2 Chronicles 20:37
Then Eliezer the son of Dodavah of Mareshah prophesied against Jehoshaphat, saying, Because you have joined yourself with Ahaziah, the LORD has broken your works. And the ships were broken, that they were not able to go to Tarshish.
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(37) Then.—And.

Eliezer the son of Dodavah.—A prophet who is otherwise unknown.

Dodavah.—Heb. Dôdāvāhû. (Comp. Hôdavyāhû. 1Chronicles 3:24; LXX., Δωδία, as if the Heb. were Dôdîyāh; Vulg., “Dodau.”

Mareshah.—See 2Chronicles 11:8.

Because thou hast joined thyself.—Comp. Jehu the son of Hanani’s similar rebuke of Jenoshaphat for his alliance with Ahab (2Chronicles 19:2).

The Lord hath broken.Shattered (parac). (Comp. 2Chronicles 24:7.) The perfect is prophetic, i.e., will certainly shatter.

And the ships were broken.Wrecked by a gale. (Comp. Psalm 48:7 : “With the east wind Thou breakest ships of Tarshish.”)

That they were not able.And kept not strength to go (2Chronicles 13:20; 2Chronicles 14:10).

After this misadventure, Ahaziah proposed another joint expedition; but the king of Judah declined. (See on 2Chronicles 20:36.)

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.After this - Jehoshaphat's history had been formally completed 2 Chronicles 20:34. Consequently we can lay no stress on the note of time contained in the words "after this," which are detached from the context to which they originally referred. On the history 2 Chronicles 20:35-37, see marginal references and notes. 35-37. after this did Jehoshaphat … join himself with Ahaziah … to make ships—A combined fleet was built at Ezion-geber, the destination of which was to voyage to Tartessus, but it was wrecked. Jehoshaphat's motive for entering into this partnership was to secure a free passage through Israel, for the vessels were to be conveyed across the Isthmus of Suez, and to sail to the west of Europe from one of the ports of Palestine on the Mediterranean. Eliezer, a prophet, denounced this unholy alliance, and foretold, as divine judgment, the total wreck of the whole fleet. The consequence was, that although Jehoshaphat broke off—in obedience to the divine will—his league with Ahaziah, he formed a new scheme of a merchant fleet, and Ahaziah wished to be admitted a partner [1Ki 22:48]. The proposal of the Israelitish king was respectfully declined [1Ki 22:49]. The destination of this new fleet was to Ophir, because the Israelitish seaports were not accessible to him for the Tartessus trade; but the ships, when just off the docks, were wrecked in the rocky creek of Ezion-geber. No text from Poole on this verse. Then Eliezer the son of Dodavah of Mareshah,.... A city in the tribe of Judah, Joshua 15:44.

prophesied against Jehoshaphat, saying, because thou hast joined thyself with Ahaziah; an idolatrous prince, with whom he ought to have had no fellowship, even in civil things, it being both a countenancing him, and exposing himself and people to danger:

the Lord hath broken thy works; the ships built at the joint expense of the two kings, that is, the Lord had determined to break them, and now foretold that he would; the Targum is,"the Word of the Lord hath destroyed thy works:"

and the ships were broken, that they were not able to go to Tarshish; see Gill on 1 Kings 22:48.

Then Eliezer the son of Dodavah of Mareshah prophesied against Jehoshaphat, saying, Because thou hast {u} joined thyself with Ahaziah, the LORD hath broken thy works. And the ships were broken, that they were not able to go to Tarshish.

(u) Thus God would not have his join in company with idolaters and wicked men.

37. Mareshah] Cp. 2 Chronicles 11:8 (note); 2 Chronicles 14:10.

hath broken] R.V. hath destroyed. The same Heb. word is used 1 Chronicles 13:11 (“had broken forth,” R.V.); 2 Chronicles 14:11 (“hath broken forth,” R.V. mg.).Verse 37. - Eliezer the son of Dodavah of Mareshah. Nothing beside is known of this prophet. For Mareshah, see 2 Chronicles 11:8, and note there. The ships were broken; i.e. presumably by some storm. One general remark may be made upon these verses (34-37), together with vers. 45-50 of 1 Kings 22, viz. that the dislocation of both manner and matter, observable in both, of them, probably betrays something out of order for whatever reason or accident, in the more original source, from which both drew, the apparently disjointed mixture of matter in the parallel being the more patent of the two.

Concluding notes on Jehoshaphat's reign, which are found also in 1 Kings 22:41-51, where they, supplemented by some notes (1 Kings 22:45, 1 Kings 22:48, and 1 Kings 22:49) which are wanting in the Chronicle, form the whole account of his reign. In the statements as to Jehoshaphat's age at his accession, and the length and character of his reign, both accounts agree, except that the author of the Chronicle has, instead of the stereotyped formula, "and the people still sacrificed and offered incense upon the high places," a remark more significant of the state of affairs: "and the people had not yet determinedly turned their heart to the God of their fathers" (2 Chronicles 20:33). The notice that Jehoshaphat made peace with the king of Israel (1 Kings 22:45) is not found in the Chronicle, because that would, as a matter of course, follow from Jehoshaphat's having joined affinity with the royal house of Ahab, and had been already sufficiently attested by the narrative in 2 Chronicles 18, and is so still further by the undertaking spoken of in 2 Chronicles 20:35. For the same reason, the clause introduced in 1 Kings 22:46 about the valiant acts and the wars of Jehoshaphat is omitted in the Chronicle, as these acts have been specially narrated here. As to Jehu's speeches, which were put into the book of Kings, see the Introduction. Further, the remark on the driving out of the remaining Sodomites (קדשׁ) from the land, 1 Kings 22:47, which refers back to 1 Kings 15:12, is wanting here, because this speciality is not mentioned in the case of Asa. Finally, the remark that Edom had no king, but only a viceroy or deputy, serves in 1 Kings 22:48 only as an introduction to the succeeding account of Jehoshaphat's attempt to open up anew the sea traffic with Ophir. But on that subject the author of the Chronicle only recounts in 2 Chronicles 20:35-37 that Jehoshaphat allied himself with the godless Ahaziah the king of Israel to build in Ezion-gaber ships to go to Tarshish, was censured for it by the prophet Eliezer, who announced to him that Jahve would destroy his work, and that thereupon the ships were broken, doubtless by a storm, and so could not go upon the voyage. אהרי־כן does not definitely fix the time (cf. 2 Chronicles 20:1), but only states that the alliance with Ahaziah took place after the victory over the Ammonites and Moabites. Ahaziah ascended the throne in the seventeenth year of Jehoshaphat, and reigned scarcely two years, and the enterprise under discussion falls in that period. אתחבּר is an Aramaic form for התחבּר.

The last clause of v. 38, "he did wickedly," Bertheau refers to Jehoshaphat: he did wrong; because the context shows that these words are intended to contain a censure on Jehoshaphat for his connection with the king of the northern kingdom. But this remark, though substantially correct, by no means proves that הוּא refers to Jehoshaphat. The words contain a censure on Jehoshaphat on account of his alliance with Ahaziah, even if they describe Ahaziah's conduct. We must, with the older commentators, take the words to refer to Ahaziah, for הרשׁיע is much too strong a word for Jehoshaphat's fault in the matter. The author of the Chronicle does indeed use the word הרשׁיע of Jehoshaphat's grandson Ahaziah, 2 Chronicles 22:3, in the clause, "his mother, a daughter of Ahab and Jezebel, was for הרשׁיע his counsellor," but only that he may characterize the acts of the Ahabic house. Jehoshaphat allied himself with the wicked Ahaziah to build ships תּרשׁישׁ ללכת, to go to Tarshish; and they built ships at Ezion-gaber, i.e., on the Red Sea. Instead of this, we have in 1 Kings 22:49 : Jehoshaphat built Tarshish ships to go to Ophir for gold. Hence it is manifest that in both passages the same undertaking is spoken of, and the expression "Tarshish ships" is paraphrased in the Chronicle by "ships to go to Tarshish." This periphrasis is, however, a mistake; for Tarshish ships are merely ships which, like those going to Tarshish, were built for long sea voyages, for Jehoshaphat merely desired to renew the voyages to Ophir. With the exception of this erroneous interpretation of the words, Tarshish ships, the two narratives agree, if we only keep in mind the fact that both are incomplete extracts from a more detailed account of this enterprise. The Chronicle supplies us with an explanatory commentary on the short account in 1 Kings 22:49, both in the statement that Jehoshaphat allied himself with Ahaziah of Israel for the preparation of the ships, and also in communicating the word of the prophet Eliezer as to the enterprise, which makes clear to us the reason for the destruction of the ships; while in 1 Kings 22:49 merely the fact of their destruction is recorded. Of the prophet Eliezer nothing further is known than the saying here communicated. His father's name, Dodavahu, is analogous in form to Hodavya, Joshavya (see on 1 Chronicles 3:24), so that there is no good ground to alter it into דּודיּהוּ, friend of Jahve, after the Doodi'a of the lxx. As to Mareshah, see on 2 Chronicles 11:8. The perfect פּרץ is prophetic: Jahve will rend thy work asunder. The words which follow record the fulfilment. עצר as in 2 Chronicles 13:20; 2 Chronicles 14:10. With this the chronicler's account of this enterprise concludes; while in 1 Kings 22:50 it is further stated that, after the destruction of the ships first built, Ahaziah called upon Jehoshaphat still to undertake the Ophir voyage in common with him, and to build new ships for the purpose, but Jehoshaphat would not. The ground of his refusal may easily be gathered from 2 Chronicles 20:37 of the Chronicle.

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