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In [Derekh HaShem 3.4.11], Moshe Chaim Luzzatto (Ramchal) validates the vision by Mikayahu of G-d fooling Achav with lying spirits in [1 Kings 22:22-28] as true.

If HaShem knows trust in humans is difficult why send רוּחַ שֶׁקֶר to test אַחאָב Achav, instead of a ruach emet to inspire the majority opinion of Israel’s council? If HaShem cannot lie [Bamidbar 23:19] why does G-d send angels to lie for Him [1 Kings 22] instead of always sending messages we can trust?

  • Are we to understand from [1 Kings 22] : G-d does not want our choices to be based on future events, since we can never trust which predictions are His test?
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    To help further clarify, does He need it as opposed to what? Lying Himself?
    – Rabbi Kaii
    Apr 4, 2023 at 12:18
  • @RabbiKaii - In [1 Kings 22:22] HaShem clearly knew Achav was influenced by majority opinion from His council in Yisrael. — Previously HaShem reveals that He does not desire to lie [Shemot 20] and cannot lie [Bamidbar 23]. — Instead of desiring any ruach emet to be His representative to guide majority opinion of Achav in [1 Kings 22:22], HaShem now reveals to Micaiah that although He cannot lie & does not desire lies, He still needs humans to lie for Him? Apr 4, 2023 at 12:56
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    Very good question! Thanks for bringing it
    – Rabbi Kaii
    Apr 4, 2023 at 13:06
  • As far as I know, the only times Hashem "spoke" to us is face to face with Moshe, or the first two diborot. Are you talking about that kind of talking or do you mean in dreams and visions as well?
    – Rabbi Kaii
    Apr 5, 2023 at 9:08

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I think I see where you are going with your question. However, there does not seem to be support that Hashem is contradicting Himself in this. What's actually happening appears similar to midda k'negged midda. The prophets who gave Achav the false prophecy were deliberately trying to procure a false prophecy from shamayim. This is a power available to false prophets, see Derech Hashem 3:4:10. This power is available because Hashem tests us with false prophets (Devarim 13:4).

The prophets were trying to gain faith from Achav by saying what he wanted to hear so they deliberately tapped into actual prophecy, but from the impure forces of prophecy that are available as we stated above. This created a debate in shamayim and a certain lying spirit called Nabot appeared before Hashem and asked if he could punish Achav by seducing him to his death in battle and Hashem agreed. The seduction was accomplished by the lying spirit that was put into the mouth of Tzidkiyah (see Sanhedrin 89a), which fooled him to say what he believed to be true (so he wasn't "lying"), but was actually false - that Achav would be triumphant in the battle and he heard it from God (Micaiah simply said that he will be triumphant, not that he heard it from God).

So, this doesn't show that God needs man to lie because He said He wouldn't/can't. In fact, it appears that no man is lying here and God approved of this lie through this "lying spirit of Nabot" i.e. you could basically say that God is doing the lying here Himself (this is what an angel is - a faithful messenger of Hashem's word), and the reason Hashem does that is, as we have discussed above - false prophets are a test, and in this case it seems it is a test provided along lines akin to midda k'negged midda. Achav clearly didn't want to hear the truth, jailed Micaiah for always speaking it, and also all his prophets were trying to lie to him on purpose.

See Derech Hashem 3:4:11 for a full discussion of this event.

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  • The problem with: “you could basically say that God is doing the lying here Himself” is it establishes the logic that Bilaam is false in [Bamidbar 23:19], and Mikaiahu is revealing new truth about HaShem in [1 Kings 22:22-28] that G-d can speak lies… so, Does G-d lie or need humans to lie for Him? Apr 5, 2023 at 0:21
  • @חִידָה what is the difference between what you just asked and the case of Hashem sending a fake message to Tzidkiyah? I am having trouble wrapping my head around it.
    – Rabbi Kaii
    Apr 5, 2023 at 0:29
  • The trouble with G-d’s depiction in [1 Kings 22] is knowing when to trust a King that approves of dishonest messages. | Thanks for sharing Derech Hashem 3:4:10 Apr 5, 2023 at 0:37
  • @חִידָה you are welcome and please see 3:4:11 too if you haven't already. Maybe then ask your question again as I am still not quite following (I am finding this all a bit confusing myself!)
    – Rabbi Kaii
    Apr 5, 2023 at 0:42
  • Derekh HaShem helped clarify the potential lesson of 1 Kings 22. - Thank you! Apr 5, 2023 at 2:15

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