2 Chronicles 19-20
19 Jehoshaphat returned safely to his palace in Jerusalem. 2 But the prophet Jehu son of Hanani met him and said:
By helping that wicked Ahab, you have made friends with someone who hates the Lord. Now the Lord God is angry with you! 3 But not everything about you is bad. You destroyed the sacred poles[a] used in worshiping the goddess Asherah—that shows you have tried to obey the Lord.
Jehoshaphat Appoints Judges To Settle Cases
4 Jehoshaphat lived in Jerusalem, but he often traveled through his kingdom, from Beersheba in the south to the edge of the hill country of Ephraim in the north. He talked with the people and convinced them to turn back to the Lord God and worship him, just as their ancestors had done.
5 He assigned judges to each of the fortified cities in Judah 6 and told them:
Be careful when you make your decisions in court, because you are judging by the Lord's standards and not by human standards, and he will know what you decide. 7 So do your work in honor of him and know that he won't allow you to be unfair to anyone or to take bribes.
8 Jehoshaphat also chose some Levites, some priests, and some of the family leaders, and he appointed them to serve as judges in Jerusalem. 9 He told them:
Faithfully serve the Lord! 10 The people of Judah will bring you legal cases that involve every type of crime, including murder. You must settle these cases and warn the people to stop sinning against the Lord, so that he won't get angry and punish Judah. Remember, if you follow these instructions, you won't be held responsible for anything that happens.
11 Amariah the high priest will have the final say in any religious case. And Zebadiah, the leader[b] of the Judah tribe, will have the final say in all other cases. The rest of the Levites will serve as your assistants. Be brave, and I pray that the Lord will help you do right.
Moab and Ammon Are Defeated
20 Some time later, the armies of Moab and Ammon, together with the Meunites,[c] went to war against Jehoshaphat. 2 Messengers told Jehoshaphat, “A large army from Edom[d] east of the Dead Sea has invaded our country. They have already reached En-Gedi.”[e]
3 Jehoshaphat was afraid, so he asked the Lord what to do. He then told the people of Judah to go without eating to show their sorrow. 4 They immediately left for Jerusalem to ask for the Lord's help.
5 After everyone from Judah and Jerusalem had come together at the Lord's temple, Jehoshaphat stood in front of the new courtyard 6 and prayed:
You, Lord, are the God our ancestors worshiped, and from heaven you rule every nation in the world. You are so powerful that no one can defeat you. 7 (A) Our God, you forced out the nations who lived in this land before your people Israel came here, and you gave it to the descendants of your friend Abraham forever. 8 Our ancestors lived in this land and built a temple to honor you. 9 They believed that whenever this land is struck by war or disease or famine, your people can pray to you at the temple, and you will hear their prayer and save them.
10 (B) You can see that the armies of Ammon, Moab, and Edom are attacking us! Those are the nations you would not let our ancestors invade on their way from Egypt, so these nations were not destroyed. 11 Now they are coming to take back the land you gave us. 12 Aren't you going to punish them? We won't stand a chance when this army attacks. We don't know what to do—we are begging for your help.
Your Majesty and everyone from Judah and Jerusalem, the Lord says that you don't need to be afraid or let this powerful army discourage you. God will fight on your side! 16 So here's what you must do. Tomorrow the enemy armies will march through the desert around the town of Jeruel. March down and meet them at the town of Ziz as they come up the valley. 17 (D) You won't even have to fight. Just take your positions and watch the Lord rescue you from your enemy. Don't be afraid. Just do as you're told. And as you march out tomorrow, the Lord will be there with you.
18 Jehoshaphat bowed low to the ground and everyone worshiped the Lord. 19 Then some Levites from the Kohath and Korah clans stood up and shouted praises to the Lord God of Israel.
20 Early the next morning, as everyone got ready to leave for the desert near Tekoa, Jehoshaphat stood up and said, “Listen my friends, if we trust the Lord God and believe what these prophets have told us, the Lord will help us, and we will be successful.” 21 Then he explained his plan and appointed men to march in front of the army and praise the Lord for his holy power by singing:[g]
“Praise the Lord!
His love never ends.”
22 As soon as they began singing, the Lord confused the enemy camp, 23 so that the Ammonite and Moabite troops attacked and completely destroyed those from Edom. Then they turned against each other and fought until the entire camp was wiped out!
24 When Judah's army reached the tower that overlooked the desert, they saw that every soldier in the enemy's army was lying dead on the ground. 25 So Jehoshaphat and his troops went into the camp to carry away everything of value. They found a large herd of livestock,[h] a lot of equipment, clothes,[i] and other valuable things. It took them three days to carry it all away, and there was still some left over.
26 Then on the fourth day, everyone came together in Beracah Valley and sang praises to the Lord. That's why that place was called Praise Valley.[j]
27-28 Jehoshaphat led the crowd back to Jerusalem. And as they marched, they played harps and blew trumpets. They were very happy because the Lord had given them victory over their enemies, so when they reached the city, they went straight to the temple.
29 When the other nations heard how the Lord had fought against Judah's enemies, they were too afraid 30 to invade Judah. The Lord let Jehoshaphat's kingdom be at peace.
31 Jehoshaphat was 35 years old when he became king of Judah, and he ruled from Jerusalem for 25 years. His mother was Azubah daughter of Shilhi. 32 Jehoshaphat obeyed the Lord, just as his father Asa had done, 33 but he did not destroy the local shrines.[k] So the people still worshiped foreign gods, instead of faithfully serving the God their ancestors had worshiped.
34 Everything else Jehoshaphat did while he was king is written in the records of Jehu son of Hanani that are included in The History of the Kings of Israel.
35 While Jehoshaphat was king, he signed a peace treaty with Ahaziah the wicked king of Israel. 36 They agreed to build several seagoing ships[l] at Ezion-Geber. 37 But the prophet Eliezer[m] warned Jehoshaphat, “The Lord will destroy these ships because you have supported Ahaziah.” The ships were wrecked and never sailed.
- 19.3 sacred poles: See the note at 14.3.
- 19.11 Zebadiah, the leader: Hebrew “Zebadiah son of Ishmael, who is the leader.”
- 20.1 Meunites: One ancient translation (see also 26.7); Hebrew “Ammonites.”
- 20.2 Edom: The Hebrew text has “Syria”; in Hebrew there is only one letter difference between “Edom” and “Aram,” which is the usual Hebrew name for Syria in the Bible.
- 20.2 En-Gedi: The Hebrew text has “Hazazon-Tamar, also known as En-Gedi,” a city on the west shore of the Dead Sea, about 40 kilometers southeast of Jerusalem.
- 20.14 Jahaziel, a Levite from the Asaph clan: Hebrew “Jahaziel son of Zechariah son of Benaiah son of Jeiel son of Mattaniah, who was a Levite from the Asaph clan.”
- 20.21 to march in front … singing: Or “to put on their sacred robes, lead the army into battle, and praise the Lord by singing.”
- 20.25 a large herd of livestock: One ancient translation; Hebrew “among the bodies a large herd of.”
- 20.25 clothes: One ancient translation; Hebrew “dead bodies.”
- 20.26 Beracah Valley … sang praises … Praise Valley: In Hebrew the name “Beracah” means “praise.”
- 20.33 local shrines: See the note at 11.15.
- 20.36 seagoing ships: See the note at 9.21.
- 20.37 Eliezer: Hebrew “Eliezer son of Dodavahu from Mareshah.”
14 How can people have faith in the Lord and ask him to save them, if they have never heard about him? And how can they hear, unless someone tells them? 15 (A) And how can anyone tell them without being sent by the Lord? The Scriptures say it is a beautiful sight to see even the feet of someone coming to preach the good news. 16 (B) Yet not everyone has believed the message. For example, the prophet Isaiah asked, “Lord, has anyone believed what we said?”
17 No one can have faith without hearing the message about Christ. 18 (C) But am I saying that the people of Israel did not hear? No, I am not! The Scriptures say,
“The message was told
everywhere on earth.
It was announced
all over the world.”
19 (D) Did the people of Israel understand or not? Moses answered this question when he told that the Lord had said,
“I will make Israel jealous
who are a nation
I will make them angry
who don't understand
20 (E) Isaiah was fearless enough to tell that the Lord had said,
“I was found by people
who were not looking
I appeared to the ones
who were not asking
21 (F) And Isaiah said about the people of Israel,
“All day long the Lord
has reached out
to people who are stubborn
and refuse to obey.”
God Has Not Rejected His People
11 (G) Am I saying that God has turned his back on his people? Certainly not! I am one of the people of Israel, and I myself am a descendant of Abraham from the tribe of Benjamin. 2 God did not turn his back on his chosen people. Don't you remember reading in the Scriptures how Elijah complained to God about the people of Israel? 3 (H) He said, “Lord, they killed your prophets and destroyed your altars. I am the only one left, and now they want to kill me.”
4 (I) But the Lord told Elijah, “I still have 7,000 followers who have not worshiped Baal.” 5 It is the same way now. God treated the people of Israel with undeserved grace, and so a few of them are still his followers. 6 This happened because of God's undeserved kindness and not because of anything they have done. It could not have happened except for God's gift of undeserved grace.
7 This means that only a chosen few of the people of Israel found what all of them were searching for. And the rest of them were stubborn, 8 (J) just as the Scriptures say,
“God made them so stupid
that their eyes are blind,
and their ears
are still deaf.”
9 (K) Then David said,
“Turn their meals
into bait for a trap,
so that they will stumble
and be given
what they deserve.
10 Blindfold their eyes!
Don't let them see.
Bend their backs
beneath a burden
that will never be lifted.”
Gentiles Will Be Saved
11 Do I mean that the people of Israel fell, never to get up again? Certainly not! Their failure made it possible for the Gentiles to be saved, and this will make the people of Israel jealous. 12 But if the rest of the world's people were helped so much by their sin and loss, they will be helped even more by their full return.
(A psalm by David for the music leader.)
Thanking the Lord for Victory
1 Our Lord, your mighty power
makes the king glad,
and he celebrates victories
that you have given him.
2 You did what he wanted most
and never told him “No.”
3 You truly blessed the king,
and you placed on him
a crown of finest gold.
4 He asked to live a long time,
and you promised him life
that never ends.
5 The king is highly honored.
You have let him win victories
that have made him famous.
6 You have given him blessings
that will last forever,
and you have made him glad
by being so near to him.
7 Lord Most High,
the king trusts you,
and your kindness
keeps him from defeat.
8 With your mighty arm, Lord,
you will strike down all
of your hateful enemies.
9 They will be destroyed by fire
once you are here,
and because of your anger,
flames will swallow them.
10 You will wipe their families
from the earth,
and they will disappear.
11 All their plans to harm you
will come to nothing.
12 You will make them run away
by shooting your arrows
at their faces.
13 Show your strength, Lord,
so that we may sing
and praise your power.
4 If you are too lazy to plow,
don't expect a harvest.
5 Someone's thoughts may be
as deep as the ocean,
but if you are smart,
you will discover them.
6 There are many who say,
“You can trust me!”
But can they be trusted?