2 Chronicles 18-20 Contemporary English Version (CEV)
Micaiah Warns King Ahab of Israel
18 Jehoshaphat was now very rich and famous. He signed a treaty with King Ahab of Israel by arranging the marriage of his son and Ahab’s daughter.
2 One day, Jehoshaphat went to visit Ahab in his capital city of Samaria. Ahab slaughtered sheep and cattle and prepared a big feast to honor Jehoshaphat and the officials with him. Ahab talked about attacking the city of Ramoth in Gilead,[a] 3 and finally asked, “Jehoshaphat, would you go with me to attack Ramoth?”
“Yes,” Jehoshaphat answered. “My army is at your command. 4 But first let’s ask the Lord what to do.”
5 Ahab sent for four hundred prophets and asked, “Should I attack the city of Ramoth?”
“Yes!” the prophets answered. “God will help you capture the city.”
6 But Jehoshaphat said, “Just to make sure, is there another of the Lord’s prophets we can ask?”
7 “We could ask Micaiah son of Imlah,” Ahab said. “But I hate Micaiah. He always has bad news for me.”
“Don’t say that!” Jehoshaphat replied. 8 Then Ahab sent someone to bring Micaiah as soon as possible.
9 All this time, Ahab and Jehoshaphat were dressed in their royal robes and were seated on their thrones at the threshing place near the gate of Samaria, listening to the prophets tell them what the Lord had said.
10 Zedekiah son of Chenaanah was one of the prophets. He had made some horns out of iron and shouted, “Ahab, the Lord says you will attack the Syrians like a bull with iron horns and wipe them out!”
11 All the prophets agreed that Ahab should attack the Syrians at Ramoth and promised that the Lord would help him defeat them.
12 Meanwhile, the messenger who went to get Micaiah whispered, “Micaiah, all the prophets have good news for Ahab. Now go and say the same thing.”
13 “I’ll say whatever the living Lord my God tells me to say,” Micaiah replied.
14 Then Micaiah went up to Ahab, who asked, “Micaiah, should we attack Ramoth?”
“Yes!” Micaiah answered. “The Lord will help you capture the city.”
15 Ahab shouted, “Micaiah, I’ve told you over and over to tell me the truth! What does the Lord really say?”
16 Micaiah answered, “In a vision[b] I saw Israelite soldiers wandering around, lost in the hills like sheep without a shepherd. The Lord said, ‘These troops have no leader. They should go home and not fight.’”
17 Ahab turned to Jehoshaphat and said, “I told you he would bring me bad news!”
18 Micaiah replied:
I then saw the Lord seated on his throne with every creature in heaven gathered around him. 19 The Lord asked, “Who can trick Ahab and make him go to Ramoth where he will be killed?”
They talked about it for a while, 20 then finally a spirit came forward and said to the Lord, “I can trick Ahab.”
“How?” the Lord asked.
21 “I’ll make Ahab’s prophets lie to him.”
“Good!” the Lord replied. “Now go and do it. You will be successful.”
22 Ahab, this is exactly what has happened. The Lord made all your prophets lie to you, and he knows you will soon be destroyed.
23 Zedekiah walked over and slapped Micaiah on the face. Then he asked, “Do you really think the Lord would speak to you and not to me?”
24 Micaiah answered, “You’ll find out on the day you have to hide in the back room of some house.”
25 Ahab shouted, “Arrest Micaiah! Take him to Prince Joash and Governor Amon of Samaria. 26 Tell them to put him in prison and to give him nothing but bread and water until I come back safely.”
27 Micaiah said, “If you do come back, I was wrong about what the Lord wanted me to say.” Then he told the crowd, “Don’t forget what I said!”
Ahab Dies at Ramoth
28 Ahab and Jehoshaphat led their armies to Ramoth in Gilead. 29 Before they went into battle, Ahab said, “Jehoshaphat, I’ll disguise myself, but you wear your royal robe.” Ahab disguised himself and went into battle.
30 The king of Syria had ordered his chariot commanders to attack only Ahab. 31 So when they saw Jehoshaphat in his robe, they thought he was Ahab and started to attack him. But Jehoshaphat prayed, and the Lord made the Syrian soldiers stop. 32 And when they realized he wasn’t Ahab, they left him alone.
33 However, during the fighting a soldier shot an arrow without even aiming, and it hit Ahab between two pieces of his armor. He shouted to his chariot driver, “I’ve been hit! Get me out of here!”
34 The fighting lasted all day, with Ahab propped up in his chariot so he could see the Syrian troops. He stayed there until evening, and by sundown he was dead.
19 Jehoshaphat returned safely to his palace in Jerusalem. 2 But the prophet Jehu son of Hanani met him and said:
By helping that wicked Ahab, you have made friends with someone who hates the Lord. Now the Lord God is angry at you! 3 But not everything about you is bad. You destroyed the sacred poles[c] used in worshiping the goddess Asherah—that shows you have tried to obey the Lord.
Jehoshaphat Appoints Judges To Settle Cases
4 Jehoshaphat lived in Jerusalem, but he often traveled through his kingdom, from Beersheba in the south to the edge of the hill country of Ephraim in the north. He talked with the people and convinced them to turn back to the Lord God and worship him, just as their ancestors had done.
5 He assigned judges to each of the fortified cities in Judah 6 and told them:
Be careful when you make your decisions in court, because these are the Lord’s people, and he will know what you decide. 7 So do your work in honor of him and know that he won’t allow you to be unfair to anyone or to take bribes.
8 Jehoshaphat also chose some Levites, some priests, and some of the family leaders, and he appointed them to serve as judges in Jerusalem. 9 He told them:
Faithfully serve the Lord! 10 The people of Judah will bring you legal cases that involve every type of crime, including murder. You must settle these cases and warn the people to stop sinning against the Lord, so that he won’t get angry and punish Judah. Remember, if you follow these instructions, you won’t be held responsible for anything that happens.
11 Amariah the high priest will have the final say in any religious case. And Zebadiah, the leader[d] of the Judah tribe, will have the final say in all other cases. The rest of the Levites will serve as your assistants. Be brave, and I pray that the Lord will help you do right.
Moab and Ammon Are Defeated
20 Some time later, the armies of Moab and Ammon, together with the Meunites,[e] went to war against Jehoshaphat. 2 Messengers told Jehoshaphat, “A large army from Edom[f] east of the Dead Sea has invaded our country. They have already reached En-Gedi.”[g]
3 Jehoshaphat was afraid, so he asked the Lord what to do. He then told the people of Judah to go without eating to show their sorrow. 4 They immediately left for Jerusalem to ask for the Lord’s help.
5 After everyone from Judah and Jerusalem had come together at the Lord’s temple, Jehoshaphat stood in front of the new courtyard 6 and prayed:
You, Lord, are the God our ancestors worshiped, and from heaven you rule every nation in the world. You are so powerful that no one can defeat you. 7 Our God, you forced out the nations who lived in this land before your people Israel came here, and you gave it to the descendants of your friend Abraham forever. 8 Our ancestors lived in this land and built a temple to honor you. 9 They believed that whenever this land is struck by war or disease or famine, your people can pray to you at the temple, and you will hear their prayer and save them.
10 You can see that the armies of Ammon, Moab, and Edom are attacking us! Those are the nations you would not let our ancestors invade on their way from Egypt, so these nations were not destroyed. 11 Now they are coming to take back the land you gave us. 12 Aren’t you going to punish them? We won’t stand a chance when this army attacks. We don’t know what to do—we are begging for your help.
13 While every man, woman, and child of Judah was standing there at the temple, 14 the Lord’s Spirit suddenly spoke to Jahaziel, a Levite from the Asaph clan.[h] 15 Then Jahaziel said:
Your Majesty and everyone from Judah and Jerusalem, the Lord says that you don’t need to be afraid or let this powerful army discourage you. God will fight on your side! 16 So here’s what you must do. Tomorrow the enemy armies will march through the desert around the town of Jeruel. March down and meet them at the town of Ziz as they come up the valley. 17 You won’t even have to fight. Just take your positions and watch the Lord rescue you from your enemy. Don’t be afraid. Just do as you’re told. And as you march out tomorrow, the Lord will be there with you.
18 Jehoshaphat bowed low to the ground and everyone worshiped the Lord. 19 Then some Levites from the Kohath and Korah clans stood up and shouted praises to the Lord God of Israel.
20 Early the next morning, as everyone got ready to leave for the desert near Tekoa, Jehoshaphat stood up and said, “Listen my friends, if we trust the Lord God and believe what these prophets have told us, the Lord will help us, and we will be successful.” 21 Then he explained his plan and appointed men to march in front of the army and praise the Lord for his holy power by singing:[i]
“Praise the Lord!
22 As soon as they began singing, the Lord confused the enemy camp, 23 so that the Ammonite and Moabite troops attacked and completely destroyed those from Edom. Then they turned against each other and fought until the entire camp was wiped out!
24 When Judah’s army reached the tower that overlooked the desert, they saw that every soldier in the enemy’s army was lying dead on the ground. 25 So Jehoshaphat and his troops went into the camp to carry away everything of value. They found a large herd of livestock,[j] a lot of equipment, clothes,[k] and other valuable things. It took them three days to carry it all away, and there was still some left over.
26 Then on the fourth day, everyone came together in Beracah Valley and sang praises to the Lord. That’s why that place was called Praise Valley.[l]
27-28 Jehoshaphat led the crowd back to Jerusalem. And as they marched, they played harps and blew trumpets. They were very happy because the Lord had given them victory over their enemies, so when they reached the city, they went straight to the temple.
29 When the other nations heard how the Lord had fought against Judah’s enemies, they were too afraid 30 to invade Judah. The Lord let Jehoshaphat’s kingdom be at peace.
31 Jehoshaphat was thirty-five years old when he became king of Judah, and he ruled from Jerusalem for twenty-five years. His mother was Azubah daughter of Shilhi. 32 Jehoshaphat obeyed the Lord, just as his father Asa had done, 33 but he did not destroy the local shrines.[m] So the people still worshiped foreign gods, instead of faithfully serving the God their ancestors had worshiped.
34 Everything else Jehoshaphat did while he was king is written in the records of Jehu son of Hanani that are included in The History of the Kings of Israel.
35 While Jehoshaphat was king, he signed a peace treaty with Ahaziah the wicked king of Israel. 36 They agreed to build several seagoing ships[n] at Ezion-Geber. 37 But the prophet Eliezer[o] warned Jehoshaphat, “The Lord will destroy these ships because you have supported Ahaziah.” The ships were wrecked and never sailed.
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