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Politics and religion;-- Jehoshaphat the teacher

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posted on Aug, 26 2016 @ 05:04 PM
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The first few kings of Judah, after Solomon’s time, neglected the link between politics and religion.
They were not fully faithful to their God, a trend which began with Solomon himself.
Solomon was also ultimately responsible for the breach with the northern tribes, because they were reacting to the forced labour which he imposed.
As a result, his descendants inherited a chronic state of war with the northern kingdom.

In both respects, the first repairs were attempted by Jehoshaphat, the fourth king of Judah (2 Chronicles chs17-20).

Following the example of his father Asa, he “sought the God of his father and walked in his commandments”.
“He did what was right in the sight of the Lord”.
Therefore the Lord “established the kingdom in his hand”.

One of the first things he did, in the third year of his reign, was to send out his princes to teach in the cities of Judah.
There were five of them, accompanied by two priests and nine Levites.
They had “the book of the law of the Lord” with them, and this provided the content of their teaching.
But this would not just have been about the laws.
The final version of the “book of the law”, the modern Pentateuch, also includes the history of Israel, the story of God’s dealings with his people.
The two elements necessarily go together, as we see from the Psalms (e.g. Psalm 78).
The laws were telling them what their God wanted them to do.
The history would be telling them why they should respect what their God wanted them to do.
This teaching work must always have been part of the priestly responsibilities, a much more important task than the routine of sacrifice.
So this remarkable expedition would have done more for the revival of true religion in Judah than any other reform which the king could have introduced (ch17 vv7-9).

My own theory, for what it’s worth, is that their “book of the law” would contain the material which modern scholars identify as the source “J”.
The reign of Jehoshaphat would deserve even more credit if his men were also responsible for collecting these materials together.

We are told later that he “went out again among the people… and brought them to the Lord, the God of their fathers”.
As part of this royal mission, he appointed judges in the fortified cities of the land.
The connection is that the provision of justice is an important part of what God wants for his people.
He told the judges to think of themselves as under the watchful eye of God”;
“You judge not for man but for the Lord; he is with you in giving judgement.
Now then, let the fear of the Lord be upon you; take heed what you do, for there is no perversion of justice with the Lord our God, or partiality, or taking of bribes”.

Once he got back to Jerusalem, he also set up an appeal court, to decide disputed cases.
This would include decisions on matters of bloodshed.
There had certainly been no proper appeal court organised in David’s time. This had meant that appeals were heard only after delays, if at all, arousing the discontent which Absolom exploited.
Jehoshaphat’s court was constituted by “certain Levites and priests and heads of families of Israel”.
It was under the supervision of the chief priest “in all matters of the Lord”, and under the supervision of the governor of the house of Judah “in all the king’s matters”.
Though I’m not sure where the boundary line comes, for under this law the Lord gets involved in both civil and criminal cases.
He charged them to give their judgements “in the fear of the Lord, in faithfulness, and with your whole heart…
Deal courageously, and may the Lord be with the upright!” (ch19 vv4-11).

Therefore “the Lord established the kingdom in his hand”.
All of Judah brought tribute and he had great riches and honour.
Wealth could be used to increase his power (and bring more wealth).
He had a great army stationed in Jerusalem.
There were three divisions drawn from the men of Judah, and two more drawn from the men of Benjamin.
There were also the garrisons of the fortified cities. Jehoshaphat had built additional fortresses, and storehouses for the food which any army needs.
Consequently “The fear of the Lord fell upon all the kingdoms of the lands that were round about Judah, and they made no war against Jehoshaphat”.
They even brought tribute. The Philistines brought presents and silver, the Arabs gave him 7,700 rams and another 7,700 he-goats (ch17 vv10-19).

Perhaps his boldest move was making overtures to build better relations with the northern kingdom, Israel.
This was religious policy as well as “foreign” policy.
It was about trying to restore the sundered halves of God’s people.
Israel was not yet a failed state which could be re-absorbed. That would have to wait for later times.
It was already a state which couldn’t easily defend the area east of Jordan without help, and Jehoshaphat was willing to provide that help.
He made a state visit to Ahab in Samaria, his equivalent of Nixon’s trip to China.
They agreed to join forces in an attempt to recover Ramoth-Gilead from the Syrians.
This conference is famous for the confrontation between the two prophets, Micaiah the son of Imlah and Zedekiah the son of Chenaanah.
Micaiah had been called in, at the suggestion of Jehoshaphat, to offer an alternative to the compliant enthusiasm of the professional prophets.
The prophet foretold a catastrophe, and he was right. The following battle saw the death of Ahab, while the army of Israel was “scattered upon the mountains, as sheep that have no shepherd” (1 Kings ch22).

The next two kings of Israel were the sons of Ahab, Ahaziah and Jehoram.
Jehoshaphat joined Jehoram in another expedition, against the king of Moab. The story is told because the joint army ran into difficulties, and Elisha was consulted.
Again we see the respect of Jehoshaphat for the true prophets of the Lord, while Elisha admitted to respecting Jehoshaphat more than his own king (2 Kings ch3).
The king of Judah also co-operated with Ahaziah in a commercial project, building merchant ships to be sent to Tarshish (2 Chronicles ch20 vv35-37).

Eliezer the son of Dodavahu of Mareshah prophesied against the last-mentioned venture.
The prophets were suspicious of the policy of friendship with Israel, because the kings of Israel were still attached to the Sidonian Baal.
Up to a point, they had reason to be anxious.
The symbol of the new policy was the marriage alliance between the house of Jehoshaphat and the house of Ahab.
Just as the marriage alliance with Sidon had brought Jezebel into Israel, so the new marriage agreement brought Jezebel’s daughter, or step-daughter, Athaliah into the royal court of Judah.
This was to have a baleful effect over the next few reigns.

Nevertheless, Jehoshaphat deserves his reputation, for making a sustained effort to bring the Lord back into the governance of his kingdom.




posted on Aug, 26 2016 @ 11:54 PM
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a reply to: DISRAELI


They were not fully faithful to their God, a trend which began with Solomon himself.


The trend started with King Saul, and not with Solomon. And the foundation
of their treachery and disobedience to God was based on the fact the
people of God desired a KING vs depending on God, as was noted
in the prophets Samuel rebuke in 1 Samuel Chapter 8.

Politics had nothing to do with it, if anything as with in later times
with the Herodians, politics is an impediment to serving God.

Trying to mix politics with the Spirit of God is like trying to
mix dog dung with diamonds.



posted on Aug, 27 2016 @ 02:38 AM
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originally posted by: MrBlaq
The trend started with King Saul, and not with Solomon.

I was thinking of the dynastic idolatry, which did begin with Solomon.

Politics had nothing to do with it, if anything as with in later times
with the Herodians, politics is an impediment to serving God.
Trying to mix politics with the Spirit of God is like trying to
mix dog dung with diamonds.

Indeed, but that doesn't alter the fact that politics happens.
That's why I'm examining how politics and religion interract with each other in practice.
I did this a couple of years back with threads on the politics of David's reign, e.g. Joel and Abner
See also my forthcoming threads on the overthrow of Jezebel and Athaliah, political events with religious implications.



posted on Sep, 2 2016 @ 12:11 AM
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originally posted by: DISRAELI
The first few kings of Judah, after Solomon’s time, neglected the link between politics and religion.
They were not fully faithful to their God, a trend which began with Solomon himself.
Solomon was also ultimately responsible for the breach with the northern tribes, because they were reacting to the forced labour which he imposed.
As a result, his descendants inherited a chronic state of war with the northern kingdom.

In both respects, the first repairs were attempted by Jehoshaphat, the fourth king of Judah (2 Chronicles chs17-20).

Following the example of his father Asa, he “sought the God of his father and walked in his commandments”.
“He did what was right in the sight of the Lord”.
Therefore the Lord “established the kingdom in his hand”.

One of the first things he did, in the third year of his reign, was to send out his princes to teach in the cities of Judah.
There were five of them, accompanied by two priests and nine Levites.
They had “the book of the law of the Lord” with them, and this provided the content of their teaching.
But this would not just have been about the laws.
The final version of the “book of the law”, the modern Pentateuch, also includes the history of Israel, the story of God’s dealings with his people.


The Pentateuch is not the same thing as the Old Testament or Tanakh. It's the equivalent of the Torah meaning the first five books (Penta = 5, 5 books).

So Solomon would certainly have had these five books (if he actually existed and wasn't just an allegorical character).



The two elements necessarily go together, as we see from the Psalms (e.g. Psalm 78).
The laws were telling them what their God wanted them to do.
The history would be telling them why they should respect what their God wanted them to do.
This teaching work must always have been part of the priestly responsibilities, a much more important task than the routine of sacrifice.
So this remarkable expedition would have done more for the revival of true religion in Judah than any other reform which the king could have introduced (ch17 vv7-9).

My own theory, for what it’s worth, is that their “book of the law” would contain the material which modern scholars identify as the source “J”.
The reign of Jehoshaphat would deserve even more credit if his men were also responsible for collecting these materials together.


J source or Yahwist refers to the seperate tradition from the Elohist source. This likely represents the traditions of the north vs southern tribes that were codified and edited into one with the P and D sources.



Once he got back to Jerusalem, he also set up an appeal court, to decide disputed cases.
This would include decisions on matters of bloodshed.
There had certainly been no proper appeal court organised in David’s time. This had meant that appeals were heard only after delays, if at all, arousing the discontent which Absolom exploited.
Jehoshaphat’s court was constituted by “certain Levites and priests and heads of families of Israel”.
It was under the supervision of the chief priest “in all matters of the Lord”, and under the supervision of the governor of the house of Judah “in all the king’s matters”.
Though I’m not sure where the boundary line comes, for under this law the Lord gets involved in both civil and criminal cases.
He charged them to give their judgements “in the fear of the Lord, in faithfulness, and with your whole heart…
Deal courageously, and may the Lord be with the upright!” (ch19 vv4-11).

Therefore “the Lord established the kingdom in his hand”.
All of Judah brought tribute and he had great riches and honour.
Wealth could be used to increase his power (and bring more om the men of Benjamin.
There were also the garrisons of the fortified cities.
Consequently “The fear of the Lord fell upon all the kingdoms of the lands that were round about Judah, and they made no war against Jehoshaphat”.
They even brought tribute. The Philistines brought presents and silver, the Arabs gave him 7,700 rams and another 7,700 he-goats (ch17 vv10-19).

Perhaps his boldest move was making overtures to build better relations with the northern kingdom, Israel.
This was religious policy as well as “foreign” policy.
It was about trying to restore the sundered halves of God’s people.
Israel was not yet a failed state which could be re-absorbed. That woulide that help.
He made a state visit to Ahab in Samaria, his equivalent of Nixon’s trip to China.
They agreed to join forces in an attempt to recover Ramoth-Gilead from the Syrians.
This conference is famous for the confrontation between the two prophets, Micaiah the son of Imlah and Zedekiah the son of Chenaanah.
Micaiah had been called in, at the suggestion of Jehoshaphat, to offer an alternative to the compliant enthusiasm of the professional prophets.
The prophet foretold a catastrophe, and he was right. The following battle saw the death of Ahab, while the army of Israel was “scattered upon the mountains, as sheep that have no shepherd” (1 Kings ch22).

The next two kings of Israel were the sons of Ahab, Ahaziah and Jehoram.
Jehoshaphat joined Jehoram in another expedition, against the king of Moab. The story is told because the joint army ran into difficulties, and Elisha was consulted.
Again we see the respect of Jehoshaphat for the true prophets of the Lord, while Elisha admitted to respecting Jehoshaphat more than his own king (2 Kings ch3).
The king of Judah also co-operated with Ahaziah in a commercial project, building merchant ships to be sent to Tarshish (2 Chronicles ch20 vv35-37).

Eliezer the son of Dodavahu of Mareshah prophesied against the last-mentioned venture.
The prophets were he kings of Israel were still attached to the Sidonian Baal.
Up to a point, they had reason to be anxious.
The symbol of the new policy was the marriage alliance between the house of Jehoshaphat and the house of Ahab.
Just as the marriage alliance with

Nevertheless, Jehoshaphat deserves his reputation, for making a sustained effort to bring the Lord back into the governance of his kingdom.




Ugghh. I was so bored by reading that I have to announce it to everyone as I was hoping for something interesting. A while back I compiled a list of every King of Israel and Judah and which were good vs which were evil. Most of them were evil. North and south.

Funny thing is in 586 BC Nebuchadnezzar captured Israel and it wasn't until after the Persians liberated the "Jews" from Babylonia that the Torah was first written.

So they actually didn't have a holy book in Babylon or even before and the characters of Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Moses and Solomon are all entirely fictional as is most of the Old Testament. The Bible is not a historical book but a mixture of mythology and allegory to teach moral lessons and esoteric wisdom. Any other use is pointless as it has no use as the OP has proven by trying yet failing to make it a useful tool for teaching Jewish history and law, something Jews themselves don't attempt to do as they are aware of this. They have Midrash and Talmud to explain the meaning, which is always allegorical never literal as they consider the literal approach a blunder!!!

Silly literalists, Tanakh is for Jews!!! And they don't read it as literal history that is just a Christian mistake.
edit on 2-9-2016 by Taxiarch because: (no reason given)



posted on Sep, 2 2016 @ 01:28 AM
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From the Jewish Encyclopedia entry on Jehoshaphat:

1 Chronicles 20 is embellished with religious and miraculous elements (regarding the war with Moab).

The report (2 Chronicles 27:6) that he took away the "high places" (and Asherim) conflicts with 1 Kings 22:44 and 2 Chronicles 20:33.

The account of Jehosophat's tremendous army (1,116,000 men) and the rich tribute received from the Philistines and Arabs is not historical and is just used to support the theory that the pious monarchs have always been the most prosperous and mighty.

Jewish Encyclopedia

I only reveal these truths so people don't go overboard with believing that the Bible is a trustworthy historical document and to prove that not even the Jewish community believes in the historicity of it, even admits that it is embellished (when it is embellished).

I would hate to see people in the year 2016 placing absolute faith in the accuracy of a book whose own people don't even believe is 100% true, they don't and it is not.




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