2 Chronicles 20

CHAPTER XX

The Moabites, Ammonites, and Edomites, invade Judah, 1, 2.

Jehoshaphat proclaims a fast, and gathers the people together

to seek the Lord, 3, 4.

His prayer to God, 5-12.

Great and small, male and female, seek the Lord, 13.

Jahaziel predicts the downfall of their enemies, 14-17.

The king, the Levites, and the people take courage; praise and

magnify God; and go forth to meet their enemies, 18-21.

The enemies are confounded, and destroy each other, 22-24.

The men of Judah take the spoil, praise the Lord, and return

with joy to Jerusalem, 25-28.

The fear of the Lord falls upon all their enemies round about;

and the land has rest, 29, 30.

Transactions and character of Jehoshaphat, 31-34.

He joins with Ahaziah, king of Israel, in building a fleet of

ships to go to Tarshish, but they are wrecked at Ezion-geber,

35-37.

NOTES ON CHAP. XX

Verse 1. Children of Ammon, and with them other beside the

Ammonites] Here there must be a mistake; surely the Ammonites are

the same as the children of Ammon. Our translators have falsified

the text by inserting the words "other beside," which have nothing

properly to represent them in the Hebrew. Literally translated,

the words are: "And it happened after this, the children of Moab,

and the children of Ammon, and with them of the Ammonites:" and

thus the Vulgate. The Syriac, which the Arabic follows, has felt

the difficulty, and translated, Came together with warlike men to

fight, &c. The Septuagint have given it another turn: καιμετ

αυτωνεκτωνμιναιων, And with them people of the Minaites; which

were a people of Arabia Felix near the Red Sea. The Targum has

Ve-immehon min Edomaey, "And with them some of

the Edomites." This is very likely to be the true reading, as we

find from 2Ch 20:10, 22, 23, that they procured men from Mount

Seir; and these were the Idumeans or Edomites. We should, in my

opinion, read the text thus: The children of Moab, and the

children of common, and with them some of the Edomites.

Verse 2. On this side Syria] Instead of mearam, from Syria,

I would read with one of Kennicott's MSS. (89) meedom, from

Edom, which alteration brings it to truth and does not require the

change of half a letter, as it consists in the almost

imperceptible difference between resh and daleth. We do

not read of any Syrians in this invasion, but we know there were

Edomites, or inhabitants of Mount Seir.

Hazazon-tamar] "In the wood of palm trees, that is, in

Engedi."-Targum. This is the meaning of the word, and it is

probable that they lay hid here.

Verse 3. Jehoshaphat feared] He found that he could not possibly

stand against such a numerous army, and therefore could not expect

to be delivered except by the strong arm of God. To get this

assistance, it was necessary to seek it; and to get such

extraordinary help, they should seek it in an extraordinary way;

hence he proclaimed a universal fast, and all the people came up

to Jerusalem to seek the Lord.

Verse 6. Jehoshaphat stood] What an instructive sight was this!

The king who proclaimed the fast was foremost to observe it, and

was on this occasion the priest of the people; offering in the

congregation, without form or any premeditation, one of the most

sensible, pious, correct, and as to its composition one of the

most elegant prayers ever offered under the Old Testament

dispensation.

Verse 7. Art not thou our God] "Hast not thou, by thy WORD,

driven out."-Targum.

Verse 8. Therein for thy name] "For the name of thy

WORD."-Targum.

Verse 9. For thy name is in this house] "Thy Majesty is in

this house." Several of Kennicott's and De Rossi's MSS., with the

Vulgate, Syriac, and Arabic, add nikra, "is invoked;"

Thy name is invoked in this house-here thou dwellest, and here

thou art worshipped.

Verse 11. They reward us] Six of Kennicott's and De Rossi's MSS.

add evil: "Behold, they reward us EVIL." This is also the

reading of the Targum.

Verse 12. Wilt thou not judge them] That is, Thou wilt inflict

deserved punishment upon them.

Verse 15. For the battle is not yours, but God's.] God will not

employ you in the discomfiture of this great host; he himself will

take the matter in hand, deliver you, and destroy them.

Verse 17. For the Lord will be with you.] "The WORD of the Lord

shall be your Helper."-Targum.

Verse 20. Believe in the Lord your God] "Believe in the WORD of

the Lord your God, and believe in his law, and believe in his

prophets; and ye shall prosper." Here the WORD and the revelation

are most pointedly distinguished; the Word being used personally.

Verse 22. The Lord set ambushments] "The WORD of the Lord placed

snares among the children of Ammon and Moab; and the inhabitants

of the mountain of Gibla, who came to fight with Judah; and they

were broken to pieces:" so the Targum.

Houbigant translates the place thus: "The Lord set against the

children of Ammon and Moab ambushments of those who came from

Mount Seir against Judah; and the children of Ammon and Moab were

smitten: but they afterwards rose up against the inhabitants of

Mount Seir, and utterly destroyed them; who being destroyed, they

rose up one against another, and mutually destroyed each other."

This is probably the meaning of these verses. Calmet's version is

not very different.

Verse 25. Both riches with the dead bodies] For peparim,

dead bodies, begadim, garments, is the reading of eight

MSS. in the collections of Kennicott and De Rossi, and in several

ancient editions. None of the versions have dead bodies except the

Chaldee. The words might be easily mistaken for each other, as the

pe, if a little faint in the under dot might easily pass for a

beth; and we know that the resh and daleth, are

frequently interchanged and mistaken for each other, both in

Hebrew and Syriac. I believe garments to be the true reading;

and as to the clause which they stripped off for themselves, it

should be understood thus: Which they seized for themselves, &c.

Verse 26. Assembled themselves in the valley of Berachah] "The

valley of Benediction;" and so in the latter clause.-Targum.

Verse 27. Jehoshaphat in the forefront of them] He was their

leader in all these spiritual, holy, fatiguing, and self-denying

exercises. What a noble and persuasive pattern!

Verse 29. The Lord fought] "The WORD of the Lord made war

against the enemies of Israel."-Targum.

Verse 33. The high places were not taken away] The idolatry, as

we have seen, was universally suppressed; but some of the places

where that worship had been performed were not destroyed. Some of

them still remained; and these, to such a fickle people, became

the means of idolatry in reigns less propitious to truth and

religion.

Verse 34. In the book of Jehu] This is totally lost, though it

is evident that it was in being when the books of Chronicles were

written.

Verse 36. To go to Tarshish] "In the great sea."-Targum. By

which expression they always meant the Mediterranean Sea.

Verse 37. The Lord hath broken, &c.] "The WORD of the Lord hath

broken."-Targum. Concerning Tarshish, Ezion-geber, and Ophir,

and the voyage thither, See Clarke on 1Ki 10:22, and at the

end of that chapter, See Clarke on 1Ki 10:29, and on 2Ch 9:26-28.

The Tarshish here is called by the Chaldee Torsos in the great sea,

some place in the Mediterranean. On this subject the reader has,

no doubt, already seen a great variety of opinions.

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