Jehoshaphat Reigns Well and
1. Jehoshaphat … strengthened himself
against Israel—The temper and proceedings of the kings of
Israel rendered it necessary for him to prepare vigorous measures of
defense on the northern frontier of his kingdom. These consisted in
filling all the fortresses with their full complement of troops and
establishing military stations in various parts of the country, as well
as in the cities of Mount Ephraim, which belonged to Jehoshaphat (2Ch 15:8).
3-5. he walked in the first ways of his father
David—He imitated the piety of his great ancestor in the
early part of his reign before he made those unhappy lapses which
dishonored his character.
and sought not unto Baalim—a term used
for idols generally in contradistinction to the Lord God of his
4. and not after the doings of Israel—He
observed with scrupulous fidelity, and employed his royal influence to
support the divine institutions as enacted by Moses, abhorring that
spurious and unlawful calf-worship that now formed the established
religion in Israel. Being thus far removed, alike from gross idolatry
and Israelitish apostasy, and adhering zealously to the requirements of
the divine law, the blessing of God rested on his government. Ruling in
the fear of God, and for the good of his subjects, "the Lord
established the kingdom in his hand."
5. all Judah brought …
presents—This was customary with the people generally at the
beginning of a reign (1Sa 10:27),
and with the nobles and high functionaries yearly afterwards. They were
given in the form of voluntary offerings, to avoid the odious idea of a
tax or tribute.
6. his heart was lifted up in the ways of the
Lord—Full of faith and piety, he possessed zeal and courage
to undertake the reformation of manners, to suppress all the works and
objects of idolatry (see on 2Ch 20:33), and he
held out public encouragement to the pure worship of God.
2Ch 17:7-11. He Sends
Levites to Teach in Judah.
7-11. Also in the third year of his reign he sent
to his princes, … to teach in the cities of Judah—The
ordinary work of teaching devolved on the priests. But extraordinary
commissioners were appointed, probably to ascertain whether the work
had been done or neglected. This deputation of five princes, assisted
by two priests and nine Levites, was to make a circuit of the towns in
Judah. It is the first practical measure we read of as being adopted by
any of the kings for the religious instruction of the people. Time and
unbroken opportunities were afforded for carrying out fully this
excellent plan of home education, for the kingdom enjoyed internal
tranquillity as well as freedom for foreign wars. It is conformable to
the pious style of the sacred historian to trace this profound peace to
the "fear of the Lord having fallen on all kingdoms of the lands that
were round about Judah."
9. the book of the law—that is, either
the whole Pentateuch or only the book of Deuteronomy, which contains an
abridgment of it.
11. Also some of the Philistines brought
Jehoshaphat presents, and tribute silver—either they had been
his tributaries, or they were desirous of securing his valuable
friendship, and now made a voluntary offer of tribute. Perhaps they
were the Philistines who had submitted to the yoke of David (2Sa 8:1;
the Arabians—the nomad tribes on the
south of the Dead Sea, who, seeking the protection of Jehoshaphat after
his conquest of Edom, paid their tribute in the way most suitable to
their pastoral habits—the present of so many head of cattle.
2Ch 17:12-19. His Greatness,
Captains, and Armies.
14. these are the numbers—The warriors
were arranged in the army according to their fathers houses. The army
of Jehoshaphat, commanded by five great generals and consisting of five
unequal divisions, comprised one million one hundred and sixty thousand
men, without including those who garrisoned the fortresses. No monarch,
since the time of Solomon, equalled Jehoshaphat in the extent of his
revenue, in the strength of his fortifications, and in the number of