And said, O LORD God of our fathers, are not you God in heaven? and rule not you over all the kingdoms of the heathen? and in your hand is there not power and might, so that none is able to withstand you?
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)Art not thou God in heaven.—So Psalm 115:2-3. Jehovah, the Worship of Israel, is no limited local or tribal deity, but God over all. (Comp. also the first clause of the Lord’s Prayer.)
And rulest not thou over all the kingdoms?—Comp. 1Chronicles 29:12 (David’s prayer), “and Thou reignest (rulest) over all; and in Thine hand is power and might.” This and next sentence should be rendered affirmatively, as in that place. (Comp. also Psalm 47:8 : “God reigneth over the heathen.”)
So that none is able to withstand thee.—Vulg., “nec quisquam tibi potest resistere;” LXX., καὶ οὐκ ἔστιν πρὸς σὲ ἀντιστῆναι. Literally, and there is none against thee to stand up. For this construction, comp. Psalm 94:16 : “Who will stand up for me with (i.e., against) workers of wickedness. (Comp. also Psalm 2:2; and the last words of Asa’s Prayer, 2Chronicles 14:11.) Syr. and Arab., “and I am standing and praying before thee.”2 Chronicles 20:6-7. And said, O Lord God, &c. — Jehoshaphat himself was the mouth of the congregation to God, and did not devolve the work upon his chaplains. For though the kings were forbidden to burn incense, they were allowed to pray and preach. Art thou not God in heaven, &c. — Which none of the gods of the heathen are. Is not thy dominion supreme, over kingdoms themselves, and universal, over all kingdoms, even those of the heathen, that know thee not? Art thou not our God? — In covenant with us? To whom should we seek, to whom should we trust for relief, but to him whom we have chosen for our God, and who has chosen us for his people? Who gavest it to the seed of Abraham thy friend — To whom thou didst engage thyself to be his friend, and the friend of his seed for ever, and therefore we trust thou wilt not forsake us, his posterity.
(1) to God omnipotent 2 Chronicles 20:6;
(2) to "our God;"
art not thou God in heaven? that dwellest and rulest there, and dost whatever thou pleasest in the armies of it:
and rulest not thou over all the kingdoms of the Heathens? being King of kings, and Lord of lords, all the world over:
and in thine hand is there not power and might, so that none is able to withstand thee? his power being infinite, unlimited, and uncontrollable, and so not resistible by finite creatures, at least not so as to be stopped and overcome.And said, O LORD God of our fathers, art not thou God in heaven? and rulest not thou over all the kingdoms of the heathen? and in thine hand is there not power and might, so that none is able to withstand thee?
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)6. O Lord God] R.V. O LORD, the God; cp. 2 Chronicles 21:10; 2 Chronicles 21:12.
art not thou God] cp. Joshua 2:11.
rulest not thou over all the kingdoms of the heathen?] R.V. art not thou ruler over all the kingdoms of the nations? Cp. Psalm 22:28.
is there not power] R.V. is power. Cp. 2 Chronicles 14:11 (Asa’s prayer).Verses 6-12. - The recorded prayers of Scripture are indeed what they might be expected to be, model prayers, and the present a model instance of the same (see homiletics). The prayer before us invokes the one God "in heaven;" claims him the God "of our fathers;" recites his universal authority above, below; pleads his former conduct of the "people Israel," in especial his stablishing of that people in their present land; most touchingly recalls his covenant of condescending, everlasting "friendship" with Abraham, the grand original of the people (Genesis 18:17-19, 33; Genesis 17:2; Exodus 33:11); makes mention of the consecration of the land by the sanctuary, and in particular of the very service of consecration and the special foreseeing provision in that service for a crisis like the present (1 Kings 8:33-45; 2 Chronicles 6:24-35; 2 Chronicles 7:1); and then (vers. 10, 11) states pointedly the case and complaint with its aggravations (Deuteronomy 2:4, 8, 9, 19; Numbers 20:21; Judges 11:18), and with a parting appeal, confession of their own weakness, ignorance, and dependence unfeigned, commits the cause of the alarmed people to God. Our eyes are upon thee. So, with a multitude of other passages, that supreme pattern one, Psalm 123:2. 2 Chronicles 15:17; 2 Chronicles 16:9). תעשׂוּן כּה, thus shall ye do; what they are to do being stated only in 2 Chronicles 19:10. The w before כּל־ריב is explicative, namely, and is omitted by the lxx and Vulg. as superfluous. "Every cause which comes to you from your brethren who dwell in their cities" (and bring causes before the superior court in the following cases): between blood and blood (בּין with ל following, as in Genesis 1:6, etc.), i.e., in criminal cases of murder and manslaughter, and between law and between command, statutes, and judgments, i.e., in cases where the matter concerns the interpretation and application of the law, and its individual commands, statutes, and judgments, to particular crimes; wherever, in short, there is any doubt by what particular provision of the law the case in hand should be decided. With והזהרתּם the apodosis commences, but it is an anacolouthon. Instead of "ye shall give them instruction therein," we have, "ye shall teach them (those who bring the cause before you), that they incur not guilt, and an anger (i.e., God's anger and punishment) come upon you and your brethren" (cf. 2 Chronicles 19:2). הזהיר, properly to illuminate, metaphorically to teach, with the additional idea of exhortation or warning. The word is taken from Exodus 18:20, and there is construed c. accus. pers. et rei. This construction is here also the underlying one, since the object which precedes in the absolute is to be taken as accus.: thus, and as regards every cause, ye shall teach them concerning it. After the enumeration of the matters falling within the jurisdiction of this court, תעשׂוּן כּה is repeated, and this precept is then pressed home upon the judges by the words, "that ye incur not guilt." Thereafter (in 2 Chronicles 19:11) Jehoshaphat nominates the spiritual and civil presidents of this tribunal: for spiritual causes the high priest Amariah, who is not the same as the Amariah mentioned after Zadok as the fifth high priest (1 Chronicles 6:11); in civil causes Zebadiah the son of Ishmael, the prince of the house of Judah, i.e., tribal prince of Judah. These shall be עליכם over you, i.e., presidents of the judges; and שׁטרים, writers, shall the Levites be לפניכם, before you, i.e., as your assistants and servants. Jehoshaphat concludes the nomination of the judicial staff with the encouraging words, "Be strong (courageous) and do," i.e., go to work with good heart, "and the Lord be with the good," i.e., with him who discharges the duties of his office well.
The establishment of this superior court was in form, indeed, the commencement of a new institution; but in reality it was only the expansion or firmer organization of a court of final appeal already provided by Moses, the duties of which had been until then performed partly by the high priest, partly by the existing civil heads of the people (the judges and kings). When Moses, at Horeb, set judges over the people, he commanded them to bring to him the matters which were too difficult for them to decide, that he might settle them according to decisions obtained of God (Exodus 18:26 and Exodus 18:19). At a later time he ordained (Deuteronomy 17:8.) that for the future the judges in the various districts and cities should bring the more difficult cases to the Levitic priests and the judge at the place where the central sanctuary was, and let them be decided by them. In thus arranging, he presupposes that Israel would have at all times not only a high priest who might ascertain the will of God by means of the Urim and Thummim, but also a supreme director of its civil affairs at the place of the central sanctuary, who, in common with the priests, i.e., the high priest, would give decisions in cases of final appeal (see the commentary on Deuteronomy 17:8-13). On the basis of these Mosaic arrangements, Jehoshaphat set up a supreme court in Jerusalem, with the high priest and a lay president at its head, for the decision of causes which up till that time the king, either alone with the cooperation of the high priest, had decided. For further information as to this supreme court, see in my bibl. Archol. ii. S. 250f.
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