(NIV1984) – 1 Kings 22:2 – “But in the third year Jehoshaphat king of Judah went down to see the king of Israel.”
There it is again, officially! “in the third year” – just like with the drought earlier (1 Kings 18:1). This tells us how patient God is and how long it takes – sometimes – for His plans to come about. We know Ahab is going to die and that his family will be slaughtered (along with Jezebel) – but it takes a while to happen (Although I don’t know if this three years includes the events of Naboth’s vineyard, there’s a part of me that really wants to think these three years of peace between Aram and Israel is after it. But I’m not sure.
But…I think the event of Naboth’s vineyard must be part of the three years, because the peace happened as a result of the events of 1 Kings 20 – and Naboth’s vineyard happened after that. SO…I don’t know. Anyway.)
Aram is the country ruled by Ben-Hadad, the king and people Ahab had mercy on – against God’s wishes – in 1 Kings 20. This is, indeed, part of the reason Ahab will lose his life (the other part being the Naboth’s vineyard episode). Anyway, these notes about Aram should have been with the commentary on verse 1 – yesterday’s post. Oh, well.
Jehoshaphat going to meet Ahab – even the idea that they work together at all – is very odd. Jehoshaphat is described as someone who “did what was right in the eyes of the LORD” (NIV1984, 1 Kings 22:43b). So why was he at peace with the man who did the most vile things, who behaved in a repulsive manner to the LORD? How does that make sense?
Even more interesting, “he allied himself with Ahab by marriage” (NIV1984, 2 Chronicles 18:1) – and this was done way before this because “Some years later he went down to visit Ahab…” (NIV1984, 2 Chronicles 18:2a). Eventually the alliance in this chapter – a story that happens – or is accounted for – twice in Scripture (in 1 Kings 22 and 2 Chronicles 18) – does have bad ramifications for Jehoshaphat (2 Chronicles 19:1-3, plans to cover this more adequately later).