And Jehoshaphat walked in all the ways of his father Asa; he did not turn away from them, but did what was right in the eyes of the LORD. The high places, however, were not removed; the people still sacrificed and burned incense on the high places.
I. THE PRAISE OF JEHOSHAPHAT.
1. He came of a good stock.
(1) He was "of the house and lineage of David." The traditions of that house were in many respects a glorious inheritance. David was a "man after God's own heart." In no instance was he found inclining to idolatry.
(2) He was the son of Asa. Of his mother we have this significant mention: "And his mother's name was Azubah, the daughter of Shilhi. And he walked in the ways of Asa his father, and departed not from it, doing that which was right in the sight of the Lord." This suggests the healthiness of his mothers moral influence. The reference here to Asa, too, is highly honourable.
(3) The blessing of pious parents is inestimable. It works beneficially in example, in precept, in solicitude. This last is most effectual in prayer to God. Those who are favoured with godly parents should praise God evermore. Wicked children of pious parents are doubly culpable.
2. He improved his advantages.
(1) He "walked in the ways of Asa his father." These were ways of righteousness. Let the children of godly parents now ask themselves whether they walk in the good ways of their ancestors.
(2) He "turned not aside from it. He showed no favour to idolatry. The note which follows is no impeachment of the truth of this statement: "Nevertheless the high places were not taken away; for the people offered and burnt incense yet in the high places." The high places that Jehoshaphat spared were those in which the true God was worshipped in accordance with the usage of patriarchal times (see 2 Chronicles 33:17).
(3) He went farther than Asa in the work of reformation: - "The remnant of the Sodomites which remained in the days of Asa his father he took out of the land." The parallel place to this in the Chronicles is: "And his heart was lifted up in the ways of the Lord: moreover he took away the high places and the groves (אשׁרים) out of Judah" (2 Chronicles 17:6; 2 Chronicles 19:8). By removing the Sodomites we understand that he demolished their shrines, their Asherim, their instruments of pollution. When the nests are destroyed the rooks fly.
3. This was to his praise.
(1) Others, similarly placed, failed to make this good use of their advantages. Jehoram, his own son, may be mentioned in sad contrast to him. Several of his ancestors had scandalously departed from the godly ways of their father David. Men will be justified or condemned in the light of such comparisons in the last great day (see Luke 11:31, 32).
(2) God rewarded him with prosperity (2 Chronicles 17:4, 5). He had an army - probably an enrolled militia - of 1,100,000 men. The Philistines, Arabians, and Edomites were subject to him. The note here, that "there was then no king in Edom: a deputy was king," which prefaces the account of his fleet at Ezion-Geber, was designed to explain how Jehoshaphat was able to have a fleet at a port which belonged to Edom (see 1 Kings 9:26), viz., because he appointed the viceroy in Edom which was tributary to him (see Genesis 27:29, 37; 2 Samuel 8:14).
II. THE BLAME OF JEHOSHAPHAT. This seems all to have been connected with the "peace" which he made "with the king of Israel." It appears to have commenced with -
1. The marriage of his son.
(1) Jehoram, the eldest son of Jehoshaphat, and with his consent, took Athaliah, the daughter of Ahab and Jezebel, to be his wife. Jehoshaphat's heart was lifted up with the abundance of his "riches and honour," and "joined affinity with Ahab" (see 2 Chronicles 18:1). He became too great to be content with an humble match for his son, and sacrificed godliness to grandeur. He has many imitators in this.
(2) Unequal yoking has ever been prolific in mischief. Athaliah inherited the evil spirit of both her parents, and she led away the heart of Jehoram from God to his ruin. The object of this marriage was to build up the house of Jehoshaphat, but it well-nigh proved its ruin (see 2 Chronicles 22:10, 11). God is the builder of families (see 2 Samuel 7:11, 27; 1 Kings 2:24; 1 Kings 11:38; Psalm 127:1).
2. His friendship with Ahab.
(1) This evil grew out of the marriage. The peace between Israel and Judah, which in the abstract was a benefit, was probably a condition of the marriage. But the friendship between Jehoshaphat and Ahab which followed, was too intimate for the good of the king of Judah's soul
(2) Evils beget evils. This friendship led to Jehosha. plat helping Ahab in his war against Syria, and had nearly cost Jehoshaphat his life. It also sullied his reputation, for he was persuaded into it by Ahab against the voice of Micaiah. This friendship exposed Jehoshaphat to the reproof of the prophet Jehu (2 Chronicles 19:2).
3. His friendship with Ahaziah.
(1) This son of Ahab was no more a companion fit for Jehoshaphat than Ahab. For Ahaziah "walked in the way of his father, and in the way of his mother, and in the way of Jeroboam the son of Nebat, who made Israel to sin: for he served Baal and worshipped him, and provoked to anger the Lord God of Israel, according to all that his father had done."
(2) Yet Jehoshaphat formed a trade alliance with Ahaziah. They jointly fitted out a fleet at the port of Ezion-Geber, on the Red Sea, to sail to Ophir for gold. But for this God rebuked him, and "the ships were broken" in the port (see 2 Chronicles 20:35-37). Let no money consideration, no gold of Ophir, induce godly young men to enter into trade partnerships with the ungodly.
(3) This judgment of God had a salutary effect upon Jehoshaphat. For when Ahaziah would renew the attempt at Ezion-Geber, Jehoshaphat declined (ver. 49). Let us be careful never to repeat a blunder. - J.A.M.
So the king died.1. Observe the madness of Ahab's policy, and note how often it is the policy which we ourselves are tempted to pursue. We suppose that if we do not consult the Bible we may take licence to do what seems good in our own eyes, and we imagine that by ignoring the Bible we have divested it of authority. We flatter ourselves that if we do not listen to an exposition of the Divine Word we shall be judged according to the light we have, forgetting the solemn law that it is not according to the light we have that we are to be judged, but according to the light we might have if we put ourselves in right relations to the opportunities created for us by Divine providence. What is this ostrich policy, but one that ought to be condemned by our sense as well as shrunk from by our piety? Our duty under all critical circumstances is to go to the truth-teller, and to get at the reality of things at all costs. Where the truth-teller disturbs our peace and disappoints our ambition, we ought to learn that it is precisely at that point that we have to become self-rectifying. The truth-teller is only powerful in proportion as he tells the truth; officially, he is nothing; his power is simply the measure of his righteousness.
2. Is it possible that there can be found any solitary man who dare oppose such unanimous testimony and complete enthusiasm? The messenger who was sent to call Micaiah was evidently a man of considerate feeling who wished the prophet well. Seeing that the words of the prophets had all declared good unto the king with one mouth, the messenger wished that Micaiah should for once agree with the other prophets and please the king by leaving undisturbed their emphatic and unanimous counsel. Thus the voice of persuasion was brought to bear upon Micaiah, and that voice is always the most difficult to resist. Micaiah lived in God, for God, and had nothing of his own to calculate or consider. Until preachers realise this same spiritual independence, they will be attempting to accommodate themselves to the spirit of the times, and even the strongest of them may be betrayed into connivances and compromises fatal to personal integrity and to the claims of truth.
3. Now came the critical moment. Now it was to be seen whether Micaiah was to be promoted to honour, or thrust away in contempt and wrath. It is easy to read of the recurrence of such moments, but difficult to realise them in their agony. The martyrs must never be forgotten. Dark will be the day in the history of any nation when the men who shed their blood that truth might be told and honour might be vindicated, are no longer held in remembrance. In vain do we bring forth from our hidden treasure the coins of ancient times, the robes worn in high antiquity by kings and priests, the rusty armour of warriors, if there is no longer in our heart the tenderest recollection of the men who wandered about in sheepskins and goatskins, being destitute, afflicted, tormented, that they might save the torch of truth from extinction and the standard of honour from overthrow.
4. Away the kings have gone, and instead of relying upon the word of the Lord, or taking refuge in the sanctuary of great principles, they invent little tricks for the surprise and dismay of the enemy. The King of Israel disguised himself, and Jehoshaphat made himself as the King of Israel, but all their inventions came to nothing. So will perish all the enemies of the Lord. Differences of merely accidental detail there will always be, but no honour can mark the death of those who have gone contrary to the will of heaven, and taken counsel of their own imagination. How long shall the lesson of history be wasted upon us? How long will men delude themselves with the mad infatuation that they can fight against God and prosper?
(J. Parker, D. D.)
PeopleAhab, Ahaziah, Amon, Aram, Asa, Azubah, Chenaanah, David, Geber, Imlah, Jehoram, Jehoshaphat, Jeroboam, Joash, Micah, Micaiah, Nebat, Ophir, Shilhi, Sodomites, Syrians, Tarshish, Tharshish, Zedekiah
PlacesEdom, Ezion-geber, Jerusalem, Ophir, Ramoth-gilead, Samaria, Syria, Tarshish
TopicsAsa, 44, Aside, Burn, Burned, Burning, Burnt, Continued, Didn't, Howbeit, However, Incense, Making, Nevertheless, Offer, Offered, Offerings, Perfume, Places, Removed, Sacrificed, Sacrifices, Sacrificing, Sight, Stray, Turn, Turning, Walked, Walketh, Yet
Outline1. Ahab, seduced by false prophets, by Michaiah's word, is slain at Ramoth Gilead
37. The dogs lick up his blood, and Ahaziah succeeds him
41. Jehoshaphat's good reign
45. His acts
46. Jehoram succeeds him
51. Ahaziah's evil reign
Dictionary of Bible Themes1 Kings 22:43
7374 high places
'And the king of Israel said unto his servants, Know ye that Ramoth in Gilead is ours, and we be still, and take it not out of the hand of the king of Syria?'--1 KINGS xxii. 3. This city of Ramoth in Gilead was an important fortified place on the eastern side of the Jordan, and had, many years before the date of our text, been captured by its northern neighbours in the kingdom of Syria. A treaty had subsequently been concluded and broken a war followed thereafter, in which Ben-hadad, King of Syria, …
Alexander Maclaren—Expositions of Holy Scripture
Ahab and Micaiah
The Prophet Micah.
The Poetical Books (Including Also Ecclesiastes and Canticles).
The Assyrian Revival and the Struggle for Syria
Use to be Made of the Doctrine of Providence.
The Shepherd of Our Souls.
Of Councils and their Authority.
That the Employing Of, and Associating with the Malignant Party, According as is Contained in the Public Resolutions, is Sinful and Unlawful.
Of Passages from the Holy Scriptures, and from the Apocrypha, which are Quoted, or Incidentally Illustrated, in the Institutes.
He Does Battle for the Faith; He Restores Peace among those who were at Variance; He Takes in Hand to Build a Stone Church.
Sovereignty of God in Administration
Tit. 2:06 Thoughts for Young Men
General Principles of Interpretation. 1 Since the Bible Addresses Men in Human Language...
The Figurative Language of Scripture.
Instruction for the Ignorant:
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