2 Chronicles 20

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Read 2 Chronicles 20

Jehoshaphat Defeats Moab and Ammon

20 After this, the Moabites and Ammonites with some of the Meunitescame to wage war against Jehoshaphat.

Some people came and told Jehoshaphat, “A vast army is coming against you from Edom, from the other side of the Dead Sea. It is already in Hazezon Tamar” (that is, En Gedi). Alarmed, Jehoshaphat resolved to inquire of the Lord, and he proclaimed a fast for all Judah. The people of Judah came together to seek help from the Lord; indeed, they came from every town in Judah to seek him.

Then Jehoshaphat stood up in the assembly of Judah and Jerusalem at the temple of the Lord in the front of the new courtyard and said:

Lord, the God of our ancestors, are you not the God who is in heaven?You rule over all the kingdoms of the nations. Power and might are in your hand, and no one can withstand you. Our God, did you not drive out the inhabitants of this land before your people Israel and give it forever to the descendants of Abraham your friend? They have lived in it and have built in it a sanctuary for your Name, saying, ‘If calamity comes upon us, whether the sword of judgment, or plague or famine, we will stand in your presence before this temple that bears your Name and will cry out to you in our distress, and you will hear us and save us.’

10 “But now here are men from Ammon, Moab and Mount Seir, whose territory you would not allow Israel to invade when they came from Egypt;so they turned away from them and did not destroy them. 11 See how they are repaying us by coming to drive us out of the possession you gave us as an inheritance. 12 Our God, will you not judge them? For we have no power to face this vast army that is attacking us. We do not know what to do, but our eyes are on you.”

13 All the men of Judah, with their wives and children and little ones, stood there before the Lord.

14 Then the Spirit of the Lord came on Jahaziel son of Zechariah, the son of Benaiah, the son of Jeiel, the son of Mattaniah, a Levite and descendant of Asaph, as he stood in the assembly.

15 He said: “Listen, King Jehoshaphat and all who live in Judah and Jerusalem! This is what the Lord says to you: ‘Do not be afraid or discouraged because of this vast army. For the battle is not yours, but God’s. 16 Tomorrow march down against them. They will be climbing up by the Pass of Ziz, and you will find them at the end of the gorge in the Desert of Jeruel. 17 You will not have to fight this battle. Take up your positions; stand firm and see the deliverance the Lord will give you, Judah and Jerusalem. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged. Go out to face them tomorrow, and the Lord will be with you.’”

18 Jehoshaphat bowed down with his face to the ground, and all the people of Judah and Jerusalem fell down in worship before the Lord. 19 Then some Levites from the Kohathites and Korahites stood up and praised the Lord, the God of Israel, with a very loud voice.

20 Early in the morning they left for the Desert of Tekoa. As they set out, Jehoshaphat stood and said, “Listen to me, Judah and people of Jerusalem! Have faith in the Lord your God and you will be upheld; have faith in his prophets and you will be successful.” 21 After consulting the people, Jehoshaphat appointed men to sing to the Lord and to praise him for the splendor of his holiness as they went out at the head of the army, saying:

“Give thanks to the Lord,
    for his love endures forever.”

22 As they began to sing and praise, the Lord set ambushes against the men of Ammon and Moab and Mount Seir who were invading Judah, and they were defeated. 23 The Ammonites and Moabites rose up against the men from Mount Seir to destroy and annihilate them. After they finished slaughtering the men from Seir, they helped to destroy one another.

24 When the men of Judah came to the place that overlooks the desert and looked toward the vast army, they saw only dead bodies lying on the ground; no one had escaped. 25 So Jehoshaphat and his men went to carry off their plunder, and they found among them a great amount of equipment and clothing and also articles of value—more than they could take away. There was so much plunder that it took three days to collect it. 26 On the fourth day they assembled in the Valley of Berakah, where they praised the Lord. This is why it is called the Valley of Berakah to this day.

27 Then, led by Jehoshaphat, all the men of Judah and Jerusalem returned joyfully to Jerusalem, for the Lord had given them cause to rejoice over their enemies. 28 They entered Jerusalem and went to the temple of the Lordwith harps and lyres and trumpets.

29 The fear of God came on all the surrounding kingdoms when they heard how the Lord had fought against the enemies of Israel. 30 And the kingdom of Jehoshaphat was at peace, for his God had given him rest on every side.

The End of Jehoshaphat’s Reign

31 So Jehoshaphat reigned over Judah. He was thirty-five years old when he became king of Judah, and he reigned in Jerusalem twenty-five years. His mother’s name was Azubah daughter of Shilhi. 32 He followed the ways of his father Asa and did not stray from them; he did what was right in the eyes of the Lord. 33 The high places, however, were not removed, and the people still had not set their hearts on the God of their ancestors.

34 The other events of Jehoshaphat’s reign, from beginning to end, are written in the annals of Jehu son of Hanani, which are recorded in the book of the kings of Israel.

35 Later, Jehoshaphat king of Judah made an alliance with Ahaziah king of Israel, whose ways were wicked. 36 He agreed with him to construct a fleet of trading ships. After these were built at Ezion Geber, 37 Eliezer son of Dodavahu of Mareshah prophesied against Jehoshaphat, saying, “Because you have made an alliance with Ahaziah, the Lord will destroy what you have made.” The ships were wrecked and were not able to set sail to trade.

Go Deeper

In 2 Chronicles 20, King Jehoshaphat is backed into the corner, not quite sure where to turn. Have you ever felt overwhelmed, like you weren’t going to make it through a trial? Maybe you’re feeling that right now. Maybe the loss of a loved one has broken your heart. Maybe a sickness has come upon you. Maybe fear and anxiety has tried to break your spirit. Maybe insecurity has taken over and dominated your mind. Maybe finances have piled up to a crushing weight and you see no way out. Do you feel as if the army coming against you is too great? If so, you are not alone. 

Many characters in scripture have felt the exact same way. But for those that serve the one and only God, there is hope in these inexplicable moments. And our hope is never predicated upon how our circumstances look, rather who is in control of them. King Jehoshaphat found himself in an overwhelming external situation. During his prayer and plea to God for deliverance, he quoted one of the most honest and faith-filled prayers in all of scripture. In the wake of battle and possible destruction he says, “For we have no power to face this vast army that is attacking us. We do not know what to do, but our eyes are on you.” (2 Chronicles 20:12). 

When you do not know what to do, where do your eyes turn to? In the New Testament, Jesus had a moment with Peter where He calls him out to walk on water with him. As he begins to walk, the wind and waves begin to seem overwhelming, and he takes his eyes off of his Lord and onto the storm. “Keep your eyes on me,” Jesus gently responds, “Why do you doubt?” The winds and the waves of life are promised to us, but who we direct our focus on in the midst of the storm is where our strength comes from. In a moment of panic, fear, and doubt, King Jehoshaphat ran to whom he knew was in control. As Israel inquired of the Lord, He answered: “This is what the Lord says to you: ‘Do not be afraid or discouraged because of this vast army. For the battle is not yours, but God’s.” (2 Chron. 20:15).  

The battle that you’re in right now is not yours. It’s God’s! The overwhelming fear, the situation you see no way out of, the sickness, the loss…anything you are facing, it’s God’s. He just asks that we keep our eyes on Him. He will fight our battles for us. As Israel fixed their gaze upon Him, He did the rest. Life is not promised to be easy for us, but there is a God who promises to be constant. That He will “never leave us or forsake us.” (Joshua 1:9). Fix your eyes upon Him today and know that HE is in control.


  1. Do you believe that God is in control of your day-to-day battles? If so, would your response to them look different?
  2. If the battle is in God’s hands, then what does your job look like?
  3. At the end of this chapter, King Jehoshaphat makes an alliance with an evil king that ultimately leads to destruction. Are you making any “alliances” with things other than God that could ultimately lead to destruction?

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Learn more about King Jehoshaphat here.

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5 thoughts on “2 Chronicles 20”

  1. Whatever you may be facing this day, remember God is bigger than the problems or situations you face. Obedience to the One we love is also key. Asking for guidance through the storm and then following through with the answer that is given, which may not be what we want. Facing the battle with praise and joy on my lips (WOOHOO) fighting on our knees because the battle belongs to Him. The battle I am fighting at the moment, God has not given me a battle plan. I am in the on my knees portion of petitioning and asking what do I do? How do I fight? So these passages have helped with the “being still” portion of now what do I do? (as I tug on God’s coat tail repetively). When we feel weak and powerless, God is NOT! Ephesians 6:21 For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places. (ESV) BUT GOD Ephesians 1:3 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly realm
    EVERY spiritual blessing so I will fight on my knees with my hands lifted high and know that my God will provide a way as He did for King J.

    God Your are so amazing!!! Thank You for showing up and giving me Your Word to see and hear so that I know to be still, to listen, to be obedient, to ask, to wait, to be on my knees, to praise You with joy and thanksgiving at all times in Jesus name amen

  2. When faced with overwhelming circumstances like those faced by Jehoshaphat and his people, I find it helpful to remember God’s faithfulness in past straits that, at the time, seem inescapable. This was David’s approach when facing Goliath (1 Samuel 17): The Lord who rescued me from the paw of the lion and the paw of the bear will rescue me from the hand of this Philistine.” It is easy to get caught up in the moment, especially when pressed from all sides. But God is so much bigger than our present circumstances. Thank you, heavenly Father, for reminding us that you are the LORD of Hosts, the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. You delight in saving us – not once – but time and again when we call upon you.

  3. Ella Snodgrass

    I can only imagine what it would have been like to experience the miraculous deliverance God gave to King Jehoshaphat and the people of Judah against those waging war against them. I keenly noted the actions immediately taken by King Jehoshaphat once he received the disturbing news:
    •He immediately sought the Lord for guidance.
    •He proclaimed a fast throughout Judah.
    •He gathered the people to seek the Lord collectively.
    •He voiced a prayer committing the situation to God, acknowledging God alone could save them, sought God’s favor over his people, proclaimed God’s sovereignty over the situation, praised God and took comfort in his promises, and professed complete dependence on God for deliverance.
    •He bowed down face to the ground worshiping the Lord after receiving Jahaziel’s message.
    Now there’s a model of what it looks like to focus entirely on God’s power and not our own. I was reminded once again of Isaiah 59:19, “So shall they fear the name of the LORD from the west, and his glory from the rising of the sun. When the enemy shall come in like a flood, the Spirit of the LORD shall lift up a standard against him.”

    1. Thank you Ella for outlining these action steps! You don’t know me but I am thankful for you, as I have been reading your wise reflections and responses for quite some time now! I appreciate everyones comments and commitment to this Bible reading plan…thank you!

      1. Ella Snodgrass

        Lisa, may we continue to spur one another on in knowledge and obedience to God’s word. Your kind comment is appreciated.

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