The son of Gemariah,
The son of Shaphan,
Heard all the words
From the scroll,
He went down
To the king’s house.
He went into
The secretary’s chamber.
All the officials
Were sitting there.
Elishama the secretary,
Delaiah the son of Shemaiah,
Elnathan the son of Achbor,
Gemariah the son of Shaphan,
Zedekiah the son of Hananiah,
With all the officials.
Micaiah told them
All the words
That he had heard,
When Baruch read
In the hearing
Of the people.”
Apparently not everyone was listening to Baruch in the Temple. Micaiah, the son of Gemariah and grandson of Shaphan, was there listening to Baruch. When the reading of the scroll was over, he went to the royal palace to meet with all the other royal officials in the secretary’s chamber. All the officials were there, since they had not been at the reading in the Temple, including Elishama, Delaiah, Elnathan, and Gemariah himself. Elnathan may have been the same one who King Jehoiakim sent to Egypt to get the prophet Uriah in chapter 26 of this work. Micaiah then told them everything that he heard during Baruch’s reading of the scroll in the Temple courtyard. It is hard to believe that he memorized everything, so he must have just presented the highlights.
“The other company of those who gave thanks went to the left. I followed them with half of the people, upon the wall. We walked to the Tower of the Ovens, to the Broad Wall, and above the Gate of Ephraim, and by the Old Gate. We walked by the Fish Gate and the Tower of Hananel and the Tower of the Hundred, to the Sheep Gate. They came to a halt at the Gate of the Guard. So both companies of those who gave thanks stood in the house of God. I and half of the officials were with me. The priests Eliakim, Maaseiah, Miniamin, Micaiah, Elioenai, Zechariah, and Hananiah were with trumpets. Maaseiah, Shemaiah, Eleazar, Uzzi, Jehohanan, Malchijah, Elam, and Ezer were there also. The singers sang with Jezrahiah as their leader. They offered great sacrifices that day. They rejoiced, for God had made them rejoice with great joy. The women and children also rejoiced. The joy of Jerusalem was heard far away.”
Nehemiah led the other group on the wall going around the west and north side of the wall. They passed by the Tower of Ovens, the Broad Wall, the Gate of Ephraim, the Old Gate, the Fish Gate, the Tower of Hananel and the Tower of the Hundred. Finally they came to the Sheep Gate and the Gate of the Guard. There they met at the house of God with the first group. Nehemiah’s group met Ezra’s first group at the Temple. Nehemiah’s priests had trumpets. These singers were led by Jezrahiah, who is only mentioned here and nowhere else. They offered great sacrifices, without being specific how much and what kind. They also rejoiced with all their families including women and children. They made such a noise that they could be heard far away.
“King Jehoshaphat said to the king of Israel. ‘Inquire first for the word of Yahweh.’ Then the king of Israel gathered together the prophets, four hundred of them. He said to them. ‘Shall we go to battle against Ramoth-gilead, or shall I refrain?’ They said. ‘Go up! God will give it into the hand of the king.’ But King Jehoshaphat said. ‘Is there no other prophet of Yahweh here of whom we may inquire?’ The king of Israel said to King Jehoshaphat. ‘There is still one other by whom we may inquire of Yahweh, Micaiah son of Imlah. But I hate him. He never prophesies anything favorable about me, but only disaster.’ King Jehoshaphat said. ‘Let the king not say such a thing.’ Then the king of Israel summoned an officer. He said. ‘Bring quickly Micaiah son of Imlah.’”
One again, we are dependent practically word for word on 1 Kings, chapter 22. King Jehoshaphat of Judah wanted to consult with the prophets before going to battle. Now the prophets in Israel were the friendly prophets of Queen Jezebel, the wife of King Ahab. They were not exactly Yahweh prophets. They agreed that it would be a good idea to go to battle. King Jehoshaphat was still not convinced and wanted another opinion. He wanted a prophet of Yahweh. King Ahab said that there was this negative prophet Micaiah but he always brought bad news. Nevertheless, he summoned him to come to the king.
“In the third year of his reign King Jehoshaphat sent his officials, Ben-hail, Obadiah, Zechariah, Nethanel, and Micaiah, to teach in the cities of Judah. With them were the Levites, Shemaiah, Nethaniah, Zebadiah, Asahel, Shemiramoth, Jehonathan, Adonijah, Tobijah, and Tob-adonijah. With these Levites were the priests Elishama and Jehoram. They taught in Judah, having the book of the law of Yahweh with them. They went around through all the cities of Judah. They taught among the people.”
This was a special mission of what we might call evangelization today. King Jehoshaphat sent his officials and Levites out to teach the people about the law of Yahweh in the major cities of Judah. This was a different approach than that of his father, King Asa, who wanted everyone killed who was not a Yahweh worshipper. There were 5 officials named, 9 Levites, and 2 priests. Of the 5 officials, this is the only mention of (1) Ben-hail. Although there are 12 different people with the name of (2) Obadiah including the prophetic book of the same name, this Obadiah only appears here. There was a (3) Zechariah who was a son of King Jehoshaphat, one who was king of Israel (743 BCE) and a later prophet of the 6th century BCE, but this Zechariah is not one of these, unless possibly the son of the king. Although there are 10 biblical people with the name of (4) Nethanel, this one could be the trumpet blower or the son of Obed-edom. I wonder if this (5) Micaiah is the same prophet who King Jehoshaphat wanted later in this chapter. As for the 9 Levites, (1) Shemaiah was a common name among Levites, but this one is only mentioned here. This (2) Nethaniah might be one of the sons of Asaph or his descendents. (3) Zebadiah was a common name, but this one is not mentioned elsewhere. (4) Asahel was the name of a nephew of David who died, but this is not him. (5) Shemiramoth was at the time of David, but this is a different Shemiramoth. (6) Jehonathan is only mentioned here. (7) Adonijah was the name of a son of David, but this is not him. There was a later prophet with the name of (8) Tobijah. (9)Tob-adonijah appears only here. The 2 priests were Elishama and Jehoram. (1) Elishama was the name of a son of David, but this one is a priest. (2) Jehoram is a complicated name since two kings had that same name, one was the son of King Jehoshaphat who ruled from (848-840 BCE) and that other was the king of Israel (852-842 BCE). This priest could possibly be the son of King Jehoshaphat.
“In the eighteenth year of King Jeroboam of Israel, King Abijah began to reign over Judah. He reigned for three years in Jerusalem. His mother’s name was Micaiah daughter of Uriel of Gibeah. Now there was war between King Abijah and King Jeroboam. King Abijah engaged in battle having an army of valiant warriors, four hundred thousand picked men. King Jeroboam drew up his line of battle against him with eight hundred thousand picked mighty warriors.”
Once again, this information is loosely based on 1 Kings, chapter 15. The first few verses are almost word for word. King Abijah, the son of King Rehoboam, only ruled for 3 years, a very short period of time compared to the others. There is no explanation of how and why he died. Interesting enough, here he has the same name as King Jeroboam’s young son that died, Abijah. While in 1 Kings, he was called Abijam. His mother’s name was Micaiah and not Maacah, as earlier and in 1 Kings. Here she is called the daughter of Uriel not Absalom. I am not sure which is correct since this Uriel is only mentioned here. There was a continuous war with King Jeroboam. However, here there is some kind of great battle between the north and the south. The numbers of troops on both sides were astronomical, and an obvious exaggeration. King Abijah of Judah had 400,000 troops, while King Jeroboam of Israel had 800,000 troops. Where would all these people fit and gather together? Were there that many people living there?
“But King Jehoshaphat also said to the king of Israel. ‘Inquire first for the word of Yahweh.’ Then the king of Israel gathered the prophets together, about four hundred of them. He said to them. ‘Shall I go to battle against Ramoth-gilead, or shall I refrain?’ They said. ‘Go up. Yahweh will give it into the hand of the king.’ But King Jehoshaphat said. ‘Is there no other prophet of Yahweh here of whom we may inquire?’ The king of Israel said to King Jehoshaphat. ‘There is still one other man by whom we may inquire of Yahweh, Micaiah son of Imlah, but I hate him. He never prophesies anything favorable about me, but only disaster.’ Jehoshaphat said. ‘Let the king not say such a thing.’ Then the king of Israel summoned an officer and said. ‘Bring quickly Micaiah son of Imlah.’”
King Jehoshaphat of Judah wanted to consult with the prophets before going to battle. Now the prophets in Israel were the friendly prophets of Jezebel. They were not exactly Yahweh prophets. They agreed that it would be a good idea to go to battle. King Jehoshaphat was still not convinced and wanted another opinion. He wanted another prophet of Yahweh. King Ahab said that there was this negative prophet Micaiah but he always brought bad news. Nevertheless, he summoned him to come to the king.