2 Chronicles 19 – Jehu’s Rebuke
A. The goodness of God to Jehoshaphat.
1. (1) He returns safely after the battle.
Then Jehoshaphat the king of Judah returned safely to his house in Jerusalem.
a. Then Jehoshaphat the king of Judah returned safely: This was the mercy of God. Jehoshaphat, clothed in the robes of the king and targeted for death by the army of Syria, should have been killed in battle. Yet he cried out to the LORD and was preserved, returning safely to his house in Jerusalem.
i. “The fact that Jehoshaphat reached home safely is significant. It contrasts his fate with Ahab’s, and testifies to God’s grace given to a person who was almost destroyed by undiscerning folly.” (Selman)
2. (2-3) God rebukes Jehoshaphat through Jehu the prophet.
And Jehu the son of Hanani the seer went out to meet him, and said to King Jehoshaphat, “Should you help the wicked and love those who hate the LORD? Therefore the wrath of the LORD is upon you. Nevertheless good things are found in you, in that you have removed the wooden images from the land, and have prepared your heart to seek God.”
a. Jehu the son of Hanani: His father was a brave prophet, speaking to King Asa. The son Jehu also prophesied to Baasha the king of Israel (1 Kings 16:1, 16:7).
b. Should you help the wicked and love those who hate the LORD? Jehu exposed the sin of too much love in Jehoshaphat. He professed to love God, but he also demonstrated love to those who hate the LORD. He should never have entered his personal and military alliances with Ahab and the kingdom of Israel.
i. Jehoshaphat should have read and considered Psalm 97:10: You who love the LORD, hate evil!
ii. “Love and hate in this context are formal terms for actions within a covenant or treaty relationship rather than emotional feelings, and help is a typical Chronicles expression for formal support.” (Selman)
c. Nevertheless good things are found in you: God did not want Jehoshaphat to be crushed by the rebuke through the words of Jehu, so He included a word of encouragement.
· That you have removed the wooden images from the land: God knew that Jehoshaphat did not approve of all evil, so He encouraged the king in the places where he did hate evil and refuse compromise.
· And have prepared your heart to seek God: Not only did Jehoshaphat seek God, but he also prepared his heart to do so. This demonstrated the high priority Jehoshaphat placed on seeking God.
i. “And this work of preparing or directing his heart is here ascribed to Jehoshaphat, as elsewhere it is attributed to God, Proverbs 16:1; Philippians 2:13, because it is man’s action, but performed by God’s grace, preventing, enabling, and inclining him to do it.” (Poole)
B. Jehoshaphat’s response.
1. (4) Jehoshaphat furthers godliness in the kingdom of Judah.
So Jehoshaphat dwelt at Jerusalem; and he went out again among the people from Beersheba to the mountains of Ephraim, and brought them back to the LORD God of their fathers.
a. So Jehoshaphat dwelt at Jerusalem: This means that he restricted his adventures abroad. He no longer went to the northern kingdom of Israel and was content to stay where he should.
b. And brought them back to the LORD God of their fathers: The wording implies that Jehoshaphat did this personally (he went out again). This was a wonderful personal work in the cause of godliness on behalf of the king of Judah.
i. “These itinerant campaigns have no real equivalent in the Old Testament, and the prophets, even though they travelled about, were not involved in systematic teaching of the word of God. The nearest parallel is in the New Testament, in Jesus’ own itinerant ministry.” (Selman)
2. (5-11) The judicial reforms of Jehoshaphat.
Then he set judges in the land throughout all the fortified cities of Judah, city by city, and said to the judges, “Take heed to what you are doing, for you do not judge for man but for the LORD, who is with you in the judgment. Now therefore, let the fear of the LORD be upon you; take care and do it, for there is no iniquity with the LORD our God, no partiality, nor taking of bribes.” Moreover in Jerusalem, for the judgment of the LORD and for controversies, Jehoshaphat appointed some of the Levites and priests, and some of the chief fathers of Israel, when they returned to Jerusalem. And he commanded them, saying, “Thus you shall act in the fear of the LORD, faithfully and with a loyal heart: Whatever case comes to you from your brethren who dwell in their cities, whether of bloodshed or offenses against law or commandment, against statutes or ordinances, you shall warn them, lest they trespass against the LORD and wrath come upon you and your brethren. Do this, and you will not be guilty. And take notice: Amariah the chief priest is over you in all matters of the LORD; and Zebadiah the son of Ishmael, the ruler of the house of Judah, for all the king’s matters; also the Levites will be officials before you. Behave courageously, and the LORD will be with the good.”
a. Take heed to what you are doing, for you do not judge for man but for the LORD, who is with you in the judgment: This was a high and appropriate charge to the judges of Judah. We can understand the interest the Chronicler had in including this material not recorded in 1 or 2 Kings, using the example of Jehoshaphat as an encouragement to the leaders of the rebuilding community of Jerusalem and Judah after the exile.
i. “A very solemn and very necessary caution: judges should feel themselves in the place of God, and judge as those who know they shall be judged for their judgments.” (Clarke)
b. Behave courageously, and the LORD will be with the good: The prominent theme of courageous obedience is repeated again. It was the job of the judges to courageously do what was good, and to then trust that the LORD will be with the good.
i. “WITHOUT good and wholesome laws, no nation can be prosperous; and vain are the best laws if they be not judiciously and conscientiously administered.” (Clarke)