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Bible Commentaries

Kingcomments on the Whole Bible

2 Chronicles 17

Jehoshaphat – he reigns from 870-845 BC – is a king who on the one hand is faithful to the LORD and on the other hand is connected to the wicked Ahab and his family. In the first part of its history there is still a clear distinction between Jehoshaphat and Ahab. After his connection with Ahab it appears that he has more to fear from Ahab as a friend than as an enemy.

It also happens in the Christian’s life that, at the beginning of his being a Christian, he arms himself well against his dealings with the evil in which he has lived, but that he later becomes careless in it.

Verses 1-6

The Faithfulness of Jehoshaphat


Jehoshaphat succeeds his father Asa as king (2Chr 17:1). He is one of the God-fearing kings of Judah. In this chapter we read about his faithfulness to the LORD and about his dedication to the people of the LORD. He starts well. He has a powerful influence not only on Judah, over which he is king, but also on Israel, over which Ahab rules. In Judah he lays armies and garrisons in all the fortified cities (2Chr 17:2). He does the same in the cities in Ephraim that his father Asa has conquered. Here Jehoshaphat is not yet connected to Ahab by family ties.

In the beginning Jehoshaphat walks in “his father David’s earlier days” (cf. 1Kgs 15:3; 11; 2Kgs 14:3; 2Kgs 16:2; 2Kgs 18:3), to which it is related that he does not seek the Baals (2Chr 17:3). One excludes the other. In the next verse the same is said, but by other examples (2Chr 17:4). In contrast to not seeking the Baal’s (2Chr 17:3) he seeks “the God of his father” and that he “followed His commandments”. This is linked to the fact that he “did not act as Israel did”.

Jehoshaphat has two fathers, his: “his father Asa” (2Chr 17:2) and “his father David” (2Chr 17:3). With his father Asa he has seen what trust in daily life means. Going in the earlier ways of his father David shows that he remains faithful to what this man of God once instituted for the temple service. He remains on the old paths and does not seek renewal as if the old were no longer good. This sense of mind the LORD blesses. He confirms the kingship of Jehoshaphat (2Chr 17:5). Jehoshaphat is also confirmed by the people. He receives tribute from all Judah. By this Judah joyfully acknowledges that a king reigns who wants the right things for them. Thus he has great riches and honor.

Jehoshaphat may conclude from all this that God will bless him if he continues in this way. That he “took courage” (Darby Translation) in the ways of the LORD is a beautiful expression of his gratitude to Him (2Chr 17:6). His taking courage is not only an intention, but is also reflected in his actions. He proves his faithfulness by removing “the high places and the Asherim from Judah”.

Verses 7-13

Teaching of the Law and Fortifications


Not only does Jehoshaphat remove the idolatrous heights, but he confirms the people in the Word of God, the only guarantee to remain free from idolatry (2Chr 17:7). He lets this service be done by the Levites and priests (2Chr 17:8; Deu 33:10a). He gives them, as it were, the instruction: “Preach the Word” (2Tim 4:2). They must teach God’s Word in “all cities”, so without exception (2Chr 17:9).

The Levites teach the people the book of the law of the LORD on the spot and explain it. All hear the Word of God, again or for the first time. The teaching is not so much to correct the people because there are wrong practices, but to strengthen the good, to build up the faith. Its effect is visible not only with the people themselves, but also with the nations around them (2Chr 17:10; Gen 35:5; Jos 2:11; Jos 5:1; Acts 2:42-43; Acts 5:11).

Then surrounding peoples bring tribute to Jehoshaphat. The Philistines come from the west with gifts and silver and the Arabs come from the south with flocks (2Chr 17:11). It is a picture of what will happen in the thousand years kingdom of peace when the Lord Jesus reigns and all nations come to worship Him (Zec 14:16).

Because of everything that is brought to Jehoshaphat, he gets more and more prestige (2Chr 17:12). He handles his gifts and money well. His prosperity does not make him lazy and careless, but diligent. In the cities of Judah he is working hard (2Chr 17:12-13). Possibly there is much weakening there that needs to be strengthened, which he does by building fortresses and store cities. He makes Jerusalem an army base. He is working with a view to the future. He thinks about possible enemies and about the need that can arise and makes preparations with that in mind.

We too must use times of spiritual prosperity to strengthen our faith life and build up stocks of knowledge of the Word of God. We will need it at times when we have to fight for our faith, or when other circumstances prevent us from doing so.

A people with strong spiritual leaders and founded on the Word of God is a strong people. That’s the effect of listening to the Word. Maybe one is not aware of this effect, but it is perceived by others. Being founded on the Word of God is the best protection. This is still the way it works today. Spiritual power through the proclamation of the Word has great consequences. Others will also begin to dedicate themselves. The Word gives power.

Verses 14-19

The Valiant Warriors of Jehoshaphat


The last verses of the chapter describe the character and abilities of five army commanders. A commander he is able to deploy his “valiant warriors” where necessary. The commanders are soldiers who have grown into leaders.

There are several commanders. Their cooperation is important. They stand shoulder to shoulder in the battle. We always read about “next to him” (2Chr 17:15; 16; 18). All of them “served the king” (2Chr 17:19). The king is the commander-in-chief. The cooperation of the commanders will run smoothly if each of them follows the instructions of the commander-in-chief. The mentioned commanders and their troops are not the only ones who are in the service of the king. Jehoshaphat also placed men in the fortified cities throughout Juda. His power is great!

The chronicler mentions something special about one of the commanders, Amasiah (2Chr 17:16). Amasiah is one “who volunteered for the LORD”. It seems to indicate an extra, a deeper motive. The others do their work well too, but with him it comes out strongly that he does it voluntarily and for the LORD. We can say that he first gave himself to the Lord and then to God’s people (2Cor 8:5b; Rom 12:1).

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Kingcomments on the Whole Bible © 2021 Author: G. de Koning. All rights reserved. Used with the permission of the author
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Bibliographical Information
de Koning, Ger. Commentaar op 2 Chronicles 17". "Kingcomments on the Whole Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/kng/2-chronicles-17.html. 'Stichting Titus' / 'Stichting Uitgeverij Daniël', Zwolle, Nederland. 2021.