2 Chronicles 19:1
And Jehoshaphat the king of Judah returned to his house in peace to Jerusalem.
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(1) Jehoshaphat . . . returned to his house in peace.—A contrast with the fate of Ahab is suggested. (Comp. 2Chronicles 18:27; 2Chronicles 18:34; and ibid. 16.)

In peace.—In wholeness, soundness, i.e., unhurt.

2 Chronicles


2 Chronicles 19:1 - 2 Chronicles 19:11

Jehoshaphat is distinguished by two measures for his people’s good: one, his sending out travelling preachers through the land {2 Chronicles 17:7 - 2 Chronicles 17:9}; another, this provision of local judges and a central court in Jerusalem. The former was begun as early as the third year of his reign, but was probably interrupted, like other good things, by his ill-omened alliance with Ahab. The prophet Jehu’s plain speaking seems to have brought the king back to his better self, and its fruit was his going ‘among the people,’ from south to north, as a missionary, ‘to bring them back to Jehovah.’ The religious reformation was accompanied by his setting judges throughout the land. Our modern way of distinguishing between religious and civil concerns is foreign to Eastern thought, and was especially out of the question in a theocracy. Jehovah was the King of Judah; therefore the things that are Caesar’s and the things that are God’s coalesced, and these two objects of Jehoshaphat’s journeyings were pursued simultaneously. We have travelled far from his simple institutions, and our course has not been all progress. His supreme concern was to deal out even-handed justice between man and man; is not ours rather to give ample doses of law? To him the judicial function was a copy of God’ s, and its exercise a true act of worship, done in His fear, and modelled after His pattern. The first impression made in one of our courts is scarcely that judge and counsel are engaged in worship.

There had been local judges before Jehoshaphat-elders in the villages, the ‘heads of the fathers’ houses’ in the tribes. We do not know whether the great secession had flung the simple old machinery somewhat out of gear, or whether Jehoshaphat’s action was simply to systematise and make universal the existing arrangements. But what concerns us most is to note that all the charge which he gives to these peasant magistrates bears on the religious aspect of their duties. They are to think themselves as acting for Jehovah and with Jehovah. If they recognise the former, they may be confident of the latter. They are to ‘let the fear of Jehovah be upon you,’ for that awe resting on a spirit will, like a burden or water-jar on a woman’s shoulder, make the carriage upright and the steps firm. They are not only to act for and with Jehovah, but to do like Him, avoiding injustice, favouritism, and corruption, the plague-spots of Eastern law-courts. In such a state of society, the cases to be adjudicated were mostly such as mother-wit, honesty and the fear of God could solve; other times call for other qualifications. But still, let us learn from this charge that even in our necessarily complicated legal systems and political life, there is room and sore need for the application of the same principles. What a different world it would be if our judges and representatives carried some tincture of Jehoshaphat’s simple and devout wisdom into their duties! Civic and political life ought to be as holy as that of cloister and cell. To judge righteously, to vote honestly, is as much worship as to pray. A politician may be ‘a priest of the Most High God.’

And for us all the spirit of Jehoshaphat’s charge is binding, and every trivial and secular task is to be discharged for God, with God, in the fear of God. ‘On the bells of the horses shall be Holiness unto Jehovah.’ If our religion does not drive the wheels of daily life, so much the worse for our life and our religion. But, above all, this charge reminds us that the secret of right living is to imitate God. These peasants were to find direction, as well as inspiration, in gazing on Jehovah’s character, and trying to copy it. And we are to be ‘imitators of God, as beloved children,’ though our best efforts may only produce poor results. A masterpiece may be copied in some wretched little newspaper blotch, but the great artist will own it for a copy, and correct it into complete likeness.

The second step was to establish a ‘supreme court’ in Jerusalem, which had two divisions, ecclesiastical and civil, as we should say, the former presided over by the chief priest, and the latter by ‘the ruler of the house of Judah.’ Murder cases and the graver questions involving interpretation of the law were sent up thither, while the village judges had probably to decide only points that shrewdness and integrity could settle. But these superior judges, too, received charges as to moral, rather than intellectual or learned qualifications. Religiously, uprightly, ‘with a perfect heart,’ courageously, they were to act, ‘and Jehovah be with the good!’ That may be a prayer, like the old invocation with which heralds sent knights to tilt at each other, and with which, in some legal proceedings, the pleas are begun, ‘God defend the right!’ But more probably it is an assurance that God will guide the judges to favour the good cause, if they on their parts will bring the aforesaid qualities to their decisions. And are not these qualities just such as will, for the most part, give similar results to us, if in our various activities we exercise them? And may we not see a sequence worth our practically putting to the proof in these characteristics enjoined on Jehoshaphat’s supreme court? Begin with ‘the fear of the Lord’; that will help us to ‘faithfulness and a perfect heart’; and these again by taking away occasions of ignoble fear, and knitting together the else tremulous and distracted nature, will make the fearful brave and the weak strong.

But another thought is suggested by Jehoshaphat’s language. Note how this court does not seem to have inflicted punishments, but to have had only counsels and warnings to wield. It was a board of conciliation rather than a penal tribunal. Two things it had to do-to press upon the parties the weighty consideration that crimes against men were sins against God, and that the criminal drew down wrath on the community. This remarkable provision brings out strongly thoughts that modern society will be the better for incorporating. The best way to deal with men is to get at their hearts and consciences. The deeper aspect of civil crimes or wrongs to men should be pressed on the doer; namely, that they are sins against God. Again, all such acts are sins against the mystical sacred bond of brotherhood. Again, the solidarity of a nation makes it inevitable that ‘one sinner destroyeth much good,’ and pulls down with him, when God smites him, a multitude of innocents. So finely woven is the web of the national life that, if a thread run in any part of it, a great rent gapes. If one member sins, all the members suffer with it. And lastly, the cruellest thing that we can do is to be dumb when we see sin being committed. It is not public men, judges and the like, alone, who are called on thus to warn evil-doers, but all of us in our degree. If we do not, we are guilty along with a guilty nation; and it is only when, to the utmost of our power, we have warned our brethren as to national sins, that we can wash our hands in innocency, ‘This do, and ye shall not be guilty.’

2 Chronicles 19:1-3. Jehoshaphat returned to his house in peace — Safe, being miraculously delivered from imminent danger, as has just been related. And Jehu, the seer — Of whom see 1 Kings 16:1-2; went out to meet him — Sent by God for that purpose. And said to Jehoshaphat, Shouldest thou help the ungodly? — Give them a hand of fellowship, and lend them a hand of assistance? And love them that hate the Lord? — Be in a state of intimacy with those that are at enmity with God, and under his wrath and curse? Was it agreeable to the love and duty which thou professest to God and godliness, to enter into so strict an alliance and friendship with wicked Ahab, God’s sworn enemy, and to give him such assistance? Therefore is wrath come upon thee, &c. — God is angry with thee, and will chastise thee for this miscarriage. Which he did, partly by stirring up the Moabites and others to invade him, chap. 20.; partly by permitting his eldest son Jehoram to kill all his brethren, 2 Chronicles 21:4; and principally by bringing that almost general destruction upon his grand-children by Jehu, (2 Kings 9:27; and 2 Kings 10:13-14,) which was the fruit of his alliance with Ahab. And hast prepared thy heart to seek God — הכינות, hachinota, hast disposed, directed, or set thy heart; that is, thou hast sought and served God with all thy heart, and not feignedly, as many others do. And this work of preparing or directing the heart, which is elsewhere attributed to God, (Proverbs 16:1; Php 2:13,) is here ascribed to Jehoshaphat, because it is man’s action, though performed by God’s grace, preventing, enabling, and inclining him to it.

19:1-11 Jehoshaphat visits his kingdom. - Whenever we return in peace to our houses, we ought to acknowledge God's providence in preserving our going out and coming in. And if we have been kept through more than common dangers, we are, in a special manner, bound to be thankful. Distinguishing mercies lay us under strong obligations. The prophet tells Jehoshaphat he had done very ill in joining Ahab. He took the reproof well. See the effect the reproof had upon him. He strictly searched his own kingdom. By what the prophet said, Jehoshaphat perceived that his former attempts for reformation were well-pleasing to God; therefore he did what was then left undone. It is good when commendations quicken us to our duty. There are diversities of gifts and operations, but all from the same Spirit, and for the public good; and as every one has received the gift, so let him minister the same. Blessed be God for magistrates and ministers, scribes and statesmen, men of books, and men of business. Observe the charge the king gave. They must do all in the fear of the Lord, with a perfect, upright heart. And they must make it their constant care to prevent sin, as an offence to God, and what would bring wrath on the people.Jehoshaphat ... returned to his house in peace - With the battle of Ramoth-Gilead, and the death of Ahab, the war came to an end. The combined attack of the two kings having failed, their troops had been withdrawn, and the enterprise in which they had joined relinquished. The Syrians, satisfied with their victory, did not press on the retreating foe, or carry the war into their enemies' country. CHAPTER 19

2Ch 19:1-4. Jehoshaphat Visits His Kingdom.

1-4. Jehoshaphat … returned to his house in peace—(See 2Ch 18:16). Not long after he had resumed the ordinary functions of royalty in Jerusalem, he was one day disturbed by an unexpected and ominous visit from a prophet of the Lord [2Ch 19:2]. This was Jehu, of whose father we read in 2Ch 16:7. He himself had been called to discharge the prophetic office in Israel. But probably for his bold rebuke to Baasha (1Ki 16:1), he had been driven by that arbitrary monarch within the territory of Judah, where we now find him with the privileged license of his order, taking the same religious supervision of Jehoshaphat's proceedings as he had formerly done of Baasha's. At the interview here described, he condemned, in the strongest terms, the king of Judah's imprudent and incongruous league with Ahab—God's open enemy (1Ki 22:2)—as an unholy alliance that would be conducive neither to the honor and comfort of his house nor to the best interests of his kingdom. He apprised Jehoshaphat that, on account of that grave offense, "wrath was upon him from before the Lord," a judgment that was inflicted soon after (see on [442]2Ch 20:1-37). The prophet's rebuke, however, was administered in a mingled strain of severity and mildness; for he interposed "a nevertheless" (2Ch 19:3), which implied that the threatened storm would be averted, in token of the divine approval of his public efforts for the promotion of the true religion, as well as of the sincere piety of his personal character and life.Jehoshaphat, reproved by the prophet Jehu, visiteth his kingdom, 2 Chronicles 19:1-4. His instructions to the judges, 2 Chronicles 19:5-7; to the priests and Levites, 2 Chronicles 19:8-11.

Safe, being miraculously delivered from eminent danger, as was related, 2 Chronicles 18:31,32.

And Jehoshaphat the king of Judah returned,.... From Ramothgilead, after Ahab was slain:

to his house in peace in Jerusalem; to his palace there in safety, having narrowly escaped losing his life in the battle.

And Jehoshaphat the king of Judah returned to his house in peace to Jerusalem.
Ch. 2 Chronicles 19:1-3 (no parallel in Kings). The Reproof of Jehu the Prophet

1. in peace] i.e. in safety. LXX. (B) om. the phrase.

Verse 1. - In peace. Compare the use of the phrase in vers. 16 and 26, 27 of last chapter. The only peace in which it could be reasonably supposed Jehoshaphat returned to his house and the metropolis was that of freedom from war, and of present "assurance of his life." 2 Chronicles 19:1The prophet Jehu's declaration as to Jehoshaphat's alliance with Ahab, and Jehoshaphat's further efforts to promote the fear of God and the administration of justice in Judah. - 2 Chronicles 19:1-3. Jehu's declaration. Jehoshaphat returned from the war in which Ahab had lost his life, בּשׁלום, i.e., safe, uninjured, to his house in Jerusalem; so that the promise of Micah in 2 Chronicles 18:16 was fulfilled also as regards him. But on his return, the seer Jehu, the son of Hanani, who had been thrown into the stocks by Asa (2 Chronicles 16:7.), met him with the reproving word, "Should one help the wicked, and lovest thou the haters of Jahve!" (the inf. with ל, as in 1 Chronicles 5:1; 1 Chronicles 9:25, etc.). Of these sins Jehoshaphat had been guilty. "And therefore is anger from Jahve upon thee" (על קצף as in 1 Chronicles 27:24). Jehoshaphat had already had experience of this wrath, when in the battle of Ramoth the enemy pressed upon him (2 Chronicles 18:31), and was at a later time to have still further experience of it, partly during his own life, when the enemy invaded his land (2 Chronicles 20), and when he attempted to re-establish the sea trade with Ophir (2 Chronicles 20:35.), partly after his death in his family (2 Chronicles 21 and 2 Chronicles 22:1-12). "But," continues Jehu, to console him, "yet there are good things found in thee (cf. 2 Chronicles 12:12), for thou hast destroyed the Asheroth..." אשׁרות equals אשׁרים, 2 Chronicles 17:6. On these last words, comp. 2 Chronicles 12:14 and 2 Chronicles 17:4.
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