Wesley's Notes on the Bible
And Jehoshaphat his son reigned in his stead, and strengthened himself against Israel.
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.
And the LORD was with Jehoshaphat, because he walked in the first ways of his father David, and sought not unto Baalim;
17:3 Sought not, and c. - It is true, he recovered from that fall. Yet perhaps, says Mr. Henry, he never, while he lived, fully retrieved the spiritual strength he lost by it.
But sought to the LORD God of his father, and walked in his commandments, and not after the doings of Israel.
Therefore the LORD stablished the kingdom in his hand; and all Judah brought to Jehoshaphat presents; and he had riches and honour in abundance.
17:5 Brought presents - As subjects in those times used to do to their kings, as a token of their respect and subjection to them.
And his heart was lifted up in the ways of the LORD: moreover he took away the high places and groves out of Judah.
17:6 Lifted up - Above all discouragements, and fears. He was valiant and resolute for God and his ways. Groves - Those wherein idols were worshipped, 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.
17:7 To teach - To inform the people of their duty, and of the king's pleasure, as judges 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 municipal 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, ver.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.
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.
17:9 And they taught, and c. - And these itinerant judges and itinerant preachers together, Mr. Henry observes were instrumental to diffuse a blessed light throughout the cities of Judah.
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.
17:10 Fear fell - Justly concluding from his singular piety that God would eminently appear for him, for even the Heathens could not but observe, that the kings of Judah were either prosperous or unhappy, according 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.
And Jehoshaphat waxed great exceedingly; and he built in Judah castles, and cities of store.
And he had much business in the cities of Judah: and the men of war, mighty men of valour, were in Jerusalem.
17:13 Business - To repair and fortify them, and furnish them with provisions: and to purge out all their relicks of idolatry and injustice.
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.
And next to him was Jehohanan the captain, and with him two hundred and fourscore thousand.
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.
And of Benjamin; Eliada a mighty man of valour, and with him armed men with bow and shield two hundred thousand.
And next him was Jehozabad, and with him an hundred and fourscore thousand ready prepared for the war.
These waited on the king, beside those whom the king put in the fenced cities throughout all Judah.
17:19 Waited - These above - mentioned were the trained bands or auxiliaries: whose chief officers waited on the king to receive his commands, and to raise, and bring in all, or part of their forces, to the service of the king as need required. A vast number for so small a compass of ground, to furnish out and maintain. But we may consider, that God had promised to make the seed of Abraham like the sand of the sea for number; that there had now been a long peace; that many were come to them from the kingdom of Israel and that Jehoshaphat was under a special blessing of God. They were doubtless dispersed all the country over, every one residing on his own land: only they were ready at call, whenever there was occasion.