2 Paralipomenon xx.
Notes & Commentary:
Ver. 1. Of the Ammonites; people sprung from them. Those who explain the Psalm lxxxii. of this war, find many nations mentioned. Some of these, not daring to appear openly, assumed the name of Ammonites. Perhaps we should read (Calmet) Mánnim. (Haydock) — Septuagint, “the Mineans,” who dwelt in Arabia Felix, upon the Red Sea, (Pliny, [Natural History?] vi. 28.) or rather the Maonians, in the environs of Gaza. (Calmet) — Some manuscripts and Latin editions have “Idumeans,” which is conformable to ver. 10, 23, and St. Jerome, Trad. (Lyranus, &c.) (Menochius)
Ver. 2. Sea of Sodom, (Haydock) or the Red Sea. (Du Hamel) — Syria, which comprised the country of Ammon. (Menochius) — Perhaps Edom might rather have been in the text, as we find no Syrians in this war, but many of the Idumeans. (Calmet) — Adom and Arom, (Syria. Haydock) have often been confounded, 4 Kings xvi. 6. (Calmet) — Asasonthamar, “the palm-tree cottage,” (Bochart) between Jericho and the Dead Sea.
Ver. 3. Juda. The whole kingdom was concerned. Sometimes a fast was proclaimed for one city, 3 Kings xxi. 9., and Jonas iii. 7. (Calmet) — They were accustomed to fast, not only to subdue the flesh, but also for other necessities. (Worthington)
Ver. 4. Protestants, “to ask help of.” (Haydock) — Cities. Here we have an example of a pilgrimage to a holy place, as God is more willing to hear the virtuous in one place than in another, chap. vi. 7., &c. (Worthington)
Ver. 5. New court of the priests. Why it is so called, does not appear. (Calmet) — Some understand the court for the women; (Salien) others, that for Gentiles. (Le Clerc) — Probably some of the courts had been found too spacious after the schism, and had been neglected; but now, as many had returned to serve the Lord in the dominions of Josaphat, he had made some repairs. (Tirinus)
Ver. 7. All, or the greatest part. Hebrew, “drive out the inhabitants.” (Haydock)
Ver. 9. Sword of. Protestants, “as the sword, judgment, or,” &c. Septuagint, “the sword, judgment, death, famine.” All these are sent in punishment of sin. (Haydock) — The sword of the enemy is a judgment of God. (Menochius)
Ver. 12. Judge and punish them, as they fight against thee? (Calmet) — Enough. Yet we read that Josaphat had above a million soldiers; and he knew that his father had discomfited a greater army of Zara with half the forces. He thus puts us in mind that no power can stand against God’s will; and he endeavours, by humility, to obtain the protection of heaven. The invading army must, however, have been very numerous, to extort these expressions from a potent king, and to have thrown his whole people into such consternation. It could hardly be less than that of Zara; and thus, in the space of a century, above two millions and a half of idolaters perished by the hand of God, without Juda losing a single man, ver. 29., and chap. xiii. 17. (Haydock)
Ver. 13. Children. Even the little infants were deprived of the breasts, on such emergencies, that their cries might be more affecting. (Haydock) (Joel ii. 16., and Judith iv. 8.) — The pagans of Ninive even made the cattle also fast, Jonas iii. 7. (Calmet) (St. Ambrose, ser. 40.) (Tirinus)
Ver. 14. Spirit of prophecy. (Menochius) — Jahaziel is known only by this event. (Calmet)
Ver. 16. Six. Some translate “flowry ascent.” (Calmet) — Protestants, “the cliff of Ziz.” (Haydock) — If it had been Zin, we might understand the desert of stony Arabia, where Ptolemy places the town of Ziza. (Calmet) — But we may recollect that the army was already advanced as far as Engaddi; (ver. 2,) so that it seems to have lain nearer Jerusalem. (Haydock) — Jeruel, “the fear of God,” which name was given to the place, in consequence of the panic with which God struck the enemy. (St. Jerome) (Menochius)
Ver. 19. High. Rejoicing at the promised deliverance. (Calmet)
Ver. 20. Thecua, two mile east of Bethlehem, on the road to Jeruel. (Adrichomius) (Menochius) — Believe. Faith is the foundation of all good works; (Hebrews xi.) but not alone sufficient, as here the people fasted and prayed, and would have fought, if God had not dispensed with them. See Josue xxiii. (Worthington) — We may also translate Hebrew “trust.”
Ver. 21. Ever. This was usually sung in times of joy, chap. v. 13. The army seemed thus to be returning victorious. (Calmet)
Ver. 22. Ambushments, placed by the Moabites, (Menochius) and Ammonites, (Haydock) against Juda. Some detachments of Mount Seir, perhaps, coming suddenly on them, were taken for foes, and slaughtered. (Haydock)
Ver. 24. Tower. Maspha, in the tribe of Benjamin, (Calmet) or some other (Haydock) eminence. (Menochius)
Ver. 25. Insomuch. Hebrew and Septuagint, “Three days passed, while they gathered the spoils, because it was great,” (Haydock) “without weight,” or estimation. (Calmet)
Ver. 26. Blessing. Sts. Jerome and Epiphanius place Caphar-barucha, “the field of blessing,” near Hebron, on the east. Hither Abraham attended the Lord, when he was going to destroy Sodom. (Epist. Paulæ.)
Ver. 29. Lands, in the vicinity. (Menochius) — Israel, as he had lately treated Zara, chap. xiv. 13. (Haydock)
Ver. 33. Places, erected in honour of God, but displeasing to him, chap. xvii. 6. (Haydock) — The good king perhaps attempted to take these also away, but was obliged to desist by the rebellious people. (Menochius) — Hence we find that they are here blamed. (Haydock) — They would not conform exactly to the law, (Leviticus xvii. 3.; Tirinus) and the king was not able to bring all to perfection. (Worthington) — “It is better to pass over….vices, than to shew which we cannot subdue.” (Tacitus, An. iii.)
Ver. 34. Which. Septuagint, “who wrote a book of the kings of Israel.” (Haydock) — Jehu rebuked Josaphat, chap. xix. (Calmet) — His book is not extant. (Menochius)
Ver. 35. Things: the victory over Ammon, &c. (Haydock) — Wicked. See chap. xvi. 3.
Ver. 36. Tharsis; probably Cilicia, (Calmet) or some part of the ocean. — Asion-gaber was on the Red Sea; and ships would not have been built there, to trade on the Mediterranean, chap. ix. 21. (Tirinus)
Bible Text & Cross-references:
The Ammonites, Moabites, and Syrians combine against Josaphat; he seeketh God’s help by public prayer and fasting. A prophet foretelleth that God will fight for his people: the enemies destroy one another. Josaphat, with his men, gather the spoils. He reigneth in peace; but his navy perisheth, for his society with wicked Ochozias.
1 After *this the children of Moab, and the children of Ammon, and with them of the Ammonites, were gathered together to fight against Josaphat.
2 And there came messengers, and told Josaphat, saying: There cometh a great multitude against thee from beyond the sea, and out of Syria, and behold they are in Asasonthamar, which is Engaddi.
3 And Josaphat being seized with fear, betook himself wholly to pray to the Lord, and he proclaimed a fast for all Juda.
4 And Juda gathered themselves together to pray to the Lord: and all came out of their cities to make supplication to him.
5 And Josaphat stood in the midst of the assembly of Juda, and Jerusalem, in the house of the Lord before the new court.
6 And said: O Lord God of our fathers, thou art God in heaven, and rulest over all the kingdoms of nations; in thy hand is strength and power, and no one can resist thee.
7 Didst not thou, our God, kill all the inhabitants of this land before thy people Israel, and gavest it to the seed of Abraham, thy friend, for ever?
8 And they dwelt in it, and built in it a sanctuary to thy name, saying:
9 If evils fall upon us, the sword of judgment, or pestilence, or famine, we will stand in thy presence before this house, in which thy name is called upon: and we will cry to thee, in our afflictions, and thou wilt hear, and save us.
10 *Now, therefore, behold the children of Ammon, and of Moab, and Mount Seir, through whose lands thou didst not allow Israel to pass, when they came out of Egypt, but they turned aside from them, and slew them not:
11 They do the contrary, and endeavour to cast us out of the possession which thou hast delivered to us.
12 O our God, wilt not thou then judge them? as for us we have not strength enough to be able to resist this multitude, which cometh violently upon us. But as we know not what to do, we can only turn our eyes to thee.
13 And all Juda stood before the Lord, with their little ones, and their wives, and their children.
14 And Jahaziel, the son of Zacharias, the son of Banaias, the son of Jehiel, the son of Mathanias, a Levite, of the sons of Asaph, was there, upon whom the Spirit of the Lord came in the midst of the multitude.
15 And he said: Attend ye, all Juda, and you that dwell in Jerusalem, and thou king Josaphat: Thus saith the Lord to you: Fear ye not, and be not dismayed at this multitude: for the battle is not yours, but God’s.
16 To-morrow you shall go down against them: for they will come up by the ascent named Sis, and you shall find them at the head of the torrent, which is over-against the wilderness of Jeruel.
17 It shall not be you that shall fight, but only stand with confidence, and you shall see the help of the Lord over you, O Juda, and Jerusalem: fear ye not, nor be you dismayed: to-morrow you shall go out against them, and the Lord will be with you.
18 Then Josaphat, and Juda, and all the inhabitants of Jerusalem, fell flat on the ground before the Lord, and adored him.
19 And the Levites of the sons of Caath, and of the sons of Core, praised the Lord, the God of Israel, with a loud voice on high.
20 And they rose early in the morning, and went out through the desert of Thecua: and as they were marching, Josaphat standing in the midst of them, said: Hear me, ye men of Juda, and all the inhabitants of Jerusalem: believe in the Lord your God, and you shall be secure: believe his prophets, and all things shall succeed well.
21 And he gave counsel to the people, and appointed the singing men of the Lord, to praise him by their companies, and to go before the army, and with one voice to say: *Give glory to the Lord, for his mercy endureth for ever.
22 And when they began to sing praises, the Lord turned their ambushments upon themselves, that is to say, of the children of Ammon, and of Moab, and of Mount Seir, who were come out to fight against Juda, and they were slain.
23 For the children of Ammon, and of Moab, rose up against the inhabitants of Mount Seir, to kill and destroy them: and when they had made an end of them, they turned also against one another, and destroyed one another.
24 And when Juda came to the watch-tower, that looketh toward the desert, they saw afar off all the country, for a great space, full of dead bodies, and that no one was left that could escape death.
25 Then Josaphat came, and all the people with him, to take away the spoils of the dead, and they found among the dead bodies, stuff of various kinds, and garments, and most precious vessels: and they took them for themselves, insomuch that they could not carry all, nor in three days take away the spoils, the booty was so great.
26 And on the fourth day they were assembled in the valley of Blessing: for there they blessed the Lord, and therefore they called that place the valley of Blessing until this day.
27 And every man of Juda, and the inhabitants of Jerusalem, returned, and Josaphat, at their head, into Jerusalem, with great joy; because the Lord had made them rejoice over their enemies.
28 And they came into Jerusalem with psalteries, and harps, and trumpets, into the house of the Lord.
29 And the fear of the Lord fell upon all the kingdoms of the lands, when they heard that the Lord had fought against the enemies of Israel.
30 And the kingdom of Josaphat was quiet, and God gave him peace round about.
31 And Josaphat reigned over Juda, *and he was five and thirty years old when he began to reign: and he reigned five and twenty years in Jerusalem: and the name of his mother was Azuba, the daughter of Selahi.
32 And he walked in the way of his father, Asa, and departed not from it, doing the things that were pleasing before the Lord.
33 But yet he took not away the high places, and the people had not yet turned their heart to the Lord, the God of their fathers.
34 But the rest of the acts of Josaphat, first and last, are written in the words of Jehu, the son of Hanani, which he digested into the Books of the kings of Israel.
35 After these things Josaphat, *king of Juda, made friendship with Ochozias, king of Israel, whose works were very wicked.
36 And he was partner with him in making ships, to go to Tharsis: and they made the ships in Asiongaber.
37 And Eliezer, the son of Dodau, of Maresa, prophesied to Josaphat, saying: Because thou hast made a league with Ochozias, the Lord hath destroyed thy works, and the ships are broken, and they could not go to Tharsis.
1: Year of the World 3108, Year before Christ 896.
10: Deuteronomy ii. 1.
21: Psalm cxxxv. 1.
31: 3 Kings xxii. 41.
35: Year of the World 3108