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2 Chronicles 18; 2 Chronicles 19; 2 Chronicles 20

1 Jehoshaphat had much wealth and honor, and he made an agree- ment with King Ahab through marriage. 2 A few years later Jehoshaphat went to visit Ahab in Samaria. Ahab sacrificed many sheep and cattle as a great feast to honor Jehoshaphat and the people with him. He encouraged Jehoshaphat to attack Ramoth in Gilead. 3 Ahab king of Israel asked Jehoshaphat king of Judah, "Will you go with me to attack Ramoth in Gilead?" Jehoshaphat answered, "I will go with you, and my soldiers are yours. We will join you in the battle." 4 Jehoshaphat also said to Ahab, "But first we should ask if this is the Lord's will." 5 So King Ahab called four hundred prophets together and asked them, "Should we go to war against Ramoth in Gilead or not?" They answered, "Go, because God will hand them over to you." 6 But Jehoshaphat asked, "Isn't there a prophet of the Lord here? Let's ask him what we should do." 7 Then King Ahab said to Jehoshaphat, "There is one other prophet. We could ask the Lord through him, but I hate him. He never prophesies anything good about me, but always something bad. He is Micaiah son of Imlah." Jehoshaphat said, "King Ahab, you shouldn't say that!" 8 So Ahab king of Israel told one of his officers to bring Micaiah to him at once. 9 Ahab king of Israel and Jehoshaphat king of Judah had on their royal robes and were sitting on their thrones at the threshing floor, near the entrance to the gate of Samaria. All the prophets were standing before them speaking their messages. 10 Zedekiah son of Kenaanah had made some iron horns. He said to Ahab, "This is what the Lord says: 'You will use these horns to fight the Arameans until they are destroyed.'" 11 All the other prophets said the same thing, "Attack Ramoth in Gilead and win, because the Lord will hand the Arameans over to you." 12 The messenger who had gone to get Micaiah said to him, "All the other prophets are saying King Ahab will win. You should agree with them and give the king a good answer." 13 But Micaiah answered, "As surely as the Lord lives, I can tell him only what my God says." 14 When Micaiah came to Ahab, the king asked him, "Micaiah, should we attack Ramoth in Gilead or not?" Micaiah answered, "Attack and win! They will be handed over to you." 15 But Ahab said to Micaiah, "How many times do I have to tell you to speak only the truth to me in the name of the Lord?" 16 So Micaiah answered, "I saw the army of Israel scattered over the hills like sheep without a shepherd. The Lord said, 'They have no leaders. They should go home and not fight.'" 17 Then Ahab king of Israel said to Jehoshaphat, "I told you! He never prophesies anything good about me, but only bad." 18 But Micaiah said, "Hear the message from the Lord: I saw the Lord sitting on his throne with his heavenly army standing on his right and on his left. 19 The Lord said, 'Who will trick King Ahab of Israel into attacking Ramoth in Gilead where he will be killed?' "Some said one thing; some said another. 20 Then one spirit came and stood before the Lord and said, 'I will trick him.' "The Lord asked, 'How will you do it?' 21 "The spirit answered, 'I will go to Ahab's prophets and make them tell lies.' "So the Lord said, 'You will succeed in tricking him. Go and do it.'" 22 Micaiah said, "Ahab, the Lord has made your prophets lie to you, and the Lord has decided that disaster should come to you." 23 Then Zedekiah son of Kenaanah went up to Micaiah and slapped him in the face. Zedekiah said, "Has the Lord's Spirit left me to speak through you?" 24 Micaiah answered, "You will find out on the day you go to hide in an inside room." 25 Then Ahab king of Israel ordered, "Take Micaiah and send him to Amon, the governor of the city, and to Joash, the king's son. 26 Tell them I said to put this man in prison and give him only bread and water until I return safely from the battle." 27 Micaiah said, "Ahab, if you come back safely from the battle, the Lord has not spoken through me. Remember my words, all you people!" 28 So Ahab king of Israel and Jehoshaphat king of Judah went to Ramoth in Gilead. 29 King Ahab said to Jehoshaphat, "I will go into battle, but I will wear other clothes so no one will recognize me. But you wear your royal clothes." So Ahab wore other clothes, and they went into battle. 30 The king of Aram ordered his chariot commanders, "Don't fight with anyone -- important or unimportant -- except the king of Israel." 31 When these commanders saw Jehoshaphat, they thought he was the king of Israel, so they turned to attack him. But Jehoshaphat began shouting, and the Lord helped him. God made the chariot commanders turn away from Jehoshaphat. 32 When they saw he was not King Ahab, they stopped chasing him. 33 By chance, a soldier shot an arrow which hit Ahab king of Israel between the pieces of his armor. King Ahab said to his chariot driver, "Turn around and get me out of the battle, because I am hurt!" 34 The battle continued all day. King Ahab held himself up in his chariot and faced the Arameans until evening. Then he died at sunset.
1 Jehoshaphat king of Judah came back safely to his palace in Jerusalem. 2 Jehu son of Hanani, a seer, went out to meet him and said to the king, "Why did you help evil people? Why do you love those who hate the Lord? That is the reason the Lord is angry with you. 3 But there is some good in you. You took the Asherah idols out of this country, and you have tried to obey God." 4 Jehoshaphat lived in Jerusalem. He went out again to be with the people, from Beersheba to the mountains of Ephraim, and he turned them back to the Lord, the God of their ancestors. 5 Jehoshaphat appointed judges in all the land, in each of the strong, walled cities of Judah. 6 Jehoshaphat said to them, "Watch what you do, because you are not judging for people but for the Lord. He will be with you when you make a decision. 7 Now let each of you fear the Lord. Watch what you do, because the Lord our God wants people to be fair. He wants all people to be treated the same, and he doesn't want decisions influenced by money." 8 And in Jerusalem Jehoshaphat appointed some of the Levites, priests, and leaders of Israelite families to be judges. They were to decide cases about the law of the Lord and settle problems between the people who lived in Jerusalem. 9 Jehoshaphat commanded them, "You must always serve the Lord completely, and you must fear him. 10 Your people living in the cities will bring you cases about killing, about the teachings, commands, rules, or some other law. In all these cases you must warn the people not to sin against the Lord. If you don't, he will be angry with you and your people. But if you warn them, you won't be guilty. 11 "Amariah, the leading priest, will be over you in all cases about the Lord. Zebadiah son of Ishmael, a leader in the tribe of Judah, will be over you in all cases about the king. Also, the Levites will serve as officers for you. Have courage. May the Lord be with those who do what is right."
1 Later the Moabites, Ammonites, and some Meunites came to start a war with Jehoshaphat. 2 Messengers came and told Jehoshaphat, "A large army is coming against you from Edom, from the other side of the Dead Sea. They are already in Hazazon Tamar!" (Hazazon Tamar is also called En Gedi.) 3 Jehoshaphat was afraid, so he decided to ask the Lord what to do. He announced that no one in Judah should eat during this special time of prayer to God. 4 The people of Judah came together to ask the Lord for help; they came from every town in Judah. 5 The people of Judah and Jerusalem met in front of the new courtyard in the Temple of the Lord. Then Jehoshaphat stood up, 6 and he said, "Lord, God of our ancestors, you are the God in heaven. You rule over all the kingdoms of the nations. You have power and strength, so no one can stand against you. 7 Our God, you forced out the people who lived in this land as your people Israel moved in. And you gave this land forever to the descendants of your friend Abraham. 8 They lived in this land and built a Temple for you. They said, 9 'If trouble comes upon us, or war, punishment, sickness, or hunger, we will stand before you and before this Temple where you have chosen to be worshiped. We will cry out to you when we are in trouble. Then you will hear and save us.' 10 "But now here are men from Ammon, Moab, and Edom. You wouldn't let the Israelites enter their lands when the Israelites came from Egypt. So the Israelites turned away and did not destroy them. 11 But see how they repay us for not destroying them! They have come to force us out of your land, which you gave us as our own. 12 Our God, punish those people. We have no power against this large army that is attacking us. We don't know what to do, so we look to you for help." 13 All the men of Judah stood before the Lord with their babies, wives, and children. 14 Then the Spirit of the Lord entered Jahaziel. (Jahaziel was Zechariah's son. Zechariah was Benaiah's son. Benaiah was Jeiel's son, and Jeiel was Mattaniah's son.) Jahaziel, a Levite and a descendant of Asaph, stood up in the meeting. 15 He said, "Listen to me, King Jehoshaphat and all you people living in Judah and Jerusalem. The Lord says this to you: 'Don't be afraid or discouraged because of this large army. The battle is not your battle, it is God's. 16 Tomorrow go down there and fight those people. They will come up through the Pass of Ziz. You will find them at the end of the ravine that leads to the Desert of Jeruel. 17 You won't need to fight in this battle. Just stand strong in your places, and you will see the Lord save you. Judah and Jerusalem, don't be afraid or discouraged, because the Lord is with you. So go out against those people tomorrow.'" 18 Jehoshaphat bowed facedown on the ground. All the people of Judah and Jerusalem bowed down before the Lord and worshiped him. 19 Then some Levites from the Kohathite and Korahite people stood up and praised the Lord, the God of Israel, with very loud voices. 20 Jehoshaphat's army went out into the Desert of Tekoa early in the morning. As they were starting out, Jehoshaphat stood and said, "Listen to me, people of Judah and Jerusalem. Have faith in the Lord your God, and you will stand strong. Have faith in his prophets, and you will succeed." 21 Jehoshaphat listened to the people's advice. Then he chose men to be singers to the Lord, to praise him because he is holy and wonderful. As they marched in front of the army, they said, "Thank the Lord, because his love continues forever." 22 As they began to sing and praise God, the Lord set ambushes for the people of Ammon, Moab, and Edom who had come to attack Judah. And they were defeated. 23 The Ammonites and Moabites attacked the Edomites, destroying them completely. After they had killed the Edomites, they killed each other. 24 When the men from Judah came to a place where they could see the desert, they looked at the enemy's large army. But they only saw dead bodies lying on the ground; no one had escaped. 25 When Jehoshaphat and his army came to take their valuables, they found many supplies, much clothing, and other valuable things. There was more than they could carry away; there was so much it took three days to gather it all. 26 On the fourth day Jehoshaphat and his army met in the Valley of Beracah and praised the Lord. That is why that place has been called the Valley of Beracahn to this day. 27 Then Jehoshaphat led all the men from Judah and Jerusalem back to Jerusalem. The Lord had made them happy because their enemies were defeated. 28 They entered Jerusalem with harps, lyres, and trumpets and went to the Temple of the Lord. 29 When all the kingdoms of the lands around them heard how the Lord had fought Israel's enemies, they feared God. 30 So Jehoshaphat's kingdom was not at war. His God gave him peace from all the countries around him. 31 Jehoshaphat ruled over the country of Judah. He was thirty-five years old when he became king, and he ruled in Jerusalem for twenty-five years. His mother's name was Azubah daughter of Shilhi. 32 Jehoshaphat was good like his father Asa, and he did what the Lord said was right. 33 But the places where gods were worshiped were not removed, and the people did not really want to follow the God of their ancestors. 34 The other things Jehoshaphat did as king, from the beginning to the end, are written in the records of Jehu son of Hanani, which are in the book of the kings of Israel. 35 Later, Jehoshaphat king of Judah made a treaty with Ahaziah king of Israel, which was a wrong thing to do. 36 Jehoshaphat agreed with Ahaziah to build trading ships, which they built in the town of Ezion Geber. 37 Then Eliezer son of Dodavahu from the town of Mareshah spoke against Jehoshaphat. He said, "Jehoshaphat, because you joined with Ahaziah, the Lord will destroy what you have made." The ships were wrecked so they could not sail out to trade.
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