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Watson's Biblical & Theological Dictionary

Jehoshaphat

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king of Judah, son of Asa, king of Judah, and Azabah, daughter of Shilhi, ascended the throne at the age of thirty-five, and reigned twenty-five years. He had the advantage over Baasha, king of Israel; and he placed good garrisons in the cities of Judah and of Ephraim, which had been conquered by his father. God was with him, because he was faithful. He demolished the high places and groves. In the third year of his reign he sent some of his officers, with priests and Levites, through all the parts of Judah, with the book of the law, to instruct the people. God blessed the zeal of this prince, who was feared by all his neighbours. The Philistines and Arabians were tributaries to him. He built several houses in Judah in the form of towers, and fortified several cities. He generally kept an army of eleven hundred thousand men, without reckoning the troops in his strong holds. This number seems prodigious for so small a state as that of Judah; but, probably, these troops were only an enrolled militia.

The Scripture reproaches Jehoshaphat for his alliance with Ahab, king of Israel, 1 Kings 20; 2 Chronicles 18. Some time after, he went to visit Ahab in Samaria; and Ahab invited him to march with him against Ramoth- Gilead. Jehoshaphat consented, but first asked for an opinion from a prophet of the Lord. Afterward, he went into the battle in his robe, and the enemy supposed him to be Ahab; but he crying out, they discovered their mistake, and Jehoshaphat returned in peace to Jerusalem. The Prophet Jehu reproved him for assisting Ahab, 2 Chronicles 19:1-3 . &c. Jehoshaphat repaired this fault by the good regulations, and the good order, which he established in his dominions, both as to civil and religious affairs, by appointing honest and able judges, by regulating the discipline of the priests and Levites, and by enjoining them to perform their duty with punctuality. After this, in the year 3108, the Moabites, Ammonites, and other nations of Arabia Petraea, declared war against Jehoshaphat, 2 Chronicles 20:1-3 , &c. They advanced to Hazaron-Tamar, otherwise Engedi. Jehoshaphat went with his people to the temple, and put up prayers to God. Jahaziel, the son of Zechariah, by the Spirit of the Lord, encouraged the king, and promised that the next day he should obtain a victory without fighting. Accordingly, these people being assembled the next day against Judah, quarrelled, and killed one another; and Jehoshaphat and his army had only to gather their spoils. This prince continued to walk in the ways of the Lord; yet he did not destroy the high places, and the hearts of the people were not entirely directed to the God of their fathers. Jehoshaphat died after a reign of twenty-five years, and was buried in the royal sepulchre; and his son, Jehoram, reigned in his stead.

2. JEHOSAPHAT, VALLEY OF. This valley is a deep and narrow glen, which runs from north to south, between the Mount of Olives and Mount Moriah; the brook Cedron flowing through the middle of it, which is dry the greatest part of the year, but has a current of a red colour, after storms, or in rainy seasons. The Prophet Joel 3:2 ; Joel 3:12 , says, "The Lord will gather all nations in the valley of Jehoshaphat, and will plead with them there." Abenezra is of opinion, that this valley is the place where King Jehoshaphat obtained a signal victory over the Moabites, Ammonites, and Meonians of Arabia Petraea, 2 Chronicles 20:1 , &c, toward the Dead Sea, beyond the wilderness of Tekoah, which after that event was called the valley of blessing, 2 Chronicles 20:26 . Others think it lies between the walls of Jerusalem and the Mount of Olives. Cyril, of Alexandria, on Joel 3, says that this valley is but a few furlongs distant from Jerusalem. Lastly, some maintain that the ancient Hebrews had named no particular place the valley of Jehoshaphat; but that Joel intended generally the place where God would judge the nations, and will appear at the last judgment in the brightness of his majesty. Jehoshaphat, in Hebrew, signifies "the judgment of God." It is very probable that the valley of Jehoshaphat, that is, of God's judgment, is symbolical, as well as the valley of slaughter, in the same chapter. From this passage, however, the Jews and many Christians have been of opinion, that the last judgment will be solemnized in the valley of Jehoshaphat.


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Bibliography Information
Watson, Richard. Entry for 'Jehoshaphat'. Richard Watson's Biblical & Theological Dictionary. https://www.studylight.org/dictionaries/wtd/j/jehoshaphat.html. 1831-2.

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Friday, December 6th, 2019
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