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of Jehovah run to and fro throughout the whole earth, to shew himself strong in the behalf of them whose heart is perfect toward him. Herein thou hast done foolishly; therefore, from henceforth, thou shalt have wars. Then Asa was wroth with the seer, and put him in a prison-house, for he was in a rage with him because of this thing. And Asa oppressed some of the people the same time.*
And Asa, in the thirty-ninth year of his reign, was diseased in his feet, until his disease was exceeding great; yet in his disease he sought not to Jehovah, but to the physicians.
And Asa reigned forty-one years in Jerusalem, when he died, and slept with his fathers; and they buried him in bis own sepulchres, which he had made for himself in the city of David; and laid him in the bed, which was filled with sweet odours, and divers kinds of spices, prepared by the apothecaries' art; and they made a very great burning for him ;# and he was succeeded by his son,
This monarch, who was thirty-five years old when A.C.
he began to reign, strengthened himself against Israel, 951.
and placed forces in all the fenced cities of Judah; and set garrisons in the land of Judah, and in the cities of Ephraim, which Asa, his father, had taken. And Jehovah was with Jehoshaphat, because he walked in the first ways of his father, David, and sought not unto Baalim; but sought to Jehovah, the God of his father, and walked in his commandments, and not after the doings of Israel. Therefore Jehovah established the kingdom in his hand; and all Judah brought
* 2 Chron. xvi. 7–10.
+ 2 Chron. xvi. 12.
to Jehoshaphat presents; and he had riches and honour in abundance. And his heart was lifted up in the ways of Jehovah : moreover, he took away the high places and groves out of Judah. *
Under the influence of this pious feeling, in the third year of his reign, Jehoshaphat sent to his princes to teach in the cities of Judah, and with them he sent Levites and priests; and they taught in Judah, and had the book of the law of Jehovah with them; and went about throughout all the cities of Judah, and taught the people. And the fear of Jehovah fell upon all the kingdoms of the lands that were round about Judah, so that they made no war against Jehoshaphat. Also some of the Philistines brought Jehoshaphat presents, and tribute silver; and the Arabians brought him flocks, 7,700 rams, and 7,700 he goats. And Jehoshaphat waxed great exceedingly; and he built in Judah castles and cities of store. And he had much business in the cities of Judah; and the men of war, mighty men of valour, were in Jerusalem.
Now Jehoshaphat had riches and honour in abundance, and joined affinity with Ahab. And after certain years he went down to Ahab, to Samaria. And Ahab killed sheep and oxen for him in abundance, and for the people that he had with him, and persuaded him to go up with him to Ramoth Gilead. And Abab, king of Israel, said unto Jehoshaphat, king of Judah, Wilt thou go with me to Ramoth-Gilead ? and he answered him, I am as thou art, and my people as thy people; and we will be with thee in the war. I
• 2 Chron. xvii. 3-6. + 2 Chron. xvii. 9–13. The names of bis officers were Adnah, the commander-in-chief; Jehohanan, the captain; Amaziah, a volunteer; Eliada, of Benjainin; Jehozabad; and their united force amounted to 1,160,000 men, besides the troops in garrison. 2 Chron. xvii. 14 - 19.
* 2 Chron. xviii. 1–3.
Jehoshaphat, however, stipulated that enquiry should be made at the word of Jehovah; upon which Ahab consulted 400 prophets, who all encouraged him to proceed.*
Jehoshaphat seems to have had some misgiving that all was not right, for he still asked, Is there not here a prophet of Jehovah besides, that we might enquire of him ? Ahab replied that there was Micaiah, the son of Imla, but that he hated him, as he never prophesied good unto him, but always evil; Jehoshaphat gently reproved his royal host, saying; Let not the king say so.
Micaiah being sent for, both the monarchs put on their royal robes and sat upon their thrones, in the gate of Samaria, and all the prophets prophesied before them; and one of them, Zedekiah, being desirous to render himself conspicuous, made him horns of iron, and said; Thus saith Jehovah, with these thou shalt push Syria until they be consumed.
The messenger who had been sent for Micaiah, urged him, most probably out of kindness, to coincide with the known wishes of Ahab, and the smooth counsel of his prophets; but Micaiah said, as Jehovah liveth, even what my God saith, that will I speak.||
It is not easy to reconcile this pious and manly declaration with the prophet's conduct, unless we suppose he spoke ironically, or gave some indication by which Ahab knew he was not expressing his real sentiments; for when that monarch asked him whether they should go up to Ramoth Gilead to battle, or should forbear? he replied, Go ye up and
prosper, and they shall be delivered into your hand.
• 2 Chron. xviii. 4, 5. 9, 10, 11, 1 Kings, xxii. 0,7. 10–12.
+ 2 Chron. xviii. 6. 1 Kings, xxii. 7.
1 2 Chrop. xviii. 7. 1 Kings, xxii, 8.
1 2 Chron. xviii. 14. 1 Kings, xxii. 15.
Upon being solemnly adjured by Ahab to speak nothing but the truth, in the name of Jehovah, Micaiah said, “ I saw all Israel scattered upon the mountains, as sheep that have no shepherd: and Jehovah said, These have no master; let them return every man to his house in peace.” Therefore hear the word of Jehovah : I saw Jehovah sitting upon his throne, and all the host of heaven standing on his right band and on his left. "And Jehovah said, Who shall entice Abab, king of Israel, that he may go up and fall at Ramoth Gilead ? And one spake saying after this manner, and another saying after that manner. Then there came out a spirit, and stood before Jehovah, and said, I will entice him. And Jehovah said unto him wherewith? And he said, I will go out and be a lying spirit in the mouth of all his prophets. And Jehovah said, Thou shalt entice him, and thou shalt also prevail; go out, and do even so. Now, therefore, behold Jehovah hath put a lying spirit in the mouth of these thy prophets, and Jehovah hath spoken evil against thee.
Upon this Zedekiah came near and smote Micaiah upon the cheek, and said, which way went the spirit of Jehovah from me to speak unto thee? And Micaiah said, Behold thou shalt see on that day, when thou shalt go into an inner chamber to hide thyself. Then the king of Israel said, Take ye Micaiah, and carry him back to Amon, the governor of the city, and to Joash the king's son, and say; Thus saith the king, put this fellow in the prison, and feed him with bread of affliction and with water of aMiction, until I return in peace. And Micaiah said, If thou certainly return in peace, then bath not Jehovah spoken by me, and he said, Hearken, all ye people.
It is difficult to reconcile the conduct of Jehoshaphat in
• 2 Chron. xviii. 16-22 1 Kings, xxii. 17-23.
going with Ahab after this denunciation, with bis previous piety in enquiring the will of Jehovah; and the whole transaction ought to furnish us with a lesson against the danger of making unholy associations, and the mischief which may arise from being drawn within the vortex of their influence. We may well suppose that Jehoshaphat had no intention, when he left Jerusalem, to engage in a war with the Syrian monarch; but he knew that Ahab and his house were given up to idolatry, and had forsaken Jehovah and his worship; and that therefore he had no business there. Again, there can be no doubt, that when he desired a prophet of Jehovah should be sent for, he intended to be regulated by the will of Jehovah, as it might be declared by that prophet. Still, however, we see the influence of wicked Ahab, perhaps of his more wicked wife, Jezebel, and bis idolatrous priests and courtiers, prevailed over all the pious and holy intentions of Jehoshaphat. And this monarch, we may suppose, was amiable and simple hearted, if not weak minded; for his perfidious host persuaded him to go into the battle dressed in that monarch's royal robes, whilst Ahab had disguised himself like a coward. *
The result, however, proved that no disguise can defeat the all searching eye of God; and that when the time arrives, at which he thinks fit to commission the arrow of divine vengeance, neither rock nor mountain, nor any human artifice, can protect the wicked from his wrath; and his glory and mercy were made equally conspicuous in protecting his pious, though inconsistent servant, Jehoshaphat. For the king of Syria having ordered his officers to fight neither with small or great, save only with the king of Israel, they crowded round the king of Judah by mistake, and pressed him so hard, that he cried out; when Jehovah helped him, and
• 2 Chron. xviii. 29. 1 Kings, xxii. 30.