Zedekiah & 400 fellow false prophets had an easy job. They claimed to speak on behalf of God, but they were really just telling King Ahab of Israel what he wanted to hear. They didn’t care at all whether or not the advice they dispensed was actually God’s word and will.
King Ahab, the infamously evil king of Israel, had invited his counterpart, King Jehoshaphat of Judah, to join him in going to war against Aram. But, Jehoshaphat wanted confirmation from God concerning this battle. To oblige him, Ahab provided 400 of his choice prophets who spoke – as if on cue: “Go, for the Lord will give Ramoth Gilead into the king’s hand” (1Ki. 22:6). Jehoshaphat didn’t fall for it; he saw through the false prophets’ false prophecies and demanded a true prophet of God.
This alone must have been enough to set Zedekiah, the ringleader of the 400 prophets, on edge. Unfortunately for him, though, King Jehoshaphat got exactly what he wanted – and maybe more than he wanted – when Micaiah showed up.
Somewhat reluctantly, Micaiah gave King Ahab the true story; he told him that God DID want Ahab to attack Aram… but that it would not end well for the Israelite king. Micaiah accused Zedekiah of being nothing more than a mouthpiece for the “lying spirit” (1Ki. 22:23) God had sent to entice Ahab into foolish combat (which was actually what he wanted anyway!).
Zedekiah had heard enough. He got up and slapped Micaiah – a move intended as a sign of humiliation – and sarcastically demanded to know when God had suddenly stopped speaking through him in order to go and whisper into Micaiah’s ear. Not one to take things lying down, Micaiah told Zedekiah he would find out on the day he went into hiding.
Neither prophet was heard from again.
Zedekiah was a flatterer… a people-pleaser… a liar. And he didn’t like it when he got called out on it.
How do you react when it is pointed out you were wrong? Do you receive it in humility… and make amends with others and with God? Or do you double down… determined to “save face” at any cost?
You can read Zedekiah’s story in 1Kings 22:1-28 & 2Chronicles 18:1-27.