Jehu’s Rebuke of Jehoshaphat
19 King Jehoshaphat of Judah returned to his home in Jerusalem in peace. 2 Then Jehu(A) son of the seer Hanani went out to confront him[a] and said to King Jehoshaphat, “Do you help the wicked and love those who hate the Lord?(B) Because of this, the Lord’s wrath is on you.(C) 3 However, some good is found in you, for you have eradicated the Asherah poles from the land and have determined in your heart to seek God.”(D)
4 Jehoshaphat lived in Jerusalem, and once again he went out among the people from Beer-sheba to the hill country of Ephraim and brought them back to the Lord, the God of their ancestors.(E) 5 He appointed judges in all the fortified cities of the land of Judah, city by city.(F) 6 Then he said to the judges, “Consider what you are doing, for you do not judge for a man, but for the Lord, who is with you in the matter of judgment.(G) 7 And now, may the terror of the Lord be on you. Watch what you do, for there is no injustice or partiality or taking bribes with the Lord our God.”(H)
8 Jehoshaphat also appointed in Jerusalem some of the Levites and priests and some of the Israelite family heads for deciding the Lord’s will and for settling disputes of the residents of[b] Jerusalem. 9 He commanded them, saying, “In the fear of the Lord, with integrity, and wholeheartedly, you are to do the following: 10 For every dispute that comes to you from your brothers who dwell in their cities—whether it regards differences of bloodguilt, law, commandment, statutes, or judgments(I)—you are to warn them, so they will not incur guilt before the Lord and wrath will not come on you and your brothers.(J) Do this, and you will not incur guilt.
11 “Note that Amariah, the chief priest, is over you in all matters related to the Lord, and Zebadiah son of Ishmael, the ruler of the house of Judah, in all matters related to the king, and the Levites are officers in your presence. Be strong; may the Lord be with those who do what is good.”(K)
War against Eastern Enemies
20 After this, the Moabites and Ammonites, together with some of the Meunites,[a] came to fight against Jehoshaphat. 2 People came and told Jehoshaphat, “A vast number from beyond the Dead Sea and from Edom[b] has come to fight against you; they are already in Hazazon-tamar” (that is, En-gedi). 3 Jehoshaphat was afraid, and he resolved to seek the Lord. Then he proclaimed a fast for all Judah, 4 who gathered to seek the Lord. They even came from all the cities of Judah to seek him.
5 Then Jehoshaphat stood in the assembly of Judah and Jerusalem in the Lord’s temple before the new courtyard. 6 He said:
Lord, God of our ancestors, are you not the God who is in heaven, and do you not rule over all the kingdoms of the nations? Power and might are in your hand, and no one can stand against you. 7 Are you not our God who drove out the inhabitants of this land before your people Israel and who gave it forever to the descendants of Abraham your friend? 8 They have lived in the land and have built you a sanctuary in it for your name and have said, 9 “If disaster comes on us—sword or judgment, pestilence or famine—we will stand before this temple and before you, for your name is in this temple. We will cry out to you because of our distress, and you will hear and deliver.”
10 Now here are the Ammonites, Moabites, and the inhabitants of Mount Seir. You did not let Israel invade them when Israel came out of the land of Egypt, but Israel turned away from them and did not destroy them.11 Look how they repay us by coming to drive us out of your possession that you gave us as an inheritance. 12 Our God, will you not judge them? For we are powerless before this vast number that comes to fight against us. We do not know what to do, but we look to you.[c]
13 All Judah was standing before the Lord with their dependents, their wives, and their children. 14 In the middle of the congregation, the Spirit of the Lord came on Jahaziel (son of Zechariah, son of Benaiah, son of Jeiel, son of Mattaniah, a Levite from Asaph’s descendants), 15 and he said, “Listen carefully, all Judah and you inhabitants of Jerusalem, and King Jehoshaphat. This is what the Lordsays: ‘Do not be afraid or discouraged because of this vast number, for the battle is not yours, but God’s. 16 Tomorrow, go down against them. You will see them coming up the Ascent of Ziz, and you will find them at the end of the valley facing the Wilderness of Jeruel. 17 You do not have to fight this battle. Position yourselves, stand still, and see the salvation of the Lord.He is with you, Judah and Jerusalem. Do not be afraid or discouraged. Tomorrow, go out to face them, for the Lord is with you.’”
18 Then Jehoshaphat knelt low with his face to the ground, and all Judah and the inhabitants of Jerusalem fell down before the Lord to worship him. 19 Then the Levites from the sons of the Kohathites and the Korahites stood up to praise the Lord God of Israel shouting loudly.
Victory and Plunder
20 In the morning they got up early and went out to the wilderness of Tekoa. As they were about to go out, Jehoshaphat stood and said, “Hear me, Judah and you inhabitants of Jerusalem. Believe in the Lord your God, and you will be established; believe in his prophets, and you will succeed.” 21 Then he consulted with the people and appointed some to sing for the Lord and some to praise the splendor of his holiness. When they went out in front of the armed forces, they kept singing:[d]
Give thanks to the Lord,
for his faithful love endures forever.
22 The moment they began their shouts and praises, the Lord set an ambush against the Ammonites, Moabites, and the inhabitants of Mount Seir who came to fight against Judah, and they were defeated. 23 The Ammonites and Moabites turned against the inhabitants of Mount Seir and completely annihilated them.When they had finished with the inhabitants of Seir, they helped destroy each other.
24 When Judah came to a place overlooking the wilderness, they looked for the large army, but there were only corpses lying on the ground; nobody had escaped. 25 Then Jehoshaphat and his people went to gather the plunder. They found among them[e] an abundance of goods on the bodies[f] and valuable items. So they stripped them until nobody could carry any more. They were gathering the plunder for three days because there was so much. 26 They assembled in the Valley of Beracah[g] on the fourth day, for there they blessed the Lord. Therefore, that place is still called the Valley of Beracah today.
27 Then all the men of Judah and Jerusalem turned back with Jehoshaphat their leader, returning joyfully to Jerusalem, for the Lordenabled them to rejoice over their enemies. 28 So they came into Jerusalem to the Lord’s temple with harps, lyres, and trumpets.
29 The terror of God was on all the kingdoms of the lands when they heard that the Lord had fought against the enemies of Israel. 30 Then Jehoshaphat’s kingdom was quiet, for his God gave him rest on every side.
Summary of Jehoshaphat’s Reign
31 Jehoshaphat became king over Judah. He was thirty-five years old when he became king, and he reigned twenty-five years in Jerusalem. His mother’s name was Azubah daughter of Shilhi. 32 He walked in the ways of Asa his father; he did not turn away from it but did what was right in the Lord’s sight. 33 However, the high places were not taken away; the people had not yet set their hearts on the God of their ancestors.
34 The rest of the events of Jehoshaphat’s reign from beginning to end are written in the Events of Jehu son of Hanani, which is recorded in the Book of Israel’s Kings.
Jehoshaphat’s Fleet of Ships
35 After this, Judah’s King Jehoshaphat made an alliance with Israel’s King Ahaziah, who was guilty of wrongdoing. 36 Jehoshaphat formed an alliance with him to make ships to go to Tarshish, and they made the ships in Ezion-geber. 37 Then Eliezer son of Dodavahu of Mareshah prophesied against Jehoshaphat, saying, “Because you formed an alliance with Ahaziah, the Lord has broken up what you have made.” So the ships were wrecked and were not able to go to Tarshish.
Jehoram Becomes King over Judah
21 Jehoshaphat rested with his ancestors and was buried with his ancestors in the city of David. His son Jehoram[a] became king in his place. 2 He had brothers, sons of Jehoshaphat: Azariah, Jehiel, Zechariah, Azariah, Michael, and Shephatiah; all these were the sons of King Jehoshaphat of Judah.[b] 3 Their father had given them many gifts of silver, gold, and valuable things, along with fortified cities in Judah, but he gave the kingdom to Jehoram because he was the firstborn. 4 When Jehoram had established himself over his father’s kingdom, he strengthened his position by killing with the sword all his brothers as well as some of the princes of Israel.
Judah’s King Jehoram
5 Jehoram was thirty-two years old when he became king, and he reigned eight years in Jerusalem. 6 He walked in the ways of the kings of Israel, as the house of Ahab had done,for Ahab’s daughter was his wife. He did what was evil in the Lord’s sight, 7 but for the sake of the covenant the Lord had made with David, he was unwilling to destroy the house of David since the Lord had promised to give a lamp[c]to David and to his sons forever.
8 During Jehoram’s reign, Edom rebelled against Judah’s control and appointed their own king. 9 So Jehoram crossed into Edom with his commanders and all his chariots. Then at night he set out to attack the Edomites who had surrounded him and the chariot commanders. 10 And now Edom is still in rebellion against Judah’s control today. Libnah also rebelled at that time against his control because he had abandoned the Lord, the God of his ancestors. 11 Jehoram also built high places in the hills[d] of Judah, and he caused the inhabitants of Jerusalem to prostitute themselves, and he led Judah astray.
Elijah’s Letter to Jehoram
12 Then a letter came to Jehoram from the prophet Elijah, saying:
This is what the Lord, the God of your ancestor David says: “Because you have not walked in the ways of your father Jehoshaphat or in the ways of King Asa of Judah 13 but have walked in the ways of the kings of Israel, have caused Judah and the inhabitants of Jerusalem to prostitute themselves like the house of Ahabprostituted itself, and also have killed your brothers, your father’s family, who were better than you, 14 the Lord is now about to strike your people, your sons, your wives, and all your possessions with a horrible affliction. 15 You yourself will be struck with many illnesses, including a disease of the intestines, until your intestines come out day after day because of the disease.”
Jehoram’s Last Days
16 The Lord roused the spirit of the Philistines and the Arabs who lived near the Cushites to attack Jehoram. 17 So they went to war against Judah and invaded it. They carried off all the possessions found in the king’s palace and also his sons and wives; not a son was left to him except Jehoahaz,[e] his youngest son.
18 After all these things, the Lord afflicted him in his intestines with an incurable disease. 19 This continued day after day until two full years passed. Then his intestines came out because of his disease, and he died from severe[f] illnesses. But his people did not hold a fire in his honor like the fire in honor of his predecessors.
20 Jehoram was thirty-two years old when he became king; he reigned eight years in Jerusalem. He died to no one’s regret[g] and was buried in the city of David but not in the tombs of the kings.
Judah’s King Ahaziah
22 Then the inhabitants of Jerusalem made Ahaziah, his youngest son, king in his place, because the troops that had come with the Arabs to the camp had killed all the older sons.[a] So Ahaziah son of Jehoram became king of Judah. 2 Ahaziah was twenty-two[b] years old when he became king, and he reigned one year in Jerusalem. His mother’s name was Athaliah, granddaughter[c] of Omri.
3 He walked in the ways of the house of Ahab, for his mother gave him evil advice. 4 So he did what was evil in the Lord’s sight like the house of Ahab, for they were his advisers after the death of his father, to his destruction. 5 He also followed their advice and went with Joram[d]son of Israel’s King Ahab to fight against King Hazael of Aram, in Ramoth-gilead. The Arameans[e] wounded Joram, 6 so he returned to Jezreel to recover from the wounds they inflicted on him in Ramoth-gilead[f] when he fought against King Hazael of Aram. Then Judah’s King Ahaziah[g] son of Jehoram went down to Jezreel to visit Joram son of Ahab since Joram was ill.
7 Ahaziah’s downfall came from God when he went to Joram. When Ahaziah arrived, he went out with Joram to meet Jehu son of Nimshi,whom the Lord had anointed to destroy the house of Ahab. 8 So when Jehu executed judgment on the house of Ahab, he found the rulers of Judah and the sons of Ahaziah’s brothers who were serving Ahaziah, and he killed them. 9 Then Jehu looked for Ahaziah,and Jehu’s soldiers captured him (he was hiding in Samaria). So they brought Ahaziah to Jehu, and they killed him. The soldiers buried him, for they said, “He is the grandson of Jehoshaphat who sought the Lord with all his heart.” So no one from the house of Ahaziah had the strength to rule the kingdom.
Athaliah Usurps the Throne
10 When Athaliah, Ahaziah’s mother, saw that her son was dead, she proceeded to annihilate all the royal heirs[h] of the house of Judah. 11 Jehoshabeath,[i] the king’s daughter, rescued Joash son of Ahaziah from the king’s sons who were being killed and put him and the one who nursed him in a bedroom. Now Jehoshabeath was the daughter of King Jehoram and the wife of the priest Jehoiada. Since she was Ahaziah’s sister, she hid Joash from Athaliah so that she did not kill him. 12 He was hiding with them in God’s temple for six years while Athaliah reigned over the land.
23 Then, in the seventh year, Jehoiada summoned his courage and took the commanders of hundreds into a covenant with him: Azariah son of Jeroham, Ishmael son of Jehohanan, Azariah son of Obed, Maaseiah son of Adaiah, and Elishaphat son of Zichri. 2 They made a circuit throughout Judah. They gathered the Levites from all the cities of Judah and the family heads of Israel, and they came to Jerusalem.
3 Then the whole assembly made a covenant with the king in God’s temple. Jehoiada said to them, “Here is the king’s son! He will reign, just as the Lord promised concerning David’s sons. 4 This is what you are to do: a third of you, priests and Levites who are coming on duty on the Sabbath, are to be gatekeepers. 5 A third are to be at the king’s palace, and a third are to be at the Foundation Gate, and all the troops will be in the courtyards of the Lord’s temple. 6 No one is to enter the Lord’s temple but the priests and those Levites who serve; they may enter because they are holy, but all the people are to obey the requirement of the Lord. 7 The Levites are to completely surround the king with weapons in hand. Anyone who enters the temple is to be put to death. Accompany the king in all his daily tasks.”[a]
8 So the commanders of hundreds did everything the priest Jehoiada commanded. They each brought their men—those coming on duty on the Sabbath and those going off duty on the Sabbath—for the priest Jehoiada did not release the divisions. 9 The priest Jehoiada gave to the commanders of hundreds King David’s spears, shields, and quivers[b] that were in God’s temple. 10 Then he stationed all the troops with their weapons in hand surrounding the king—from the right side of the temple to the left side, by the altar and by the temple.
11 They brought out the king’s son, put the crown on him, gave him the testimony, and made him king. Jehoiada and his sons anointed him and cried, “Long live the king!”
12 When Athaliah heard the noise from the troops, the guards, and those praising the king, she went to the troops in the Lord’s temple. 13 As she looked, there was the king standing by his pillar[c] at the entrance. The commanders and the trumpeters were by the king, and all the people of the land were rejoicing and blowing trumpets while the singers with musical instruments were leading the praise. Athaliah tore her clothes and screamed, “Treason! Treason!”
14 Then the priest Jehoiada sent out the commanders of hundreds, those in charge of the army, saying, “Take her out between the ranks, and put anyone who follows her to death by the sword,” for the priest had said, “Don’t put her to death in the Lord’s temple.” 15 So they arrested her, and she went by the entrance of the Horse Gate to the king’s palace, where they put her to death.
16 Then Jehoiada made a covenant between himself, the king, and the people that they would be the Lord’s people. 17 So all the people went to the temple of Baal and tore it down. They smashed its altars and images and killed Mattan, the priest of Baal, at the altars.
18 Then Jehoiada put the oversight of the Lord’s temple into the hands of the Levitical priests, whom David had appointed over the Lord’s temple, to offer burnt offerings to the Lord as it is written in the law of Moses, with rejoicing and song ordained by[d] David. 19 He stationed gatekeepers at the gates of the Lord’s temple so that nothing unclean could enter for any reason. 20 Then he took with him the commanders of hundreds, the nobles, the governors of the people, and all the people of the land and brought the king down from the Lord’s temple. They entered the king’s palace through the Upper Gate and seated the king on the throne of the kingdom. 21 All the people of the land rejoiced, and the city was quiet, for they had put Athaliah to death by the sword.
Jehoshaphat desired to return Judah to right standing before God. How do you think that made some of the people feel? They were steeped in idol worship. They seemingly loved doing what was evil in the sight of the Lord. Jehoshaphat did the right thing even though he was in the minority and it was hard. Today choose to do right by God. Choose to live for him, no matter how hard it is.