2 Chronicles 17:7
Also in the third year of his reign he sent to his princes, even to Benhail, and to Obadiah, and to Zechariah, and to Nethaneel, and to Michaiah, to teach in the cities of Judah.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
THE COMMISSIONERS OF PUBLIC INSTRUCTION IN THE LAW.

(7) He sent to his princes, even to Ben-hail . . . to Michaiah.—Rather, He sent his princes, Ben- hail and Obadiah . . . and Michaiah. (The le “to,” in the chronicler’s idiom, marking the object of the verb.) If, however, Authorised Version were correct, the construction would not be unique, as the Speaker’s Com mentary asserts. (Comp. 2Kings 5:7, “this man sendeth to me to recover a man,” &c.)

Princes.—None of the personages mentioned in this and the following verse are otherwise known. The “five princes” were laymen of rank, and were accompanied by nine (eight) Levites and two priests.

Ben-hail.Son of valour. A compound proper name, only occurring here, but analogous to Ben-hur. Ben-deker, and Ben-hesed in 1Kings 4:8-10. (The LXX. renders “the sons of the mighty.” Syriac, “the chiefs of the forces;” apparently reading bnê chail.)

Nethaneel.—Syriac, Mattanael; Arabic, Mattaniah, Michaiah. Syriac and Arabic, Malachiah.

2 Chronicles 17:7. He sent to his princes — to teach in the cities of Judah — To inform the people of their duty, and of the king’s pleasure. As judges teach or instruct the people in the laws of the land, when they deliver their charges upon the bench; so did these princes, in the king’s name, admonish and require the people to observe and obey the laws of God, which were the municipal laws of that land: the particular explication and enforcement whereof they left to the Levites and priests here following, who were sent for this end, and accordingly taught the people, 2 Chronicles 17:9.17:1-19 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.The princes were not sent as teachers themselves, but had the duty committed to them of seeing that the people were taught. The actual teachers were the priests and Levites of 2 Chronicles 17:8. 2Ch 17:7-11. He Sends Levites to Teach in Judah.

7-11. Also in the third year of his reign he sent to his princes, … to teach in the cities of Judah—The ordinary work of teaching devolved on the priests. But extraordinary commissioners were appointed, probably to ascertain whether the work had been done or neglected. This deputation of five princes, assisted by two priests and nine Levites, was to make a circuit of the towns in Judah. It is the first practical measure we read of as being adopted by any of the kings for the religious instruction of the people. Time and unbroken opportunities were afforded for carrying out fully this excellent plan of home education, for the kingdom enjoyed internal tranquillity as well as freedom for foreign wars. It is conformable to the pious style of the sacred historian to trace this profound peace to the "fear of the Lord having fallen on all kingdoms of the lands that were round about Judah."

To teach in the cities of Judah; to inform the people of their duty, and of the king’s pleasure. As judges or justices of peace teach or instruct the people in the laws of the land, when they deliver their charges upon the bench; so did these princes in the king’s name admonish and require the people to observe and obey the laws of God, which were the prinicipal laws of that land; the particular explication and enforcement whereof they left to the Levites and priests here following, who were sent for this end, and accordingly taught the people, 2 Chronicles 17:9. Also in the third year of his reign he sent to his princes,.... That dwelt in the several parts of the kingdom; or he sent them, being with him, some of the principal men of his court; for may be a sign of the accusative case, as it sometimes is:

even to Benhail, and to Obadiah, and to Zechariah, and to Nethaneel, and to Michaiah, to teach in the cities of Judah; to see that they were taught, and oblige them to attend to the instructions that should be given them, and not mutiny and rebel against their teachers; and to let them know what was the king's pleasure on this head, and to back with their authority the priests and Levites, whose proper work it was to instruct, and who therefore were sent with them, as follows.

Also in the third year of his reign he sent to his princes, even to Benhail, and to Obadiah, and to Zechariah, and to Nethaneel, and to Michaiah, to {d} teach in the cities of Judah.

(d) He knew it was in vain to profess religion, unless such were appointed who could instruct the people in the same, and had authority to put away all idolatry.

EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
7–9 (no parallel in 1 Kin.). Jehoshaphat’s Provision for Teaching the Law

7. he sent to his princes … to teach] R.V. he sent his princes, even Ben-hail, and Obadiah, and Zechariah, and Nethanel, and Micaiah, to teach.Verses 7-9. - He sent; Hebrew, שָׁלַח. The Hebrew text distinctly says, he sent to his princes, not, "he sent his princes." The meaning is - he sent orders to his princes to see to it that Judah was taught (ver. 9) the book of the Law of the Lord (Leviticus 10:11; Deuteronomy 4:9; Deuteronomy 17:18), not, indeed, without their own personal aid in whatever way able to be given, but systematically and with authority by the Levites and priests (Deuteronomy 33:10). This deeper fathoming of the needs of the time, and of what constituted its real safety, was greatly to the spiritual credit of Jehoshaphat. The references (2 Chronicles 15:3; 2 Chronicles 35:2-4, 10-12) are full of point. None of these princes, or Levites and priests, are elsewhere mentioned by name. Jehoshaphat's efforts to strengthen the kingdom, internally and externally. - 2 Chronicles 17:1, or rather the first half of this verse, belongs properly to the preceding chapter, since, when the son immediately follows the father on the throne, the successor is mentioned immediately: cf. 2 Chronicles 9:31; 2 Chronicles 12:16; 2 Chronicles 24:27; 2 Chronicles 27:9, etc. Here, however, the account of the accession to the throne is combined with a general remark on the reign of the successor, and therefore it is placed at the commencement of the account of the reign; while in the case of Asa (2 Chronicles 14:1) both come in immediately at the conclusion of the reign of his predecessor. Asa had shown himself weak against Israel, as he had sought help against Baasha's attack from the Syrians (2 Chronicles 16:1.), but it was otherwise with Jehoshaphat. He indeed put the fenced cities of his kingdom in a thoroughly good condition for defence, to protect his kingdom against hostile attacks from without (v. 20: but he walked at the same time in the ways of the Lord, so that the Lord made his kingdom strong and mighty (2 Chronicles 17:3-5). This general characterization of his reign is in 2 Chronicles 17:6 illustrated by facts: first by the communication of what Jehoshaphat did for the inner spiritual strengthening of the kingdom, by raising the standard of religion and morals among the people (2 Chronicles 17:6-11), and then by what he did for the external increase of his power (2 Chronicles 17:12-19).
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