Easton's Bible Dictionary
(1) The son and successor of Asa, king of Judah. After fortifying his kingdom
against Israel ( 2
Chronicles 17:1 , 17:2
), he set himself to cleanse the land of idolatry ( 1
Kings 22:43 ). In the third year of his reign he sent out priests and Levites
over the land to instruct the people in the law ( 2
Chronicles 17:7 - 9
). He enjoyed a great measure of peace and prosperity, the blessing of God resting
on the people "in their basket and their store."
The great mistake of his reign was his entering into an alliance with Ahab, the
king of Israel, which involved him in much disgrace, and brought disaster on his
kingdom ( 1
Kings 22:1 - 33
). Escaping from the bloody battle of Ramoth-gilead, the prophet Jehu ( 2
Chronicles 19:1 - 3
) reproached him for the course he had been pursuing, whereupon he entered with
rigour on his former course of opposition to all idolatry, and of deepening interest
in the worship of God and in the righteous government of the people ( 2
Chronicles 19:4 - 11
Again he entered into an alliance with Ahaziah, the king of Israel, for the purpose
of carrying on maritime commerce with Ophir. But the fleet that was then equipped
at Ezion-gaber was speedily wrecked. A new fleet was fitted out without the co-operation
of the king of Israel, and although it was successful, the trade was not prosecuted
Chronicles 20:35 - 37
Kings 22:48 - 49
He subsequently joined Jehoram, king of Israel, in a war against the Moabites,
who were under tribute to Israel. This war was successful. The Moabites were subdued;
but the dreadful act of Mesha in offering his own son a sacrifice on the walls
of Kir-haresheth in the sight of the armies of Israel filled him with horror,
and he withdrew and returned to his own land ( 2
Kings 3:4 - 27
The last most notable event of his reign was that recorded in 2
Chronicles 20 . The Moabites formed a great and powerful confederacy with
the surrounding nations, and came against Jehoshaphat. The allied forces were
encamped at Engedi. The king and his people were filled with alarm, and betook
themselves to God in prayer. The king prayed in the court of the temple, "O our
God, wilt thou not judge them? for we have no might against this great company
that cometh against us." Amid the silence that followed, the voice of Jahaziel
the Levite was heard announcing that on the morrow all this great host would be
overthrown. So it was, for they quarrelled among themselves, and slew one another,
leaving to the people of Judah only to gather the rich spoils of the slain. This
was recognized as a great deliverance wrought for them by God (B.C. 890). Soon
after this Jehoshaphat died, after a reign of twenty-five years, being sixty years
of age, and was succeeded by his son Jehoram ( 1
Kings 22:50 ). He had this testimony, that "he sought the Lord with all his
heart" ( 2
Chronicles 22:9 ). The kingdom of Judah was never more prosperous than under
(2) One of David's body-guard ( 1
Chronicles 11:43 ).
(3) One of the priests who accompanied the removal of the ark to Jerusalem ( 1
Chronicles 15:24 ).
(4) Son of Ahilud, "recorder" or annalist under David and Solomon ( 2
Samuel 8:16 ), a state officer of high rank, chancellor or vizier of the kingdom.
(5) Solomon's purveyor in Issachar ( 1
Kings 4:17 ).
(6) The son of Nimshi, and father of Jehu, king of Israel ( 2
Kings 9:2 , 9:14
Hitchcock's Dictionary of Bible Names
the Lord is judge
Smith's Bible Dictionary
(whom Jehovah judges)
(1) King of Judah, son of Asa, succeeded to the throne B.C. 914, when
he was 35 years old, and reigned 25 years. His history is to be found among the
events recorded in ( 1 Kings 15:24 ; 2 Kings 8:16 ) or in a continuous narrative
in ( 2 Chronicles 17:1 ; 21:3 ) He was contemporary with Ahab, Ahaziah and Jehoram.
He was one of the best, most pious and prosperous kings of Judah, the greatest
since Solomon. At first he strengthened himself against Israel; but soon afterward
the two Hebrew kings formed an alliance. In his own kingdom Jehoshaphat ever showed
himself a zealous follower of the commandments of God: he tried to put down the
high places and groves in which the people of Judah burnt incense, and sent the
wisest Levites through the cities and towns to instruct the people in true morality
and religion. Riches and honors increased around him. He received tribute from
the Philistines and Arabians, and kept up a large standing army in Jerusalem.
It was probably about the 16th year of his reign, B.C. 898, when he became Ahabs
ally in the great battle of Ramoth-gilead, for which he was severely reproved
by Jehu. ( 2 Chronicles 19:2 ) He built at Ezion-geber, with the help of Ahaziah,
a navy designed to go to Tarshish; but it was wrecked at Ezion-geber. Before the
close of his reign he was engaged in two additional wars. He was miraculously
delivered from a threatened attack of the people of Ammon, Moab and Seir. After
this, perhaps, must be dated the war which Jehoshaphat, in conjunction with Jehoram
king of Israel and the king of Edom, carried on against the rebellious king of
Moab. ( 2 Kings 3:1 ) ... In his declining years the administration of affairs
was placed, probably B.C. 891, in the hands of his son Jehoram.
(2) Son of Ahilud, who filled the office of recorder of annalist in the courts
of David, ( 2 Samuel 8:16 ) etc., and Solomon. ( 1 Kings 4:3 )
(3) One of the priests in Davids time. ( 1 Chronicles 15:24 )
(4) Son of Paruah; one of the twelve purveyors of King Solomon. ( 1 Kings 4:17
(5) Son of Nimshi and father of King Jehu. ( 2 Kings 9:2 , 2 Kings 9:14 )
International Standard Bible Encyclopedia
je-hosh'-a-fat (yehoshaphaT, "Yahweh has judged"):
(1) King of Judah.
The 4th king of Judah, son of Asa. His mother was Azubah, the daughter of Shilhi,
of whom nothing further is known. He was 35 years of age at his accession, and
reigned 25 years, circa 873-849 BC. The history of his reign is contained in 1
Kings 22:41 - 50 and in 2 Chronicles 17:1 - 21:1. The narrative in 1 Kings 22:1
- 35 and in 2 Kings 3:4 belongs to the history of the Northern Kingdom. The absence
from Kings of the details contained in 2 Chronicles affords no presumpt against
their truth. Neither do high numbers, embellished statements, and the coloring
of the writer's own age destroy the historical perspective.
1. His Religious Policy:
The reign of Jehoshaphat appears to have been one of unusual religious activity.
It was, however, characterized not so much by striking religious measures as it
was by the religious spirit that pervaded every act of the king, who sought the
favor of Yahweh in every detail of his life (2 Chronicles 17:3 , 4). He evidently
felt that a nation's character is determined by its religion. Accordingly, he
made it his duty to purify the national worship. The "sodomites," i.e. those who
practiced immorality in the worship of Yahweh in the temple precincts, were banished
from the land (1 Kings 22:46). The Asherim were taken out of Judah (2 Chronicles
17:6 ; 19:3), and "the people from Beer-sheba to the hill-country of Ephraim were
brought back unto Yahweh, the God of their fathers" (2 Chronicles 19:4). Because
of his zeal for Yahweh, Jehoshaphat is rewarded with power and "riches and honor
in abundance" (2 Chronicles 17:5).
2. His System of Public Instruction:
Believing that religion and morals, the civilization, suffer from ignorance, Jehoshaphat
introduced a system of public instruction for the whole land (2 Chronicles 17:7).
He appointed a commission, composed of princes, Levites and priests, to go from
city to city to instruct the people. Their instruction was to be based on the
one true foundation of sound morals and healthy religious life, "the book of the
law of Yahweh" (2 Chronicles 17:7 - 9).
3. His Judicial Institutions:
Next in importance to Jehoshaphat's system of public instruction, was his provision
for the better administration of justice. He appointed judges to preside over
courts of common pleas, which he established in all the fortified cities of Judah.
In addition to these local courts, two courts of appeal, an ecclesiastical and
a civil court, were established at Jerusalem to be presided over by priests, Levites,
and leading nobles as judges. At the head of the ecclesiastical court of appeal
was the high priest, and a layman, "the ruler of the house of Judah," headed the
civil court of appeal (2 Chronicles 19:4 - 11). The insistence that a judge was
to be in character like Yahweh, with whom there is "no iniquity .... nor respect
of persons, nor taking of bribes" (2 Chronicles 19:7), is worthy of note.
4. His Military Defenses:
According to 2 Chronicles 17:2, Jehoshaphat began his reign with defensive measures
against Israel. Furthermore, he built castles and cities of store in the land
of Judah, "and he had many works," probably military supplies, "in the cities
of Judah" (2 Chronicles 17:13). He appears to have had a large standing army,
including cavalry (1 Kings 22:4 ; 2 Chronicles 17:14). However, the numbers in
2 Chronicles 17:14 seem to be impossibly high.
5. His Foreign Policy:
Godliness and security at home were followed by respect and peace abroad. The
fact that the Philistines and the Arabians brought tribute (2 Chronicles 17:11),
and that Edom had no king (1 Kings 22:47), but a deputy instead, who possibly
was appointed by Jehoshaphat, would indicate that he held the suzerainty over
the nations and tribes bordering Judah on the South and West Holding the suzerainty
over the weaker nations, and being allied with the stronger, Jehoshaphat secured
the peace for the greater part of his reign (1 Chronicles 17:10) that fostered
the internal development of the kingdom.
6. His Alliance with Ahab:
In contrast to the former kings of Judah, Jehoshaphat saw greater benefit in an
alliance with Israel than in civil war. Accordingly, the old feud between the
two kingdoms (1 Kings 14:30 ; 15:6) was dropped, and Jehoshaphat made peace with
Israel (1 Kings 22:44). The political union was cemented by the marriage of Jehoram,
son of Jehoshaphat, to Athaliah, daughter of Ahab and Jezebel. Shortly after the
marriage, Jehoshaphat joined Ahab in a campaign against Syria (2 Chronicles 18:1
- 3). In view of the subordinate position that Jehoshaphat seems to take in the
campaign (1 Kings 22:4 , 30), and in view of the military service rendered to
Jehoram (2 Kings 3:4), Judah seems to have become a dependency of Israel. Nevertheless,
the union may have contributed to the welfare and prospity of Judah, and it may
have enabled Jehoshaphat to hold the suzerainty over the neighboring nations.
However, the final outcome of the alliance with the house of Omri was disastrous
for Judah. The introduction into Judah of Baalism more than counterbalanced any
political and material advantage gained, and in the succeeding reigns it indirectly
led to the almost total extinction of the royal family of Judah (2 Kings 11:1).
7. His Alliance with Jehoram:
In spite of the denunciation of the prophet Jehu for his expedition with Ahab,
thus "help(ing) the wicked" (2 Chronicles 19:2), Jehoshaphat entered into a similar
alliance with Jehoram of Israel (2 Kings 3:4). On the invitation of Jehoram to
join him in an expedition against Moab, Jehoshaphat was ready with the same set
speech of acceptance as in the case of Ahab (2 Kings 3:7; compare 1 Kings 22:4).
For the details of the expedition see JEHORAM, (1).
8. Victory over the Moabites and Ammonites:
The Chronicler has given us a very remarkable account of a victory gained by Jehoshaphat
over the Moabites and Ammonites. No doubt he made use of a current historical
Midrash. Many find the historical basis of the Midrash in the events recorded
in 2 Kings 3:4. However, the localities are different, and there a defeat is recorded,
while in this case we have a victory. The story in outline bears the stamp of
probability. 1 Kings 22:45 seems to suggest wars of Jehoshaphat that are not mentioned
in Kings. The tribes mentioned in the account are represented as trying to make
permanent settlement in Judah (2 Chronicles 20:11). In their advance through the
South of Judah, they were doubtless harassed by the shepherd population of the
country. Jehoshaphat, according to his custom, sought the help of Yahweh. The
invading forces fell to quarreling among themselves (2 Chronicles 20:23), and
destroyed one another. The spoil was great because the invaders had brought all
their goods with them, expecting to remain in the land.
9. Destruction of Jehoshaphat's Fleet:
The destruction of Jehoshaphat's fleet is recorded in 1 Kings 22:48 , 49 and in
2 Chronicles 20:35 - 37. However, the two accounts are quite different. According
to Kings, Jehoshaphat built ships of Tarshish to sail to Ophir for gold, but the
vessels were wrecked at zion-geber. Thereupon Ahaziah offered to assist Jehoshaphat
with seamen, but Jehoshaphat refused to enter into the alliance. According to
Chronicles the alliance had been formed, and together they built ships at Ezion-geber,
which were destroyed because Jehoshaphat had made an alliance with the wicked
king of Israel. In view of Jehoshaphat's other alliances, the Chronicler may be
in the right. Chronicles, however, misunderstood the term "ships of Tarshish."
10. His Death:
Jehoshaphat died at the age of 60. Josephus says (Ant., IX, iii, 2) that he was
buried in a magnificent manner, for he had imitated the actions of David. The
kingdom was left to Jehoram, who inaugurated the beginning of his reign by causing
the massacre of his brethren.
(2) Son of Ahilud. He was recorder under David (2 Samuel
8:16 ; 20:24 ; 1 Chronicles 18:15) and Solomon (1 Kings 4:3).
(3) Son of Paruah, and Solomon's overseer in Issachar to provide victuals for
the royal household for one month of the year (1 Kings 4:17).
(4) Son of Nimshi, and father of Jehu, king of Northern Israel (2 Kings 9:2 ,
14). His name is omitted in 2 Kings 9:20 and 1 Kings 19:16, where Jehu is called
"son of Nimshi."
(5) the King James Version (but not Hebrew) in 1 Chronicles 15:24; the Revised
Version (British and American) correctly JOSHAPHAT.
S. K. Mosiman
ahab, alliance with israel, bible commentary, bible history, bible reference, bible study, define, idolatry, jehoshaphat, king of the kingdom of judah, king prayed before war, justice system, levites, miraculously delivered, moabites, moabites and ammonites quarrelled among themselves and killed one another, sought the Lord with all his heart, yehoshaphat