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Bible Commentaries
2 Chronicles 17

The Biblical IllustratorThe Biblical Illustrator

Verses 1-19

2 Chronicles 17:1-19

And Jehoshaphat his son reigned in his stead.

The conditions of national prosperity

This chapter shows--

That true religion is the basis of the State; and that wherever it prospers there the State prospers.

That it is the wisdom of kings to encourage religion with all their power and influence.

That a religious nation is ever a great nation.

That a religious nation is ever a peaceful and united nation. (A. Clarke, D. D.)


His policy as a statesman.

1. It was protective (2 Chronicles 17:1-2).

2. It was wise.

3. It was eminently patriotic.

His character as a man.

1. He was distinguished for true piety.

(1) In his every-day life (2 Chronicles 17:3).

(2) In his private devotions (2 Chronicles 17:3-4).

(3) In his obedience to God (2 Chronicles 17:4).

2. The inspiration of his heart came from the consciousness of his obedience to God (2 Chronicles 17:6).

His wisdom as a ruler.

1. He removed temptation from his people (2 Chronicles 17:6).

2. He provided for his people the highest means of good (2 Chronicles 17:7-9). (Metropolitan Pulpit.)

Jehoshaphat’s prosperity

Its measure. Everything indicates that it was great and genuine. Not an element of true prosperity is wanting, whether we consider him individually or as identified with the realm. It involved--

1. The safety of the kingdom.

2. Wealth.

3. Honour from abroad.

4. The love and confidence of his own people.

Its origin. This was partly natural, partly supernatural.

1. Natural.

(1) The roots of his prosperity lay largely in himself. He was a man of correct instincts and good convictions. A man of worth and weight of character. By these he won the love and secured the co-operation of his people.

(2) He was wise in management.

2. Supernatural. “The Lord stablished the kingdom in his hand.” It was a reward of piety. He honoured God, and God honoured and exalted him. Lessons:

1. The union of prudence and piety. Each is helpful to the other; neither is sufficient without the other. Prudence gives tone and practicality to piety; piety gives sweetness and mellowness to prudence. Piety alone tends to feebleness and inefficiency; prudence alone inclines to coldness and covetousness. United they round out the character in beauty and strength.

2. Reform through religion and law. Jehoshaphat united the civil and religious power in securing national reform. How necessary is this union in the great struggle with intemperance and other moral defilements. (Monday Club Sermons.)

Verse 2

2 Chronicles 17:2

And set garrisons in the laud of Judah, and in the cities of Ephraim.


It is concerning Jehoshaphat, king of Judah, this is said. He was a good king (see 2 Chronicles 17:1-6). The one kingdom of Solomon was now disrupted into two. The northern kingdom, known as the kingdom of Israel, was specially given to idolatry, to Baal-worshipping. Along the somewhat irregular line separating the two kingdoms, Asa, the father of Jehoshaphat, had set fortified cities to resist the perpetual incursions of the Baal-worshipping northern kingdom. On coming to the throne, Jehoshaphat immediately saw that these fenced, fortified cities were in good repair, that their garrisons were strong. A young man I knew had charge of the woollen-room in a great wholesale house. His companion clerks were wild, roistering, dissipated, profane fellows. He was of necessity in the perpetual atmosphere of bad speech and profanity. It seemed to him sometimes very hard to withstand it all. What did he do? He did spiritually precisely what Jehoshaphat did physically: he stood his ground. He fortified and kept garrisoned his defences. Years afterward I saw that same man in high and prosperous place. He had won the confidence of his employers. Take you example of Jehoshaphat: place your fenced cities, set your garrisons. What sort of fortified and garrisoned cities ought we to set along the frontiers of our lives, that we may maintain them against encroaching evil?

I think the fortified and garrisoned city of a distinct plan for life. What do I propose to do with my life? That ought to be a question clearly conceived, and distinctly answered by every one of us. I have certain resources--time, talent, education, moral consciousness, etc. All sorts of sudden contingencies spring up in experience. All sorts of moral questions constantly occur. Shall I do this or that? Shall I enter into this or that business? Shall I allow myself in this or that pleasure, indulgence? They are at once met and, decided by the simple presence of the plan. This is Christ’s suggestion of moral plan: “Seek ye first the kingdom of God and His righteousness.”

I think there ought to be such city, fortified and garrisoned, of an ennobling love. Jehoshaphat loved Jehovah better than the Baalim, therefore he could stand out against the Baalim. A high, pure love can always hold out against lower ones. The highest, holiest love is that for Christ.

I think there ought to be such city, fortified and garrisoned, of quick volition. Temporising, to save oneself from brave and instant choice of the right, is useless. It breaks down defences, scatters garrisons. In Thomas Carlyle’s “Sartor Resartus” there is a very wonderful chapter on the “Everlasting No.” There is a place where this “everlasting no” ought, even thunderously, to be uttered. That place is precisely where the tempting, urgent wrong begins to solicit.

I think there ought to be such city, fortified and garrisoned, of the daily prayer. (W. Hoyt, D.D.)

Verse 6

2 Chronicles 17:6

And his heart was lifted up in the ways of the Lord.

Encouragement in the ways of the Lord

The ways of the Lord are divine. Are His ways cold and unpleasant? H we descend a deep coal-pit and look up the shaft into the bright sky, we see the stars, but the pit is cold and dark. So men think that when they commune with God, it is like being in a coal-pit beholding a star; it is a beautiful sight, but makes one cold and unpleasant. Is this the truth? No; the Bible describes God’s people as having melody in their hearts, and one of His sweetest names is “The happy God.” Some people are afraid of becoming religious, lest they should be miserable; but they mistake the God in whose breast there is an ever-flowing heaven. The man who the most loves God is the happiest in disposition and the most cheerful as well as the most graceful in life.

His ways are also humane; they constrain us to love our suffering fellow-man, when he can do us no good but when we can do him good. (W. Birch.)


Some men when, like jehoshaphat, they have riches and honour in abundance, have their hearts lifted up, but not in the ways of the Lord. The natural tendency of such circumstances is to create and foster a spirit of pride, of self-sufficiency, and of independence. How necessary the warning (Deuteronomy 8:11-14). Nebuchadnezzar is a striking exemplification of this.

Some men whose hearts are not lifted up are in the ways of the Lord. They are real Christians, but doubting, desponding Christians.

Some men have their hearts lifted up, like Jehoshaphat, in the ways of the Lord. They “rejoice in the Lord alway.” (R. Harley.)

Verse 8

2 Chronicles 17:8

And the Lord was with Jehoshaphat.

The great companionship

Jehoshaphat secured the great companionship by following true example. “Because he walked in the first ways of David his father.” Beautiful those first ways of David. Turn to the eighteenth Psalm, which David sang in the day that the Lord delivered him from the hand of all his enemies, and from the hand of Saul. These first ways of David were ways of love to God (2 Chronicles 17:1) of trust in God (2 Chronicles 17:2); of prayer to God (2 Chronicles 17:3); of strength in God (verse 29) of thanks to God (verses 49, 50). But the later ways of David--the ways concerning Bathsheba, etc., Jehoshaphat would not walk in. This matter of true example for the ways of life is a great thing. Such following will surely lead us into the great companionship of God.

The Lord was with Jehoshaphat; he secured the great companionship by standing out against the evil spirit of his time. “And sought not unto the Baalim.” The Baalim represented the popular religious tendency.

And the Lord was with Jehoshaphat; he secured the great companionship by right affection. “But sought to the God of his father.” Do not imagine the set of the supreme affection a light matter And when our heart supremely sets towards God, God answers with companionship.

And the Lord was with Jehoshaphat; he secured the great companionship by right practice. “And walked in His commandments, and not after the doings of Israel.” Jehoshaphat did not mean about it, and dream about it, and think about it; he vigorously did it. Do not imagine that inward and sentimental intention which never finds expression in corresponding action amounts to anything. What vigorous volition and right practise sound in that “walked”! Man is three things--intellect, affection, will. Jehoshaphat turned these three toward God. Intellectually, he recognised Jehovah as God, not the Baalim; affectionately, he sought to God; volitionally, he practised for God. What wonder he was wrapped about with the great companionship? (Homiletic Review.)

Because he walked in the first ways of his father David.--

The first ways of David

1. We have here a pattern and a warning. It is an eulogy heightened by a limitation. The merit of the copy is advanced at the expense of the pattern. It is intimated that David’s first ways were his best ways. This is in contradiction of the true order of the spiritual life. A retrograde motion in it is a violation of its nature and a frustration of its intent. Deterioration in goodness is a disease and an anomaly.

2. Notice the impartiality and candour which characterise the accounts of good men in Scripture. The Bible has no human idols. Fault and virtue it sets forth with equal distinctness and prominence. Herein it shows itself Divine. The Bible in its way of dealing with the lives and characters of men, almost as much as in anything, bespeaks itself the voice of God.

3. The change in David’s spiritual course was connected with an equally marked change in his outward condition.

4. See here the danger of prosperity.

5. We infer that men are not to be our patterns, but only “the man Christ Jesus.” Him alone we can look up to with unqualified admiration.

6. Let us always be looking out for the symptoms and beginnings of spiritual decline. (R. A. Hallam, D.D.)

Verse 16

2 Chronicles 17:16

Who willingly offered himself unto the Lord.

Wanted, volunteers

Amasiah made it his life-work to serve the Lord. This service is--

1. Reasonable.

2. Honourable.

3. Remunerative.

4. Safe.

Amasiah was a ready volunteer.

1. He needed no pressing.

2. He needed no hunting out.

3. He needed no looking after.

4. He needed no leader.

Amasiah offered HIMSELF to the Lord.

1. He made no reserve as to what he had.

2. He made no reserve as to what he did.

3. He made no reserve as to when it should be.

4. He made no reserve as to how that service should be rendered.

When Amasiah willingly offered himself unto the Lord, he did this in a secular calling.

1. He did not stipulate to be a prophet.

2. His was a difficult calling.

3. He rose to eminence in it.

4. He left an honourable record.

Amasiah not only served the Lord himself, but he is an example to others.

1. To the young.

2. To men of position.

3. To men who are rising in the world. (C. H. Spurgeon.)


Bibliographical Information
Exell, Joseph S. "Commentary on "2 Chronicles 17". The Biblical Illustrator. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/tbi/2-chronicles-17.html. 1905-1909. New York.
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