Alliance with Judah

After Benhadad had been set free by Ahab, there was peace between Israel and Syria for three years. Benhadad, however, refused to return the city of Ramoth-Gilead which his father had taken from Ahab's father, as he was obliged to do under the terms of the treaty. Since this was only an indication of his general attitude that promised evil for the future, Ahab looked for an alliance to eliminate the Syrian danger once and for all. The obvious thing to do was to approach Judah, which at that time was ruled by the pious, righteous King Jehoshaphat. The king of Judah had sought friendly relations with Ahab. The marriage of Athaliah, the daughter of Ahab, to Joram, the heir to the throne of Judah, cemented the friendship of the two royal houses. Jehoshaphat agreed to cooperate with Ahab, but before placing his army at the latter's disposal, he insisted upon asking the advice of the prophets.

Conflicting Prophecies

Ahab gathered all the prophets of his country, four hundred in number, and asked them whether he should fight Syria. Accustomed to comply with every wish and whim of their king, these false men predicted victory and urged Ahab to press the campaign. Jehoshaphat, however, saw what type of men they were and insisted that a genuine prophet of G‑d be consulted. Although Ahab admittedly hated Micaiah, the only available prophet of G‑d, because the latter had foretold him only misfortune, he sent for him in order to please the king of Judah.

Both kings had been sitting in their royal garbs at the gate of Samaria when the false prophets announced their prophecy. One of them, Zedekiah, held up two iron horns to symbolize the two kings, and boldly declared that the victory of the two kings over Benhadad would be complete.

Then Micaiah arrived on the scene. He had been urged by Ahab's messenger to join the other prophets in predicting victory. But Micaiah replied that he would say only what G‑d had told him to say. Asked by the kings for his opinion about the campaign against Benhadad, Micaiah related a vision which G‑d had just revealed to him: "I saw all of Israel scattered upon the hills like sheep without a shepherd. And G‑d said: These have no master; let them return each man to his house in peace'." Ahab ordered him seized and thrown into prison, where he was to stay till Ahab's return from the war. Micaiah heard this command and said to the king; "If you return in peace, G‑d has not spoken through me!"

Ahab's Death

Despite Micaiah's warning that the battle would be lost, the kings set out on their expedition. Although Jehoshaphat was dressed in full royal attire, Ahab took the precaution to wear the uniform of a common soldier, to deceive Benhadad's sharpshooters who had been ordered to aim at the king of Israel.

The battle was heavy and many soldiers died on both sides. Ahab had gotten into the midst of the fighting and relied upon his disguise to enable him to elude the Syrians. Yet, he did not escape. A Syrian archer, drawing his bow at random, shot an arrow which hit the king through one of the joints of his armor. Ahab felt that the wound was mortal. He asked his chariot-driver to take him out of the battle. His blood streamed from his wound and drenched the chariot. In the evening, when the battle was over and lost, Ahab died and was brought to Samaria. When the chariot was cleaned at the lake of Samaria, dogs licked up Ahab's blood. Thus Elijah's prediction was literally fulfilled.