2 Chronicles 20

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Jehoshaphat's Prayer

1 After this 1the Moabites and Ammonites, and with them some of the Meunites,[a] came against Jehoshaphat for battle.
2 Some men came and told Jehoshaphat, "A great multitude is coming against you from Edom,[b] from beyond the sea; and, behold, they are in 2Hazazon-tamar" (that is, 3Engedi).
3 Then Jehoshaphat was afraid and set his face 4to seek the LORD, and 5proclaimed a fast throughout all Judah.
4 And Judah assembled to seek help from the LORD; from all the cities of Judah they came to seek the LORD.
5 And Jehoshaphat stood in the assembly of Judah and Jerusalem, in the house of the LORD, before the new court,
6 and said, "O LORD, God of our fathers, are you not 6God in heaven? You 7rule over all the kingdoms of the nations. 8In your hand are power and might, so that none is able to withstand you.
7 Did you not, our God, 9drive out the inhabitants of this land before your people Israel, and give it forever to the descendants of 10Abraham your friend?
8 And they have lived in it and have built for you in it a sanctuary for your name, saying,
9 11'If disaster comes upon us, the sword, judgment,[c] or pestilence, or famine, 12we will stand before this house and before you--13for your name is in this house--and cry out to you in our affliction, and you will hear and save.'
10 And now behold, the men of 14Ammon and Moab and 15Mount Seir, whom 16you would not let Israel invade when they came from the land of Egypt, 17and whom they avoided and did not destroy--
11 behold, they reward us 18by coming to drive us out of your possession, which you have given us to inherit.
12 O our God, will you not 19execute judgment on them? For we are powerless against this great horde that is coming against us. We do not know what to do, but 20our eyes are on you."
13 Meanwhile all Judah stood before the LORD, with their little ones, their wives, and their children.
14 And 21the Spirit of the LORD came upon Jahaziel the son of Zechariah, son of Benaiah, son of Jeiel, son of Mattaniah, a Levite of the sons of Asaph, in the midst of the assembly.
15 And he said, "Listen, all Judah and inhabitants of Jerusalem and King Jehoshaphat: Thus says the LORD to you, 22'Do not be afraid and do not be dismayed at this great horde, 23for the battle is not yours but God's.
16 Tomorrow go down against them. Behold, they will come up by the ascent of Ziz. You will find them at the end of 24the valley, east of the wilderness of Jeruel.
17 25You will not need to fight in this battle. Stand firm, hold your position, and see the salvation of the LORD on your behalf, O Judah and Jerusalem.'26Do not be afraid and do not be dismayed. Tomorrow go out against them, 27and the LORD will be with you."
18 Then Jehoshaphat 28bowed his head with his face to the ground, and all Judah and the inhabitants of Jerusalem fell down before the LORD, worshiping the LORD.
19 And the Levites, of the 29Kohathites and the 30Korahites, stood up to praise the LORD, the God of Israel, with a very loud voice.
20 And they rose early in the morning and went out into 31the wilderness of Tekoa. And when they went out, Jehoshaphat stood and said, "Hear me, Judah and inhabitants of Jerusalem! 32Believe in the LORD your God, and you will be established; believe his prophets, and you will succeed."
21 And when he had taken counsel with the people, he appointed those who were to sing to the LORD and praise him 33in holy attire, as they went before the army, and say, 34"Give thanks to the LORD, for his steadfast love endures forever."
22 And when they began to sing and praise, the LORD set 35an ambush against the men of 36Ammon, Moab, and Mount Seir, who had come against Judah, so that they were routed.
23 For the men of Ammon and Moab rose against the inhabitants of Mount Seir, devoting them to destruction, and when they had made an end of the inhabitants of Seir, 37they all helped to destroy one another.

The Lord Delivers Judah

24 When Judah came to the watchtower of the wilderness, they looked toward the horde, and behold, there[d] were dead bodies lying on the ground; none had escaped.
25 When Jehoshaphat and his people came to take their spoil, they found among them, in great numbers, goods, clothing, and precious things, which they took for themselves until they could carry no more. They were three days in taking the spoil, it was so much.
26 On the fourth day they assembled in the Valley of Beracah,[e] for there they blessed the LORD. Therefore the name of that place has been called the Valley of Beracah to this day.
27 Then they returned, every man of Judah and Jerusalem, and Jehoshaphat at their head, returning to Jerusalem with joy, 38for the LORD had made them rejoice over their enemies.
28 They came to Jerusalem with harps and lyres and trumpets, to the house of the LORD.
29 39And the fear of God came on all the kingdoms of the countries when they heard that the LORD had fought against the enemies of Israel.
30 So the realm of Jehoshaphat was quiet, 40for his God gave him rest all around.
31 41Thus Jehoshaphat reigned over Judah. He was thirty-five years old when he began to reign, and he reigned twenty-five years in Jerusalem. His mother's name was Azubah the daughter of Shilhi.
32 He walked in the way of Asa his father and did not turn aside from it, doing what was right in the sight of the LORD.
33 42The high places, however, were not taken away; 43the people had not yet set their hearts upon the God of their fathers.
34 Now the rest of the acts of Jehoshaphat, from first to last, are written in the chronicles of 44Jehu the son of Hanani, 45which are recorded in the Book of the Kings of Israel.

The End of Jehoshaphat's Reign

35 46After this Jehoshaphat king of Judah joined with Ahaziah king of Israel, who acted wickedly.
36 He joined him in building ships to go to 47Tarshish, and they built the ships in Ezion-geber.
37 Then Eliezer the son of Dodavahu of Mareshah prophesied against Jehoshaphat, saying, 48"Because you have joined with Ahaziah, the LORD will destroy what you have made." And the ships were wrecked and were not able to go to Tarshish.

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2 Chronicles 20 Commentary

Chapter 20

The danger and distress of Judah. (1-13) Jahaziel's prophecy of victory. (14-19) The thanksgiving of Judah. (20-30) Jehoshaphat's alliance with Ahaziah. (31-37)

Verses 1-13 In all dangers, public or personal, our first business should be to seek help from God. Hence the advantage of days for national fasting and prayer. From the first to the last of our seeking the Lord, we must approach him with humiliation for our sins, trusting only in his mercy and power. Jehoshaphat acknowledges the sovereign dominion of the Divine Providence. Lord, exert it on our behalf. Whom should we seek to, whom should we trust to for relief, but the God we have chosen and served. Those that use what they have for God, may comfortably hope he will secure it to them. Every true believer is a son of Abraham, a friend of God; with such the everlasting covenant is established, to such every promise belongs. We are assured of God's love, by his dwelling in human nature in the person of the Saviour. Jehoshaphat mentions the temple, as a token of God's favourable presence. He pleads the injustice of his enemies. We may well appeal to God against those that render us evil for good. Though he had a great army, he said, We have no might without thee; we rely upon thee.

Verses 14-19 The Spirit of prophecy came upon a Levite in the midst of the congregation. The Spirit, like the wind, blows where and on whom He listeth. He encouraged them to trust in God. Let the Christian soldier go out against his spiritual enemies, and the God of peace will make him more than a conqueror. Our trials will prove our gain. The advantage will be all our own, but the whole glory must be given to God.

Verses 20-30 Jehoshaphat exhorted his troops to firm faith in God. Faith inspires a man with true courage; nor will any thing help more to the establishing of the heart in shaking times, than a firm belief of the power, and mercy, and promise of God. In all our trust in the Lord, and our praises of him, let us especially look at his everlasting mercy to sinners through Jesus Christ. Never was an army so destroyed as that of the enemy. Thus God often makes wicked people destroy one another. And never was a victory celebrated with more solemn thanksgivings.

Verses 31-37 Jehoshaphat kept close to the worship of God, and did what he could to keep his people close to it. But after God had done such great things for him, given him not only victory, but wealth; after this, to go and join himself with a wicked king, was very ungrateful. What could he expect but that God would be angry with him? Yet it seems, he took the warning; for when Ahaziah afterward pressed him to join him, he would not, 1Ki. 22:49 . Thus the alliance was broken, and the Divine rebuke had its effect, at least for a season. Let us be thankful for any losses which may have prevented the loss of our immortal souls. Let us praise the Lord, who sought after us, and left us not to perish in our sins.

Cross References 48

  • 1. 2 Kings 1:1; 2 Kings 3:4, 7
  • 2. Genesis 14:7
  • 3. See 1 Samuel 23:29
  • 4. 2 Chronicles 19:3; [1 Chronicles 22:19]
  • 5. Ezra 8:21; Jeremiah 36:9; Jonah 3:5; [Joel 1:14; Joel 2:15]
  • 6. See Deuteronomy 4:39
  • 7. [Dan. 4:17, 25, 32]
  • 8. 1 Chronicles 29:12
  • 9. Psalms 44:2
  • 10. Isaiah 41:8; James 2:23
  • 11. 2 Chronicles 6:28-30; 1 Kings 8:33, 37; [Ezekiel 14:21]
  • 12. [Ezra 10:1]
  • 13. 2 Chronicles 6:20
  • 14. ver. 1, 22, 23
  • 15. 2 Chronicles 25:11, 14; Genesis 32:3; Genesis 36:8
  • 16. Deut. 2:4, 5, 9, 19
  • 17. Numbers 20:21
  • 18. Ps. 83:6, 7, 12
  • 19. [1 Samuel 3:13]
  • 20. Psalms 25:15; Psalms 123:1, 2; Psalms 141:8
  • 21. See 2 Chronicles 15:1
  • 22. 2 Chronicles 32:7; [Deuteronomy 1:29, 30; Deuteronomy 31:6, 8]
  • 23. 1 Samuel 17:47
  • 24. Numbers 13:23
  • 25. [Exodus 14:13, 14]
  • 26. [See ver. 15 above]
  • 27. 2 Chronicles 15:2; 2 Chronicles 32:8; [Numbers 14:9]
  • 28. 2 Chronicles 29:29, 30; Exodus 4:31; Nehemiah 8:6
  • 29. Exodus 6:16, 18
  • 30. See 1 Chronicles 9:19
  • 31. [2 Samuel 14:2]
  • 32. Isaiah 7:9
  • 33. See 1 Chronicles 16:29
  • 34. See 1 Chronicles 16:34
  • 35. [2 Chronicles 13:13]
  • 36. ver. 10
  • 37. [Judges 7:22; 1 Samuel 14:20]
  • 38. Nehemiah 12:43
  • 39. 2 Chronicles 14:14; 2 Chronicles 17:10
  • 40. [2 Chronicles 14:6, 7; 2 Chronicles 15:15]
  • 41. For ver. 31-33, see 1 Kings 22:41-43
  • 42. [2 Chronicles 17:6]
  • 43. 2 Chronicles 12:14
  • 44. 2 Chronicles 19:2
  • 45. 1 Kings 16:1, 7
  • 46. 1 Kings 22:48, 49
  • 47. 2 Chronicles 9:21
  • 48. [2 Chronicles 19:2]

Footnotes 5

  • [a]. Compare 26:7; Hebrew Ammonites
  • [b]. One Hebrew manuscript; most Hebrew manuscripts Aram (Syria)
  • [c]. Or the sword of judgment
  • [d]. Hebrew they
  • [e]. Beracah means blessing

Chapter Summary


Jehoshaphat having notice of a numerous army coming against him, 2Ch 20:1,2, betakes himself to fasting and prayer with his people, 2Ch 20:3-13, when they were immediately assured of victory by a prophet, which filled them with joy and thankfulness, 2Ch 20:14-21, and accordingly their enemies destroyed one another, and Jehoshaphat and his people returned to Jerusalem rejoicing and praising God, 2Ch 20:22-30, and the chapter is closed with an account of the latter part of Jehoshaphat's reign, 2Ch 20:31-37.

2 Chronicles 20 Commentaries

The English Standard Version is published with the permission of Good News Publishers.