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1 Kings 22:41-53 – Jehoshaphat of Judah and Ahaziah of Israel

Summary

Jehoshaphat's reign (874-850) is evaluated mainly in terms of his political accommodation with Israel. Ahaziah's evil reign (851-849) is curiously split between 1 Kings and the beginning of 2 Kings.

Analysis

Jehoshaphat is one of the Chronicler's favorites whose account covers four chapters (2 Chronicles 17-20). Jehoshaphat also receives a favorable evaluation in Kings, but his reign is recounted in a mere ten verses (1 Kings 22:41-50), and several of the important events and innovations familiar from Chronicles are missing. Instead, Jehoshaphat is evaluated in essentially the same way as Asa, his father; that is, he receives qualified approval because he did not take action against the high places (v. 43). The editors seem to be more interested in Jehoshaphat's alliance with Israel (v. 44). Many suspect that Jehoshaphat was really a tributary of the powerful Ahab of Israel because of the alliance, and the marriage of Athaliah, daughter of Ahab and Jezebel, to Jehoshaphat's son, Jehoram (2 Chronicles 18:1). His refusal to align with Ahaziah, Ahab's successor, would then display his later independence from the house of Omri (vv. 47-49).

The account of the reign of Ahaziah, the son of Ahab, is split between 1 and 2 Kings, as a result of the artificial division of the book of Kings; his account concludes at 2 Kings 1:18. This eighth ruler of Israel received the standard negative evaluation of the northern kings from the Deuteronomistic editors.

1 Kings 22:41-53

Jehoshaphat Reigns over Judah

41 Jehoshaphat son of Asa began to reign over Judah in the fourth year of King Ahab of Israel. 42Jehoshaphat was thirty-five years old when he began to reign, and he reigned for twenty-five years in Jerusalem. His mother’s name was Azubah daughter of Shilhi. 43He walked in all the way of his father Asa; he did not turn aside from it, doing what was right in the sight of the Lord; yet the high places were not taken away, and the people still sacrificed and offered incense on the high places. 44Jehoshaphat also made peace with the king of Israel.

45 Now the rest of the acts of Jehoshaphat, and his power that he showed, and how he waged war, are they not written in the Book of the Annals of the Kings of Judah? 46The remnant of the male temple prostitutes who were still in the land from the days of his father Asa, he exterminated.

47 There was no king in Edom; a deputy was king. 48Jehoshaphat made ships of the Tarshish type to go to Ophir for gold; but they did not go, for the ships were wrecked at Ezion-geber. 49Then Ahaziah son of Ahab said to Jehoshaphat, ‘Let my servants go with your servants in the ships’, but Jehoshaphat was not willing. 50Jehoshaphat slept with his ancestors and was buried with his ancestors in the city of his father David; his son Jehoram succeeded him.

Ahaziah Reigns over Israel

51 Ahaziah son of Ahab began to reign over Israel in Samaria in the seventeenth year of King Jehoshaphat of Judah; he reigned for two years over Israel. 52He did what was evil in the sight of the Lord, and walked in the way of his father and mother, and in the way of Jeroboam son of Nebat, who caused Israel to sin. 53He served Baal and worshipped him; he provoked the Lord, the God of Israel, to anger, just as his father had done.

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10 February 2011

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