Jehoshaphat, on his return from Ramoth-gilead, is met by the prophet Jehu, and reproved, 2 Chronicles 19:1-3. He makes a farther reformation in the land, establishing courts of justice, and giving solemn and pertinent directions to the judges, Levites, etc., to do judgement and justice among the people, in the fear of God, 2 Chronicles 19:4-11.
And Jehoshaphat the king of Judah returned to his house in peace to Jerusalem.Returned to his house in peace - That is, in safety, notwithstanding he had been exposed to a danger so imminent, from which only the especial mercy of God could have saved him.
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.Jehu the son of Hanani - We have met with this prophet before; see the note on 1 Kings 16:7.
Therefore is wrath upon thee - That is, Thou deservest to be punished. And who can doubt this, who knows that he did help the ungodly, and did love them that hated Jehovah? And is not the wrath of God upon all those alliances which his people form with the ungodly, whether they be social, matrimonial, commercial, or political?
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.
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.From Beer-sheba to Mount Ephraim - Before the separation of the ten tribes, in speaking of the extent of the land it was said, From Dan to Beer-sheba; but since that event, the kingdom of Judah was bounded on the south by Beer-sheba, and on the north by the mountains of Ephraim. This shows that Jehoshaphat had gone through all his territories to examine every thing himself, to see that judgment and justice were properly administered among the people.
And he set judges in the land throughout all the fenced cities of Judah, city by city,
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.Take heed what ye do - A very solemn and very necessary caution; judges should feel themselves in the place of God, and judge as those who know they shall be judged for their judgments.
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.And for controversies, when they returned to Jerusalem - Who were they that returned to Jerusalem? Some suppose that it means Jehoshaphat and his courtiers, who returned to Jerusalem after the expedition mentioned 2 Chronicles 19:4 : but if this were so, or if the text spoke of any person returning to Jerusalem, would not לירושלם lirushalem, To Jerusalem, and not the simple word ירושלם Yerushalem, without the preposition, be used?
Learned men have supposed, with great plausibility, that the word וישבו vaiyashubu, "and they returned," should be written יושבי yoshebey, "the inhabitants," and that the words should be read, And for the controversies of the inhabitants of Jerusalem. That this was the original reading is very probable from its vestiges in the Vulgate, habitatoribus ejus, "its Inhabitants;" and in the Septuagint it is found totidem verbis, Και κρινειν τους κατοικουντας εν Ἱερουσαλημ, And to judge the inhabitants of Jerusalem.
There is a clause in 2 Chronicles 34:9 where we have a similar mistake in our version: And they returned to Jerusalem, וישבו ירושלם where the false keri, or marginal note, directs it, in opposition to common sense and All the versions, to be read וישובו and they returned, which our translation has unhappily followed.
And he charged them, saying, Thus shall ye do in the fear of the LORD, faithfully, and with a perfect heart.
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.Between blood and blood - Cases of man-slaughter or accidental murder, or cases of consanguinity, the settlement of inheritance, family claims, etc.
Between law and commandment - Whatsoever concerns the moral precepts, rites, and ceremonies, of the law, or whatsoever belongs to civil affairs.
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.Behold, Amariah - Here was a two-fold jurisdiction, ecclesiastical and civil: in the ecclesiastical court, Amariah the high-priest was supreme judge, in the civil court, Zebadiah was supreme. To assist both the Levites were a sort of counsellors.
Without good and wholesome laws, no nation can be prosperous: and vain are the best laws if they be not judiciously and conscientiously administered. The things of God and the things of the King should never be confounded in the administration of justice. Amariah the priest, and Zebadiah the ruler, should ever have their distinct places of jurisdiction.