2 Chronicles 18; 2 Chronicles 19; 2 Chronicles 20

1 When King Jehoshaphat of Judah became rich and famous, he arranged a marriage between a member of his family and the family of King Ahab of Israel. 2 A number of years later Jehoshaphat went to the city of Samaria to visit Ahab. To honor Jehoshaphat and those with him, Ahab had a large number of sheep and cattle slaughtered for a feast. He tried to persuade Jehoshaphat to join him in attacking the city of Ramoth in Gilead. 3 He asked, "Will you go with me to attack Ramoth?" Jehoshaphat replied, "I am ready when you are, and so is my army. We will join you." 4 Then he added, "But first let's consult the Lord." 5 So Ahab called in the prophets, about four hundred of them, and asked them, "Should I go and attack Ramoth, or not?" "Attack it," they answered. "God will give you victory." 6 But Jehoshaphat asked, "Isn't there another prophet through whom we can consult the Lord?" 7 Ahab answered, "There is one more, Micaiah son of Imlah. But I hate him because he never prophesies anything good for me; it's always something bad." "You shouldn't say that!" Jehoshaphat replied. 8 So King Ahab called in a court official and told him to go and get Micaiah at once. 9 The two kings, dressed in their royal robes, were sitting on their thrones at the threshing place just outside the gate of Samaria, and all the prophets were prophesying in front of them. 10 One of them, Zedekiah son of Chenaanah, made iron horns and said to Ahab, "This is what the Lord says, "With these you will fight the Syrians and totally defeat them.' " 11 All the other prophets said the same thing. "March against Ramoth and you will win," they said. "The Lord will give you victory." 12 Meanwhile, the official who had gone to get Micaiah said to him, "All the other prophets have prophesied success for the king, and you had better do the same." 13 But Micaiah answered, "By the living Lord I will say what my God tells me to!" 14 When he appeared before King Ahab, the king asked him, "Micaiah, should King Jehoshaphat and I go and attack Ramoth, or not?" "Attack!" Micaiah answered. "Of course you'll win. The Lord will give you victory." 15 But Ahab replied, "When you speak to me in the name of the Lord, tell the truth! How many times do I have to tell you that?" 16 Micaiah answered, "I can see the army of Israel scattered over the hills like sheep without a shepherd. And the Lord said, "These men have no leader; let them go home in peace.' " 17 Ahab said to Jehoshaphat, "I told you that he never prophesies anything good for me; it's always something bad!" 18 Micaiah went on: "Now listen to what the Lord says! I saw the Lord sitting on his throne in heaven, with all his angels standing beside him. 19 The Lord asked, "Who will deceive Ahab so that he will go and get killed at Ramoth?' Some of the angels said one thing, and others said something else, 20 until a spirit stepped forward, approached the Lord, and said, "I will deceive him.' "How?' the Lord asked. 21 The spirit replied, "I will go and make all of Ahab's prophets tell lies.' The Lord said, "Go and deceive him. You will succeed.' " 22 And Micaiah concluded: "This is what has happened. The Lord has made these prophets of yours lie to you. But he himself has decreed that you will meet with disaster!" 23 Then the prophet Zedekiah went up to Micaiah, slapped his face, and asked, "Since when did the Lord's spirit leave me and speak to you?" 24 "You will find out when you go into some back room to hide," Micaiah replied. 25 Then King Ahab ordered one of his officers, "Arrest Micaiah and take him to Amon, the governor of the city, and to Prince Joash. 26 Tell them to throw him in prison and to put him on bread and water until I return safely." 27 "If you return safely," Micaiah exclaimed, "then the Lord has not spoken through me!" And he added, "Listen, everyone, to what I have said!" 28 Then King Ahab of Israel and King Jehoshaphat of Judah went to attack the city of Ramoth in Gilead. 29 Ahab said to Jehoshaphat, "As we go into battle, I will disguise myself, but you wear your royal garments." So the king of Israel went into battle in disguise. 30 The king of Syria had ordered his chariot commanders to attack no one else except the king of Israel. 31 So when they saw King Jehoshaphat, they all thought that he was the king of Israel, and they turned to attack him. But Jehoshaphat gave a shout, and the Lord God rescued him and turned the attack away from him. 32 The chariot commanders saw that he was not the king of Israel, so they stopped pursuing him. 33 By chance, however, a Syrian soldier shot an arrow which struck King Ahab between the joints of his armor. "I'm wounded!" he cried out to his chariot driver. "Turn around and pull out of the battle!" 34 While the battle raged on, King Ahab remained propped up in his chariot, facing the Syrians. At sunset he died.
1 King Jehoshaphat of Judah returned safely to his palace in Jerusalem. 2 A prophet, Jehu son of Hanani, went to meet the king and said to him, "Do you think it is right to help those who are wicked and to take the side of those who hate the Lord? What you have done has brought the Lord's anger on you. 3 But even so, there is some good in you. You have removed all the symbols of the goddess Asherah which people worshiped, and you have tried to follow God's will." 4 Even though King Jehoshaphat lived in Jerusalem, he traveled regularly among the people, from Beersheba in the south to the edge of the hill country of Ephraim in the north, in order to call the people back to the Lord, the God of their ancestors. 5 He appointed judges in each of the fortified cities of Judah 6 and instructed them: "Be careful in pronouncing judgment; you are not acting on human authority, but on the authority of the Lord, and he is with you when you pass sentence. 7 Honor the Lord and act carefully, because the Lord our God does not tolerate fraud or partiality or the taking of bribes." 8 In Jerusalem Jehoshaphat appointed Levites, priests, and some of the leading citizens as judges in cases involving a violation of the Law of the Lord or legal disputes between inhabitants of the city. 9 He gave them the following instructions: "You must perform your duties in reverence for the Lord, faithfully obeying him in everything you do. 10 Whenever your fellow citizens from any of the cities bring before you a case of homicide or any other violation of a law or commandment, you must instruct them carefully how to conduct themselves during the trial, so that they do not become guilty of sinning against the Lord. Unless you do, you and your fellow citizens will feel the force of the Lord's anger. But if you do your duty, you will not be guilty. 11 Amariah the High Priest will have final authority in all religious cases, and Zebadiah son of Ishmael, governor of Judah, will have final authority in all civil cases. The Levites have the responsibility of seeing that the decisions of the courts are carried out. Be courageous and carry out these instructions, and may the Lord be on the side of the right!"
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. 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. 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. 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!" 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.
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