Who was Micaiah in the Old Testament?

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The name Micaiah means “Who is Like Yahweh?” There are several people in the Old Testament who had this name. The most famous one is Micaiah the prophet, son of Imlah. This prophet lived during the time of King Ahab. Josephus asserts that it was Micaiah (Antiquities viii. 14. 5) who had prophesied that Ahab would be punished for his unwise conduct toward Ben-Hadad (1 Kings 20:35–43). The story of the prophet Micaiah is recorded in 1 Kings 22:1–38 and also in 2 Chronicles 18:1–27.

After three years without having war between Assyria and Israel, King Ahab asked Jehoshaphat, king of Judah, to go with him and retrieve the city of Ramoth Gilead from Assyria. Jehoshaphat agreed but asked Ahab to inquire of the Lord if they should go. So, Ahab asked his four hundred false prophets whether they should go into battle. They all assured that the Lord would deliver the city into the hands of the king.

But Jehoshaphat said, “Is there not still a prophet of the LORD that we may ask him?” So, Ahab said to Jehoshaphat, “There is Micaiah the son of Imlah but I hate him, because he does not prophesy good concerning me, but evil.” Yet Jehoshaphat insisted so Ahab sent for Micaiah. The prophet shared a vision, “I saw all Israel scattered on the mountains, as sheep that have no shepherd.” Micaiah warned the two kings not to listen to the lying spirit in the mouth of the 400 prophets. Ahab was angry at Micaiah’s words and commanded that he be put in prison and given the bread and water of affliction until he comes in peace. But Ahab died the second day according to the word of the prophet (1 Kings 22:37).

Jehoshaphat barely escaped and upon returning home, he was scolded by another prophet of the Lord for uniting with Ahab. “Jehu the seer, the son of Hanani, went out to meet him and said to the king, ‘Should you help the wicked and love those who hate the Lord? Because of this, the wrath of the Lord is on you. There is, however, some good in you, for you have rid the land of the Asherah poles and have set your heart on seeking God’” (2 Chronicles 19:2–3).

There are other Micaiahs in the Old Testament:

One was the father of Achbor. King Josiah commanded Hilkiah the high priest, Achbor, and others to inquire of the Lord from the prophetess Huldah, the wife of Hallum, about God’s will toward them. The prophetess said that God would bring evil upon the people for their apostasy (2 Kings 22:12-17).

Another Micaiah is the mother of King Abijah of Judah and descendant of Uriel of Gibeah (2 Chronicles 13:2). The parallel account to this is found in 1 Kings 15: 2 and reads: “Maachah, the daughter of Abishalom.”

There was a prince named Micaiah who was authorized by King Jehoshaphat to explain the law in Judah (2 Chronicles 17:7).

Also, one of the musicians that participated in the dedication of the temple after the return from Babylon was named Micaiah, the son of Zichri (Nehemiah 12:35). This same chapter in Nehemiah mentions another person named Micaiah as one of the priests who blew the trumpets (Nehemiah 12:41).

Finally, there was Micaiah the son of Gemariah. His father was probably Shaphan, who took a leading part in rebuilding the temple during the reign of Josiah (2 Kings 22:3–6), and in printing the newly found “book of the law” (2 Kings 22; 23).

In His service,

BibleAsk Team

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