2 Chronicles 17


Jehoshaphat succeeds his father Asa, and reigns piously, and

is particularly blessed, 14.

He establishes an itinerant ministry, for the instruction of

the people, through all the cities of Judah, which produces

the most beneficial effects, 7-10.

The Philistines and Arabians bring him gifts, 11.

His greatness, 12, 13.

The commanders of his troops, 14-19.


Verse 1. Jehoshaphat-and strengthened himself against Israel]

The kingdoms of Israel and Judah were rivals from the beginning;

sometimes one, sometimes the other, prevailed. Asa and Baasha were

nearly matched; but, after Baasha's death, Israel was greatly

weakened by civil contentions, and Jehoshaphat got the ascendancy.

See 1Ki 16:16-23.

Verse 2. The cities of Ephraim] This conquest from the kingdom

of Israel is referred to, 2Ch 15:8; but when it was made we do

not know.

Verse 3. The Lord was with Jehoshaphat] "The WORD of the Lord

was Jehoshaphat's Helper."-Targum.

Verse 7. - 9. To teach in the cities of Judah.] "To teach the

fear of the Lord in the cities of Judah."-Targum.

In these verses we find a remarkable account of an itinerant

ministry established by Jehoshaphat; and in this work he employed

three classes of men: 1. The princes. 2. The Levites. 3. The

priests. We may presume that the princes instructed the people

in the nature of the civil law and constitution of the kingdom;

the Levites instructed them in every thing that appertained to the

temple service, and ritual law; and the priests instructed them

in the nature and design of the religion they professed. Thus

the nation became thoroughly instructed in their duty to God, to

the king, and to each other. They became, therefore, as one man;

and against a people thus united, on such principles, no enemy

could be successful.

Verse 8. See Clarke on 2Ch 17:7.

Verse 9. See Clarke on 2Ch 17:7.

Ver. 9. Had the book of the law of the Lord with them] This was

their text book: it was the book of God; they taught it as such,

and as such the people received it. Its laws were God's laws, and

the people felt their obligation, and their consciences were

bound. Thus they were obedient to the laws of the land, on the

principle of religion. In this they were encouraged and confirmed

by the example of all, both in Church and state. The princes

were not only pious, but were teachers of piety; the Levites

showed them the worth and excellence of their ritual institutions;

and the priests showed them the moral use they were to make of the

whole: and thus the people became obedient to God as well as to

the king, and kept all the civil ordinances, not merely for the

sake of a good king, but for the sake of a good and gracious God.

By these means the nation enjoyed peace and prosperity; and all

insurrections, seditions, and popular commotions, were prevented.

The surrounding nations, perceiving this, saw that there was no

hope of subduing such a people, so they made no war with

Jehoshaphat, 2Ch 17:10. And they took care not to provoke such a

people to fall on them; therefore, it is said, The fear of the

Lord fell on all the kingdoms and lands that were round about

Judah. Such an itinerant ministry established in these kingdoms

for upwards of fourscore years, teaching the pure, unadulterated

doctrines of the Gospel, with the propriety and necessity of

obedience to the laws, has been the principal means, in the hand

of God, of preserving these lands from those convulsions and

revolutions that have ruined and nearly dissolved the European

continent. The itinerant ministry, to which this refers, is that

which was established in these lands by the late truly reverend,

highly learned and cultivated, deeply pious and loyal JOHN WESLEY,

A.M., formerly a fellow of Lincoln College, Oxford, whose

followers are known by the name of METHODISTS; a people who are an

honour to their country, and a blessing to the government under

which they live.

Verse 11. The Philistines brought-presents] They and the

Arabians purchased peace with the king of Judah by paying an

annual tribute. The Philistines brought silver, and no doubt

different kinds of merchandise, The Arabs, whose riches

consisted in cattle, brought him flocks in great abundance,

principally rams and he-goats.

Verse 13. He had much business in the cities] He kept the people

constantly employed; they had wages for their work; and by their

labours the empire was both enriched and strengthened.

Verse 14. Adnah, the chief] He was generalissimo of all this

host. These are the numbers of the five battalions: under Adnah,

three hundred thousand; Jehohanan, two hundred and eighty

thousand, Amasiah, two hundred thousand; Eliada, two hundred

thousand; Jehozabad, one hundred and eighty thousand; in all, one

million one hundred and sixty thousand.

Verse 19. These waited on the king] They were disposable forces,

always at the king's command; and were independent of those by

which the cities of Judah were garrisoned.

THERE is not a sovereign in Europe or in the world but might

read this chapter with advantage. 1. It shows most forcibly that

true religion is the basis of the state, and that, wherever it

prospers, there the state prospers. 2. It shows also that it is

the wisdom of kings to encourage religion with all their power and

influence; for if the hearts of the subjects be not bound and

influenced by true religion, vain is the application of laws,

fines, imprisonments, or corporal punishment of any kind. 3. A

religious nation is ever a great nation; it is loved by its

friends, it is dreaded by its enemies. 4. It is ever a peaceable

and united nation: the blessings of religion, and a wholesome and

paternal government, are so fully felt and prized, that all find

it their interest to preserve and defend them. Harmony, peace,

piety, and strength, are the stability of such times. May Britain

know and value them!

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