Bible Commentary: 2 Chronicles 20:34-37 and Related

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2 Chronicles 20:34-37 and Related

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Jehoshaphat Allies With Ahaziah 

Generally speaking, Jehoshaphat, king of Judah, walked in the way of God. But he did not do all that he should have, as he did not remove all the high places from Judah (2 Chronicles 20:33). Yet it should be noted, as mentioned previously in the Beyond Today Bible Commentary, that this was a common oversight attributed to most of Judah's righteous kings, and is perhaps equally if not more due to a lack of wholeheartedness in obeying God on the part of the nation. A more apparent weakness of Jehoshaphat can be seen in the compromising nature of his allying himself with evil rulers, a fault that became evident again near the end of his life when he allied himself with Israel's wicked King Ahaziah, son of Ahab (1 Kings 22:51-53). But their joint ventures would not prosper, since God does not generally bless such dealings (compare 2 Chronicles 20:35-37).

Though God will sometimes intervene for the sake of a righteous person in such circumstances (compare 2 Kings 3:14), we shouldn't count on it—particularly when we know better. God does not want us to enter into binding partnerships with the wicked that could conflict with our commitment to Him and His ways. His warnings are still the same today: How can two walk together unless they are agreed? (Amos 3:3.) In general, Christians can't work effectively in close relationships with unbelievers—in godly peace and harmony—any more than mismatched animals can make a useful plowing team for a farmer. The way people who live righteously think is as different from those who disregard God's laws as day is from night (compare 2 Corinthians 6:14-18). Ungodly partners can lead to spiritual compromise (see 1 Corinthians 15:33). Of course, there may be some business arrangements where such matters would never be at issue. But any that are considered must be given close scrutiny without glossing over potential difficulties. Despite Jehoshaphat's errors in this regard, it appears that he later recognized that he should not have allied himself with Ahaziah (compare 1 Kings 22:49).

Ahaziah became sick, and rather than establishing a relationship with the true God and placing his trust in Him, he attempted to inquire of the pagan god Baal-Zebub whether he would live or die. As a consequence, God sent the prophet Elijah to the king and informed him that he would not be healed (2 Kings 1:1-6, 2 Kings 1:15-16). Even then, King Ahaziah did not humble himself and repent, as his father Ahab had done at least temporarily (1 Kings 21:17-29). He attempted to have Elijah arrested (2 Kings 1:9). God, however, made it very clear that He was with Elijah, and that He would protect him from the king's evil devices (2 Kings 2:10-15).

After King Ahaziah's death (2 Kings 1:18), his brother Jehoram (called Joram in 2 Kings 8:25), another son of evil King Ahab, became king over Israel since Ahaziah himself had no son (2 Kings 1:17; 2 Kings 3:1). Jehoram did evil in God's sight, but not to the extent that his father Ahab had, as he did put away his father's sacred pillar of Baal (verses 2-3).