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2 Chronicles 19:1-20:37; Romans 10:14-11:12; Psalms 21:1-13; Proverbs 20:4-6 (Common English Bible)

2 Chronicles 19-20

19 Upon the safe arrival of Judah’s King Jehoshaphat to his palace in Jerusalem, Jehu son of Hanani the seer came out to meet him and said, “Why did you help the wicked? Why have you loved those who hate the Lord? This is why the Lord is angry with you. Nevertheless, there is some good to be found in you, in that you have removed the sacred poles[a] from the land and set your mind to seek God.”

Jehoshaphat’s reforms

Though Jehoshaphat lived in Jerusalem, he regularly went out among the people between Beer-sheba and Ephraim’s highlands, and encouraged them to return to the Lord, the God of their ancestors. He appointed judges throughout the land in each of the fortified cities of Judah, instructing them, “Be careful when you pass judgment. You aren’t dispensing justice by merely human standards but for the Lord, who is with you. Therefore, respect the Lord and act accordingly, because there can be no injustice, playing favorites, or taking bribes when it comes to the Lord our God.”

Jehoshaphat also appointed judges in Jerusalem from among the Levites, the priests, and the family heads of Israel to administer the Lord’s Instruction and to settle disputes among those living[b] in Jerusalem. He instructed them, “You must respect the Lord at all times, in truth, and with complete integrity. 10 In any case that comes before you from a fellow citizen in an outlying town, whether it involves bloodshed or is an issue of instruction, commandment, regulations, or case laws, you must warn them not to sin against the Lord, consequently making him angry with both you and your fellow citizen. Do this, and you won’t sin. 11 Amariah the chief priest will be in charge of all religious matters, and Zebadiah, Ishmael’s son, the leader of Judah’s house, will be in charge of all civil matters. The Levites will serve as your officers of the court. Carry out your duties with confidence, and may the Lord be with those who do good.”

Jehoshaphat’s victory

20 Some time later, the Moabites and the Ammonites, along with some of the Meunites,[c] attacked Jehoshaphat. Jehoshaphat was told, “A large army from beyond the sea, from Edom,[d] is coming to attack you. They are already at Hazazon-tamar!” (that is, En-gedi). Frightened, Jehoshaphat decided to seek the Lord’s help and proclaimed a fast for all Judah. People from all of Judah’s cities came to ask the Lord for help. Then Jehoshaphat stood up in the congregation of Judah and Jerusalem in the Lord’s temple in front of the new courtyard. Lord, the God of our ancestors, you alone are God in heaven. You rule all the kingdoms of the nations. You are so powerful that no one can oppose you. You, our God, drove out the inhabitants of this land before your people Israel and gave this land to the descendants of your friend Abraham forever. They have lived in it and have built a sanctuary in honor of your name in it, saying, ‘If calamity, sword, flood,[e] plague, or famine comes upon us, we will stand before this temple, before you, because your name is in this temple. We will cry out to you in our distress, and you will hear us and save us.’ 10 So look here! The Ammonites, the Moabites, and those from Mount Seir—the people you wouldn’t let Israel invade when they came out of Egypt’s land, so Israel avoided them and didn’t destroy them— 11 here they are, returning the favor by coming to drive us out of your possession that you gave to us! 12 Our God, won’t you punish them? We are powerless against this mighty army that is about to attack us. We don’t know what to do, and so we are looking to you for help.”

13 All Judah was standing before the Lord, even their little ones, wives, and children. 14 Then the Lord’s spirit came upon Jahaziel son of Zechariah son of Benaiah son of Jeiel son of Mattaniah, a Levite of the line of Asaph, as he stood in the middle of the assembly.

15 “Pay attention, all of Judah, every inhabitant of Jerusalem, and King Jehoshaphat,” Jahaziel said. “This is what the Lord says to you: Don’t be afraid or discouraged by this great army because the battle isn’t yours. It belongs to God! 16 March out against them tomorrow. Since they will be coming through the Ziz pass, meet them at the end of the valley that opens into the Jeruel wilderness. 17 You don’t need to fight this battle. Just take your places, stand ready, and watch how the Lord, who is with you, will deliver you, Judah and Jerusalem. Don’t be afraid or discouraged! Go out tomorrow and face them. The Lord will be with you.”

18 Then Jehoshaphat bowed down with his face to the ground, and all Judah and the inhabitants of Jerusalem fell before the Lord in worship. 19 Levites from the lines of Kohath and Korah stood up to loudly praise the Lord, the God of Israel.

20 Early the next morning they went into the Tekoa wilderness. When they were about to go out, Jehoshaphat stood and said, “Listen to me, Judah and every inhabitant of Jerusalem! Trust the Lord your God, and you will stand firm; trust his prophets and succeed!”

21 After consulting with the people, Jehoshaphat appointed musicians to play for the Lord, praising his majestic holiness. They were to march out before the warriors, saying, “Give thanks to the Lord because his faithful love lasts forever!” 22 As they broke into joyful song and praise, the Lord launched a surprise attack against the Ammonites, the Moabites, and those from Mount Seir who were invading Judah, so that they were defeated. 23 The Ammonites and the Moabites turned on those from Mount Seir, completely destroying them. Once they had finished off the inhabitants of Seir, they helped to destroy each other!

24 When Judah arrived at the point overlooking the wilderness, all they could see were corpses lying all over the ground. There were no survivors. 25 When Jehoshaphat and his army came to take the loot, they found a great amount of cattle,[f] goods, clothing,[g] and other valuables—much more than they could carry. In fact, there was so much it took three days to haul it away. 26 On the fourth day they assembled in Blessing Valley, where they blessed the Lord. That’s why it is called Blessing Valley to this day. 27 Then everyone from Judah and Jerusalem, with Jehoshaphat at their head, joyfully returned home to Jerusalem because the Lord had given them reason to rejoice over their enemies. 28 They entered Jerusalem accompanied by harps, lutes, and trumpets, and they went to the Lord’s temple.

29 The fear of God came on all the surrounding kingdoms when they heard how the Lord had fought against Israel’s enemies. 30 As a result, Jehoshaphat’s rule was peaceful because his God gave him rest on all sides.

Jehoshaphat’s last days

31 Jehoshaphat ruled over Judah. He was 35 years old when he became king, and he ruled for twenty-five years in Jerusalem. His mother’s name was Azubah; she was Shilhi’s daughter. 32 Jehoshaphat walked in the way of his father Asa and didn’t turn aside from it, doing what was right in the Lord’s eyes, 33 with the exception that he didn’t remove the shrines. The people were still not committed with all their hearts to the God of their ancestors. 34 The rest of Jehoshaphat’s deeds, from beginning to end, are written in the records of Jehu, Hanani’s son, which are included in the records of Israel’s kings.

35 Sometime later, Judah’s King Jehoshaphat formed an alliance with Israel’s King Ahaziah, which caused him to sin. 36 They agreed to build a fleet of Tarshish-styled ships, and they built them in Ezion-geber. 37 Eliezer, Dodavahu’s son from Mareshah, prophesied against Jehoshaphat: “Because you have formed an alliance with Ahaziah, the Lord will destroy what you have made.” The ships were wrecked and couldn’t sail to Tarshish.

Footnotes:

  1. 2 Chronicles 19:3 Heb asherot, perhaps objects devoted to the goddess Asherah
  2. 2 Chronicles 19:8 LXX, Vulg; MT they returned to Jerusalem
  3. 2 Chronicles 20:1 LXX; MT Ammonites
  4. 2 Chronicles 20:2 OL; MT Aram
  5. 2 Chronicles 20:9 LXX; MT judgment
  6. 2 Chronicles 20:25 LXX; MT among them
  7. 2 Chronicles 20:25 Vulg; MT corpses
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Romans 10:14-11:12

14 So how can they call on someone they don’t have faith in? And how can they have faith in someone they haven’t heard of? And how can they hear without a preacher? 15 And how can they preach unless they are sent? As it is written, How beautiful are the feet of those who announce the good news.[a]

16 But everyone hasn’t obeyed the good news. As Isaiah says, Lord, who has had faith in our message?[b] 17 So, faith comes from listening, but it’s listening by means of Christ’s message. 18 But I ask you, didn’t they hear it? Definitely! Their voice has gone out into the entire earth, and their message has gone out to the corners of the inhabited world.[c] 19 But I ask you again, didn’t Israel understand? First, Moses says, I will make you jealous of those who aren’t a people, of a people without understanding.[d] 20 And Isaiah even dares to say, I was found by those who didn’t look for me; I revealed myself to those who didn’t ask for me.[e] 21 But he says about Israel, All day long I stretched out my hands to a disobedient and contrary people.[f]

Israel and God’s faithfulness

11 So I ask you, has God rejected his people? Absolutely not! I’m an Israelite, a descendant of Abraham, from the tribe of Benjamin. God hasn’t rejected his people, whom he knew in advance. Or don’t you know what the scripture says in the case of Elijah, when he pleads with God against Israel? Lord, they have killed your prophets, and they have torn down your altars. I’m the only one left, and they are trying to take my life.[g] But what is God’s reply to him? I have kept for myself seven thousand people who haven’t bowed their knees to Baal.[h] So also in the present time there is a remaining group by the choice of God’s grace. But if it is by grace, it isn’t by what’s done anymore. If it were, God’s grace wouldn’t be grace.

So what? Israel didn’t find what it was looking for. Those who were chosen found it, but the others were resistant. As it is written, God gave them a dull spirit, so that their eyes would not see and their ears not hear, right up until the present day.[i] And David says,

Their table should become a pitfall and a trap,
    a stumbling block and payback to them for what they have done.
10 Their eyes should be darkened so they can’t see,
    and their backs always bent.[j]

11 So I’m asking you: They haven’t stumbled so that they’ve fallen permanently, have they? Absolutely not! But salvation has come to the Gentiles by their failure, in order to make Israel jealous. 12 But if their failure brings riches to the world, and their defeat brings riches to the Gentiles, how much more will come from the completion of their number!

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Psalm 21

Psalm 21

For the music leader. A psalm of David.

21 The king celebrates your strength, Lord;
    look how happy he is about your saving help!
You’ve given him what his heart desires;
    you haven’t denied what his lips requested. Selah
You bring rich blessings right to him;
    you put a crown of pure gold on his head.
He asked you for life,
    and you gave it to him, all right—
    long days, forever and always!
The king’s reputation is great
    because of your saving help;
    you’ve conferred on him glory and grandeur.
You grant him blessings forever;
    you make him happy
        with the joy of your presence.
    Because the king trusts the Lord,
    and because of the Most High’s faithful love,
        he will not stumble.

Your hand will catch all your enemies;
    your strong hand will catch all who hate you.
When you appear, Lord,
    you will light them up like an oven on fire.
        God will eat them whole in his anger;
        fire will devour them.
10 You will destroy their offspring from the land;
    destroy their descendants from the human race.
11 Because they sought to do you harm,
    they devised a wicked plan—but they will fail!
12 Because you will make them turn and run
    when you aim your bow straight at their faces!

13 Be exalted, Lord, in your strength!
    We will sing and praise your power!

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Proverbs 20:4-6

The lazy don’t plow during winter;
    at harvest they look but find nothing.
Advice comes from the deep waters of the heart;
    those with understanding can draw it out.
Many people will say that they are loyal,
    but who can find a reliable person?

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Common English Bible (CEB)

Copyright © 2011 by Common English Bible

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