2 Chronicles 20

The Lord Gives Jehoshaphat Military Success

1Later the Moabites and Ammonites, along with some of the Meunites,
The Hebrew text has “Ammonites,” but they are mentioned just before this. Most translations, following some mss of the LXX, read “Meunites” (see 1 Chr 26:7; so NASB, NIV, NRSV).
attacked Jehoshaphat.
Heb “they”; the implied referent (messengers) has been specified in the translation for clarity.
arrived and reported to Jehoshaphat, “A huge army is attacking you from the other side of the Dead Sea,
Heb “the Sea”; in context (“from the direction of Edom”) this must refer to the Dead Sea, which has been specified in the translation for clarity (cf. NEB, NLT).
from the direction of Edom.
Most Hebrew mss read “from Aram” (i.e., Syria), but this must be a corruption of “Edom,” which is the reading of the LXX and Vulgate.
Look, they are in Hazezon Tamar (that is, En Gedi).”
3Jehoshaphat was afraid, so he decided to seek the Lord’s advice.
Heb “and he set his face to seek the Lord.”
He decreed that all Judah should observe a fast.
4The people of Judah
The words “the people of” are supplied in the translation for clarity. The Hebrew text uses the name “Judah” by metonymy for the people of Judah.
assembled to ask for the Lord’s help;
Heb “to seek from the Lord.” The verb here (בָּקַשׁ, baqash) is different from the one translated “seek” in v. 3 (דָּרַשׁ, darash).
they came from all the cities of Judah to ask for the Lord’s help.
Heb “to seek the Lord.” The verb here (ָָבּקַשׁ, baqash) is different from the one translated “seek” in v. 3 (דָּרַשׁ, darash).

5 Jehoshaphat stood before the assembly of Judah and Jerusalem at the Lord’s temple, in front of the new courtyard. 6He prayed: “O Lord God of our ancestors,
Heb “fathers” (also in v. 33).
you are the God who lives in heaven
Heb “are you not God in heaven?” The rhetorical question expects the answer “yes,” resulting in the positive statement “you are the God who lives in heaven” employed in the translation.
and rules over all the kingdoms of the nations. You possess strength and power; no one can stand against you.
7Our God, you drove out
Heb “did you not drive out?” This is another rhetorical question which expects a positive response; see the note on the word “heaven” in the previous verse.
the inhabitants of this land before your people Israel and gave it as a permanent possession
Heb “permanently.”
to the descendants of your friend
Or perhaps “your covenantal partner.” See Isa 41:8.
8They settled down in it and built in it a temple
Or “sanctuary.”
to honor you,
Heb “for your name.” The word “name” sometimes refers to one’s reputation or honor (thus the translation here, “to honor you).
9‘If disaster comes on us in the form of military attack,
Heb “sword.”
judgment, plague, or famine, we will stand in front of this temple before you, for you are present in this temple.
Heb “for your name is in this house.” The “name” of the Lord sometimes designates the Lord himself, being indistinguishable from the proper name. In this case the temple is referred to as a “house” where the Lord himself can reside.
We will cry out to you for help in our distress, so that you will
Or “so that you may.”
hear and deliver us.’
10Now the Ammonites, Moabites, and men from Mount Seir are coming!
Heb “now, look, the sons of Ammon, Moab and Mount Seir.”
When Israel came from the land of Egypt, you did not allow them to invade these lands.
Heb “whom you did not allow Israel to enter when they came from the land of Egypt.”
They bypassed them and did not destroy them.
11Look how they are repaying us! They come to drive us out of our allotted land which you assigned to us! 12Our God, will you not judge them? For we are powerless against this huge army that attacks us! We don’t know what we should do; we look to you for help.”
Heb “for [or “indeed”] upon you are our eyes.”

13 All the men of Judah
Heb “Judah.” The words “the men of” are supplied in the translation for clarity. The Hebrew text uses the name “Judah” by metonymy for the men of Judah.
were standing before the Lord, along with their infants, wives, and children.
14Then in the midst of the assembly, the Lord’s Spirit came upon Jachaziel son of Zechariah, son of Benaiah, son of Jeiel, son of Mattaniah, a Levite and descendant of Asaph. 15He said: “Pay attention, all you people of Judah,
Heb “all Judah.” The words “you people of” are supplied in the translation for clarity. The Hebrew text uses the name “Judah” by metonymy for the people of Judah. Unlike the previous instance in v. 13 where infants, wives, and children are mentioned separately, this reference appears to include them all.
residents of Jerusalem, and King Jehoshaphat! This is what the Lord says to you: ‘Don’t be afraid and don’t panic
Or perhaps “don’t get discouraged.”
because of this huge army! For the battle is not yours, but God’s.
16Tomorrow march down against them as
Heb “look.”
they come up the Ascent of Ziz. You will find them at the end of the ravine in front of the Desert of Jeruel.
17You will not fight in this battle. Take your positions, stand, and watch the Lord deliver you,
Heb “the deliverance of the Lord with you.”
O Judah and Jerusalem. Don’t be afraid and don’t panic!
Or perhaps “don’t get discouraged.”
Tomorrow march out toward them; the Lord is with you!’”

18 Jehoshaphat bowed down with his face toward the ground, and all the people of Judah
Heb “all Judah.” The words “you people of” are supplied in the translation for clarity. See the note on the word “Judah” in v. 15.
and the residents of Jerusalem fell down before the Lord and worshiped him.
Heb “to worship the Lord.”
19Then some Levites, from the Kohathites and Korahites, got up and loudly praised the Lord God of Israel.
Heb “arose to praise the Lord God of Israel with a very loud voice.”

20 Early the next morning they marched out to the Desert of Tekoa. When they were ready to march, Jehoshaphat stood up and said: “Listen to me, you people of Judah
Heb “O Judah.” The words “you people of” are supplied in the translation for clarity. See the note on the word “Judah” in v. 15.
and residents of Jerusalem! Trust in the Lord your God and you will be safe!
There is a wordplay in the Hebrew text. The Hiphil verb form הַאֲמִינוּ (haaminu, “trust”) and the Niphal form תֵאָמֵנוּ (teamenu, “you will be safe”) come from the same verbal root (אָמַן, ’aman).
Trust in the message of his prophets and you will win.”
21He met
Or “consulted.”
with the people and appointed musicians to play before the Lord and praise his majestic splendor. As they marched ahead of the warriors they said: “Give thanks to the Lord, for his loyal love endures.”
Or “is eternal.”

22 When they began to shout and praise, the Lord suddenly attacked
Heb “set ambushers against.” This is probably idiomatic here for launching a surprise attack.
the Ammonites, Moabites, and men from Mount Seir
Heb “the sons of Ammon, Moab, and Mount Seir.”
who were invading Judah, and they were defeated.
23The Ammonites and Moabites attacked the men from Mount Seir
Heb “the sons of Ammon and Moab stood against the residents of Mount Seir.”
and annihilated them.
Heb “to annihilate and to destroy.”
When they had finished off the men
Heb “residents.”
of Seir, they attacked and destroyed one another.
Heb “they helped, each one his fellow, for destruction.” The verb עָזַר (’azar), traditionally understood as the well-attested verb meaning “to help,” is an odd fit in this context. It is possible that it is from a homonymic root, perhaps meaning to “attack.” This root is attested in Ugaritic in a nominal form meaning “young man, warrior, hero.” For a discussion of the proposed root, see HALOT 811 s.v. II עזר.
24When the men of Judah
Heb “Judah.” The words “the men of” are supplied in the translation for clarity. The Hebrew text uses the name “Judah” by metonymy for the men of Judah.
arrived at the observation post overlooking the desert and looked at
Heb “turned toward.”
the huge army, they saw dead bodies on the ground; there were no survivors!
25Jehoshaphat and his men
Or “army.”
went to gather the plunder; they found a huge amount of supplies, clothing
The MT reads פְגָרִים (fegarim, “corpses”), but this seems odd among a list of plunder. A few medieval Hebrew mss and the Vulgate read בְגָדִים (vegadim, “clothing”), which fits the context much better.
and valuable items. They carried away everything they could.
Heb “and they snatched away for themselves so that there was no carrying away.”
There was so much plunder, it took them three days to haul it off.
Heb “and they were three days looting the plunder for it was great.”

26 On the fourth day they assembled in the Valley of Berachah, where
Heb “for there.”
they praised the Lord. So that place is called the Valley of Berachah
The name Berachah, which means “blessing” in Hebrew, is derived from the verbal root “to praise [or “to bless”],” which appears earlier in the verse.
to this very day.
27Then all the men of Judah and Jerusalem returned joyfully to Jerusalem with Jehoshaphat leading them; the Lord had given them reason to rejoice over their enemies. 28They entered Jerusalem to the sound of stringed instruments and trumpets and proceeded to the temple of the Lord. 29All the kingdoms of the surrounding lands were afraid of God
Heb “and the terror of God [or “a great terror”] was upon all the kingdoms of the lands.” It is uncertain if אֱלֹהִים (’elohim) should be understood as a proper name here (“God”), or taken in an idiomatic superlative sense.
when they heard how the Lord had fought against Israel’s enemies.
30Jehoshaphat’s kingdom enjoyed peace; his God made him secure on every side.
Heb “and his God gave him rest all around.”

Jehoshaphat’s Reign Ends

31 Jehoshaphat reigned over Judah. He was thirty-five years old when he became king and he reigned for twenty-five years in Jerusalem. His mother was Azubah, the daughter of Shilhi. 32He followed in his father Asa’s footsteps and was careful to do what the Lord approved.
Heb “he walked in the way of his father Asa and did not turn from it, doing what is right in the eyes of the Lord.”
33However, the high places were not eliminated; the people were still not devoted to the God of their ancestors.
Heb “and still the people did not set their heart[s] on the God of their fathers.”

34 The rest of the events of Jehoshaphat’s reign, from start to finish, are recorded in the Annals of Jehu son of Hanani which are included in Scroll of the Kings of Israel.
Heb “the rest of the events of Jehoshaphat, the former and the latter, look, they are written in the records of Jehu son of Hanani, which are taken up in the scroll of the kings of Israel.”

35 Later King Jehoshaphat of Judah made an alliance with King Ahaziah of Israel, who
Heb “he.” The pronoun has been translated as a relative pronoun for stylistic reasons.
did evil.
36They agreed
Heb “he made an alliance with him.”
to make large seagoing merchant ships;
Heb “make ships to go to Tarshish.” This probably refers to large ships either made in or capable of traveling to the distant western port of Tarshish; a “Tarshish-ship” was essentially a large seagoing merchant ship.
they built the ships in Ezion Geber.
37Eliezer son of Dodavahu from Mareshah prophesied against Jehoshaphat, “Because
Heb “when.”
you made an alliance with Ahaziah, the Lord will shatter what you have made.” The ships were wrecked and unable to go to sea.
Heb “to go to Tarshish.”

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