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Jehoshaphat Faces War

20 Later some people came to start a war with Jehoshaphat. They were the Moabites, Ammonites and some Meunites. Some men came and told Jehoshaphat, “A large army is coming against you from Edom. They are coming from the other side of the Dead Sea. They are already in Hazazon Tamar!” (Hazazon Tamar is also called En Gedi.) Jehoshaphat was afraid. So he decided to ask the Lord what to do. He announced that no one in Judah should eat during this special time of prayer to God. The people of Judah came together to ask the Lord for help. They came from every town in Judah to ask for his help.

The people of Judah and Jerusalem met in front of the new courtyard in the Temple of the Lord. Then Jehoshaphat stood up before them. He said, “Lord, you are the God of our ancestors. You are the God in heaven. You rule over all the kingdoms of the nations. You have power and strength. No one can stand against you. Our God, you forced out the people who lived in this land. You forced them out as your people Israel moved in. And you gave this land forever to the descendants of your friend Abraham. They lived in this land and built a Temple for worshiping you. They said, ‘Trouble may come to us. It may be war, punishment, sickness or a time of hunger. If it comes, we will stand before you and before this Temple where you have chosen to be worshiped. We will cry out to you when we are in trouble. Then you will hear and save us.’

10 “But now here are men from Ammon, Moab and Edom. You wouldn’t let the Israelites enter their lands when the Israelites came from Egypt. So the Israelites turned away and did not destroy them. 11 But see how they repay us for not destroying them! They have come to force us out of your land. And you gave us this land as our own. 12 Our God, punish those people. We have no power against this large army that is attacking us. We don’t know what to do. So we look to you for help.”

13 All the men of Judah stood before the Lord. Their babies, wives and children were with them. 14 Then the Spirit of the Lord entered Jahaziel. (Jahaziel was Zechariah’s son. Zechariah was Benaiah’s son. Benaiah was Jeiel’s son, and Jeiel was Mattaniah’s son.) Jahaziel was a Levite and a descendant of Asaph. He stood up in the meeting. 15 And he said: “Listen to me, King Jehoshaphat! Listen, all you people living in Judah and Jerusalem! The Lord says this to you: ‘Don’t be afraid or discouraged because of this large army. The battle is not your battle. It is God’s battle. 16 Tomorrow go down there and fight those people. They will come up through the Pass of Ziz. You will find them at the end of the ravine that leads to the Desert of Jeruel. 17 You won’t need to fight in this battle. Just stand strong in your places. You will see the Lord save you. Judah and Jerusalem, don’t be afraid. Don’t be discouraged. The Lord is with you. So go out against those people tomorrow!’”

18 Jehoshaphat bowed facedown on the ground. All the people of Judah and Jerusalem bowed down before the Lord. And they worshiped him. 19 Then some Levites from the Kohathite and Korahite people stood up and praised the Lord. They praised the God of Israel with very loud voices.

20 Jehoshaphat’s army went out into the Desert of Tekoa early in the morning. As they were starting out, Jehoshaphat stood and said, “Listen to me, people of Judah and Jerusalem! Have faith in the Lord your God. Then you will stand strong. Have faith in the Lord’s prophets. Then you will succeed.” 21 Jehoshaphat listened to the people’s advice. Then he chose men to be singers to the Lord. They were to praise the Lord because he is holy and wonderful. They marched in front of the army. They said,

“Thank the Lord.
    His love continues forever.”

22 As they began to sing and praise God, the Lord set ambushes. He set them for the people of Ammon, Moab and Edom. They were the ones who came to attack Judah. And they were defeated. 23 The men of Ammon and Moab started to attack the men from Edom. They killed and destroyed them. After they had killed the men from Edom, they killed each other.

24 The men from Judah came to a place where they could see the desert. They looked at the enemy’s large army. But they only saw dead bodies lying on the ground. No one had escaped. 25 Jehoshaphat and his army came to take valuable things from the dead bodies. They found many supplies, much clothing, and other valuable things. There was more than they could carry away. There was so much it took three days to gather it all. 26 On the fourth day Jehoshaphat and his army met in the Valley of Beracah. There they praised the Lord. That is why that place has been called the Valley of Beracah[a] to this day.

27 Then Jehoshaphat led all the men from Judah and Jerusalem back to Jerusalem. The Lord had made them happy because their enemies were defeated. 28 They entered Jerusalem with lyres, harps and trumpets and went to the Temple of the Lord.

29 All the kingdoms of the lands around them heard how the Lord had fought Israel’s enemies. So they feared the Lord. 30 So Jehoshaphat’s kingdom was not at war. His God gave him peace from all the countries around him.

Jehoshaphat’s Rule Ends

31 Jehoshaphat ruled over the country of Judah. He was 35 years old when he began to rule. And he ruled 25 years in Jerusalem. His mother’s name was Azubah daughter of Shilhi. 32 Jehoshaphat lived as his father Asa had lived. He followed what Asa had done. He did what the Lord said was right. 33 But the places where false gods were worshiped were not removed. And the people did not strongly desire to follow the God their ancestors had followed.

34 The other things Jehoshaphat did as king, from the beginning to the end, are written down. They are in the writings of Jehu son of Hanani. These writings are in the book of the kings of Israel.

35 Later, Jehoshaphat king of Judah made an agreement with Ahaziah king of Israel. It was wrong for him to do this. 36 Jehoshaphat agreed with Ahaziah to build trading ships. They built them in the town of Ezion Geber. 37 Then Eliezer son of Dodavahu spoke against Jehoshaphat. Eliezer was from the town of Mareshah. He said, “Jehoshaphat, because you joined with Ahaziah, the Lord will destroy what you have made.” The ships were wrecked. So Jehoshaphat and Ahaziah could not send them out to trade.

Footnotes

  1. 20:26 Beracah This name means “blessing” or “praise.”

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