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September 24, 2016 / 21 Elul, 5776
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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!

Barry Rubin

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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