2 Chronicles 17:14
And these are the numbers of them according to the house of their fathers: Of Judah, the captains of thousands; Adnah the chief, and with him mighty men of valor three hundred thousand.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
(14) And these . . . their fathers.And this is their muster (or census), according to their father-houses (clans), 1Chronicles 24:3. The warriors were marshalled in the army according to clans, so that men of the same stock fought side by side with their kindred. Perhaps in the original document this heading was followed by a much more detailed scheme of names and divisions than that which the text presents.

Of Judah.To Judah (belonged) captains of thousands, viz., the three enumerated in 2Chronicles 17:14-16 : Adnah, Jehohanan, and Amasiah. They were the principal officers, or generals, of the entire forces of Judah.

Adnah the chief—To wit, the captain Adnah. That Adnah was commander-in-chief is implied by his being named first, and his corps being the largest.

17:1-19 Jehoshaphat promotes religion in Judah, His prosperity. - Jehoshaphat found his people generally very ignorant, and therefore endeavoured to have them well taught. The public teaching of the word of God forms, in all ages, the great method of promoting the power of godliness. Thereby the understanding is informed, the conscience is awakened and directed. We have a particular account of Jehoshaphat's prosperity. But it was not his formidable army that restrained the neighbouring nations from attempting any thing against Israel, but the fear of God which fell upon them, when Jehoshaphat reformed his country, and set up a preaching ministry in it. The ordinances of God are more the strength and safety of a kingdom, than soldiers and weapons of war. The Bible requires use to notice the hand of God in every event, yet this is little regarded. But let all employ the talents they have: be faithful, even in that which is little. Set up the worship of God in your houses. The charge of a family is important. Why should you not instruct them as Jehoshaphat did his subjects, in the book of the law of the Lord. But be consistent. Do not recommend one thing, and practise another. Begin with yourselves. Seek to the Lord God of Israel, then call upon children and servants to follow your example.The captains of thousands; Adnah the chief - literally, "princes of thousands, Adnah the prince." The writer does not mean that Adnah (or Johohanan, 2 Chronicles 17:15) was in any way superior to the other "princes," but only that he was one of them.

Three hundred thousand - This number. and those which follow in 2 Chronicles 17:15-18, have been with good reason regarded as corrupt by most critics. For:

(1) They imply a minimum population of 1,480 to the square mile, which is more than three times greater than that of any country in the known world (circa 1880's).

(2) they produce a total just double that of the next largest estimate of the military force of Judah, the 580, 000 of 2 Chronicles 14:8.

(3) they are professedly a statement, not of the whole military force, but of the force maintained at Jerusalem (2 Chronicles 17:13; compare 2 Chronicles 17:19).

It is probable that the original numbers have been lost, and that the loss was suppplied by a scribe, who took 2 Chronicles 14:8 as his basis.

14. these are the numbers—The warriors were arranged in the army according to their fathers houses. The army of Jehoshaphat, commanded by five great generals and consisting of five unequal divisions, comprised one million one hundred and sixty thousand men, without including those who garrisoned the fortresses. No monarch, since the time of Solomon, equalled Jehoshaphat in the extent of his revenue, in the strength of his fortifications, and in the number of his troops. No text from Poole on this verse. And these are the numbers of them, according to the house of their fathers,.... Both of the tribe of Judah and of Benjamin: and first

of Judah, the captains of thousands; some had 1000 men under them, and some one hundred:

Adnah the chief; he was the principal commander or general of them:

and with him mighty men of valour, three hundred thousand; such a number was under his command.

And these are the numbers of them according to the house of their fathers: Of Judah, the captains of thousands; Adnah the chief, and with him mighty men of valor three hundred thousand.
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
14. these are the numbers of them] R.V. this was the numbering of them.

the house of their fathers] R.V. their fathers’ houses.

Adnah the chief] R.V. Adnah the captain; cp. 2 Chronicles 17:15, Jehohanan the captain.

14–19 (no parallel in 1 Kin.). The Number of Jehoshaphat’s Army

The numbers here given, if they are to be literally understood, must be pronounced impossibly high, especially since they are represented as exclusive of the garrisons in Judah, and perhaps as representing the forces stationed in Jerusalem itself (2 Chronicles 17:13). Cp. note on 2 Chronicles 14:8.Verse 14. - This verse, with the following four, gives us the names of five captains, chiefs, princes, or military officers for the kingdom's service, with the numbers of the troops they severally commanded. The numbers of them (see note under 1 Chronicles 23:11); Hebrew, פקֻדָּתָם. The better English rendering to carry at once the signification would be, The muster of them, etc. The captains... the chief, In both cases the Hebrew is the familiar word for" prince" (שָׂר); in the former without article, in the latter with article. The numbers of this and following four verses are not only absolutely unreliable, but in themselves impossible. According to the house of their fathers; i.e. the quotation is drawn from an army catalogue, arranged carefully by fathers' houses (Numbers 1:18, 22, etc.). In the third year of his reign he sent five princes, i.e., laymen of high position, with nine Levites and two priests, into the cities of Judah, with the book of the law, to teach the law everywhere to the people. בּן־חיל is nom. prop., like בּן־חסד, 1 Kings 4:10, בּן־דּקר, 1 Kings 4:9, and is not to be translated as an adjective, as in lxx and Syr., partly on account of the ל praef., and still more on account of the singular, for the plural חיל בּני must be used when it is in apposition to לשׂרי. Nothing further is known of the men named; the designation of them as שׂרים suggests the idea that they were heads of families or fathers'-houses. אדוניּה טוב, too (2 Chronicles 17:8), is one name. The "book of the law of Jahve" is the Pentateuch, not merely a collection of Mosaic laws, since in Jehoshaphat's time the Mosaic book of the law (the Pentateuch) had been long in existence. יהוּדה בּערי סבב signifies to go through the cities of Judah in different directions; baa`aam limeed, to teach among the people (not the people). The mission of these men is called by the older theologians a solemn ecclesiarum visitatio, quam Josaphat laudabili exemplo per universum regnum suum instituit, and they differ in opinion only as to the part played by the princes in it. Vitringa, de synagoga vet. p. 389, in agreement with Rashi, thinks that only the Levites and priests were deputed ut docerent; the princes, ut auctoritate imperioque suo populum erudiendum in officio continerent eumque de seria regis voluntate certiorem facerent; while others, e.g., Buddaeus, refer to 2 Chronicles 17:9, ubi principes pariter ac Levitae populum docuisse dicuntur, or believe with Grotius, docere et explicare legem non tantum sacerdotum erat et Levitarum, sed omnium eruditorum. Both views contain elements of truth, and do not mutually exclude each other, but may be harmonized. We can hardly confine למּד to religious teaching. The Mosaic law contains a number of merely civil precepts, as to which laymen learned in the law might impart instruction; and consequently the teaching probably consisted not merely in making the people acquainted with the contents of the law, but at the same time of direction and guidance in keeping the law, and generally in restoring and confirming the authority of the law among the people. In connection with this there were many abuses and illegalities which had to be broken down and removed; so that in this respect the task of the commission sent round the country by Jehoshaphat may be compared to a church inspection, if only we understand thereby not an inspection of churches in the Christian sense of the words, but an inspection of the religious and moral life of the communities of Israel under the old covenant.
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