2 Chronicles 20:4
And Judah gathered themselves together, to ask help of the LORD: even out of all the cities of Judah they came to seek the LORD.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
(4) To ask.—Literally, to seek (baqqēsh, a synonym of dārash. 2Chronicles 20:2) from Jehovah; scil., help, which Authorised Version rightly supplies.

Even out of all the cities of Judah.—Emphasising the fact that the gathering in the Temple represented the whole nation. Syriac and Arabic, “and even from the distant cities.”

2 Chronicles 20:4-5. Judah gathered themselves together — The people readily assembled, out of all the cities of Judah, in the court of the temple, to join in fasting and prayer to the Lord for help in this time of great danger and distress. And Jehoshaphat stood in the house of the Lord — Largely so called, that is, in the court of the people, upon that brazen scaffold which Solomon had erected. Before the new court — Before the priest’s court; which is called the new court, because it had lately been renewed when the altar was renewed.

20:1-13 In all dangers, public or personal, our first business should be to seek help from God. Hence the advantage of days for national fasting and prayer. From the first to the last of our seeking the Lord, we must approach him with humiliation for our sins, trusting only in his mercy and power. Jehoshaphat acknowledges the sovereign dominion of the Divine Providence. Lord, exert it on our behalf. Whom should we seek to, whom should we trust to for relief, but the God we have chosen and served. Those that use what they have for God, may comfortably hope he will secure it to them. Every true believer is a son of Abraham, a friend of God; with such the everlasting covenant is established, to such every promise belongs. We are assured of God's love, by his dwelling in human nature in the person of the Saviour. Jehoshaphat mentions the temple, as a token of God's favourable presence. He pleads the injustice of his enemies. We may well appeal to God against those that render us evil for good. Though he had a great army, he said, We have no might without thee; we rely upon thee.General fasts had been previously observed by the Israelites (e. g. Judges 20:26; 1 Samuel 7:6); but we do not hear of any fast having been "proclaimed" by authority before this. 3, 4. Jehoshaphat … proclaimed a fast throughout all Judah—Alarmed by the intelligence and conscious of his total inability to repel this host of invaders, Jehoshaphat felt his only refuge was at the horns of the altar. He resolved to employ the aid of his God, and, in conformity with this resolution, he summoned all his subjects to observe a solemn fast at the sanctuary. It was customary with the Hebrew kings to proclaim fasts in perilous circumstances, either in a city, a district, or throughout the entire kingdom, according to the greatness of the emergency. On this occasion, it was a universal fast, which extended to infants (2Ch 20:13; see also Joe 2:15, 16; Jon 3:7). No text from Poole on this verse.

And Judah gathered themselves together to ask help of the Lord,.... To implore his assistance against their enemies, and his protection of them; and they met not in their several cities, but at Jerusalem, as appears by what follows:

even out of all the cities of Judah they came to seek the Lord; at the temple, where was the ark, the symbol of his presence.

And Judah gathered themselves together, to ask help of the LORD: even out of all the cities of Judah they came to seek the LORD.
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
4. to ask help] R.V. to seek help.

Verse 4. - This verse expresses the response of all the kingdom to the proclamation of Jehoshaphat. 2 Chronicles 20:4This report filled Jehoshaphat with fear, and he resolved to seek help of the Lord. ??????? נתן equals שׂוּם , cf. 2 Kings 12:18; Jeremiah 42:15, to direct the face to anything, i.e., to purpose something, come to a determination. He proclaimed a fast in all Judah, that the people might bow themselves before God, and supplicate His help, as was wont to be done in great misfortunes; cf. Judges 20:26; 1 Samuel 7:6; Isaiah 2:15. In consequence of the royal appeal, Judah came together to seek of the Lord, i.e., to pray for help, by fasting and prayer in the temple; and it was not only the inhabitants of Jerusalem who thus assembled, for they came out of all the cities of the kingdom. מיהוה בּקּשׁ, to seek of the Lord, sc. help, is expressed in the last clause by את־יהוה בּקּשׁ to seek the Lord.
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