Saturday, October 5, 2013

Living Lessons from Dead Kings / Lesson 06 - Jehoshaphat Part 1 - 2 Chronicles 17-18

Lesson 06 – Jehoshaphat
We are going to spend two lessons on Jehoshaphat.
I found a timeline for the kings that is easy to read and navigate it is available online as a PDF and PNG format.
•    1-3 focus on the character of Jehoshaphat and Judah under his rule.
•    4. This is a longer question. You will want to briefly comment on each character’s contribution to the events.  The second part is an platform to talk about the point the Chronicler is trying to make with this story.  Jehu’s admonition should help clarify what it is.
•    5.  I personally found it interesting to see a father and son deliver a similar message to their respective kings.  “The more things change, the more they …”
1.    This is designed to promote some introspection about the defining characteristics of our lives and legacy.
2.    Encourage dads (and granddads) to think about their responsibility to see that their children are taught the Word.
3.    This topic could probably take up the entire discussion.  I have referred the men to two balancing passages on the questions (There may be others you would want to include).  You might also want to refer back to the affect Solomon’s compromises had on his heart to help define some underlying principles for decisions in this area.  You don’t have to settle the whole question this week because it is going to come up again and again in the lives of the coming kings.
This is the first of seven parts of the article, “Guidelines for Understanding and Proclaiming Old Testament Narratives.”  This section emphasizes the importance seeing how the literary artistry of the writer contributes to the meaning. 
If you refer to this article, emphasize that the events really happened and the accounts (in the original autographs) are correct.  The literary artistry the writer uses to tell that true history and choice of which parts to emphasize are designed to make a point.
Lesson 06 - Jehoshaphat Part 1 - 2 Chronicles 17-18
ID: Inductive Questions (Asking the text questions like who, what, where, when, why, & how?”)
CR: Cross References (Comparing Scripture to Scripture, understanding the vague by the clear.)
WS: Word Study (Understanding definition, theological meaning, and usages in other passages.)
The WORD: What does the Bible say?
Context:  1 Kings 15.24 record’s Asa’s death and announces Jehoshaphat’s ascension to the throne.  1 Kings 22 includes Jehoshaphat in the account of Ahab’s ill fated conquest of Ramath in Gilead and gives some summary statements about his reign.  The references to him in 2 Kings are primarily as a reference point for the discussion of other people. 
The primary focus of this lesson will be on Jehoshaphat’s character and alliance with Ahab in 2 Chronicles 17:1-19:3.  To get some context read 16:7-19:4.  Pay special attention to the prophetic voices of Jehu and Micaiah.
1.    ID: (17:2-6)  What reasons are given for Jehoshaphat’s success as king of Judah?
2.    WS:  (17:6)  What does it mean that Jehoshaphat “delighted in (NKJV), rejoiced in (HCSB) was devoted to (NIV), took great pride in (NASB), was courageous in (RSV, ESV)” (gabahh) the ways of the Lord?  What are examples in his life that illustrate that?
3.    ID:  (17:14-19)  What observations are made about the men of war who were in Jerusalem?  What insight do these hints give about the social and spiritual climate of Judah under Jehoshaphat?
4.    ID:  (ch.18:1-19:3)  Identify the characters in this chapter.  What do you think was the main climax? 
5.    CR:  (18:34-19:3)  What differences are there between the events emphasized at the end of this account in 2 Chronicles and those in 1 Kings 22:35-40.  Why do you think that 2 Chronicles, with its emphasis on the kings of Judah, includes this story about Ahab? 
6.    CR:  (19:1)  What message from God did Jehu (son of Hanani) deliver to Jehoshaphat after the battle?  How does it compare with his father’s message to Asa in 16:7-9?  How did Jehoshaphat respond?
The WALK: What should I do?
1.    2 Chronicles 17:3-4, 6 record three sets of contrasting “He did, but he did not” items for Jehoshaphat?  What do you think (or hope) someone would write about you?
2.    Are there people that you have a responsibility to teach “the law” to?  Have you developed a plan to do so?  Who have you enlisted to assist you?
3.    The events of 18:1 are going to have huge ramifications for the next three kings of Judah.  What are some NT principles for who we should not ally ourselves with (1 Corinthians 5:9-13; 2 Corinthians 6:11-17)?
Going beyond:  Many have been pondered the statement, “The LORD has put a lying spirit in the mouth of these prophets of yours…”  How do you reconcile that with His truthfulness and righteousness?  Apologetics Press,, Probe Ministries, and the Master’s Seminary Journal have articles that deal with the question about this verse.

Guidelines for Understanding and Proclaiming Old Testament Narratives
An article in Bibliotheca Sacra  by Steven D. Mathewson
Hermeneutical Guidelines
The following hermeneutical guidelines can help exegetes recapture the "mode of perception that was second nature to the original audiences."9             
1.    Interact with a Story's Literary Art to Determine Its Meaning
The quest for a narrative's meaning thrusts the interpreter into the world of literary analysis.10 Alter states:
The biblical authors are of course constantly, urgently conscious of telling a story in order to reveal the imperative truth of God's works in history and of Israel's hopes and failings. Close attention to the literary strategies through which that truth was expressed may actually help us to understand it better, enable us to see the minute elements of complicating design in the Bible's sacred history.11
As Osborne points out, "There is no reason why history and literary artistry cannot exist side-by-side."12
The literary art of a story deserves an interpreter's notice because literary artistry is not an end in itself, but a means to understanding the theological point of a narrative.13 Stek writes, "The test is not whether literary analysis contributes to aesthetic appreciation (though that may be a significant by-product) but whether it advances understanding. Does it sharpen the ear and eye to the author's intentions?"14  Long observes that the "artistic tendencies" of the narrators "were not given free rein, however, but were disciplined by the larger theological purposes which governed the writers' work."15 Berlin, who uses the expression "poetics" to describe literary artistry, writes, "Poetics makes us aware of how texts achieve their meaning. Poetics aids interpretation. If we know how texts mean, we are in a better position to discover what a particular text means."16
However, Old Testament narratives do more than make theological points. They attempt to persuade.17 Patrick and Scult argue that "the Bible's main form of exposition, the narrative, is most appropriately characterized as primary rhetoric, its primary objective being to persuade its audience."18
Bible expositors, then, must prepare to interact with the literary features of the text in order to discover a story's theological point. The following guidelines focus on the main literary features an exegete must pursue.    (Continue reading this article in the next lesson or read it all at

[9] Alter, The Art of Biblical Narrative, 62.
[10] Alter defines literary analysis as "discriminating attention to the artful use of language, to the shifting play of ideas, conventions, tone, sound, imagery, syntax, narrative viewpoint, compositional units, and much else" (ibid., 12).
[11] Ibid., 46.
[12] Grant R. Osborne, The Hermeneutical Spiral (Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity, 1991), 162.
[13] "Narrative is not as direct as didactic material, but it does have a theological point and expects the reader to interact with that message" (ibid., 172).
[14] John H. Stek, "The Bee and the Mountain Goat: A Literary Reading of Judges 4," in A Tribute to Gleason Archer, ed. Walter C. Kaiser Jr. and Ronald F. Youngblood (Chicago: Moody, 1986), 54.
[15] Long, Preaching and the Literary Forms of the Bible, 67.
[16] Berlin, Poetics and Interpretation of Biblical Narrative, 17. Berlin defines poetics as "an inductive science that seeks to abstract the general principles of literature from many different manifestations of those principles as they occur in actual literary texts" (ibid., 15).
[17] Erich Auerbach, Mimesis, trans. Willard Trask (Garden City, NY: Doubleday, 1953), 12.
[18] Dale Patrick and Allen Scult, Rhetoric and Biblical Interpretation (Sheffield: Almond, 1990), 29. "Primary rhetoric" refers to discourses that use stylistic resources to persuade, whereas "secondary rhetoric" refers to texts that use stylistic resources to create an effect on an audience such as to inspire or inform.

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