2 Chronicles 17


‘Jehoshaphat his son succeeded him as king and strengthened himself against Israel. He stationed troops in all the fortified cities of Judah and put garrisons in Judah and in the towns of Ephraim that his father Asa had captured. The LORD was with Jehoshaphat because he followed the ways of his father David before him. He did not consult the Baals but sought the God of his father and followed his commands rather than the practices of Israel. The LORD established the kingdom under his control; and all Judah brought gifts to Jehoshaphat, so that he had great wealth and honour. His heart was devoted to the ways of the LORD; furthermore, he removed the high places and the Asherah poles from Judah.’ 2 Chronicles 17:1-6

Jehoshaphat King Of Judah

Jehoshaphat now becomes king of Judah, and unlike the idolatrous practices of the northern kingdom, Jehoshaphat refused to get involved in, or even promote any kind of idolatrous practices at this time in the history of the southern kingdom, 1 Kings 22:41-50.

Jehoshaphat was thirty-five years old when he began to reign, and he reigned for twenty-five years in Jerusalem. His mother’s name was Azubah, she was the daughter of Shilhi. He walked in all the ways of Asa his father, doing that which was right in the eyes of God.

Jehoshaphat followed the example set by his father, Asa in his earlier years, 2 Chronicles 14:1-15 / 2 Chronicles 15:1-10. Jehoshaphat was wealthy, his heart was devoted to the ways of God, and he removed all the high places and Asherah poles, 2 Chronicles 15:17 / 2 Chronicles 20:33.

The LORD established the kingdom under his control, which wasn’t an easy task. If the descendants of David would seek God first, He promised to take care of their security, Matthew 6:33.

Judah gave gifts to Jehoshaphat, and so he became really wealthy, this all happened because he simply trusted in God, Psalm 37:4.

‘In the third year of his reign, he sent his officials Ben-Hail, Obadiah, Zechariah, Nethanel and Micaiah to teach in the towns of Judah. With them were certain Levites—Shemaiah, Nethaniah, Zebadiah, Asahel, Shemiramoth, Jehonathan, Adonijah, Tobijah and Tob-Adonijah—and the priests Elishama and Jehoram. They taught throughout Judah, taking with them the Book of the Law of the LORD; they went around to all the towns of Judah and taught the people.’ 2 Chronicles 17:7-9

Jehoshaphat now sends teachers of God’s word to different cities throughout Judah, 2 Chronicles 15:3. In the past, the people would bring their offerings and then be taught God’s Word by the Levites, however, they stopped coming. Now Jehoshaphat sends the Levites out to the people to be taught, Malachi 2:7.

Notice they took with them the Book of the Law of the Lord, they weren’t to teach philosophies or opinions, but only what God said within His Word and they would encourage everyone to submit to God’s will, 2 Kings 23:2 / Nehemiah 8:3-8.

Because the Levites went to different places to teach, then it’s obvious that each group of teachers had their own copy of God’s Law, that Genesis through to Deuteronomy.

‘The fear of the LORD fell on all the kingdoms of the lands surrounding Judah, so that they did not go to war against Jehoshaphat. Some Philistines brought Jehoshaphat gifts and silver as tribute, and the Arabs brought him flocks: seven thousand seven hundred rams and seven thousand seven hundred goats. Jehoshaphat became more and more powerful; he built forts and store cities in Judah and had large supplies in the towns of Judah. He also kept experienced fighting men in Jerusalem. Their enrolment by families was as follows: From Judah, commanders of units of 1,000: Adnah the commander, with 300,000 fighting men; next, Jehohanan the commander, with 280,000; next, Amasiah son of Zikri, who volunteered himself for the service of the LORD, with 200,000. From Benjamin: Eliada, a valiant soldier, with 200,000 men armed with bows and shields; next, Jehozabad, with 180,000 men armed for battle. These were the men who served the king, besides those he stationed in the fortified cities throughout Judah.’ 2 Chronicles 17:10-19

The fear of the LORD was spread through Judah and so, no one dared to go to war against them.

Clarke, in his commentary, says the following.

‘Thus the nation became thoroughly instructed in their duty to God, to the king, and to each other. They became, therefore, as one man and against a people thus united, on such principles, no enemy could be successful.’

Even the Philistines brought Jehoshaphat gifts, and silver as a tribute, 2 Samuel 8:2 / 1 Kings 4:21 / 2 Chronicles 14:14. The Arabs brought him thousands of sheep, rams and goats. The Arab tribes who bordered Judaea to the south and the southeast paid Jehoshaphat a fixed tribute in kind, 2 Kings 3:4 / 2 Chronicles 14:15. These nations keeping the peace with Judah is exactly what God promised many years before, Deuteronomy 28:1-13.

Jehoshaphat wanted to maintain peace in his kingdom and so, he had a huge army to ensure that this would happen, so that God’s Word could be taught without any hindrances.

We don’t know anything about Amasiah, except what is written here, he volunteered himself for the service of the LORD.

Barnes, in his commentary, says the following.

‘This number and those which follow in 2 Chronicles 17:15-18, have been with good reason regarded as corrupt by most critics. For:

1. They imply a minimum population of 1,480 to the square mile, which is more than three times greater than that of any country in the known world (circa 1880s).

2. They produce a total just double that of the next largest estimate of the military force of Judah, the 580, 000 of 2 Chronicles 14:8.

3. They are professedly a statement, not of the whole military force, but of the force maintained at Jerusalem, 2 Chronicles 17:13 / 2 Chronicles 17:19.

It is probable that the original numbers have been lost, and that the loss was supplied by a scribe, who took 2 Chronicles 14:8 as his basis.

Coffman, in his commentary, says the following, concerning the army.

‘This represented a standing army of 1,160,000 men, besides the garrisons in the fortified cities and this goes a long way to explaining why the Arabians and the Philistines brought tribute to Jehoshaphat. In ancient times, as in our own day, peace frequently depended upon the strength of those who desired it.’

Go To 2 Chronicles 18


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