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20 After Jehoshaphat had solidified his throne by fortifying the nation and appointing regional judges, the Moabites, Ammonites, and some Meunites[a] decided to attack him. Jehoshaphat heard about their plans.

Messengers: A huge army is quickly approaching Jerusalem. They are coming from Edom[b] beyond the Dead Sea, but they have already reached Hazazon-tamar (that is Engedi on the shore of the Dead Sea, about two days southwest of Jerusalem).

Jehoshaphat was afraid, so he sought the Eternal and required all Judah’s citizens to fast. 4-5 Everyone gathered together in Jerusalem from cities all over Judah to seek help from the Eternal. Jehoshaphat joined the assembly in the newly restored court at the Eternal’s house and prayed before the people.

Jehoshaphat: O Eternal One, the True God of our ancestors, You are the True God in the heavens and the ruler over all the kingdoms and nations! You are so strong that none can survive when they oppose You. O our True God, You demonstrated that power when You exiled inhabitants of this land for Your people, Israel, and gave it to Your friend Abraham’s children forever. Please demonstrate it again, now, as we are attacked. We have lived here and built a sacred house honoring Your reputation. Now we will remind You of Solomon’s words: “If we encounter disaster or disease from wars, judgment, pestilence, or famine, then we will come to this house where You are and where your reputation is honored and beg for Your help. You will hear our cries and rescue us.”

10 Now is the time to ask for Your help. Men from Ammon, Moab, and Mount Seir (the region in Edom which You stopped Israel from destroying when they left Egypt) 11 are rewarding our ancestors’ mercy by coming to steal our inheritance, which is Your land and which You gave to us. 12 Our True God, won’t You judge them? We can do nothing to stop this huge army from attacking us; we don’t know what to do, so we are asking for Your help.

13 All Judah (men and women, children, and infants) were waiting in front of the Eternal’s temple when Jehoshaphat asked this. 14 There, the Spirit of the Eternal descended on a Levitical singer, Jahaziel (son of Zechariah, son of Benaiah, son of Jeiel, son of Mattaniah, a Levite son of Asaph).

Jahaziel: 15 Listen to me, all Judah, citizens of Jerusalem, and King Jehoshaphat. The Eternal has responded to your pleading: “Do not fear or worry about this army. The battle is not yours to fight; it is the True God’s. 16 Tomorrow, they will travel through the ascent of Ziz. Meet them at the end of valley before the wilderness of Jeruel. There, I will be watching. 17 Stand and watch, but do not fight the battle. There, you will watch the Eternal save you, Judah and Jerusalem.”

Do not fear or worry. Tomorrow, face the army and trust that the Eternal is with you.

18 Jehoshaphat bowed his head low, and all the assembly fell prostrate before the Eternal and worshiped Him with reverence. They trusted the Lord completely. 19 Meanwhile, the Levite families of the Kohathites and Korahites stood up to praise the Eternal One, True God of Israel, with very loud voices.

20 Early the next morning they went out to the wilderness of Tekoa. There Jehoshaphat’s message to Judah was not about courage in battle.

Jehoshaphat: Listen to me, Judah and inhabitants of Jerusalem. Trust in the Eternal One, your True God, not in your own abilities, and you will be supported. Put your trust in His words that you heard through the prophets, and we will succeed.

21 Having addressed his people, Jehoshaphat asked those who sang to the Eternal to lead the army and praise His magnificence and holiness.

Chorus (singing): Give thanks to the Eternal because His loyal love is forever!

22 As they sang and praised, the Eternal was ready to cause great confusion in battle for the men from Ammon, Moab, and Mount Seir (in Edom) who had come to attack Judah. They were utterly defeated, turning on one another. 23 The Ammonites and Moabites attacked the men from Mount Seir, destroying them completely. Then, the Ammonites and Moabites turned on each other. 24 When all was quiet, Judah looked out of the watchtower in the wilderness and saw a great army of corpses fallen on the battlefield. No one had escaped. 25 Then Jehoshaphat and his people took various goods, clothing, and valuables off the dead bodies and seized the abundant livestock. There was so much that it took three days to recover it all. 26 On the fourth day, they assembled in the valley of Beracah, where they had blessed the Eternal and where He had blessed them with a victory, and named the place, “The Valley of Beracah,” as it is still known today.

27 Every man of Judah and citizen of Jerusalem followed Jehoshaphat back to Jerusalem, joyous because the Eternal defeated their enemies. 28 They paraded into Jerusalem with harps, lyres, and trumpets and up to the Eternal’s house.

29-30 For the rest of his reign, Jehoshaphat’s kingdom was peaceful because the Eternal had fought the Southern Kingdom’s enemies, making all the surrounding kingdoms fear the True God.

Although Jehoshaphat is fully committed to God, his reign is not without trials. He fights many battles against his neighbors and is successful because of his reliance on God. God uses these battles to give him greater power and more territory in the region.

35 But Jehoshaphat, king of Judah, acted wickedly, making a trade alliance with Ahaziah, king of Israel. 36 They decided to build ships to go to Tarshish, constructing them in Ezion-geber. 37 Eliezer (son of Dodavahu of Mareshah) interpreted Jehoshaphat’s actions and predicted the future.

Eliezer: Because you made an alliance with Ahaziah, the Eternal will destroy your works.

Jehoshaphat found that the ships were broken and could not go to Tarshish as they had intended.[c]

31 This is an account of Jehoshaphat’s reign over Judah. He was 35 years old when he became king, and he ruled in Jerusalem 25 years. His mother was Azubah (daughter of Shilhi). 32 Jehoshaphat did as his father Asa had done, obeying the Eternal. 33 In spite of his intentions, the high places remained and the people had not yet looked to the True God of their ancestors. 34 The other actions of Jehoshaphat, from his birth to his death, are recorded in the annals of Jehu (son of Hanani) in the book of the kings of Israel.


  1. 20:1 The Hebrew text reads, “some of the Ammonites.” The Greek reads, “some of the Meunites.”
  2. 20:2 Hebrew reads, “from Aram,” which is north of Jerusalem.
  3. 20:37 Verses 35–37 have been placed before verse 31 to retain sequence.

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