Cambridge Bible for Schools and Colleges
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.
And Jehu the son of Hanani the seer went out to meet him, and said to king Jehoshaphat, Shouldest thou help the ungodly, and love them that hate the LORD? therefore is wrath upon thee from before the LORD.2. Jehu the son of Hanani] He must have been an old man at this time for he had prophesied against Baasha (1 Kings 16:1), since whose time two kings had reigned in Israel, viz., Omri (12 years) and Ahab (22 years).
the ungodly] R.V. the wicked.
and love them that hate the Lord] Cp. Psalm 139:21-22.
therefore is wrath upon thee] R.V. for this thing wrath is upon thee, i.e. a visitation of wrath is impending. The visitation is described in chap. 20. For “wrath” (Heb. qeçeph) cp. 2 Kings 3:27 R.V. mg.
Nevertheless there are good things found in thee, in that thou hast taken away the groves out of the land, and hast prepared thine heart to seek God.3. good things] Cp. 2 Chronicles 12:12 (note).
taken away the groves] R.V. put away the Asheroth (plur. of “Asherah”); cp. 2 Chronicles 17:6 (note).
And Jehoshaphat dwelt at Jerusalem: and he went out again through the people from Beersheba to mount Ephraim, and brought them back unto the LORD God of their fathers.4–11 (no parallel in Kings). Jehoshaphat’s Home Policy
4. Beer-sheba] Cp. note on 1 Chronicles 4:28.
brought them back] Some further measures against idolatry seem to be meant.
And he set judges in the land throughout all the fenced cities of Judah, city by city,5. and he set judges] Cp. 2 Chronicles 19:11 “also the Levites shall be officers”; and Deuteronomy 16:18 “judges and officers shalt thou make thee in all thy gates.”
In the earliest days justice was administered in Israel, as among the Bedouin of to-day, probably by all heads of families and (in difficult cases) by the one head who was distinguished above the rest for impartiality and for knowledge of tribal custom. In later days when Israel was settled in Canaan the “elders of the cities” and the “elders of the priests” exercised the same functions.
Jehoshaphat’s measures were twofold, (1) to establish judges throughout the cities of Judah, (2) to establish (in accordance with Deuteronomy 17:8 ff.) a kind of court of appeal in Jerusalem itself.
As to the first measure no doubt the work consisted in removing evil judges and confirming the good in their office, rather than in appointing judges for the first time. The second measure, however, was probably altogether new; David (2 Samuel 14:4 ff; 2 Samuel 15:3) and Solomon (1 Kings 3:16) had kept judgment in their own hands. The prominent position assigned to the priests as judges is in accordance with Deuteronomy 17:9; Deuteronomy 19:17.
And said to the judges, Take heed what ye do: for ye judge not for man, but for the LORD, who is with you in the judgment.6. Take heed] R.V. Consider.
who is with you in the judgment] Render, and He is with you in giving judgment (cp. R.V. and mg.). The judges in deciding cases against the rich and powerful were to strengthen themselves with the thought “God is with us” (“Immanuel”).
Wherefore now let the fear of the LORD be upon you; take heed and do it: for there is no iniquity with the LORD our God, nor respect of persons, nor taking of gifts.
Moreover in Jerusalem did Jehoshaphat set of the Levites, and of the priests, and of the chief of the fathers of Israel, for the judgment of the LORD, and for controversies, when they returned to Jerusalem.8. the chief of the fathers of Israel] R.V. the heads of the fathers’ houses of Israel.
for the judgment of the Lord, and for controversies] By the first expression the Chronicler no doubt refers to matters regarding which some decision could be found in the Law of the Lord (i.e. the Pentateuch). The second (“controversies”) probably means civil disputes for which arbitration rather than a strictly legal decision was suitable.
when they returned to Jerusalem] R.V. And they returned to Jerusalem. These words seem to be corrupt; read, and they (i.e. the judges appointed by Jehoshaphat) dwelt in Jerusalem. The most difficult cases could always be decided in Jerusalem, because the judges were always there.
And he charged them, saying, Thus shall ye do in the fear of the LORD, faithfully, and with a perfect heart.9. a perfect heart] i.e. a heart undivided in its allegiance; cp. 1 Chronicles 12:38. The judges were not to attempt to combine the service of God with the taking of bribes.
And what cause soever shall come to you of your brethren that dwell in their cities, between blood and blood, between law and commandment, statutes and judgments, ye shall even warn them that they trespass not against the LORD, and so wrath come upon you, and upon your brethren: this do, and ye shall not trespass.10. And what cause soever shall come to you of your brethren] R.V. And whensoever any controversy shall come to you from your brethren.
between blood and blood] To decide between one kind of blood-shedding and another, i.e. between manslaughter and murder. Deuteronomy 17:8.
between law and commandment] To decide what particular ordinance applies to a particular case.
ye shall even warn them] R.V. ye shall warn them. Cp. Ezekiel 3:17-21.
that they trespass not against] R.V. that they be not guilty towards. Cp. Isaiah 24:6 (“found guilty” R.V.).
wrath] Heb. qeçeph; see note on 2 Chronicles 19:2.
ye shall not trespass] R.V. ye stall not be guilty.
And, behold, Amariah the chief priest is over you in all matters of the LORD; and Zebadiah the son of Ishmael, the ruler of the house of Judah, for all the king's matters: also the Levites shall be officers before you. Deal courageously, and the LORD shall be with the good.11. Amariah] Perhaps he who is mentioned 1 Chronicles 6:11 [5:37, Heb.].
officers before you] i.e. waiting to execute your instructions.
Deal courageously] Render, Be strong and work (as in Haggai 2:4).
shall be with the good] R.V. be with the good (a blessing rather than a promise).