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19 Jehoshaphat returned safely to his palace in Jerusalem. 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 at you! 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

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.

He assigned judges to each of the fortified cities in Judah and told them:

Be careful when you make your decisions in court, because these are the Lord’s people, and he will know what you decide. 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.

Jehoshaphat also chose some Levites, some priests, and some of the family leaders, and he appointed them to serve as judges in Jerusalem. 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.

Footnotes

  1. 19.3 sacred poles: See the note at 14.3.
  2. 19.11 Zebadiah, the leader: Hebrew “Zebadiah son of Ishmael, who is the leader.”

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