|Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary|
17:1-19 Jehoshaphat promotes religion in Judah, His prosperity. - Jehoshaphat found his people generally very ignorant, and therefore endeavoured to have them well taught. The public teaching of the word of God forms, in all ages, the great method of promoting the power of godliness. Thereby the understanding is informed, the conscience is awakened and directed. We have a particular account of Jehoshaphat's prosperity. But it was not his formidable army that restrained the neighbouring nations from attempting any thing against Israel, but the fear of God which fell upon them, when Jehoshaphat reformed his country, and set up a preaching ministry in it. The ordinances of God are more the strength and safety of a kingdom, than soldiers and weapons of war. The Bible requires use to notice the hand of God in every event, yet this is little regarded. But let all employ the talents they have: be faithful, even in that which is little. Set up the worship of God in your houses. The charge of a family is important. Why should you not instruct them as Jehoshaphat did his subjects, in the book of the law of the Lord. But be consistent. Do not recommend one thing, and practise another. Begin with yourselves. Seek to the Lord God of Israel, then call upon children and servants to follow your example.
Verse 6. - And his heart was lifted up in the ways of the Lord. Although the verb גָבַהּ often carries a bad sense with it, it quite as often carries with it a good one in the Old Testament, and the typical instance of the former (Psalm 131:1) is fully counterbalanced by Isaiah 52:13. The marginal "was enencouraged may be superseded with advantage by "took courage" (Isaiah 40:29-31). The groves. Supersede this incorrect rendering by the Asherim; and upon the seeming discrepancy, see again ch. 15:17, and "Introduction to Chronicles" there quoted.
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
And his heart was lifted up in the ways of the Lord,.... It was engaged in them, was bent and set upon them; he walked in them with great pleasure and cheerfulness, being inspired with zeal and courage; he was fearless and intrepid, and regarded not any opposition he might have, or expect to have, in the work of reformation in which he was concerned:
moreover, he took away the high places; such as were dedicated to idols, but not those in which the true God was worshipped, 2 Chronicles 20:33
and groves out of Judah; where idols were placed; for though these had been removed by Asa, yet had been renewed in the latter part of his days, when more negligent of religion.
Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary
6. his heart was lifted up in the ways of the Lord—Full of faith and piety, he possessed zeal and courage to undertake the reformation of manners, to suppress all the works and objects of idolatry (see on 2Ch 20:33), and he held out public encouragement to the pure worship of God.
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