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2 Chronicles 18-20 Christian Standard Bible (CSB)

Jehoshaphat’s Alliance with Ahab

18 Now Jehoshaphat had riches and honor in abundance, and he made an alliance with Ahab through marriage.[a] Then after some years, he went down to visit Ahab in Samaria. Ahab sacrificed many sheep, goats, and cattle for him and for the people who were with him. Then he persuaded him to attack Ramoth-gilead, for Israel’s King Ahab asked Judah’s King Jehoshaphat, “Will you go with me to Ramoth-gilead?”

He replied to him, “I am as you are, my people as your people; we will be with you in the battle.” But Jehoshaphat said to the king of Israel, “First, please ask what the Lord’s will is.”

So the king of Israel gathered the prophets, four hundred men, and asked them, “Should we go to Ramoth-gilead for war or should I refrain?”

They replied, “March up, and God will hand it over to the king.”

But Jehoshaphat asked, “Isn’t there a prophet of the Lord here anymore? Let’s ask him.”

The king of Israel said to Jehoshaphat, “There is still one man who can inquire of the Lord, but I hate him because he never prophesies good about me, but only disaster. He is Micaiah son of Imlah.”

“The king shouldn’t say that,” Jehoshaphat replied.

So the king of Israel called an officer and said, “Hurry and get Micaiah son of Imlah!”

Now the king of Israel and King Jehoshaphat of Judah, clothed in royal attire, were each sitting on his own throne. They were sitting on the threshing floor at the entrance to Samaria’s gate, and all the prophets were prophesying in front of them. 10 Then Zedekiah son of Chenaanah made iron horns and said, “This is what the Lord says: ‘You will gore the Arameans with these until they are finished off.’” 11 And all the prophets were prophesying the same, saying, “March up to Ramoth-gilead and succeed, for the Lord will hand it over to the king.”

Micaiah’s Message of Defeat

12 The messenger who went to call Micaiah instructed him, “Look, the words of the prophets are unanimously favorable for the king. So let your words be like theirs, and speak favorably.”

13 But Micaiah said, “As the Lord lives, I will say whatever my God says.”[b]

14 So he went to the king, and the king asked him, “Micaiah, should we go to Ramoth-gilead for war, or should I[c] refrain?”

Micaiah said, “March up and succeed, for they will be handed over to you.”

15 But the king said to him, “How many times must I make you swear not to tell me anything but the truth in the name of the Lord?”

16 So Micaiah said:

I saw all Israel scattered on the hills
like sheep without a shepherd.
And the Lord said,
“They have no master;
let each return home in peace.”

17 So the king of Israel said to Jehoshaphat, “Didn’t I tell you he never prophesies good about me, but only disaster?”

18 Then Micaiah said, “Therefore, hear the word of the Lord. I saw the Lord sitting on his throne, and the whole heavenly army was standing at his right hand and at his left hand. 19 And the Lord said, ‘Who will entice King Ahab of Israel to march up and fall at Ramoth-gilead?’ So one was saying this and another was saying that.

20 “Then a spirit came forward, stood before the Lord, and said, ‘I will entice him.’

“The Lord asked him, ‘How?’

21 “So he said, ‘I will go and become a lying spirit in the mouth of all his prophets.’

“Then he said, ‘You will entice him and also prevail. Go and do that.’

22 “Now, you see, the Lord has put a lying spirit into the mouth of[d] these prophets of yours, and the Lord has pronounced disaster against you.”

23 Then Zedekiah son of Chenaanah came up, hit Micaiah on the cheek, and demanded, “Which way did the spirit from the Lord leave me to speak to you?”

24 Micaiah replied, “You will soon see when you go to hide in an inner chamber on that day.”

25 Then the king of Israel ordered, “Take Micaiah and return him to Amon, the governor of the city, and to Joash, the king’s son, 26 and say, ‘This is what the king says: Put this guy in prison and feed him only a little bread and water[e] until I come back safely.’”

27 But Micaiah said, “If you ever return safely, the Lord has not spoken through me.” Then he said, “Listen, all you people!”

Ahab’s Death

28 Then the king of Israel and Judah’s King Jehoshaphat went up to Ramoth-gilead. 29 But the king of Israel said to Jehoshaphat, “I will disguise myself and go into battle, but you wear your royal attire.” So the king of Israel disguised himself, and they went into battle.

30 Now the king of Aram had ordered his chariot commanders, “Do not fight with anyone at all[f] except the king of Israel.”

31 When the chariot commanders saw Jehoshaphat, they shouted, “He must be the king of Israel!” So they turned to attack him, but Jehoshaphat cried out and the Lord helped him. God drew them away from him. 32 When the chariot commanders saw that he was not the king of Israel, they turned back from pursuing him.

33 But a man drew his bow without taking special aim and struck the king of Israel through the joints of his armor. So he said to the charioteer, “Turn around and take me out of the battle,[g] for I am badly wounded!” 34 The battle raged throughout that day, and the king of Israel propped himself up in his chariot facing the Arameans until evening. Then he died at sunset.

Jehu’s Rebuke of Jehoshaphat

19 King Jehoshaphat of Judah returned to his home in Jerusalem in peace. Then Jehu son of the seer Hanani went out to confront him[h] and said to King Jehoshaphat, “Do you help the wicked and love those who hate the Lord? Because of this, the Lord’s wrath is on you. However, some good is found in you, for you have eradicated the Asherah poles from the land and have decided to seek God.”

Jehoshaphat’s Reforms

Jehoshaphat lived in Jerusalem, and once again he went out among the people from Beer-sheba to the hill country of Ephraim and brought them back to the Lord, the God of their ancestors. He appointed judges in all the fortified cities of the land of Judah, city by city. Then he said to the judges, “Consider what you are doing, for you do not judge for a mere mortal, but for the Lord, who is with you in the matter of judgment. And now, may the terror of the Lord be on you. Watch what you do, for there is no injustice or partiality or taking bribes with the Lord our God.”

Jehoshaphat also appointed in Jerusalem some of the Levites and priests and some of the Israelite family heads for deciding the Lord’s will and for settling disputes of the residents of[i] Jerusalem. He commanded them, saying, “In the fear of the Lord, with integrity, and wholeheartedly, you are to do the following: 10 For every dispute that comes to you from your brothers who dwell in their cities—whether it regards differences of bloodguilt, law, commandment, statutes, or judgments—you are to warn them, so they will not incur guilt before the Lord and wrath will not come on you and your brothers. Do this, and you will not incur guilt.

11 “Note that Amariah, the chief priest, is over you in all matters related to the Lord, and Zebadiah son of Ishmael, the ruler of the house of Judah, in all matters related to the king, and the Levites are officers in your presence. Be strong; may the Lord be with those who do what is good.”

War against Eastern Enemies

20 After this, the Moabites and Ammonites, together with some of the Meunites,[j] came to fight against Jehoshaphat. People came and told Jehoshaphat, “A vast number from beyond the Dead Sea and from Edom[k] has come to fight against you; they are already in Hazazon-tamar” (that is, En-gedi). Jehoshaphat was afraid, and he resolved to seek the Lord. Then he proclaimed a fast for all Judah, who gathered to seek the Lord. They even came from all the cities of Judah to seek him.

Jehoshaphat’s Prayer

Then Jehoshaphat stood in the assembly of Judah and Jerusalem in the Lord’s temple before the new courtyard. He said:

Lord, God of our ancestors, are you not the God who is in heaven, and do you not rule over all the kingdoms of the nations? Power and might are in your hand, and no one can stand against you. Are you not our God who drove out the inhabitants of this land before your people Israel and who gave it forever to the descendants of Abraham your friend? They have lived in the land and have built you a sanctuary in it for your name and have said, “If disaster comes on us—sword or judgment, pestilence or famine—we will stand before this temple and before you, for your name is in this temple. We will cry out to you because of our distress, and you will hear and deliver.”

10 Now here are the Ammonites, Moabites, and the inhabitants of Mount Seir. You did not let Israel invade them when Israel came out of the land of Egypt, but Israel turned away from them and did not destroy them. 11 Look how they repay us by coming to drive us out of your possession that you gave us as an inheritance. 12 Our God, will you not judge them? For we are powerless before this vast number that comes to fight against us. We do not know what to do, but we look to you.[l]

God’s Answer

13 All Judah was standing before the Lord with their dependents, their wives, and their children. 14 In the middle of the congregation, the Spirit of the Lord came on Jahaziel (son of Zechariah, son of Benaiah, son of Jeiel, son of Mattaniah, a Levite from Asaph’s descendants), 15 and he said, “Listen carefully, all Judah and you inhabitants of Jerusalem, and King Jehoshaphat. This is what the Lord says: ‘Do not be afraid or discouraged because of this vast number, for the battle is not yours, but God’s. 16 Tomorrow, go down against them. You will see them coming up the Ascent of Ziz, and you will find them at the end of the valley facing the Wilderness of Jeruel. 17 You do not have to fight this battle. Position yourselves, stand still, and see the salvation of the Lord. He is with you, Judah and Jerusalem. Do not be afraid or discouraged. Tomorrow, go out to face them, for the Lord is with you.’”

18 Then Jehoshaphat knelt low with his face to the ground, and all Judah and the inhabitants of Jerusalem fell down before the Lord to worship him. 19 Then the Levites from the sons of the Kohathites and the Korahites stood up to praise the Lord God of Israel shouting loudly.

Victory and Plunder

20 In the morning they got up early and went out to the wilderness of Tekoa. As they were about to go out, Jehoshaphat stood and said, “Hear me, Judah and you inhabitants of Jerusalem. Believe in the Lord your God, and you will be established; believe in his prophets, and you will succeed.” 21 Then he consulted with the people and appointed some to sing for the Lord and some to praise the splendor of his holiness. When they went out in front of the armed forces, they kept singing:[m]

Give thanks to the Lord,
for his faithful love endures forever.

22 The moment they began their shouts and praises, the Lord set an ambush against the Ammonites, Moabites, and the inhabitants of Mount Seir who came to fight against Judah, and they were defeated. 23 The Ammonites and Moabites turned against the inhabitants of Mount Seir and completely annihilated them. When they had finished with the inhabitants of Seir, they helped destroy each other.

24 When Judah came to a place overlooking the wilderness, they looked for the large army, but there were only corpses lying on the ground; nobody had escaped. 25 Then Jehoshaphat and his people went to gather the plunder. They found among them[n] an abundance of goods on the bodies[o] and valuable items. So they stripped them until nobody could carry any more. They were gathering the plunder for three days because there was so much. 26 They assembled in the Valley of Beracah[p] on the fourth day, for there they blessed the Lord. Therefore, that place is still called the Valley of Beracah today.

27 Then all the men of Judah and Jerusalem turned back with Jehoshaphat their leader, returning joyfully to Jerusalem, for the Lord enabled them to rejoice over their enemies. 28 So they came into Jerusalem to the Lord’s temple with harps, lyres, and trumpets.

29 The terror of God was on all the kingdoms of the lands when they heard that the Lord had fought against the enemies of Israel. 30 Then Jehoshaphat’s kingdom was quiet, for his God gave him rest on every side.

Summary of Jehoshaphat’s Reign

31 Jehoshaphat became king over Judah. He was thirty-five years old when he became king, and he reigned twenty-five years in Jerusalem. His mother’s name was Azubah daughter of Shilhi. 32 He walked in the ways of Asa his father; he did not turn away from it but did what was right in the Lord’s sight. 33 However, the high places were not taken away; the people had not yet set their hearts on the God of their ancestors.

34 The rest of the events of Jehoshaphat’s reign from beginning to end are written in the Events of Jehu son of Hanani, which is recorded in the Book of Israel’s Kings.

Jehoshaphat’s Fleet of Ships

35 After this, Judah’s King Jehoshaphat made an alliance with Israel’s King Ahaziah, who was guilty of wrongdoing. 36 Jehoshaphat formed an alliance with him to make ships to go to Tarshish, and they made the ships in Ezion-geber. 37 Then Eliezer son of Dodavahu of Mareshah prophesied against Jehoshaphat, saying, “Because you formed an alliance with Ahaziah, the Lord has broken up what you have made.” So the ships were wrecked and were not able to go to Tarshish.

Footnotes:

  1. 18:1 Lit made himself a son-in-law to Ahab; 1Kg 3:1; Ezr 9:14
  2. 18:13 LXX, Vg add to me; 1Kg 22:14
  3. 18:14 LXX reads we; 1Kg 22:15
  4. 18:22 Some Hb mss, LXX, Syr, Vg add all; 1Kg 22:23
  5. 18:26 Lit him on bread of oppression and water of oppression
  6. 18:30 Lit with small or with great
  7. 18:33 LXX, Vg; MT reads camp
  8. 19:2 Lit to his face
  9. 19:8 LXX, Vg; MT reads disputes and they returned to
  10. 20:1 LXX; MT reads Ammonites; 2Ch 26:7
  11. 20:2 Some Hb mss, Old Lat; other Hb mss read Aram
  12. 20:12 Lit but on you our eyes
  13. 20:21 Lit saying
  14. 20:25 LXX reads found cattle
  15. 20:25 Some Hb mss, Old Lat, Vg read goods, garments
  16. 20:26 = Blessing
Christian Standard Bible (CSB)

The Christian Standard Bible. Copyright © 2017 by Holman Bible Publishers. Used by permission. Christian Standard Bible®, and CSB® are federally registered trademarks of Holman Bible Publishers, all rights reserved.

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