2 Chronicles 20

1 Some time later the armies of Moab and Ammon, together with their allies, the Meunites, invaded Judah.
2 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.)
3 Jehoshaphat was frightened and prayed to the Lord for guidance. Then he gave orders for a fast to be observed throughout the country.
4 From every city of Judah people hurried to Jerusalem to ask the Lord for guidance,
5 and they and the people of Jerusalem gathered in the new courtyard of the Temple. King Jehoshaphat went and stood before them
6 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.
7 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
8 They have lived here and have built a temple to honor you, knowing
9 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.
10 "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
11 This is how they repay us - they come to drive us out of the land that you gave us.
12 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."
13 All the men of Judah, with their wives and children, were standing there at the Temple.
14 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.
15 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
16 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.
17 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
18 Then King Jehoshaphat bowed low, with his face touching the ground, and all the people bowed with him and worshiped the Lord.
19 The members of the Levite clans of Kohath and Korah stood up and with a loud shout praised the Lord, the God of Israel.
20 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."
21 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!"
22 When they began to sing, the Lord threw the invading armies into a panic.
23 The Ammonites and the Moabites attacked the Edomite army and completely destroyed it, and then they turned on each other in savage fighting.
24 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.
25 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.
26 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."
27 Jehoshaphat led his troops back to Jerusalem in triumph, because the Lord had defeated their enemies.
28 When they reached the city, they marched to the Temple to the music of harps and trumpets.
29 Every nation that heard how the Lord had defeated Israel's enemies was terrified,
30 so Jehoshaphat ruled in peace, and God gave him security on every side.
31 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.
32 Like his father Asa before him, he did what was right in the sight of the Lord;
33 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.
34 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.]
35 At one time King Jehoshaphat of Judah made an alliance with King Ahaziah of Israel, who did many wicked things.
36 At the port of Eziongeber they built ocean-going ships.
37 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.

Images for 2 Chronicles 20

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 4

  • 1. 20.7Isaiah 41.8;James 2.23.
  • 2. 20.10Deuteronomy 2.4-19.
  • 3. 20.15-17Deuteronomy 20.1-4.
  • 4. 20.17Exodus 14.13, 14.

Footnotes 4

  • [a]. [One ancient translation] Meunites; [Hebrew] Ammonites.
  • [b]. struck . . . war; [or] struck them--a devastating war.
  • [c]. [One ancient translation] cattle; [Hebrew] among them.
  • [d]. beracah: [This name in Hebrew means "praise."]

Chapter Summary

INTRODUCTION TO 2 CHRONICLES 20

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