2 Chr 16.1-14 tells us about a treaty that Asa makes with Ben-Hadad of Syria. Baasha (he that seeks or lays waste), King of Israel, had come up against Judah and built up Ramah. This would block a main route into Judah that would stop people from coming to Jerusalem for the festivals and other reasons. Baasha hoped hoped this would put military and economic pressure on Judah, forcing Asa to give Baasha what he wanted.
So Asa brought Ben-Hadad treasure so that he would withdraw his support of Baasha (v 3). Asa seems to have forgotten that he had a covenant with Yehovah. He didn’t need one with Ben-Hadad. But Asa’s plan was successful and came against the cities of Israel. When Baasha heard this, he stopped working on Ramah. However, Yehovah sent word to Asa through Hannani the Prophet and rebuked Asa for relying on the king of Syria (v 7). Not much is known about him but he had a son who was a prophet also (1 Kings 16.1, 7; 2 Chre 19.2). This rebuke from Yehovah was something Asa did not expect, after all, his plan worked.
He believed his main enemy was Israel and got the help he needed from Syria. But, this is not what the Lord saw. The bigger enemy was Syria and Yehovah wanted to give him a victory over them. When he compromised, he became blind, and that is true with us also. Yehovah wanted Asa to remember the victories he gave in the past (v 7-10). Yehovah looks for ways to help his people and those who are in faith. What Asa did was to show Yehovah he did not trust him to defend Judah. As a result, Asa would have wars and no protection.
But Asa rejected the message of Hanani and put him in prison. He also harassed others who knew what Asa did was wrong (v 10). So Asa became diseased in his feet and (some say it was gout in his feet for putting the feet of Hanani in stocks) it was severe. And yet, he did not seek the Lord, but his doctors. He refused to trust or rely on the Lord. Now, the Scriptures have a lot of good things to say about doctors (Col 4.14; Acts 28.9; Jam 5.14-15; 1 Tim 5.23) but it is not right to seek medical help instead of the Lord. God can move through a doctor for our healing, so we should do both. Asa died in the forty-first year of his reign and he had a great burial and funeral (v 13-14). They made a great fire for him, and this was customary (Jer 34.5). This was not a cremation, but it was done to honor Asa (2 Chr 21.19).
2 Chr 17.1-19 begins to tell us about the reign of Yehoshaphat (Yehovah is judge), the son of Asa, and how he pleased the Lord. He followed the example of his father David (v 3) and fortified himself against Israel (ten northern tribes). He removed the idolatrous bamot (high places) and the Asherim and in 1 Kings 22.43 it says he did not remove the high places, but these are the ones dedicated to Yehovah, not idolatry. He should have removed them also because the Temple had been built and when that happened, no more bamot were allowed as before. 2 Chr 20.33 says the same thing because the people had not yet directed their hearts to Yehovah (to offer korbanat only in Jerusalem-Deut 12.5).
In the Mishnah, Kodashim 14.4-8 explains the relationship between the Temple and the high places dedicated to Yehovah. It says, “Before the tabernacle was set up, the high places were permitted and the altar service was fulfilled by the first born. But after the tabernacle was set up, the high places were forbidden, and the altar service was fulfilled by the priests; the Most Holy Things (Kodshai Kodashim) were consumed withing the curtains, and the Lesser Holy Things (Kodshai Kelim) throughout the camp of Israel.”
“After they came to Gilgal the high places were again permitted; the Most Holy Things could be eaten only within the curtains but the Lesser Holy Things in any place. After they came to Shiloh the high places were forbidden. There was no roof-beam there, below was a house of stone and above were hangings, and this was the ‘resting place.’ The Most Holy Things were consumed within the curtains, and the Lesser Holy Things and the Second Tithe (Maaser Sheni) in any place within sight of Shiloh.”
After they came to Nob and to Gibeon the high places were permitted; the Most Holy Things were consumed within the curtains and the Lesser Holy Things throughout the cities of Israel. After they came to Jerusalem the high places were forbidden and never again permitted; and this was the ‘inheritance.’ The Most Holy Things were consumed within the curtains and the Lesser Holy Things and the Second Tithe within the wall of Jerusalem.”
Yehoshaphat also sent five princes, along with nine Levites, to teach Judah from the Torah, how to worship and obey the Lord (v 7-9). As a result, the fear (awe) of Yehovah came upon all the kingdoms that were around Judah and they made no war against Yehoshaphat. Even the Philistines brought gifts and silver to Yehoshpaphat and Arabians brought flocks (v 10-11). Yehoshaphat grew greater and greater and he built defenses and storage facilities in Judah in case of war (v 12-13). All of them were ready to fight when the king needed them. In addition, there was a militia who were also ready (v 14-19).
In 2 Chr 18-1-7 we learn that Yehoshaphat enters into an alliance with King Ahab (Ahav meaning “brother father”) in the north when his son Joram marries the daughter of Ahab and Jezebel named Athaliah. We will see that she is not much different than her infamous parents. Ahab now wants Yehoshaphat to go up with him against Ramoth-Gilead (“heights of Gilead”). The king of Syria had promised to return certain cities in exchange for mercy after he was defeated in battle. Ben-Hadad failed to return Ramoth-Gilead because it was in a strategic position (1 Kings 20.34), and it was a city of refuge (Josh 20.8).
So Yehoshaphat wanted to seek the Lord about this (v 4-6), so Ahab assembled false prophets but Yehoshaphat asked if there was a prophet of Yehovah yet in the land (remember, Ahab and Jezebel were persecuting the true prophets of Yehovah). Ahab said, Yes” but he said the prophet hated him because he never prophesied anything good. His name was Micaiah (“Who is like Yah”).
2 Chr 18.8-11 says the false prophets prophesied in the name of Yehovah (Matt 7.22), and these were not pagan pagan prophets, and they said Ahab should go up and fight, and he would succeed. Ahab knew that Micaiah was a true prophet of God, and in 2 Chr 18.12-22 it says that Micaiah is consulted, and he tells them “go up and succeed, for they will be given into your hand.” He said this sarcastically but Ahab knew did not say, “Thus says Yehovah” so he knew he wasn’t serious. Ahab then tells him to speak to him only what Yehovah tells him.
So Micaiah tells him that he saw Israel scattered on the mountains like sheep with no shepherd, and Yehovah said “These have no master.” Then Micaiah tells him he was given insight into the heavenly realm and that Ahab’s prophets were inspired by lying spirits (v 22). He saw the Lord sitting on his throne and all the armies of heaven were around him. He asks, “Who will entice Ahab the king of Israel to go up andd fall at Ramoth-Gilead?” And one said this and another said that, but then a spirit came forward and stood before Yehovah and said, “I will entice him.” and Yehovah asked, “How” and the spirit said that he would go and be a deceiving spirit in the mouth of all his prophets. And the Lord told him to go and entice him, and prevail. So Micaiah says that Yehovah has put a deceiving spirit into the moths of all his prophets because the Lord has proclaimed “disaster against you (v 18-23).”
Spiritually, just because someone says they are of the Lord doesn’t mean they are. Matt 7.21-23 tells us that there will be many who claim to have prophesied in the name of the Lord but the Lord never knew them. They were “lawless” or “Torah-less. This brings us up to the subject of “revivals.” Psa 119.154 says, “revive me according to your word (“davar”, another name for the Torah). There are also false revivals which are “not according to your word (Torah).” We should judge any “revival” by the standard, “Is this according to God’s word (Torah).” Any revival in the Scriptures always brought the people back to the Torah (2 Kings 22.1-20; 2 Chr 29 and 30 for instance). False revivals will quote 2 Chr 7.14 but that verse is calling the people to repent and come back to the Torah. God will forgive their sin, and sin is defined by the Torah (Rom 3.20; 1 John 3.4). If the “revival” does not call people back to a Torah-based faith in Yeshua (Sabbath, biblical kosher, no idolatry or idolatrous holidays, etc) it is a false revival and just the work of man.
2 Chr 18.23 tells us that Zedekiah the son of Chenaanah (international trader) came forward and struck Micaiah on the cheek and said, “How did the Spirit of Yehovah pass from me to speak to you?” Evidently, Zedekiah thought he had the Ruach Ha Kodesh, but he really didn’t. This is just like the prophets of today. When they are defeated they get angry. So Ahab put Micaiah in prison and to keep him there till Ahab got back from the battle (v 26), and Micaiah tells Ahab that if he returns from battle then Yehovah did not speak to him (in 2 Chr 18.16).
In 2 Chr 18.28-34 Ahab goes to battle, along with Yehoshaphat. Why Yehoshaphat went along after hearing all this is very curious, especially after a defeat was predicted. And Ahab, knowing the prophecy of Micaiah, decided to disguise himself and thought this would protect him Yehoshaphat would be the only identifiable king on the battlefield, and why he went along with this also is very, very curious. But this would not save Ahab.
Ben-Hadad tells his army to fight with no one small or great, but only with the King of Israel. Ahab’s previous mercy to Ben-Hadad in 1 Kings 20.31-34 will not be reciprocated. He will return evil for good, but God was directing Ben-Hadad in this. So when the battle started, Yehoshaphat noticed the enemy was coming after him because he was the only one dressed as a king. He cries out to Yehovah in v 31 and the Lord diverted their hearts away from him.
Now, a certain archer drew his bow and shot a random arrow and it struck Ahab between his armor. God directed the arrow to hit Ahab. Man cannot hide from the judgment of God even though he thinks he can. Micaiah obeyed the Lord and ended up in prison, but that was better off than a king he did not obey the Lord. Ahab propped himself up in his chariot with the help of the “shalish.” The shalish is a third man in a chariot, along with the driver. To Ahab’s credit, he stayed propped up in his chariot, facing the Syrians until sunset, when he died.
2 Chr 19.1-11 tells us that Yehoshaphat returns after the battle, showing Yehovah’s mercy even to those who use bad judgment. However, Yehu, the son of Hanani the prophet, rebuked Yehoshaphat for helping Ahab, saying, “Should you help the wicked and love those who hate the Lord and so bring wrath on yourself from Yehovah? But there is some good in you for you have removed the Asheroth from the land and you have set your heart to seek God.” He had zeal for Yehovah but the wrath of Yehovah would come in the coming war with the Ammonites and Moabites and the death of his great-grandsons by Ahab’s daughter Athaliah.
Yehoshaphat responded by instituting reforms (v 6-10). He appointed judges in Judah and admonished them to remember they were judging for Yehovah, not man. These verses are included here and not in Kings because they served as an example to the leaders who were coming back to rebuild Judah and Jerusalem after the Babylonian exile. Without the Torah and those who judged righteously, the nation would not prosper and survive.