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2 Chronicles 20:3-30

Context
20:3 Jehoshaphat was afraid, so he decided to seek the Lord’s advice. 1  He decreed that all Judah should observe a fast. 20:4 The people of Judah 2  assembled to ask for the Lord’s help; 3  they came from all the cities of Judah to ask for the Lord’s help. 4 

20:5 Jehoshaphat stood before the assembly of Judah and Jerusalem 5  at the Lord’s temple, in front of the new courtyard. 20:6 He prayed: “O Lord God of our ancestors, 6  you are the God who lives in heaven 7  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 8  the inhabitants of this land before your people Israel and gave it as a permanent possession 9  to the descendants of your friend 10  Abraham. 20:8 They settled down in it and built in it a temple 11  to honor you, 12  saying, 20:9 ‘If disaster comes on us in the form of military attack, 13  judgment, plague, or famine, we will stand in front of this temple before you, for you are present in this temple. 14  We will cry out to you for help in our distress, so that you will 15  hear and deliver us.’ 20:10 Now the Ammonites, Moabites, and men from Mount Seir are coming! 16  When Israel came from the land of Egypt, you did not allow them to invade these lands. 17  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.” 18 

20:13 All the men of Judah 19  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, 20  residents of Jerusalem, and King Jehoshaphat! This is what the Lord says to you: ‘Don’t be afraid and don’t panic 21  because of this huge army! For the battle is not yours, but God’s. 20:16 Tomorrow march down against them as 22  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, 23  O Judah and Jerusalem. Don’t be afraid and don’t panic! 24  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 25  and the residents of Jerusalem fell down before the Lord and worshiped him. 26  20:19 Then some Levites, from the Kohathites and Korahites, got up and loudly praised the Lord God of Israel. 27 

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 28  and residents of Jerusalem! Trust in the Lord your God and you will be safe! 29  Trust in the message of his prophets and you will win.” 20:21 He met 30  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.” 31 

20:22 When they began to shout and praise, the Lord suddenly attacked 32  the Ammonites, Moabites, and men from Mount Seir 33  who were invading Judah, and they were defeated. 20:23 The Ammonites and Moabites attacked the men from Mount Seir 34  and annihilated them. 35  When they had finished off the men 36  of Seir, they attacked and destroyed one another. 37  20:24 When the men of Judah 38  arrived at the observation post overlooking the desert and looked at 39  the huge army, they saw dead bodies on the ground; there were no survivors! 20:25 Jehoshaphat and his men 40  went to gather the plunder; they found a huge amount of supplies, clothing 41  and valuable items. They carried away everything they could. 42  There was so much plunder, it took them three days to haul it off. 43 

20:26 On the fourth day they assembled in the Valley of Berachah, where 44  they praised the Lord. So that place is called the Valley of Berachah 45  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 46  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. 47 

1 tn Heb “and he set his face to seek the Lord.”

2 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.

3 tn Heb “to seek from the Lord.” The verb here (בָּקַשׁ, baqash) is different from the one translated “seek” in v. 3 (דָּרַשׁ, darash).

4 tn Heb “to seek the Lord.” The verb here (ָָבּקַשׁ, baqash) is different from the one translated “seek” in v. 3 (דָּרַשׁ, darash).

5 map For location see Map5 B1; Map6 F3; Map7 E2; Map8 F2; Map10 B3; JP1 F4; JP2 F4; JP3 F4; JP4 F4.

6 tn Heb “fathers” (also in v. 33).

7 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.

8 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.

9 tn Heb “permanently.”

10 tn Or perhaps “your covenantal partner.” See Isa 41:8.

11 tn Or “sanctuary.”

12 tn Heb “for your name.” The word “name” sometimes refers to one’s reputation or honor (thus the translation here, “to honor you).

13 tn Heb “sword.”

14 tn Heb “for your name is in this house.” The “name” of the Lord sometimes designates the Lord himself, being indistinguishable from the proper name. In this case the temple is referred to as a “house” where the Lord himself can reside.

15 tn Or “so that you may.”

16 tn Heb “now, look, the sons of Ammon, Moab and Mount Seir.”

17 tn Heb “whom you did not allow Israel to enter when they came from the land of Egypt.”

18 tn Heb “for [or “indeed”] upon you are our eyes.”

19 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.

20 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.

21 tn Or perhaps “don’t get discouraged.”

22 tn Heb “look.”

23 tn Heb “the deliverance of the Lord with you.”

24 tn Or perhaps “don’t get discouraged.”

25 tn Heb “all Judah.” The words “you people of” are supplied in the translation for clarity. See the note on the word “Judah” in v. 15.

26 tn Heb “to worship the Lord.”

27 tn Heb “arose to praise the Lord God of Israel with a very loud voice.”

28 tn Heb “O Judah.” The words “you people of” are supplied in the translation for clarity. See the note on the word “Judah” in v. 15.

29 tn There is a wordplay in the Hebrew text. The Hiphil verb form הַאֲמִינוּ (haaminu, “trust”) and the Niphal form תֵאָמֵנוּ (teamenu, “you will be safe”) come from the same verbal root (אָמַן, ’aman).

30 tn Or “consulted.”

31 tn Or “is eternal.”

32 tn Heb “set ambushers against.” This is probably idiomatic here for launching a surprise attack.

33 tn Heb “the sons of Ammon, Moab, and Mount Seir.”

34 tn Heb “the sons of Ammon and Moab stood against the residents of Mount Seir.”

35 tn Heb “to annihilate and to destroy.”

36 tn Heb “residents.”

37 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.

38 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.

39 tn Heb “turned toward.”

40 tn Or “army.”

41 tc The MT reads פְגָרִים (fÿgarim, “corpses”), but this seems odd among a list of plunder. A few medieval Hebrew mss and the Vulgate read בְגָדִים (vÿgadim, “clothing”), which fits the context much better.

42 tn Heb “and they snatched away for themselves so that there was no carrying away.”

43 tn Heb “and they were three days looting the plunder for it was great.”

44 tn Heb “for there.”

45 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.

46 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.

47 tn Heb “and his God gave him rest all around.”



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