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King Jehoshaphat Defeats Judah’s Enemies

20 Later the Moabites, Ammonites, and some of the Meunites[a] came to wage war against Jehoshaphat. Some men reported to Jehoshaphat, “A large crowd is coming against you from the other side of the Dead Sea, from Edom.[b] The crowd is already in Hazazon Tamar” (also called En Gedi).

Frightened, Jehoshaphat decided to ask for the Lord’s help. He announced a fast throughout Judah. The people of Judah gathered to seek the Lord’s help. They came from every city in Judah.

In the new courtyard at the Lord’s temple, Jehoshaphat stood in front of the people. He said, “Lord God of our ancestors, aren’t you the God in heaven? You rule all the kingdoms of the nations. You possess power and might, and no one can oppose you. Didn’t you, our God, force those who were living in this country out of Israel’s way? Didn’t you give this country to the descendants of your friend Abraham to have permanently? His descendants have lived in it and built a holy temple for your name in it. They said, ‘If evil comes in the form of war, flood,[c] plague, or famine, we will stand in front of this temple and in front of you because your name is in this temple. We will cry out to you in our troubles, and you will hear us and save us.’

10 “The Ammonites, Moabites, and the people of Mount Seir have come here. However, you didn’t let Israel invade them when they came out of Egypt. The Israelites turned away from them and didn’t destroy them. 11 They are now paying us back by coming to force us out of your land that you gave to us. 12 You’re our God. Won’t you judge them? We don’t have the strength to face this large crowd that is attacking us. We don’t know what to do, so we’re looking to you.”

13 All the people from Judah, their infants, wives, and children were standing in front of the Lord. 14 Then the Lord’s Spirit came to Jahaziel. (He was the son of Zechariah, grandson of Benaiah, great-grandson of Jeiel, whose father was Mattaniah, a Levite descended from Asaph.) 15 Jahaziel said, “Pay attention to me, everyone from Judah, everyone living in Jerusalem, and King Jehoshaphat. This is what the Lord says to you: Don’t be frightened or terrified by this large crowd. The battle isn’t yours. It’s God’s. 16 Tomorrow go into battle against them. They will be coming up the Ziz Pass. You will find them at the end of the valley in front of the Jeruel Desert. 17 You won’t fight this battle. Instead, take your position, stand still, and see the victory of the Lord for you, Judah and Jerusalem. Don’t be frightened or terrified. Tomorrow go out to face them. The Lord is with you.”

18 Jehoshaphat bowed down with his face touching the ground. Everyone from Judah and the people who lived in Jerusalem immediately bowed down in front of the Lord. 19 The Levites, descendants of Kohath and Korah, stood up to praise the Lord God of Israel with very loud songs.

20 They got up early in the morning and went to the desert of Tekoa. As they were leaving, Jehoshaphat stopped and said, “Listen to me, people of Judah and those living in Jerusalem. Trust the Lord your God, and believe. Believe his prophets, and you will succeed.”

21 After he had advised the people, he appointed people to sing to the Lord and praise him for the beauty of his holiness. As they went in front of the troops, they sang, “Thank the Lord because his mercy endures forever!” 22 As they started to sing praises, the Lord set ambushes against the Ammonites, Moabites, and the people of Mount Seir who had come into Judah. They were defeated. 23 Then the Ammonites and Moabites attacked the people from Mount Seir and annihilated them. After they had finished off the people of Seir, they helped destroy one another.

24 The people of Judah went to the watchtower in the desert and looked for the crowd. Corpses were lying on the ground. No one had escaped. 25 When Jehoshaphat and his troops came to take the loot, they found among them a lot of goods, clothes,[d] and valuables. They found more than they could carry. They spent three days collecting the loot. 26 On the fourth day they gathered in the valley of Beracah. Because they thanked the Lord there, that place is still called the valley of Beracah [Thanks] today.

27 All the men of Judah and Jerusalem returned to Jerusalem. They rejoiced while Jehoshaphat led them. The Lord gave them a reason to rejoice about what had happened to their enemies. 28 So they brought harps, lyres, and trumpets to the Lord’s temple in Jerusalem.

29 The fear of the Lord came over the kingdoms in that area when they heard how the Lord waged war against Israel’s enemies. 30 Jehoshaphat’s kingdom was peaceful, since his God surrounded him with peace.

Summary of Jehoshaphat’s Reign(A)

31 Jehoshaphat ruled as king of Judah. He was 35 years old when he began to rule, and he ruled for 25 years in Jerusalem. His mother’s name was Azubah, daughter of Shilhi. 32 Jehoshaphat carefully followed the example his father Asa had set and did what the Lord considered right. 33 But the illegal worship sites on the hills were not torn down. The people still didn’t have their hearts set on the God of their ancestors.

34 Everything else about Jehoshaphat from first to last is written in the records of Jehu, son of Hanani, which is included in the Book of the Kings of Israel.

35 After this, King Jehoshaphat of Judah allied himself with King Ahaziah of Israel, who led him to do evil. 36 Jehoshaphat joined him in making ships to go to Tarshish. They made the ships in Ezion Geber. 37 Then Eliezer, son of Dodavahu from Mareshah, prophesied against Jehoshaphat. He said, “The Lord will destroy your work because you have allied yourself with Ahaziah.” So the ships were wrecked and couldn’t go to Tarshish.

Footnotes

  1. 2 Chronicles 20:1 Greek; Masoretic Text “and some of the Ammonites.”
  2. 2 Chronicles 20:2 One Hebrew manuscript, Latin; other Hebrew manuscripts “Aram.”
  3. 2 Chronicles 20:9 Greek; Masoretic Text “judgment.”
  4. 2 Chronicles 20:25 Latin; Masoretic Text “corpses.”

Jehoshaphat Defeats Moab and Ammon

20 After this, the Moabites(A) and Ammonites with some of the Meunites[a](B) came to wage war against Jehoshaphat.

Some people came and told Jehoshaphat, “A vast army(C) is coming against you from Edom,[b] from the other side of the Dead Sea. It is already in Hazezon Tamar(D)” (that is, En Gedi).(E) Alarmed, Jehoshaphat resolved to inquire of the Lord, and he proclaimed a fast(F) for all Judah. The people of Judah(G) came together to seek help from the Lord; indeed, they came from every town in Judah to seek him.

Then Jehoshaphat stood up in the assembly of Judah and Jerusalem at the temple of the Lord in the front of the new courtyard and said:

Lord, the God of our ancestors,(H) are you not the God who is in heaven?(I) You rule over all the kingdoms(J) of the nations. Power and might are in your hand, and no one can withstand you.(K) Our God, did you not drive out the inhabitants of this land(L) before your people Israel and give it forever to the descendants of Abraham your friend?(M) They have lived in it and have built in it a sanctuary(N) for your Name, saying, ‘If calamity comes upon us, whether the sword of judgment, or plague or famine,(O) 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;(P) 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(Q) you gave us as an inheritance. 12 Our God, will you not judge them?(R) 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.(S)

13 All the men of Judah, with their wives and children and little ones, stood there before the Lord.

14 Then the Spirit(T) of the Lord came on Jahaziel son of Zechariah, the son of Benaiah, the son of Jeiel, the son of Mattaniah,(U) 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(V) because of this vast army. For the battle(W) 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(X) 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(Y) 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(Z) in the Lord your God and you will be upheld; have faith in his prophets and you will be successful.(AA) 21 After consulting the people, Jehoshaphat appointed men to sing to the Lord and to praise him for the splendor of his[c] holiness(AB) as they went out at the head of the army, saying:

“Give thanks to the Lord,
    for his love endures forever.”(AC)

22 As they began to sing and praise, the Lord set ambushes(AD) against the men of Ammon and Moab and Mount Seir who were invading Judah, and they were defeated. 23 The Ammonites(AE) and Moabites rose up against the men from Mount Seir(AF) to destroy and annihilate them. After they finished slaughtering the men from Seir, they helped to destroy one another.(AG)

24 When the men of Judah came to the place that overlooks the desert and looked toward 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[d] 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[e] 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(AH) of God came on all the surrounding kingdoms when they heard how the Lord had fought(AI) against the enemies of Israel. 30 And the kingdom of Jehoshaphat was at peace, for his God had given him rest(AJ) on every side.

The End of Jehoshaphat’s Reign(AK)

31 So Jehoshaphat reigned over Judah. He was thirty-five years old when he became king of Judah, and he reigned in Jerusalem 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,(AL) 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(AM) son of Hanani, which are recorded in the book of the kings of Israel.

35 Later, Jehoshaphat king of Judah made an alliance(AN) with Ahaziah king of Israel, whose ways were wicked.(AO) 36 He agreed with him to construct a fleet of trading ships.[f] 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(AP) were wrecked and were not able to set sail to trade.[g]

Footnotes

  1. 2 Chronicles 20:1 Some Septuagint manuscripts; Hebrew Ammonites
  2. 2 Chronicles 20:2 One Hebrew manuscript; most Hebrew manuscripts, Septuagint and Vulgate Aram
  3. 2 Chronicles 20:21 Or him with the splendor of
  4. 2 Chronicles 20:25 Some Hebrew manuscripts and Vulgate; most Hebrew manuscripts corpses
  5. 2 Chronicles 20:26 Berakah means praise.
  6. 2 Chronicles 20:36 Hebrew of ships that could go to Tarshish
  7. 2 Chronicles 20:37 Hebrew sail for Tarshish

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