1Jehoshaphat returned safely to his palace in Jerusalem. 2But the prophet Jehu son of Hanani met him and said:
By helping that wicked Ahab, you have made friends with someone who hates the Lord. Now the Lord God is angry with you! 3But not everything about you is bad. You destroyed the sacred poles#19.3 sacred poles: See the note at 14.3. used in worshiping the goddess Asherah—that shows you have tried to obey the Lord.
Jehoshaphat Appoints Judges To Settle Cases
4Jehoshaphat lived in Jerusalem, but he often traveled through his kingdom, from Beersheba in the south to the edge of the hill country of Ephraim in the north. He talked with the people and convinced them to turn back to the Lord God and worship him, just as their ancestors had done.
5He assigned judges to each of the fortified cities in Judah 6and told them:
Be careful when you make your decisions in court, because you are judging by the Lord's standards and not by human standards, and he will know what you decide. 7So do your work in honor of him and know that he won't allow you to be unfair to anyone or to take bribes.
8Jehoshaphat also chose some Levites, some priests, and some of the family leaders, and he appointed them to serve as judges in Jerusalem. 9He told them:
Faithfully serve the Lord! 10The people of Judah will bring you legal cases that involve every type of crime, including murder. You must settle these cases and warn the people to stop sinning against the Lord, so that he won't get angry and punish Judah. Remember, if you follow these instructions, you won't be held responsible for anything that happens.
11Amariah the high priest will have the final say in any religious case. And Zebadiah, the leader#19.11 Zebadiah, the leader: Hebrew “Zebadiah son of Ishmael, who is the leader.” of the Judah tribe, will have the final say in all other cases. The rest of the Levites will serve as your assistants. Be brave, and I pray that the Lord will help you do right.