Read verses 1-3
Q: What marriage is v.1 referring to?
A: Jehoshaphat arranged for his son Joram, who will be the next king of Judah to follow Jehoshaphat, to marry Ahab and Jezebel’s daughter Athaliah. Such marriages between nations or kingdoms were seen as being a type of treaty or agreement between the two, something much more than just two people getting married.
Q: Why is this, in and of itself, a completely disastrous move both politically and spiritually?
- Jezebel is the one through whom Baal worship takes over Israel and through whom much intrigue takes place. (Naboth’s vineyard, Elijah, etc.) Athaliah her daughter is just like her and will do the same things and worse.
- Upon the death of their son Amaziah, Athaliah will kill all but one of Joram’s children and assume the throne of Judah herself for 6 years before being forcibly removed. Her spiritual influence over Judah will be horrific.
- Jezebel wasn’t actually a Jew but a Sidonian. A strict interpretation of God’s Law concerning marriage would have prohibited not just this alliance, but this marriage.
- God specifically commanded that to make such treaties with other nations is a violation of trust in Him as their God. The only covenant they were to have was the one with God. Such agreements, in God’s view, sought the strength and protection of someone other than God.
Point: Although to this point Jehoshaphat has been faithful to the Lord and initiated sweeping reforms in the establishment of God’s Word, here he has made a very serious mistake which did NOT conform to God’s Word, most likely because he thought the bonds of a family connection could overcome the issues God’s Word warned against. This mistake will not only be felt in his own lifetime, but for generations to come.
Q: What is Ahab doing in suggesting they take back a city from Aram?
A: Ahab is creating the illusion that they are on the same side, threatened by a common enemy. In the parallel account in 2 Kings 22:3, Ahab’s exact words are, “Do you know that Ramoth-gilead belongs to us, and we are still doing nothing to take it out of the hand of the king of Aram?”
Point: False alliances begin as a reasonable sounding premise that because we’re united on a particular cause, all of the other differences don’t matter. It’s usually worded that it’s time to stop being divided, to put “petty” differences aside. False believers have a way of appealing to a single issue so that the myriad other differences will be overlooked. “YOU’RE against abortion, and WE’RE against abortion, so let’s unite our forces!”
Q: Why might the suggested goal of re-taking Ramoth-gilead have been chosen by Ahab as a further enticement of getting Jehoshaphat interested?
A: It was originally a Levitical city as well as one of the 6 original cities of refuge. It would have special spiritual significance to a man of faith like Jehoshaphat. However, it was also a store city and an administrative center in Solomon’s time, so it’s wealth potential would be attractive to a man of sin like Ahab. The bottom line, however, is that Ahab’s statement it belongs to “us” and what are “we” going to do about it, is incorrect, in that it as a city of Gad, which belongs to the northern kingdom of Israel and not to the southern kingdom of Judah. It really only “belongs” to Ahab. It’s really NOT Jehoshaphat’s problem.
Point: False alliances have their own agendas, cleverly disguised with spiritual-sounding terms and rhetoric. They emphasize what they know appeals to you so that they’ll get what they really want, which is almost always more money and power.
Q: How would you characterize Jehoshaphat’s basic problem? What is his basic weakness?
A: His comment that “I am as you are, and my people as your people” makes no distinction between them. He’s bought into Ahab’s “us” proposition. Although they share the same genetic heritage, they’re at the opposite end of just about every other issues, particularly their spiritual beliefs and practices. Jehoshaphat is overlooking 99 significant differences in the belief that just the 1 commonality they share overrides it all and that, in the end, they’re really not that different, when in fact they’re opposites.
Q: What is “smooth” in Ahab’s choice of how to approach Jehoshaphat?
A: Having established a family connection through the arranged marriage, Ahab throws a lavish party to make Jehoshaphat feel at ease.
Point: False believers know how to ingratiate themselves without overtly showing their true colors. They know how to con and manipulate, one of the chief characteristics of Jezebel, who is the personification of Satanic seduction by false religion. False alliances are built on spiritual seduction. Remember, Satan comes as an angel of light, and so do his servants. (2 Corinthians 11:14)
Application: When we join with others because we have something in common, we are also providing approval of all the other things which we would never normally approve of. Our integrity lends them public credibility. It’s not guilt by association, but rather guilt by cooperation or guilt by identification. When a good person takes the same platform as a heretic, or someone who is apostate or immoral, the good person is implicitly endorsing that person’s ministry and allowing themselves to be identified with him. A vivid example is when a legitimate man of God accepts air time on the apostate TBN television network. He is giving them an air of legitimacy for all their other wrong activities and teaching.