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19 As King Jehoshaphat of Judah returned home, uninjured, the prophet Jehu (son of Hanani) went out to meet him.

“Should you be helping the wicked, and loving those who hate the Lord?” he asked him. “Because of what you have done, God’s wrath is upon you. But there are some good things about you in that you got rid of the shameful idols throughout the land, and you have tried to be faithful to God.”

So Jehoshaphat made no more trips to Israel after that but remained quietly at Jerusalem. Later he went out again among the people, traveling from Beersheba to the hill country of Ephraim to encourage them to worship the God of their ancestors. He appointed judges throughout the nation in all the larger cities, and instructed them:

“Watch your step—I have not appointed you—God has; and he will stand beside you and help you give justice in each case that comes before you. Be very much afraid to give any other decision than what God tells you to. For there must be no injustice among God’s judges, no partiality, no taking of bribes.”

Jehoshaphat set up courts in Jerusalem, too, with the Levites and priests and clan leaders and judges. These were his instructions to them: “You are to act always in the fear of God, with honest hearts. 10 Whenever a case is referred to you by the judges out in the provinces, whether murder cases or other violations of the laws and ordinances of God, you are to clarify the evidence for them and help them to decide justly, lest the wrath of God come down upon you and them; if you do this, you will discharge your responsibility.”

11 Then he appointed Amariah the High Priest to be the court of final appeal in cases involving violation of sacred affairs; and Zebadiah (son of Ishmael), a ruler in Judah, as the court of final appeal in all civil cases; with the Levites as their assistants. “Be fearless in your stand for truth and honesty. And may God use you to defend the innocent,” was his final word to them.

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