Jehoshaphat defeats Moab and Ammon
1After this, the Moabites and Ammonites with some of the Meunites#20:1 Some Septuagint manuscripts; Hebrew Ammonites came to wage war against Jehoshaphat.
2Some people came and told Jehoshaphat, ‘A vast army is coming against you from Edom,#20:2 One Hebrew manuscript; most Hebrew manuscripts, Septuagint and Vulgate Aram from the other side of the Dead Sea. It is already in Hazezon Tamar’ (that is, En Gedi). 3Alarmed, Jehoshaphat resolved to enquire of the Lord, and he proclaimed a fast for all Judah. 4The people of Judah came together to seek help from the Lord; indeed, they came from every town in Judah to seek him.
5Then Jehoshaphat stood up in the assembly of Judah and Jerusalem at the temple of the Lord in the front of the new courtyard 6and said:
‘Lord, the God of our ancestors, are you not the God who is in heaven? You rule over all the kingdoms of the nations. Power and might are in your hand, and no-one can withstand you. 7Our God, did you not drive out the inhabitants of this land before your people Israel and give it for ever to the descendants of Abraham your friend? 8They have lived in it and have built in it a sanctuary for your Name, saying, 9“If calamity comes upon us, whether the sword of judgment, or plague or famine, we will stand in your presence before this temple that bears your Name and will cry out to you in our distress, and you will hear us and save us.”
10‘But now here are men from Ammon, Moab and Mount Seir, whose territory you would not allow Israel to invade when they came from Egypt; so they turned away from them and did not destroy them. 11See how they are repaying us by coming to drive us out of the possession you gave us as an inheritance. 12Our God, will you not judge them? For we have no power to face this vast army that is attacking us. We do not know what to do, but our eyes are on you.’
13All the men of Judah, with their wives and children and little ones, stood there before the Lord.
14Then the Spirit of the Lord came on Jahaziel son of Zechariah, the son of Benaiah, the son of Jeiel, the son of Mattaniah, a Levite and descendant of Asaph, as he stood in the assembly.
15He said: ‘Listen, King Jehoshaphat and all who live in Judah and Jerusalem! This is what the Lord says to you: “Do not be afraid or discouraged because of this vast army. For the battle is not yours, but God’s. 16Tomorrow march down against them. They will be climbing up by the Pass of Ziz, and you will find them at the end of the gorge in the Desert of Jeruel. 17You will not have to fight this battle. Take up your positions; stand firm and see the deliverance the Lord will give you, Judah and Jerusalem. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged. Go out to face them tomorrow, and the Lord will be with you.” ’
18Jehoshaphat bowed down with his face to the ground, and all the people of Judah and Jerusalem fell down in worship before the Lord. 19Then some Levites from the Kohathites and Korahites stood up and praised the Lord, the God of Israel, with a very loud voice.
20Early in the morning they left for the Desert of Tekoa. As they set out, Jehoshaphat stood and said, ‘Listen to me, Judah and people of Jerusalem! Have faith in the Lord your God and you will be upheld; have faith in his prophets and you will be successful.’ 21After consulting the people, Jehoshaphat appointed men to sing to the Lord and to praise him for the splendour of his#20:21 Or him with the splendour of holiness as they went out at the head of the army, saying:
‘Give thanks to the Lord,
for his love endures for ever.’
22As they began to sing and praise, the Lord set ambushes against the men of Ammon and Moab and Mount Seir who were invading Judah, and they were defeated. 23The Ammonites and Moabites rose up against the men from Mount Seir to destroy and annihilate them. After they finished slaughtering the men from Seir, they helped to destroy one another.
24When the men of Judah came to the place that overlooks the desert and looked towards the vast army, they saw only dead bodies lying on the ground; no-one had escaped. 25So Jehoshaphat and his men went to carry off their plunder, and they found among them a great amount of equipment and clothing#20:25 Some Hebrew manuscripts and Vulgate; most Hebrew manuscripts corpses and also articles of value – more than they could take away. There was so much plunder that it took three days to collect it. 26On the fourth day they assembled in the Valley of Berakah, where they praised the Lord. This is why it is called the Valley of Berakah#20:26 Berakah means praise. to this day.
27Then, led by Jehoshaphat, all the men of Judah and Jerusalem returned joyfully to Jerusalem, for the Lord had given them cause to rejoice over their enemies. 28They entered Jerusalem and went to the temple of the Lord with harps and lyres and trumpets.
29The fear of God came on all the surrounding kingdoms when they heard how the Lord had fought against the enemies of Israel. 30And the kingdom of Jehoshaphat was at peace, for his God had given him rest on every side.
The end of Jehoshaphat’s reign
31So Jehoshaphat reigned over Judah. He was thirty-five years old when he became king of Judah, and he reigned in Jerusalem for twenty-five years. His mother’s name was Azubah daughter of Shilhi. 32He followed the ways of his father Asa and did not stray from them; he did what was right in the eyes of the Lord. 33The high places, however, were not removed, and the people still had not set their hearts on the God of their ancestors.
34The other events of Jehoshaphat’s reign, from beginning to end, are written in the annals of Jehu son of Hanani, which are recorded in the book of the kings of Israel.
35Later, Jehoshaphat king of Judah made an alliance with Ahaziah king of Israel, whose ways were wicked. 36He agreed with him to construct a fleet of trading ships.#20:36 Hebrew of ships that could go to Tarshish After these were built at Ezion Geber, 37Eliezer son of Dodavahu of Mareshah prophesied against Jehoshaphat, saying, ‘Because you have made an alliance with Ahaziah, the Lord will destroy what you have made.’ The ships were wrecked and were not able to set sail to trade.#20:37 Hebrew sail for Tarshish