1 Kings 22:23

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Now therefore, behold, Jehovah hath put a lying spirit in the mouth of all these thy prophets; and Jehovah hath spoken evil concerning thee. (ASV)

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Pro

Note that this is the same God who supposedly "cannot lie" (Numbers 23:19, 1 Samuel 15:29, Titus 1:2). It appears that God's ability to spread misinformation is not impaired. --Robert Stevens 07:36, 24 Nov 2005 (CST)

Response to Con piece: The Bible specifically states that God did this himself (not Satan or anyone else). By attempting to argue otherwise, Con is abandoning the Bible here. --Robert Stevens 08:01, 28 Jan 2008 (CST)

Con

Context is important to properly understanding this verse.

Ahab, king of Israel, and Jehoshaphat, king of Judah, are considering whether to battle Syria over the city of Ramoth-gilead. Jehoshaphat insists that they inquire of the Lord before going to battle, so Ahab gathers his prophets, led by Zedekiah, who encourage Ahab to go to battle. Jehoshaphat insists that they get a second opinion. Ahab reluctantly summons the prophet Micaiah to advise them. Micaiah says this:

1 Kings 22
19 Then Micaiah said [to the kings], “Therefore hear the word of the LORD: I saw the LORD sitting on
His throne, and all the host of heaven standing by, on His right hand and on His left.
20 “And the LORD said, ‘Who will persuade Ahab to go up, that he may fall at Ramoth Gilead?’ So one
spoke in this manner, and another spoke in that manner.
21 “Then a spirit came forward and stood before the LORD, and said, ‘I will persuade him.’
22 “The LORD said to him, ‘In what way?’ So he said, ‘I will go out and be a lying spirit in the mouth
of all his prophets.’ And the LORD said, ‘You shall persuade him, and also prevail. Go out and do so.’
23 “Therefore look! The LORD has put a lying spirit in the mouth of all these prophets of yours, and
the LORD has declared disaster against you.”

Whether Micaiah had a vision or created this parable to declare that which God had made known to him is unclear. However, it is clear that Micaiah has no respect for Zedekiah and the other prophets of Ahab and says, “The LORD has put a lying spirit in the mouth of all these prophets of yours, and the LORD has declared disaster against you.”

One issue is whether God actually did put a lying spirit in the mouth of Ahab’s prophets or was Micaiah using this as an illustration to drive home his point that Ahab’s prophets were lying and not speaking for God. The context allows that Micaiah was God’s prophet and that God had made known to Micaiah that which was to happen to Ahab. Micaiah was then free to convey that information to Ahab in any manner he decided and he devised the story recorded above. It is not necessary to conclude that these events actually occurred.

A second issue is whether this constitutes lying by God. God has the power to prevent one person lying to another. If God does not prevent one person lying to another when it is within His power to do so, does this make God liable to a charge of lying? It is clear that God ordained that Zedekiah and his prophets be free to lie to Ahab and encourage Ahab to go to battle. God could have silenced Zedekiah and prevented him from speaking or even have forced Zedekiah to speak only the truth (as God had done earlier with Balaam). He choose to do nothing and give Zedekiah the freedom to do whatever he desired. When God allows one person to lie to another or even to kill, steal from, or otherwise abuse another, we conclude that God has ordained that which happens. The person who is abused in this manner is even encouraged to blame God for this because God could have prevented it but choose not to do so. However, in the end, it is the person who commits the sin (lying, killing, stealing) who is held responsible for lying, killing, or stealing and not God. God will allow a person to lie to another, but God will not lie to anyone.

Neutral

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