King Jehoshaphat was a descendant of King David. He was the king of Judah at the time when Israel was divided into two kingdoms. Jehoshaphat was God-fearing but made some mistakes throughout his life.
In the time of Jehoshaphat Israel was divided into two separate kingdoms: Israel in the north and Judah in the south. David’s descendants reigned over Judah. Jehoshaphat inherited the throne of his father Asa, another God-fearing king, direct descendant of David. , and reigned for 25 years.
Jehoshaphat, the king dedicated to God
Jehoshaphat followed in his father’s footsteps and destroyed several idolatrous altars in Judah. He refused to participate in idolatry and worshiped only God ( 2 Chronicles 17: 3-4 ). Jehoshaphat also sent Levites and officers to teach the people of Judah the Law of God.
Jehoshaphat appointed judges to administer the country with justice, according to God’s will. He warned the judges to do their best, because their job was for God and He would be with them ( 2 Chronicles 19: 5-7 ).
Because of his dedication to God, Jehoshaphat had a prosperous kingdom. The nations around him feared him and brought tribute. However, not all people turned to God and many continued to practice idolatry.
Jehoshaphat and the family of Ahab
Despite being God-fearing, Jehoshaphat made a big mistake: he allied himself with Ahab , the king of Israel who was known for persecuting God’s prophets. Ahab was under the curse of God.
Ahab invited Jehoshaphat to go with him to battle against his enemies. Jehoshaphat accepted without hesitation but asked to consult God first ( 2 Chronicles 18: 3-4 ). Many prophets said that the kings of Judah and Israel would succeed but a prophet of God warned that it would go wrong. But Jehoshaphat and Ahab ignored God’s prophet.
See Ahab’s story here .
In the battle, Ahab disguised himself but Jehoshaphat went with his royal robes. At first, the enemies thought that Jehoshaphat was Ahab and tried to kill him. But when Jehoshaphat cried out, they saw that it was not Ahab and he managed to escape ( 2 Chronicles 18: 30-32 ). However, Ahab was killed by accident in the battle. Judah and Israel lost the battle but Jehoshaphat was spared.
Jehoshaphat also joined the family of Ahab by marriage. His son married the daughter of Ahab and Jezebel, named Atalia. Jehoshaphat was rebuked by God for his covenant with Ahab ( 2 Chronicles 19: 1-3 ). Years later, Atalia almost wiped out Jehoshaphat’s offspring.
Later, Jehoshaphat allied himself with Ahaziah, son of Ahab, to build ships for trade. However, Ahaziah was as bad as his father and God was not pleased with the covenant. The ships were shipwrecked and were a loss for Jehoshaphat ( 2 Chronicles 20: 35-37 ).