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May 7, 2015 / 18 Iyar, 5775
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The Prophet Micaiah Teaches Me my Job

This story brought home to me that to do one’s task rightly, to bear witness honestly, and to face the consequences without flinching should be the hallmarks of my field.
Micaiah isn’t intimidated. He replies: I’m not going to lie! I will only say what the Lord tells me to say.

Micaiah isn’t intimidated. He replies: I’m not going to lie! I will only say what the Lord tells me to say.

And so it came to pass. Ahab lost the battle and was slain. The Bible doesn’t say what happened to Micaiah but I like to think he was immediately released from prison and lived happily ever after being able to say, I told you so!

Whether you are religious, agnostic, or atheist, this story is equally appropriate. Say, for example, that Micaiah evaluated the quality of each side’s troops, the weapons they used, and the terrain they were fighting on. And the others engaged in wishful thinking, told the king what he wanted to hear, or didn’t know what they were talking about.

This story brought home to me that to do one’s task rightly, to bear witness honestly, and to face the consequences without flinching should be the hallmarks of my field. What else should a writer, teacher, or intellectual do?  Unfortunately, at times one seems to be outnumbered by 400 to 1, in both numbers and audience size.

Micaiah had a good answer as to how to know who was write: Watch and see who is right according to the outcome! Or as he put it more elegantly to Ahab:

“If you ever come home safe, the Lord has not spoken through me.”

Not always, of course, is the proof of who is correct so quickly at hand. Yet there are many such indications available on a daily basis.

If the Palestinians make peace with Israel; the Muslim Brotherhood, Hizballah, Iran, and other Islamists turn out to be moderates; Syria is a democratic success story, and many other such things come to pass, I guess I was wrong.

Otherwise, you can’t say I didn’t warn you!

About the Author: Professor Barry Rubin is director of the Global Research in International Affairs (GLORIA) Center and editor of the Middle East Review of International Affairs (MERIA) Journal. See the GLORIA/MERIA site at www.gloria-center.org.


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9 Responses to “The Prophet Micaiah Teaches Me my Job”

  1. Ch Hoffman says:

    It really takes a super-inflated ego and a horrible case of Jerusalem syndrome for a contemporary pundit to compare himself to the prophets of the bible.

    Next, we'll hear about his visions; and then he'll want us all to don sackcloth and follow him to the desert.

    If you have a political position to state, you need not embellish it with your own sense of self-importance; it should stand or fall on its own.

  2. Lighten up CH. It was a bit of editorializing to make a point.

  3. Anonymous says:

    Its not ego- he is using this story to make a point that the truth must be said and don't fall for all the "false prophets". That also happened before the destruction of the temple- alot of wishful thinking and pressure to be positive. The sages had to stand up and say the truth. Don't kill the messenger. Today we need to at least consider the opinions of the leading sages in Israel which is as close to Hashem's word that we have. Instead many heckle them and call them names.

  4. Ch Hoffman says:

    ederyav 1. Rubin isn't "the leading sages" anywhere;
    2. Neither you, nor I, nor the "leading sages of Israel" have any greater claim to "Hashem's word" than the bus driver.
    3. When one equates his position to an ancient prophet, all we know is that he's coming down with Jerusalem syndrome – having spent too much time in the hot sun, he's hallucinating up a vision.

  5. Ruth Hirt says:

    Barry Rubin, the honest-to-goodness world political analyst, his mastery over his writings, the purity of purpose is defining the enemies of truth.

  6. Benny Gamal says:

    This is the Spirit of Pinchas which has been bestowed upon all of his descendants…our Kohanim today.
    Let that Spirit of Pinchas carry us toward peace by our dedication to The Truth and our willing to act to protect and uphold it.
    Sincerely,
    Benny Gamal,
    Kohein HaShamein (The Fat Kohein).

  7. Anonymous says:

    He doesn't know how to lighten up. He's a fathead.

  8. me Editorializing is quite appropriate in an editorial; but self-aggrandizement and comparing one's self to the timeless prophets is either delusional or just plain hyperbole for its own sake.

  9. BB Melman says:

    Rubin has been writing for decades. He is simply inserting himself into a metaphor as a stylistic literary device. This creative twist is not his usual style. He possesses no larger delusions of grandeur than do the rest of us.

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