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Bible Commentaries

Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible - Unabridged

2 Chronicles 17

 

 

Verse 1

And Jehoshaphat his son reigned in his stead, and strengthened himself against Israel.

Strengthened himself against Israel. The temper and proceedings of the kings of Israel rendered it necessary for him to prepare vigorous measures of defense on the northern frontier of his kingdom, and these consisted in filling all the fortresses with their full complement of troops, and establishing military stations in various parts of the country, as well as in the cities of mount Ephraim, which belonged to Jehoshaphat (2 Chronicles 15:8).


Verse 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.

No JFB commentary on this verse.


Verse 3

And the LORD was with Jehoshaphat, because he walked in the first ways of his father David, and sought not unto Baalim;

He walked in the first ways of his father David. He imitated the piety of his great ancestor in the early part of his reign, before he made those unhappy lapses which dishonoured his character.

And sought not unto Baalim - a term used for idols generally, in contradistinction to the Lord God of his father.


Verse 4

But sought to the (LORD) God of his father, and walked in his commandments, and not after the doings of Israel.

And not after the doings of Israel. He observed with scrupulous fidelity, and employed his royal influence to support, the divine institutions as enacted by Moses, abhorring that spurious and unlawful calf-worship which formed now the established religion in Israel. Being thus far removed alike from gross idolatry and Israelite apostasy, and adhering zealously to the requirements of the divine law, the blessing of God rested on his government; because, ruling in fear of God, and for the good of his subjects, "the Lord stablished the kingdom in his hand."


Verse 5

Therefore the LORD stablished the kingdom in his hand; and all Judah brought to Jehoshaphat presents; and he had riches and honour in abundance.

All Judah brought ... presents. This was customary with the people generally at the beginning of a reign (1 Samuel 10:27), and with the nobles and high functionaries yearly afterward. They were given in the form of voluntary offerings, to avoid the odious idea of a tax or tribute.


Verse 6

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 in the ways of the Lord. Full of faith and piety, he possessed zeal and courage to undertake the reformation of manners, to suppress all the works and objects of idolatry (see the note at 2 Chronicles 20:33), and held out public encouragement to the pure worship of God.


Verse 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.

Also in the third year of his reign he sent ... to teach in the cities of Judah. It does not appear that the ordinary work of teaching devolved on the priests. Their proper duty was to attend to the performance of the holy rites; besides which, from their sacred character recommending them as suitable arbiters and peacemakers, they were entrusted with the decision of controversies (Deuteronomy 17:8-11; Deuteronomy 21:5; Ezekiel 44:24), and the legal treatment of leprosy and divorce cases, (Leviticus 10:11; Deuteronomy 33:10; Malachi 2:7 : cf., Michaelis, 'Commentary on the Laws of Moses,' article 52:)

But they were conjoined along with extraordinary commissioners, who were appointed probably to ascertain whether the work had been done or neglected. This deputation of five princes, assisted by two priests and nine Levites, was to make a circuit of the towns in Judah; and it is the first practical measure we read, of as being adopted by any of the kings for the religious instruction of the people. Time and unbroken opportunities were afforded for carrying fully out this excellent plan of home education, because the kingdom enjoyed internal tranquillity as well as freedom from foreign wars. It is conformable to the pious style of the sacred historian to trace this profound peace to the 'fear of the Lord having fallen on all kingdoms of the lands that were round about Judah.'


Verse 8

And with them he sent Levites, even Shemaiah, and Nethaniah, and Zebadiah, and Asahel, and Shemiramoth, and Jehonathan, and Adonijah, and Tobijah, and Tob-adonijah, Levites; and with them Elishama and Jehoram, priests.

No JFB commentary on this verse.


Verse 9

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.

The book of the law - i:e., either the whole Pentateuch or only the book of Deuteronomy, which contains an abridgment of it.


Verse 10

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.

No JFB commentary on this verse.


Verse 11

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.

Also some of the Philistines brought Jehoshaphat presents, and tribute silver. Either they had been his tributaries, or they were desirous of securing his valuable friendship, and now made a voluntary offer of tribute. Perhaps they were the Philistines who had submitted to the yoke of David (2 Samuel 8:1; Psalms 60:8).

The Arabians - the nomad tribes on the south of the Dead Sea, who, seeking the protection of Jehoshaphat after his conquest of Edom, paid their tribute in the way most suitable to their pastoral habits-the tale of so many heads of cattle.


Verse 12-13

And Jehoshaphat waxed great exceedingly; and he built in Judah castles, and cities of store.

No JFB commentary on these verses.


Verse 14

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.

These are the numbers. The warriors were, arranged in the army according to their fathers houses. The army of Jehoshaphat, commanded by five great generals, and consisting of five unequal divisions, comprised 1,160,000 men, without including those who garrisoned the fortresses. No monarch, since the time of Solomon, equalled Jehoshaphat in the extent of his revenue, in the strength of his fortifications, and the number of his troops. 'The extent and wealth of the southern kingdom were as great as that of the northern. But the nucleus of it, on which the responsibility of its defense and security rested, was in comparison very inconsiderable. All depended on the men that occupied the fortress settlements of Judah and Benjamin. They furnished the troops for the garrisons of Edom, of the wilderness frontier, of Philistia, and of the various points of access into the country. From this point of view we have the means of estimating the strength and valour of the southern kingdom at this time; its position in relation to its dependencies may be illustrated by that in which our own country now stands to our colonies' (cf. 2 Chronicles 20:29-30 : Drew's 'Scripture Lands,' pp. 169, 183, 189).

 


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Bibliography Information
Jamieson, Robert, D.D.; Fausset, A. R.; Brown, David. "Commentary on 2 Chronicles 17:4". "Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible - Unabridged". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/jfu/2-chronicles-17.html. 1871-8.

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