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CRITICAL NOTES.] This chapter is entirely additional to Kings, and of great interest. It deals with three matters only, the rebuke addressed to Jehosh. by the profit Jehu (2 Chronicles 19:1-3); the personal efforts of Jehosh. to effect a religious reformation (2 Chronicles 19:4); and his reform of the judicial system (2 Chronicles 19:5-11) [Speak. Com.].
2 Chronicles 19:1-3.—The Rebuke of Jehosh. In peace, without capture or pursuit; a fulfilment of prophecy (ch. 2 Chronicles 18:16). Jehu, son of Hanani (2 Chronicles 20:34), of Northern Kingdom in time of Baasha (1 Kings 16:1). Went out (2 Chronicles 15:2). Help, make common cause with Ahab. Wrath, God angry, and caused expedition to fail, or may be in the invasion of kingdom about to happen. 2 Chronicles 19:4. Rebuke mild, “good things” (cf. 2 Chronicles 12:12; 1 Kings 14:13). Groves, stocks of trees representing Ashtoreth (2 Chronicles 14:3; 2 Chronicles 17:4-6).
2 Chronicles 19:4-11.—The Reforms of Jehosh. Went, turned and went out. Again, efforts for instruction resumed, and secured full complement of teachers from the tribe of Levi now fixed in Judah. 2 Chronicles 19:5-7. Instructions to judges. Jehosh. appointed fresh judges, enlarged their staff and number; limited to fenced cities, by concentrating power in the hands of a few, or creating superior courts. 2 Chronicles 19:6. Judge not at dictation or in compliance with wishes of men, but for Jehovah (Deuteronomy 1:17; Deuteronomy 16:18-20). In judgment—i.e., in your decisions. 2 Chronicles 19:7. Iniquity of inequality or undue leaning to one side (cf. Deuteronomy 10:17; Deuteronomy 16:19). 2 Chronicles 19:8-11.—Instructions to the priests and Levites. 2 Chronicles 19:8. Chief, great patriarchal chiefs, heads of great houses or clans. “It is interesting to find that such persons were now admitted to share in the judicial office, which seems in David’s time to have been confined to the Levites” [Speak. Com.]. Judgment of the Lord. Disputes in religious matters, payments to temple, offerings for firstborn, &c. Controversies, ordinary civil cases. Jerusalem, seat of supreme tribunal (Exodus 18:19; Deuteronomy 17:8-13), which was composed of three classes, to review appellate cases from inferior courts in two divisions, ecclesiastical and civil affairs. Decisions of provincial judges might be carried to Jerusalem as a court of appeal [cf. Speak. Com.]. 2 Chronicles 19:10. Blood, case of murder or homicide as to degree of blood-guiltiness (Exodus 21:12-23). Law and command, when a conflict of laws, clashing one with another. Warn, admonish them to abstain from wrong, and avoid God’s vengeance on the nation. 2 Chronicles 19:11. A chief, high priest, president of court in religious concerns. Zeb., in civil or criminal affairs. Levites, superintending managers, assistants, and servants about court. The good, God with upright judges (cf. 2 Chronicles 5:6; 2 Chronicles 15:2-6). Deal, take courage and act.
THE STERN REBUKE.—2 Chronicles 19:1-3
Alliance between two kingdoms against a common enemy, substitution of friendship for hatred and distrust, wise steps to worldly politicians. But one thing against it. Ahab, an idolator, had introduced a new religion of most degraded type. Jehosh. did not reject this alliance. As Hanani rebuked Asa for league with Ben. (ch. 2 Chronicles 16:7), so his son instructed to rebuke Jehosh. for league with wicked Ahab. Military success from Jehovah; unlawful alliance, if persisted in, will forfeit this blessing.
I. In a timely season. “J. went out to meet him,” at earliest possible moment, when king had been preserved, and returning in peace. Hence in fit mind to listen. Rebuke should be timely, in “due season,” then it comes down upon the heart like rain upon the new-mown grass.
II. In faithful words. Jehu direct and faithful. “Thou hast helped the ungodly, and loved them that hate the Lord.” No toning down, nor mincing matters. Man’s reproofs sometimes undeserved, implying guilt which exists not. Divine reproofs truthful, needful, and attested by conscience. “Faithful are the wounds of a friend, but the kisses of an enemy are deceitful.”
III. In mitigating circumstances. “Nevertheless, there are good things found in thee” (2 Chronicles 19:3). God displeased, but overlooks not “good things,”; in wrath remembers mercy; withholds judgments, and waits to see how Jehosh. will act in future. In the Church at Ephesus all that God can find to approve put foremost, and only afterwards notes shortcomings (Revelation 2:2-4). Then (2 Chronicles 19:6) returns to praise and console. We should have more pleasure in commending than in fault-finding.
I. The friendship of wicked men one of the most dangerous temptations to which Christians are subjected. Modern life in cities illustrates this with special force.
1. The wealth of the world is largely in the hands of men who are not friends of Christ.
2. In many communities intelligence and culture are possessed mainly by the irreligious.
3. Interests of business sometimes create similar peril.
4. In a higher circle of life professional success often tempts young men of aspiring mind to seek to ally themselves with those who love not God. II. Of this trial of Christian principle, it may be said that the Christian religion requires no narrow or ascetic seclusion from the world. The thing which Christian principle forbids is seeking worldly friendships and alliances for selfish ends and to the peril of religious usefulness and religious character. III. The irreligious friendships of religious men violate the ruling spirit of the Scriptures. It is a policy of life which starts wrong; therefore threatens catastrophe in the end. IV. Entangling alliances with the world often involve immense sacrifice of Christian usefulness. V. Christian alliances with the wicked do not command the respect of the very men for whose favour they are formed. VI. Loving those that hate God inflicts a wound of great severity on the feelings of Jesus Christ. It is from Calvary that the voice comes to each in our solitude, “Shouldest thou love them that hate the Lord?” [A. Phelps, O. T. a Living Bk.].
THE REFORMING TOUR.—2 Chronicles 19:4-7
While Jehosh. sought to maintain alliance, he was careful to show that he had no sympathy with idolatry, and determined to keep his people from it. Hence a second tour to reform what had gone wrong and complete what was wanting.
I. The noble design of the tour. Not to strengthen defences, revive trade, or relieve distress.
1. To administer justice. “He set judges in the land,” in centres convenient and accessible.
2. To bring the people back to God. Many perhaps revolted to idolatry when they saw the king familiar with idolators. Hence to counteract our bad influence and restore the fallen.
II. The vast extent of the tour. Personal inspection through the whole kingdom from the extreme south to extreme north, from Beer-sheba to Mount Ephraim. No place should be overlooked, no enemy spared in religious reforms.
III. The beneficent results of the tour. Personal and thorough, results encouraging.
1. Local courts established. Existed before; Jehosh. the first king to modify them according to requirements of kingdom. Fixed in fortified cities the provincial capitals of the districts (cf. Deuteronomy 16:18-20).
2. Judicial administration purified. Special instruction to judges, high and lofty motives put before them. Soldiers must not abuse their power by violence and wrong; magistrates must not degrade their character by injustice and partiality. All duties to be performed to God, not to man (2 Chronicles 19:6).
THE SUPREME TRIBUNAL.—2 Chronicles 19:8-11
This institution or Metropolitan Court founded on Exodus 18:19-26; Deuteronomy 7:8-13. Notice—
I. Its representative character. Three classes—Levites, priests, and chief of fathers; persons learned in law, eminent for wisdom, and of mature age and experience. “Peers of the realm.”
II. Its presiding officers. Amariah, high priest over religious causes. “In all matters of the Lord.” Zebadiah supreme in civil court. To assist both, the Levites were a kind of counsellors.
III. Its executive powers. Appeal made from inferior courts to this. Pleas for the crown and for religious observances in one division. In other division common pleas. Controversies between party and party; differences of blood, manslaughter or accidental murders, or consanguinity, settlement of inheritance and family claims. Civil affairs between law and commandments. Conflicts between moral rites and precepts of law, &c. “Without good and wholesome laws no nation can be prosperous, and vain are the best laws if they be not judiciously and conscientiously administered. The things of God and the things of the king should never be confounded in the administration of justice. Amariah the priest, and Zebadiah the ruler, should ever have their distinct places of jurisdiction” [A. Clarke].
A TONIC PROMISE.—2 Chronicles 19:11
Explain what is meant by “good.” The melancholy fact that all men are not good. The promise of the text justifies three inquiries:
(1) Why should the good be fearful? “They that be with us,” &c.
(2) How can bad designs finally prevail?
(3) How are men to know that God is surely with them? The answer involves character. It is not the Lord shall be with the great, the rich, the old, &c., but with the good. God identifies himself with all that is good in thought as well as in act; in purpose as well as in service. This is the security of the world. Even when the godly man ceaseth, God will maintain the cause that is good.
This promise, like all the promises of God, is designated not as a sedative, but a stimulant. Deal courageously! See how the text might have read: The Lord shall be with the good, therefore sit still; the Lord shall be with the good, therefore let wickedness have all its own way in the world; the Lord shall be with the good, therefore pay no attention to self-discipline. The text reads contrariwise. The Lord shall be with the good, therefore deal courageously. Goodness is not to be merely passive, it is to be active, aggressive, defiant of all evil, sublime in patience [Dr. Parker, City Temple].
HOMILETIC HINTS AND SUGGESTIONS
2 Chronicles 19:1-3. Jehoshaphat’s connection with Ahab. I. What is that intimacy with the ungodly which God forbids?
1. An alliance with them.
2. A conformity with them.
3. An unnecessary association with them. II. Why is it so displeasing to God?
1. On account of the state of mind it implies.
2. On account of its pernicious tendency.
3. On account of its opposition to his revealed will [Dr. Chapin].
2 Chronicles 19:7. God’s Justice.
1. God just and righteous in himself. On justice all his proceedings are based and regulated. He is “the Just One,” “Most just,” “Just and right is he” (cf. Deuteronomy 10:17; Deuteronomy 16:19; Deuteronomy 32:4).
2. Just and righteous in the gift of just laws to mankind. Laws adapted to their natures, powers, and condition. The moral code so right and benevolent as to require no proof. Supreme love to God and true regard to our neighbour.
3. Just and righteous in the administration of these laws—strictly and impartially here. No favouritism, conniving at guilt, or overlooking sin. In Christ justice and holiness displayed, and God the justifier of him that believeth. At last no iniquity nor respect in the bestowment of rewards and punishments.
2 Chronicles 19:6-7. Address to Judges 1:0. In office they represent God, act worthy of God, represent not his law, express not his will as crooked and corrupt. “Ye judge not for man, but for the Lord.”
2. In spirit the must fear God. Fear to offend One who sees and knows all.
3. In decisions be impartial and just. Give sentence deliberately in conformity with truth. Judges, ministers, all in high position should be remarkable for integrity, and free from bribery and corruption.
“Be just and fear not.
Let all the ends thou aim’st at be thy country’s,
Thy God’s, and truth’s” [Shakes.].
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Exell, Joseph S. "Commentary on 2 Chronicles 19". Preacher's Complete Homiletical Commentary. https://www.studylight.org/
the Second Week of Advent