Jehoshaphat, or Josaphat, King of Judah

Jehoshaphat, the son of King Asa and Azubah, became the fourth King of Judah (873-849 BC) at the age of 35, and reigned for 25 years. During his reign he eradicated the pagan cults and sent priests and Levites all over the country to teach the Law of God.

Jehoshaphat became strong, wealthy and popular, and built fortresses and supply centers throughout Judah. He made a marriage alliance for his son, with the daughter of King Ahab of Israel.

Later he went to Samaria and allied himself with king Ahab of Israel, at Ahab's request, to fight the armies of Syria. King Ahab was killed by a stray arrow during the battle and Jehoshaphat returned to Judah. The prophet Jehu met Jehoshaphat and told him not to help the wicked and not to love those who hate the Lord.

Jehoshaphat made no more trips to Israel after that, but traveled through Judah to encourage the people to worship God. He set up courts in the larger cities, with the Levites, priests, and clan leaders as judges. Later on, the armies of Moab, Ammon and the Meunites declared war on Jehoshaphat. He prayed to the Lord for help.

The Lord gave him help by causing the opposing armies to fight amongst themselves and to destroy each other. When Jehoshaphat died, he was buried in Jerusalem, and his son Jehoram became the new ruler of Judah.

The story of Jehoshaphat is found in 2 Chronicles, chapters 17-20. The name Jehoshaphat means "Yah has judged."

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