Some time later the Moabites and Ammonites, accompanied by Meunites, joined forces to make war on Jehoshaphat.
Jehoshaphat received this intelligence report: "A huge force is on its way from beyond the Dead Sea to fight you. There's no time to waste - they're already at Hazazon Tamar, the oasis of En Gedi."
Shaken, Jehoshaphat prayed. He went to God for help and ordered a nationwide fast.
The country of Judah united in seeking God's help - they came from all the cities of Judah to pray to God.
Then Jehoshaphat took a position before the assembled people of Judah and Jerusalem at The Temple of God in front of the new courtyard
and said, "O God, God of our ancestors, are you not God in heaven above and ruler of all kingdoms below? You hold all power and might in your fist - no one stands a chance against you!
And didn't you make the natives of this land leave as you brought your people Israel in, turning it over permanently to your people Israel, the descendants of Abraham your friend?
They have lived here and built a holy house of worship to honor you,
saying, 'When the worst happens - whether war or flood or disease or famine - and we take our place before this Temple (we know you are personally present in this place!) and pray out our pain and trouble, we know that you will listen and give victory.'
"And now it's happened: men from Ammon, Moab, and Mount Seir have shown up. You didn't let Israel touch them when we got here at first - we detoured around them and didn't lay a hand on them.
And now they've come to kick us out of the country you gave us.
O dear God, won't you take care of them? We're helpless before this vandal horde ready to attack us. We don't know what to do; we're looking to you."
Everyone in Judah was there - little children, wives, sons - all present and attentive to God.
Then Jahaziel was moved by the Spirit of God to speak from the midst of the congregation. (Jahaziel was the son of Zechariah, the son of Benaiah, the son of Jeiel, the son of Mattaniah the Levite of the Asaph clan.)
He said, "Attention everyone - all of you from out of town, all you from Jerusalem, and you King Jehoshaphat - God's word: Don't be afraid; don't pay any mind to this vandal horde. This is God's war, not yours.
Tomorrow you'll go after them; see, they're already on their way up the slopes of Ziz; you'll meet them at the end of the ravine near the wilderness of Jeruel.
You won't have to lift a hand in this battle; just stand firm, Judah and Jerusalem, and watch God's saving work for you take shape. Don't be afraid, don't waver. March out boldly tomorrow - God is with you."
Then Jehoshaphat knelt down, bowing with his face to the ground. All Judah and Jerusalem did the same, worshiping God.
The Levites (both Kohathites and Korahites) stood to their feet to praise God, the God of Israel; they praised at the top of their lungs!
They were up early in the morning, ready to march into the wilderness of Tekoa. As they were leaving, Jehoshaphat stood up and said, "Listen Judah and Jerusalem! Listen to what I have to say! Believe firmly in God, your God, and your lives will be firm! Believe in your prophets and you'll come out on top!"
After talking it over with the people, Jehoshaphat appointed a choir for God; dressed in holy robes, they were to march ahead of the troops, singing, Give thanks to God, His love never quits.
As soon as they started shouting and praising, God set ambushes against the men of Ammon, Moab, and Mount Seir as they were attacking Judah, and they all ended up dead.
The Ammonites and Moabites mistakenly attacked those from Mount Seir and massacred them. Then, further confused, they went at each other, and all ended up killed.
As Judah came up over the rise, looking into the wilderness for the horde of barbarians, they looked on a killing field of dead bodies - not a living soul among them.
When Jehoshaphat and his people came to carry off the plunder they found more loot than they could carry off - equipment, clothing, valuables. It took three days to cart it away!
On the fourth day they came together at the Valley of Blessing (Beracah) and blessed God (that's how it got the name, Valley of Blessing).
Jehoshaphat then led all the men of Judah and Jerusalem back to Jerusalem - an exuberant parade. God had given them joyful relief from their enemies!
They entered Jerusalem and came to The Temple of God with all the instruments of the band playing.
When the surrounding kingdoms got word that God had fought Israel's enemies, the fear of God descended on them.
Jehoshaphat heard no more from them; as long as Jehoshaphat reigned, peace reigned.
That about sums up Jehoshaphat's reign over Judah. He was thirty-five years old when he became king and ruled as king in Jerusalem for twenty-five years. His mother was Azubah daughter of Shilhi.
He continued the kind of life characteristic of his father Asa - no detours, no dead-ends - pleasing God with his life.
But he failed to get rid of the neighborhood sex-and-religion shrines - people continued to pray and worship at these idolatrous god shops.
The rest of Jehoshaphat's life, from start to finish, is written in the memoirs of Jehu son of Hanani, which are included in the Royal Annals of Israel's Kings.
Late in life Jehoshaphat formed a trading syndicate with Ahaziah king of Israel - which was very wrong of him to do.
He went in as partner with him to build ocean-going ships at Ezion Geber to trade with Tarshish.
Eliezer son of Dodavahu of Mareshah preached against Jehoshaphat's venture: "Because you joined forces with Ahaziah, God has shipwrecked your work." The ships were smashed and nothing ever came of the trade partnership.
Published by permission. Originally published by NavPress in English as THE MESSAGE: The Bible in Contemporary Language copyright 2002 by Eugene Peterson. All rights reserved. (The Message Bible Online)