2 Chronicles 17-19; Psalm 93; Proverbs 24

In these chapters of 2 Chronicles, the author recounted the history of the people of God so as to persuade his audience to be faithful and receive God’s blessing. The Chronicler’s audience did not need a simple review of the period of the kings of Israel and Judah. Rather, they needed a theological vision of God’s faithfulness that would inspire them to devoted covenant living in their situation. Although subject to Persia, they were not without a faithful God. Thus, the Chronicler provided additional information about kings like Jehoshaphat so that his audience would follow in the faithfulness of their ancestors and receive God’s blessing.

The Chronicler introduced Judah’s King Jehoshaphat with a word of commendation: “Now the LORD was with Jehoshaphat because he walked in the former ways of his father David. He did not seek the Baals but sought the God of his father and walked by His commands, not according to the practices of Israel. So the LORD established the kingdom in his hand” (2 Chron 17:3-4). For the Chronicler, Jehoshaphat’s educational plan was worth special attention. Judah’s king had sent officials and Levites throughout Judah to teach, “having the book of the LORD’s instruction with them” (2 Chron 17:9). Like David, Jehoshaphat was a man of military success, placing brave men throughout Judah and fortifying the cities (2 Chron 17:12-19). It is thus surprising that after the king “strengthened himself against Israel” (2 Chron 17:1), he would nonchalantly make an alliance with Israel’s King Ahab through marriage. In time, Judah’s godly king found himself going so far as to say to Israel’s evil King Ahab, “I am as you are, my people as your people; we will be with you in the battle [against Ramoth-gilead]” (2 Chron 18:3b).

Though Jehoshaphat went on to insist that Ahab inquire of the Lord before they assemble the troops in alliance for battle, he should have demanded to hear from the prophet of the Lord before he ever pledged the nation’s support for Ahab. While King Ahab disguised himself and Jehoshaphat went into battle wearing his royal garb, the Aramean soldiers turned away from Judah’s king and fatally wounded Ahab, “without taking special aim” (2 Chron 18:33). The Chronicler’s account of the battle reinforced for his audience that their military strength was to be sought in the Lord.

At the beginning of 2 Chronicles 19, the author recorded that Jehu the prophet (not to be confused with Israel’s King Jehu, 2 Kings 9) confronted Jehoshaphat for entering into covenant with Israel’s ungodly King Ahab. Nonetheless, on the whole, the Chronicler found in Jehoshaphat behavior that would be commendable for his audience. The king had led the people to seek the Lord. He established judges throughout the cities of Judah and in Jerusalem, exhorting them to render verdicts without partiality (2 Chron 19:4-10).

The manner in which Jehoshaphat urged these judges to rule (i.e., without favoritism) has significance for the way God judges humanity in Christ. In the development of the storyline of Scripture, many who descended from Israel and Judah thought themselves exempt from judgment—because they had the law of Moses, the very words of instruction Jehoshaphat commanded the Levites to teach in Judah (2 Chron 17:7-11). Sadly, they used the law as a means of self-vindication before God and condemnation of other nations. Having the law, they broke it. This was not God’s will for Israel, as Paul described in his letter to the Romans. Paul wrote that God judges both Jews and Gentiles impartially based upon faith in the atoning death of Jesus Christ. “Is God for Jews only?” Paul asked, “Is He not also for Gentiles?” “Yes, for Gentiles too,” Paul continued, “since there is one God who will justify the circumcised by faith and the uncircumcised through faith” (Rom 3:29-30).