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Bible Commentaries

John Trapp Complete Commentary

2 Chronicles 19

 

 

Verse 1

2 Chronicles 19:1 And Jehoshaphat the king of Judah returned to his house in peace to Jerusalem.

Ver. 1. And Jehoshaphat … returned to his house in peace.] He looked upon himself as "a brand pulled out of the fire"; and having seen another ship wrecked, he resolveth to look better to his tackling. His soul had escaped as a bird out of the snare of the fowlers, as a dove out of the claws of a hawk, or talons of an eagle.


Verse 2

2 Chronicles 19:2 And Jehu the son of Hanani the seer went out to meet him, and said to king Jehoshaphat, Shouldest thou help the ungodly, and love them that hate the LORD? therefore [is] wrath upon thee from before the LORD.

Ver. 2. And Jehu the son of Hanani the seer.] Jehu delivered his message with better success than his father had done. [2 Chronicles 16:7] Asa had gall in his ears, as some creatures are said to have; but good Jehoshaphat had aures purgatissimas, a "hearing ear," [Proverbs 20:12] an "obedient ear," [Proverbs 25:12] upon which "a wise reprover is as an earring of gold, and an ornament of fine gold." {See Trapp on "Proverbs 25:12"}

Shouldest thou help the ungodly,] i.e., That wicked wretch Ahab, of whom it might be said, as afterwards it was of the Jews in St Paul’s time, that "they pleased not God, and were contrary to all men," [1 Thessalonians 2:15] or as the historian said of Commodus, the emperor, that he was called "the enemy of God and men."

And love them that hate the Lord?] I think not. Idolaters are God-haters - whatever they pretend - and are therefore to be heartily "hated," [Psalms 139:22] provided that we hate non virum, sed vitium, not the man, but his manners.

Therefore is wrath upon thee.] Thy late great danger was a fair warning, and must be kept in recent remembrance. The Moabites and the Ammonites, &c., are preparing against thee. The prophet also might have respect - as one (a) hath well observed - to some dissension that began at present betwixt his sons; the seeds of that horrid slaughter Jehoram did afterwards make amongst them. [2 Chronicles 21:4]


Verse 3

2 Chronicles 19:3 Nevertheless there are good things found in thee, in that thou hast taken away the groves out of the land, and hast prepared thine heart to seek God.

Ver. 3. Nevertheless there are good things found in thee.] Therefore God, rewarding his own graces in thee, will not suffer his whole wrath to arise against thee, but even in judgment remember mercy. Thus God "spareth" his people, "as a man spareth his own son that serveth him." [Malachi 3:17] {See Trapp on "Malachi 3:17"} As for the good works we do, Certum est nos facere quod facimus, sed Deus facit ut faciamus; He doeth all.


Verse 4

2 Chronicles 19:4 And Jehoshaphat dwelt at Jerusalem: and he went out again through the people from Beersheba to mount Ephraim, and brought them back unto the LORD God of their fathers.

Ver. 4. And Jehoshaphat dwelt at Jerusalem.] He made no more journeys to Samaria; as he who had escaped with his life at the fall of Blackfriars, cried out, "I will go no more to mass"; and another, "Mass is misery." A third - nothing so wise - said, that nothing grieved him more, than that he had not died by that mischance. But see the just hand of God upon such wild wishers. This Parker - for that was his name - going over to Douay to take priestly orders the week following, was drowned in his passage. (a)

And he went out again through the people.] Heb., He returned, and went out. He had reformed all places before; but in his absence, at the siege of Ramothgilead, all fell out of order again; like as when Moses was gone but forty days only to converse with God, the people had corrupted themselves, and made a golden calf. It may very well be, too, that by Jehoshaphat’s evil example, in loving those that hated the Lord, the people took heart to slight the service of God, and to hanker after idols. Jehoshaphat, therefore, the first thing he doth after his return - when once he had recovered his fright, and considered the prophet’s reproof - he setteth upon a reformation - which is optima et aptissima poenitentia, as I have before noted out of Luther - and because it shall be thoroughly done from one end of the land to the other, he goeth himself in person, to see it done.


Verse 5

2 Chronicles 19:5 And he set judges in the land throughout all the fenced cities of Judah, city by city,

Ver. 5. And he set judges in the land.] Judges they had before; but some of them, haply, fell in the late war with the Syrians, or were otherwise wanting to their places and duties. It is a mercy to have judges, modo audeant quae sentiunt, saith the orator, (a) so they be as they should be.

Throughout all the fenced cities.] Lest soldiers should abuse their power unto violence and wrong, as they are apt to do. [Luke 3:14]


Verse 6

2 Chronicles 19:6 And said to the judges, Take heed what ye do: for ye judge not for man, but for the LORD, who [is] with you in the judgment.

Ver. 6. And he said to the judges.] He left them their lesson: and it is such, surely, as deserveth not only to be written in letters of gold on all seats of judicature and in all houses of judges, but also to be engraven upon the tables of their hearts.

Take heed what ye do.] Carete vobis, cavete populo, do all deliberately, and on good advice: looking well about you.

For ye judge not for man, but for the Lord.] Non tam mei quam Dei estis vicarii: It is God whom you represent. See therefore that ye do it worthy of God: and that you express not him to the world as a corrupt and crooked judge.

Who is with you in the judgment.] As lord paramount. It is as if Jehoshaphat had said, I cannot ride circuit with you, but God both can and will. The Ethiopian judges always reserved the chief place on the tribunal empty for God; of whose presence they were persuaded, though they saw him not.


Verse 7

2 Chronicles 19:7 Wherefore now let the fear of the LORD be upon you; take heed and do [it]: for [there is] no iniquity with the LORD our God, nor respect of persons, nor taking of gifts.

Ver. 7. Wherefore now let the fear of the Lord be upon you.] Fear to offend so great a majesty. Cave, spectat Cato, was a watchword among the Romans. The Turkish senate is very careful what they say or do, when they know that the grand signior is at the dangerous door, and hears all.

Take heed and do it.] Abundans cautela hic non nocet.

For there is no iniquity with the Lord our God.] As neither must there be with you, whom he hath intrusted with the administration of his earthly kingdom. The Athenian judges, before they ascended the tribunal, swore that they would without writhing or warping, give sentence according to the laws; and in those things concerning which there were no laws, according to conscience and equity, which the Greeks call γνωμην δικαιοτατην, - the most righteous sentence. (a)

Nor respect of persons.] He heareth causes speak, and not persons; so should ye. The ancients, for this, pictured justice blind. The Areopagites heard causes in the dark; but so did not those other Athenian judges, who, having the fair harlot Phryne before them, convicted of some great crime, and being about to condemn her, absolverunt tamen postquam conspexerunt speciosissimum eius pectus, &c., acquitted her nevertheless, when they had beheld her beautiful bosom, which Hyperides her lawyer showed them, to move them to pity her. Was this agreeable to their oath mentioned in the former note? It is reported of Trajan the emperor, that he neither feared nor hated any man living. (b)

Nor taking of gifts.] God is not δωροφαγος: he rejecteth the sacrifices of the wicked, and will not be bribed. Demosthenes was by Harpalus, to the hazard of his country; but Phocion would not, for when Alexander the Great sent him great gifts to win him over thereby to his side, he asked the messengers why their master sent gifts to him rather than to any other of the Athenians. They answered, Because he holdeth you to be honest, and therefore best deserving. He replied, Carry back his gifts therefore; Et me talem esse porro sinat, and let him suffer me still to continue in mine honesty.


Verse 8

2 Chronicles 19:8 Moreover in Jerusalem did Jehoshaphat set of the Levites, and [of] the priests, and of the chief of the fathers of Israel, for the judgment of the LORD, and for controversies, when they returned to Jerusalem.

Ver. 8. Moreover, in Jerusalem did Jehoshaphat set.] He constituted the high senate or council of the Sanhedrim in the chief city; these were to judge in cases most intricate, according to Deuteronomy 17:8-9, and to receive appeals from inferior courts.


Verse 9

2 Chronicles 19:9 And he charged them, saying, Thus shall ye do in the fear of the LORD, faithfully, and with a perfect heart.

Ver. 9. In the fear of the Lord, faithfully.] The fear of the Lord will make you faithful; and keep you from wrying or wrong doing.

And with a perfect heart.] Et candido corde, uprightly: not biased with fear or favour.


Verse 10

2 Chronicles 19:10 And what cause soever shall come to you of your brethren that dwell in their cities, between blood and blood, between law and commandment, statutes and judgments, ye shall even warn them that they trespass not against the LORD, and [so] wrath come upon you, and upon your brethren: this do, and ye shall not trespass.

Ver. 10. Of your brethren,] q.d., They are your brethren by race, place, and grace; therefore see that right be done them; else your father will be angry.

Between blood and blood.] Between an innocent and one culpable of death: as also between murders, whether wilful or casual.

Between law and commandments, &c.] To find out the true sense of the law, when it is pleaded by both parties; and to resolve the seeming ambiguities and contradictions: for not the letter but the mind of the law is law; and this you must fish out.

That they trespass not against the Lord.] By misinterpreting the law; making it a nose of wax; writhing it from the right sense.


Verse 11

2 Chronicles 19:11 And, behold, Amariah the chief priest [is] over you in all matters of the LORD and Zebadiah the son of Ishmael, the ruler of the house of Judah, for all the king’s matters: also the Levites [shall be] officers before you. Deal courageously, and the LORD shall be with the good.

Ver. 11. In all the matters of the Lord.] In matters ecclesiastical.

For all the king’s matters,] i.e., In civil affairs.

And the Levites shall be officers before you.] Apparitores, lectores, praefecti, to see things rightly carried and good laws executed. The Greeks had their νομοφυλακας, officers of the same sort.

Deal courageously.] Heb., Take courage and do, (a) i.e., do your office, forti et excelso animo. Fear no colours, but act vigorously, and the work is done. Possunt, saith he, quia posse videntur. They are able who seem to be able. Historians ascribe most of Alexander’s success to his courage: he never thought anything unfeasible. The ruler’s offering must be a male; the people’s might be a female, [Leviticus 4:22-23; Leviticus 4:27-28] to show that a ruler or judge must be of a masculine spirit.

And the Lord shall be with the good.] To protect and direct them; to assist and accept them; to reward their integrity, what hardship soever here they meet with: as Judge Hales did, being imprisoned in the Marshalsea, Counter, and Fleet, because that in the beginning of Queen Mary’s reign, before any new laws were yet made, he did at the Quarter Sessions give charge upon the statutes made in the time of King Henry VIII and Edward VI, for supremacy and religion. (b)

 


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Bibliography Information
Trapp, John. "Commentary on 2 Chronicles 19:4". John Trapp Complete Commentary. http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/jtc/2-chronicles-19.html. 1865-1868.

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