Scripture reading – 2 Chronicles 19; 2 Chronicles 20

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2 Chronicles 19

The setting of 2 Chronicles 19 follows the bloody battle at Ramoth-Gilead (2 Chronicles 18) and the death of Israel’s king, Ahab. Jehoshaphat returned home from the battle in peace (2 Chronicles 19:1) despite his foolish compromise with Ahab and the LORD’s displeasure (2 Chronicles 19:1).

The Prophet Jehu’s Reproof for Jehoshaphat’s Compromise with Ahab (2 Chronicles 19:2-3)

As Jehoshaphat approached Jerusalem, he was met in the way by the prophet Jehu (he had been a prophet in Israel but moved to Judah, 1 Kings 16:1-7). Jehu rebuked the king, saying, “Shouldest thou help the ungodly, and love them that hate the Lord? therefore is wrath upon thee from before the Lord” (2 Chronicles 19:2).

Though the LORD despised Jehoshaphat’s compromise with the idolater Ahab, He nevertheless spared and blessed the king of Judah, whose son married Ahab’s daughter. Yet, as we will soon see, the effects of Jehoshaphat’s unequal yoke with Ahab would have dire consequences for the throne of David and God’s people (2 Chronicles 21:3-7). Despite His displeasure, the LORD spared and blessed the king of Judah because he had “taken away the groves out of the land, and [had] prepared [his] heart to seek God” (2 Chronicles 19:3).

The Prophet Jehu’s Reproof for Jehoshaphat’s Compromise with Ahab (2 Chronicles 19:2-3)

Jehoshaphat’s Reform and His Instructions to Judah’s Judges (2 Chronicles 19:5-11)

Jehoshaphat was a gifted administrator, and one of his outstanding accomplishments was his foresight in putting in place judges who were charged with applying the law and commandments judiciously (2 Chronicles 19:5-11). We read that the king “set judges in the land [in the walled cities]6And said to the judges, Take heed what ye do: for ye judge not for man, but for the Lord, who is with you in the judgment (2 Chronicles 19:5-6). Jehoshaphat charged the judges to fear and revere the LORD, for He is righteous, and to have no “respect of persons, nor taking of gifts [i.e., accept no bribes]” (2 Chronicles 19:7).

The king also assigned judges (Levites, priests, and the high priest) and charged them with judging matters in Jerusalem and settling controversies and conflicts that would arise in the capital city (2 Chronicles 19:8).Jehoshaphat admonished the judges to rule according to “law and commandment, statutes and judgments,” and warn [the people] that they trespass not against the Lord” lest they suffer His wrath (2 Chronicles 19:10). The matter of the law and judges concluded with a distinction being drawn between rulings on spiritual issues, which were the responsibility of the high priest, and civic matters, which fell upon “Zebadiah, the son of Ishmael” (2 Chronicles 19:11).

Imagine how different our nations and world would be if judges in our day were committed to judging matters according to the will and the Word of the LORD.

The LORD caused Judah’s enemies, the Ammonites and Moabites, to turn and destroy each other’s army (2 Chronicles 20:22-23).

2 Chronicles 20


Time and space prevent a thorough study of 2 Chronicles 20; however, the chapter began with Jehoshaphat and Judah enjoying the blessings and protection of the LORD. God blessed His people for their faith and rewarded them with a great victory over their enemies, without Judah’s soldiers lifting a sword or spear (2 Chronicles 20:1-21).

The LORD caused Judah’s enemies, the Ammonites and Moabites, to turn and destroy each other’s army (2 Chronicles 20:22-23). When the army of Judah came upon the battlefield, they saw a landscape littered with the bodies of their enemies and spoil so great it took three days to strip the bodies of the precious jewels that were on them (2 Chronicles 20:24-28). Sadly, the godly legacy of Jehoshaphat ended with yet another compromise with a heathen king (2 Chronicles 20:31-37).


Closing thoughts –

In our next study, we read that King Jehoshaphat died (2 Chronicles 21:1-7). His son, Jehoram, failed to follow his father’s godly legacy. Influenced by his wife’s family (for she was a daughter of Ahab and Jezebel), the son of Jehoshaphat walked “in the way of the kings of Israel…for he had the daughter of Ahab to wife” (2 Chronicles 21:6).

We are once again reminded of Paul’s admonition when he wrote, Be not deceived: evil communications [companions] corrupt good manners [morals] (1 Corinthians 15:33).

Copyright © 2023 – Travis D. Smith 

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