Verses 31–37

We are now drawing towards the close of the history of Jehoshaphat’s reign, for a further account of which those who lived when this book was published were referred to an authentic history of it, written by Jehu the prophet (2 Chron. 19:2), which was then extant, 2 Chron. 20:34. This was the general character of his reign, that he did that which was right in the sight of the Lord, kept close to the worship of God himself and did what he could to keep his people close to it. But two things are here to be lamented:—1. The people still retained a partiality for the high places, 2 Chron. 20:33. Those that were erected to the honour of strange gods were taken away (2 Chron. 17:6); but those where the true God was worshipped, being less culpable, were thought allowable, and Jehoshaphat was loth to disoblige the people so far as to take them away, for as yet they had not prepared their hearts to serve the God of their fathers. They complied with Jehoshaphat’s reformation because they could not for shame do otherwise, but they were not hearty in it, did not direct their hearts to God in it, did not act in it from any good principle nor with any zeal or resolution: and the best magistrates cannot bring to pass what they would, in reformation, when the people are cool in it. 2. Jehoshaphat himself still retained a partiality for the house of Ahab, because he had married his son to a daughter of that family, though he had been plainly reproved for it and had like to have smarted for it. He saw and knew that Ahaziah, the son of Ahab, did very wickedly, and therefore could not expect to prosper; yet he joined himself with him, not in war, as with his father, but in trade, became his partner in an East India fleet bound for Ophir, 2 Chron. 20:35, 36. There is an emphasis laid upon the time—after this, after God had done such great things for him, without any such scandalous and pernicious confederacies, given him not only victory, but wealth, yet after this to go and join himself with a wicked king was very ungrateful. After God had given him such a deliverance as this should he again break God’s commandments, and join in affinity with the people of these abominations? What could he expect but that God should be angry with him? Ezra 9:13, 14. Yet he sends to him, to show him his error and bring him to repentance, (1.) By a prophet, who foretold the blasting of his project, 2 Chron. 20:37. And, (2.) By a storm, which broke the ships in the port before they set sail, by which he was warned to break off his alliance with Ahaziah; and it seems he took the warning, for, when Ahaziah afterwards pressed him to join with him, he would not, 1 Kgs. 22:49. See how pernicious a thing it is to join in friendship and society with evil-doers. It is a hard matter to break off from it. A man may much better keep himself from being taken in the snare than recover himself out of it.