2 CHRONICLES CHAPTER 17
Beginning of Jehoshaphat's Reign.
JEHOSHAPHAT'S PIETY. — V. l. And Jehoshaphat, his son, reigned in his stead and strengthened himself against Israel, for the behavior of the kings of Israel made it advisable to adopt proper measures of defense against the northern kingdom, both in strengthening the fortresses and in increasing the army. V. 2. And he placed forces, strong garrisons, in all the fenced cities of Judah, and set garrisons in the land of Judah, military posts with special governors or trusted officers, and in the cities of Ephraim, those which had been taken by Judah, chap. 15, 8, which Asa, his father, had taken. V. 3. And the Lord was with Jehoshaphat because he walked in the first ways of his father David, as this great king of Judah had behaved in the early part of his reign, before the matter of Bathsheba, and sought not unto Baalim, did not become guilty of idolatry in any form, v. 4. but sought to the Lord God of his father, made the worship of the true God the purpose of his life, and walked in His commandments and not after the doings of Israel, in the matter of the abominable calf-worship, 1 Kings 12, 28. v. 5. Therefore the Lord established the kingdom in his hand, 2 Kings 14, 5; and all Judah brought to Jehoshaphat presents, as was customary at the beginning of a new king's reign; and he had riches and honor in abundance, the presents of his subjects were made in proportion to the estimation in which they held him. V. 6. And his heart was lifted up in the ways of the Lord, it was so full of faith and piety that it was exalted above the lowness and meanness of idolatry and willful transgressions. Moreover, he took away the high places, those consecrated to Baal, and groves, the wooden pillars devoted to Astarte, out of Judah. It seems that the people resorted to idolatry just as soon as any king became lax in his insistence upon the true worship alone. V. 7. Also in the third year of his reign he sent to his princes, even to Ben-hail, and to Obadiah, and to Zechariah, and to Nethaneel, and to Michaiah, to teach in the cities of Judah, in an extraordinary visitation of the district to find out the status of the knowledge of the Law. V. 8. And with them he sent Levites, even Shemaiah, and Nethaniah, and Zebadiah, and Asahel, and Shemiramoth, and Jehonathan. and Adontlah. and Tobijah, and Tob-adonijah, Levites; and with them Elishama and Jehoram, priests, who were, of course, the directors of the course. V. 9. And they taught in Judah, and had the Book of the Law of the Lord with them; for copies of the books of Moses were available, probably even the original copy, which was rediscovered under Josiah, three hundred years later, and went about throughout all the cities of Judah and taught the people, giving them all the information concerning the civil and religious precepts as contained in the book which was even then known as the Law of Jehovah. It is well-pleasing to the Lord if the rulers of a country exercise justice and judgment, maintain discipline and order, and perform all the tasks of their office in such a way as to promote peace and prosperity.
JEHOSHAPHAT'S RICHES, VALOR, AND MIGHTY MEN. — V. 10. And the fear of the Lord fell upon all the kingdoms of the lands that were round about Judah, so that they made no war against Jehoshaphat, namely, while these reformatory measures were being carried out. V. 11. Also some of the Philistines brought Jehoshaphat presents, voluntarily placing themselves under his jurisdiction as tributaries, and tribute silver; and the Arabians, the nomad tribes to the south and southeast of the Dead Sea, brought him flocks, seven thousand and seven hundred rams and seven thousand and seven hundred he-goats, apparently the tale of so many herds of cattle. V. 12. And Jehoshaphat waxed great exceedingly, he became ever greater in riches and power; and he built in Judah castles, single fortified palaces, and cities of store, where food was stored against the event of a war. v. 13. And he had much business in the cities of Judah, great stores of food and material; and the men of war, mighty men of valor, were in Jerusalem. V. 14. And these are the numbers of them according to the house of their fathers, the divisions known as father-houses: Of Judah, the captains of thousands: Adnah the chief, and with him mighty men of valor, three hundred thousand. V. 15. And next to him, next in rank, was Jehohanan, the captain, and with him two hundred and fourscore thousand. V. 16. And next him was Amasiah, the son of Zichri, who willingly offered himself unto the Lord; and with him two hundred thousand mighty men of valor, the total number of men in Judah available for purposes of war being 780,000. V. 17. And of Benjamin: Eliada, a mighty man of valor, and with him armed men with bow and shield, the Benjamites having always been famed as archers, two hundred thousand. V. 18. And next him was Jehozabad, and with him an hundred and fourscore thousand, ready prepared for the war, the total number from Benjamin being 380,000. V. 19. These waited on the king, they were at his disposal, beside those whom the king put in the fenced cities throughout all Judah, the garrisons of all the fortresses. No monarch, after the time of Solomon, equaled Jehoshaphat in the greatness of his revenue, in the strength of his forts, and in the number of his troops. Note: Whenever people returned to the Word of God in all its purity and readily learned and followed it, conditions became better, and God's blessings rested upon the entire country.