King Jehoshaphat Defeats Judah’s Enemies
1Later the Moabites, Ammonites, and some of the Meunites #20:1 Greek; Masoretic Text “and some of the Ammonites.” came to wage war against Jehoshaphat. 2Some men reported to Jehoshaphat, “A large crowd is coming against you from the other side of the Dead Sea, from Edom.#20:2 One Hebrew manuscript, Latin; other Hebrew manuscripts “Aram.” The crowd is already in Hazazon Tamar” (also called En Gedi).
3Frightened, Jehoshaphat decided to ask for the Lord’s help. He announced a fast throughout Judah. 4The people of Judah gathered to seek the Lord’s help. They came from every city in Judah.
5In the new courtyard at the Lord’s temple, Jehoshaphat stood in front of the people. 6He said, “Lord God of our ancestors, aren’t you the God in heaven? You rule all the kingdoms of the nations. You possess power and might, and no one can oppose you. 7Didn’t you, our God, force those who were living in this country out of Israel’s way? Didn’t you give this country to the descendants of your friend Abraham to have permanently? 8His descendants have lived in it and built a holy temple for your name in it. They said, 9‘If evil comes in the form of war, flood,#20:9 Greek; Masoretic Text “judgment.” plague, or famine, we will stand in front of this temple and in front of you because your name is in this temple. We will cry out to you in our troubles, and you will hear us and save us.’
10“The Ammonites, Moabites, and the people of Mount Seir have come here. However, you didn’t let Israel invade them when they came out of Egypt. The Israelites turned away from them and didn’t destroy them. 11They are now paying us back by coming to force us out of your land that you gave to us. 12You’re our God. Won’t you judge them? We don’t have the strength to face this large crowd that is attacking us. We don’t know what to do, so we’re looking to you.”
13All the people from Judah, their infants, wives, and children were standing in front of the Lord. 14Then the Lord’s Spirit came to Jahaziel. (He was the son of Zechariah, grandson of Benaiah, great-grandson of Jeiel, whose father was Mattaniah, a Levite descended from Asaph.) 15Jahaziel said, “Pay attention to me, everyone from Judah, everyone living in Jerusalem, and King Jehoshaphat. This is what the Lord says to you: Don’t be frightened or terrified by this large crowd. The battle isn’t yours. It’s God’s. 16Tomorrow go into battle against them. They will be coming up the Ziz Pass. You will find them at the end of the valley in front of the Jeruel Desert. 17You won’t fight this battle. ⌞Instead,⌟ take your position, stand still, and see the victory of the Lord for you, Judah and Jerusalem. Don’t be frightened or terrified. Tomorrow go out to face them. The Lord is with you.”
18Jehoshaphat bowed down with his face touching the ground. Everyone from Judah and the people who lived in Jerusalem immediately bowed down in front of the Lord. 19The Levites, descendants of Kohath and Korah, stood up to praise the Lord God of Israel with very loud songs.
20They got up early in the morning and went to the desert of Tekoa. As they were leaving, Jehoshaphat stopped and said, “Listen to me, people of Judah and those living in Jerusalem. Trust the Lord your God, and believe. Believe his prophets, and you will succeed.”
21After he had advised the people, he appointed people to sing to the Lord and praise him for the beauty of his holiness. As they went in front of the troops, they sang, “Thank the Lord because his mercy endures forever!” 22As they started to sing praises, the Lord set ambushes against the Ammonites, Moabites, and the people of Mount Seir who had come into Judah. They were defeated. 23Then the Ammonites and Moabites attacked the people from Mount Seir and annihilated them. After they had finished off the people of Seir, they helped destroy one another.
24The people of Judah went to the watchtower in the desert and looked for the crowd. Corpses were lying on the ground. No one had escaped. 25When Jehoshaphat and his troops came to take the loot, they found among them a lot of goods, clothes,#20:25 Latin; Masoretic Text “corpses.” and valuables. They found more than they could carry. They spent three days collecting the loot. 26On the fourth day they gathered in the valley of Beracah. Because they thanked the Lord there, that place is still called the valley of Beracah [Thanks] today.
27All the men of Judah and Jerusalem returned to Jerusalem. They rejoiced while Jehoshaphat led them. The Lord gave them a reason to rejoice about ⌞what had happened to⌟ their enemies. 28So they brought harps, lyres, and trumpets to the Lord’s temple in Jerusalem.
29The fear of the Lord came over the kingdoms in that area when they heard how the Lord waged war against Israel’s enemies. 30Jehoshaphat’s kingdom was peaceful, since his God surrounded him with peace.
Summary of Jehoshaphat’s Reign
(1 Kings 22:41–50)
31Jehoshaphat ruled as king of Judah. He was 35 years old when he began to rule, and he ruled for 25 years in Jerusalem. His mother’s name was Azubah, daughter of Shilhi. 32Jehoshaphat carefully followed the example his father Asa had set and did what the Lord considered right. 33But the illegal worship sites on the hills were not torn down. The people still didn’t have their hearts set on the God of their ancestors.
34Everything else about Jehoshaphat from first to last is written in the records of Jehu, son of Hanani, which is included in the Book of the Kings of Israel.
35After this, King Jehoshaphat of Judah allied himself with King Ahaziah of Israel, who led him to do evil. 36Jehoshaphat joined him in making ships to go to Tarshish. They made the ships in Ezion Geber. 37Then Eliezer, son of Dodavahu from Mareshah, prophesied against Jehoshaphat. He said, “The Lord will destroy your work because you have allied yourself with Ahaziah.” So the ships were wrecked and couldn’t go to Tarshish.