Ahab, king of Israel and Jehoshaphat, king of Judah, were planning a joint attack against Benhadad at Ramoth-Gilead. Jehoshaphat wisely suggested that they inquire of Jehovah first. Ahab gathered his 400 prophets, who seem to be more aligned with Baal than Jehovah. They were most aligned with Ahab, giving affirmative answers to anything he wanted. As expected, they gave unanimous, hearty approval to his plan of attack. Jehoshaphat knew that this answer was very suspect. He suggested that they get a second opinion, this time from a real prophet of Jehovah. Ahab’s response tells a lot about him. Ahab said he only knew of one true prophet of Jehovah, and that he hated this prophet. It seems that Micaiah refused to go along with the false prophets. Micaiah only spoke what Jehovah told him to. Ahab could not stand that. Jehoshaphat said to send for him.
When Micaiah arrived, he sarcastically predicted victory. Ahab and Jehoshaphat recognized the sarcasm and repeated the question. This time Micaiah got straight to the point, predicting defeat. Ahab complained that as usual, Micaiah had nothing good to say about him. At this point, Micaiah revealed the council in heaven that he had been privileged to see. The conversation in that council leaves some questions unanswered but it does shed some light on the presence of evil in the world and the role of Satan in the world.
1 Kings 22:19-23 Micaiah said, “Therefore, hear the word of the Lord. I saw the Lord sitting on His throne, and all the host of heaven standing by Him on His right and on His left. 20 “The Lord said, ‘Who will entice Ahab to go up and fall at Ramoth-gilead?’ And one said this while another said that. 21 “Then a spirit came forward and stood before the Lord and said, ‘I will entice him.’ 22 “The Lord said to him, ‘How?’ And he said, ‘I will go out and be a deceiving spirit in the mouth of all his prophets.’ Then He said, ‘You are to entice him and also prevail. Go and do so.’ 23 “Now therefore, behold, the Lord has put a deceiving spirit in the mouth of all these your prophets; and the Lord has proclaimed disaster against you.” NASU
This passage raises two issues. First, does the Lord “entice”? Second, does the Lord need someone else to tell Him how anything might be done? These questions are asked in the midst of a heavenly council meeting. Jehovah is sitting on the throne, surrounded by all the “host of heaven”. We can only speculate about who is included in “all the host of heaven”. Revelation 12 tells us that at some point, Satan and his angels would no longer be allowed anyplace in heaven. However, Job 1 and 2 show us Satan in heaven. Thus, Satan may have been in this council. 1 Kings 22:21 says in our English translations, that “a” spirit came forward. The original Hebrew has the article before “spirit”. Thus verse 21 could very legitimately be translated “the” spirit, which is exactly how Robert Young’s Literal Translation renders it. It seems to me that “the” spirit might very well refer to Satan or one of his angels.
Many people think that verse 23 presents a dilemma because Micaiah says that Jehovah has placed a deceiving spirit in the mouths of Ahab’s prophets. It seems to me that this passage simply presents Jehovah as the Sovereign God over all the universe. He ultimately controls everything. Any way you look at it; God does not lie, nor does He tempt, but He is sovereign over all things. So, it seems to me that Satan or his agent goes forth to entice Ahab, but make no mistake about it, each is under the control of Almighty God, and always will be.