Bible Society of South Africa

To The Word – Day 147

2 Chronicles 17–21, Proverbs 14

Bible text(s)

Jehoshaphat Becomes King

1Jehoshaphat succeeded his father Asa as king and strengthened his position against Israel. 2He stationed troops in the fortified cities of Judah, in the Judean countryside, and in the cities which Asa had captured in the territory of Ephraim. 3The LORD blessed Jehoshaphat because he followed the example of his father's early life and did not worship Baal. 4He served his father's God, obeyed God's commands, and did not act in the way the kings of Israel did. 5The LORD gave Jehoshaphat firm control over the kingdom of Judah, and all the people brought him gifts, so that he became wealthy and highly honoured. 6He took pride in serving the LORD and destroyed all the pagan places of worship and the symbols of the goddess Asherah in Judah.

7In the third year of his reign he sent out the following officials to teach in the cities of Judah: Benhail, Obadiah, Zechariah, Nethanel, and Micaiah. 8They were accompanied by nine Levites and two priests. The Levites were Shemaiah, Nethaniah, Zebadiah, Asahel, Shemiramoth, Jehonathan, Adonijah, Tobijah, and Tobadonijah; and the priests were Elishama and Jehoram. 9They took the book of the Law of the LORD and went through all the towns of Judah, teaching it to the people.

Jehoshaphat's Greatness

10The LORD made all the surrounding kingdoms afraid to go to war against King Jehoshaphat. 11Some of the Philistines brought Jehoshaphat a large amount of silver and other gifts, and some Arabs brought him 7,700 sheep and 7,700 goats. 12So Jehoshaphat continued to grow more and more powerful. Throughout Judah he built fortifications and cities, 13where supplies were stored in huge amounts.

In Jerusalem he stationed outstanding officers, 14according to their clans. Adnah was the commander of the troops from the clans of Judah, and he had 300,000 soldiers under him. 15Second in rank was Jehohanan, with 280,000 soldiers, 16and third was Amasiah son of Zichri, with 200,000. (Amasiah had volunteered to serve the LORD.) 17The commander of the troops from the clans of Benjamin was Eliada, an outstanding soldier, in command of 200,000 men armed with shields and bows. 18His second in command was Jehozabad with 180,000 men, well equipped for battle. 19These men served the king in Jerusalem, and in addition he stationed other soldiers in the other fortified cities of Judah.

2 Chronicles 17GNBOpen in Bible reader

The Prophet Micaiah Warns Ahab

(1 Kgs 22.1–28)

1When 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. 2A number of years later Jehoshaphat went to the city of Samaria to visit Ahab. To honour 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. 3He 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.” 4Then he added, “But first let's consult the LORD.”

5So Ahab called in the prophets, about 400 of them, and asked them, “Should I go and attack Ramoth, or not?”

“Attack it,” they answered. “God will give you victory.”

6But Jehoshaphat asked, “Isn't there another prophet through whom we can consult the LORD?”

7Ahab 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.

8So King Ahab called in a court official and told him to go and fetch Micaiah at once.

9The 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. 10One 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.’ ” 11All the other prophets said the same thing. “March against Ramoth and you will win,” they said. “The LORD will give you victory.”

12Meanwhile, the official who had gone to fetch Micaiah said to him, “All the other prophets have prophesied success for the king, and you had better do the same.”

13But Micaiah answered, “By the living LORD, I will say what my God tells me to!”

14When 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.”

15But 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?”

16Micaiah 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.’ ”

17Ahab said to Jehoshaphat, “I told you that he never prophesies anything good for me; it's always something bad!”

18Micaiah 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. 19The 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, 20until a spirit stepped forward, approached the LORD, and said, ‘I will deceive him.’ ‘How?’ the LORD asked. 21The spirit replied, ‘I will go and make all Ahab's prophets tell lies.’ The LORD said, ‘Go and deceive him. You will succeed.’ ”

22And 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!”

23Then 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.

25Then King Ahab ordered one of his officers, “Arrest Micaiah and take him to Amon, the governor of the city, and to Prince Joash. 26Tell 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!”

The Death of Ahab

(1 Kgs 22.29–35)

28Then King Ahab of Israel and King Jehoshaphat of Judah went to attack the city of Ramoth in Gilead. 29Ahab 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.

30The king of Syria had ordered his chariot commanders to attack no one else except the king of Israel. 31So 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. 32The chariot commanders saw that he was not the king of Israel, so they stopped pursuing him. 33By chance, however, a Syrian soldier shot an arrow which struck King Ahab between the joints of his armour. “I'm wounded!” he cried out to his chariot driver. “Turn round and pull out of the battle!” 34While the battle raged on, King Ahab remained propped up in his chariot, facing the Syrians. At sunset he died.

2 Chronicles 18GNBOpen in Bible reader

A Prophet Reprimands Jehoshaphat

1King Jehoshaphat of Judah returned safely to his palace in Jerusalem. 2A 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. 3But even so, there is some good in you. You have removed all the symbols of the goddess Asherah which people worshipped, and you have tried to follow God's will.”

Jehoshaphat's Reforms

4Even though King Jehoshaphat lived in Jerusalem, he travelled 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. 5He appointed judges in each of the fortified cities of Judah 6and instructed them: “Be careful in pronouncing judgement; you are not acting on human authority, but on the authority of the LORD, and he is with you when you pass sentence. 7Honour the LORD and act carefully, because the LORD our God does not tolerate fraud or partiality or the taking of bribes.”

8In 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. 9He gave them the following instructions: “You must perform your duties in reverence for the LORD, faithfully obeying him in everything you do. 10Whenever 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. 11Amariah 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!”

2 Chronicles 19GNBOpen in Bible reader

War against Edom

1Some time later the armies of Moab and Ammon, together with their allies, the Meunites, invaded Judah. 2Some 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.) 3Jehoshaphat was frightened and prayed to the LORD for guidance. Then he gave orders for a fast to be observed throughout the country. 4From every city of Judah people hurried to Jerusalem to ask the LORD for guidance, 5and they and the people of Jerusalem gathered in the new courtyard of the Temple. King Jehoshaphat went and stood before them 6and 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. 7You 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 for ever. 8They have lived here and have built a temple to honour you, knowing 9that 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 worshipped. 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 round them and did not destroy them. 11This is how they repay us — they come to drive us out of the land that you gave us. 12You 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.”

13All the men of Judah, with their wives and children, were standing there at the Temple. 14The 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. 15Jahaziel 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. 16Attack 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. 17You 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!”

18Then King Jehoshaphat bowed low, with his face touching the ground, and all the people bowed with him and worshipped the LORD. 19The members of the Levite clans of Kohath and Korah stood up and with a loud shout praised the LORD, the God of Israel.

20Early 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 firm. Believe what his prophets tell you, and you will succeed.” 21After 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!”

22When they began to sing, the LORD threw the invading armies into a panic. 23The Ammonites and the Moabites attacked the Edomite army and completely destroyed it, and then they turned on each other in savage fighting. 24When the Judean army reached a tower that was in the desert, they looked towards the enemy and saw that they were all lying on the ground, dead. Not one had escaped.

25Jehoshaphat 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. 26On the fourth day they assembled in the Valley of Beracah and praised the LORD for all he had done. That is why the valley is called “Beracah”. 27Jehoshaphat led his troops back to Jerusalem in triumph, because the LORD had defeated their enemies. 28When they reached the city, they marched to the Temple, to the music of harps and trumpets. 29Every nation that heard how the LORD had defeated Israel's enemies was terrified, 30so Jehoshaphat ruled in peace, and God gave him security on every side.

The End of Jehoshaphat's Reign

(1 Kgs 22.41–50)

31Jehoshaphat had become king of Judah at the age of 35 and had ruled in Jerusalem for 25 years. His mother was Azubah, the daughter of Shilhi. 32Like his father Asa before him, he did what was right in the sight of the LORD; 33but the pagan places of worship were not destroyed. The people still did not turn wholeheartedly to the worship of the God of their ancestors.

34Everything 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.

35At one time King Jehoshaphat of Judah made an alliance with King Ahaziah of Israel, who did many wicked things. 36At the port of Eziongeber they built ocean-going ships. 37But 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.

2 Chronicles 20GNBOpen in Bible reader

1Jehoshaphat died and was buried in the royal tombs in David's City and his son Jehoram succeeded him as king.

King Jehoram of Judah

(2 Kgs 8.17–24)

2Jehoram son of King Jehoshaphat of Judah had six brothers: Azariah, Jehiel, Zechariah, Azariahu, Michael, and Shephatiah. 3Their father gave them large amounts of gold, silver, and other valuable possessions, and placed each one in charge of one of the fortified cities of Judah. But because Jehoram was the eldest, Jehoshaphat made him his successor. 4When Jehoram was in firm control of the kingdom, he had all his brothers killed, and also some Israelite officials.

5Jehoram became king at the age of 32, and he ruled in Jerusalem for eight years. 6He followed the wicked example of King Ahab and the other kings of Israel, because he had married one of Ahab's daughters. He sinned against the LORD, 7but the LORD was not willing to destroy the dynasty of David, because he had made a covenant with David and promised that his descendants would always continue to rule.

8During Jehoram's reign Edom revolted against Judah and became an independent kingdom. 9So Jehoram and his officers set out with chariots and invaded Edom. There the Edomite army surrounded them, but during the night they managed to break out and escape. 10Edom has been independent of Judah ever since. During this same period, the city of Libnah also revolted, because Jehoram had abandoned the LORD, the God of his ancestors. 11He even built pagan places of worship in the Judean highlands and led the people of Judah and Jerusalem to sin against the LORD.

12The prophet Elijah sent Jehoram a letter, which read as follows: “The LORD, the God of your ancestor David, condemns you, because you did not follow the example of your father, King Jehoshaphat, or that of your grandfather, King Asa. 13Instead, you have followed the example of the kings of Israel and have led the people of Judah and Jerusalem into being unfaithful to God, just as Ahab and his successors led Israel into unfaithfulness. You even murdered your brothers, who were better men than you are. 14As a result, the LORD will severely punish your people, your children, and your wives, and will destroy your possessions. 15You yourself will suffer a painful disease of the intestines that will grow worse day by day.”

16Some Philistines and Arabs lived near where some Ethiopians had settled along the coast. The LORD incited them to go to war against Jehoram. 17They invaded Judah, looted the royal palace, and carried off as prisoners all the king's wives and sons except Ahaziah, his youngest son.

18Then after all this, the LORD brought on the king a painful disease of the intestines. 19For almost two years it grew steadily worse until finally the king died in agony. His subjects did not light a bonfire in mourning for him as had been done for his ancestors.

20Jehoram had become king at the age of 32 and had ruled in Jerusalem for eight years. Nobody was sorry when he died. They buried him in David's City, but not in the royal tombs.

2 Chronicles 21GNBOpen in Bible reader

1Homes are made by the wisdom of women, but are destroyed by foolishness.

2Be honest and you show that you have reverence for the LORD; be dishonest and you show that you do not.

3Proud fools talk too much; the words of the wise protect them.

4Without any oxen to pull the plough your barn will be empty, but with them it will be full of corn.

5A reliable witness always tells the truth, but an unreliable one tells nothing but lies.

6Conceited people can never become wise, but intelligent people learn easily.

7Stay away from foolish people; they have nothing to teach you.

8Why is a clever person wise? Because he knows what to do. Why is a stupid person foolish? Because he only thinks he knows.

9Foolish people don't care if they sin, but good people want to be forgiven.

10Your joy is your own; your bitterness is your own. No one can share them with you.

11A good person's house will still be standing after an evildoer's house has been destroyed.

12What you think is the right road may lead to death.

13Laughter may hide sadness. When happiness is gone, sorrow is always there.

14Bad people will get what they deserve. Good people will be rewarded for their deeds.

15A fool will believe anything; sensible people watch their step.

16Wise people are careful to stay out of trouble, but stupid people are careless and act too quickly.

17People with a hot temper do foolish things; wiser people remain calm.

18Ignorant people get what their foolishness deserves, but the clever are rewarded with knowledge.

19Evil people will have to bow down to the righteous and humbly beg their favour.

20No one likes the poor, not even their neighbours, but the rich have many friends.

21If you want to be happy, be kind to the poor; it is a sin to despise anyone.

22You will earn the trust and respect of others if you work for good; if you work for evil, you are making a mistake.

23Work and you will earn a living; if you sit around talking you will be poor.

24Wise people are rewarded with wealth, but fools are known by their foolishness.

25A witness saves lives when he tells the truth; when he tells lies, he betrays people.

26Reverence for the LORD gives confidence and security to a man and his family.

27Do you want to avoid death? Reverence for the LORD is a fountain of life.

28A king's greatness depends on how many people he rules; without them he is nothing.

29If you stay calm, you are wise, but if you have a hot temper, you only show how stupid you are.

30Peace of mind makes the body healthy, but jealousy is like a cancer.

31If you oppress poor people, you insult the God who made them; but kindness shown to the poor is an act of worship.

32Wicked people bring about their own downfall by their evil deeds, but good people are protected by their integrity.

33Wisdom is in every thought of intelligent people; fools know nothing about wisdom.

34Righteousness makes a nation great; sin is a disgrace to any nation.

35Kings are pleased with competent officials, but they punish those who fail them.

Proverbs 14GNBOpen in Bible reader
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