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2 Chronicles 18-20

Supplemental notes for the Daily Bible Study Bible Reading Plan

by Wayne Blank

2 Chronicles Chapter 18

Although the Kings of Israel and Judah were often at war after The Division Of Israel, the Israelite Dynasties were also sometimes temporarily allied together against common enemies. The difficulty with that was that it was one or the other's corruption that resulted in The Lord enabling Israel and/or Judah's enemies to become strong. If one of them was faithful, he was putting himself in danger because of The Lord's wrath that was coming upon the other. That was what happened when righteous King Jehoshaphat of The Southern Kingdom of "Judah" allied himself with corrupt King Ahab of The Northern Kingdom of "Israel."

An Archer

"Now Jehoshaphat had great riches and honor; and he made a marriage alliance with Ahab. After some years he went down to Ahab in Samaria. And Ahab killed an abundance of sheep and oxen for him and for the people who were with him, and induced him to go up against Ramoth-gilead. Ahab king of Israel said to Jehoshaphat king of Judah, "Will you go with me to Ramoth-gilead?"

He answered him, "I am as you are, my people as your people. We will be with you in the war." (2 Chronicles 18:1-3 RSV)

Jehoshaphat had the wisdom to seek The Lord's counsel. When Ahab had four hundred of his sycophant "prophets" give their approval, Jehoshaphat asked for just one true prophet of God.

"And Jehoshaphat said to the king of Israel, "Inquire first for the word of The Lord." Then the king of Israel gathered the prophets together, four hundred men, and said to them, "Shall we go to battle against Ramoth-gilead, or shall I forbear?"

And they said, "Go up; for God will give it into the hand of the king."

But Jehoshaphat said, "Is there not here another prophet of The Lord of whom we may inquire?"

And the king of Israel said to Jehoshaphat, "There is yet one man by whom we may inquire of The Lord, Micaiah the son of Imlah; but I hate him, for he never prophesies good concerning me, but always evil."

And Jehoshaphat said, "Let not the king say so." Then the king of Israel summoned an officer and said, "Bring quickly Micaiah the son of Imlah." (2 Chronicles 18:4-8 RSV)

Most of Ahab's prophets were merely "yes men" who parroted to the king of Israel what he wanted to hear, based on what Ahab himself had declared. There were hundreds of them, but they were useless as prophets. Micaiah, on the other hand, spoke only the true Word of God, which is the reason that corrupt King Ahab hated him.

"But Micaiah said, "As The Lord lives, what my God says, that I will speak." (2 Chronicles 18:13 RSV)

Ahab of Israel whined to Jehoshaphat of Judah that Micaiah "would not prophesy good concerning me, but evil" - when all that Micaiah was doing was revealing the evil that Ahab himself was doing.

"And the king of Israel said to Jehoshaphat, "Did I not tell you that he would not prophesy good concerning me, but evil?" (2 Chronicles 18:17 RSV)

Ahab's false prophets were liars, so they were open to lying spirits, something that The Lord does not allow with those who truly speak His Word. Ahab's death sentence had already been declared by The Lord (see The Fall of Ahab and Jezebel); The Lord merely allowed Ahab's own lying prophets to set up the final act.

"And Micaiah said, "Therefore hear the word of The Lord: I saw The Lord sitting on His throne, and all the host of heaven standing on His right hand and on His left; and The Lord said, 'Who will entice Ahab the king of Israel, that he may go up and fall at Ramoth-gilead?'

And one said one thing, and another said another. Then a spirit came forward and stood before The Lord, saying, 'I will entice him.'

And The Lord said to him, 'By what means?'

And he said, 'I will go forth, and will be a lying spirit in the mouth of all his prophets.'

And He said, 'You are to entice him, and you shall succeed; go forth and do so.' Now therefore behold, The Lord has put a lying spirit in the mouth of these your prophets; The Lord has spoken evil concerning you." (2 Chronicles 18:18-22 RSV)

Ahab's lying prophets were heeded, while true and faithful Micaiah was thrown into prison by Ahab as a pressure tactic to get Micaiah's approval of Ahab's doomed mission. Micaiah didn't flinch.

"And the king of Israel said, "Seize Micaiah, and take him back to Amon the governor of the city and to Joash the king's son; and say, 'Thus says the king, Put this fellow in prison, and feed him with scant fare of bread and water, until I return in peace.'"

And Micaiah said, "If you return in peace, The Lord has not spoken by me." And he said, "Hear, all you peoples!" (2 Chronicles 18:25-27 RSV)

The two kings entered battle with their troops; Ahab of Israel was disguised as an ordinary soldier, in order to not make himself the prime target of every enemy sharpshooter within range. It didn't matter; a "lucky shot" not only hit Ahab, it hit him between the sections of his body armor. Ahab died exactly as prophesied.

"So the king of Israel and Jehoshaphat the king of Judah went up to Ramoth-gilead. And the king of Israel said to Jehoshaphat, "I will disguise myself and go into battle, but you wear your robes." And the king of Israel disguised himself; and they went into battle.

Now the king of Syria had commanded the captains of his chariots, "Fight with neither small nor great, but only with the king of Israel." And when the captains of the chariots saw Jehoshaphat, they said, "It is the king of Israel." So they turned to fight against him; and Jehoshaphat cried out, and The Lord helped him. God drew them away from him, for when the captains of the chariots saw that it was not the king of Israel, they turned back from pursuing him.

But a certain man drew his bow at a venture, and struck the king of Israel between the scale armor and the breastplate; therefore he said to the driver of his chariot, "Turn about, and carry me out of the battle, for I am wounded." And the battle grew hot that day, and the king of Israel propped himself up in his chariot facing the Syrians until evening; then at sunset he died." (2 Chronicles 18:28-34 RSV)

2 Chronicles Chapter 19

Jehoshaphat of Judah made it safely back to Jerusalem where Hanani, a true prophet of The Lord, rebuked the king for involving himself with the corrupt regime in the north (see also Regime Change).

A Scroll

"Jehoshaphat the king of Judah returned in safety to his house in Jerusalem. But Jehu the son of Hanani the seer went out to meet him, and said to King Jehoshaphat, "Should you help the wicked and love those who hate The Lord? Because of this, wrath has gone out against you from The Lord. Nevertheless some good is found in you, for you destroyed the Asherahs [see Asherah] out of the land, and have set your heart to seek God." (2 Chronicles 19:1-3 RSV)

Jehoshaphat then wisely proceeded to make The Law of The Lord (see the Fact Finder question below) the law of the land of Israel.

"Jehoshaphat dwelt at Jerusalem; and he went out again among the people, from Beer-sheba to the hill country of Ephraim, and brought them back to The Lord, the God of their fathers. He appointed judges in the land in all the fortified cities of Judah, city by city, and said to the judges, "Consider what you do, for you judge not for man but for The Lord; he is with you in giving judgment. Now then, let the fear of The Lord be upon you; take heed what you do, for there is no perversion of justice with The Lord our God, or partiality, or taking bribes." (2 Chronicles 19:4-7 RSV)

Jehoshaphat also made Jerusalem the religious capital of the nation (see also Who, What or Where Is Zion?).

"Moreover in Jerusalem Jehoshaphat appointed certain Levites and priests and heads of families of Israel, to give judgment for The Lord and to decide disputed cases. They had their seat at Jerusalem. And he charged them: "Thus you shall do in the fear of The Lord, in faithfulness, and with your whole heart: whenever a case comes to you from your brethren who live in their cities, concerning bloodshed, law or commandment, statutes or ordinances, then you shall instruct them, that they may not incur guilt before The Lord and wrath may not come upon you and your brethren. Thus you shall do, and you will not incur guilt." (2 Chronicles 19:8-10 RSV)

2 Chronicles Chapter 20

Faithful and obedient Jehoshaphat was then given a lesson in how The Lord will defend His obedient people.

Engedi

"After this the Moabites and Ammonites, and with them some of the Meunites, came against Jehoshaphat for battle. Some men came and told Jehoshaphat, "A great multitude is coming against you from Edom, from beyond the sea; and, behold, they are in Hazazon-tamar," that is, En-gedi. Then Jehoshaphat feared, and set himself to seek The Lord, and proclaimed a fast throughout all Judah. And Judah assembled to seek help from The Lord; from all the cities of Judah they came to seek The Lord." (2 Chronicles 20:1-4 RSV)

The Lord's message to Jehoshaphat was to simply sit and watch; The Lord would go to battle for His people (see also Christ the Conqueror For Peace).

"And the Spirit of The Lord came upon Jahaziel the son of Zechariah, son of Benaiah, son of Jeiel, son of Mattaniah, a Levite of the sons of Asaph, in the midst of the assembly. And he said, "Hearken, all Judah and inhabitants of Jerusalem, and King Jehoshaphat: Thus says The Lord to you, 'Fear not, and be not dismayed at this great multitude; for the battle is not yours but God's. Tomorrow go down against them; behold, they will come up by the ascent of Ziz; you will find them at the end of the valley, east of the wilderness of Jeruel. You will not need to fight in this battle; take your position, stand still, and see the victory of The Lord on your behalf, O Judah and Jerusalem.' Fear not, and be not dismayed; tomorrow go out against them, and The Lord will be with you." (2 Chronicles 20:14-17 RSV)

The Lord then delivered a total defeat upon the invaders. Judah reaped a great spoil from them.

"And when they began to sing and praise, The Lord set an Ambush against the men of Ammon, Moab, and Mount Seir, who had come against Judah, so that they were routed. For the men of Ammon and Moab rose against the inhabitants of Mount Seir, destroying them utterly, and when they had made an end of the inhabitants of Seir, they all helped to destroy one another.

When Judah came to the watchtower of the wilderness, they looked toward the multitude; and behold, they were dead bodies lying on the ground; none had escaped. When Jehoshaphat and his people came to take the spoil from them, they found cattle in great numbers, goods, clothing, and precious things, which they took for themselves until they could carry no more. They were three days in taking the spoil, it was so much. On the fourth day they assembled in the Valley of Beracah, for there they blessed The Lord; therefore the name of that place has been called the Valley of Bera'cah to this day." (2 Chronicles 20:22-26 RSV)

The defeat also served as a warning to other nations (see also "Strong Is He Who Has Come Down"), thereby providing peace to Judah - for as long as they remained true to The Lord.

"And the fear of God came on all the kingdoms of the countries when they heard that The Lord had fought against the enemies of Israel. So the realm of Jehoshaphat was quiet, for his God gave him rest round about." (2 Chronicles 20:27-30 RSV)

Jehoshaphat reigned for twenty-five years, "he did what was right in the sight of The Lord."

"Thus Jehoshaphat reigned over Judah. He was thirty-five years old when he began to reign, and he reigned twenty-five years in Jerusalem. His mother's name was Azubah the daughter of Shilhi. He walked in the way of Asa his father and did not turn aside from it; he did what was right in the sight of The Lord." (2 Chronicles 20:31-32 RSV)

Like all humans however, Jehoshaphat of Judah was not perfect. He allowed some of the High Places to remain, and later allied himself with another wicked king of Israel in a doomed venture to build a merchant navy.

The high places, however, were not taken away; the people had not yet set their hearts upon the God of their fathers." (2 Chronicles 20:33 RSV)

"After this Jehoshaphat king of Judah joined with Ahaziah king of Israel, who did wickedly. He joined him in building ships to go to Tarshish, and they built the ships in Ezion-geber. Then Eliezer the son of Dodavahu of Mareshah prophesied against Jehoshaphat, saying, "Because you have joined with Ahaziah, The Lord will destroy what you have made." And the ships were wrecked and were not able to go to Tarshish." (2 Chronicles 20:35-37 RSV)

Fact Finder: (a) Who was the Creator of all things? (b) Who gave The Ten Commandments to Moses? (c) Who was "The Lord God" who directly spoke to Moses, Abraham, Jacob and many others in the "Old" Testament? Who did the kings of Israel and Judah obey, or disobey, according to whether or not they were faithful and obedient to Him?
(a) See Christ The Creator
(b) See Why Did Christ Put Moses To Death?
(c) See "The God Of The Old Testament"


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