Jehoshaphat in Chronicles and Kings

A Synopsis by Ralph W. Klein

© 2000, 2003 by Ralph W. Klein


2 Chronicles

1 Kings

Vannutelli 148 continued

17:1 Jehoshaphat (870-845) became king and strengthened himself against (or over) Israel.

15:24b Jehoshaphat (870-845) became king

The Reigns of
Nadab, Baasha, Zimri, Omri, Ahab

Vannutelli 149

15:25-31 Reign of Nadab (909-908). Baasha (908-885) killed Nadab in the third year of Asa (911-870) and became king.

Vannutelli 150

15:32-16:6 War between Asa and Baasha all their days. Jehu son of Hanani delivered a judgment oracle against Baasha. His son Elah (885-884) succeeded him.

Vannutelli 151

16:7-10 Elah reigned for two years. Zimri (884) killed him in Tirzah when he was drunk

Vannutelli 152

16:11-20 Zimri killed all the house of Baasha and reigned for seven days. Omri (884-873), an army commander,  stationed at Gibbethon, was made king by the army and Zimri committed suicide.  No father's name given for Zimri or Omri.  Omri may have been a foreigner or from the tribe of Issachar.

Vannutelli 153

16:21-28 Omri defeated forces of Tibni after a war that may have lasted at least four years (884-880?; cf. 1 Kgs 16:10, 15, 23). Omri began in 31st year of Asa. Omri purchased Samaria and built a new capital there (with better access to the south [see the marriage of Athaliah below] and to the northwest [see the marriage of Ahab and Jezebel].  He was succeeded by his son Ahab (873-852).  According to the Mesha stele, Omri oppressed Moab for many years.

Vannutelli 154

16:29-34 Ahab began to reign in Asa’s 38th year. He married Jezebel, daughter of Ittobaal, the king of Tyre (here called the Sidonians). He erected an altar for Baal in the house of Baal, also an Asherah.  (The Baal temple was destroyed by Jehu, 2 Kgs 10:18-28).  Hiel built Jericho, but lost his two sons because of word of Joshua (Josh 6:36).

Vannutelli 155

17:1-24 Elijah predicted a drought, stayed with a widow at Zarephath, and revived her son.

Vannutelli 156

18:1-46 Elijah sent message to Ahab via Obadiah, who was in charge of the palace.  Note that Obadiah and Ahab's children--Athaliah, Ahaziah, and Jehoram--all had Yahwistic names.  Elijah challenged Ahab to a contest on Mt. Carmel with 450 prophets of Baal and 400 of Asherah.  When Elijah won the contest, the people cried, "Yahweh is God." Elijah killed all the prophets of Baal. Possessed by God’s spirit, Elijah ran 17 miles to the city of Jezreel in front of Ahab’s chariot.  Jezebel threatened him.

Vannutelli 157

19:1-21 Elijah went to Mt. Horeb and heard a "sound of sheer silence." Yahweh told him to anoint Hazael as king of Aram, Jehu as king over Israel and Elisha as prophet. Elijah found Elisha, who then followed him.

Vannutelli 158

20:1-43 Ben-hadad of Aram and 32 kings attacked Samaria (about 857), and demanded--and got!--from Ahab silver, gold, wives, and children.  When he proposed to send servants to search for more booty door to door Ahab refused and the Israelite army routed the Arameans.  Ahab was supported by an anonymous prophet while Ben-hadad drank himself drunk with the other kings. Ben-hadad returned the next spring (856), in the valley of Aphek, but Ahab, supported by a man of God, killed 100,000 of the Arameans. A wall in Aphek fell on another 27,000. Ben-hadad begged for his life and Ahab made a treaty with him. Ben-hadad promised to return towns that his father had taken from the father of Ahab (Omri).  A lion killed a disobedient prophet. A blind-folded prophet condemned Ahab to death for letting Ben-hadad go. 

Ben-hadad in this chapter may be Ben-hadad II (known as Hadadezer in Assyrian texts) or he may be Ben-Hadad the son of Hazael.  Some scholars believe that the Israelite king was not Ahab, but Jehoahaz (819-804/803) or Joash (805-790).

Vannutelli 159

21:1-29 Naboth’s vineyard appropriated by Ahab through the machinations of Jezebel. Elijah delivered judgment oracle against Ahab and Jezebel. When Ahab humbled himself, Yahweh decided to delay the judgment to Ahab’s son’s days.

Battle of Qarqar--853--Kurkh Monolith.  Shalmaneser faced Hadadezer of Damascus, Irhuleni of Hamath, Ahab of Israel and nine other kings.  While Shalmaneser claimed a great victory, he probably lost.  For the next three years Shalmaneser stayed hom and in 849, 848, 845, and 841 he was opposed by the same coalition.


2 Chronicles

1 Kings

Vannutelli 160

17:2-19 Jehoshaphat (first king in either kingdom to have a Yahwistic name; the Chronicler devotes 101 verses to him) set prefects in Judah (cf. 2 Chr 21:3, where his sons are given these cities) and Ephraim (conquered by his father Asa = 2 Chr 16:6; cf. 2 Chr 13:19). He walked in the earlier ways of "his father" [so LXX=Asa; MT: adds David] and did not seek the Baals. All Judah brought tribute; he had great riches (v. 5; cf. 18:1). He removed high places and sacred poles (asherahs; also removed by his father Asa in 14:2). According to 20:33 (1 Kgs 22:44 [43]) these high places were not removed. This same contradiction is found in the account of Asa (see 2 Chr 14:2 vs. 15:17//1 Kgs 15:14).

3rd year (previously co-regent with Asa?): Jehoshaphat sent 15 officials (5 laity; 8 Levites [Tob-adonijah is a dittography], and 2 priests) to teach in the cities of Judah. They had the book of the law (for Chronicler = Pentateuch; historically = some other law code?) with them (vv. 7-9).

The fear of Yahweh was on the surrounding kingdoms; they did not attack (v. 10). Philistines and Arabs brought him tribute. Jehoshaphat grew steadily greater; great building program in Judah.

Muster of Judah in Jerusalem: Adnah commander of 300,000. Jehohanan (cf. 2 Chr 23:1) with 280,000. Amasiah (who volunteered for Yahweh) with 200,000.

Muster of Benjamin: Eliada with 200,000; Jehozabad with 180,000.

Total: 1,160,000. Other troops were stationed in other Judean cities.


Vannutelli 161

18:1-2 Jehoshaphat had great riches and honor (cf. 17:5b), but he made a marriage alliance with Ahab (=marriage of Jehoram (851-843/842) and Athaliah (842/841-835) [2 Chr 22:10-23:15]), the daughter of Ahab (2 Kgs 8:18 = 2 Chr 21:6) or Omri (2 Kgs 8:26 = 2 Chr 22:2)). Opposition to alliances is also found in 2 Chr 16:1-4; 20:35-37; 25:6-8; 28:16-23. Jehoshaphat went down to Ahab to Samaria. Ahab prepared a great sacrificial feast of sheep and cattle and seduced (cf. 1 Chr 21:1) Jehoshaphat to go to Ramoth-gilead.

22:1-3 Jehoshaphat went down to the king of Israel (without explicit motivation). King of Israel: "Ramoth-Gilead belongs to us. We have done nothing to take it from king of Aram." Omits mention of sacrifice of Ahab.

18:3-34 Only lengthy text about the Northern Kingdom in Chronicles. Ahab (vv. 1-3, 19): Will you, Jehoshaphat, go with me? 400 prophets urged the two kings to fight. King of Israel mentioned a missing prophet Micaiah, whom he hated (vv. 7-8).  A false prophet Zedekiah reinforced the message of the earlier 400 prophets: "With these horns you will gore the Arameans."  Micaiah, a true prophet affirms: Whatever my God says, that I will speak. Micaiah gives an initial deceptive message:  Go up and triumph. After the king's rebuke, Micaiah said: I saw all Israel scattered on the mountains. A lying spirit in the divine council volunteered to entice prophets. Zedekiah rebuked Micaiah, and the king put Micaiah in prison.

Micaiah: If you return in peace, Yahweh has not spoken by me (cf. Deut 18:22).

King of Israel and Jehoshaphat went to battle. Ahab disguised himself, but urged Jehoshaphat to wear his royal robes (v. 29). When Jehoshaphat cried out in prayer, Yahweh helped him (cf. 2 Chr 14:10; 25:8; 26:7), and God seduced (cf. v. 2 and 2 Chr 21:1) the enemy away from him. A soldier accidentally shot the king of Israel (Ahab) with an arrow, and he died at the end of the day.

22:4-35 Similar. Ahab is not identified by name in the text until v. 20 (cf. vv. 39-41, 49, 51).

DeVries identifies the kings of north and south in this battle as Joram from the north (851-842/841) and Ahaziah from the south (843/842-842/841) instead of Ahab and Jehoshaphat.

Miller detects two battles in the chapter, one involving Joram from the north and Ahaziah from the south and the other involving Jehoahaz of the north (819-804/3) and possibly Joash of Judah (805-790).r55

Pitard identifies northern king as Jehoash.


vv. 32-33 Jehoshaphat cried out and Arameans recognized he was not Ahab.

Omits Yahweh helped him (homoioarchton), but clause is preserved in Lucianic LXX.

+ the blood from the wound had flowed to the bottom of the chariot.

The Mesha Stele.  Mesha, who resided at Dibon (MR224101), revolted against Israel after death of Ahab, possibly during the reign of Ahaziah, who was sickly.  He liberated Medeba (MR 225124), Nebo (MR 220131), and Jahaz (MR 236110) in about 848 or 844 BCE during the reign of Jehoram of Israel.  After Mesha had sacrificed his son (2 Kings 3), Israel retreated to the northwest, to Ataroth or Nebo.    Building of Mesha at Aroer (MR 228097) and other sites.  At Karchoh he used Israelite prisoners in the rebuilding.   


22:36-40 A shout: "Every man to his own country!" King of Israel was buried in Samaria. They washed the chariot, and the dogs licked up the blood, and the prostitutes washed themselves in it to fulfill word of the Lord.

V. 39 The rest of the acts of Ahab…are they not written in the Book of the Annals of the Kings of Israel?  He built an ivory house.   Ahaziah (852-851) succeeded Ahab.

Vannutelli 162

19:1-3 Jehoshaphat returned safely to Jerusalem. The seer Jehu (cf. 1 Kgs 16:1, 7 where this man prophesies as a "prophet" in the north vs. Baasha; cf. v. 34) ben Hanani (in 2 Chr 16:7 Hanani comes to Asa) rebuked Jehoshaphat for helping Ahab ("Should one help the wicked and love those who hate Yahweh?") and announced that wrath has gone out against Jehoshaphat), but admitted that there was indeed some good in Jehoshaphat ("some good is found in you") in that the king had destroyed the sacred poles (cf. 17:6). The judicial reform in 19:4-11 and the war against Edom (20) demonstrate the effects of his goodness.








19:4-11 Jehoshaphat took up residence in Jerusalem and brought people back to Yahweh from Beer-sheba to Ephraim (cf. 17:7-9).

He appointed judges in all the fortified cities of Judah (v. 5; cf. 17:2 and contrast Deut 16:18-20).  Jehoshaphat plays no judicial role.

He appointed Levites, priests, and heads of families in Jerusalem to decide disputed cases and instruct kindred in certain cases (v.8).  Textual problem:  "They returned to Jerusalem"; "they had their seat in Jerusalem" NRSV; they decided cases for the inhabitants of Jerusalem LXX, NEB; "to arbitrate in lawsuits among the inhabitants of the towns" REB.

Amariah the chief priest (1 Chr 5:37 [6:11]) was over them in all matters of Yahweh, and Zebadiah, the governor (title appears 21x in Chronicles) of the house of Judah (Deut 17:9 "judge" = later title), in all the king’s matters. Levites served as officers.

Civil law and sacral law were differentiated only when there was no longer a king in Israel. Hence Chronicles is typologically late here. Are Amariah and Zebadiah historical?

Exod 18:13-27 Moses institutes reform at behest of Jethro.  Moses is a one-man court of appeals.

 Deut 1:9-18  You will listen and not be afraid on account of a man because judgment belongs to God.

Deut 16:18 You shall appoint judges and officers throughout your tribes, in all your towns. (does not fit Mosaic period)

Deut 17:8 If a judicial decision is too difficult for you to make…then you shall immediately go to the place that Yahweh your God will choose (also does not fit Mosaic period), 9 where you shall consult with the levitical priests and the judge….10 Carry out exactly the decision they announce.

Chronicles is typologically older than these laws from Deuteronomy.  Heads of families had lost importance by the time of Deuteronomy.  Note the judicial authority had apparently not been delegated during the United Monarchy (see Absalom and 1 Kings 3).

Jehoram, the son of Ahab, delegated a judicial decision to an official (2 Kgs 8:6).  Had the north therefore had a similar judicial reform to the one initiated by Jehoshaphat?

Vannutelli 163

20:1-30 Jehoshaphat proclaimed a fast (cf. 1 Chr 10:12) when he was attacked by the Moabites, Ammonites, and Meunites [Meunites in LXX; Edomites take their place in vv. 10, 22-23. MT: Ammonites] (853/852). The enemy was stationed at Hazazon-tamar (En-gedi). Jehoshaphat responded by seeking Yahweh and proclaiming a fast.

In a prayer (vv. 6-12), the king rehearsed the history of Israel (conquest, building of temple). King appealed to Solomon’s allusions to prayers at the time of national distress (2 Chr 6:28, 34) and God’s promise to answer it (2 Chr 7:12-14). The nations that had been spared at the time of the conquest now attacked. Jehoshaphat expressed his trust.

A Levite Jahaziel from the sons of Asaph (1 Chr 6:31-47) spoke by the spirit and urged the people and the king not to fear since victory would come through God (vv. 14-17). He mentions the ascent of Ziz and the wilderness of Jeruel (v. 16). Despite the large army from Judah and Benjamin (17:14-18), the people were not to fight. King and people bowed down, and Levites (of the Kohathites and Korahites) stood to praise.

Jehoshaphat (v. 20): Believe in Yahweh your God and you will be established; believe his prophets (cf. Isa 7:9; prophets include Jahaziel and other Levites). Singers: "Give thanks to Yahweh for his loyalty lasts forever."  Cf. 1 Chr 16:34, 41; 2 Chr 5:13; 7:3, 6.

Yahweh set an ambush: Ammonites and Moabites attacked Mount Seir and then killed one another. No one escaped, and Jehoshaphat took much booty for three days. On fourth day they held an assembly in Valley of Beracah (blessing). All returned to Jerusalem with joy and music. Fear of God came on all the kingdoms of the countries (v. 29; cf. 17:10). God gave Jehoshaphat rest (cf. 1 Chr 22:9).

Cf. 2 Kings 3, which is also described in Jehoram/Ahaziah synopsis.


Vannutelli 169

3:1-27 Jehoram became king in the 18th year of Jehoshaphat (v. 1; per contra 1:17 in second year of Jehoram son of Jehoshaphat).   Mesha had paid the king of Israel 100,000 lambs and 100,000 rams annually, but with the death of Ahab he revolted.  Jehoram of Israel, Jehoshaphat of Judah, and the king of Edom made war against Moab.    Elisha prophesied that the wadis would be miraculously filled with water and that they would defeat Moab.    Moabites see sunlight reflected off the water and think it is the blood of their enemies.  When the Moabites go out for spoil, they are soundly defeated by the Israelites.  The King of Moab then sacrificed his son (his own or the son of the king of Edom?) as a burnt offering on the city wall. Great wrath (from Yahweh or from Chemosh?) came upon Israel, and they withdrew.



Vannutelli 164

20:31-34 Jehoshaphat became king at 35 and reigned 25 years in Jerusalem. His mother was Azubah, daughter of Shilhi. He walked in the way of his father Asa. High places were not removed (but see 17:6 where they and the sacred poles were removed!) and people had not yet set their hearts upon the God of their ancestors.



v. 34 The rest of his acts…are written in the Annals of Jehu (2 Chr 19:2-3) son of Hanani, which are recorded in the Book of the Kings of Israel.

22:41-47 (46) Similar. Adds: In fourth year of Ahab (873-852) Jehoshaphat (870-845) began to reign..


v. 44 (43) High places not removed and people sacrificed and burned incense in high places.


v. 45 (44) Jehoshaphat made peace with the king of Israel.

v. 46 (45) The rest of his acts…How he waged war….are they not written in the Book of the Chronicles of the Kings of Judah?

Cf. v. 39.

v. 47 (46) removed "cult prostitutes"

Vannutelli 165



20:35-37 Jehoshaphat made a pact with Ahaziah of Israel and this was an evil act (contrast NRSV: Ahaziah, who did wickedly; note how Jehoshaphat’s reign began with consolidation against the north [2 Chr 17:1]). They built ships at Ezion-geber to go to Tarshish.

Eliezer son of Dodavahu prophesied against Jehoshaphat that ships would be destroyed because of alliance with Ahaziah. Ships were wrecked in fulfillment of prophecy.

22:48-50 (47-49) No king in Edom; instead, a deputy was king (in 2 Kings 3 Edom is led into its battle by its king).

Jehoshaphat made ships of the Tarshish type to go to Ophir, but they were wrecked at Ezion-geber.

King Ahaziah offers to let his servants go with servants of Jehoshaphat in ships, but Jehoshaphat refused.

cf. 3 Kgdoms 16:28c-g

21:1 Jehoshaphat slept with his ancestors (as a result of the preceding incident?) and was buried with his ancestors in the city of David. Succeeded by Jehoram 851-843/842) [husband of Athaliah (841/841-835)].

22:51 (50) Identical

21:2-3 Jehoshaphat had distributed other sons around Judah in its fortified cities.