Archive for the 'The Old Testament' Category

2 Chronicles Chapter 24

Joash, the son of Ahaziah, was made the king of Judah. He had been saved by his aunt, Jehoshabeath, when he was just a baby. She took him and hid him in the temple. He was in hiding for six years before he was anointed by the high priest, Jehoiada. This chapter begins:

1 Joash was seven years old when he began to reign, and he reigned forty years in Jerusalem. His mother’s name also was Zibiah of Beer-sheba.
2 And Joash did that which was right in the sight of the Lord all the days of Jehoiada the priest.
3 And Jehoiada took for him two wives; and he begat sons and daughters.

As a child of seven years old, he became the king. He was a righteous ruler in the days of Jehoiada. Joash married two wives and had children. He would end up ruling for forty years.

4 And it came to pass after this, that Joash was minded to repair the house of the Lord.
5 And he gathered together the priests and the Levites, and said to them, Go out unto the cities of Judah, and gather of all Israel money to repair the house of your God from year to year, and see that ye hasten the matter. Howbeit the Levites hastened it not.
6 And the king called for Jehoiada the chief, and said unto him, Why hast thou not required of the Levites to bring in out of Judah and out of Jerusalem the collection, according to the commandment of Moses the servant of the Lord, and of the congregation of Israel, for the tabernacle of witness?
7 For the sons of Athaliah, that wicked woman, had broken up the house of God; and also all the dedicated things of the house of the Lord did they bestow upon Baalim.
8 And at the king’s commandment they made a chest, and set it without at the gate of the house of the Lord.
9 And they made a proclamation through Judah and Jerusalem, to bring in to the Lord the collection that Moses the servant of God laid upon Israel in the wilderness.
10 And all the princes and all the people rejoiced, and brought in, and cast into the chest, until they had made an end.
11 Now it came to pass, that at what time the chest was brought unto the king’s office by the hand of the Levites, and when they saw that there was much money, the king’s scribe and the high priest’s officer came and emptied the chest, and took it, and carried it to his place again. Thus they did day by day, and gathered money in abundance.
12 And the king and Jehoiada gave it to such as did the work of the service of the house of the Lord, and hired masons and carpenters to repair the house of the Lord, and also such as wrought iron and brass to mend the house of the Lord.
13 So the workmen wrought, and the work was perfected by them, and they set the house of God in his state, and strengthened it.
14 And when they had finished it, they brought the rest of the money before the king and Jehoiada, whereof were made vessels for the house of the Lord, even vessels to minister, and to offer withal, and spoons, and vessels of gold and silver. And they offered burnt offerings in the house of the Lord continually all the days of Jehoiada.

At some point during his reign, Joash decided that he would do work to repair the temple. This was due to the fact that, in the years while Athaliah had lived in Jerusalem, she had brought the wickedness of idolatry. Her children had destroyed the temple of the Lord and had taken things from it as tribute to her false god. Therefore, Joash gave a command for the Levites to go out to the people and collect the money needed to do this work. They did not follow his command and Joash asked Jehoiada why he had not required the contributions (atonement money) from the people of Judah, as had been laid out with Moses for the tabernacle. Under the direction of the king, they made a collection box and placed it just outside of the temple. Then, they sent a proclamation through the land, that all were to bring the collection to the temple as was laid out in the law of Moses. The leaders and people rejoiced, and brought their collection to the temple. When the box was full, the Levites took it inside. It was then emptied and returned to the collection location daily. The money was then used to pay those who did the work to repair the temple and strengthen it. They used the remaining money to make new vessels for the work of the Lord to be done in the temple. The burnt offerings were continued all the days of Jehoiada. (see also 2 Kings 12)

15 But Jehoiada waxed old, and was full of days when he died; an hundred and thirty years old was he when he died.
16 And they buried him in the city of David among the kings, because he had done good in Israel, both toward God, and toward his house.
17 Now after the death of Jehoiada came the princes of Judah, and made obeisance to the king. Then the king hearkened unto them.
18 And they left the house of the Lord God of their fathers, and served groves and idols: and wrath came upon Judah and Jerusalem for this their trespass.
19 Yet he sent prophets to them, to bring them again unto the Lord; and they testified against them: but they would not give ear.
20 And the Spirit of God came upon Zechariah the son of Jehoiada the priest, which stood above the people, and said unto them, Thus saith God, Why transgress ye the commandments of the Lord, that ye cannot prosper? because ye have forsaken the Lord, he hath also forsaken you.
21 And they conspired against him, and stoned him with stones at the commandment of the king in the court of the house of the Lord.
22 Thus Joash the king remembered not the kindness which Jehoiada his father had done to him, but slew his son. And when he died, he said, The Lord look upon it, and require it.

Eventually, Jehoiada died in his old age of 130. He was given the honor of being buried with the kings in the city of David, because he had done so much good in his service to God and Israel. Afterwards, the leaders in Judah came to Joash and honored him, so he heard what they had to say. They turned from the Lord and his temple, and instead fell into idolatry. As a result, the wrath of God came upon the kingdom of Judah. Prophets were sent to call them to repentance, but the leaders in Judah would not hearken to them. Zechariah, the son of Jehoiada the priest and a prophet, spoke by the spirit. He told them that as they had turned from God, God had forsaken them. This was fulfillment of the message from the Lord to Asa, a previous king of Judah. “The Lord is with you, while ye be with him; and if ye seek him, he will be found of you; but if ye forsake him, he will forsake you.” (2 Chronicles 15:2) Sadly, Joash took no thought of Zechariah being the son of Jehoiada, who had kept him safe and done so much good for him. Rather, Joash and his princes were angry with the prophet, rejected him and his words, and stoned Zechariah in the temple court at the command of Joash. At his death, Zechariah said the Lord saw this act and would require it, which was possibly to mean that the Lord would take vengeance upon them or judge them for his death.

23 And it came to pass at the end of the year, that the host of Syria came up against him: and they came to Judah and Jerusalem, and destroyed all the princes of the people from among the people, and sent all the spoil of them unto the king of Damascus.
24 For the army of the Syrians came with a small company of men, and the Lord delivered a very great host into their hand, because they had forsaken the Lord God of their fathers. So they executed judgment against Joash.
25 And when they were departed from him, (for they left him in great diseases,) his own servants conspired against him for the blood of the sons of Jehoiada the priest, and slew him on his bed, and he died: and they buried him in the city of David, but they buried him not in the sepulchres of the kings.
26 And these are they that conspired against him; Zabad the son of Shimeath an Ammonitess, and Jehozabad the son of Shimrith a Moabitess.

Later that year, the Syrian army came against Judah and destroyed all the wicked leaders. They took the spoil of their victory to the king of Damascus. The Lord had allowed the Syrians to have victory, because the leaders of Judah had turned away from Him. When the Syrians left, Joash was sick or injured badly and his servants made a plan against him, to kill him. They did this because he had killed the sons of Jehoiada. Joash was killed as he lay in his bed and for his burial he was not given the honor of being placed in the sepulchers of the kings. Those who went against him were Zabad (Jozachar) and Jehozabad.

If the words of Zechariah were to mean that the Lord would take vengence upon those wicked leaders for his death, then those words were in fact fulfilled. They were not protected from their enemies, as they would have been if they were leading in righteousness. The Lord had forsaken them as they had turned their worship to false gods and false traditions.

27 Now concerning his sons, and the greatness of the burdens laid upon him, and the repairing of the house of God, behold, they are written in the story of the book of the kings. And Amaziah his son reigned in his stead.

More of the story of Joash was recorded in the book of the kings. Joash had a son named Amaziah, who was the next to reign in Judah.

It is a wonder, what the princes or leaders of Judah would have said to Joash, that persuaded him to stop being a good and righteous king for Judah. Somehow, they pushed him into changing his ways and without the good influence of Jehoiada, Joash gave in and became a wicked man. He is yet another example of a leader of the people of God, who was quick to forget the Lord and suffered for his wicked ways. When we choose to turn away from God, we also allow ourselves to fall prey to the dangers of the world. Our own destruction may not be as dramatic as physical enemies coming in and killing us, but the destruction still remains. In fact, one might say that the result today would be far worse, because the longer we have to make choices against our own knowledge of right and wrong, the greater the condemnation will be when we face God at our day of judgement. The only way to avoid this greater condemnation, is to remain firm in our faith and put our complete trust in God.

2 Chronicles Chapter 23

Joash was the son of Ahaziah (also known as Jehoahaz or Azariah). He had been taken by Jehoshabeath, the daughter of Jehoram and wife of the high priest. He was hidden in the temple to protect him from Athaliah, the widow of Jehoram and mother of Ahaziah. At the death of Ahaziah, Athaliah had killed all the royal seed she found remaining in Judah, and made herself ruler of Judah. Joash was hidden in the temple for six years while Athaliah reigned. This chapter begins:

1 And in the seventh year Jehoiada strengthened himself, and took the captains of hundreds, Azariah the son of Jeroham, and Ishmael the son of Jehohanan, and Azariah the son of Obed, and Maaseiah the son of Adaiah, and Elishaphat the son of Zichri, into covenant with him.
2 And they went about in Judah, and gathered the Levites out of all the cities of Judah, and the chief of the fathers of Israel, and they came to Jerusalem.
3 And all the congregation made a covenant with the king in the house of God. And he said unto them, Behold, the king’s son shall reign, as the Lord hath said of the sons of David.
4 This is the thing that ye shall do; A third part of you entering on the sabbath, of the priests and of the Levites, shall be porters of the doors;
5 And a third part shall be at the king’s house; and a third part at the gate of the foundation: and all the people shall be in the courts of the house of the Lord.
6 But let none come into the house of the Lord, save the priests, and they that minister of the Levites; they shall go in, for they are holy: but all the people shall keep the watch of the Lord.
7 And the Levites shall compass the king round about, every man with his weapons in his hand; and whosoever else cometh into the house, he shall be put to death: but be ye with the king when he cometh in, and when he goeth out.
8 So the Levites and all Judah did according to all things that Jehoiada the priest had commanded, and took every man his men that were to come in on the sabbath, with them that were to go out on the sabbath: for Jehoiada the priest dismissed not the courses.
9 Moreover Jehoiada the priest delivered to the captains of hundreds spears, and bucklers, and shields, that had been king David’s, which were in the house of God.
10 And he set all the people, every man having his weapon in his hand, from the right side of the temple to the left side of the temple, along by the altar and the temple, by the king round about.
11 Then they brought out the king’s son, and put upon him the crown, and gave him the testimony, and made him king. And Jehoiada and his sons anointed him, and said, God save the king.

Jehoiada, gathered captains and leaders in the seventh year of Athaliah’s reign and made a covenant with them. They went through the land of Judah, gathering the Levites and rulers from the cities of Judah. All those men went to the temple in Jerusalem. There, Jehoiada had them covenant, and revealed to them that Joash was alive and would be king. Joash was the rightful heir, under the direction of God, because he was a son of king David’s line. From among the preists and Levites, Jehoiada organized porters at the doors of the temple, some at the palace of the king, and some at the gate. Any other people at the temple, were to stay in the courts of the temple, while only the called priests and Levites were to be in the temple itself. The Levites were to surround Joash as his guards, killing anyone else who came into the temple. They did these things as he commanded. Jehoiada gave the gathered army spears and shields of king David, that had been kept in the temple. These men were set as guards around the temple. Joash was brought out and given the crown of the king. Jehoiada anointed him as king of Judah, and read him the directions given to kings, as the Lord had established with the first kings of Israel. (see also 2 Kings 11)

12 Now when Athaliah heard the noise of the people running and praising the king, she came to the people into the house of the Lord:
13 And she looked, and, behold, the king stood at his pillar at the entering in, and the princes and the trumpets by the king: and all the people of the land rejoiced, and sounded with trumpets, also the singers with instruments of musick, and such as taught to sing praise. Then Athaliah rent her clothes, and said, Treason, Treason.
14 Then Jehoiada the priest brought out the captains of hundreds that were set over the host, and said unto them, Have her forth of the ranges: and whoso followeth her, let him be slain with the sword. For the priest said, Slay her not in the house of the Lord.
15 So they laid hands on her; and when she was come to the entering of the horse gate by the king’s house, they slew her there.

Athaliah heard the noise of the people praising the king, so she followed the people into the temple. She saw Joash, the king, along with princes and trumpets. The people were rejoicing with trumpets and singers. Athaliah said that this was treason. Jehoiada sent the army to her and anyone who followed her, to remove her from of the temple and slay her. They grabbed her and took her to an entrance of the palace and killed her.

16 And Jehoiada made a covenant between him, and between all the people, and between the king, that they should be the Lord’s people.
17 Then all the people went to the house of Baal, and brake it down, and brake his altars and his images in pieces, and slew Mattan the priest of Baal before the altars.
18 Also Jehoiada appointed the offices of the house of the Lord by the hand of the priests the Levites, whom David had distributed in the house of the Lord, to offer the burnt offerings of the Lord, as it is written in the law of Moses, with rejoicing and with singing, as it was ordained by David.
19 And he set the porters at the gates of the house of the Lord, that none which was unclean in any thing should enter in.
20 And he took the captains of hundreds, and the nobles, and the governors of the people, and all the people of the land, and brought down the king from the house of the Lord: and they came through the high gate into the king’s house, and set the king upon the throne of the kingdom.
21 And all the people of the land rejoiced: and the city was quiet, after that they had slain Athaliah with the sword.

Jehoiada covenanted with the people and the king, that they would again be the Lord’s people. The people went to the temple of Baal, and destroyed it and the priest of Baal. The offices in the temple and the service of offering burnt offerings, were reestablished. Porters were set at the different entrances of the temple, to make sure that only those worthy or clean were to enter there. The king was placed on the throne of Judah in the presence of captains, nobles, governors and some of the people of Judah who had been gathered. After Athaliah was slain, the people rejoiced and there was peace in Jerusalem.

As the high priest in Judah, Jehoiada had the duty of directing the people back to the Lord. The first step in this, was to pull down the wicked leader, who through her marriage to the king years earlier, had introduced great wickedness into the nation. Having been hidden in the temple for six years, Joash had likely been taught to lead Judah with the Lord’s direction. Jehoiada was also doing his duty to anoint the rightful king and in the presence of those who would need to support the king in his service. It was a good thing for Judah and it’s people, to then be able to renew covenants with God and be led by one who would strive to do what was right for them. Jehoiada was doing his duty to establish leadership in Judah according to the plan that the Lord had laid for the people. He is a good example of diligence in serving the Lord.

2 Chronicles Chapter 22

Jehoram ruled Judah in wickedness. He brought an end to the continued protection they had from the Lord and was also cursed to die of sickness, which he did. Most of his family was destroyed or taken by their enemies and his only son remaining was his youngest, Jehoahaz (also known as Ahaziah or Azariah) This chapter begins with his reign.

1 And the inhabitants of Jerusalem made Ahaziah his youngest son king in his stead: for the band of men that came with the Arabians to the camp had slain all the eldest. So Ahaziah the son of Jehoram king of Judah reigned.
2 Forty and two years old was Ahaziah when he began to reign, and he reigned one year in Jerusalem. His mother’s name also was Athaliah the daughter of Omri.
3 He also walked in the ways of the house of Ahab: for his mother was his counsellor to do wickedly.
4 Wherefore he did evil in the sight of the Lord like the house of Ahab: for they were his counsellors after the death of his father to his destruction.

Ahaziah was made the king of Judah, because he was the only heir remaining. He only reigned for one year. He ruled as his father had, after the ways of Ahab, the former wicked king of Israel. His mother (a daughter of Ahab and Jezebel, whom Jehoram had married) along with the house of Ahab, were his counsellors and persuaded him in his wickedness.

5 He walked also after their counsel, and went with Jehoram the son of Ahab king of Israel to war against Hazael king of Syria at Ramoth-gilead: and the Syrians smote Joram.
6 And he returned to be healed in Jezreel because of the wounds which were given him at Ramah, when he fought with Hazael king of Syria. And Azariah the son of Jehoram king of Judah went down to see Jehoram the son of Ahab at Jezreel, because he was sick.
7 And the destruction of Ahaziah was of God by coming to Joram: for when he was come, he went out with Jehoram against Jehu the son of Nimshi, whom the Lord had anointed to cut off the house of Ahab.
8 And it came to pass, that, when Jehu was executing judgment upon the house of Ahab, and found the princes of Judah, and the sons of the brethren of Ahaziah, that ministered to Ahaziah, he slew them.
9 And he sought Ahaziah: and they caught him, (for he was hid in Samaria,) and brought him to Jehu: and when they had slain him, they buried him: Because, said they, he is the son of Jehoshaphat, who sought the Lord with all his heart. So the house of Ahaziah had no power to keep still the kingdom.

Ahaziah joined Jehoram (Joram) of Israel (son of Ahab and also uncle to Ahaziah), and went to war against the Syrians. The Syrians wanted to take Ramoth-Gilead. Jehoram was injured while fighting Hazael, king of Syria, and was taken to Jezreel (his captial city) to heal from his wounds. Ahaziah went to visit Jehoram. In traveling to Jehoram, Ahaziah brought upon himself his own destruction. He went against Jehu, who had been anointed to destroy the house of Ahab. (Jehu was the captain of the host, annointed by a prophet and given a promise that he would destroy the house of Ahab because Jezebel had killed the prophets of the Lord and become ruler of the people.) Jehu found the princes and family of Ahaziah, which served him, and he killed them. Then he went to find Ahaziah. Those on the side of Jehu, caught Ahaziah as he was hiding in Samaria, and brought him to Jehu. He was killed and buried (showing some honor, because he was the grandson of Jehoshaphat, who had served in righteousness), leaving no one to rule in Judah. (see also 2 Kings 9)

10 But when Athaliah the mother of Ahaziah saw that her son was dead, she arose and destroyed all the seed royal of the house of Judah.
11 But Jehoshabeath, the daughter of the king, took Joash the son of Ahaziah, and stole him from among the king’s sons that were slain, and put him and his nurse in a bedchamber. So Jehoshabeath, the daughter of king Jehoram, the wife of Jehoiada the priest, (for she was the sister of Ahaziah,) hid him from Athaliah, so that she slew him not.
12 And he was with them hid in the house of God six years: and Athaliah reigned over the land.

When his mother learned of his death, she went and destroyed all the royal seed (children) of house of Judah. Jehoshabeath (Jehosheba), the daughter of Jehoram (also Ahaziah’s half-sister and wife of Jehoiada the high priest), hid one of the sons of Ahaziah, who was named Joash. Athaliah did not find him and so was unable to kill him. He was hidden in the temple for six years. Meanwhile, Athaliah became the ruler of Judah.

It is hard to believe sometimes, that people could live so deep in wickedness, that they would kill in order to have power (or that in their power, they would see the need to kill others like this). These are the kinds of stories in the scriptures that would seem hard to understand and believe, if not for some of the things that happen in our modern times. There are people who cannot see the wickedness in destroying innocent lives. The adversary is so cunning and deceiving, he can blind the mind to the precious nature of life itself. Athaliah, like her son Ahaziah, was not a righteous ruler for Judah.

Study of this chapter, is a reminder of why the Lord commanded the Israelites not to marry outside of their faith. His stated purpose for this, was that those of the other nations would be a stumbling block to the people of the Lord. The traditions of others would cause the Israelites to fall away from their faith and become a wicked people. Those of the northern kingdom of Israel, allowed this to happen when they made alliances with those outside of their faith. It led them to follow after false gods and fall into great wickedness, as was the case with Ahab who married Jezebel. When Jehoram became king of Judah, he made an alliance with Ahab and he married his daughter, Athaliah. When he did this, he invited the traditions of Ahab and Jezebel into Judah through their daughter. This was an invitation to turn from the Lord to following after false gods and to taking part in wickedness. How does this apply today, when we are not given this specific commandment. It is important for people, who are striving to be God’s people today and follow after Christ, to stand firm in their faith. We are to live in the world, influencing others with the light of Christ in us and loving others as He loves them. However, we must be watchful, there is a point at which we must make sure that we are not living of the world. We cannot afford to allow the ways of the world to influence us into turning away from God and His goodness. Because of this, it is vitally important to live worthy of the influence of the Holy Ghost. The Holy Ghost will help us to discern which situations with others would be a danger to our spiritual safety. The Holy Ghost has helped me with this in my own life. It has not been easy to step away from relationships that would potentially be a stumbling block for my spiritual progress, but I can look back now and see the great blessing it has been to follow after the inspiration of the Spirit in this way.

2 Chronicles Chapter 21

The kingdom of Judah, had been blessed to live under the reign of Jehoshaphat. He had strived to live righteously and to lead in righteousness, because he cared for the souls of his people. He did not seek for power and wealth, but because of his devotion to God, Judah prospered. Judah was not always going to have righteous leadership, which is seen in this chapter.

1 Now Jehoshaphat slept with his fathers, and was buried with his fathers in the city of David. And Jehoram his son reigned in his stead.
2 And he had brethren the sons of Jehoshaphat, Azariah, and Jehiel, and Zechariah, and Azariah, and Michael, and Shephatiah: all these were the sons of Jehoshaphat king of Israel.
3 And their father gave them great gifts of silver, and of gold, and of precious things, with fenced cities in Judah: but the kingdom gave he to Jehoram; because he was the firstborn.
4 Now when Jehoram was risen up to the kingdom of his father, he strengthened himself, and slew all his brethren with the sword, and divers also of the princes of Israel.

Jehoram (or Joram) became the next king of Judah, after the death of Jehoshaphat. Jehoshaphat had several sons, to whom he had given gifts of treasures and precious things. They had been placed as rulers over the fortified cities in Judah with Jehoram, the firstborn son, to rule over all of Judah. Jehoram was not a righteous man. As soon as he had taken the throne and gained the strength needed, he killed all of his brothers and several of the princes or rulers of Israel.

5 Jehoram was thirty and two years old when he began to reign, and he reigned eight years in Jerusalem.
6 And he walked in the way of the kings of Israel, like as did the house of Ahab: for he had the daughter of Ahab to wife: and he wrought that which was evil in the eyes of the Lord.
7 Howbeit the Lord would not destroy the house of David, because of the covenant that he had made with David, and as he promised to give a light to him and to his sons for ever.

He only reigned in Judah for 8 years, but in that time he followed after the examples of the kings of Israel and not his father. He aligned his ways with those of the house of Ahab, or the wicked kings of Israel. He married the daughter of Ahab and did things that were evil in the sight of God. The Lord did not destroy Jehoram however, because the promise given to David to give them a light forever through his seed. (see also 2 Kings 8)

8 In his days the Edomites revolted from under the dominion of Judah, and made themselves a king.
9 Then Jehoram went forth with his princes, and all his chariots with him: and he rose up by night, and smote the Edomites which compassed him in, and the captains of the chariots.
10 So the Edomites revolted from under the hand of Judah unto this day. The same time also did Libnah revolt from under his hand; because he had forsaken the Lord God of his fathers.
11 Moreover he made high places in the mountains of Judah, and caused the inhabitants of Jerusalem to commit fornication, and compelled Judah thereto.

The Edomites, who had been under the dominion of Judah since the days of King David, revolted and chose their own king to rule over them. Jehoram took the leaders he had chosen and his army of chariots, and killed the Edomites by night. Those that remained went against Judah from that time on, continuously in revolt. Likewise, Libnah revolted, because Jehoram had turned away from God. Jehoram built up places to worship false idols in the mountains of Judah, and led or compelled his people into wickedness and sin.

12 And there came a writing to him from Elijah the prophet, saying, Thus saith the Lord God of David thy father, Because thou hast not walked in the ways of Jehoshaphat thy father, nor in the ways of Asa king of Judah,
13 But hast walked in the way of the kings of Israel, and hast made Judah and the inhabitants of Jerusalem to go a whoring, like to the whoredoms of the house of Ahab, and also hast slain thy brethren of thy father’s house, which were better than thyself:
14 Behold, with a great plague will the Lord smite thy people, and thy children, and thy wives, and all thy goods:
15 And thou shalt have great sickness by disease of thy bowels, until thy bowels fall out by reason of the sickness day by day.

Elijah, the prophet of the Northern Kingdom of Israel, sent a written prophecy to Jehoram. The prophecy said that since he had not followed after Jehoshaphat or Asa in striving to rule in righteousness, but had chosen to align his ways with the kings of Israel in leading his people into wickedness and had killed his own brothers, the Lord would smite his people, family, and all his belongings with a plague. He also said that Jehoram himself, would become very sick and eventually die from it.

16 Moreover the Lord stirred up against Jehoram the spirit of the Philistines, and of the Arabians, that were near the Ethiopians:
17 And they came up into Judah, and brake into it, and carried away all the substance that was found in the king’s house, and his sons also, and his wives; so that there was never a son left him, save Jehoahaz, the youngest of his sons.

The Lord allowed the Philistines and the Arabians, to be stirred up against Jehoram, and no longer protected Judah from their enemies. The enemy fought against Judah and took all the treasures of the king, as well as his sons and his wives. The only son he had remaining, was the youngest named Jehoahaz.

18 And after all this the Lord smote him in his bowels with an incurable disease.
19 And it came to pass, that in process of time, after the end of two years, his bowels fell out by reason of his sickness: so he died of sore diseases. And his people made no burning for him, like the burning of his fathers.
20 Thirty and two years old was he when he began to reign, and he reigned in Jerusalem eight years, and departed without being desired. Howbeit they buried him in the city of David, but not in the sepulchres of the kings.

The promised sickness then came upon Jehoram. After two years of suffering from the disease, he died. The people did not give him a glorious funeral or burial. He was an unwanted king, buried in the city of David, but not in the sepulchers of the kings.

The people of Judah were in a constant battle with the temptation to follow after the ways of the world. A wicked king, was an easy tool to their falling away from God. Jehoshaphat had worked hard to bring the people to a remembrance of God and their covenants, but in a relatively short time, his son, Jehoram, brought great wickedness upon them. The people of Judah saw the consequences of following after a wicked leader, when their enemies attacked them and their king became sick and died. They were no longer blessed with the prosperity and peace they had during the reign of Jehoshaphat. Likewise, we can see in our own time, that if we allow wicked men to guide us in our actions, the Lord will not support us or protect us. This will not bring peace or happiness to our lives, but will bring much heartache and destruction instead.

2 Chronicles Chapter 20

The people of Judah, were brought back to a remembrance of the Lord, under the righteous leadership of Jehoshaphat. He had led them in making covenants, removing certain temptations from among them, and establishing local leaders to teach them and help them to remain faithful. This chapter begins as follows:

1 It came to pass after this also, that the children of Moab, and the children of Ammon, and with them other beside the Ammonites, came against Jehoshaphat to battle.
2 Then there came some that told Jehoshaphat, saying, There cometh a great multitude against thee from beyond the sea on this side Syria; and, behold, they be in Hazazon-tamar, which is En-gedi.
3 And Jehoshaphat feared, and set himself to seek the Lord, and proclaimed a fast throughout all Judah.
4 And Judah gathered themselves together, to ask help of the Lord: even out of all the cities of Judah they came to seek the Lord.

Other nations gathered together against Judah, including the Moabites and Ammonites. Jehoshaphat learned of the coming attack and sought the guidance of the Lord. He proclaimed a fast throughout all the land of Judah. They gathered together to fast and pray for help from God.

5 And Jehoshaphat stood in the congregation of Judah and Jerusalem, in the house of the Lord, before the new court,
6 And said, O Lord God of our fathers, art not thou God in heaven? and rulest not thou over all the kingdoms of the heathen? and in thine hand is there not power and might, so that none is able to withstand thee?
7 Art not thou our God, who didst drive out the inhabitants of this land before thy people Israel, and gavest it to the seed of Abraham thy friend for ever?
8 And they dwelt therein, and have built thee a sanctuary therein for thy name, saying,
9 If, when evil cometh upon us, as the sword, judgment, or pestilence, or famine, we stand before this house, and in thy presence, (for thy name is in this house,) and cry unto thee in our affliction, then thou wilt hear and help.
10 And now, behold, the children of Ammon and Moab and mount Seir, whom thou wouldest not let Israel invade, when they came out of the land of Egypt, but they turned from them, and destroyed them not;
11 Behold, I say, how they reward us, to come to cast us out of thy possession, which thou hast given us to inherit.
12 O our God, wilt thou not judge them? for we have no might against this great company that cometh against us; neither know we what to do: but our eyes are upon thee.
13 And all Judah stood before the Lord, with their little ones, their wives, and their children.

Jehoshaphat prayed to the Lord, in the temple. In faith, he remembered the promise of the Lord, that if they were to pray to him in the temple, their prayers would be heard. Even his father, Asa, had received this promised when the Lord had said, “The Lord is with you, while ye be with him; and if ye seek him, he will be found of you” (2 Chronicles 15:2). Jehoshaphat prayed of their situation, seeking guidance and deliverance from their enemies.

14 Then upon Jahaziel the son of Zechariah, the son of Benaiah, the son of Jeiel, the son of Mattaniah, a Levite of the sons of Asaph, came the Spirit of the Lord in the midst of the congregation;
15 And he said, Hearken ye, all Judah, and ye inhabitants of Jerusalem, and thou king Jehoshaphat, Thus saith the Lord unto you, Be not afraid nor dismayed by reason of this great multitude; for the battle is not yours, but God’s.
16 To morrow go ye down against them: behold, they come up by the cliff of Ziz; and ye shall find them at the end of the brook, before the wilderness of Jeruel.
17 Ye shall not need to fight in this battle: set yourselves, stand ye still, and see the salvation of the Lord with you, O Judah and Jerusalem: fear not, nor be dismayed; to morrow go out against them: for the Lord will be with you.
18 And Jehoshaphat bowed his head with his face to the ground: and all Judah and the inhabitants of Jerusalem fell before the Lord, worshipping the Lord.
19 And the Levites, of the children of the Kohathites, and of the children of the Korhites, stood up to praise the Lord God of Israel with a loud voice on high.

A levite of Asaph (the singer) in the congregation, named Jahaziel, was touched by the spirit and began to prophesy to the people. The word of the Lord was that they were not to fear this enemy that was coming against them, because this was God’s fight and not their own. When they went down against them the next day, they would be found at the end of the brook (or valley) just outside of Jeruel. There, the men of Judah were to stop, be still and see the work of the Lord in their behalf. He promised that the Lord would be with them. They would be delivered from this enemy. With this promise, Jehoshaphat and the congregation of Judah, fell down and worshipped the Lord. The levites and musicians stood and praised God.

20 And they rose early in the morning, and went forth into the wilderness of Tekoa: and as they went forth, Jehoshaphat stood and said, Hear me, O Judah, and ye inhabitants of Jerusalem; Believe in the Lord your God, so shall ye be established; believe his prophets, so shall ye prosper.
21 And when he had consulted with the people, he appointed singers unto the Lord, and that should praise the beauty of holiness, as they went out before the army, and to say, Praise the Lord; for his mercy endureth for ever.

The army of Judah went forward in faith. Jehoshaphat rallied the troops with a call to believe in the Lord and his prophets. He also appointed singers to go before the army, praising the Lord and his mercy. They showed their faith not only by moving the army towards the fight, but by praising the Lord for the deliverance that was yet to occur. Do saints today have the faith in God to thank him and praise him before they see the answer to their prayers, as if the resolution has already happened? If nothing else, this helped them have the perspective to continue forward when the battle they were facing was more than they could handle on their own.

22 And when they began to sing and to praise, the Lord set ambushments against the children of Ammon, Moab, and mount Seir, which were come against Judah; and they were smitten.
23 For the children of Ammon and Moab stood up against the inhabitants of mount Seir, utterly to slay and destroy them: and when they had made an end of the inhabitants of Seir, every one helped to destroy another.
24 And when Judah came toward the watch tower in the wilderness, they looked unto the multitude, and, behold, they were dead bodies fallen to the earth, and none escaped.
25 And when Jehoshaphat and his people came to take away the spoil of them, they found among them in abundance both riches with the dead bodies, and precious jewels, which they stripped off for themselves, more than they could carry away: and they were three days in gathering of the spoil, it was so much.

As they traveled in faith and with much singing and praise, the Lord caused that the armies of their enemies would be amubushed. The Ammonites and Moabites fought against those of mount Seir, and then they all fought among themselves and destroyed one another. When Judah got to the place they were to stand and be still, they saw that their enemies were all dead. They had faith the Lord would help them, but they had not been told what the help of the Lord would look like. Some of them, if not all, must have looked in astonishment at the scene before them. As they were the only ones left standing, Jehoshaphat’s army claimed a great amount of riches in the spoil.

26 And on the fourth day they assembled themselves in the valley of Berachah; for there they blessed the Lord: therefore the name of the same place was called, The valley of Berachah, unto this day.
27 Then they returned, every man of Judah and Jerusalem, and Jehoshaphat in the forefront of them, to go again to Jerusalem with joy; for the Lord had made them to rejoice over their enemies.
28 And they came to Jerusalem with psalteries and harps and trumpets unto the house of the Lord.
29 And the fear of God was on all the kingdoms of those countries, when they had heard that the Lord fought against the enemies of Israel.
30 So the realm of Jehoshaphat was quiet: for his God gave him rest round about.

After they collected the spoils of war, they gathered together and blessed the Lord. They returned to Jerusalem joyfully, with Jehoshaphat leading them. They praised the Lord with music at the temple. As a result of this battle, other nations feared the Lord was with Judah and had fought for them, so there was peace for Judah and Jehoshaphat.

31 And Jehoshaphat reigned over Judah: he was thirty and five years old when he began to reign, and he reigned twenty and five years in Jerusalem. And his mother’s name was Azubah the daughter of Shilhi.
32 And he walked in the way of Asa his father, and departed not from it, doing that which was right in the sight of the Lord.
33 Howbeit the high places were not taken away: for as yet the people had not prepared their hearts unto the God of their fathers.
34 Now the rest of the acts of Jehoshaphat, first and last, behold, they are written in the book of Jehu the son of Hanani, who is mentioned in the book of the kings of Israel.

Jehoshaphat was a righteous king of Judah for 25 years. However, the people were not a perfect people, and there were still some places of idolatrous temptation in the Land.

35 And after this did Jehoshaphat king of Judah join himself with Ahaziah king of Israel, who did very wickedly:
36 And he joined himself with him to make ships to go to Tarshish: and they made the ships in Ezion-geber.
37 Then Eliezer the son of Dodavah of Mareshah prophesied against Jehoshaphat, saying, Because thou hast joined thyself with Ahaziah, the Lord hath broken thy works. And the ships were broken, that they were not able to go to Tarshish.

At a later time, an alliance was made with Ahaziah, the wicked king of Israel, in which they made ships that were to travel to Tarshish. Eliezer, the prophet, prophesied to Jehoshaphat. Due to his alliance with Ahaziah, the Lord would go against their plans with the ships. As a result, the ships were broken by the Lord and unable to travel to Tarshish as they had planned.

The Lord needed the people of Judah to be devoted to him. They were his people because they had chosen to make covenants with him. He had guided and protected them according to their faith in him. They were not to make alliances with wicked nations, because they would likely succumb to the temptations of those nations. Rather, they were to rely wholly upon the Lord. If they did this, they would remember the Lord with humility and gratitude, clinging to their covenants and remaining faithful to him. Likewise, we need to remember to rely on the Lord and not on man. We need to fast and pray. We need to gather to the temple and pray there as well. God will hear our prayers. If we ask in faith, he will answer our prayers just as he answered the prayers of those in Judah at the time of this impending battle.

2 Chronicles Chapter 19

The kingdoms of Judah and Israel had an alliance with each other during the reign of Jehoshaphat and Ahab. Because of this alliance, Jehoshaphat had agreed to go with Ahab against his enemies. This he did even after the prophet in Israel had prophesied their failure and the death of Ahab. The fight went just as was prophesied and, while Jehoshaphat got away, Ahab did fail and die in the battle. This chapter begins:

1 And Jehoshaphat the king of Judah returned to his house in peace to Jerusalem.
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.
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.
4 And Jehoshaphat dwelt at Jerusalem: and he went out again through the people from Beer-sheba to mount Ephraim, and brought them back unto the Lord God of their fathers.

Jehoshaphat returned to Judah and was met by Jehu, the son Hanani, who was a seer and a prophet. He asked if the king should have helped Ahab and his people, who were a wicked and idolatrous people. Jehu told him the wrath of the Lord was upon him. However, the Lord saw the good in Jehoshaphat, because he had done good for Judah by removing the idolatrous places of worship in the land and had himself, sought the Lord. So, Jehoshaphat went through all the land, working to bring them back to a remembrance of the Lord.

5 And he set judges in the land throughout all the fenced cities of Judah, city by city,
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.
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.

He established judges throughout the cities of Judah, commanding them to watch themselves. Telling them that their service as judges was not for men, but for the Lord who was with them in judgment. They were told not to do wrong, not to show any favoritism or take any bribes or gifts for their service. This was after the pattern of the Lord, “For the Lord your God is God of gods, and Lord of lords, a great God, a mighty, and a terrible, which regardeth not persons, nor taketh reward” (Deuteronomy 10:17).

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.
9 And he charged them, saying, Thus shall ye do in the fear of the Lord, faithfully, and with a perfect heart.
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.
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.

He also caused that the Levites, priests, and patriarchs in Jerusalem, were set as judges for the Lord, for the times when a group of higher judges was needed by the people throughout Judah. He commanded them to do their service faithfully and with a perfect heart. Whomever came to them to judge in any matter, was to be warned against trespassing against the Lord. Strictness was expected with this command, so that the judges would remain in good standing with the Lord. Amariah, the chief priest, was placed in charge of these judges in all spiritual matters. Zebadiah, of the house of Judah, was placed in charge of the judges in all the king’s matters, with the Levites as officers to them both.

Jehoshaphat instructed them to have courage in their service and they would be with those who were good or that the Lord would accept the good they did. It takes courage to consistently stand for the right, especially when people in our fallen world will do whatever they can to have things go their way. The position of a judge, is a powerful position, susceptible to great temptations of the world. Jehoshaphat knew that there was a great importance for these men to courageously be righteous in their service, so that all would be blessed by the Lord for it.

It seems that the leaders of the Israelites, who were rebuked by God, quite often would rebel against him for their own failings. However, Jehoshaphat is a great example of the right way to take chastisement from the Lord. If we are doing something that is wrong, and have a reminder to repent from the Lord (whether that be through the spirit, our consequences, our church leaders, or other individuals around us), we should respond with a humble desire to correct our actions and strive to do better from that time forward. Jehoshaphat sought from that time, not only to remind the people of their covenants and duty to remember God, but to put in place the people necessary to help them in their own nearby cities. This is a pattern of the Lord’s church throughout history. For the Israelites, this was established by Moses as we read in Exodus 18:21-22. “Moreover thou shalt provide out of all the people able men, such as fear God, men of truth, hating covetousness; and place such over them, to be rulers of thousands, and rulers of hundreds, rulers of fifties, and rulers of tens: And let them judge the people at all seasons: and it shall be, that every great matter they shall bring unto thee, but every small matter they shall judge: so shall it be easier for thyself, and they shall bear the burden with thee.”. In the times of the Savior, he himself led the church and placed just men throughout the land to help his followers stay true to the gospel he taught. In Ephesians 4:11-12 this pattern was taught. “And he gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers; For the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ”. Likewise, in modern times, there are prophets and apostles called to lead the whole church of Christ, with many individuals called to serve throughout the world. This is so that the people of the Lord will have leaders to guide them and teach them, which are local and able to serve them one on one. This stands as a reminder that the Lord cares about us personally. He desires for his church to be led in righteousness, and he knows that individuals need to be led, taught, and even judged individually and personally, in order to stay on the path to God. The church of Christ is not a unit that will receive salvation as a whole, but it is a group of individual saints, striving as individuals and families, to live righteously, make and keep covenants, and attain salvation through Christ. The organization of the church is there to help us stay on the path to achieve this. We can see by his actions, that Jehoshaphat knew this in his day, and that he had a desire for the welfare and salvation of his soul, as well as the souls of his people.

2 Chronicles Chapter 18

Jehoshaphat ruled in righteousness in the kingdom of Judah. At the time of his reign, Ahab ruled in Israel. Ahab was the most wicked king of Israel. He led his people in idolatry. Prior to the events of this chapter, Ahab had made alliances with other nations in order to defend his nation from Assyria. He had not been successful in it. This chapter begins:

1 Now Jehoshaphat had riches and honour in abundance, and joined affinity with Ahab.
2 And after certain years he went down to Ahab to Samaria. And Ahab killed sheep and oxen for him in abundance, and for the people that he had with him, and persuaded him to go up with him to Ramoth-gilead.
3 And Ahab king of Israel said unto Jehoshaphat king of Judah, Wilt thou go with me to Ramoth-gilead? And he answered him, I am as thou art, and my people as thy people; and we will be with thee in the war.

Jehoshaphat and Ahab made an alliance. At one point, Jehoshaphat visited Ahab in Samaria. Ahab asked him to join him in a fight at Ramoth-gilead, a prominent Israelite city, to which Jehoshaphat agreed because their nations were of the same people.

4 And Jehoshaphat said unto the king of Israel, Inquire, I pray thee, at the word of the Lord to day.
5 Therefore the king of Israel gathered together of prophets four hundred men, and said unto 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.
6 But Jehoshaphat said, Is there not here a prophet of the Lord besides, that we might inquire of him?
7 And the king of Israel said unto Jehoshaphat, There is yet one man, by whom we may inquire of the Lord: but I hate him; for he never prophesied good unto me, but always evil: the same is Micaiah the son of Imla. And Jehoshaphat said, Let not the king say so.
8 And the king of Israel called for one of his officers, and said, Fetch quickly Micaiah the son of Imla.

As any righteous leader should do, Jehoshaphat desired to know what the Lord would say about them going to fight. He asked Ahab to ask the Lord, so Ahab gathered his wise men or prophets of their gods to ask if they should go. The men said they should and that the battle would be delivered into his hands. Jehoshaphat, however, sought the word of the Lord, so he asked if there were any prophets of the Lord. Ahab told him of one, Micaiah, but also said that he despised him because he never gave Ahab any prophesies that pleased him. This makes perfect sense, seeing as how Ahab was a wicked leader and was not following after the ways of the Lord. In any case, Ahab was willing to have the prophet brought to Jehoshaphat, and so he called for him.

9 And the king of Israel and Jehoshaphat king of Judah sat either of them on his throne, clothed in their robes, and they sat in a void place at the entering in of the gate of Samaria; and all the prophets prophesied before them.
10 And Zedekiah the son of Chenaanah had made him horns of iron, and said, Thus saith the Lord, With these thou shalt push Syria until they be consumed.
11 And all the prophets prophesied so, saying, Go up to Ramoth-gilead, and prosper: for the Lord shall deliver it into the hand of the king.
12 And the messenger that went to call Micaiah spake to him, saying, Behold, the words of the prophets declare good to the king with one assent; let thy word therefore, I pray thee, be like one of theirs, and speak thou good.
13 And Micaiah said, As the Lord liveth, even what my God saith, that will I speak.
14 And when he was come to the king, the king said unto him, Micaiah, shall we go to Ramoth-gilead to battle, or shall I forbear? And he said, Go ye up, and prosper, and they shall be delivered into your hand.
15 And the king said to him, How many times shall I adjure thee that thou say nothing but the truth to me in the name of the Lord?
16 Then he said, I did see all Israel scattered upon the mountains, as sheep that have no shepherd: and the Lord said, These have no master; let them return therefore every man to his house in peace.

The two kings sat on the throne, prepared to hear the words of prophecy. The prophets of Ahab continued to say they would defeat Syria. One, called Zedekiah, even brought iron horns that he claimed would be Ahab’s weapon against them or a sign of how mighty Ahab would be against them. Ahab wanted Micaiah to share in their sentiment and tell him it would all work out well for them. Micaiah said that he would speak the word of God. After being told to speak the truth, Micaiah told him that he saw the scattering of the people of Israel because they no longer had a master. This would suggest that they would not be successful in battle, and that Ahab would die.

17 And the king of Israel said to Jehoshaphat, Did I not tell thee that he would not prophesy good unto me, but evil?
18 Again he said, Therefore hear the word of the Lord; I saw the Lord sitting upon his throne, and all the host of heaven standing on his right hand and on his left.
19 And the Lord said, Who shall entice Ahab king of Israel, that he may go up and fall at Ramoth-gilead? And one spake saying after this manner, and another saying after that manner.
20 Then there came out a spirit, and stood before the Lord, and said, I will entice him. And the Lord said unto him, Wherewith?
21 And he said, I will go out, and be a lying spirit in the mouth of all his prophets. And the Lord said, Thou shalt entice him, and thou shalt also prevail: go out, and do even so.
22 Now therefore, behold, the Lord hath put a lying spirit in the mouth of these thy prophets, and the Lord hath spoken evil against thee.

Ahab was upset with these words and claimed they were evil against him. Micaiah prophesied further, that he saw the Lord with his host and the Lord asked who would tempt Ahab to go up and fall at Ramoth-gilead. He saw that many responded, but one lying spirit of the host said he would entice Ahab with a lying spirit from the mouth of his prophets. This he did, because the Lord allowed it to be so for those who had lived in wickedness. So, Micaiah said that the prophets of Ahab were lying and that the Lord had said this plan to fight would not work out well for him. The Joseph Smith Translation of verse 22 reads, “Now therefore, behold, the Lord hath found a lying spirit in the mouth of these thy prophets, and the Lord hath spoken evil against thee.” The Lord does not put evil upon people, but he allows evil to influence those who do not seek after him. He watches over the details of our lives, finding the temptations and our responses to them, and he will do what he can to call us to repentance, so that we have the chance to return to him.

23 Then Zedekiah the son of Chenaanah came near, and smote Micaiah upon the cheek, and said, Which way went the Spirit of the Lord from me to speak unto thee?
24 And Micaiah said, Behold, thou shalt see on that day when thou shalt go into an inner chamber to hide thyself.
25 Then the king of Israel said, Take ye Micaiah, and carry him back to Amon the governor of the city, and to Joash the king’s son;
26 And say, Thus saith the king, Put this fellow in the prison, and feed him with bread of affliction and with water of affliction, until I return in peace.
27 And Micaiah said, If thou certainly return in peace, then hath not the Lord spoken by me. And he said, Hearken, all ye people.
28 So the king of Israel and Jehoshaphat the king of Judah went up to Ramoth-gilead.

The false prophet, Zedekiah, slapped Micaiah for his words and asked him where the spirit of the Lord went from him, Zedekiah. Micaiah said that he would see on the day when he would hide himself in an inner chamber. Ahab commanded that Micaiah be carried away to the governor, that he would cast him into prison until Ahab returned in peace from the battle. Micaiah told all the people there to witness, that if Ahab did return in peace, the Lord did not speak through him. Which also means, that if Ahab did not return, the Lord did speak through Micaiah. With that, Ahab and Jehoshaphat went to fight at Ramoth-gilead. With the belief of the word of the Lord, it is a curious thing for Jehoshaphat to continue into the battle. However, he had given his word of fellowship, to do what Ahab asked of him. It would be interesting to know, if Jehoshaphat had attempted to persuade Ahab against going, in order to preserve Ahab’s life.

29 And the king of Israel said unto Jehoshaphat, I will disguise myself, and will go to the battle; but put thou on thy robes. So the king of Israel disguised himself; and they went to the battle.
30 Now the king of Syria had commanded the captains of the chariots that were with him, saying, Fight ye not with small or great, save only with the king of Israel.
31 And it came to pass, when the captains of the chariots saw Jehoshaphat, that they said, It is the king of Israel. Therefore they compassed about him to fight: but Jehoshaphat cried out, and the Lord helped him; and God moved them to depart from him.
32 For it came to pass, that, when the captains of the chariots perceived that it was not the king of Israel, they turned back again from pursuing him.
33 And a certain man drew a bow at a venture, and smote the king of Israel between the joints of the harness: therefore he said to his chariot man, Turn thine hand, that thou mayest carry me out of the host; for I am wounded.
34 And the battle increased that day: howbeit the king of Israel stayed himself up in his chariot against the Syrians until the even: and about the time of the sun going down he died.

Ahab told Jehoshaphat, that he would go to battle in disguise and he wanted Jehoshaphat to be adorned as normal. The king of Syria had told his men that they were only to fight with the king of Israel, and no one else, no matter how small or great. When they saw Jehoshaphat, they mistook him for the king of Israel, and they surrounded him in order to start a fight. Jehoshaphat prayed for help and the Lord caused the men to leave him alone. They did this because, at that point, they were able to see that this was not Ahab and they turned away from him, so he was able to get away from the fight. However, one of the men of the Syrians, drew his bow and hit Ahab, in spite of his disguise. Ahab told his driver to take his chariot out of the battle, because he was wounded. The battle went on increasingly. Ahab managed to keep himself up in his chariot as the fight continued, until the sun was setting. Then Ahab died, just as Micaiah had prophesied.

It did not even matter that their enemy did not know the man was Ahab. They still shot him early in the fight, the prophecy was fulfilled, and Ahab was not successful. The words of the Lord will always be fulfilled. They will not be easy to hear for those who do not seek to follow after Him. In 1 Nephi 16:2 we read, “And it came to pass that I said unto them that I knew that I had spoken hard things against the wicked, according to the truth; and the righteous have I justified, and testified that they should be lifted up at the last day; wherefore, the guilty taketh the truth to be hard, for it cutteth them to the very center.” Ahab would not find the words of Micaiah pleasing, because they reflected the idea that he was not living righteously. If he had been righteous, the Lord would have been able to bless him for the good. On the other hand, Ahab knew that his own wise men would tell him the things that would make him feel good. They did this, because they did not seek after the word of God, they sought to please their king. The words of the world will be easier, because it takes a greater effort to live in righteousness. To the faithful, this should not matter because it is worth the effort. Followers of Christ, should follow after the words of the prophets of the Lord, which are true, and turn from the false and enticing words of the world. The prophet Thomas S. Monson once said, “May we ever choose the harder right instead of the easier wrong.” Blessings come to those who do this and who choose to live as Jehoshaphat, who sought the word of the Lord and trusted Him in his times of difficulty.

2 Chronicles Chapter 17

The kingdom of Judah had been ruled by Asa, the great-grandson of King Solomon. After a struggle to remain faithful to the Lord, Asa fell away, and shortly afterwards, he died. Just before this time, the kingdom of Israel was ruled by Baasha, who did not rule in righteousness. The record of the children of Israel in Judah continues with the following:

1 And Jehoshaphat his son reigned in his stead, and strengthened himself against Israel.
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.
3 And the Lord was with Jehoshaphat, because he walked in the first ways of his father David, and sought not unto Baalim;
4 But sought to the Lord God of his father, and walked in his commandments, and not after the doings of Israel.
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.
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.

The next king of Judah, was Jehoshaphat, the son of Asa. He worked to build up defenses against Israel. He set armies in the fortressed cities and more troops throughout the land. This included the parts of Ephraim, that had been taken by Asa during his reign. Jehoshaphat led in righteousness, and as a result, he had the Lord on his side. He did not seek after other gods (Baalim), as those in the land of Israel and other nations, but sought to keep the commandments of the Lord. The Lord supported Jehoshaphat and his kingdom. The people of Judah honored their king with many gifts and honors. Because he was devoted to the Lord, Jehoshaphat removed the places of worship of other gods, that had been left in the land by Asa.

7 Also in the third year of his reign he sent to his princes, even to Ben-hail, and to Obadiah, and to Zechariah, and to Nethaneel, and to Michaiah, to teach in the cities of Judah.
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.
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.

Moreover, Levites and priests were sent by the king, to the leaders throughout the land of Judah. Among them was Shemaiah, who was a prophet possibly. They were to teach the law from the book of the law of the Lord, to the people.

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.
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.

The nations around Judah did not come against Jehoshaphat, because of the fear of the Lord that fell upon them. The Philistines, in part, even brought Jehoshaphat gifts and tributes. Additionally, he was given several thousand flocks of rams and goats by the Arabians.

12 And Jehoshaphat waxed great exceedingly; and he built in Judah castles, and cities of store.
13 And he had much business in the cities of Judah: and the men of war, mighty men of valour, were in Jerusalem.
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.
15 And next to him was Jehohanan the captain, and with him two hundred and fourscore thousand.
16 And next him was Amasiah the son of Zichri, who willingly offered himself unto the Lord; and with him two hundred thousand mighty men of valour.
17 And of Benjamin; Eliada a mighty man of valour, and with him armed men with bow and shield two hundred thousand.
18 And next him was Jehozabad, and with him an hundred and fourscore thousand ready prepared for the war.
19 These waited on the king, beside those whom the king put in the fenced cities throughout all Judah.

Judah prospered greatly under the rule of Jehoshaphat. Fortifications (castles) and cities were built, business thrived, and mighty men of war made up the army in Jerusalem. In that army, there were 300,000 men of Judah who served under Adnah; 280,000 men under Jehohanan; and 200,000 under Amasiah, who served the Lord. Eliada of Benjamin, led 200,000 bowmen, and Jehozabad led 180,000 men, as well. All of these men served the king in his army, along with the guards who were placed in the cities of Judah.

When Asa had ruled, the prophet had said, “The Lord is with you, while ye be with him; and if ye seek him, he will be found of you; but if ye forsake him, he will forsake you (2 Chronicles 15:2).” Seeking after the Lord, following his commandments, and teaching others of him and his ways, will always bring blessings to life. Jehoshaphat was turned to the Lord and is a good example of how we should commit ourselves fully to God. We learn from him that righteousness brings prosperity. It may not always look like material things or the way the world views prosperity, as it does here in this chapter. However, God desires to bless us both physically and spiritually. When we do his will, He is bound to bless us and be with us.

2 Chronicles Chapter 16

In his efforts to be a more righteous king for Judah, Asa had destroyed the idols of his kingdom. He had led the people in turning back to the Lord, and making covenants with God. He had shown his own dedication and commitment, by following the covenants strictly himself. His reign continues with the following:

1 In the six and thirtieth year of the reign of Asa Baasha king of Israel came up against Judah, and built Ramah, to the intent that he might let none go out or come in to Asa king of Judah.
2 Then Asa brought out silver and gold out of the treasures of the house of the Lord and of the king’s house, and sent to Ben-hadad king of Syria, that dwelt at Damascus, saying,
3 There is a league between me and thee, as there was between my father and thy father: behold, I have sent thee silver and gold; go, break thy league with Baasha king of Israel, that he may depart from me.
4 And Ben-hadad hearkened unto king Asa, and sent the captains of his armies against the cities of Israel; and they smote Ijon, and Dan, and Abel-maim, and all the store cities of Naphtali.
5 And it came to pass, when Baasha heard it, that he left off building of Ramah, and let his work cease.
6 Then Asa the king took all Judah; and they carried away the stones of Ramah, and the timber thereof, wherewith Baasha was building; and he built therewith Geba and Mizpah.

Baasha was the king of Israel during this part of the reign of Asa. Asa had been king for 36 years, when Baasha went against Judah by building Ramah. Ramah was a town built in the land of Benjamin, on the border of Ephraim. His plan was to prevent his people from traveling to Judah, to the kingdom of Asa. Asa appealed to Beh-hadad, the king of Syria at Damascus, with a tribute of gold and silver from the temple treasury as well as his treasury, in order to get his help. Asa wanted Ben-hadad to go against Israel, so that Baasha would leave Judah alone. Ben-hadad listened to Asa and fought against Israel. The Syrian army attacked Ijon, Dan, Abel-maim, and parts of Naptali. Baasha abandoned building Ramah, leaving Asa and his people to break down the stones and wood of it. He used them to build Geba and Mizpah. (see also Kings 15)

7 And at that time Hanani the seer came to Asa king of Judah, and said unto him, Because thou hast relied on the king of Syria, and not relied on the Lord thy God, therefore is the host of the king of Syria escaped out of thine hand.
8 Were not the Ethiopians and the Lubims a huge host, with very many chariots and horsemen? yet, because thou didst rely on the Lord, he delivered them into thine hand.
9 For the eyes of the Lord run to and fro throughout the whole earth, to shew himself strong in the behalf of them whose heart is perfect toward him. Herein thou hast done foolishly: therefore from henceforth thou shalt have wars.
10 Then Asa was wroth with the seer, and put him in a prison house; for he was in a rage with him because of this thing. And Asa oppressed some of the people the same time.

A seer named Hanani went to Asa with a message. Asa had turned to the Syrians for help, instead of relying on the Lord. The Lord had helped him and his people in the past, even though they were a smaller army. Asa was promised continual wars from that time forward, for his foolish choice and not continuing faithful to the Lord. Asa was not pleased with this message, and as a result, he imprisoned Hanani. Furthermore, he began to oppress some of his people.

11 And, behold, the acts of Asa, first and last, lo, they are written in the book of the kings of Judah and Israel.
12 And Asa in the thirty and ninth year of his reign was diseased in his feet, until his disease was exceeding great: yet in his disease he sought not to the Lord, but to the physicians.
13 And Asa slept with his fathers, and died in the one and fortieth year of his reign.
14 And they buried him in his own sepulchres, which he had made for himself in the city of David, and laid him in the bed which was filled with sweet odours and divers kinds of spices prepared by the apothecaries’ art: and they made a very great burning for him.

Three years after the building and deserting of the town of Ramah by Baasha, Asa contracted a disease in his feet. He suffered greatly from it, but he did not turn to the Lord for help, he went only to his physicians. He lived only a few years longer, and during the forty-first year of his reign over Judah, he died and was buried in the city of David.

We are a fallen people in a fallen world, and as such we are prone to quickly forgetting God. Faith in the Lord is a continually changing aspect of life. It is not something that we can make strong and have it remain that way without anything on our part. For most of us, it waxes and wanes depending on what we are willing to give it during different experiences of mortality. We need to be constantly working on our faith in order to keep it active in our lives. This is why the scriptures teach us to be continuing, firm and steadfast in our faith. It is our choices and actions that will keep our faith continuing in strength, or allow it to become weak. If we forget our faith, by forgetting the Lord, our faith will shrink with the lack of attention. Asa allowed himself to forget. When he turned to other sources for help, he was choosing them for their wisdom and strength, over the Lord for his power to deliver his people. His faith weakened and while he was successful in the battle, he lost some of the power of God in his life and fell victim to disease and death, both physically and spiritually.

2 Chronicles Chapter 15

Asa was the king of Judah, and he led the people in righteousness. Some of the idolatrous symbols and locations in their land, had been destroyed under his leadership. The consequence of their faith in the Lord, had been blessings of victory in battle, peace and prosperity. This chapter continues the story of Asa and his people.

1 And the Spirit of God came upon Azariah the son of Oded:
2 And he went out to meet Asa, and said unto him, Hear ye me, Asa, and all Judah and Benjamin; The Lord is with you, while ye be with him; and if ye seek him, he will be found of you; but if ye forsake him, he will forsake you.
3 Now for a long season Israel hath been without the true God, and without a teaching priest, and without law.
4 But when they in their trouble did turn unto the Lord God of Israel, and sought him, he was found of them.
5 And in those times there was no peace to him that went out, nor to him that came in, but great vexations were upon all the inhabitants of the countries.
6 And nation was destroyed of nation, and city of city: for God did vex them with all adversity.
7 Be ye strong therefore, and let not your hands be weak: for your work shall be rewarded.
8 And when Asa heard these words, and the prophecy of Oded the prophet, he took courage, and put away the abominable idols out of all the land of Judah and Benjamin, and out of the cities which he had taken from mount Ephraim, and renewed the altar of the Lord, that was before the porch of the Lord.
9 And he gathered all Judah and Benjamin, and the strangers with them out of Ephraim and Manasseh, and out of Simeon: for they fell to him out of Israel in abundance, when they saw that the Lord his God was with him.
10 So they gathered themselves together at Jerusalem in the third month, in the fifteenth year of the reign of Asa.
11 And they offered unto the Lord the same time, of the spoil which they had brought, seven hundred oxen and seven thousand sheep.
12 And they entered into a covenant to seek the Lord God of their fathers with all their heart and with all their soul;
13 That whosoever would not seek the Lord God of Israel should be put to death, whether small or great, whether man or woman.
14 And they sware unto the Lord with a loud voice, and with shouting, and with trumpets, and with cornets.
15 And all Judah rejoiced at the oath: for they had sworn with all their heart, and sought him with their whole desire; and he was found of them: and the Lord gave them rest round about.

Azariah was inspired to give a message from the Lord to Asa and his people. It was a reminder that the Lord would be with their people as long as they remained faithful to him, but if they were to turn from Him, the Lord would no longer be with them. The children of Israel had waivered in their faith throughout the years. When they remembered Him during times of difficulty, turning back to the Lord, He was there for them. They lived in times of difficulty and adversity because God allowed these things to come upon them when they did not follow after Him. However, the Lord promised Asa that he would reward them if they remained strong and continued to do good works.

The concept of seeking the Lord is found often in the scriptures. When Moses gave the children of Israel the commandments, he taught, “But if from thence thou shalt seek the Lord thy God, thou shalt find him, if thou seek him with all thy heart and with all thy soul.” (Deuteronomy 4:29). When Paul taught the people of Athens, he said, “That they should seek the Lord, if haply they might feel after him, and find him, though he be not far from every one of us” (Acts 17:27). Seeking after the Lord is to actively look for Him in our lives and put ourselves in places and situations where we can recognize Him. It is reading the scriptures to learn of him. It is attending church to hear his words taught. It is praying daily for his help. It is going to the temple to feel His Spirit. It is looking for the evidences of His presence, power, and creation in all the world. It is living the commandments, even if we don’t fully understand why, because we have faith that He is real, He loves us, and He is our Lord. The promise is that if we seek Him, we will find Him. Verse 15 teaches that after seeking, the people did find the Lord. This promise is as much true for us today, as it was for those in the time of Asa. He is waiting to show us He cares for us personally, to guide us and to teach us, and to bless us with countless blessings that will help us on our path home to Him.

This message is also found in the words of a favorite song I learned as a child:

Seek the Lord Early

I’ll seek the Lord early while in my youth,
And he will help me to know the truth.
I’ll search the scriptures and find him there,
Then go to our Father in fervent prayer.
I’ll seek the Lord early, and I’ll obey
His living prophets in all they say.
I’ll keep his commandments; his love will abound.
I will seek the Lord early, and he will be found.
(Joanne Bushman Doxey, 1932–.)

Asa was encouraged by the words of this prophecy. The chapter says, he took courage, which shows that this was not a simple task for him. It could have angered people, causing divisions and acts against him as king. No matter the difficulties, Asa heard the words of the prophet and as a result, he sought to remove all the symbols of idolatry in the land and to renew the altar of the Lord at the temple. His example of following the counsel of the prophet is a good one for us today. There are times when the words of our modern prophets may seem hard to follow. For whatever reason that may be, we can also take courage. The words of the prophets of God, are the words of God. If we follow them and work through all the difficulties and challenges that may come as a result of it, we will be blessed to become better and grow closer to the Lord.

Many people from Ephraim, Manasseh, and Simeon, had come to Judah because they saw that the Lord was with them. During his fifteenth year, Asa called together all the children of Israel in the land, and they gathered in Jerusalem. They gave offerings to the Lord, and made a covenant with the Lord, to seek after Him with their whole heart and soul. They committed with the Lord, that any who would not do this, would be destroyed. They celebrated over their new promise to the Lord, and the Lord blessed them with peace in the land.

16 And also concerning Maachah the mother of Asa the king, he removed her from being queen, because she had made an idol in a grove: and Asa cut down her idol, and stamped it, and burnt it at the brook Kidron.
17 But the high places were not taken away out of Israel: nevertheless the heart of Asa was perfect all his days.

Asa kept his covenants with strict obedience. His mother (grandmother) had participated in idolatrous behavior when placing an idol in one of the groves, so Asa had her removed from being queen and destroyed her idol.

18 And he brought into the house of God the things that his father had dedicated, and that he himself had dedicated, silver, and gold, and vessels.
19 And there was no more war unto the five and thirtieth year of the reign of Asa.

The items dedicated to the Lord, were gathered into the temple. Judah had peace until Asa was in the 35th year of his reign. (see also 1 Kings 15:9-15)

The people of the southern kingdom were living righteously enough to cause others to want to be among them. Those from the northern kingdom who wanted God in their lives, moved from the lands of their inheritance to Jerusalem, which is an act of faith and commitment to the Lord. To have the presence of God in life, should be the desire of any disciple of Christ. In the time of Asa, God’s presence was represented by the house of the Lord among a covenant people. When Christ appeared to his disciples after his resurrection, he blessed them with the spirit of God (the Holy Spirit or the Holy Ghost), which was to be their constant companion. Since that time, the covenant people of the Lord have had the presence of God with them wherever they may be, so long as they remain faithful to the Lord. This is a great blessing and makes it possible for the covenant people of the Lord to be among all the nations of the earth rather than gathered in one place as they were in Judah.

The covenants they made were significant and required strict obedience to receive the promised blessings from God. In order to keep them, they were willing to destroy those who were unfaithful. In our time, this act may seem extreme and beyond our understanding, but in the times of the law of Moses, God had established that this was the only way to keep his people faithful. When they chose not to follow this part of the law, they gave into temptations from influences that were not righteous and fell away. How we live our covenants today may not seem quite so extreme, but the significance to God is the same and should be to us. We should have the faith and courage to get rid of anything and everything in our lives that would draw us away from God and the blessings of the spirit. This means doing those things that our necessary and right, to remove them from us completely. That could mean removing all things related to a bad habit, disassociating from certain people who are a bad influence on us, relocating to a place that is better for us, or things such as these. I have had to make hard choices in my personal life related to this, in order to commit myself more fully to the Lord and to be able to have the influence of the spirit in my life more. It is never easy. Sometimes it is very painful in one way or another, but for me, these sacrifices have brought the greatest blessings and a change of heart that could not have happened otherwise. I am very grateful for my covenants and the way they have shaped my life. I am even more grateful for the gift of the spirit in my life. It is a treasure and worth the greatest efforts to continue to have it.


About My Scripture Study Buddy

I am a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. I love the scriptures, but I am not a scriptorian. I've been told that I'm too "deep" for some, but if you are willing, I'd love to have others join me in my quest for a greater understanding of the gospel. Please feel free to leave me comments and hopefully we can help each other to learn.
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