The story of Ahab’s death provides a rare glimpse into the inner workings of God’s heavenly kingdom. The prophet Micaiah in explaining why he didn’t tell Ahab the truth about what was going to happen to him, describes a scene in heaven in which a spirit is charged with enticing Ahab to go to battle against Syria.
Again he said, Therefore hear the word of the LORD; I saw the LORD sitting upon his throne, and all the host of heaven standing on his right hand and on his left. And the LORD said, who shall entice Ahab king of Israel, that he may go up and fall at Ramoth-gilead? And one spake saying after this manner, and another saying after that manner. Then there came out a spirit and stood before the LORD, and said, I will entice him. And the LORD said unto him wherewith? And he said, I will go out, and be a lying spirit in the mouth of all his prophets. And the LORD said, Thou shalt entice him, and thou shalt prevail: go out, and do even so.
Micaiah’s description of heaven indicates that all the host of heaven was standing before the LORD as he sat upon his throne. This picture of divine judgment shows that God, as ruler of the universe, is in charge of all spiritual activity. All spirits report to him, including Satan (Job 1:6). Therefore, the lying spirit was accomplishing God’s will when he told Ahab’s prophets to say “Go up; for God will deliver it into the king’s hand” (2 Chronicles 18:5).
Ahab was upset when Micaiah told him the truth. It says in 2 Chronicles 18:17 that “the king of Isreal said to Jehoshaphat, Did I not tell thee that he would not prophecy good to me, but evil?” Ahab thought the message was good from his prophets because they said he would win the battle and the message from Micaiah was evil because he said Ahab would lose. What was actually important was that Ahab knew the truth, so he could make a good decision.
I don’t think Ahab understood the purpose of the message Micaiah gave him. It was meant to be a warning, a glimpse into the future so that Ahab could avoid disaster. Instead, Ahab chose to ignore Micaiah’s prophecy and attacked Syria anyway. Ahab thought he could achieve a different outcome, that he could make the false prophecy come true (2 Chronicles 18:26), but he was killed just as Micaiah prophesied.