- Jehoshaphat is reproved by a prophet, verse 1-3.
- He reforms the kingdom, verse 4.
- Gives instructions to the itinerant judges, verse 5-7.
- And to the supreme court at Jerusalem, verse 8-11.
Therefore - Therefore God will chastise thee for this miscarriage. Which he did partly by stirring up the Moabites, and others to invade him, chap. 20:1, partly by permitting his eldest son Jehoram to kill all his brethren, chap. 21:4, and principally by bringing that almost general destruction upon his grand-children by Jehu, 2 Kings 9:27; , which was the fruit of his alliance with Ahab.
Good things - Good marks proceeding from an honest heart; which God more regards than this particular error: and therefore though he will chasten thee, yet he will not utterly destroy thee.
Through - Through the whole kingdom, whereof these were the two bounds. And brought - Such of them as had revolted from God to idols, he reclaimed by his counsel and example, and by the instructions of the Levites and priests, whom he carried with him. Many, probably, had revolted to idolatry, when they saw their king so intimate with idolaters. Therefore he thought himself doubly obliged to do all he could to reduce them. If we truly repent of sin, we shall do our utmost to repair the damage we have done to religion, or the souls of others.
The Lord - You represent God's person to whom judgment belongeth, you have your commission from God, and not from man only; and your administration of justice is not only for man's good, but also for God's honour and service. With you - Both to observe your carriage, and to defend you against all those enemies whom the impartial exercise of justice may provoke.
Wherefore - And therefore you who are in God's stead, and do his work, and must give an account to him, must imitate God herein.
The fathers - Persons of other tribes eminent for their dignity, ability and integrity. But whether these persons made up one court, called the Sanhedrim, by which all causes ecclesiastical and civil were decided; or there were two distinct courts, the one ecclesiastical, consisting of the priests and Levites; the other civil, consisting of the chief of the fathers of Israel, it is not easy to determine. The Lord - For matters concerning the laws and worship, of God. Controversies - For matters of difference between man and man. When - When Jehoshaphat and his company were returned to Jerusalem, he made this order concerning establishing judges there.
Blood - This refers to Deuteronomy 17:8, between the blood of the person slain, and the blood of the man-slayer. All the cities of refuge, except Hebron, now belonged to the kingdom of Israel, so that the man-slayer now usually fled to the courts of the temple, or the horns of the altar. And therefore the trial of these, was reserved for the court at Jerusalem. Law, &c. - When any debates shall arise about the meaning of any of God's laws. Warn - Ye shall not only give a righteous sentence for what is past, but ye shall admonish the offender, and others, to take better heed for the future.
Over you - Shall be your president. Matters of the Lord - In Spiritual, or ecclesiastical matters. Ruler - The prince, or chief ruler, under the king, of the tribe of Judah. The king's matters - For civil causes, or controversies either between the king and his people; or between subject and subject, which may be called the king's matters, because it was a principal part of his office to see them justly decided. The Levites - Shall be at your command to see your just sentences executed; which work was fitly committed to the Levites, as persons who might add their instructions to the corrections, and might work the guilty to an acknowledgement of their fault and a submission to their punishment. The Lord - Shall protect and bless good judges.