20:1 Later the Moabites and Ammonites, along with some of the Meunites, 1 attacked Jehoshaphat. 20:2 Messengers 2 arrived and reported to Jehoshaphat, “A huge army is attacking you from the other side of the Dead Sea, 3 from the direction of Edom. 4 Look, they are in Hazezon Tamar (that is, En Gedi).” 20:3 Jehoshaphat was afraid, so he decided to seek the Lord’s advice. 5 He decreed that all Judah should observe a fast. 20:4 The people of Judah 6 assembled to ask for the Lord’s help; 7 they came from all the cities of Judah to ask for the Lord’s help. 8
20:5 Jehoshaphat stood before the assembly of Judah and Jerusalem 9 at the Lord’s temple, in front of the new courtyard. 20:6 He prayed: “O Lord God of our ancestors, 10 you are the God who lives in heaven 11 and rules over all the kingdoms of the nations. You possess strength and power; no one can stand against you. 20:7 Our God, you drove out 12 the inhabitants of this land before your people Israel and gave it as a permanent possession 13 to the descendants of your friend 14 Abraham. 20:8 They settled down in it and built in it a temple 15 to honor you, 16 saying, 20:9 ‘If disaster comes on us in the form of military attack, 17 judgment, plague, or famine, we will stand in front of this temple before you, for you are present in this temple. 18 We will cry out to you for help in our distress, so that you will 19 hear and deliver us.’ 20:10 Now the Ammonites, Moabites, and men from Mount Seir are coming! 20 When Israel came from the land of Egypt, you did not allow them to invade these lands. 21 They bypassed them and did not destroy them. 20:11 Look how they are repaying us! They come to drive us out of our allotted land which you assigned to us! 20:12 Our God, will you not judge them? For we are powerless against this huge army that attacks us! We don’t know what we should do; we look to you for help.” 22
20:13 All the men of Judah 23 were standing before the Lord, along with their infants, wives, and children. 20:14 Then in the midst of the assembly, the Lord’s Spirit came upon Jachaziel son of Zechariah, son of Benaiah, son of Jeiel, son of Mattaniah, a Levite and descendant of Asaph. 20:15 He said: “Pay attention, all you people of Judah, 24 residents of Jerusalem, and King Jehoshaphat! This is what the Lord says to you: ‘Don’t be afraid and don’t panic 25 because of this huge army! For the battle is not yours, but God’s. 20:16 Tomorrow march down against them as 26 they come up the Ascent of Ziz. You will find them at the end of the ravine in front of the Desert of Jeruel. 20:17 You will not fight in this battle. Take your positions, stand, and watch the Lord deliver you, 27 O Judah and Jerusalem. Don’t be afraid and don’t panic! 28 Tomorrow march out toward them; the Lord is with you!’”
20:18 Jehoshaphat bowed down with his face toward the ground, and all the people of Judah 29 and the residents of Jerusalem fell down before the Lord and worshiped him. 30 20:19 Then some Levites, from the Kohathites and Korahites, got up and loudly praised the Lord God of Israel. 31
20:20 Early the next morning they marched out to the Desert of Tekoa. When they were ready to march, Jehoshaphat stood up and said: “Listen to me, you people of Judah 32 and residents of Jerusalem! Trust in the Lord your God and you will be safe! 33 Trust in the message of his prophets and you will win.” 20:21 He met 34 with the people and appointed musicians to play before the Lord and praise his majestic splendor. As they marched ahead of the warriors they said: “Give thanks to the Lord, for his loyal love endures.” 35
20:22 When they began to shout and praise, the Lord suddenly attacked 36 the Ammonites, Moabites, and men from Mount Seir 37 who were invading Judah, and they were defeated. 20:23 The Ammonites and Moabites attacked the men from Mount Seir 38 and annihilated them. 39 When they had finished off the men 40 of Seir, they attacked and destroyed one another. 41 20:24 When the men of Judah 42 arrived at the observation post overlooking the desert and looked at 43 the huge army, they saw dead bodies on the ground; there were no survivors! 20:25 Jehoshaphat and his men 44 went to gather the plunder; they found a huge amount of supplies, clothing 45 and valuable items. They carried away everything they could. 46 There was so much plunder, it took them three days to haul it off. 47
20:26 On the fourth day they assembled in the Valley of Berachah, where 48 they praised the Lord. So that place is called the Valley of Berachah 49 to this very day. 20:27 Then all the men of Judah and Jerusalem returned joyfully to Jerusalem with Jehoshaphat leading them; the Lord had given them reason to rejoice over their enemies. 20:28 They entered Jerusalem to the sound of stringed instruments and trumpets and proceeded to the temple of the Lord. 20:29 All the kingdoms of the surrounding lands were afraid of God 50 when they heard how the Lord had fought against Israel’s enemies. 20:30 Jehoshaphat’s kingdom enjoyed peace; his God made him secure on every side. 51
2 tn Heb “they”; the implied referent (messengers) has been specified in the translation for clarity.
3 tn Heb “the Sea”; in context (“from the direction of Edom”) this must refer to the Dead Sea, which has been specified in the translation for clarity (cf. NEB, NLT).
4 tc Most Hebrew
5 tn Heb “and he set his face to seek the
6 tn The words “the people of” are supplied in the translation for clarity. The Hebrew text uses the name “Judah” by metonymy for the people of Judah.
11 tn Heb “are you not God in heaven?” The rhetorical question expects the answer “yes,” resulting in the positive statement “you are the God who lives in heaven” employed in the translation.
12 tn Heb “did you not drive out?” This is another rhetorical question which expects a positive response; see the note on the word “heaven” in the previous verse.
13 tn Heb “permanently.”
15 tn Or “sanctuary.”
16 tn Heb “for your name.” The word “name” sometimes refers to one’s reputation or honor (thus the translation here, “to honor you
17 tn Heb “sword.”
18 tn Heb “for your name is in this house.” The “name” of the
19 tn Or “so that you may.”
20 tn Heb “now, look, the sons of Ammon, Moab and Mount Seir.”
21 tn Heb “whom you did not allow Israel to enter when they came from the land of Egypt.”
22 tn Heb “for [or “indeed”] upon you are our eyes.”
23 tn Heb “Judah.” The words “the men of” are supplied in the translation for clarity. The Hebrew text uses the name “Judah” by metonymy for the men of Judah.
24 tn Heb “all Judah.” The words “you people of” are supplied in the translation for clarity. The Hebrew text uses the name “Judah” by metonymy for the people of Judah. Unlike the previous instance in v. 13 where infants, wives, and children are mentioned separately, this reference appears to include them all.
25 tn Or perhaps “don’t get discouraged.”
26 tn Heb “look.”
27 tn Heb “the deliverance of the
28 tn Or perhaps “don’t get discouraged.”
30 tn Heb “to worship the
31 tn Heb “arose to praise the
33 tn There is a wordplay in the Hebrew text. The Hiphil verb form הַאֲמִינוּ (ha’aminu, “trust”) and the Niphal form תֵאָמֵנוּ (te’amenu, “you will be safe”) come from the same verbal root (אָמַן, ’aman).
34 tn Or “consulted.”
35 tn Or “is eternal.”
36 tn Heb “set ambushers against.” This is probably idiomatic here for launching a surprise attack.
37 tn Heb “the sons of Ammon, Moab, and Mount Seir.”
38 tn Heb “the sons of Ammon and Moab stood against the residents of Mount Seir.”
39 tn Heb “to annihilate and to destroy.”
40 tn Heb “residents.”
41 tn Heb “they helped, each one his fellow, for destruction.” The verb עָזַר (’azar), traditionally understood as the well-attested verb meaning “to help,” is an odd fit in this context. It is possible that it is from a homonymic root, perhaps meaning to “attack.” This root is attested in Ugaritic in a nominal form meaning “young man, warrior, hero.” For a discussion of the proposed root, see HALOT 811 s.v. II עזר.
42 tn Heb “Judah.” The words “the men of” are supplied in the translation for clarity. The Hebrew text uses the name “Judah” by metonymy for the men of Judah.
43 tn Heb “turned toward.”
44 tn Or “army.”
45 tc The MT reads פְגָרִים (fÿgarim, “corpses”), but this seems odd among a list of plunder. A few medieval Hebrew
46 tn Heb “and they snatched away for themselves so that there was no carrying away.”
47 tn Heb “and they were three days looting the plunder for it was great.”
48 tn Heb “for there.”
49 sn The name Berachah, which means “blessing” in Hebrew, is derived from the verbal root “to praise [or “to bless”],” which appears earlier in the verse.
50 tn Heb “and the terror of God [or “a great terror”] was upon all the kingdoms of the lands.” It is uncertain if אֱלֹהִים (’elohim) should be understood as a proper name here (“God”), or taken in an idiomatic superlative sense.
51 tn Heb “and his God gave him rest all around.”