Jehoshaphat returning from the battle at Ramothgilead, was met by a prophet, who reproved him for helping the ungodly, 2 Chronicles 19:1, which quickened him to a greater regard for the reformation of his kingdom, 2 Chronicles 19:4, and he set judges in all the cities of Judah, and exhorted them to do justice, 2 Chronicles 19:5, and in the city of Jerusalem he appointed priests and Levites for the same purpose, and gave them a strict charge, and animated and encouraged them to perform their office faithfully, 2 Chronicles 19:8.
to his house in peace in Jerusalem; to his palace there in safety, having narrowly escaped losing his life in the battle.
went out to meet him; as he was returning:
and said to King Jehoshaphat, shouldest thou help the ungodly; such an one as Ahab, an idolater, murderer, and persecutor:
and love them that hate the Lord? his laws, worship, and ordinances, as he had; intimating, that he had done wrong, by entering into alliance and affinity with him, by showing him friendship, and assisting him in his war against the Syrians:
therefore is wrath upon thee from before the Lord; which appeared in the war of the Ammonites and Moabites with him, related in the next chapter, and in the calamities that came upon his family, his sons being slain by Jehoram that succeeded him, and his grandsons by Jehu.
in that thou hast taken away the groves out of the land; cut down the groves of trees, and destroyed the idols and images in them:
and hast prepared thine heart to seek God; through the grace of God his heart was disposed to serve and worship the Lord, and to seek his honour and glory.
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.
for ye judge not for man, but for the Lord; not for man only, but for the Lord; and not so much for man as for the Lord, whom they represented in judgment; whose law was the rule of their judgment, and whose glory their end, and to whom they were accountable:
who is with you in the judgment: as to guide and direct you, so to observe how they behaved, and be a witness for or against them; the Targum is,"ye judge not before men, but before the Word of the Lord, whose Shechinah dwells with you in the affair of judgment.''
take heed and do it; do the commands enjoined them by him, and do judgment according to the law of God:
for there is no iniquity with the Lord our God; none in his nature, nor in his law; none commanded nor approved of by him, and therefore none should be done by his representatives in judgment:
nor respect of persons; whether high or low, rich or poor:
nor taking of gifts; he accepts not the faces of men, nor receives bribes, nor should his judges; this is forbidden by him, Deuteronomy 16:19.
for the judgment of the Lord; in things sacred, which related to the worship of God, and the support of it:
and for controversies; of a civil kind between man and man, whether pecuniary or capital, of a more private or public kind:
when they returned to Jerusalem; that is, this court was set up at Jerusalem, when Jehoshaphat, the priests, Levites, and chief men that went with him, returned thither.
saying, thus shall ye do in the fear of the Lord, faithfully, and with a perfect heart; judge righteously and impartially, as men fearing God, true to the trust reposed in them, and sincere and upright in heart and actions, having nothing else in view but the glory of God, and the good of men.
between blood and blood; one relation and another, or with respect to shedding of blood, whether ignorantly or purposely:
between law and commandment, statutes and judgments; not rightly understood, and so pleaded on both sides:
ye shall even warn them that they trespass not against the Lord; the persons engaged in controversy, that they take no false oath, nor bear false testimony, and act not stubbornly against any of the laws, when explained in court unto them:
and so wrath come upon you and your children; upon judges for the neglect of their duty in giving due warning, and upon the people for not taking it when given:
this do, and ye shall not trespass; if the above charge in all its parts is strictly attended to.