Reading 122/341, 2 Chronicles 18-20

...2 Chronicles...

Now Jehoshaphat had riches and honor in abundance, and he joined affinity with Ahab. After certain years he went down to Ahab to Samaria. Ahab killed sheep and oxen for him in abundance, and for the people who were with him, and moved him to go up with him to Ramoth Gilead. Ahab king of Israel said to Jehoshaphat king of Judah, Will you go with me to Ramoth Gilead? He answered him, I am as you are, and my people as your people, and we will be with you in the war. Jehoshaphat said to the king of Israel, Please inquire first for the word of the Lord. Then the king of Israel gathered the prophets together, four hundred men, and said to them, Shall we go to Ramoth Gilead to battle, or shall I forbear? They said, Go up; for God will deliver it into the hand of the king. But Jehoshaphat said, Is not there here a prophet of the Lord besides, that we may inquire of him? The king of Israel said to Jehoshaphat, There is yet one man by whom we may inquire of the Lord, but I hate him; for he never prophesies good concerning me, but always evil, this is Micaiah the son of Imla. Jehoshaphat said, Do not let the king say so. Then the king of Israel called an officer, and said, Get quickly Micaiah the son of Imla. Now the king of Israel and Jehoshaphat the king of Judah sat each on his throne, arrayed in their robes, and they were sitting in an open place at the entrance of the gate of Samaria, and all the prophets were prophesying before them. Zedekiah the son of Chenaanah made him horns of iron, and said, Thus says the Lord, With these shall you push the Syrians, until they be consumed. All the prophets prophesied so, saying, Go up to Ramoth Gilead, and prosper; for the Lord will deliver it into the hand of the king. The messenger who went to call Micaiah spoke to him, saying, Behold, the words of the prophets declare good to the king with one mouth, let your word therefore, Please be like one of theirs, and speak you good. Micaiah said, As the Lord lives, what my God says, that will I speak. When he was come to the king, the king said to him, Micaiah, shall we go to Ramoth Gilead to battle, or shall I forbear? He said, Go up, and prosper, and they shall be delivered into your hand. The king said to him, How many times shall I adjure you that you speak to me nothing but the truth in the name of the Lord? He said, I saw all Israel scattered on the mountains, as sheep that have no shepherd, and the Lord said, These have no master; let them return every man to his house in peace. The king of Israel said to Jehoshaphat, Did not I tell you that he would not prophesy good concerning me, but evil? Micaiah said, "Therefore hear you the word of the Lord, I saw the Lord sitting on his throne, and all the army of heaven standing on his right hand and on his left. The Lord said, 'Who shall entice Ahab king of Israel, that he may go up and fall at Ramoth Gilead?' One spoke saying after this manner, and another saying after that manner. There came forth a spirit, and stood before the Lord, and said, 'I will entice him.' the Lord said to him, 'How?' He said, 'I will go forth, and will be a lying spirit in the mouth of all his prophets.' He said, 'You shall entice him, and shall prevail also, go forth, and do so.' Now therefore, behold, the Lord has put a lying spirit in the mouth of these your prophets, and the Lord has spoken evil concerning you." Then Zedekiah the son of Chenaanah came near, and struck Micaiah on the cheek, and said, Which way went the Spirit of the Lord from me to speak to you? Micaiah said, Behold, you shall see on that day, when you shall go into an inner chamber to hide yourself. The king of Israel said, Take Micaiah, and carry him back to Amon the governor of the city, and to Joash the king's son, and say, Thus says the king, Put this fellow in the prison, and feed him with bread of affliction and with water of affliction, until I return in peace. Micaiah said, If you return at all in peace, the Lord has not spoken by me. He said, Hear, you peoples, all of you. So the king of Israel and Jehoshaphat the king of Judah went up to Ramoth Gilead. The king of Israel said to Jehoshaphat, I will disguise myself, and go into the battle; but put you on your robes. So the king of Israel disguised himself, and they went into the battle. Now the king of Syria had commanded the captains of his chariots, saying, Fight nor with small nor great, save only with the king of Israel. It happened, when the captains of the chariots saw Jehoshaphat, that they said, It is the king of Israel. Therefore they turned about to fight against him, but Jehoshaphat cried out, and the Lord helped him, and God moved them to depart from him. It happened, when the captains of the chariots saw that it was not the king of Israel, that they turned back from pursuing him. A certain man drew his bow at a venture, and struck the king of Israel between the joints of the armor. Therefore he said to the driver of the chariot, Turn your hand, and carry me out of the army; for I am sore wounded. The battle increased that day, however the king of Israel stayed himself up in his chariot against the Syrians until the , and about the time of the going down of the sun he died. Jehoshaphat the king of Judah returned to his house in peace to Jerusalem. Jehu the son of Hanani the seer went out to meet him, and said to king Jehoshaphat, Should you help the wicked, and love those who hate the Lord? for this thing wrath is on you from before the Lord. Nevertheless there are good things found in you, in that you have put away the Asheroth out of the land, and have set your heart to seek God. Jehoshaphat lived at Jerusalem, and he went out again among the people from Beersheba to the hill country of Ephraim, and brought them back to the Lord, the God of their fathers. He set judges in the land throughout all the fortified cities of Judah, city by city, and said to the judges, Consider what you do, for you do not judge for man, but for the Lord, and he is with you in the judgment. Now therefore let the fear of the Lord be on you; take heed and do it, for there is no iniquity with the Lord our God, nor respect of persons, nor taking of bribes. Moreover in Jerusalem did Jehoshaphat set of the Levites and the priests, and of the heads of the fathers' houses of Israel, for the judgment of the Lord, and for controversies. They returned to Jerusalem. He charged them, saying, Thus shall you do in the fear of the Lord, faithfully, and with a perfect heart. Whenever any controversy shall come to you from your brothers who dwell in their cities, between blood and blood, between law and commandment, statutes and ordinances, you shall warn them, that they not be guilty towards the Lord, and so wrath come on you and on your brothers, this do, and you shall not be guilty. 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, in all the king's matters, also the Levites shall be officers before you. Deal courageously, and the Lord be with the good. It happened after this, that the children of Moab, and the children of Ammon, and with them some of the Ammonites, came against Jehoshaphat to battle. Then there came some who told Jehoshaphat, saying, There comes a great multitude against you from beyond the sea from Syria, and behold, they are in Hazazon Tamar (this is En Gedi). Jehoshaphat feared, and set himself to seek to the Lord, and he proclaimed a fast throughout all Judah. Judah gathered themselves together, to seek help of the Lord, out of all the cities of Judah they came to seek the Lord. Jehoshaphat stood in the assembly of Judah and Jerusalem, in the house of the Lord, before the new court, and he said, the Lord, the God of our fathers, are not you God in heaven? and are not you ruler over all the kingdoms of the nations? and in your hand is power and might, so that none is able to withstand you. Did not you, our God, drive out the inhabitants of this land before your people Israel, and give it to the seed of Abraham your friend forever? They lived therein, and have built you a sanctuary therein for your name, saying, If evil come on us, the sword, judgment, or pestilence, or famine, we will stand before this house, and before you, (for your name is in this house), and cry to you in our affliction, and you will hear and save. Now, behold, the children of Ammon and Moab and Mount Seir, whom you would not let Israel invade, when they came out of the land of Egypt, but they turned aside from them, and did not destroy them; behold, how they reward us, to come to cast us out of your possession, which you have given us to inherit. Our God, will you not judge them? for we have no might against this great company that comes against us; nor know we what to do, but our eyes are on you. All Judah stood before the Lord, with their little ones, their wives, and their children. Then on Jahaziel the son of Zechariah, the son of Benaiah, the son of Jeiel, the son of Mattaniah, the Levite, of the sons of Asaph, came the Spirit of the Lord in the midst of the assembly, and he said, Listen you, all Judah, and you inhabitants of Jerusalem, and you king Jehoshaphat, Thus says the Lord to you, Do not be afraid you, nor be dismayed by reason of this great multitude; for the battle is not yours, but God's. Tomorrow go you down against them, behold, they come up by the ascent of Ziz, and you shall find them at the end of the valley, before the desert of Jeruel. You shall not need to fight in this battle, set yourselves, stand you still, and see the salvation of the Lord with you, O Judah and Jerusalem; do not be afraid, nor be dismayed, tomorrow go out against them, for the Lord is with you. Jehoshaphat bowed his head with his face to the ground, and all Judah and the inhabitants of Jerusalem fell down before the Lord, worshipping the Lord. The Levites, of the children of the Kohathites and of the children of the Korahites, stood up to praise the Lord, the God of Israel, with an exceeding loud voice. They rose early in the morning, and went forth into the desert of Tekoa, and as they went forth, Jehoshaphat stood and said, Hear me, Judah, and you inhabitants of Jerusalem, believe in the Lord your God, so shall you be established; believe his prophets, so shall you prosper. When he had taken counsel with the people, he appointed those who should sing to the Lord, and give praise in holy array, as they went out before the army, and say, Give thanks to the Lord; for his loving kindness endures forever. When they began to sing and to praise, the Lord set ambushers against the children of Ammon, Moab, and Mount Seir, who had come against Judah, and they were struck. For the children of Ammon and Moab stood up against the inhabitants of Mount Seir, utterly to kill and destroy them, and when they had made an end of the inhabitants of Seir, everyone helped to destroy another. When Judah came to the place overlooking the desert, they looked at the multitude, and behold, they were dead bodies fallen to the earth, and there were none who escaped. When Jehoshaphat and his people came to take the spoil of them, they found among them in abundance both riches and dead bodies, and precious jewels, which they stripped off for themselves, more than they could carry away, and they were three days in taking the spoil, it was so much. On the fourth day they assembled themselves in the valley of Beracah; for there they blessed the Lord, therefore the name of that place was called The valley of Beracah to this day. Then they returned, every man of Judah and Jerusalem, and Jehoshaphat in the forefront of them, to go again to Jerusalem with joy; for the Lord had made them to rejoice over their enemies. They came to Jerusalem with stringed instruments and harps and trumpets to the house of the Lord. The fear of God was on all the kingdoms of the countries, when they heard that the Lord fought against the enemies of Israel. So the realm of Jehoshaphat was quiet; for his God gave him rest round about. Jehoshaphat reigned over Judah, he was thirty-five years old when he began to reign, and he reigned twenty-five years in Jerusalem, and his mother's name was Azubah the daughter of Shilhi. He walked in the way of Asa his father, and did not turn aside from it, doing what was right in the eyes of the Lord. However the high places were not taken away; nor as yet had the people set their hearts to the God of their fathers. Now the rest of the acts of Jehoshaphat, first and last, behold, they are written in the history of Jehu the son of Hanani, which is inserted in the book of the kings of Israel. After this did Jehoshaphat king of Judah join himself with Ahaziah king of Israel; the same did very wickedly, and he joined himself with him to make ships to go to Tarshish, and they made the ships in Ezion Geber. Then Eliezer the son of Dodavahu of Mareshah prophesied against Jehoshaphat, saying, Because you have joined yourself with Ahaziah, the Lord has destroyed your works. The ships were broken, so that they were not able to go to Tarshish.

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