Jehoshaphat's Kingdom Established
17 1 Asa's son Jehoshaphat was the next king; he started out by working on his defense system against Israel. 2 He put troops in all the fortress cities of Judah and deployed garrisons throughout Judah and in the towns of Ephraim that his father Asa had captured. 3 God was on Jehoshaphat's side because he stuck to the ways of his father Asa's early years. He didn't fool around with the popular Baal religion - 4 he was a seeker and follower of the God of his father and was obedient to him; he wasn't like Israel. 5 And God secured the kingdom under his rule, gave him a firm grip on it. And everyone in Judah showed their appreciation by bringing gifts. Jehoshaphat ended up very rich and much honored. 6 He was single-minded in following God; and he got rid of the local sex-and-religion shrines. 7 In the third year of his reign he sent his officials - excellent men, every one of them - Ben-Hail, Obadiah, Zechariah, Nethanel, and Micaiah on a teaching mission to the cities of Judah. 8 They were accompanied by Levites - Shemaiah, Nethaniah, Zebadiah, Asahel, Shemiramoth, Jehonathan, Adonijah, Tobijah, and Tob-Adonijah; the priests Elishama and Jehoram were also in the company. 9 They made a circuit of the towns of Judah, teaching the people and using the Book of The Revelation of God as their text.
10 There was a strong sense of the fear of God in all the kingdoms around Judah - they didn't dare go to war against Jehoshaphat. 11 Some Philistines even brought gifts and a load of silver to Jehoshaphat, and the desert bedouin brought flocks - 7,700 rams and 7,700 goats. 12 So Jehoshaphat became stronger by the day, and constructed more and more forts and store-cities - an age of prosperity for Judah! 13 He also had excellent fighting men stationed in Jerusalem. 14 The captains of the military units of Judah, classified according to families, were: Captain Adnah with 300,000 soldiers; 15 his associate Captain Jehohanan with 280,000; 16 his associate Amasiah son of Zicri, a volunteer for God, with 200,000. 17 Officer Eliada represented Benjamin with 200,000 fully equipped with bow and shield; 18 and his associate was Jehozabad with 180,000 armed and ready for battle. 19 These were under the direct command of the king; in addition there were the troops assigned to the fortress cities spread all over Judah.