“all the army of heaven standing by him.” This scene in 1 Kings 22 depicts a large meeting of God’s spirit beings. The word “army” is translated from the Hebrew word tsaba’ (#06635 צָבָא) and it refers to an “army” or an “organized army.” Tsaba’ is used of an “army of angels” and also of other groups that are organized because an army is very organized, hence it is used to refer to the stars which are organized, and other large organized groups that are not necessarily a military army but are organized, and that is the case here—God’s assembly is an organized meeting.
In many cases, however, tsaba’, the “army,” does refer to, or emphasize, the military aspect of some group. In fact, God’s angelic “army” is, like the rest of His creation, in a war against evil. The world is a war zone. Ever since the fall of the Devil and his rebellion against God, Good and Evil have been at war. This verse in 1 Kings shows God in front of a huge assembly of spirit beings. God also has an intimate divine council with whom He works to govern His creation.
One thing worth noting is that God’s army of spirit beings is standing by God, they are not being dispatched to help Ahab and Jehosaphat. As we know from the record, Ahab died fighting at Ramoth-gilead. Ahab had been against God for many years, and now he ignores God’s prophet and follows the advice of his false prophets which resulted in his death.
[For more on God’s divine council, see commentary on Genesis 1:26. For more on the larger assemblies that God holds with His spirit beings, see commentary on Job 1:6.]