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Passage: 1 Kings 22:41-53

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.