2 Chronicles 19:4 MEANING

2 Chronicles 19:4

(4) And he went out again.--This refers to the former Visitation or Royal Commission for the instruction of the people in the sacred Law (2 Chronicles 17:7-9).

From Beer-sheba, the southern, to the hill country of Ephraim, the northern limit of his dominions.

He went out.--Not necessarily in person, but by his accredited representatives.

Brought them back.--Made them return (2 Chronicles 24:19).

Unto the Lord God of their fathers.--From the worship of the Baals and the illicit cultus of Jehovah. The local worship of the God of Israel "necessarily came into contact with the Canaanite service of Baal, and, apart from the fact that the luxurious festivals of the latter had a natural attraction for the sensuous Semitic nature of the Hebrews, there was a more innocent motive which tended to assimilate the two worships. The offerings and festivals of Jehovah were acts of homage in which the people consecrated to Him the good things of His bestowing. These were no longer the scanty products of pastoral life, but the rich gifts of a land of corn and wine . . . Thus, the religious feasts necessarily assumed a new and more luxurious character, and, rejoicing before Jehovah in the enjoyment of the good things of Canaan, the Israelites naturally imitated the agricultural feasts which the Canaanites celebrated before Baal. It is not, therefore, surprising that we find many indications of a gradual fusion between the two worships; that many of the great Hebrew sanctuaries are demonstrably identical with Canaanite holy places; that the autumn feast, usually known as the Feast of Tabernacles, has a close parallel in the Canaanite Vintage Feast, that Canaanite immorality tainted the worship of Jehovah; and that at length Jehovah Himself, who was addressed by His worshippers by the same general appellation of 'Baal' or 'Lord' which was the ordinary title of the Canaanite nature-god, was hardly distinguished by the masses who worshipped at the local shrines from the local Baalim of their Canaanite neighbours" (Prof. Robertson Smith, Prophets of Israel, p. 38).

Verse 4. - From Beershsba to Mount Ephraim. The length of the good land is not to be quoted, as of old, the undivided "Dan to Beersheba," but Beersheba to Mount Ephraim (2 Chronicles 13:16-19). Jehoshaphat makes another conscientious and vigorous endeavour to reform his own kingdom, to keep it steadfast in the worship of God, and free from idolatry. It is to be noticed that he does not turn away his ear from the rebuke which had been given him, but turns his heart to it. As it does not appear that he broke with Israel and Israel's kings (2 Chronicles 20:35, 37; 2 Kings 3:7, 14, 24), it is possible, especially in view of ver. 37 in our ch. 20, that the severity of the Divine rebuke was understood to apply to the occasions which found Jehoshaphat in alliance with a king notably bad, and for some supposed chance of advantage to himself. This last element of consideration will difference sufficiently the two cases just cited, to wit, the case in which Jehoshaphat joined himself with Azariah, and is sternly "prophesied against," and that in which he helped Jehoram, and through Elisha's intervention gained him the day.

19:1-11 Jehoshaphat visits his kingdom. - Whenever we return in peace to our houses, we ought to acknowledge God's providence in preserving our going out and coming in. And if we have been kept through more than common dangers, we are, in a special manner, bound to be thankful. Distinguishing mercies lay us under strong obligations. The prophet tells Jehoshaphat he had done very ill in joining Ahab. He took the reproof well. See the effect the reproof had upon him. He strictly searched his own kingdom. By what the prophet said, Jehoshaphat perceived that his former attempts for reformation were well-pleasing to God; therefore he did what was then left undone. It is good when commendations quicken us to our duty. There are diversities of gifts and operations, but all from the same Spirit, and for the public good; and as every one has received the gift, so let him minister the same. Blessed be God for magistrates and ministers, scribes and statesmen, men of books, and men of business. Observe the charge the king gave. They must do all in the fear of the Lord, with a perfect, upright heart. And they must make it their constant care to prevent sin, as an offence to God, and what would bring wrath on the people.And Jehoshaphat dwelt at Jerusalem,.... And went out no more to Samaria, nor concerned himself about the affairs of Israel, but attended to his own:

and he went out again through the people; took a tour throughout his dominions now, in his own person, as before by his princes, with the priests and Levites:

from Beersheba to Mount Ephraim; Beersheba was the southern boundary of the land of Judah, and Mount Ephraim lay to the north, and was the northern boundary of it since the division of the kingdom:

and brought them back to the Lord God of their fathers; from idolatry to the pure worship of God, such who had relapsed since the first reformation, or had not been influenced by it.

Courtesy of Open Bible