Jehoshaphat was blessed with an abundance of material wealth, which led to alliances that led him to a near death experience with Ahab; the account is also given in 1 Kings 22. On a visit to Ahab, the king of Samaria, Ahab solicited his help in battle against Syria at Ramoth Gilead. Due in large part to their mutual ancestry, Jehoshaphat agreed to go into battle with Israel.
At this point in his life, Jehoshaphat was more sensitive and discerning of spiritual things than Ahab would be or ever was. To insure divine favor and blessing, he asked for a prophet to confirm the Lord’s will concerning this matter; which Ahab responded with four hundred false prophets that agreed with Ahab’s desire. Jehoshaphat discerned these “prophets” weren’t giving the truth of the matter; this prompted Ahab to bring Micaiah to give the true word of the Lord. Initially he concurred with the multitude of prophets; yet when prompted gave the truth. Ahab would be mortally wounded in the battle and Israel would be scattered like sheep without a shepherd (vs. 16).
The content found in verses 18 – 22 continues to be a matter of debate, as the question lingers how could such a “spirit” be “from the Lord”? Ahab may not have recognized the source of the “spirit”; but the “spirit” did.
Reacting to the negative prophetic word, Ahab had Micaiah placed in prison for insubordination and giving the “word of the Lord”.
Ahab disguised himself to keep from being recognized as king of Samaria; yet was shot “at random” and died later that day.
This incident nearly cost Jehoshaphat his life as a result of an unholy alliance that was based on politically expedience; rather than the will of the Lord. As leaders we need to be discerning in every area of relationship to guard against such alliances. They may not cause our lives to end prematurely; however they may bring to an end our ministry. As Jesus told John on the Isle of Patmos, we need to have “ears to hear what the Spirit” is saying.