2 CHRONICLES 17
1 And Jehoshaphat his son reigned in his stead, and strengthened himself against Israel.
2 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.
3 And Yahweh was with Jehoshaphat, because he walked in the first ways of his father David, and sought not unto Baalim;
Jehoshaphat and Ahab were contemporaneous kings in Judah and Israel. Unlike many of the former kings, they were on very friendly terms. "After certain years," Jehoshaphat paid a visit to Ahab in Samaria; the latter made a great feast and received him royally. Ramoth Gilead at this time had been taken from Israel by Syria; Ahab seizing the opportunity, invites Jehoshaphat's help-
"I am as thou art, my people as thy people, my horses as thy horses," replies Jehoshaphat; thus placing his whole resources at Ahab's disposal (1 Kgs. 22:4).
The opposite characters of these men would incline us to the conclusion that Jehoshaphat would not have joined hands with so notorious an evildoer as Ahab: the one was undoubtedly a good man, the other, a bad one.
These terms are but relative and convey nothing: goodness or badness must be considered by that to which it stands related. In the present case it is the Word of Deity; we have then to search the Scriptures to know what made them so. Of Jehoshaphat it is recorded in 2 Chr. 17:3-10-
"And the Lord was with Jehoshaphat because he walked in the way of his father David, and sought not unto Baalim ... therefore the Lord stablished the kingdom in his hand ... and he had riches and honour in abundance ... "
"In the third year of his reign he sent princes, Levites, and priests to teach in the cities of Judah ... and they had the Book of the Law with them ... and taught the people."
"And the fear of the Lord fell upon all the kingdoms round about so that they made no war against Jehoshaphat."
In 2 Chr. 19:5-9, it is written-
"And he set judges in the land throughout all the fenced cities of Judah, city by city, and said, Take heed what ye do for ye judge not for man, but for the Lord who is with you in the judgment ... "
"Wherefore now let the fear of the Lord be upon you; ... thus shall ye do in the fear of the Lord, faithfully and with a perfect heart."
This is a character pleasant to contemplate, resulting in great blessings not only to the king, but the subjects a so. The Lord was with him, and the land had peace-
"When the righteous are in authority the people rejoice, but when the wicked beareth rule the people mourn" (Prov. 29:2).
The people of Judah were enjoying the blessings consequent upon a righteous reign. For twenty-five years this continued, a sufficient time for the whole land to be well established according to the righteousness of their king; for we have this record at his death, that-
"He departed not from doing what was right in the sight of the Lord" (2 Chr. 20:32).
From such a record as this we expect to find a righteous continuance in the son and successor. We cannot admit that so excellent a king, so diligent in teaching his people the ways of the Lord God of Israel, and in abolishing idolatry out of the land, could have been a less excellent father, neglecting his own children, not bringing them up in the fear of the Lord.
Instead, however, of this happy condition continuing, an era of bloodshed and idolatry immediately commences, the outcome of which is the spectacle presented to us of a woman ruling Judah, a worshipper of Baal established in Zion.
Although we have so admirable a character in Jehoshaphat, we can nevertheless trace to him the origin of this great evil. We find him lacking in that principle so characteristic of the prophets and all God's children in times past, namely- that stern contention for the Truth shown in Phinehas.
Though so zealous in repressing idolatry and teaching his own people the law of the Lord, yet we find him fast friends with one of whom it is written that he did evil in the sight of the Lord above all that were before him!
It is through this ill-advised friendliness, a yielding to that good natured but deceitful and destructive sentiment that makes friends with the world where purity is sacrificed for peace. This was the "cause" that produced the unhappy result we are considering.
"The law of the wise is a fountain of life to depart from the snares of death" (Prov. 13:14).
"When the King sitteth upon the throne of his Kingdom, he shall write him a copy of this law, and he shall read therein all the days of his life" (Deut.17:18-19).
It was written in this Law (Deut. 13:12-18) -
"If thou shalt hear in one of thy cities that ... men have withdrawn the inhabitants, saying, Let us go and serve other gods ... behold, if it be true ... thou shalt smite the inhabitants of that city destroying it utterly."
This was the Word of the Lord that Jehoshaphat should have executed upon the house of Ahab. He failed to do so. On the contrary, he is fast friends with him, helps him personally to fight his battles, providing him with war material, and finally consummates his folly by joining affinity in marriage, and Athaliah becomes wife to his son Jehoram, heir to the throne of the Lord in the land of the house of David.
Bro Growcott - A woman on David's throne
7 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.
Scripture Names Doctrinally Applicable to Christ
Ben-hail, Son of Strength,
"declared to be the Son of God with power."
"When we were without strength, in due time Christ died for us."
The Christadelphian, June 1873