Buckets of water drawn from the fountain splashed on the floor of the chariot, running into bloodied pools among the cobblestones. Pariah dogs leaped and snarled, pushing each other aside while they lapped the stained water. The Tishbite’s prophecy was fulfilled: The Lord says, in the place where dogs licked the blood of Naboth, the dogs shall lick your blood.
King, idolater and murderer, Ahab was not ready to die. In response to the word of Elijah he humbled himself; brushing off the surface of his heart he walked circumspectly.
The Tishbite said no more.
But there were other prophets: men who declared the word of the Lord. As God had told Elijah, the remnant of His faithful followers was not a majority of one.
Three years passed. Ahab was thinking of the town of Ramoth, taken from him by the Syrian army.
Jehoshaphat came to visit. With his help Ahab planned to regain the territory he had lost. Jehoshaphat first required the direction of the Lord – from the mouth of a prophet of the Lord. Micaiah was fetched from the prison.
“I see the nation as sheep without a shepherd, scattered on the hills!”
The warning was spoken: Ahab would die at Ramoth-Gilead. Who was right? Elijah the Tishbite or Micaiah the son of Imla?
Ahab was not ready to die, whether at Jezreel or at Ramoth-Gilead. The Syrian king had no quarrel with the Israelite army, only with the king of Israel: “Fight neither with the small nor great, but only with the king of Israel.”
Ahab wore the garb of a common soldier. He did not enter the battle, nor lead the army, as the king of Israel. But a certain man – later to be the General of the Syrian army – ‘drew a bow at a venture.’ The arrow pierced through Ahab’s armour, driving into his lungs. The chariot driver took him aside while the battle continued until evening. The armies withdrew. Ahab died at sunset in the locality of Ramoth-Gilead.
Micaiah was right.
The Israelites returned the dead body of their king to Samaria and buried him there. The chariot was taken to the fountain of Jezreel to wash away the king’s blood. The water splashed gory pools among the cobblestones. The pariah dogs came, leaping, snarling, and lapping up the bloodied water.
Elijah the Tishbite was right.
The word of the Lord God does not return to Him void but accomplishes the task for which it is given.
1 Kings Chapters 21 and 22.
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