|Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary|
20:31-37 Jehoshaphat kept close to the worship of God, and did what he could to keep his people close to it. But after God had done such great things for him, given him not only victory, but wealth; after this, to go and join himself with a wicked king, was very ungrateful. What could he expect but that God would be angry with him? Yet it seems, he took the warning; for when Ahaziah afterward pressed him to join him, he would not, 1Ki 22:49. Thus the alliance was broken, and the Divine rebuke had its effect, at least for a season. Let us be thankful for any losses which may have prevented the loss of our immortal souls. Let us praise the Lord, who sought after us, and left us not to perish in our sins.
Verse 36. - This verse tells us the object with which Jehoshaphat had joined himself with Ahaziah, and 1 Kings 22:49 tells us how at last, by a point-blank refusal to Ahaziah, he withdrew from the very brief commercial alliance after he had not merely been witnessed against by the Prophet Eliezer spoken of in our next verse, but more decisively witnessed against by the shattering of his ships. To go to Tarshish. This clause, even if the text is not corrupt, yet cannot mean what it seems to say; but in the word "to go" (Hebrew, לָלֶכֶת) must mean, of the sort that were wont to go to Tarshish, i.e. that were used for the Tarshish trade. We are guided to some such explanation by 1 Kings 22:48, where it is said the ships were "ships of Tarshish to go to Ophir" (1 Kings 10:22; 2 Chronicles 8:18). That the ships could not be to go to Tarshish is plain from the fact of the place, Ezion-geber (2 Chronicles 8:17, 18; 1 Kings 9:26), on the Red Sea, where they were built. Some, however, have suggested that some other Tarshish (e.g. in the Gulf of Persia)than that of Spain (Tartessus) may conceivably be meant. The clear statement of the parallel saves the necessity of any such supposition, however.
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
And he joined himself with him to make ships to go to Tarshish,.... Of which; see Gill on 1 Kings 22:48, and though it is there said, 1 Kings 22:49, that Jehoshaphat refused letting the servants of Ahaziah go with his, that was after he had been reproved for joining with him, and after the ships were broken:
and they made the ships in Eziongeber; of which see Gill on 1 Kings 9:26.
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