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Go to Bible: 2 Chronicles 20
“the Meunites.” A minor desert tribe of uncertain origin. This translation is from the Septuagint. The Masoretic Hebrew text reads “from the Ammonites,” see the text note in the NET translation.(top)
“from Edom.” The Hebrew text reads “Aram” (Syria), but this seems to be a corruption of the Hebrew because Syria is far north of the area. The Septuagint and Vulgate read “Edom.” Also, Jehosaphat named the enemies including “Mount Seir,” which is Edom, and he did not mention Syria (2 Chron. 20:10). It is likely that the army from Edom crossed the Dead Sea at the jut of land that extends most of the way across the Dead Sea.
“En-gedi.” “En-gedi” means “the spring of the wild goats,” and it is located on the west side of the Dead Sea. It is a beautiful oasis, with plenty of water, and David hid out there from Saul (1 Sam. 23:29; 24:1). It is specifically mentioned as part of the global restoration of the earth in the Millennial Kingdom, when the Dead Sea is healed (Ezek. 47:10).(top)
“set his face to seek Yahweh.” This is an idiom. Jehoshaphat was afraid, but he was not paralyzed by his fear. He resolved (set his face) to seek Yahweh, and Yahweh acted on his behalf and the enemy was defeated.(top)
|2Ch 20:4||- (top)|
“before the new court.” This “new court” is not mentioned elsewhere. It could have been “new” because it was rebuilt in some way, but it is more likely that it was some kind of expansion to Solomon’s Temple to allow for more worshipers. The worshipers would not have been allowed into the court of the priests, where the altar of sacrifice was, they were in an outer court.(top)
|2Ch 20:6||- (top)|
“drive out.” The Hebrew word contains the idea of “dispossess,” such that the Israelites did not just drive out the Canaanites, but they displaced them.(top)
|2Ch 20:8||- (top)|
“we will stand before this house and before you.” This is one of the many places where standing before God’s house, the Temple, was considered to be standing before God, because God said He would dwell in the Temple. Note that in 2 Chronicles 20:13 and 20:18, the text just says that the people are “before Yahweh” even though they were standing in front of the Temple (2 Chron. 20:5).(top)
|2Ch 20:10||- (top)|
|2Ch 20:11||- (top)|
“Our God, will you not judge them?” Notice that Jehoshaphat does not ask for a victory in a military battle, he asks for vindication from Yahweh. This could well be why Yahweh fought this battle while the people of Judah sang his praise. However, his statement about not having military might is interesting because he did have a well-prepared army (2 Chron. 17:12-18), and small armies with God’s help had defeated large armies many times before.
This sentence must have had a great effect on the exiles in the Persian Empire when Chronicles was written. They were a small group in exile in the midst of a powerful empire and were looking for God’s deliverance.(top)
“All Judah stood before Yahweh.” The people were standing in front of the Temple, which was the house of God (God dwelled in the Holy of Holies) and thus they were standing before God (see commentary on 2 Chronicles 20:9).(top)
“came on Jahaziel the son of Zechariah.” Jahaziel, “the one who sees God,” was likely a Levitical musician, not a known prophet.(top)
“Do not be afraid and do not be dismayed.” This is very similar to Joshua 1:9. When we are confident in what God tells us to do and confident of His help, we can let go of any fear we have. In this case, when God said, “for the battle is not yours, but God’s,” that would remove a lot of concern and doubt from the people. Until that point, the people might well have thought, and with good reason, that this attack on Judah was spiritual and was punishment for the many sins of Israel and Judah. For example, the Assyrian attack on Israel was because of Israel’s sins (2 Kings 17:6-8), and the famine in David’s reign was due to Saul’s sin (2 Sam. 21:1).
“The battle is not yours, but God’s.” There are a number of times in Scripture when God fought for Israel, and Jehoshaphat was confident that this was one of them (cp. Exod. 14:13-14).(top)
“before the wilderness of Jeruel.” That is, east of the wilderness of Jeruel.(top)
“stand firm.” The Hebrew text is just “stand,” but in this context, it means to stand firm. In the face of the huge enemy army, it would be reasonable that some of the people would have run away.(top)
“fell down before Yahweh.” The people were in front of the Temple, which was the house of God (God dwelled in the Holy of Holies) and thus when they got down into a worship posture, bowing down, it was “before Yahweh” (see commentary on 2 Chronicles 20:9).
“worshiping.” Or, “bowing down to.” The Hebrew word translated “worship,” shachah (#07812 שָׁחָה), is the same Hebrew word as “bow down.”
[For more on bowing down, see commentary on 1 Chron. 29:20.](top)
“the Kohathites and of the children of the Korahites.” The Korahites were a sub-clan within the Kohathites, a large group of Levites. The fact that those Levites stood up to praise may indicate some kind of sectioning among the Levites; we know there were 24 courses of priests, and the same would be true of the Levites.(top)
|2Ch 20:20||- (top)|
“in holy attire.” See commentary on Psalms 29:2. However, scholars are divided on how to translate 2 Chronicles 20:21. It is possible to understand the Hebrew text to be saying more like the ESV is translated: “praise him for the splendor of his holiness.”(top)
|2Ch 20:22||- (top)|
“devoting them to destruction.” That is, totally destroying them.
[For more on things “devoted” to Yahweh and devoted to destruction, see commentary on Josh. 6:17.]
“to destroy.” In the Hebrew text, “destroy” is a noun, more like “became a destroyer” of one another.(top)
|2Ch 20:24||- (top)|
“clothing.” The Masoretic Hebrew text says “dead bodies,” but a few medieval Hebrew texts and the Latin Vulgate read “clothing,” which fits the context much better.(top)
“Beracah.” The word “beracah” means “blessing.” The Valley of Beracah where the people gathered was the flat at the bottom of the valley, more like a plain. In that sense, it is similar to the “Valley of Jezreel,” which is so wide and flat it is more like a plain.(top)
|2Ch 20:27||- (top)|
|2Ch 20:28||- (top)|
|2Ch 20:29||- (top)|
|2Ch 20:30||- (top)|
“Azubah.” The name means “abandoned,” “forsaken.”(top)
|2Ch 20:32||- (top)|
“the local shrines.” The Hebrew word “shrines” is bamot, which referred to a place that was leveled and built up and on which were placed various idols and objects of worship. Many of the towns had such shrines (see commentary on Num. 33:52).(top)
“included.” The Hebrew text is literally “was brought up.” This seems to be saying that Jehu recorded the event and then what he said was included in the book of Kings.(top)
“After this.” The text now records a previous event in a flashback.
“who acted very wickedly.” Although the meaning of this phrase has been debated, the words are so strong about acting wickedly that they must refer to Ahaziah who did indeed act wickedly, and not to Jehoshaphat who made some ill-advised and wrong decisions but who the Bible never accuses of acting wickedly. Actually, Jehoshaphat joining with Ahaziah was one of his poor decisions.(top)
|2Ch 20:36||- (top)|
“broken out against.” The same Hebrew occurs in 2 Samuel 5:20.(top)