2 CHRONICLES CHAPTER 19
Further Measures of Reform.
JEHOSHAPHAT REPROVED BY THE SEER JEHU. V. 1. And Jehoshaphat, the king of Judah, after the unfortunate campaign against the Syrians, returned to his house in peace to Jerusalem. Cp. chap. 18, 16. V. 2. And Jehu, the son of Hanani, the seer, went out to meet him, the same prophet who had been active in the northern kingdom under Baasha, 1 Kings 16, 1, and had probably been exiled for his fearless rebuke of idolatry, and said to King Jehoshaphat, Shouldest thou help the ungodly, literally, Is it to help the wicked, and love them that hate the Lord? Ahab was God's open enemy, 1 Kings 22, 2, and therefore Jehoshaphat's league with him was an unholy alliance. Therefore is wrath upon thee from before the Lord, God was displeased with him to the point of anger and punishment. V. 3. Nevertheless, there are good things found in thee, which the Lord also freely acknowledged, in that thou hast taken away the groves, the wooden pillars sacred to the goddess Astarte, out of the land, and hast prepared thine heart to seek God, his personal character and life showed that he was still loyal to Jehovah. V. 4. And Jehoshaphat dwelt at Jerusalem; and he went out again through the people from Beersheba, on the extreme southern boundary, to Mount Ephraim, where the northernmost cities under his jurisdiction were situated, and brought them back unto the Lord God of their fathers, by reappointing the commissioners of religious instruction and thus renewing the people's knowledge of the Lord and of His holy Law. It is a most dangerous thing for the children of God to make friends with ungodly, wicked people. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. The damage done by such forbidden friendship is usually corrected only by a repentance which is zealous to return to the Lord and to perform His holy will.
JUDGES AND LEVITES IN JUDAH. V. 5. And he set judges in the land throughout all the fenced cities of Judah, cp. Deut. 16, 18-20, establishing local courts in every fortified city, after the manner of our county seats with their court-houses, city by city, v. 6. and said to the judges, in reminding them of the instructions as given by the Lord, Take heed what ye do; for ye judge not for man, but for the Lord, whose representatives they were in the work of their office, who is with you in the judgment, in the matter of passing judicial decisions, of pronouncing sentence. V. 7. Wherefore, now, let the fear of the Lord be upon you, keep them in the way of justice. Take heed and do it; for there is no iniquity with the Lord, our God, He Himself is never guilty of injustice, nor respect of persons, nor taking of gifts, to pervert the way of justice. These facts were intended to make the judges most carefully conscientious in all their work, in every decision, whether it concerned a very minor matter or a great and important sentence. It would be well and fortunate if judges everywhere would keep this ideal in mind and act accordingly. V. 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, for the adjudication of very difficult matters, and for controversies, when they returned to Jerusalem, when a case was appealed from a lower court. These men constituted a supreme court of the Jews, and they had jurisdiction first over all matters pertaining to the religion of the land, and then also in all civil and criminal cases. V. 9. And he charged them, saying, Thus shall ye do in the fear of the Lord, which should be the motive in all acts of the believers, faithfully, and with a perfect heart, one given to the Lord in undivided loyalty. V. 10. And what cause soever shall come to you of your brethren that dwell in their cities, being appealed to this highest tribunal, between blood and blood, in cases involving murder and bloodshed, between law and commandment, statutes and judgments, in any dispute concerning the meaning or application of any precepts or instructions contained in the Book of the Law, ye shall even warn them that they trespass not against the Lord, and so wrath come upon you and upon your brethren, the entire people being held responsible for the transgressions of individuals if the matter were not righted in time. This do, and ye shall not trespass. V. 11. And, behold, Amariah, the chief priest, is over you in all matters of the Lord, he had the final decision in all religious questions; and Zebadiah, the son of Ishmael, the ruler of the house of Judah, for all the king's matters, in all civil questions; also the Levites shall be officers before you, in the tasks assigned to them in the Temple, 1 Chron. 23, 4; 26, 29. Deal courageously, taking up the matter with all cheerful courage, as they had been bidden to do, and the Lord shall be with the good, with all the judges who would discharge the work of their office in accordance with His will. Mark: If a believer has blundered into error and sin, he should lose no time in returning to the Lord and in serving Him with all diligence. In that case the evil which he has committed will be forgotten.