2 Chr 20.1-13 says that “after this” (Ramoth-Gilead) that the sons of Moab and Ammon, together with the Meunites, came to make war with Judah and Yehoshaphat. He has barely escaped the last battle, and now he has another war. The Meunites are probably from Meon, or “Maonites” (Judges 10.12) in Edom. Yehoshaphat is told about this army and he sought the Lord and proclaimed a fast…He gathered Judah together and he stood in the Temple and prayed. This is a model prayer that should be studied (v 6-12).
He recognizes the great power of Yehovah over heaven and all the kingdoms of the earth. Paganism recognized “local”gods and each kingdom had their own. He pointed out God’s great works in the past so he can be asked for great things now. He stood where Solomon stood when he prayed in 2 Chr 6.20-25. He knows that Yehovah did not allow Israel to invade the nations coming against them now (Deut 2.8-9, 19) so they were left alone. It would be unjust to allow them to destroy Judah now. He aske d God to not allow Judah to suffer for obeying his command. He confessed that he did not have the answer on what to do, but they were looking to Yehovah for deliverance.
So, in 2 Chr 14-23, Yehovah answers his prayer through Yahaziel (God will see), the son of Zechariah, a Levite, out of this huge assembly and said that they were not to be afraid because of this great army coming against them. This was Yehovah’s battle and he will fight for Judah. He told them to go down against them tomorrow. This is an important concept. One would think that Judah wouldn’t have to do anything, just let God do it, but Yehovah wanted them to participate in some way. This is telling us that we need to let God go to war for us against our enemies, but we need to do what he said, not stay back in our “Jerusalem” and pray. They still had to show up.
He told them where they were coming and they would be at the end of the “valley.” This was the wilderness of Tekoa (2 Chr 20.20). Tekoa means “trumpet.” Judah will not need to fight, but they had to show up and position themselves, stand still, and believe that Yehovah would defend them against such a large army. God would defeat this army anyway he wanted, but he chose a way that required their faith in him. Yehoshaphat and the people responded by bowing with their face to the ground in gratitude. They accepted this word in faith. Then they worshiped in song, led by the Levitical choir.
On the next day, they set out for battle being led by singing (2 Chr 20.20-23). This showed they really did believe the prophecy of Yahaziel. It is one thing to say you believe, and another thing to act on what God said to do (Jam 2.18).
The wilderness of tekoa is about ten miles south of Jerusalem. As they went out singing, Yehovah set ambushes against the sons of Ammon, Moab and Mount Seir and they began to fight against themselves. When Judah came to the wilderness, they looked and saw the corpses lying on the ground, and nobody escaped. Yehoshaphat and his army came to take the spoil, which included goods, garments and valuables. They couldn’t carry it all and it took three days to collect all of it. On the fourth day they assembled in a valley named “Berachah” which means “blessing.” They blessed the Lord there and gave him thanks for the victory and the spoils.
Then they all returned to Judah with joy and came to Jerusalem with harps, lyres and trumpets to the Temple where they offered thanksgiving again. As a result, the fear of God was on all the kingdoms around Judah because of what the Lord had done. Now, this was not a pattern for warfare in Judah and that “praise” was all they had to do to win battles. They did this because of a specific word from Yehovah. To do it this way in every future battle would have been wrong. However, in our spiritual warfare, we should always trust in the Lord and participate (do) what he instructs us to do. This also alludes to the fact that yeshua has fought our battle for salvation and he has already rescued us from eternal death.
2 Chr 20.31-37 says that Yehoshaphat reigned for twenty-five years and his mother’s name (the givorah) was Azubah (deserted) the daughter of Shilhi (weapon, armor). He walked in the way of his father Asa, who was a good king and followed the Torah. But he did not take down the bamot (high places) where offerings were given to the Lord. These were not permissible anymore since the Temple had been built (Mishnah, Kodashim 14.4-8). These high places were not for idol worship.
The people had not directed their hearts to Yehovah to offer only in Jerusalem and the Temple. He should have stopped this practice, but didn’t. The fault was not in Yehoshaphat but the people. Though they thought they were worshiping God, they did not go to the Temple because it was “inconvenient” to do so. It was hard for him to give up the “old ways.”
The rest of the acts of Yehoshaphat were written in the annals of Yehu, the son of Hanani, which is written in the book of the Kings of Israel. Remember, he was the prophet who gave Yehoshaphat a word in 2 Chr 19.2-3. The writers of the Tanak, the Gospels and the Epistles used this source along with the Targums, the Book of Gad, The Book of Jasher, the Book of the Wars of the Lord, the Book of Enoch and the Septuagint (LXX).
Yehoshaphat also allied himself with the ungodly King of Israel named Ahaziah. He got into the ship building business with him, and God destroyed these ships in 1 Kings 22.48-49. Eliezar the son of Dodavahu (Yehovah is loving) also rebuked Yehoshaphat saying, “Because you have allied yourself with Ahaziah, the Lord has destroyed your works (2 Chr 20 37).” So Yehoshaphat refused another alliance with Ahaziah (1 Kings 22.49) because he had learned his lesson. To some, it may sound cruel for Yehovah to destroy his “works” (the ships) with Ahaziah but it prevented him from entering into another alliance with the ungodly and it prevented him from getting hurt again. But Yehoshaphat helped “the wicked and loved those who hate the Lord” (2 Chr 19.2). This brought wrath upon himself from Yehovah and it is a lesson we all need to know. We can’t avoid all contact with the world and unbelievers, or we would have to be out of the world. But we should not be allied with them beyond what would be prudent. There is no doubt about it, “bad company corrupts good morals” ( 1 Cor 15.33).
This chapter is also a picture of the Chevlai Shell Mashiach, or “Birth-pains of the Messiah.” Israel, like Yehoshaphat, will have entered into an ungodly relationship with the False Messiah and God will destroy that work, too. Israel will also be surrounded by enemies, but the Lord will also destroy them as well.
2 Chr 21.1-20 will also be a picture of the False Messiah. Yehoshaphat dies and is replaced by his son Yehoram (“Yehovah is exalted”) and was thirty-two when he became king. He reigned eight years and was an evil king (like the False Messiah). He married Athaliah, the daughter of Ahab and Jezebel if that tells you anything, and he walked in the evil and idolatrous ways of the kings of Israel.
Yehovah was not willing to destroy the House of David, however, because he had made a promise to David to have a “lamp” or descendant of his on the throne (1 Kings 11.36). The term “son of David” has messianic implications and is a title for the Messiah. Yehoram killed his six brothers (made war on the saints), even though Yehoshaphat has scattered them throughout the land. He also killed some chief nobles. Yehoshaphat, as we have seen, was a good king but he compromised with evil people. This habit will have serious consequences, like the marriage of his son to the evil Athaliah.
Edom revolts against Judah and Yehoram goes to war and defeats them, but they will continue in revolt. As long as the Judean kings walked with God the nations were kept under control by Yehovah. However, when Judah revolted against God, these nations revolted. Yehoram also made high places (bamot) for idolatrous worship, something Asa (his grandfather) and Yehoshaphat (his father) opposed. So, in these ways, he is like the False Messiah. He was Jewish, made war on the saints (his brothers and nobles), was lawless (Torah-less) and he promoted idolatry.
We learn in 2 Chr 21.12-15 we learn that a letter came to him from Elijah the Prophet, ten years after the events of 2 Kings 2.1-14. We do not believe that Elijah was “taken to Heaven” because Yeshua said that nobody has “ascended to heaven” at least at the time he said this in John 3.13. So, let’s go over some of the things we have said before in 2 Kings 2.1-14.
According to the Scriptures, we know that there are three “heavens” (2 Cor 12.2). There is the “heaven” where the clouds, birds and airplanes fly, and there is a second heaven containing the sun, moon and the stars. The third heaven is where God and his throne is. When Elijah departed, his ministry was over as far as God was concerned, and Elisha was given the double-portion as “heir” to the prophets and the ministry (2 Kings 2.9). When this event was over, some thought that they should go out and search for Elijah because “perhaps the Spirit of Yehovah has taken him and cast him on some mountain or into some valley. So, some thought Elijah could have been taken to another place, which is alluded to in 1 Kings 18.12, and actually done in Acts 8.39 with Phillip. We believe that Elijah was taken away to another location, having entered the first heaven (where the birds fly) by the Ruach Ha Kodesh, and later was able to write this letter about the politics of the day.. The only other possibility is that this letter was written beforehand and then given ten years later, but we doubt it. For more information on this, we refer you to Tanak Foundations-Second Kings-Part 1. This letter from Elijah condemned Yehoram’s sins and predicted his demise. Because he had no “bowels” or compassion for his family and brothers, he will be struck with a disease of the bowels (21.15).
Then Yehovah stirred up against Yehoram the spirit of the Philistines and the Arabs who bordered the Ethiopians. They came to Judah and invaded it and carried away all his possessions found in his house, along with his sons and his wives. Only one son, Yehoahaz, was left to him. There is a concept in the Scriptures called “Middah Kneged Middah” and it means “measure for measure.” In trying to protect his throne he murdered all his brothers. Now, all his sons were taken except one (a “lamp” for David as promised in 1 Kings 11.36). After this, Yehovah struck Yehoram in his bowels with an incurable sickness (Deut 32.39).
In the course of time (two years) his bowels came out because of this disease and he died in great pain. The people “made no fire” in his honor like they did with Asa in 2 Chr 16.14. Nobody regretted his death and they buried him in the city of David, but not in the royal tombs. He was a cruel tyrant, promoted Baal worship and prostituted women to Ashtoret and made war on his brothers and chief nobles and he is a picture of the False Messiah.
The problem with Yehoram is just because he has died doesn’t mean that his legacy has ended. His wife Athaliah will rule as the givorah with Yehoram’s youngest son Ahaziah. She will be his counselor and will advise him to do evil, just like the house of Ahab. When he dies, she will kill all the royal offspring and usurp the throne for herself. She will be another picture of the False Messiah and we will deal with her in 2 Chr 22 and 23.