2 Chronicles 19-23New International Version - UK (NIVUK)
19 When Jehoshaphat king of Judah returned safely to his palace in Jerusalem, 2 Jehu the seer, the son of Hanani, went out to meet him and said to the king, ‘Should you help the wicked and love[a] those who hate the Lord? Because of this, the wrath of the Lord is on you. 3 There is, however, some good in you, for you have rid the land of the Asherah poles and have set your heart on seeking God.’
Jehoshaphat appoints judges
4 Jehoshaphat lived in Jerusalem, and he went out again among the people from Beersheba to the hill country of Ephraim and turned them back to the Lord, the God of their ancestors. 5 He appointed judges in the land, in each of the fortified cities of Judah. 6 He told them, ‘Consider carefully what you do, because you are not judging for mere mortals but for the Lord, who is with you whenever you give a verdict. 7 Now let the fear of the Lord be on you. Judge carefully, for with the Lord our God there is no injustice or partiality or bribery.’
8 In Jerusalem also, Jehoshaphat appointed some of the Levites, priests and heads of Israelite families to administer the law of the Lord and to settle disputes. And they lived in Jerusalem. 9 He gave them these orders: ‘You must serve faithfully and wholeheartedly in the fear of the Lord. 10 In every case that comes before you from your people who live in the cities – whether bloodshed or other concerns of the law, commands, decrees or regulations – you are to warn them not to sin against the Lord; otherwise his wrath will come on you and your people. Do this, and you will not sin.
11 ‘Amariah the chief priest will be over you in any matter concerning the Lord, and Zebadiah son of Ishmael, the leader of the tribe of Judah, will be over you in any matter concerning the king, and the Levites will serve as officials before you. Act with courage, and may the Lord be with those who do well.’
Jehoshaphat defeats Moab and Ammon
20 After this, the Moabites and Ammonites with some of the Meunites[b] came to wage war against Jehoshaphat.
2 Some people came and told Jehoshaphat, ‘A vast army is coming against you from Edom,[c] from the other side of the Dead Sea. It is already in Hazezon Tamar’ (that is, En Gedi). 3 Alarmed, Jehoshaphat resolved to enquire of the Lord, and he proclaimed a fast for all Judah. 4 The people of Judah came together to seek help from the Lord; indeed, they came from every town in Judah to seek him.
5 Then Jehoshaphat stood up in the assembly of Judah and Jerusalem at the temple of the Lord in the front of the new courtyard 6 and said:
‘Lord, the God of our ancestors, are you not the God who is in heaven? You rule over all the kingdoms of the nations. Power and might are in your hand, and no one can withstand you. 7 Our God, did you not drive out the inhabitants of this land before your people Israel and give it for ever to the descendants of Abraham your friend? 8 They have lived in it and have built in it a sanctuary for your Name, saying, 9 “If calamity comes upon us, whether the sword of judgment, or plague or famine, we will stand in your presence before this temple that bears your Name and will cry out to you in our distress, and you will hear us and save us.”
10 ‘But now here are men from Ammon, Moab and Mount Seir, whose territory you would not allow Israel to invade when they came from Egypt; so they turned away from them and did not destroy them. 11 See how they are repaying us by coming to drive us out of the possession you gave us as an inheritance. 12 Our God, will you not judge them? For we have no power to face this vast army that is attacking us. We do not know what to do, but our eyes are on you.’
13 All the men of Judah, with their wives and children and little ones, stood there before the Lord.
14 Then the Spirit of the Lord came on Jahaziel son of Zechariah, the son of Benaiah, the son of Jeiel, the son of Mattaniah, a Levite and descendant of Asaph, as he stood in the assembly.
15 He said: ‘Listen, King Jehoshaphat and all who live in Judah and Jerusalem! This is what the Lord says to you: “Do not be afraid or discouraged because of this vast army. For the battle is not yours, but God’s. 16 Tomorrow march down against them. They will be climbing up by the Pass of Ziz, and you will find them at the end of the gorge in the Desert of Jeruel. 17 You will not have to fight this battle. Take up your positions; stand firm and see the deliverance the Lord will give you, Judah and Jerusalem. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged. Go out to face them tomorrow, and the Lord will be with you.”’
18 Jehoshaphat bowed down with his face to the ground, and all the people of Judah and Jerusalem fell down in worship before the Lord. 19 Then some Levites from the Kohathites and Korahites stood up and praised the Lord, the God of Israel, with a very loud voice.
20 Early in the morning they left for the Desert of Tekoa. As they set out, Jehoshaphat stood and said, ‘Listen to me, Judah and people of Jerusalem! Have faith in the Lord your God and you will be upheld; have faith in his prophets and you will be successful.’ 21 After consulting the people, Jehoshaphat appointed men to sing to the Lord and to praise him for the splendour of his[d] holiness as they went out at the head of the army, saying:
‘Give thanks to the Lord,
22 As they began to sing and praise, the Lord set ambushes against the men of Ammon and Moab and Mount Seir who were invading Judah, and they were defeated. 23 The Ammonites and Moabites rose up against the men from Mount Seir to destroy and annihilate them. After they finished slaughtering the men from Seir, they helped to destroy one another.
24 When the men of Judah came to the place that overlooks the desert and looked towards the vast army, they saw only dead bodies lying on the ground; no one had escaped. 25 So Jehoshaphat and his men went to carry off their plunder, and they found among them a great amount of equipment and clothing[e] and also articles of value – more than they could take away. There was so much plunder that it took three days to collect it. 26 On the fourth day they assembled in the Valley of Berakah, where they praised the Lord. This is why it is called the Valley of Berakah[f] to this day.
27 Then, led by Jehoshaphat, all the men of Judah and Jerusalem returned joyfully to Jerusalem, for the Lord had given them cause to rejoice over their enemies. 28 They entered Jerusalem and went to the temple of the Lord with harps and lyres and trumpets.
29 The fear of God came on all the surrounding kingdoms when they heard how the Lord had fought against the enemies of Israel. 30 And the kingdom of Jehoshaphat was at peace, for his God had given him rest on every side.
The end of Jehoshaphat’s reign
31 So Jehoshaphat reigned over Judah. He was thirty-five years old when he became king of Judah, and he reigned in Jerusalem for twenty-five years. His mother’s name was Azubah daughter of Shilhi. 32 He followed the ways of his father Asa and did not stray from them; he did what was right in the eyes of the Lord. 33 The high places, however, were not removed, and the people still had not set their hearts on the God of their ancestors.
34 The other events of Jehoshaphat’s reign, from beginning to end, are written in the annals of Jehu son of Hanani, which are recorded in the book of the kings of Israel.
35 Later, Jehoshaphat king of Judah made an alliance with Ahaziah king of Israel, whose ways were wicked. 36 He agreed with him to construct a fleet of trading ships.[g] After these were built at Ezion Geber, 37 Eliezer son of Dodavahu of Mareshah prophesied against Jehoshaphat, saying, ‘Because you have made an alliance with Ahaziah, the Lord will destroy what you have made.’ The ships were wrecked and were not able to set sail to trade.[h]
21 Then Jehoshaphat rested with his ancestors and was buried with them in the City of David. And Jehoram his son succeeded him as king. 2 Jehoram’s brothers, the sons of Jehoshaphat, were Azariah, Jehiel, Zechariah, Azariahu, Michael and Shephatiah. All these were sons of Jehoshaphat king of Israel.[i] 3 Their father had given them many gifts of silver and gold and articles of value, as well as fortified cities in Judah, but he had given the kingdom to Jehoram because he was his firstborn son.
Jehoram king of Judah
4 When Jehoram established himself firmly over his father’s kingdom, he put all his brothers to the sword along with some of the officials of Israel. 5 Jehoram was thirty-two years old when he became king, and he reigned in Jerusalem for eight years. 6 He followed the ways of the kings of Israel, as the house of Ahab had done, for he married a daughter of Ahab. He did evil in the eyes of the Lord. 7 Nevertheless, because of the covenant the Lord had made with David, the Lord was not willing to destroy the house of David. He had promised to maintain a lamp for him and his descendants for ever.
8 In the time of Jehoram, Edom rebelled against Judah and set up its own king. 9 So Jehoram went there with his officers and all his chariots. The Edomites surrounded him and his chariot commanders, but he rose up and broke through by night. 10 To this day Edom has been in rebellion against Judah.
Libnah revolted at the same time, because Jehoram had forsaken the Lord, the God of his ancestors. 11 He had also built high places on the hills of Judah and had caused the people of Jerusalem to prostitute themselves and had led Judah astray.
12 Jehoram received a letter from Elijah the prophet, which said:
‘This is what the Lord, the God of your father David, says: “You have not followed the ways of your father Jehoshaphat or of Asa king of Judah. 13 But you have followed the ways of the kings of Israel, and you have led Judah and the people of Jerusalem to prostitute themselves, just as the house of Ahab did. You have also murdered your own brothers, members of your own family, men who were better than you. 14 So now the Lord is about to strike your people, your sons, your wives and everything that is yours, with a heavy blow. 15 You yourself will be very ill with a lingering disease of the bowels, until the disease causes your bowels to come out.”’
16 The Lord aroused against Jehoram the hostility of the Philistines and of the Arabs who lived near the Cushites. 17 They attacked Judah, invaded it and carried off all the goods found in the king’s palace, together with his sons and wives. Not a son was left to him except Ahaziah,[j] the youngest.
18 After all this, the Lord afflicted Jehoram with an incurable disease of the bowels. 19 In the course of time, at the end of the second year, his bowels came out because of the disease, and he died in great pain. His people made no funeral fire in his honour, as they had for his predecessors.
20 Jehoram was thirty-two years old when he became king, and he reigned in Jerusalem for eight years. He passed away, to no one’s regret, and was buried in the City of David, but not in the tombs of the kings.
Ahaziah king of Judah
22 The people of Jerusalem made Ahaziah, Jehoram’s youngest son, king in his place, since the raiders, who came with the Arabs into the camp, had killed all the older sons. So Ahaziah son of Jehoram king of Judah began to reign.
2 Ahaziah was twenty-two[k] years old when he became king, and he reigned in Jerusalem for one year. His mother’s name was Athaliah, a granddaughter of Omri.
3 He too followed the ways of the house of Ahab, for his mother encouraged him to act wickedly. 4 He did evil in the eyes of the Lord, as the house of Ahab had done, for after his father’s death they became his advisors, to his undoing. 5 He also followed their counsel when he went with Joram[l] son of Ahab king of Israel to wage war against Hazael king of Aram at Ramoth Gilead. The Arameans wounded Joram; 6 so he returned to Jezreel to recover from the wounds they had inflicted on him at Ramoth[m] in his battle with Hazael king of Aram.
Then Ahaziah[n] son of Jehoram king of Judah went down to Jezreel to see Joram son of Ahab because he had been wounded.
7 Through Ahaziah’s visit to Joram, God brought about Ahaziah’s downfall. When Ahaziah arrived, he went out with Joram to meet Jehu son of Nimshi, whom the Lord had anointed to destroy the house of Ahab. 8 While Jehu was executing judgment on the house of Ahab, he found the officials of Judah and the sons of Ahaziah’s relatives, who had been attending Ahaziah, and he killed them. 9 He then went in search of Ahaziah, and his men captured him while he was hiding in Samaria. He was brought to Jehu and put to death. They buried him, for they said, ‘He was a son of Jehoshaphat, who sought the Lord with all his heart.’ So there was no one in the house of Ahaziah powerful enough to retain the kingdom.
Athaliah and Joash
10 When Athaliah the mother of Ahaziah saw that her son was dead, she proceeded to destroy the whole royal family of the house of Judah. 11 But Jehosheba,[o] the daughter of King Jehoram, took Joash son of Ahaziah and stole him away from among the royal princes who were about to be murdered and put him and his nurse in a bedroom. Because Jehosheba,[p] the daughter of King Jehoram and wife of the priest Jehoiada, was Ahaziah’s sister, she hid the child from Athaliah so that she could not kill him. 12 He remained hidden with them at the temple of God for six years while Athaliah ruled the land.
23 In the seventh year Jehoiada showed his strength. He made a covenant with the commanders of units of a hundred: Azariah son of Jeroham, Ishmael son of Jehohanan, Azariah son of Obed, Maaseiah son of Adaiah, and Elishaphat son of Zikri. 2 They went throughout Judah and gathered the Levites and the heads of Israelite families from all the towns. When they came to Jerusalem, 3 the whole assembly made a covenant with the king at the temple of God.
Jehoiada said to them, ‘The king’s son shall reign, as the Lord promised concerning the descendants of David. 4 Now this is what you are to do: a third of you priests and Levites who are going on duty on the Sabbath are to keep watch at the doors, 5 a third of you at the royal palace and a third at the Foundation Gate, and all the others are to be in the courtyards of the temple of the Lord. 6 No one is to enter the temple of the Lord except the priests and Levites on duty; they may enter because they are consecrated, but all the others are to observe the Lord’s command not to enter.[q] 7 The Levites are to station themselves round the king, each with weapon in hand. Anyone who enters the temple is to be put to death. Stay close to the king wherever he goes.’
8 The Levites and all the men of Judah did just as Jehoiada the priest ordered. Each one took his men – those who were going on duty on the Sabbath and those who were going off duty – for Jehoiada the priest had not released any of the divisions. 9 Then he gave the commanders of units of a hundred the spears and the large and small shields that had belonged to King David and that were in the temple of God. 10 He stationed all the men, each with his weapon in his hand, round the king – near the altar and the temple, from the south side to the north side of the temple.
11 Jehoiada and his sons brought out the king’s son and put the crown on him; they presented him with a copy of the covenant and proclaimed him king. They anointed him and shouted, ‘Long live the king!’
12 When Athaliah heard the noise of the people running and cheering the king, she went to them at the temple of the Lord. 13 She looked, and there was the king, standing by his pillar at the entrance. The officers and the trumpeters were beside the king, and all the people of the land were rejoicing and blowing trumpets, and musicians with their instruments were leading the praises. Then Athaliah tore her robes and shouted, ‘Treason! Treason!’
14 Jehoiada the priest sent out the commanders of units of a hundred, who were in charge of the troops, and said to them: ‘Bring her out between the ranks[r] and put to the sword anyone who follows her.’ For the priest had said, ‘Do not put her to death at the temple of the Lord.’ 15 So they seized her as she reached the entrance of the Horse Gate on the palace grounds, and there they put her to death.
16 Jehoiada then made a covenant that he, the people and the king[s] would be the Lord’s people. 17 All the people went to the temple of Baal and tore it down. They smashed the altars and idols and killed Mattan the priest of Baal in front of the altars.
18 Then Jehoiada placed the oversight of the temple of the Lord in the hands of the Levitical priests, to whom David had made assignments in the temple, to present the burnt offerings of the Lord as written in the Law of Moses, with rejoicing and singing, as David had ordered. 19 He also stationed gatekeepers at the gates of the Lord’s temple so that no one who was in any way unclean might enter.
20 He took with him the commanders of hundreds, the nobles, the rulers of the people and all the people of the land and brought the king down from the temple of the Lord. They went into the palace through the Upper Gate and seated the king on the royal throne. 21 All the people of the land rejoiced, and the city was calm, because Athaliah had been slain with the sword.