Cambridge Bible for Schools and Colleges
And Jehoshaphat his son reigned in his stead, and strengthened himself against Israel.Ch. 2 Chronicles 17:1-6 (cp. 1 Kings 22:41-43). The Character of Jehoshaphat’s Reign
1. strengthened himself against Israel] Render, strengthened himself in (over) Israel; cp. 2 Chronicles 1:1; 2 Chronicles 12:13.
Israel] See note on 2 Chronicles 11:3.
And he placed forces in all the fenced cities of Judah, and set garrisons in the land of Judah, and in the cities of Ephraim, which Asa his father had taken.2. the cities of Ephraim] Cp. 2 Chronicles 15:8.
And the LORD was with Jehoshaphat, because he walked in the first ways of his father David, and sought not unto Baalim;3. in the first ways of his father David] Omit David (so LXX.), the person referred to being Asa (1 Kings 22:43). Asa’s first ways (ch. 14, 15) were good, his latter ways (ch. 16), according to the Chronicler, were evil.
unto Baalim] R.V. unto the Baalim. Baal is not a proper name, but a title meaning “Lord,” which was generally given to false gods. Israel might not call Jehovah, “My Baal” (Baali), Hosea 2:16-17.
But sought to the LORD God of his father, and walked in his commandments, and not after the doings of Israel.4. to the Lord God of his father] R.V. to the God of his father. The Chronicler frequently avoids introducing the name Jehovah (rendered Lord in A.V.) in places where it might be expected; cp. 2 Chronicles 20:12; 2 Chronicles 30. For another and different instance of reverent suppression of the divine name see 2 Chronicles 28:9 (note).
after the doings of Israel] Cp. 2 Chronicles 13:8-9.
Therefore the LORD stablished the kingdom in his hand; and all Judah brought to Jehoshaphat presents; and he had riches and honour in abundance.5. bought … presents] Probably congratulatory gifts at his accession; cp. 1 Samuel 10:27.
riches and honour] Cp. 2 Chronicles 18:1.
And his heart was lifted up in the ways of the LORD: moreover he took away the high places and groves out of Judah.6. moreover he took away] R.V. and furthermore he took away. In 2 Chronicles 20:33 = 1 Kings 22:43 it is said that the high places were not taken away. Cp. what is said of Asa (2 Chronicles 14:3 and 2 Chronicles 15:17 = 1 Kings 15:14). It seems that in both cases the Chronicler incorporates mutually contradictory traditions. If the removal took place, it must have met with only partial success.
and groves] R.V. and the Asherim. See note on 2 Chronicles 14:3.
Also in the third year of his reign he sent to his princes, even to Benhail, and to Obadiah, and to Zechariah, and to Nethaneel, and to Michaiah, to teach in the cities of Judah.7–9 (no parallel in 1 Kin.). Jehoshaphat’s Provision for Teaching the Law
7. he sent to his princes … to teach] R.V. he sent his princes, even Ben-hail, and Obadiah, and Zechariah, and Nethanel, and Micaiah, to teach.
And with them he sent Levites, even Shemaiah, and Nethaniah, and Zebadiah, and Asahel, and Shemiramoth, and Jehonathan, and Adonijah, and Tobijah, and Tobadonijah, Levites; and with them Elishama and Jehoram, priests.
And they taught in Judah, and had the book of the law of the LORD with them, and went about throughout all the cities of Judah, and taught the people.9. and had the book] R.V. having the book. The Chronicler no doubt means by this the Pentateuch as we have it, but in the source from which he drew the account one of the earlier codes embedded in our present Pentateuch may have been meant. It is improbable that the five books of Moses existed in the time of Jehoshaphat in the form in which we now have them.
And the fear of the LORD fell upon all the kingdoms of the lands that were round about Judah, so that they made no war against Jehoshaphat.10–13 (no parallel in 1 Kin.). The Greatness of Jehoshaphat
10. the fear of the Lord] Cp. Genesis 35:5.
Also some of the Philistines brought Jehoshaphat presents, and tribute silver; and the Arabians brought him flocks, seven thousand and seven hundred rams, and seven thousand and seven hundred he goats.11. tribute silver] R.V. silver for tribute.
the Arabians] Cp. 2 Chronicles 21:16.
flocks] Cp. 2 Kings 3:4.
And Jehoshaphat waxed great exceedingly; and he built in Judah castles, and cities of store.12. castles] Heb. bîrâniyyôth; cp. 2 Chronicles 27:4 (same word); and 2 Chronicles 26:10 (“towers”). Such small castles or towers lie scattered along the pilgrim-road from Damascus to Mecca at the present day to make the way safe.
cities of store] Cp. 2 Chronicles 11:11-12.
And he had much business in the cities of Judah: and the men of war, mighty men of valour, were in Jerusalem.13. much business] R.V. many works.
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 valour three hundred thousand.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.
And next to him was Jehohanan the captain, and with him two hundred and fourscore thousand.15. next to him] Lit. at his hand; the same phrase is used in Nehemiah 3:2; Nehemiah 3:4-5, etc.
Jehohanan] Sometimes spelt Johanan.
And next him was Amasiah the son of Zichri, who willingly offered himself unto the LORD; and with him two hundred thousand mighty men of valour.16. who willingly offered himself] Cp. Jdg 5:9.
And of Benjamin; Eliada a mighty man of valour, and with him armed men with bow and shield two hundred thousand.17. armed men with bow and shield two hundred thousand] R.V. two hundred thousand armed with bow and shield (or “target”) i.e. light-armed troops; cp. note on 2 Chronicles 14:8.
And next him was Jehozabad, and with him an hundred and fourscore thousand ready prepared for the war.18. ready prepared for the war] R.V. ready prepared for war. The same phrase is translated armed for war in 1 Chronicles 12:24.
These waited on the king, beside those whom the king put in the fenced cities throughout all Judah.19. These waited] R.V. These were they that waited. Cp. 1 Chronicles 27:1, that served the king (the same Heb. verb is used).