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Bible Commentaries
2 Chronicles 20

Whedon's Commentary on the BibleWhedon's Commentary

Verse 1

VICTORY OVER MOAB AND AMMON, 2 Chronicles 19:1-11.

1. Moab, and… Ammon These nations on the east of the Dead Sea seem to have made no attempt against the kingdom of Judah since the time of their disastrous defeat by David. Comp. 2 Samuel 8:2; 2 Samuel 12:26-30.

Besides the Ammonites This is doubtless a corrupt reading, and by a simple transposition of letters in the Hebrew text we have Mennim, or Maonites, instead of Ammonites. The Maonites, or Mehunims, seem to have been a nomadic tribe in the vicinity of Mount Seir. Comp. 2Ch 26:7 ; 1 Chronicles 4:41; and Judges 10:12. Instead of besides the Ammonites, we should read, then, and with them some of the Maonites.

Verse 2

2. From beyond the sea That is, the Dead Sea.

On this side Syria Better, from Edom. The reading מארם , from Aram, or Syria, is so unsuitable that there is sufficient reason to substitute מאדם , from Edom. Compare the same error in the text of 2 Samuel 8:13. The invading army approached Jerusalem from the direction of Edom, having marched around the southern end of the Dead Sea. Hazazon-tamar was the more ancient name of En-gedi, the modern Ain Jidy, on the western shore of the Dead Sea. See at Genesis 14:7, and Joshua 15:62.

Verse 5

5. Before the new court This was probably the outer, or great court, (2 Chronicles 4:9,) where the people were wont to assemble. It is spoken of as in the house of the Lord, because it belonged to, and so was a part of, the temple in the wider sense in which the term house of Jehovah was sometimes used. It is called the new court, either because it had recently been repaired and renovated by Asa or Jehoshaphat, or because it was a later arrangement than the inner court of the priests. The tabernacle had only one court, but Solomon or David seems to have planned this second or outer court as something new. Jehoshaphat stood before this new court, that is, at its entrance into the inner court, and there, in the presence of the congregation, offered the beautiful and appropriate prayer that follows.

Verses 6-12

6-12. This prayer should be compared with that of Asa, (2 Chronicles 14:11,) and parts of Solomon’s at the dedication of the temple. 2 Chronicles 6:28-31.

Verse 14

14. Jahaziel… of Mattaniah This Mattaniah is generally supposed to be the same as Nethaniah, mentioned in 1 Chronicles 25:2; 1 Chronicles 25:12. By the gift of the Spirit on this occasion Jahaziel became immortal in the history of Israel, and so the chronicler was careful to register his genealogy. He was lifted from the rank of a mere singer to that of a most distinguished prophet of Jehovah.

Verse 16

16. They come up by the cliff of Ziz Better, the ascent, or pass, of Hazziz. This was the rocky mountain pass above Ain Jidy, that leads from the shore of the Dead Sea at that point up into the hill country of Judah. The name still lingers in the tract of table land called el Husassah. just northwest of the pass towards Tekoa. So these enemies of Judah came “by the very same route,” says Robinson, “which is taken by the Arabs in their marauding expeditions at the present day, along the shore as far as to Ain Jidy, and then up the pass and so northwards below Tekoa.”

The brook, before the wilderness of Jeruel This brook, or valley, was one of the wadies running from the vicinity of Tekoa to the Dead Sea perhaps the Wady Jehar, whose name may be the representative of the ancient Jeruel, and the desert of Jeruel must have corresponded nearly with the modern tract el-Husassah.

Verse 17

17. Stand… and see the salvation of the Lord So Moses commanded Israel when Jehovah was about to destroy their enemies in the Red Sea. Compare Exodus 14:13-14.

Verse 19

19. The Korhites Descendants of Korah, who was also a son of Kohath, but mentioned particularly here, as it would seem, on account of the prominence of his children on this occasion.

Verse 20

20. Wilderness of Tekoa Tekoa was situated on a broad eminence twelve miles south of Jerusalem, (see note on 2 Samuel 14:2,) and the wilderness here referred to was the desert country that lay just beyond it towards the Dead Sea. Thus it corresponded very nearly with “the wilderness of Jeruel,” 2 Chronicles 20:10.

Verse 21

21. And that should praise the beauty of holiness Literally, and those singing praise according to the beauty of holiness. The versions and interpreters have expressed this passage variously. Bertheau, Keil, and Rawlinson understand a reference to the beautiful garments and holy attire of the singers. But it seems better to understand the beauty (or ornament) of holiness in the spiritual sense of the blessed and beautiful state of soul in which these singers praised Jehovah.

Verse 22

22. The Lord set ambushments against… Ammon, Moab… mount Seir The word rendered ambushments is מארבים , liers in wait. Compare Judges 9:29. A measure of uncertainty must ever rest upon the question, Who were these liers in wait? They were not men of Judah, for these were not to fight. 2 Chronicles 20:15; 2 Chronicles 20:17. Nor were they portions of the invading army, who, by mistake, fell to fighting one another, for such could not be properly called liers in wait. Many expositors, ancient and modern, think that they were angels sent by God to confuse and overthrow the enemies of his people. But it would be very strange for the sacred writer to call angels “liers in wait.” Had he meant angels he would most likely have said so. More probably the ambush was composed of a band of daring marauders, not belonging to either army, who, greedy for spoil, attacked the combined army unexpectedly and with such fury as to put them all in confusion, and “every man’s sword was turned against his fellow.” Compare Judges 7:22, and 1 Samuel 14:20. Perhaps these marauders themselves perished in the general fray. In all this the sacred writer saw the hand of Jehovah.

Verse 23

23. Ammon and Moab stood up against… Seir The fight first turned almost wholly against the Maonites from the vicinity of Mount Seir, (note on 2 Chronicles 20:1,) and when they were utterly cut off the Ammonites and Moabites went to destroying one another.

Verse 24

24. Watchtower in the wilderness The tower near Tekoa, which commanded a wide view over the neighbouring desert. Compare 2 Chronicles 26:10; 2 Kings 9:17, note.

Verse 26

26. The valley of Berachah That is, the valley of blessing, so called from the blessings and rejoicings of that day. This valley is doubtless to be identified with the modern Wady Bereikut, lying a little west of Tekoa.

Verse 28

28. They came to Jerusalem with psalteries and harps It was one of the most magnificent triumphal enterings into Jerusalem that had ever been witnessed, and it was celebrated accordingly.

Verses 31-37

31-37. Compare notes on the parallel passage, 1 Kings 22:41-49.

Verse 34

34. Who is mentioned in the book of the kings Literally, as in the margin, who was made to ascend on the book, etc. The Septuagint renders it, who wrote, or described, ( κατεγραψεν ,) the book of the kings. Vulgate, the words of Jehu the son of Hanani, which he arranged ( digessit) in the books of the kings of Israel. But most modern critics take the words to mean that Jehu’s work was incorporated in the book of the kings of Israel.

Verse 37

37. Eliezer… prophesied against Jehoshaphat This fact is mentioned only by the chronicler, and shows that Jehoshaphat was twice censured by the prophets for his connexion with the kingdom of Israel. Compare the rebuke of Jehu in 2 Chronicles 19:2-3. These rebukes, and the evils which resulted from his alliance with the northern kingdom, are a cloud upon the memory of Jehoshaphat, but, on the whole, the general character of his administration was, as Stanley observes, “such as to leave behind the recollection of a reign of proverbial splendour.”

Bibliographical Information
Whedon, Daniel. "Commentary on 2 Chronicles 20". "Whedon's Commentary on the Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/whe/2-chronicles-20.html. 1874-1909.
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