Thornton

In this Study # 6 of the Life Of Elijah we will take up where we left of in Study # 5, where, after the cruel death of Naboth, Ahab has arrived to take over his vineyard. The following are some of the things we will discuss in this Study # 6.

In this assignment we could call Elijah "The Prophet Of Doom."


1. God Summons Elijah To Meet with Ahab.
2. They Meet In Naboth's Vineyard.
3. Ahab, "Thou Hast Found Me, O, Mine Enemy."
4. Sold Under Sin.
5. Judgment Pronounced Upon Ahab.
6. Sentence Is Given.
7. The Repentance Of Ahab.
8. The Sentence Of Doom Shall Be Deferred.
9. A Space To Repent.
10. An Unholy Alliance.
11. A Prophetic Vision.
12. War With Syria & Ahab’s Battle Plans.
13. An Arrow Guided By An Unseen Hand.
14. The Death Of Ahab.
15. Conclusion Of The Study Of Ahab's Life.


1. God Summons Elijah To Meet Ahab:

1 Kings 21:17. And the word of the Lord came to Elijah the Tishbite, saying, (KJV)

On the same day that Jezebel informed Ahab that Naboth was dead, the God of Heaven and Earth called upon his most trusted and reliable servant, Elijah, to confront Ahab one last time.

This would be the last meeting between King Ahab and the Prophet Elijah, until they meet in the final judgment, and this meeting held no good for the king.

1 Kings 21:18a. …….arise, go down …. (KJV)

This seems to indicate that Elijah was hidden away in some mountain district, probably in some school of the prophets. Wherever he was he could easily be found by his Lord when needed.

Remember in 1 Kings 17:1.. He makes the statement. "Before Whom I Stand." which means he was standing, as a servant, before his Lord, eyes intent upon his master, ready at all times to do his every bidding.

1 Kings 21:18b.. … 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. (KJV)

Here Elijah received his toughest assignment. Remember I told you (Study #1) that a tough man was needed for rough service, and that Elijah met those qualifications.

Every Minister of God will receive, at some time, or other, a tough assignment from God and to be able to fulfill that assignment he needs to "Stand Before God" as Elijah had done.

Paul told Timothy to, "Reprove, Rebuke Exhort…" (2 Timothy 4:2)

Elijah may have known Naboth, as he most likely was one of the 7,000 whom the Lord had called his attention to. (1 Kings 19:18)

As Elijah stood before the Lord, once again God handed down the indictment and the sentence for him to deliver to Ahab.

1 Kings 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. (KJV)

Ahab Meets Elijah for the final time on the very soil of the coveted vineyard.

The citizens of Jezreel having seen the chariot of Ahab entering in upon the vineyard may well also have seen the Prophet as he made his way also towards the vineyard.

With his dress like unto John the Baptist’s, of camel’s hair, with a leather girdle about his loins, and a sheepskin mantle draped upon his shoulders, the people of Jezreel would have known him at a glance.

Word would have spread through Jezreel like wildfire, "Behold Elijah Is Here." (1 Kings 18:8)

2. Elijah Meet Ahab In Naboth's Vineyard:

As Ahab walks through the vineyard with his two body guards, Jehu and Bidkar (2 Kings 9:25), Suddenly before him, confronting him, one he has not seen in five years or more, standing, like a ghost from another world.

There standing before him, not one of the son’s of the prophets, nor an ordinary seer, but the terrible figure of the Gileadite, with burning eyes, clad in the rough cloak of black camel’s hair, girt about with a leathern girdle.

It must have recalled to Ahab his first appearance in the great hall at Samaria (1 Kings 17:1), When he announced that it would not rain until he gave the word, and then disappeared from sight.

Ahab thought about the three and one half years of drought and the terrible misery it produced, and his wide ranging search for the prophet. (1 Kings 18:10)

He remembered how Elijah confronted him once again and the ordeal on Carmel. (1 Kings 18:16-45)

The last glimpse of the Gileadite was years ago when, though the blinding rain, in the late evening hours, he saw his dark figure running before his chariot to the very gate of Samaria. (1 Kings 18:46)

Now, suddenly, unannounced, he stood once more before him—and Ahab knew only too well why.

3. Thou Hast Found Me, O, Mine Enamy:

Ahab shrieks, while the scene is impressed forever on Bidkar and Jehu (2 Kings 11:25, years later).

1 Kings 21:20a. And Ahab said to Elijah, hast thou found me, O mine enemy? ... (KJV)

Elijah has not spoken a word, and yet the King breaks out into a scream of terror. It was the language of surprise as well as defiance.

Ahab is so conscience stricken by the sudden apparition of Elijah, whom he in all probability has not seen or heard of since the day on Carmel, and by his appearance on the scene at the very moment when he was entering on the fruit of his evil doings--in the very blossom of his sin, that he feels that judgment is already begun.

The Prophet would be the last man he wished or expected to see. He probably thought that Jezebel’s threat had frightened him away so that he would be troubled by him no more.

At the very sight of Elijah his conscious would smite him for his wickedness and bring his guilt home to him.

"Hast Thou Found Me……?"

A guilty heart can never be at peace.

"O Mine Enemy?"

We see, again, the terrible mistakes wicked men always make as to who are their friends and foes.

Remember what the Apostle told him, "Am I therefore become your enemy, because I tell you the truth?" (Galatians 4:16)

Such a reception is all that the faithful servant of God must expect at the hands of the wicked, especially from unregenerate religious professors. They regard him as a disturber of the peace, a troubler of those who want to be comfortable in their sins.

They who are engaged in evil-doing are annoyed at him who detects them, whether he be a minister of Christ or a policeman. Who was Ahab’s real enemy, Elijah or Jezebel, --the Prophet of Gilead, or the Phoenician Queen that shared the throne?

But sin is always blind--nay, seeks to shirk its own blame by charging it the others. Neither God nor God’s Ministers proclaiming His Gospel are enemies to men.

John 5:40. (Jesus) And ye will not come to me, that ye might have life.

1 Kings 21:20b. (Elijah) …? And he answered, I have found thee: (not because I am thine enemy, but,) because thou hast sold thyself (surrenderest thyself wholly) to work evil in the sight of the Lord. (KJV)

What the Prophet had said was not the outcome of personal enmity, nor was what had occurred (the death of Naboth) the result of sudden temptation or rash mood of the king, but of the whole direction of life which Ahab had deliberately chosen.

4. Sold Under Sin:

He had "sold" himself as a slave (Romans 7:14), so that he no longer had freedom of action, but had to obey his master’s command; and consequently he had so sold himself "to do evil in the sight (to the despising) of Jehovah."

It would be good now to explain the difference in the charge Elijah made against Ahab and the similar statement the Apostle Paul makes in Romans 7:14.

Here we may observe how essential it is that we note particularly each word of scripture, for if we read these verses carelessly we fail to distinguish the vastly different sense of meaning in the two occasions.

Romans 7:14. For we know that the law is spiritual: but I am carnal, sold under sin. (KJV)

It will be noted that Paul begins with the affirmation, "for we know that the law is spiritual," which among other things means, it legislates for the soul (inner self) as well as the body.

It (the law) reaches beyond the mere outward acts to the motive which prompted it and the spirit in which it is performed; in a word, it (the law) requires inward conformity and purity.

As the Apostle measured himself by the high and holy requirements of God’s Law, he declared, "I am carnal." that was not said by way of self-justification, to excuse his coming so far short, of the Divine Standard set before us, but in self-condemnation, because of his lack of conformity to it.

That Is The Sorrowful Confession Of Every Honest Christian.

"I am carnal" expresses what Paul (and any believer) is in himself by nature; though born from above (born again), yet the "flesh" in him has not improved to the slightest degree.

That is not true of the believer only when he has suffered some failure or short coming; he is always "carnal" for there is no getting rid of the old nature, even though he is not always conscious of the humiliating fact.

The more the Christian grows in grace (the closer he draws to Christ) the more he realizes his carnality (that the "flesh" pollutes his holiest exercises and best performances).

Romans 7:14b. …, sold under sin. (KJV)

This does not mean that the saint gives up himself to be the willing slave of sin, but that he finds himself in the shoes of a slave, of one whose master demands him to do things against his inclinations.

The literal rending of the Greek phrase Paul is using is, "having been sold under sin," that is, at the fall of Adam, in which condition we continue to live to the end of our earthly life.

"Sold" so as to be under the power of sin, for the old nature is never made holy. The Apostle speaks of what he finds in himself, what he is before God, and not what he appeared in the sight of men.

His "old man" (Romans 6:6) was thoroughly opposed to God’s law. There was an evil principal in him against which he struggled (Romans 7:15), from which he longed to be delivered (Romans 7:24), but which continued to exert its fearful power.

Even with all the grace he had received, he found himself far, far, from being perfect, and in all respects unable to attain thereunto, though longing after it (Philippians 3:14).

It was while measuring himself by the law, which requires perfect love (Matthew 22:37-40), that he realized how far short he came of it.

"Sold under sin"—indwelling corruption (1 Corinthians 15:53) holds the believer back. (living for Christ is a wrestling match)

The more spiritual progress he is enabled to make, the more he discovers his handicap. It is like a man journeying uphill with a heavy load on his back; the further he proceeds the more conscious does he become of that burden.

But, one might say, how do we harmonize this with what Paul says, "Sin shall not have dominion over you?" (Romans 6:14)

Though indwelling sin tyrannizes the believer, it by no means prevails over him totally and completely.

Sin reigns over the sinner, having an absolute and undisputed dominion over him, but not so with the saint. Yet it so far plagues him as to prevent his attaining unto perfection, which he craves (Philippians 3:12).

From the standpoint of the new nature and as God sees him in Christ, the believer is spiritual; but from the standpoint of the old nature and as God sees him in himself, he is "carnal."

As a child of Adam he is "sold under sin," as a child of God he "delights in the law of God after the inward man" (Romans 7:22).

The acts of a slave are indeed his own acts, yet not being performed with the full consent of his will and the delights of his heart, they are not a fair test of his disposition and desires.

Vastly Different Was The Case Of Ahab From That Which We Have Said Above.

So far from being brought into captivity against his will, he had "sold himself to work evil in the sight of the Lord." Deliberately, willfully, and without limit, Ahab wholly gave himself up unto all manner of wickedness in open defiance of the Almighty.

As Balaam "loved the wages of unrighteousness" (2 Peter 2:15), and therefore hired himself to Balak to curse the people of God, and as Judas coveted the silver of the chief priests, and sought them out and covenanted to betray the Savior unto them (Matthew 26:14-15).

So This Apostate King "Sold Himself To Work Evil" Without Sting Of Conscience Or A Pang Of Guilt.

His horrible crime against Naboth was no isolated act contrary to the general direction of his life, as David’s sin in the matter of Uriah had been, but was simply another act of his continual rebellion against God.

Having "sold himself to work evil in the sight of the Lord," Ahab was openly, constantly, and diligently employed in it as a slave in his master’s business.

Ahab was probably guilty of many such acts of cruel wrong during his reign, which will be revealed in the day of judgment. (1 Kings 16:30-33; 21:25-26)

Ecclesiastes 12:14. For God shall bring every work into judgment, with every secret thing, whether it be good, or whether it be evil. (KJV)

Revelation 14:13b. (concerning the resurrection) …; and their works do follow them. (KJV)

It is interesting to note something that Alexander Mclaren said in one of his sermons.

"There is a resurrection of acts as well as bodies. And think what it will be for a man to stand surrounded by that ghastly company, the ghosts of his own sins, and as each forgotten fault and buried badness comes, silent and sheeted, into that awful society, and sits itself down there. Think of him greeting each sin with the question, ‘thou, too? What! Are ye all here? Hast thou found me, O mine enemy?’ and from each bloodless spectral lip there tolls out the answer, the knell of his despairing hopes, ‘I have found thee, because thou hast sold thyself to work evil in the sight of the Lord."

5. Judgment Pronounced Upon Ahab:

1 Kings 21:19b. "..Thus saith the Lord, in the place where dogs licked the blood of Naboth shall dogs lick thy blood, even thine. (KJV)

1 Kings 21:21. Behold, I will bring evil upon thee, and will take away thy posterity,
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.
23. And of Jezebel also spake the Lord, saying, the dogs shall eat Jezebel by the wall of Jezreel.
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.

The Charges Have Been Filed,
The verdict is in,
The witnesses have been heard,
And Elijah pronounces the sentence from God.

The first charge, "thou hast provoked the Lord God of Israel." (1 Kings 21:22)

He continued the calf-worship of Jeroboam despite the warnings of Prophets and the history of others who propagated it, and he maintained the shrines, sacrifices, and priests at Bethel and Dan.

This began when he married Jezebel, a Phoenician Princes which brought to Israel the worship of Baal.

It "was a light thing to walk in the way of Jeroboam that he must take to wife Jezebel" a Phoenician Princes (1 Kings 16:31), This in direct violation of the law (Deuteronomy 7:3-4).

To place such a woman, daughter of such a house, on the throne of Israel was to insult the true religion, and to court its overthrow.

He stood by and allowed Jezebel to kill the Prophets of the Lord, and install instead hundreds of prophets of Baal and Astherah (1 Kings 18:13).

The next charge, and the one which angered God the most, "And made Israel to sin." (1 Kings 21:22)

It is one thing for a person to be a vile sinner, but it is another, and a much more repulsive sin in the eyes of God, for an individual to be the direct cause of others to sin.

Instead of being the leader of the nation in the worship of Jehovah, Ahab "reared up altars to Baal in Samaria (1 Kings 16:32)," "He made a grove (a pagan shrine for pleasure), he did very abominably in following idols (1 Kings 21:26)."

Under this kind of leadership, the nation of Israel was led into the impure and abominable acts which were associated with the worship of these pagan idols.

Last but not the least, "hast thou killed, and also taken possession?" (1 Kings 21:19). Guilt was brought home by this question. He has killed, for by taking possession he sanctions, the means by which his title is made out.

I am sure that Naboth was not the only person’s blood which cried out from the ground (Genesis 4:10) against Ahab, but his was the one which filled the cup of God’s wrath against him.

The Verdict Is In. Ahab had been weighed in the balances of God’s justice and found wanting (Daniel 5:27), guilty as charged.

6. The Sentence Is Given:

"You have worked evil (1 Kings 21:20) now I will bring evil upon thee, and will take away thy posterity (family and descendants),.. (1 Kings 21:21)" (The sentence of death was pronounced).

Ahab knew full well the meaning of these words for he had before him the examples of Baasha (1 Kings 16:12), and of Zimri (1 Kings 16:18-19).

This sentence was fulfilled in it’s entirety, in the near future for Ahab himself, the rest of his family over the next few years. (2 Kings 10:1-7; 10-17)

Sentence was also pronounced upon Jezebel, that wicked woman who had been the mastermind behind much of the wickedness that Ahab had been involved in.

1 Kings 21:23. "And of Jezebel also spake the Lord, saying, the dogs shall eat Jezebel by the wall of Jezreel."

We cannot be sure whether Ahab delivered this message of doom to Jezebel, but it certainly was not kept secret because on that fateful day there were at least two witnesses (2 Kings 9:25) and possibly more who heard and understood the meaning of the words spoken by Elijah.

1 Kings 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."

This verse pertains to the house of Ahab and the fate which awaited them.

One of the utmost curses which an Israelite could imagine was to not have a decent burial, and their bodies be left to the wild dogs and birds to consume. All these horrible sentences were the results of Ahab having "sold himself to work evil in the sight of the Lord." (1 Kings 21: 20)

Not Honoring God, There Is No Power To Restrain Self But Self.

In the next two verses the Chronicler (Jeremiah? tradition) inserts the terrible realities concerning the life of Ahab, comparing him to the Amorites which had worked evil since the days of Abraham. (Genesis 15:16)

1 Kings 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.
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.

The words of Elijah struck great fear in Ahab. They were like arrows striking deep into his heart bringing not only fear but a sense of guilt and remorse and immediately his countenance changed and his visage marred as we will discuss shortly.

7. The Repentance Of Ahab:

1 Kings 21:27. And it came to pass, when Ahab heard those words, that he rent his clothes, and put sackcloth upon his flesh, and fasted, and lay in sackcloth, and went softly.

Ahab knew the horrors involved in the words of Elijah, and when he hears these words a horrible dread overwhelms him.

He is smitten by sudden compunction (a strong uneasiness caused by a sense of guilt) like those who heard Peter at Pentecost who were "pricked in their heart (Acts 2:37), "Trembling and Astonished"(Acts 9:6); "Trembling" (Acts 16:29); "Convicted" (John 8:9).

Jeremiah 23:29 Is not my word like as a fire? Saith the Lord; and like a hammer that breaketh the rock in pieces? (KJV)

Ahab Must Get Away From This Cursed Spot At Once.

He might have justly said to his charioteer, "Turn thine hand and carry me away, for I am wounded" (1Kings 22:34). An arrow from Elijah’s lips has pierced his harness through.

The whole matter concerning Naboth’s death, and now Elijah’s awful reproof of Ahab, was not done in a corner, and could not be kept secret.

We know from (2 Kings 9:25) that Jehu and Bilkar, and probably others with them, stood for a while transfixed to the spot as Elijah hurled his words at the king, then turned and strolled away and left them to rankle in his mind, and Ahab would see him no more. (As 170 years) before, Samuel left Saul 1 Samuel 15:35). We can well imagine their reaction when they hear the terrible doom—and their ears tingle, as Elijah’s impassioned words fall upon them.

"Thus saith the Lord, in the place where dogs licked the blood of Naboth shall dogs lick thy blood, even thine." (1 Kings 21:19)

They hear, and Ahab hears, that for him a death as cruel and shameful as Naboth’s is reserved for him, that, king though he is, he shall come to the dogs at last.

But more: they also learn that for his children, born into royalty and delicately nurtured, there remains a reckoning; that their blood must be shed, their bodies torn of beasts, like those of Naboth’s sons.

Nor shall Jezebel, the prime mover in this murder, escape—in the same space the dogs, which devoured the flesh of Naboth, shall also feast upon their dead bodies.

All this was spoken in the broad day, before king and retinue, by a prophet whose words had never fallen to the ground.

The king is found out; he is taken red handed in the blossoms of his sin. Yesterday The Crime, Today The Sentence.

And now that he is found out and denounced, Ahab, like Felix, (Acts 24:25) trembles. Suddenly the garden of herbs he has pictured of Naboth’s vineyard dies away from his view.

He sees in it’s stead his own body cast into this very plot of ground where he is standing—he sees his proud consort stripped of her silk attire, suffering a like indignity in the neighboring ditch—he see his children, the fruit of his body, lying in the streets of the town, or in the open field, a feast for the jackal and the crow.

He knew the horrors involved in these words of Elijah and a horrible dread overwhelms him.

He mounts his chariot, it bears him through the plain, bears him to his palace—no longer "heavy and displeased," but utterly crushed and terrified.

As the chariot returns to Samaria the townsman in the street, the peasant in the field, all would perceive that something untoward had happened.

Again he steals to his bed-chamber, and turns his face to the wall and eats no bread.

In vain the queen tries to laugh him out of his fears. No instrument of music can charm his melancholy spirit, no physician can minister to that mind diseased.

He cannot banish from his thoughts the vision that the words of Elijah conjured up in his mind.

It Haunts Him Like A Nightmare.

Can he not avert the doom?
Can he not make peace with heaven?

He has but lately forgiven a cruel and persistent enemy (1 Kings 20:30-34); is there no forgiveness for him?

7. The Repentance Of Ahab:

He Will Make The Effort. He too will "gird sackcloth on his loins, and put on ashes on his head," And go to the great King of Israel, with contrite heart.

He rises from his couch a sadder and a wiser man. He rends his kingly robes and cast them from him; He assumes the garments of humiliation, he fasts, he prays, He goes softly (barefoot, Josephus; walked about slowly, as if in great distress, (Kiel—commentary in logo).

And all this publicly and in the sight of all men.

Now We want To Take A Look At Ahab’s Repentance.

1 Kings 21:27. And it came to pass, when Ahab heard those words, that he rent his clothes, and put sackcloth upon his flesh, and fasted, and lay in sackcloth, and went softly.
28. And the word of the Lord came to Elijah the Tishbite, saying,
29. Seest thou how Ahab humbleth himself before me? Because he humbleth himself before me, I will not bring the evil in his days: but in his son's days will I bring the evil upon his house. (KJV)

It is true that his repentance was neither profound nor enduring (1 Kings 22:8,26), but it was undoubtedly,

1. Sincere while it lasted.

It is a mistake to call it the "Shadow of a Repentance." There was real contrition—not only fear of punishment, But also sorrow for his sins. "Godly sorrow worketh repentance."

We may be sure that like a former King of Israel, his cry was,
"I have sinned against the Lord." (2 Samuel 12:13)

2. Open And Public.

His Queen, his courtiers, the townsmen, and Elijah, saw the sackcloth, marked the hushed voice, the bowed head, the downcast eye, and knew what it meant.

1 Kings 21:29. "Seest thou how Ahab humbleth himself before me? Because he humbleth himself before me, …" (KJV)

The crime was known of all men; the sorrow and humiliation must be the same.

3. Marked by restitution. (Exodus 22:1-15)

The scripture does not say so, but it does not need to say so. There could be no real repentance, certainly no relenting on God’s part so long as Ahab kept the vineyard.

His prayers would have been unheeded as long as there was stolen property in his possession. A penitent thief has always restored the stolen goods. (Luke 19:8)

Ahab could not recall Naboth’s life, but he could surrender the vineyard to the widow, and we may be sure he did so.

And this repentance, this self-abasement, was observed, was carefully watched outside the palace, and also outside the realm of Israel in the court of heaven, where tenderness and mercy originate.

As day by day, with contrite heart and bowed head and soft footstep, the miserable king moved among his subjects, the merciful God and father of the spirits of all flesh and blood beheld his returning prodigal, yearned over him, ran to him.

8. The Sentence Of Doom Shall Be Deferred:

The same voice which just now thundered, "hast thou killed… in the place where dogs licked the blood of Naboth shall dogs lick thy blood…," is hushed into tenderness, "Seeth thou,…" to the prophet of doom.

1 Kings 21:28. And the word of the Lord came to Elijah the Tishbite, saying,
29. Seest thou how Ahab humbleth himself before me? Because he humbleth himself before me, I will not bring the evil in his days: but in his son's days will I bring the evil upon his house. (KJV)

These two verses are proof of the mercies of God, and that his ear is ever turned to hear the sinners prayer—God looks down from heaven to see if there is any that do good.

They also show that even such a sinner as Ahab (1 Kings 2l:25) was not disregarded when he showed the faintest signs of repentance.

Remember the prodigal was seen "When yet a great way off" (Luke 15:20), and his father ran and embraced him.

They also point out the fact that, "God’s goodness which leads to repentance" (Roman 2:4), Sometimes comes in the form of a severe rebuke or chastisement (Hebrew 12:5-11), And if heeded leads to a reprieve of his judgments.

We ought to notice and encourage any shadow of turning, and give support to what is right in those who are not what they should be, commending it whenever it is possible.

"Seeth thou…," an indication that the humbling of Ahab and his outward signs of repentance was observed by Elijah himself and God says, because of this humbling, that he would receive pardon.

 And This Pardon Was,
1. Instant.
2. Free and full.
3. Conditional.
4. Forfeited.

1. Instant.

The rebellion had lasted years. The forgiveness follows, on the heels of repentance.

While he was yet speaking God heard. (Genesis 24:15; Daniel 10:12)

There are times when God outruns our prayers.
When we pray just visualize the answer already on the way.

2. Free And Full

God says to Elijah, "I will not bring the evil in his days:"

If Ahab’s repentance had been lasting, the sentence would have reversed so far as he was concerned. It was not finally reversed because of his subsequent sin, and that of his sons.

The guilt of innocent blood, no doubt, could only be purged by the blood of him that shed it (Numbers 35:33).

It Is Interesting To Note That Jezebel Was Never Included In The Pardon.

But it is probable that God, to "show forth all longsuffering," would have spared the king and his sons, if they had turned from their evil way.

The repentance of Ahab, however shallow one may think, gained a reprieve from God, how much more will a through repentance gain justification.

A temporary repentance may be followed by a temporary reprieve; but final salvation must be preceded by true repentance.

 3. Conditional

This Provision Is Always Understood, Even If Not Expressed.

However great and full the pardon and forgiveness of God becomes, His mercy and forbearance is always conditional.

On God’s Part It Is Always, "I Will, If You Will."

At the close of the tremendous prayer of King Solomon at the dedication of the temple when he pleaded for the mercies of God on his people, God answered," if my people will… then I will…" (2 Chronicles 7:14, 19-21)

If the heart is not turned from sin, it cannot be turned from hell. Not only must evil be expelled, but good must enter; for if the heart is left "empty, swept, and garnished," by self-reformation, the evil spirit will return.

Good must supersede evil; Christ must supplant sin; the Holy Spirit must conquer the evil spirit.

It admonishes us not to presume upon any dogma of infallible final perseverance (some teach that one cannot fall away from God’s Grace), but, by the help of God, to "work out our own salvation with fear and trembling." (Philippians 2:12)

In 1 Corinthians 10:1-12, Paul gives a great example of how the children of Israel forfeited the great redemption which God promised them.

4. Forfeited.

When Ahab turned like a dog to his vomit (2 Peter 2:22), Then the sword which had been sheathed awhile (1 Kings 21:29), leapt again from its scabbard, and he was suddenly destroyed, and that without remedy, as we will discuss in the next chapter.

Proverbs 29:1. He, that being often reproved hardeneth his neck, shall suddenly be destroyed, and that without remedy. (KJV)

We should also note that the reprieve did not include Jezebel, but it is possible that God, to "show forth all long suffering," would have spared his sins, if they had turned from their evil way.

9. A Space To Repent:

1 Kings 22:1. And they continued three years without war between Syria and Israel.

The Three years mentioned here are to be counted from the second defeat of Ben-hadad, and his subsequent release by Ahab, and the history is resumed from (1 Kings 20:34-43).

The incident described in (1 Kings 21) concerning Naboth's death occurred during these three years of peace. Also it is possible that these three years is the "space to repent" that is referred to in (Revelation 2:21).

After the murder of Naboth (1 Kings 21) Ahab did show a semblance of repentance. (1 Kings 21:27). This repentance, genuine at the time, because God honored it (1 kings 21:28) (2 Peter 2:22)

We will not spend much time in this chapter (1 Kings 22), only to show the fulfillment of the words of the Prophets.

In the second war with Syria (1 Kings 20:22-43), Ahab had displeased the Lord by letting Ben-hadad, the King of Syria go free. The Lord sent a prophet (unnamed, Mi-cai-ah?) To tell Ahab that his life would be required for this deed. (1 Kings 20:42-43)

Also after the death of Naboth Elijah had been sent to him with warnings from God concerning his death. (1 Kings 21:17-24)

Three years Have gone by since the last war with Syria and now Ahab intends to recover some of the possessions which Syria had taken in previous wars.

10. An Unholy Alliance:

It was during the third year that Ahab invited Je-hosh-a-phat, King of Judah, to come down for a feast. (2 Chronicles 18:1-2)

It was during this feast that Ahab persuaded, or enticed, the King of Judah to join him in an expedition against his old enemy Ben-ha-dad to regain Ramoth in Gilead which Ben-ha-dad had failed to restore to Israel.

Ahab knowing that he did not have the Divine Assistance from the Lord, and felt that his own army was not equal to the task, formed an alliance with Je-hosh-a-phat, whose military organization was very great. (2 Chronicles 17:10-19)

This alliance was evidently made possible by the marriage between the son of Je-hosh-a-phat and the daughter of Ahab and Jezebel. (2 Kings 8:18)

This was an unholy alliance, for which Je-hosh-a-phat was rebuked later by one of the Prophets (2 Chronicles 19:2), almost cost him his life (1 Kings 22:32), for despite the voice of the Lord through the Prophet Mi-cai-ah, he was persuaded to join in the battle against Syria.

Evil begets evil. The friendship was too intimate for the good of the King of Judah's soul.

At God's displeasure Je-hosh-a-phat continued this alliance with Ahaziah, Ahab's son, after the death of Ahab, which proved very costly to him. (2 Chronicles 20:35-37)

The lesson we learn from this alliance with evil, is let no promise of power, money, "no gold from O-phir" (1 Kings 22:48), induce men to enter into partnership with the ungodly.

Ahab, in making preparations for the battle against Ben-ha-dad, called all the false prophets to inquire of them whether he would be successful in the battle, these all assured him that he would be victorious.

11. A Prophetic Vision:

Je-hosh-a-phat, having some misgivings about the false prophets, asked Ahab, "Is there not here a Prophet of the Lord besides, that we might inquire of him?" (1 Kings 22:7)

Ahab voiced his despite of the Prophet Mi-cai-ah (1 Kings 22:8) yet had him brought from the prison cell so they could hear what he had to say.

1 Kings 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.

Mi-cai-ah Had Seen A Prophetic Vision.

On heavens prophetic screen he seen enacted the battle, and in the final sequence the death of Ahab.

1 Kings 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? (KJV)

This reply of Ahab meant that he did not wish to hear a message from Jehovah; but that he had already chosen his own path and his own guides (the false prophets) in it.

Then in (1 Kings 22:19-23) Mi-cai-ah describes a scene which took place in heaven in which the Lord allowed a lying spirit to deceive Ahab.

The Apostle Paul States This Possibility Also,

2 Thessalonians 2:10. And with all deceivableness of unrighteousness in them that perish; because they received not the love of the truth, that they might be saved.
11.. And for this cause God shall send them strong delusion, that they should believe a lie:
12.. That they all might be damned who believed not the truth, but had pleasure in unrighteousness. (KJV)

This lets us know that whatever takes place on earth has already been discussed, and in most cases, directed in Heaven.

Yet in all this, Ahab's destruction would come through his own sin;Being led to his ruin by those false prophets whom he had chosen, And by his unwillingness to hear the word of Jehovah by Mi-cai-ah, Which he regarded as the outcome of personal hostility.

In (1 Kings 22:24) One of the false prophets came and smote Mi-cai-ah on the face, and because he was not struck dead by Jehovah, the others mustered courage to follow Ahab.

Then to show his contempt for God's Prophet, Ahab ordered Mi-cai-ah back to the dungeon till he came in peace.

Then Mi-cai-ah turned to Ahab, and to all that were in his presence, and summoned them as witnesses between him and the king.

1 Kings 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. (KJV)

It is a strange coincidence that the prophet Micah, who lived about 150 years after Mi-cai-ah, uttered almost exactly the same words in the beginning of his prophecy. (Micah 1:2)

We are not told what impression the scene had upon Je-hosh-a-phat. But we cannot help feeling that in spite of his boastful language it must have had a deep effect upon Ahab.

The wicked rush upon destruction, they are allowed to believe a lie. (2 Thessalonians 2:11)

Ahab provoked the war in which he himself would perish. The peace which lasted so long might have continued. Every day that it was prolonged was a day placed between him and death, and yet with his own hand Ahab brings an end to the period of grace.

12. Ahab's Battle Plans: War With Syria:

The battle against the Syrians at Ramoth-Gilead would naturally follow as soon as possible after the assembly in Samaria.

Another interesting note is the absence of any army of Judah mentioned in the text. This seems to indicate that Je-hosh-a-phat only had a small contingent of his men with him.

He did not even seem to have a sufficient bodyguard with him (1 Kings 22:32-33), otherwise with the overwhelming force of his army (2 Chronicles 17:10-19) the battle would have been no contest.

Ahab reveals his battle plans.

1 Kings 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. (KJV)

It was common practice for kings and leaders to go into battle in full array, or Armour, even unto his crown (2 Samuel 1:10), so they would be easily identifiable. This shows us the misgivings and apprehensions Ahab had concerning the battle, and the Divinely threatened judgment.

Ahab would disguise himself when he went into battle and thereby foil the prophetic voice of Mi-cai-ah the prophet.

But there is an old proverb which I will repeat for our benefit.

"If you fix a fix,
That God has made for you,
Then God will fix,
Another fix for you."

Many a person has made elaborate plans to avoid his appointment that God has arraigned for him, only to run into something else that he cannot negotiate.

Let us now switch our perspective of the battle from Israel's army to that of the Syrian side and the orders of King Ben-ha-dad.

1 Kings 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.
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.
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. (KJV)

King Ben-had-ad gave direct orders to the "thirty and two captains", who evidently formed the front line of attack, to fight exclusively against the King of Israel. It was at this point that Je-hosh-a-phat's unholy alliance with Ahab nearly cost him his life.

But the disguise of Ahab, so far from frustrating the judgment predicted by Mi-cai-ah, only served the more clearly to show the divine will in his death.

13. An Arrow Guided By An Unseen Hand:

As The Battle Continued An Unknown Archer Shots An Arrow Which Was Guided By An Unseen Hand.

1 Kings 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.
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. (KJV)

"And A Certain Man.."

This man has been identified by Josephus as Naaman, the Syrian captain of 2 Kings 5., of which we have no Biblical evidence.

"Drew A Bow At A Venture,…"

Let it be noted the this particular archer had no particular person, or target, in mind when he discharged this arrow, it, no doubt, was one of many that were shot at random that day.

"And smote the King of Israel between the joints of the harness,…"

Ahab was, no doubt, dressed for battle in the best suit of armor that was fashioned in his day. The best description of these suits of armor is found on Goliath. (2 Samuel 17:5-6)

God guided the arrow to the opening in the joints of the armor, as he guided the stone from the sling of David into the forehead of Goliath.

So it was an unseen hand that guided that arrow to it's destination. It was truly "The arrow of the Lord's vengeance." (2 Kings 13:17)

One can only wonder at the thoughts of that unhappy king, with the arrow in his side, and blood draining from his wound, and forming a sickening pool in the bottom of the chariot.

He was stayed (held) up those wretched weary hours until the sun set against the Syrian sky, possibly the driver was unable to retreat from the mass of soldiers in the battle.

Surely Ahab would know at last that, "The Lord was God." (1 Kings 18:39; 20:13, 28)

His cry would now be, "thou hast found me, O my enemy." (1 Kings 21:20)

He would think, it may be, of Elijah's prophecies. (1 Kings 21:21-24; 22:17, 28)

He would think of Naboth's bleeding and mangled corpse and the stolen vineyard.

He would think, above all, that his sin had found him out, and that Jehovah had conquered.

These thoughts were expressed in the cry of another tyrant, a thousand years later, when Julian the apostate cried out when a similar arrow had pierced him from a Parthian bow, and wrung from him his final confession, "Thou hast conquered, O, Galilean."

Ahab had fought all his life for Baal, but it was in vain. He had been kicking against the pricks. (Acts 9:5)

Ahab had been wrestling, not with flesh and blood (Ephesians 6:12), but with an invisible, omnipotent God, and now he is thrown, cast down, never to rise again.

The allied armies of Judah and Israel who stole away in the dark and blackness of night to their homes, like sheep without a shepherd (1 Kings 22:17), Would have learned one lesson at least that day, that there was "A God that judgeth in the earth." (Genesis 18:25)

We include the following in the Study of Ahab only to prove how accurate Elijah's and Mi-ca-iah prophecies concerning Ahab were.

14. The Death Of Ahab:

1 Kings 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.
37. So the King died, and was brought to Samaria; and they buried the king in Samaria. {was brought: Hebrew came}
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. (KJV)

The chronicler (2 Chronicles 18:34) Tells us that it was at sunset that Ahab died.

The proclamation may have originated from Jehoshaphat, or maybe from the captain of the host of Israel when he was informed of Ahab's death.

The approach of night would of itself put an end to the battle.

It does not appear that Israel had been defeated, or had suffered great loss in the battle, but, "they had no master." (1 Kings 22:17)

The driver of the chariot, in staying up Ahab in his chariot throughout the day, was, no doubt, soaked with his blood, so he took the chariot, along with Ahab's armor, and washed all these in the pool of Samaria, along with himself.

Then we read the graphic picture of the dogs licking up the blood, as Elijah had prophesied. (1Kings 21:19)

To further see the fulfillment of Elijah' prophecy concerning Jezebel and Ahab's house see 2 Kings 9:30-37; 10:11.

Burial Of Ahab And The reign Of A-ha-zi-ah.

1 Kings 22:40. So Ahab slept with his fathers; and Ahaziah his son reigned in his stead. (KJV)

15.  Conclusion Of The Study of Ahab's Life:

Perhaps no wicked man has a larger share of the sacred writings occupied with his acts than Ahab.

Such acts are not agreeable to the spirit of God, but in the hands of inspiration that are made an influence for good.

The principal of the wicked should only be studied to be shunned.

These sacred records have come down to our times, and, after a lapse of over thirty centuries, Ahab survives.

But for these records Ahab's name would not be known. This proves that things are permanent as they stand related to the everlasting God.

In the next study of Elijah # 7 we will see how Posthumous influence points to the immortality of man.

We hope you enjoyed this Study # 6 of the life of Elijah and will read the next Study # 7 on his life in which we will discuss a subject that has been much questioned, the incident of Elijah calling down fire from heaven on soldiers sent to apprehend him.

We will close out the Study of Elijah in Elijah #8 when he is taken into heaven in a chariot of fire pulled by horses of fire, then, he stands with Moses on the Mount of Transfiguration of our Lord.

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 By James L. Thornton


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