The Word Made Fresh
1His son Jehoshaphat then became king, and he prepared defenses against Israel. 2He stationed troops in all the walled cities in Judah and built fortresses in Judah and in the cities his father Asa had captured in Ephraim.
3The LORD was with Jehoshaphat because he lived in the way of his ancestor David. He did not acknowledge the Baals, 4but sought to obey the LORD God of his ancestors and reject the practices of Israel. 5So, the LORD made the kingdom secure under his rule. Gifts came to him from all over Judah and he was very wealthy and known as an honorable man. 6In his heart he was determined to follow the LORD’s ways, and he tore down the hilltop shrines and religious icons around Judah.
7In his third year he sent his counselors, Ben-Hail, Obadiah, Zechariah, Nethanel, and Micaiah to instruct the people in the cities of Judah, 8and also the Levites, Shemaiah, Nethaniah, Zebadiah, Asahel, Shemiramoth, Jehonathan, Adonijah, Tobijah, and Tob-adonijah. To accompany them were the priests Elishama and Jehoram. 9They took the book of the law with them and instructed the people through all the cities of Judah.
10All the kingdoms around Judah were afraid of the LORD and did not make war against Jehoshaphat. 11Some Philistines brought him gifts, and also silver to pay him tribute. The Arabs also brought him seven hundred rams and seven thousand seven hundred male goats. 12Jehoshaphat’s strength grew and he built fortresses and storage facilities in Judah. 13His building projects in the cities of Judah were substantial and he kept a well-trained military presence in Jerusalem. 14In Judah the generals were Adnah, with an army of three hundred thousand trained men, 15Jehohanan, with two hundred eighty thousand, 16and Amasiah son of Zichri, who volunteered his service to the LORD, with two hundred thousand trained men. 17From Benjamin the generals were Eliada, a renowned soldier, who had two hundred thousand men armed with bows and shields, 18and Jehozabad with one hundred eighty thousand trained men. 18These were in the king’s service. There were also others whom the king had placed in the walled cities throughout Judah.
1-6: Jehoshaphat’s reign began as had his father Asa’s, with the building up of fortifications on the frontier against Israel. He returned to the worship of the LORD and avoided the pitfall of worshiping other gods like Asa had done. The chronicler thus judges him to have been a good king.
7-9: He instituted reform measures designed to educate the population about their history as God’s people and about the laws that God had given Moses.
10-19: Asa’s military machinery was truly impressive, enough so that even the Philistines and Arabs paid him to be their allies. He had a standing army of 1,160,000 men.
How refreshing it is to have a leader who is God-fearing.