The Holy Bible – Knox Translation
The Second Book of Paralipomena
Rich and renowned, Josaphat had allied his house by marriage with the house of Achab;
and now, when some years had passed, he went to visit him at Samaria. Many a ram, many a bullock did Achab slaughter to make him and his retinue welcome; then he had a plan to put before him, that they should march against Ramoth-Galaad.
And what answer made Josaphat, king of Juda, when Achab, king of Israel, proposed that they should attack Ramoth-Galaad together? Thou and I, said he, are all at one; my army is all thine, we will stand at thy side in battle.
But he would have Achab consult the Lord first.
So Achab sent for his prophets, four hundred in number, and asked whether they should attack Ramoth-Galaad or let it be? Go to the attack, they said; the Lord means to make the king’s grace master of it.
But still Josaphat asked whether there was no prophet of the Lord to be found, so that they could make enquiry through him.
Why yes, the king of Israel told him, there is one man through whom we might ask for the Lord’s counsel; yet is he no friend of mine, still he will be prophesying that ill fortune is to befall me, never good; Michaeas is his name, the son of Jemla. Nay, my lord king, said Josaphat, think better of it.
So Achab summoned one of his chamberlains, and bade him fetch Michaeas the son of Jemla with all speed.
There sat the king of Israel and Josaphat king of Juda, each on his throne, in all their royal state, in an open space by the gate of Samaria; and there in their presence all the prophets said their say.
One of them, Sedecias the son of Chanaana, had provided himself with a pair of horns fashioned in iron; With these, he said, thou shalt toss Syria about, till thou hast made an end of it.
And all the prophets had the same word for him; Go and attack Ramoth-Galaad, they told him, and a blessing on thy journey! The Lord means to make the king’s grace master of it.
So the messenger who went to summon Michaeas told him, Here are all the prophets bidding the king good speed, like one man; pray join thy voice to theirs, and prophesy good fortune.
Nay, answered he, as the Lord is a living God, the word I speak shall be the word he gives me.
So he came into the king’s presence, and when he was asked whether it were better to attack Ramoth-Galaad, or to let it be, he answered, Go to the attack; all shall be well with you, and your enemies shall be at your mercy.
What, cried Achab, shall I never cease adjuring thee in the Lord’s name to tell me only the truth?
Listen then, said he; I had a vision of all Israel straying over the mountains like sheep that had no shepherd, and the Lord’s word came, They have no master now; let them disperse to their homes in peace.
(It is as I told thee, Achab said to Josaphat; still he prophesies ill fortune, never good.)
Then Michaeas went on, Here is a message to thee from the Lord. I had a vision of the Lord sitting on his throne, with all the host of heaven waiting on his pleasure, to right and left.
And the Lord said, Who is to beguile Achab, king of Israel, so that he will march to Ramoth-Galaad, and there meet his fall? One said this, one that;
till at last a spirit came forward and stood in the Lord’s presence, offering to beguile Achab. And how wilt thou beguile him? the Lord asked.
I will go abroad, said he, and on the lips of all his prophets I will make myself an influence to deceive. Deceive them thou shalt, the Lord said, and have thy way with them; go abroad, then, and carry out thy errand.
And now, see what a lying influence the Lord has spread among these prophets of thine! For indeed the Lord has determined on thy ruin.
At that, Sedecias son of Chanaana went up and gave Michaeas a blow on the cheek; Has the spirit of the Lord passed me by, he asked, and spoken to none but thee?
And Michaeas only answered, Thou shalt live to see the day when thou must needs take refuge in an inner room, to hide there.
Then the king of Israel gave his orders; Take Michaeas hence, said he, and put him in the charge of Amon, the city governor, and of Joas, son of Amelech.
And give them this royal command of mine, that they are to imprison him, and give him scant allowance of food and drink, till I come back safe and sound.
Come thou back safe and sound, Michaeas said, and mine was no message from the Lord. Witness my words, all you that stand here!
So the king of Israel, and Josaphat king of Juda, marched out to attack Ramoth-Galaad.
And Achab said he himself would go into battle in disguise; let Josaphat, meanwhile, wear his royal robes. So none knew the king of Israel by his array, when he went into battle.
To all the captains of his cavalry the king of Syria had given the same orders: Press for no other mark, high or low, but the king of Israel himself.
And these, upon sight of Josaphat, cried out that this was the king of Israel, so that armed men surrounded him on all sides; but he cried out to the Lord, who brought him succour, and turned aside their attack.
Then, seeing that this was not the king of Israel, the captains of the cavalry let him be.
It was an archer, letting fly a shaft at haphazard, that gave Achab a chance wound; it fell between neck and shoulder-blades, and Achab bade his charioteer wheel about, and carry him away from the fight, wounded as he was.
With night, the battle came to an end; all day, the king of Israel had stood upright in his chariot, facing the Syrians, and did not die till evening.✻
The Holy Bible