2 Chronicles 17-18
King Jehoshaphat of Judah
17 Jehoshaphat son of Asa became king and strengthened his defenses against Israel. 2 He assigned troops to the fortified cities in Judah, as well as to other towns in Judah and to those towns in Ephraim that his father Asa had captured.
3-4 When Jehoshaphat's father had first become king of Judah, he was faithful to the Lord and refused to worship the god Baal as the kings of Israel did. Jehoshaphat followed his father's example and obeyed and worshiped the Lord. And so the Lord blessed Jehoshaphat 5 and helped him keep firm control of his kingdom. The people of Judah brought gifts to Jehoshaphat, but even after he became very rich and respected, 6 he remained completely faithful to the Lord. He destroyed all the local shrines[a] in Judah, including the places where the goddess Asherah was worshiped.
7 In the third year of Jehoshaphat's rule, he chose five officials and gave them orders to teach the Lord's Law in every city and town in Judah. They were Benhail, Obadiah, Zechariah, Nethanel, and Micaiah. 8 Their assistants were the following nine Levites: Shemaiah, Nethaniah, Zebadiah, Asahel, Shemiramoth, Jehonathan, Adonijah, Tobijah, and Tob-Adonijah. Two priests, Elishama and Jehoram, also went along. 9 They carried with them a copy of the Lord's Law wherever they went and taught the people from it.
10 The nations around Judah were afraid of the Lord's power, so none of them attacked Jehoshaphat. 11 Philistines brought him silver and other gifts to keep peace. Some of the Arab people brought him 7,700 rams and the same number of goats.
12 As Jehoshaphat became more powerful, he built fortresses and cities 13 where he stored supplies. He also kept in Jerusalem some experienced soldiers 14 from the Judah and Benjamin tribes. These soldiers were grouped according to their clans.
Adnah was the commander of the troops from Judah, and he had 300,000 soldiers under his command. 15 Jehohanan was second in command, with 280,000 soldiers under him. 16 Amasiah son of Zichri, who had volunteered to serve the Lord, was third in command, with 200,000 soldiers under him.
17 Eliada was a brave warrior who commanded the troops from Benjamin. He had 200,000 soldiers under his command, all of them armed with bows and shields. 18 Jehozabad was second in command, with 180,000 soldiers under him. 19 These were the troops who protected the king in Jerusalem, not counting those he had assigned to the fortified cities throughout the country.
Micaiah Warns King Ahab of Israel
18 Jehoshaphat was now very rich and famous. He signed a treaty with King Ahab of Israel by arranging the marriage of his son and Ahab's daughter.
2 One day, Jehoshaphat went to visit Ahab in his capital city of Samaria. Ahab slaughtered sheep and cattle and prepared a big feast to honor Jehoshaphat and the officials with him. Ahab talked about attacking the city of Ramoth in Gilead,[b] 3 and finally asked, “Jehoshaphat, would you go with me to attack Ramoth?”
“Yes,” Jehoshaphat answered. “My army is at your command. 4 But first let's ask the Lord what to do.”
5 Ahab sent for 400 prophets and asked, “Should I attack the city of Ramoth?”
“Yes!” the prophets answered. “God will help you capture the city.”
6 But Jehoshaphat said, “Just to make sure, is there another of the Lord's prophets we can ask?”
7 “We could ask Micaiah son of Imlah,” Ahab said. “But I hate Micaiah. He always has bad news for me.”
“Don't say that!” Jehoshaphat replied. 8 Then Ahab sent someone to bring Micaiah as soon as possible.
9 All this time, Ahab and Jehoshaphat were dressed in their royal robes and were seated on their thrones at the threshing place near the gate of Samaria, listening to the prophets tell them what the Lord had said.
10 Zedekiah son of Chenaanah was one of the prophets. He had made some horns out of iron and shouted, “Ahab, the Lord says you will attack the Syrians like a bull with iron horns and wipe them out!”
11 All the prophets agreed that Ahab should attack the Syrians at Ramoth and promised that the Lord would help him defeat them.
12 Meanwhile, the messenger who went to get Micaiah whispered, “Micaiah, all the prophets have good news for Ahab. Now go and say the same thing.”
13 “I'll say whatever the living Lord my God tells me to say,” Micaiah replied.
14 Then Micaiah went up to Ahab, who asked, “Micaiah, should we attack Ramoth?”
“Yes!” Micaiah answered. “The Lord will help you capture the city.”
15 Ahab shouted, “Micaiah, I've told you over and over to tell me the truth! What does the Lord really say?”
16 (A) Micaiah answered, “In a vision[c] I saw Israelite soldiers wandering around, lost in the hills like sheep without a shepherd. The Lord said, ‘These troops have no leader. They should go home and not fight.’ ”
17 Ahab turned to Jehoshaphat and said, “I told you he would bring me bad news!”
18 Micaiah replied:
I then saw the Lord seated on his throne with every creature in heaven gathered around him. 19 The Lord asked, “Who can trick Ahab and make him go to Ramoth where he will be killed?”
They talked about it for a while, 20 then finally a spirit came forward and said to the Lord, “I can trick Ahab.”
“How?” the Lord asked.
21 “I'll make Ahab's prophets lie to him.”
“Good!” the Lord replied. “Now go and do it. You will be successful.”
22 Ahab, this is exactly what has happened. The Lord made all your prophets lie to you, and he knows you will soon be destroyed.
23 Zedekiah walked over and slapped Micaiah on the face. Then he asked, “Do you really think the Lord would speak to you and not to me?”
24 Micaiah answered, “You'll find out on the day you have to hide in the back room of some house.”
25 Ahab shouted, “Arrest Micaiah! Take him to Prince Joash and Governor Amon of Samaria. 26 Tell them to put him in prison and to give him nothing but bread and water until I come back safely.”
27 Micaiah said, “If you do come back, I was wrong about what the Lord wanted me to say.” Then he told the crowd, “Don't forget what I said!”
Ahab Dies at Ramoth
28 Ahab and Jehoshaphat led their armies to Ramoth in Gilead. 29 Before they went into battle, Ahab said, “Jehoshaphat, I'll disguise myself, but you wear your royal robe.” Ahab disguised himself and went into battle.
30 The king of Syria had ordered his chariot commanders to attack only Ahab. 31 So when they saw Jehoshaphat in his robe, they thought he was Ahab and started to attack him. But Jehoshaphat prayed, and the Lord made the Syrian soldiers stop. 32 And when they realized he wasn't Ahab, they left him alone.
33 However, during the fighting a soldier shot an arrow without even aiming, and it hit Ahab between two pieces of his armor. He shouted to his chariot driver, “I've been hit! Get me out of here!”
34 The fighting lasted all day, with Ahab propped up in his chariot so he could see the Syrian troops. He stayed there until evening, and by sundown he was dead.
25 (A) just as the Lord says in the book of Hosea,
“Although they are not
I will make them my people.
I will treat with love
that have never been loved.
26 (B) “Once they were told,
‘You are not my people.’
But in that very place
they will be called
children of the living God.”
27 (C) And this is what the prophet Isaiah said about the people of Israel,
“The people of Israel
are as many
as the grains of sand
along the beach.
But only a few who are left
will be saved.
28 The Lord will be quick
and sure to do on earth
what he has warned
he will do.”
29 (D) Isaiah also said,
“If the Lord All-Powerful
had not spared some
of our descendants,
we would have been destroyed
like the cities of Sodom
Israel and the Good News
30 What does all of this mean? It means that the Gentiles were not trying to be acceptable to God, but they found that he would accept them if they had faith. 31-32 It also means that the people of Israel were not acceptable to God. And why not? It was because they were trying[b] to be acceptable by obeying the Law instead of by having faith in God. The people of Israel fell over the stone that makes people stumble, 33 (E) just as God says in the Scriptures,
“Look! I am placing in Zion
a stone to make people
stumble and fall.
But those who have faith
in that one will never
10 Dear friends, my greatest wish and my prayer to God is for the people of Israel to be saved. 2 I know they love God, but they don't understand 3 what makes people acceptable to him. So they refuse to trust God, and they try to be acceptable by obeying the Law. 4 But Christ makes the Law no longer necessary[c] for those who become acceptable to God by faith.
Anyone Can Be Saved
5 (F) Moses said a person could become acceptable to God by obeying the Law. He did this when he wrote, “If you want to live, you must do all the Law commands.”
6 (G) But people whose faith makes them acceptable to God will never ask, “Who will go up to heaven to bring Christ down?” 7 Neither will they ask, “Who will go down into the world of the dead to raise him to life?”
8 All who are acceptable because of their faith simply say, “The message is as near as your mouth or your heart.” And this is the same message we preach about faith. 9 So you will be saved, if you honestly say, “Jesus is Lord,” and if you believe with all your heart that God raised him from death. 10 God will accept you and save you, if you truly believe this and tell it to others.
11 (H) The Scriptures say no one who has faith will be disappointed, 12 no matter if that person is a Jew or a Gentile. There is only one Lord, and he is generous to everyone who asks for his help. 13 (I) All who call out to the Lord will be saved.
- 9.29 Sodom and Gomorrah: During the time of Abraham the Lord destroyed these two cities because their people were so sinful.
- 9.31,32 because they were trying: Or “while they were trying” or “even though they were trying.”
- 10.4 But Christ makes the Law no longer necessary: Or “But Christ gives the full meaning to the Law.”
(A psalm by David for the music leader.)
A Prayer for Victory
1 I pray that the Lord
will listen when you
are in trouble,
and that the God of Jacob
will keep you safe.
2 May the Lord send help
from his temple
and come to your rescue
from Mount Zion.
3 May he remember your gifts
and be pleased
with what you bring.
4 May God do what you want most
and let all go well for you.
5 Then you will win victories,
and we will celebrate,
while raising our banners
in the name of our God.
May the Lord answer
all your prayers!
6 I am certain, Lord,
that you will help
your chosen king.
You will answer my prayers
from your holy place
and you will save me
with your mighty arm.
7 Some people trust the power
of chariots or horses,
but we trust you, Lord God.
8 Others will stumble and fall,
but we will be strong
and stand firm.
9 Give the king victory, Lord,
and answer our prayers.[a]
- 20.9 victory … prayers: Or “victory. He (God or the king) answers us.”
2 An angry ruler
is like a roaring lion—
make either one angry,
and you are dead.
3 It makes you look good
when you avoid a fight—
only fools love to quarrel.