1 Kgs 20:1-2 Kgs 1:18

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Home > The Old Testament > Kings > 1 Kings 16b-2 Kings 1 > 1 Kings 20-2 Kings 1
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  • 1 Kgs 22:6-7: The Lord's prophets? The 450 prophets of Baal mentioned in 1 Kgs 18:19 provides a suspicious background for these prophets before Jehoshaphat even expresses doubts about the reliability of these prophets. It may also be significant that the Hebrew word Adonai (Lord) is used in verse 6 as opposed to the more sacred name YHWH (LORD) which is used in verse 7—if the prophets were indeed false prophets, it would make sense they would not want to make the more blasphemous claim in the name of YHWH.
Note also that the function of the word besides in this sentence may be rendered more clearly in the NRSV: "Is there no other prophet of the Lord here of whom we may inquire?" That is, rather than inquiring about a prophet of YHWH besides the prophets speaking in the name of Adonai, it seems more likely that Jehosophat is asking whether there are other prophets of God to ask besides those who had already spoken.
  • 1 Kgs 22:8: Micaiah the son of Imlah. Notice this appears not to be Micah the Morashthite who wrote the book of Micah (cf. Micah 1:1).
  • 1 Kgs 22:22: Does the Lord use deceit? This verse, along with Mark 4:12 and Isa 6:9-10, seems to suggest that God orders people to be deceived (and confused and hardened, respectively). This seems to contradict a common view of God as someone who wants us to be enlighted, as opposed to deceived or confused, and softened, as opposed to hardened. This apparent tension provides a rich setting for us to consider the text and our own preconceived notions more carefully.
One way to explain the difficulty in these verses is to consider the phrasing which attributes such actions to God as merely a figure of speech. In this view what is really meant is that, though God has power to prevent such actions, God allows them to occur. In this case this would mean that God allowed the prophets to be deceived by Satan. Although a plausible approach, it requires some justification for why we ought to read attributions to God as actually meaning that God allows something to happen.
Another explanation is that the attribution to God of these actions is consistent with scriptures that suggest that those who receive truth will be given more while truth will be taken from those who reject it (e.g. see 2 Thes 2:10-12; Matt 13:12; Jacob 4:14; Alma 12:9-11). Note that in each of the "troublesome" passages cited in the first paragraph above, the people in question had already rejected truth to a certain extent. This decision may have "earned" the people in question the various forms of punishment.
Note that in Rom 8-9 (esp. Rom 8:28 and Rom 9:18), Paul seems to be struggling with a related question: why some were receiving the gospel and others were not. After personally pondering the issues raised here, it would likely be fruitful to study these chapters in Romans more carefully to see the approach Paul took on a related issue.

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