2 Chronicles 20
New English Translation
The Lord Gives Jehoshaphat Military Success
20 Later the Moabites and Ammonites, along with some of the Meunites,[a] attacked Jehoshaphat. 2 Messengers[b] arrived and reported to Jehoshaphat, “A huge army is attacking you from the other side of the Dead Sea,[c] from the direction of Edom.[d] Look, they are in Hazazon Tamar (that is, En Gedi).” 3 Jehoshaphat was afraid, so he decided to seek the Lord’s advice.[e] He decreed that all Judah should observe a fast. 4 The people of Judah[f] assembled to ask for the Lord’s help;[g] they came from all the cities of Judah to ask for the Lord’s help.[h]
5 Jehoshaphat stood before the assembly of Judah and Jerusalem at the Lord’s temple, in front of the new courtyard. 6 He prayed: “O Lord God of our ancestors,[i] you are the God who lives in heaven[j] and rules over all the kingdoms of the nations. You possess strength and power; no one can stand against you. 7 Our God, you drove out[k] the inhabitants of this land before your people Israel and gave it as a permanent possession[l] to the descendants of your friend[m] Abraham. 8 They settled down in it and built in it a temple[n] to honor you,[o] saying, 9 ‘If disaster comes on us in the form of military attack,[p] judgment, plague, or famine, we will stand in front of this temple before you, for you are present in this temple.[q] We will cry out to you for help in our distress, so that you will[r] hear and deliver us.’ 10 Now the Ammonites, Moabites, and men from Mount Seir are coming![s] When Israel came from the land of Egypt, you did not allow them to invade these lands.[t] They bypassed them and did not destroy them. 11 Look how they are repaying us! They come to drive us out of our allotted land which you assigned to us! 12 Our God, will you not judge them? For we are powerless against this huge army that attacks us. We don’t know what we should do; we look to you for help.”[u]
13 All the men of Judah[v] were standing before the Lord, along with their infants, wives, and children. 14 Then in the midst of the assembly, the Lord’s Spirit came upon Jachaziel son of Zechariah, son of Benaiah, son of Jeiel, son of Mattaniah, a Levite and descendant of Asaph. 15 He said: “Pay attention, all you people of Judah,[w] residents of Jerusalem, and King Jehoshaphat! This is what the Lord says to you: ‘Don’t be afraid and don’t panic[x] because of this huge army! For the battle is not yours, but God’s. 16 Tomorrow march down against them as[y] they come up the Ascent of Ziz. You will find them at the end of the ravine in front of the wilderness of Jeruel. 17 You will not fight in this battle. Take your positions, stand, and watch the Lord deliver you,[z] O Judah and Jerusalem. Don’t be afraid and don’t panic![aa] Tomorrow march out toward them; the Lord is with you!’”
18 Jehoshaphat bowed down with his face toward the ground, and all the people of Judah[ab] and the residents of Jerusalem fell down before the Lord and worshiped him.[ac] 19 Then some Levites, from the Kohathites and Korahites, got up and loudly praised the Lord God of Israel.[ad]
20 Early the next morning they marched out to the wilderness of Tekoa. When they were ready to march, Jehoshaphat stood up and said: “Listen to me, you people of Judah[ae] and residents of Jerusalem! Trust in the Lord your God and you will be safe![af] Trust in the message of his prophets and you will win.” 21 He met[ag] with the people and appointed musicians to play before the Lord and praise his majestic splendor. As they marched ahead of the warriors they said: “Give thanks to the Lord, for his loyal love endures.”[ah]
22 When they began to shout and praise, the Lord suddenly attacked[ai] the Ammonites, Moabites, and men from Mount Seir[aj] who were invading Judah, and they were defeated. 23 The Ammonites and Moabites attacked the men from Mount Seir[ak] and annihilated them.[al] When they had finished off the men[am] of Seir, they attacked and destroyed one another.[an] 24 When the men of Judah[ao] arrived at the observation post overlooking the wilderness and looked at[ap] the huge army, they saw dead bodies on the ground; there were no survivors. 25 Jehoshaphat and his men[aq] went to gather the plunder; they found a huge amount of supplies, clothing,[ar] and valuable items. They carried away everything they could.[as] There was so much plunder, it took them three days to haul it off.[at]
26 On the fourth day they assembled in the Valley of Berachah, where[au] they praised the Lord. So that place is called the Valley of Berachah[av] to this very day. 27 Then all the men of Judah and Jerusalem returned joyfully to Jerusalem with Jehoshaphat leading them; the Lord had given them reason to rejoice over their enemies. 28 They entered Jerusalem to the sound of stringed instruments and trumpets and proceeded to the temple of the Lord. 29 All the kingdoms of the surrounding lands were afraid of God[aw] when they heard how the Lord had fought against Israel’s enemies. 30 Jehoshaphat’s kingdom enjoyed peace; his God made him secure on every side.[ax]
Jehoshaphat’s Reign Ends
31 Jehoshaphat reigned over Judah. He was thirty-five years old when he became king and he reigned for twenty-five years in Jerusalem. His mother[ay] was Azubah, the daughter of Shilhi. 32 He followed in his father Asa’s footsteps and was careful to do what the Lord approved.[az] 33 However, the high places were not eliminated; the people were still not devoted to the God of their ancestors.[ba]
34 The rest of the events of Jehoshaphat’s reign, from start to finish, are recorded in the Annals of Jehu son of Hanani, which are included in the Scroll of the Kings of Israel.[bb]
35 Later King Jehoshaphat of Judah made an alliance with King Ahaziah of Israel, who[bc] did evil. 36 They agreed[bd] to make large seagoing merchant ships;[be] they built the ships in Ezion Geber. 37 Eliezer son of Dodavahu from Mareshah prophesied against Jehoshaphat, “Because[bf] you made an alliance with Ahaziah, the Lord will shatter what you have made.” The ships were wrecked and unable to go to sea.[bg]
- 2 Chronicles 20:1 tc The Hebrew text has “Ammonites,” but they are mentioned just before this. Most translations, following some mss of the LXX, read “Meunites” (see 2 Chr 26:7; so NASB, NIV, NRSV).
- 2 Chronicles 20:2 tn Heb “they”; the implied referent (messengers) has been specified in the translation for clarity.
- 2 Chronicles 20:2 tn Heb “the Sea”; in context (“from the direction of Edom”) this must refer to the Dead Sea, which has been specified in the translation for clarity (cf. NEB, NLT).
- 2 Chronicles 20:2 tc Most Hebrew mss, the LXX, and Vulgate read “from Aram” (i.e., Syria), but this should be emended to “Edom,” which is the reading of one Hebrew ms and the Old Latin.
- 2 Chronicles 20:3 tn Heb “and he set his face to seek the Lord.”
- 2 Chronicles 20:4 tn The words “the people of” are supplied in the translation for clarity. The Hebrew text uses the name “Judah” by metonymy for the people of Judah.
- 2 Chronicles 20:4 tn Heb “to seek from the Lord.” The verb here (בָּקַשׁ, baqash) is different from the one translated “seek” in v. 3 (דָּרַשׁ, darash).
- 2 Chronicles 20:4 tn Heb “to seek the Lord.” The verb here (בָּקַשׁ, baqash) is different from the one translated “seek” in v. 3 (דָּרַשׁ, darash).
- 2 Chronicles 20:6 tn Heb “fathers” (also in v. 33).
- 2 Chronicles 20:6 tn Heb “are you not God in heaven?” The rhetorical question expects the answer “yes,” resulting in the positive statement “you are the God who lives in heaven” employed in the translation.
- 2 Chronicles 20:7 tn Heb “did you not drive out . . . ?” This is another rhetorical question which expects a positive response; see the note on the word “heaven” in the previous verse.
- 2 Chronicles 20:7 tn Heb “permanently.”
- 2 Chronicles 20:7 tn Or perhaps “your covenantal partner.” See Isa 41:8.
- 2 Chronicles 20:8 tn Or “sanctuary.”
- 2 Chronicles 20:8 tn Heb “for your name.” The word “name” sometimes refers to one’s reputation or honor (thus the translation here, “to honor you”).
- 2 Chronicles 20:9 tn Heb “sword.”
- 2 Chronicles 20:9 tn Heb “for your name is in this house.” The “name” of the Lord sometimes designates the Lord himself, being indistinguishable from the proper name. In this case the temple is referred to as a “house” where the Lord himself can reside.
- 2 Chronicles 20:9 tn Or “so that you may.”
- 2 Chronicles 20:10 tn Heb “now, look, the sons of Ammon, Moab and Mount Seir.”
- 2 Chronicles 20:10 tn Heb “whom you did not allow Israel to enter when they came from the land of Egypt.”
- 2 Chronicles 20:12 tn Heb “for [or “indeed”] upon you are our eyes.”
- 2 Chronicles 20:13 tn Heb “Judah.” The words “the men of” are supplied in the translation for clarity. The Hebrew text uses the name “Judah” by metonymy for the men of Judah.
- 2 Chronicles 20:15 tn Heb “all Judah.” The words “you people of” are supplied in the translation for clarity. The Hebrew text uses the name “Judah” by metonymy for the people of Judah. Unlike the previous instance in v. 13 where infants, wives, and children are mentioned separately, this reference appears to include them all.
- 2 Chronicles 20:15 tn Or perhaps “don’t get discouraged.”
- 2 Chronicles 20:16 tn Heb “look.”
- 2 Chronicles 20:17 tn Heb “the deliverance of the Lord with you.”
- 2 Chronicles 20:17 tn Or perhaps “don’t get discouraged.”
- 2 Chronicles 20:18 tn Heb “all Judah.” The words “you people of” are supplied in the translation for clarity. See the note on the word “Judah” in v. 15.
- 2 Chronicles 20:18 tn Heb “to worship the Lord.”
- 2 Chronicles 20:19 tn Heb “arose to praise the Lord God of Israel with a very loud voice.”
- 2 Chronicles 20:20 tn Heb “O Judah.” The words “you people of” are supplied in the translation for clarity. See the note on the word “Judah” in v. 15.
- 2 Chronicles 20:20 tn There is a wordplay in the Hebrew text. The Hiphil verb form הַאֲמִינוּ (haʾaminu, “trust”) and the Niphal form תֵאָמֵנוּ (teʾamenu, “you will be safe”) come from the same verbal root (אָמַן, ʾaman).
- 2 Chronicles 20:21 tn Or “consulted.”
- 2 Chronicles 20:21 tn Or “is eternal.”
- 2 Chronicles 20:22 tn Heb “set ambushers against.” This is probably idiomatic here for launching a surprise attack.
- 2 Chronicles 20:22 tn Heb “the sons of Ammon, Moab, and Mount Seir.”
- 2 Chronicles 20:23 tn Heb “the sons of Ammon and Moab stood against the residents of Mount Seir.”
- 2 Chronicles 20:23 tn Heb “to annihilate and to destroy.”
- 2 Chronicles 20:23 tn Heb “residents.”
- 2 Chronicles 20:23 tn Heb “they helped, each one his fellow, for destruction.” The verb עָזַר (ʿazar), traditionally understood as the well-attested verb meaning “to help,” is an odd fit in this context. It is possible that it is from a homonymic root, perhaps meaning to “attack.” This root is attested in Ugaritic in a nominal form meaning “young man, warrior, hero.” For a discussion of the proposed root, see HALOT 811 s.v. II עזר.
- 2 Chronicles 20:24 tn Heb “Judah.” The words “the men of” are supplied in the translation for clarity. The Hebrew text uses the name “Judah” by metonymy for the men of Judah.
- 2 Chronicles 20:24 tn Heb “turned toward.”
- 2 Chronicles 20:25 tn Or “army.”
- 2 Chronicles 20:25 tc The MT reads פְגָרִים (fegarim, “corpses”), but this seems odd among a list of plunder. A few medieval Hebrew mss and the Vulgate read בְגָדִים (vegadim, “clothing”), which fits the context much better.
- 2 Chronicles 20:25 tn Heb “and they snatched away for themselves so that there was no carrying away.”
- 2 Chronicles 20:25 tn Heb “and they were three days looting the plunder for it was great.”
- 2 Chronicles 20:26 tn Heb “for there.”
- 2 Chronicles 20:26 sn The name Berachah, which means “blessing” in Hebrew, is derived from the verbal root “to praise [or “to bless”],” which appears earlier in the verse.
- 2 Chronicles 20:29 tn Heb “and the terror of God [or “a great terror”] was upon all the kingdoms of the lands.” It is uncertain if אֱלֹהִים (ʾelohim) should be understood as a proper name here (“God”), or taken in an idiomatic superlative sense.
- 2 Chronicles 20:30 tn Heb “and his God gave him rest all around.”
- 2 Chronicles 20:31 tn Heb “The name of his mother.”
- 2 Chronicles 20:32 tn Heb “he walked in the way of his father Asa and did not turn from it, doing what is right in the eyes of the Lord.”
- 2 Chronicles 20:33 tn Heb “and still the people did not set their heart[s] on the God of their fathers.”
- 2 Chronicles 20:34 tn Heb “the rest of the events of Jehoshaphat, the former and the latter, look, they are written in the records of Jehu son of Hanani, which are taken up in the scroll of the kings of Israel.”
- 2 Chronicles 20:35 tn Heb “he.” The pronoun has been translated as a relative pronoun for stylistic reasons.
- 2 Chronicles 20:36 tn Heb “he made an alliance with him.”
- 2 Chronicles 20:36 tn Heb “make ships to go to Tarshish.” This probably refers to large ships either made in or capable of traveling to the distant western port of Tarshish; a “Tarshish-ship” was essentially a large seagoing merchant ship.
- 2 Chronicles 20:37 tn Heb “when.”
- 2 Chronicles 20:37 tn Heb “to go to Tarshish.”