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Bible Commentaries

Expository Notes of Dr. Thomas Constable

2 Chronicles 20



Verses 1-30

5. Victory over the Moabite-Ammonite alliance20:1-30

This chapter does not appear in Kings. It illustrates well that "the Lord will rule (judge)," the meaning of Jehoshaphat"s name and the truth that characterized his reign. The motif of retribution is very strong here. God gave victory because Jehoshaphat and Judah trusted and obeyed Him ( 2 Chronicles 20:17).

Jehoshaphat"s prayer ( 2 Chronicles 20:6-12) was very similar to Solomon"s at the temple dedication (cf. 2 Chronicles 6:12-42). Jehoshaphat based his petition for deliverance on God"s promises ( 2 Chronicles 20:5-9). 2 Chronicles 20:12 is another classic expression of trust in the Lord (cf. 1 Samuel 17:47).

"There is no excuse for Christian hopelessness. The Christian"s response in the blackest hour must be: "My eyes are upon thee."" [Note: Ibid, p194.]

God revealed what the king was to do. Essentially he was just to observe the victory God would give him ( 2 Chronicles 20:15). The expression, "Do not fear," ( 2 Chronicles 20:17) occurs365 times in the Bible, one for every day of the year. [Note: Allen, p306.] Other blessings God brought to Judah as a result of Jehoshaphat"s faith were spoil from the nations ( 2 Chronicles 20:25), her enemies" fear of Judah that restricted other attacks ( 2 Chronicles 20:29), and peace ( 2 Chronicles 20:30).

The Meunites ( 2 Chronicles 20:1) were an Arabian tribe that lived in Edom and elsewhere east and south of the Salt (Dead) Sea (cf. 2 Chronicles 26:7; 1 Chronicles 4:41). The wilderness of Tekoa ( 2 Chronicles 20:20) was the Judean wilderness near the town of Tekoa that stood10 miles south of Jerusalem.

Verses 31-37

6. Jehoshaphat"s failures20:31-37

The reference to Jehoshaphat not removing the high places ( 2 Chronicles 20:33) seems to contradict what the writer said in 2 Chronicles 17:6. Perhaps when the people rebuilt the high places that Jehoshaphat destroyed earlier in his reign, he failed to tear them down again. In this, the king fell short of the complete obedience required for God to establish his throne forever ( 1 Chronicles 17:11-14). Jehoshaphat"s alliance with Ahaziah, king of Israel, was another instance in which he failed to trust and obey God as he should have ( 2 Chronicles 20:35-37).

". . . however much a person"s life might be characterized by obedience to God, the possibility of lapse and compromise is forever present." [Note: McConville, p196.]

"Jehoshaphat"s weakness-and this the chronicler sets before us as a peril of pastoral leadership-was his inability to say no." [Note: Wilcock, p191.]

"The weakness of Jehoshaphat, then, is a perilous thing. It is actually related to his excellence as a shepherd. He cares; if he is to be a good pastor, he cannot afford to be hard-hearted. His troubles begin when he is not sufficiently hard-hearted." [Note: Ibid, p193.]

Jehoshaphat was another of Judah"s best kings who followed David"s example. Nevertheless he was not the Son of David whom God would establish forever. [Note: For a study of the chronicler"s portrayal of Jehoshaphat in contrast to that of the writer of Kings, see Dillard, "The Chronicler"s Jehoshaphat," pp17-22.]


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Bibliography Information
Constable, Thomas. DD. "Commentary on 2 Chronicles 20:4". "Expository Notes of Dr. Thomas Constable". 2012.

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