The Review and Herald

1828/1902

December 25, 1913

Jehoshaphat—No. 2

EGW

Some years after coming to the throne, Jehoshaphat, now in the height of his prosperity, consented to the marriage of his son Jehoram to Athaliah, daughter of Ahab and Jezebel. By this union there was formed between the kingdoms of Judah and Israel an alliance which was not in the order of God, and which in times of crises brought disaster to the king of Judah and to many of his subjects. RH December 25, 1913, par. 1

On one occasion, Jehoshaphat visited the king of Israel at Samaria. In honor of his royal guest, “Ahab killed sheep and oxen for him in abundance, and for the people that he had with him;” and against his better judgment, Jehoshaphat was persuaded to unite with Ahab in an effort to regain from the Syrians by force of arms Ramoth, one of the old cities of refuge, which, Ahab declared, rightfully belonged to the Israelites. RH December 25, 1913, par. 2

Jehoshaphat had rashly promised to join the king of Israel in his war against the Syrians; but before setting out, he desired to know the will of God concerning the undertaking. “Inquire, I pray thee, at the word of the Lord today,” he said to Ahab. In response to the request, Ahab called together four hundred of the false prophets of Samaria, and said to them, “Shall we go to Ramoth-gilead to battle, or shall I forbear? And they said, Go up; for God will deliver it into the king's hand.” But Jeshoshaphat was not satisfied. “Is there not here a prophet of the Lord,” he asked, “that we might inquire of him?” Ahab answered, “There is yet one man, Micaiah the son of Imlah, by whom we may inquire of the Lord: but I hate him; for he doth not prophesy good concerning me, but evil.” Jehoshaphat was firm in his request that the man of God be called; and upon appearing before them and being adjured by Ahab to tell “nothing but that which is true, in the name of the Lord,” Micaiah said, “I saw all Israel scattered upon the hills, as sheep that have not a shepherd: and the Lord said, These have no master: let them return every man to his house in peace.” RH December 25, 1913, par. 3

The words of the prophet should have been enough to show the kings that their project was not favored by Heaven; but neither ruler felt inclined to heed the warning. Ahab had marked out his course, and he was determined to follow it. Jehoshaphat in a moment of weakness had said, “We will be with thee in the war,” and he was reluctant to withdraw his forces after promising help. “So the king of Israel and Jehoshaphat the king of Judah went up to Ramoth-gilead.” RH December 25, 1913, par. 4

During the battle that followed, Ahab was shot by an arrow, and at eventide he died. “There went a proclamation throughout the host about the going down of the sun, saying, Every man to his city, and every man to his own country.” Thus was fulfilled the word of the prophet. RH December 25, 1913, par. 5

From this disastrous battle Jehoshaphat returned to Jerusalem. As he approached the city, “Jehu the son of Hanani the seer” met him with the reproof: “Shouldest thou help the ungodly, and love them that hate the Lord? therefore is wrath upon thee from before the Lord. 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.” RH December 25, 1913, par. 6

The later years of Jehoshaphat's reign were largely devoted to an effort to bring about further reforms throughout the land of Judah. The king “went out again through the people from Beersheba to mount Ephraim, and brought them back unto the Lord God of their fathers.” RH December 25, 1913, par. 7

One important step in this work was the establishment and maintenance of efficient courts of justice. The king “set judges in the land throughout all the fenced cities of Judah, city by city, 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. 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.” RH December 25, 1913, par. 8

The judicial system in Judah was perfected by the founding of a court of appeal at Jerusalem, where 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.” RH December 25, 1913, par. 9

The king solemnly charged these judges to be faithful. “Thus shalt ye do in the fear of the Lord, faithfully, and with a perfect heart,” he declared to them. “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. RH December 25, 1913, par. 10

“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. RH December 25, 1913, par. 11

“Deal courageously, and the Lord shall be with the good.” RH December 25, 1913, par. 12

In his careful safeguarding of the rights and liberties of his subjects, Jehoshaphat emphasized the consideration that every member of the human family receives from the God of justice, who rules over all. “God standeth in the congregation of the mighty; he judgeth among the gods.” And those who are appointed to act as judges, under him, are to “defend the poor and fatherless;” they are to “do justice to the afflicted and needy,” and “rid them out of the hand of the wicked.” RH December 25, 1913, par. 13