Good News Translation (GNB)
19

A Prophet Reprimands Jehoshaphat

191King 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.19.8 Some ancient translations betweencity; Hebrew unclear. 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!”

20

War against Edom

201Some time later the armies of Moab and Ammon, together with their allies, the Meunites,20.1 One ancient translation Meunites; Hebrew Ammonites. 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. 7

20.7:
Is 41.8
Jas 2.23
You 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,20.9 struckwar; or struck them — a devastating 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

20.10:
Deut 2.4–19
“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. 15

20.15–17:
Deut 20.1–4
Jahaziel 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. 17
20.17:
Ex 14.13–14
You 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,20.25 One ancient translation cattle; Hebrew among them. 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”.20.26 Beracah: This name in Hebrew means “praise”. 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.

21

211Jehoshaphat 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, 7

21.7:
1 Kgs 11.36
but 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.

8

21.8:
Gen 27.40
During 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 of21.10 independent of; or in revolt against. 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 Ethiopians21.16 Ethiopians: See Word List. 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.