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Rubin Reports

The Prophet Micaiah Teaches Me My Job

July 17th, 2013 - 3:23 pm

During ancient times when monarchies ruled Judea and Israel, prophets very often acted as political analysts. I’m not saying they weren’t divinely inspired — that’s easier than having to do research! — but I’m looking at the historical framework.  They had to consider the kingdom’s situation, the king’s behavior, and the neighbors’ strength and intentions. Their job was not to engage in wishful thinking or to be the most popular or to promote their careers.

Micaiah (not to be confused with Micah) could be — if this were not so religiously contradictory — the patron saint of political analysts. My other small connection with his story is to have participated in a small way on the archaeological excavation of the town where the story took place.

Ahab was considered the worst Israelite king ever because of his pagan behavior and mistreatment of his subjects. Here’s the story, taken from I Kings 22.

King Ahab decided to recapture the town of Ramoth-Gilead. He called a meeting of 400 prophets — -today we’d call them experts- — to ask what the Lord wished: “Shall I march upon Ramoth-Gilead for battle, or shall I not?”

They unanimously answered: “March and the Lord will deliver [it] into Your Majesty’s hands.”

What more could one ask for? It’s like all scientists agreeing about man-made global warming; or all economists agreeing that Obama’s economic plan is brilliant; or all Middle East experts agreeing that the Muslim Brotherhood won’t take over Egypt or that the Arab side is desperately seeking peace with Israel.

But Ahab’s ally, King Jehoshaphat of Judah, asked: Wait a minute? Isn’t there someone missing?

Ahab responded, “There is one more man through whom we can inquire of the Lord; but I hate him, because he never prophesies anything good for me, but only misfortune — Micaiah son of Imlah.”

Jehoshaphat, however, replied: Well, why don’t we ask him, too?

The king reluctantly sends a messenger, who advises Micaiah: “Look, the words of the prophets are with one accord favorable to the king. Let your word be like that of the rest of them; speak a favorable word.”

Go along and you will be richly rewarded; disagree and be persecuted at worst and ignored at best. That Amalekite Liberation Front is a secular, moderate group?  And supplying arms to the Ramoth-Gilead rebels is a brilliant idea, right?

If 400 other highly paid, honored pundits say it, how can they be wrong?

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Sorry for the off topic. Been reading here at PJMedia for many years (started with the Belmont Club). I suffer from sometimes neglecting to follow my dreams in life or maybe not realizing them in time. Since my very early 20’s (now in my 40’s) visiting or even living in Israel has been in my heart but now it is even more difficult. My question is to any Israelis, when I am able to visit (after my children are older) I would very much like to already know people in Israel. Any suggestions on how I can get to know Israelis even though I am not actually living there?
1 year ago
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1 year ago
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jack probably thinks Mussolini was a good leader because he had the trains on time ... and conquered those Ethiopians!
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
The pagan worship thing is key. See:

Olmert/Clinton/Peres/Clinton/Rabin/Obama/Barak/Carter;

Where do Bush and Bibi fall? Certainly not as out-and-out pagans, but hardly as those listening closely to Hashem. Guys doing their best, maybe, and then:

Putin/Assad/Saddam/Pol Pot/Stalin/Mao/etc.

And then those who managed to raise up righteousness in the critical moments:

Churchill/Begin/Washington/Thatcher/Reagan.

That looks like the lineup to me: A few pearls, some well-meaning muddlers, and dreck. Welcome to our species.

And some folks like Barry, offering bits of prophecy here and there - like dust in the wind it may glitter in the dying light, but usually fades.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
It seems few of the people called to testify about the series of administration blunders have ever heard of the "thou shall not bear false witness" idea.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
In fact, our 'dear' leaders can learn a thing or two from many of Judaism's prophets, as quaint as that may sound to our resident poohbahs, aka, the 'enlightened ones'.
Not only that, if they were duly embued, surely the latest - out of countless others - Jewish degradation would not have come to pass - http://adinakutnicki.com/2013/07/18/arabsmuslims-threaten-mayhem-israels-response-continuous-dhimmitudeappeasement-on-the-temple-mount-judaisms-thousands-year-old-anchorbedrock-where-does-the-onus-lie-commentary-by-ad/

To wit, one needn't be a prophet, nor a pundit, to discern the above truths! Our leaders - in Israel as well as in the US, including the rest of the west - are empty men in suits, they are men bereft of chests. Simply put, they are NOT statesmen. Ditto their female counterparts.....

Adina Kutnicki, Israel http://adinakutnicki.com/about/
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
A relevant moral lesson for those who can hear it...(I suspect Obama is deaf -- he doesn't hear you.)
1 year ago
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It doesn't matter how many battles a King wins if he loses the war. A contrast is a King who losesmost of the battles but wins the war by winning the last one and keeping his kingdom intact. See: George Washington.
1 year ago
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Mr. Rubin: The moral of the story is good, but the characterization of Ahab by the Deuteronomist isn't. Ahab gets a bumb rap by the Deuteronomist. Ahab was one of the most effecitve king of the Kingdom of Israel. He briefly managed to unite Israel and Judah, and he was instrumental in stopping Assyrian advances into Aram (today's Syria). Not for nothing did Assyrian annals call the Kingdom of Israel called Beth Omri (Ahab's father's name). Regretfully, Yehu's coup against Omri-ide dynasty put an end to that, and ultimately to the Kingdom of Israel.
1 year ago
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None of those things matter to God. What matters is obedience to HIM.

Ahab elevated pagan worship practices in Israel. That's all we need to know that he was a bad king.

1 year ago
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