(4) Extended His Reforms. On his return from this imprudent expedition Ile was met by the just reproaches of the prophet Jehu. The best atonement he could make for this error was by the course he actually took. He resumed his la bors in the further extirpation of idolatry, in the instruction of the people, and the improve ment of his realm. I le now made a tour of his kingdom in person. that lie might see the or dinances of Gocl duly established, and witness the due execution of his intentions respecting the instruction of the people in the divine law. This tour enabled him to discern many defects in the local administration of justice, which he then applied himself to remedy. He appointed magistrates in every city, for the determination of causes civil and ecclesiastical. Then he estab lished a supretne council of justice at Jerusalem, composed of priests, Levites, and 'the chiefs of the fathers'; to which difficult cases were referred and appeals brought from the provincial tribunals. This tribunal also was inducted by a weighty but short charge from the king, whose conduct in this and other matters places him at the very head of the monarchs who reigned over Judah as a separate kingdom.
(5) Revival of Commerce. The activity of Jehoshaphat's mind was then turned towards the revival of that maritime commerce which had been established by Solomon. The land of Edom and the ports of the Elanitic Gulf were still under the power of Juda'n; and in them the king pre pared a fleet for the voyage to Ophir. Unhappily, however, he yielded to the wish of the king of Israel, and allowed him to take part in the en terprise. For this the expedition was doomed of God, and the vessels were wrecked almost as soon as they quitted port. Instructed by Eliezer, the prophet, as to the cause of this disaster, Jehoshaphat equipped a new fleet, and having this time declined the co-operation 13f the king of Israel, the voyage prospered. The trade was not', however, prosecuted with any zeal, and was soon abandoned. (See CONI M ERCE.
In accounting for the disposition of Jehoshaphat to contract alliances with the king of Israel, we are to remember that there existed a powerful tie between the two courts in the marriage of Jehoshaphat's eldest son with Athaliah,the daugh ter of Ahab; and, when we advert to the part in public affairs which that princess afterwards took, it may well be conceived that even thus early she possessed an influence for evil in the court of Judah.
(6) Alliance with Soram. After the death of Ahaziah, king of Israel, Joram. his successor, persuaded Jehoshaphat to join him in an expedi tion against Moab. This alliance was, however, on political grounds, more excusable than the two former, as the Nloabites, who were under tribute to Israel, might draw into their cause the Edomites, who were tributary to Judah. Be sides, Moab could be invaded with most advantage from the south, round by the end of the Dead Sea; and the king of Israel could not gain ac cess to them in that quarter but by marching through the territories of Jehoshaphat'. The lat
ter not only joined Joram with his own army, but required his tributary, the king of Edom, to bring his forces into the field. During seven days' march through the wilderness of Edom, the army suffered much from want of water; and by the time the allies came in sight of the army of Moab, they wcre ready to perish from thirst. In this emergency the pious Jehoshaphat thought. as usual, of consulting the Lord; and hearing that the prophet Elisha was in the camp, the three kings proceeded to his tent. For the sake of Jehoshaphat, and for his sake only, deliv erance was promised; and it came during the ensuing night, in the shape of an abundant supply of water, which rolled down the exhausted wadies, and filled the pools and hollow ground. After wards Jehoshaphat took his full part in the opera tions of the campaign, till the armies were induced to withdraw in horror, by witnessing the dreadful act of Mesha, king of Moab, in offering up his eldest son in sacrifice upon the wall of the town in which he was shut up.
(7) Renewed Wars. This war kindled an other much more dangerous to Jehoshaphat. /he Moabites, being highly exasperated at the part he had taken against them, turned all their wrath upon him. They induced their kindred, the Am monites, to join them, obtained auxiliaries from the Syrians, and even drew over the Edomites; so that the strength of all the neighboring nations may be said to have been united for this great enterprise. The allied forces entered the land of Judah and encamped at Engedi, near the western border of the Dead Sea. In this extremity Jehoshaphat felt that all his defense lay with God. A solemn fast was held, and the people repaired from the towns to Jerusalem to seek help of the Lord. In the presence of the as sembled multitude the king, in the court of the temple, offered ttp a fervent prayer to God, con cluding with—'0 our God. wilt thou not judge them. for Tec have no might against this great company that cometh against us, neither know we what to do; but our eyes are upon thee.' He ccascd; and in the midst of the silence which ensued, a voice was raised pronouncing deliver ance in the name of the Lord, and telling them to go out on the morrow to the cliffs over looking the camp of the enemy. and see them all overthrown without a hlow from them. The voice was that of Jahaziel, one of the Levites. His words came to pass. The allies quarreled among themselves and destroyed each other; so that when the Judahites came the next day they found their dreaded enemies all dead. and noth ing was left for them but to take the rich spoils of the slain. This done, they returned with triumphal songs to Jerusalem. This great event was recognized even by the neighboring nations as the act of God; and so strong was the im pression which it made upon them. that the re mainder of the good king's reign was altogether undisturbed.