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that they said, Surely it is the king of Israel. And they turned aside to fight against him : and Jehoshaphat cried out.
And it came to pass, when the captains of the chariots perceived that it was not the king of Israel, that they turned back from pursuing him.
And a certain man drew a bow at a venture, and smote the king of Israel between the joints of the harness : * wherefore he said unto the driver of his chariot, Turn thine hand, and carry me out of the host ; for I am wounded.
And the battle increased that day : and the king was stayed up in his chariot against the Syrians, and died at even : and the blood ran out of the wound into the midst of the chariot.
And there went a proclamation throughout the host about the going down of the sun, saying, Every man to his city, and every man to his own country,
So the king died, and was brought to Samaria ; and they buried the king in Samaria.
And one washed the chariot in the pool of Samaria ; and the dogs licked up his blood ; and they washed his armour ; according unto the word of the Lord which he spake.
Now the rest of the acts of Ahab, and all that he did, and the ivory house which he made, and all the cities that he built, are they not written in the book of the chronicles of the kings of Israel ?
So Ahab slept with his fathers; and Ahaziah his son reigned in his stead.
And Jehoshaphat the king of Judah returned to his house in peace to Jerusalem.
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.
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 Beer-sheba to mount Ephraim, and brought them back unto the LORD God of their fathers.
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.
Wherefore now let the fear of the LORD be upon you ; take heed, and do it: for there is no iniquityt with the LORD our God, nor respect of persons, I nor taking of gifts. Ŝ
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 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
* Between the joinings of his coat of mail.
Making a difference.
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.
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.
COMMENT.—It must have been with a heavy heart that Jehoshaphat set forth on the unblest expedition to Ramoth in Gilead, but he had given his word, and he could not go back from it. It even seems as if he expected to die in the battle which he knew could not prosper, for he appointed his youngest son Jehoram to be king, doubtless to save confusion in case he were slain ; and Jehoram's reign is counted from this time. Nay, he even carried his generosity so far as to consent to Ahab's mean-spirited plan. Ahab, though he had weakly spared Benhadad, knew that the special hatred of the Syrians was against his own person, and he had further been made uneasy, though not repentant, by the prophecies against him. So he proposed to go into the battle merely as an ordinary captain, while Jehoshaphat alone should wear his kingly robes, which would draw all the special danger off himself and upon the king of Judah ! It appears that, since chariots and horses had been brought up from Egypt, the chiefs on either side fought, not on foot, as Jonathan, David, and his mighty men had done, like the hardy mountaineers they were, but like other Eastern kings, and the heroes of Greek poetry-in war chariots, which were driven by a charioteer, while the great man himself launched his javelins and gave his orders from this elevation. Jehoshaphat in the royal chariot was first attacked ; but the Lord was watching over his servant, even in his error, and the Syrian captains perceived their mistake, and turned away in quest of Ahab. But it was not given to any of them to slay the prize of the day. It was a man bending his bow “in his simplicity," without special aim, whose arrow struck Ahab in the joint of his armour, as though it had been guided by the surest of hands, as indeed it had. He had hidden from the Syrians; he could not hide from God. In his agony he begged to be taken out of the battle ; but there was no rest for him—the throng thickened, and he was held up in his chariot till night, when he died, and his men
dispersed over the hills to their homes, as Micaiah had seen them in his vision. His corpse was brought to Samaria, his chariot was washed in the great pool outside the city, and the dogs licked his blood. It was not in the same place as that where they had licked Naboth's (unless, indeed, that victim had been brought for execution to Samaria), but that part of the judgment had been put off to his son's time. So closes that sad story of Ahab's weakness and wickedness, and God's merciful long-suffering. It is one to be much thought of; for Ahab—who shrank from severe truths, hated those who reproved him, and tried not to know when others did wrong in his name and for his pleasure--is like only too many of us.
Jehoshaphat brought his army home in safety, but the prophet Jehu, son of that Hanani who had rebuked his father, came out to meet him, and rebuked him for having joined himself with the ungodly, telling him that he had brought down God's anger on his family, for truly he had brought in a seed of corruption from which the kingdom of Judah never entirely recovered. But Jehoshaphat, unlike Ahab, unlike his own father Asa, took the prophet's rebuke in all meekness, and only strove more to reform his kingdom. Again he went throughout his lands, by personal influence bringing his subjects to turn wholly to the Lord, labouring perhaps the more fervently because the miseries of a land without true faith or worship had just been brought before him. Moreover, he appointed judges in all the cities, charging them strictly to do their office as representing God the Judge himself. He did not speak of their duty to himself, or to society, but of their duty to God. Thus they were to guard themselves against showing favour to their friends or to the rich, or from accepting bribes. Besides this, there seems to have been a court at Jerusalem, presided over by Amariah, the high priest, to which questions of the religious law might be carried, and another under Zebadiah, the ruler of the house of Judah, for worldly questions of justice. “ Deal courageously, and the Lord shall be with the good,” says Jehoshaphat, whose name meant “the judgment of the Lord.”
It is said that the eighty-second Psalm was the song of instruction framed for his judges. It reminds them of their being in the place of God Himself, the Judge among gods--that is, spiritual powers or angels—and then warns them against wrong judgment,
and shows the dreadful consequences of injustice ; ending with reminding them that though they are now as gods, because the Word and Power of God has come on them to enable them to execute justice between man and man, yet they shall die in their turn, and give an account to the God who shall judge all mankind.
God standeth in the congregation of the mighty;
THE WAR WITH MOAB AND AMMON.
B.C. 896.—2 CHRON. XX. 1—19. It came to pass after this also, that the children of Moab, and the children of Ammon, and with them other beside the Ammonites, came against Jehoshaphat to battle.
Then there came some that told Jehoshaphat, saying, There cometh a great multitude against thee from beyond the sea, * and, behold, they be in Hazazon-tamar, which is En-gedi.
And Jehoshaphat feared, and set himself to seek the LORD, and proclaimed a fast throughout all Judah.
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.
And Jehoshaphat stood in the congregation of Judah and Jerusalem, in the house of the LORD, before the new court,
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 here not power and might, so that none is able to withstand thee?
* The Dead Sea. The word in our version is Aram, probably meant for Edom. VOL. III.
Art not thou our God, who didst drive out the inhabitants of this land before thy people Israel, and gavest it to the seed of Abraham thy friend for ever?
And they dwelt therein, and have built thee a sanctuary therein for thy name, saying,
If, when evil cometh upon us, as the sword, judgement, or pestilence, or famine, we stand before this house, and in thy presence, (for thy name is in this house,) and cry unto thee in our affliction, then thou wilt hear and help.
And now, behold, the children of Ammon and Moab and mount Seir, whom thou wouldest not let Israel invade, when they came out of the land of Egypt, but they turned from them, and destroyed them not ;
Behold, I say, how they reward us, to come to cast us out of thy possession, which thou hast given us to inherit.
O our God, wilt thou not judge them ? for we have no might against this great company that cometh against us ; neither know we what to do : but our eyes are upon thee.
And all Judah stood before the LORD, with their little ones, their wives, and their children.
Then upon Jahaziel the son of Zechariah, the son of Benaiah, the son of Jeiel, the son of Mattaniah, a Levite of the sons of Asaph, came the Spirit of the LORD in the midst of the congregation;
*And he said, Hearken ye, all Judah, and ye inhabitants of Jerusalem, and thou king Jehoshaphat, Thus saith the LORD unto you, Be not afraid nor dismayed by reason of this great multitude ; for the battle is not yours, but God's.
To-morrow go ye down against them : behold, they come up by the cliff of Ziz; and ye shall find them at the end of the brook, before the wilderness of Jeruel.
Ye shall not need to fight in this battle : set yourselves, stand ye still, and see the salvation of the LORD with you, O Judah and Jerusalem : fear not, nor be dismayed; to-morrow go out against them: for the LORD will be with you.
And Jehoshaphat bowed his head with his face to the ground : and all Judah and the inhabitants of Jerusalem fell before the LORD, worshipping the LORD.
And the Levites, of the children of the Kohathites, and of the children of the Korhites, stood up to praise the LORD God of Israel with a loud voice on high.
COMMENT.—Till Jehoshaphat had joined Ahab, he had enjoyed perfect peace. Now a war was allowed to take place, but it was so met by Jehoshaphat as to turn to a glory and joy almost unequalled. The Moabites and Ammonites, with other nations, formed a league against him, and, taking him by surprise, advanced in large force on the shores of the Dead Sea, to Engedi, where David had lurked in his outlaw days. Jehoshaphat, feeling that this was a punishment, held a fast throughout Judah, and assembled his people at