Some time later the armies of Moab and Ammon, together with their allies, the Meunites, invaded Judah.
Some messengers came and announced to King Jehoshaphat: "A large army from Edom has come from the other side of the Dead Sea to attack you. They have already captured Hazazon Tamar." (This is another name for Engedi.)
Jehoshaphat was frightened and prayed to the Lord for guidance. Then he gave orders for a fast to be observed throughout the country.
From every city of Judah people hurried to Jerusalem to ask the Lord for guidance,
and they and the people of Jerusalem gathered in the new courtyard of the Temple. King Jehoshaphat went and stood before them
and prayed aloud, "O Lord God of our ancestors, you rule in heaven over all the nations of the world. You are powerful and mighty, and no one can oppose you.
You are our God. When your people Israel moved into this land, you drove out the people who were living here and gave the land to the descendants of Abraham, your friend, to be theirs forever. 1
They have lived here and have built a temple to honor you, knowing
that if any disaster struck them to punish them - a war, an epidemic, or a famine - then they could come and stand in front of this Temple where you are worshiped. They could pray to you in their trouble, and you would hear them and rescue them.
"Now the people of Ammon, Moab, and Edom have attacked us. When our ancestors came out of Egypt, you did not allow them to enter those lands, so our ancestors went around them and did not destroy them. 2
This is how they repay us - they come to drive us out of the land that you gave us.
You are our God! Punish them, for we are helpless in the face of this large army that is attacking us. We do not know what to do, but we look to you for help."
All the men of Judah, with their wives and children, were standing there at the Temple.
The spirit of the Lord came upon a Levite who was present in the crowd. His name was Jahaziel son of Zechariah; he was a member of the clan of Asaph and was descended from Asaph through Mattaniah, Jeiel, and Benaiah.
Jahaziel said, "Your Majesty and all you people of Judah and Jerusalem, the Lord says that you must not be discouraged or be afraid to face this large army. The battle depends on God, not on you. 3
Attack them tomorrow as they come up the pass at Ziz. You will meet them at the end of the valley that leads to the wild country near Jeruel.
You will not have to fight this battle. Just take up your positions and wait; you will see the Lord give you victory. People of Judah and Jerusalem, do not hesitate or be afraid. Go out to battle, and the Lord will be with you!" 4
Then King Jehoshaphat bowed low, with his face touching the ground, and all the people bowed with him and worshiped the Lord.
The members of the Levite clans of Kohath and Korah stood up and with a loud shout praised the Lord, the God of Israel.
Early the next morning the people went out to the wild country near Tekoa. As they were starting out, Jehoshaphat addressed them with these words: "People of Judah and Jerusalem! Put your trust in the Lord your God, and you will stand your ground. Believe what his prophets tell you, and you will succeed."
After consulting with the people, the king ordered some musicians to put on the robes they wore on sacred occasions and to march ahead of the army, singing: "Praise the Lord! His love is eternal!"
When they began to sing, the Lord threw the invading armies into a panic.
The Ammonites and the Moabites attacked the Edomite army and completely destroyed it, and then they turned on each other in savage fighting.
When the Judean army reached a tower that was in the desert, they looked toward the enemy and saw that they were all lying on the ground dead. Not one had escaped.
Jehoshaphat and his troops moved in to take the loot, and they found many cattle, supplies, clothing, and other valuable objects. They spent three days gathering the loot, but there was so much that they could not take everything.
On the fourth day they assembled in Beracah Valley and praised the Lord for all he had done. That is why the valley is called "Beracah."
Jehoshaphat led his troops back to Jerusalem in triumph, because the Lord had defeated their enemies.
When they reached the city, they marched to the Temple to the music of harps and trumpets.
Every nation that heard how the Lord had defeated Israel's enemies was terrified,
so Jehoshaphat ruled in peace, and God gave him security on every side.
Jehoshaphat had become king of Judah at the age of thirty-five and had ruled in Jerusalem for twenty-five years. His mother was Azubah, the daughter of Shilhi.
Like his father Asa before him, he did what was right in the sight of the Lord;
but the pagan places of worship were not destroyed. The people still did not turn wholeheartedly to the worship of the God of their ancestors.
Everything else that Jehoshaphat did, from the beginning of his reign to its end, is recorded in [The History of Jehu Son of Hanani,] which is a part of [The History of the Kings of Israel.]
At one time King Jehoshaphat of Judah made an alliance with King Ahaziah of Israel, who did many wicked things.
At the port of Eziongeber they built ocean-going ships.
But Eliezer son of Dodavahu, from the town of Mareshah, warned Jehoshaphat, "Because you have made an alliance with Ahaziah, the Lord will destroy what you have built." And the ships were wrecked and never sailed.