2 Chronicles 20:36 MEANING

2 Chronicles 20:36
(36) And he joined himself with him.--Literally, and he joined him with himself, an expression only occurring here.

To make ships to go to Tarshish.--In 1 Kings 22:48-49, we read: "Jehoshaphat made ships (i.e., a fleet) of Tarshish, to go to Ophir for gold; and it went not; for the ships were broken (i.e., wrecked) in Ezion-geber. Then said Ahaziah the son of Ahab unto Jehoshaphat, Let my servants go with thy servants in the ships; and Jehoshaphat consented not." There is no mention of a previous alliance and partnership in the ship-building with Ahaziah. Moreover, the expression of our text, "ships to go to Tarshish," appears to be an erroneous paraphrase of "ships of Tarshish," or "Tarshish-men," as we might say; a phrase which really means, vessels built for long sea-voyages. According to Kings, the ships were built "to go to Ophir for gold;" in other words, to renew Solomon's traffic with India from the port on the Red Sea.

And they made the ships in Ezion-gaber.--The Edomite port at the head of the Gulf of Akaba. If Tarshish means the Phoenician Tartessus in Spain, the fleet could only go thither by doubling the Cape, or crossing the Isthmus of Suez. Therefore some have supposed another Tarshish somewhere in the Persian Gulf or on the north-west coast of India. (See on 2 Chronicles 9:21.)

Verse 36. - This verse tells us the object with which Jehoshaphat had joined himself with Ahaziah, and 1 Kings 22:49 tells us how at last, by a point-blank refusal to Ahaziah, he withdrew from the very brief commercial alliance after he had not merely been witnessed against by the Prophet Eliezer spoken of in our next verse, but more decisively witnessed against by the shattering of his ships. To go to Tarshish. This clause, even if the text is not corrupt, yet cannot mean what it seems to say; but in the word "to go" (Hebrew, לָלֶכֶת) must mean, of the sort that were wont to go to Tarshish, i.e. that were used for the Tarshish trade. We are guided to some such explanation by 1 Kings 22:48, where it is said the ships were "ships of Tarshish to go to Ophir" (1 Kings 10:22; 2 Chronicles 8:18). That the ships could not be to go to Tarshish is plain from the fact of the place, Ezion-geber (2 Chronicles 8:17, 18; 1 Kings 9:26), on the Red Sea, where they were built. Some, however, have suggested that some other Tarshish (e.g. in the Gulf of Persia)than that of Spain (Tartessus) may conceivably be meant. The clear statement of the parallel saves the necessity of any such supposition, however.

20:31-37 Jehoshaphat kept close to the worship of God, and did what he could to keep his people close to it. But after God had done such great things for him, given him not only victory, but wealth; after this, to go and join himself with a wicked king, was very ungrateful. What could he expect but that God would be angry with him? Yet it seems, he took the warning; for when Ahaziah afterward pressed him to join him, he would not, 1Ki 22:49. Thus the alliance was broken, and the Divine rebuke had its effect, at least for a season. Let us be thankful for any losses which may have prevented the loss of our immortal souls. Let us praise the Lord, who sought after us, and left us not to perish in our sins.And he joined himself with him to make ships to go to Tarshish,.... Of which; see Gill on 1 Kings 22:48, and though it is there said, 1 Kings 22:49, that Jehoshaphat refused letting the servants of Ahaziah go with his, that was after he had been reproved for joining with him, and after the ships were broken:

and they made the ships in Eziongeber; of which see Gill on 1 Kings 9:26.

Courtesy of Open Bible