Moab and Ammon are defeated
1Some time later, the armies of Moab and Ammon, together with the Meunites,#20.1 Meunites: One ancient translation (see also 26.7); Hebrew “Ammonites”. went to war against Jehoshaphat. 2Messengers told Jehoshaphat, “A large army from Edom#20.2 Edom: The Hebrew text has “Syria”; in Hebrew there is only one letter difference between “Edom” and “Aram”, which is the usual Hebrew name for Syria in the Bible. east of the Dead Sea has invaded our country. They have already reached En-Gedi.”#20.2 En-Gedi: The Hebrew text has “Hazazon-Tamar, also known as En-Gedi”, a city on the west shore of the Dead Sea, about forty kilometres south-east of Jerusalem.
3Jehoshaphat was afraid, so he asked the Lord what to do. He then told the people of Judah to go without eating to show their sorrow. 4They immediately left for Jerusalem to ask for the Lord's help.
5After everyone from Judah and Jerusalem had come together at the Lord's temple, Jehoshaphat stood in front of the new courtyard 6and prayed:
You, Lord, are the God our ancestors worshipped, and from heaven you rule every nation in the world. You are so powerful that no one can defeat you. 7#Isa 41.8Jam 2.23Our God, you forced out the nations who lived in this land before your people Israel came here, and you gave it to the descendants of your friend Abraham for ever. 8Our ancestors lived in this land and built a temple to honour you. 9They believed that whenever this land is struck by war or disease or famine, your people can pray to you at the temple, and you will hear their prayer and save them.
10 # Deut 2.4–19 You can see that the armies of Ammon, Moab, and Edom are attacking us! Those are the nations you would not let our ancestors invade on their way from Egypt, so these nations were not destroyed. 11Now they are coming to take back the land you gave us. 12Aren't you going to punish them? We won't stand a chance when this army attacks. We don't know what to do—we are begging for your help.
13While every man, woman, and child of Judah was standing there at the temple, 14the Lord's Spirit suddenly spoke to Jahaziel, a Levite from the Asaph clan.#20.14 Jahaziel, a Levite from the Asaph clan: Hebrew “Jahaziel son of Zechariah son of Benaiah son of Jeiel son of Mattaniah, who was a Levite from the Asaph clan.” 15#Deut 20.1–4Then Jahaziel said:
Your Majesty and everyone from Judah and Jerusalem, the Lord says that you don't need to be afraid or let this powerful army discourage you. God will fight on your side! 16So here's what you must do. Tomorrow the enemy armies will march through the desert around the town of Jeruel. March down and meet them at the town of Ziz as they come up the valley. 17#Exod 14.1314You won't even have to fight. Just take your positions and watch the Lord rescue you from your enemy. Don't be afraid. Just do as you're told. And as you march out tomorrow, the Lord will be there with you.
18Jehoshaphat bowed low to the ground and everyone worshipped the Lord. 19Then some Levites from the Kohath and Korah clans stood up and shouted praises to the Lord God of Israel.
20Early the next morning, as everyone got ready to leave for the desert near Tekoa, Jehoshaphat stood up and said, “Listen my friends, if we trust the Lord God and believe what these prophets have told us, the Lord will help us, and we will be successful.” 21Then he explained his plan and appointed men to march in front of the army and praise the Lord for his holy power by singing:#20.21 to march in front … singing: Or “to put on their sacred robes, lead the army into battle, and praise the Lord by singing”.
“Praise the Lord!
His love never ends.”
22As soon as they began singing, the Lord confused the enemy camp, 23so that the Ammonite and Moabite troops attacked and completely destroyed those from Edom. Then they turned against each other and fought until the entire camp was wiped out!
24When Judah's army reached the tower that overlooked the desert, they saw that every soldier in the enemy's army was lying dead on the ground. 25So Jehoshaphat and his troops went into the camp to carry away everything of value. They found a large herd of livestock,#20.25 a large herd of livestock: One ancient translation; Hebrew “among the bodies a large herd of”. a lot of equipment, clothes,#20.25 clothes: One ancient translation; Hebrew “dead bodies”. and other valuable things. It took them three days to carry it all away, and there was still some left over.
26Then on the fourth day, everyone came together in Beracah Valley and sang praises to the Lord. That's why that place was called Praise Valley.#20.26 Beracah Valley … sang praises … Praise Valley: In Hebrew the name “Beracah” means “praise”.
27-28Jehoshaphat led the crowd back to Jerusalem. And as they marched, they played harps and blew trumpets. They were very happy because the Lord had given them victory over their enemies, so when they reached the city, they went straight to the temple.
29When the other nations heard how the Lord had fought against Judah's enemies, they were too afraid 30to invade Judah. The Lord let Jehoshaphat's kingdom be at peace.
(1 Kings 22.41–50)
31Jehoshaphat was thirty-five years old when he became king of Judah, and he ruled from Jerusalem for twenty-five years. His mother was Azubah daughter of Shilhi. 32Jehoshaphat obeyed the Lord, just as his father Asa had done, 33but he did not destroy the local shrines.#20.33 local shrines: See the note at 11.15. So the people still worshipped foreign gods, instead of faithfully serving the God their ancestors had worshipped.
34Everything else Jehoshaphat did while he was king is written in the records of Jehu son of Hanani that are included in The History of the Kings of Israel.
35While Jehoshaphat was king, he signed a peace treaty with Ahaziah the wicked king of Israel. 36They agreed to build several seagoing ships#20.36 seagoing ships: See the note at 9.21. at Ezion-Geber. 37But the prophet Eliezer#20.37 Eliezer: Hebrew “Eliezer son of Dodavahu from Mareshah”. warned Jehoshaphat, “The Lord will destroy these ships because you have supported Ahaziah.” The ships were wrecked and never sailed.