Matthew Poole's Commentary
And Jehoshaphat his son reigned in his stead, and strengthened himself against Israel.Jehoshaphat is made king; reigneth well and prospereth, 2 Chronicles 17:1-6. He sendeth Levites with the princes to teach Judah, 2 Chronicles 17:7-9. He is feared by the nations round about, who bring him presents and tribute; his greatness, captains and armies, 2 Chronicles 17:10-19.
Against the king and people of Israel, who had molested the kingdom of Judah with wars all the days of Asa, after that sin of his mentioned 2 Chronicles 16:2, &c.
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.No text from Poole on this verse.
And the LORD was with Jehoshaphat, because he walked in the first ways of his father David, and sought not unto Baalim;In the first ways, which David walked in before he fell into those horrid sins of murder and adultery. Or, in the ways of David, and his father’s first ways. For the beginning of Asa’s reign was laudable, as we have seen, though he declined at last. For it seems more probable that this passage is a reflection upon Asa, whose last ways were much his worst, and of whose repentance we have no evidence, than upon David, who, though he fell dreadfully in the matter of Uriah, yet did manifestly repent of it, and return to his first and holy course of life, in which also he continued until death; having this character given him by the Holy Ghost after his death, that he did right in all things, saving that of Uriah, 1 Kings 15:5.
But sought to the LORD God of his father, and walked in his commandments, and not after the doings of Israel.i.e. Their worship of the calves, or other idols.
Therefore the LORD stablished the kingdom in his hand; and all Judah brought to Jehoshaphat presents; and he had riches and honour in abundance.Judah brought to Jehoshaphat presents; as subjects in those times and places used to do to their kings, as a token of their respect and subjection to them. See 1 Samuel 10:27 1 Kings 10:25 2 Chronicles 32:23.
And his heart was lifted up in the ways of the LORD: moreover he took away the high places and groves out of Judah.His heart was lifted up above all discouragements, and difficulties, and fears, by which men’s hearts use to be cast down: he was valiant and resolute for God and his ways.
He took away the high places and groves, to wit, such only wherein idols were worshipped, as appears by comparing this with 2 Chronicles 20:33. And though Asa had done this before, yet either he did not do it thoroughly, or the Jews (who were many of them mad upon their idols) had secretly made new ones, in the latter part of his reign, when he grew more infirm in body, and more remiss in God’s cause.
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.To teach in the cities of Judah; to inform the people of their duty, and of the king’s pleasure. As judges or justices of peace teach or instruct the people in the laws of the land, when they deliver their charges upon the bench; so did these princes in the king’s name admonish and require the people to observe and obey the laws of God, which were the prinicipal laws of that land; the particular explication and enforcement whereof they left to the Levites and priests here following, who were sent for this end, and accordingly taught the people, 2 Chronicles 17:9.
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.No text from Poole on this verse.
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.No text from Poole on this verse.
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.Justly concluding from this singular piety that God would eminently appear for him, and against all those who had ill will to him, which was their case. For even the heathens could not but observe that the kings of Judah were either prosperous or unhappy, accordingly as they served God or forsook him.
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.Some of the Philistines; who had been subjects to this kingdom ever since David’s time, but, it seems, had neglected this duty in the times of his predecessors, but now were moved by their own fears to perform it.
The Arabians brought him flocks; either because he had upon some just occasion waged war against them, and subdued them, though the particulars of it be not described in Scripture; or because they voluntarily put themselves under his protection, in recompence whereof they sent him those presents; or only as a free acknowledgment of their respects to him.
And Jehoshaphat waxed great exceedingly; and he built in Judah castles, and cities of store.No text from Poole on this verse.
And he had much business in the cities of Judah: and the men of war, mighty men of valour, were in Jerusalem.He had much business in the cities of Judah; partly to repair and fortify them, and furnish them with all necessary provisions; and partly to purge out all the relies and seeds of idolatry and injustice, which were more secretly and subtlely managed in the cities than in the country, and which were first and most in the cities, and thence spread their infection into the country about them. See Jeremiah 2:28.
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.No text from Poole on this verse.
And next to him was Jehohanan the captain, and with him two hundred and fourscore thousand.Next to him; either,
1. After his death, as his successor in the same command. And the like is supposed concerning Jehozabad, 2 Chronicles 17:18. Or rather,
2. Next to him in place and authority; or, at least, in power and the numbers of his host.
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.As volunteers and auxiliaries, to be ready upon occasion, as the service of God and the king should require. Possibly these or most of them were the strangers which had come out of Israel into the kingdom of Judah in Asa’s days, and probably since that in his time.
And of Benjamin; Eliada a mighty man of valour, and with him armed men with bow and shield two hundred thousand.No text from Poole on this verse.
And next him was Jehozabad, and with him an hundred and fourscore thousand ready prepared for the war.No text from Poole on this verse.
These waited on the king, beside those whom the king put in the fenced cities throughout all Judah.These above mentioned were the trained bands or auxiliaries; whose chief officers waited upon the king to receive his commands, and to raise and bring in all or part of their forces to the service of the king and kingdom, as need required.