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AND Josaphat his son reigned in his stead, and grew strong against Israel.

Ver. 1.  Israel.  In consequence of the civil broils, which ensued after the death of Baasa.  The two kingdoms had been nearly equal.



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2 And he placed numbers of soldiers in all the fortified cities of Juda. And he put garrisons in the land of Juda, and in the cities of Ephraim, which Asa his father had taken.

Ver. 2.  Numbers, who were kept on foot; probably as in the days of David.




3 And the Lord was with Josaphat, because he walked in the first ways of David his father: and trusted not in Baalim,

Ver. 3.  First.  Before his fall: some copies add, "and last," (La Haye) as the Gothic MS. used by Mariana does, agreeably to the Scripture style.  D.

 

--- David began and ended well.  H.


4 But in the God of his father, and walk in his commandments, and not according to the sins of Israel. 5 And the Lord established the kingdom in his hand, and all Juda brought presents to Josaphat: and he acquired immense riches, and much glory.

Ver. 5.  Presents, as was customary, (1 K. x. 27,) or tribute.  C.




6 And when his heart had taken courage for the ways of the Lord, he took away also the high places and the groves out of Juda.

Ver. 6.  When.  Heb. "And his heart was elevated in the ways of the Lord."  He was endued with courage to undertake the great work of banishing all abuses out of his dominions, seeing that the people were well affected, and the Lord urged him forward.  H.

 

--- He trusted no so much to his great army or riches, as to a good conscience, (T.) which made him fear no difficulties; (1 Jo. iii. 21,) doubting not but God would grant him success, as he endeavoured to keep his laws.  C.

 

--- Groves of idols, (M.) though he tolerated the high places, which had been consecrated to God.  C. xx. 33. and 3 K. xxii. 43.  H.

 

--- Good works, rewarded by God, encouraged people to proceed in virtue.  W.




7 And in the third year of his reign, he sent of his princes Benhail, and Abdias, and Zacharias, and Nathanael, and Micheas, to teach in the cities of Juda:

Ver. 7.  Princes.  Political, (T.) to see that all paid attention to the proper teachers; (Mal. ii. 7.  C.) and thus to partake in that good work.  M.

 

--- The princes might also give instruction by word (C.) and example.  H.




8 And with them the Levites, Semeias, end Nathanias, and Zabadias, and Asael, and Semiramoth, and Jonathan, and Adonias, and Tobias, and Thobadonias Levites, and with them Elisama, and Joram priests. 9 And they taught the people in Juda, having with them the book of the law of the Lord: and they went about all the cities of Juda, and instructed the people.

Ver. 9.  Book.  The Pentateuch, or its abridgment, the book of Deuteronomy, (M.) which they read and explained.  C.

 

--- People.  It was not sufficient to destroy idolatry, (M.) unless the people were taught how to serve the true God.  H.




10 And the fear of the Lord came upon all the kingdoms of the lands that were round about Juda, and they durst not make war against Josaphat.

Ver. 10.  War.  They had witnessed the fruitless attempt of Zara.  C. xiv. 15.  H.




11 The Philistines also brought presents to Josaphat, and tribute in silver, and the Arabians brought him cattle, seven thousand seven hundred rams, and as many he goats.

Ver. 11.  Philistines.  Though they had been reduced by David, they had sometimes proved remiss in the payment of tribute.

 

--- Arabians, who lived near the Ethiopians, and the Dead Sea.  C. xxi. 19.  They had been subdued by Solomon, (3 K. x. 15.) and were rich in cattle.  Ezec. xxvii. 21.  The name is not so comprehensive as we generally make it.  C.


12 And Josaphat grew, and became exceeding great: and he built in Juda houses like towers, and walled cities.

Ver. 12.  Houses.  Prot. "castles."  Heb. biraniyoth.  Birah is properly a Chal. word, and is added after susan, to imply that it was a royal castle, (C.) or palace. (H.)  2 Esd. i. 1.

 

--- Sept. often use baris in the same sense.  C.

 

--- It became a provincial word in Palestine, for a place shut up on all sides and built like a tower.  S. Jer. ad Princep.

 

--- David calls the temple a palace (habbirah) for God.  1 Par. xxix. 1.  C.

 

--- Josaphat employed his immense riches in beautifying the country, and erecting storehouses, v. 5.

 

--- Walled.  Prot. "cities of store."  H.  See C. xv. 4.




13 And he prepared many works in the cities of Juda: and he had warriors, and valiant men in Jerusalem.


14 Of whom this is the number of the houses and families of every one: in Juda captains of the army, Ednas the chief, and with him three hundred thousand most valiant men.

Ver. 14.  Ednas was the chief of the five generals, who had under their command 1,160,000, (C.) besides the garrison soldiers, v. 19.  H.

 

--- So great power and riches had not been seen in Juda since the days of Solomon.  C.

 

--- They were not all on duty at the same time, but were able to bear arms (M.) when called out.




15 After him Johanan the captain, and with him two hundred and eighty thousand. 16 And after him was Amasias the son of Zechri, consecrated to the Lord, and with him were two hundred thousand valiant men.

Ver. 16.  Consecrated.  Heb. "a volunteer of the Lord," (H.) serving at his own expence, (T.) or with remarkable zeal.  C.

 

--- Perhaps he was of the tribe of Levi, (M.) or had taken the vows of the Nazarites, &c.


17 After him was Eliada valiant in battle, and with him two hundred thousand armed with bow and shield.

Ver. 17.  After.  Heb. and Sept. "And of Benjamin, Eliada, a valiant man of the army."  H.

 

--- It seems all were not chosen from Juda.  M.


18 After him also was Jozabad, and with him a hundred and eighty thousand ready for war. 19 All these were at the hand of the king, beside others, whom he had put in the walled cities, in all Juda.

Ver. 19.  King, at different times.  Sept. "waiting upon" him, (H.) like the companies which David had appointed, (C.) but far more numerous.  H.

 

--- The dominions of Juda were now pretty extensive, and well cultivated.  The population must have amounted to near six millions, for whose support recourse must have been had to commerce.  Rome had once almost four million inhabitants, and Cairo is said to contain seven millions, while China has two hundred millions.  C.

 

--- We must reflect that many from the other tribes had taken refuge in the kingdom of Juda.  T.

 

--- It would be too bold to suppose, with Kennicott, that so many numbers have been corrupted.  H.  C. xiii. 3.




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