Jehoshaphat Appoints Judges
1 When King Jehoshaphat of Judah arrived safely home in Jerusalem,
“The fact that Jehoshaphat reached home safely is significant. It contrasts his fate with Ahab’s, and testifies to God’s grace given to a person who was almost destroyed by undiscerning folly.”
–Martin J. Selman (lecturer in Old Testament, director of postgraduate studies and deputy principal at Spurgeon’s College, London)
2 Jehu son of Hanani the seer went out to meet him. “Why should you help the wicked and love those who hate the Lord?” he asked the king. “Because of what you have done, the Lord is very angry with you.
Psalm 7:11 (ESV)
God is a righteous judge.
3Even so, there is some good in you, for you have removed the Asherah poles throughout the land, and you have committed yourself to seeking God.”
Psalm 97:10 (NIV)
Let those who love the LORD hate evil,
for he guards the lives of his faithful ones
and delivers them from the hand of the wicked.
4 Jehoshaphat lived in Jerusalem, but he went out among the people, traveling from Beersheba to the hill country of Ephraim, encouraging the people to return to the Lord, the God of their ancestors.
This means that he restricted his adventures abroad. He no longer went to the northern kingdom of Israel and was content to stay where he should. Instead, he personally traveled about his nation working in the cause of godliness.
“These itinerant campaigns have no real equivalent in the Old Testament, and the prophets, even though they traveled about, were not involved in systematic teaching of the word of God. The nearest parallel is in the New Testament, in Jesus’ own itinerant ministry.”
–Martin J. Selman
5 He appointed judges throughout the nation in all the fortified towns, 6 and he said to them, “Always think carefully before pronouncing judgment. Remember that you do not judge to please people but to please the Lord. He will be with you when you render the verdict in each case. 7 Fear the Lord and judge with integrity, for the Lord our God does not tolerate perverted justice, partiality, or the taking of bribes.”
Romans 2:11 (CEV)
God doesn’t have any favorites!
8 In Jerusalem, Jehoshaphat appointed some of the Levites and priests and clan leaders in Israel to serve as judges for cases involving the Lord’s regulations and for civil disputes. 9 These were his instructions to them: “You must always act in the fear of the Lord, with faithfulness and an undivided heart.
10 Whenever a case comes to you from fellow citizens in an outlying town, whether a murder case or some other violation of God’s laws, commands, decrees, or regulations, you must warn them not to sin against the Lord, so that he will not be angry with you and them. Do this and you will not be guilty.
“Without good and wholesome laws, no nation can be prosperous; and vain are the best laws if they be not judiciously and conscientiously administered.”
–Adam Clarke (1760-1832, British Methodist theologian and Biblical scholar)
11 “Amariah the high priest will have final say in all cases involving the Lord. Zebadiah son of Ishmael, a leader from the tribe of Judah, will have final say in all civil cases. The Levites will assist you in making sure that justice is served. Take courage as you fulfill your duties, and may the Lord be with those who do what is right.”
God is pointed to as the model to be followed by judges in the land since God is the great and perfect judge over all the earth. Three things are pointed out in God’s character that these judges need to embrace in their own lives. God has no iniquity, is impartial, and not influenced by bribery. First, God is sinless and there is no shadow of darkness in His character in any way. We can be confident that God never acts out of selfishness and His motive towards us is always pure. Second, God does not treat one person as better than another, nor does He show greater respect for one person than another. He treats everyone the same no matter what their name, race, position, or education. God treats you the same as Billy Graham, the president, or a king. Last, God is absolutely immune from any temptation towards bribery. That is a fact because of His character as well as His ownership of all things.
How will we all fare before this judge someday? Death is the shadow that hangs over all human life. The judgment is God’s evaluation of your life and mine. Though impossible to do so, we often attempt to escape the fact of death. The late newspaper tycoon William Randolph Hearst forbade anyone to use the word death in his presence. What a contrast to Philip II, King of Macedon and father of Alexander the Great, who commissioned a servant to come into his presence daily and solemnly announce, “Remember, Philip, you must die.”
2 Timothy 4:8 — “Finally, there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will give to me on that Day, and not to me only but also to all who have loved His appearing.”
–Ed Rea (biochemist, missionary, pastor)
HERE is a simple little Scripture chorus that was a favorite of my mother. I remember her singing it as she worked around the house (although never in Samoan!).
New Living Translation (NLT) Holy Bible. New Living Translation copyright© 1996, 2004, 2007 by Tyndale House Foundation. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers Inc., Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved.