King Jehoshaphat sends missionaries to instruct the people (2 Chr 17:7-17:9)

“In the third year of his reign King Jehoshaphat sent his officials, Ben-hail, Obadiah, Zechariah, Nethanel, and Micaiah, to teach in the cities of Judah. With them were the Levites, Shemaiah, Nethaniah, Zebadiah, Asahel, Shemiramoth, Jehonathan, Adonijah, Tobijah, and Tob-adonijah. With these Levites were the priests Elishama and Jehoram. They taught in Judah, having the book of the law of Yahweh with them. They went around through all the cities of Judah. They taught among the people.”

This was a special mission of what we might call evangelization today. King Jehoshaphat sent his officials and Levites out to teach the people about the law of Yahweh in the major cities of Judah. This was a different approach than that of his father, King Asa, who wanted everyone killed who was not a Yahweh worshipper. There were 5 officials named, 9 Levites, and 2 priests. Of the 5 officials, this is the only mention of (1) Ben-hail. Although there are 12 different people with the name of (2) Obadiah including the prophetic book of the same name, this Obadiah only appears here. There was a (3) Zechariah who was a son of King Jehoshaphat, one who was king of Israel (743 BCE) and a later prophet of the 6th century BCE, but this Zechariah is not one of these, unless possibly the son of the king. Although there are 10 biblical people with the name of (4) Nethanel, this one could be the trumpet blower or the son of Obed-edom. I wonder if this (5) Micaiah is the same prophet who King Jehoshaphat wanted later in this chapter. As for the 9 Levites, (1) Shemaiah was a common name among Levites, but this one is only mentioned here. This (2) Nethaniah might be one of the sons of Asaph or his descendents. (3) Zebadiah was a common name, but this one is not mentioned elsewhere. (4) Asahel was the name of a nephew of David who died, but this is not him. (5) Shemiramoth was at the time of David, but this is a different Shemiramoth. (6) Jehonathan is only mentioned here. (7) Adonijah was the name of a son of David, but this is not him. There was a later prophet with the name of (8) Tobijah. (9)Tob-adonijah appears only here. The 2 priests were Elishama and Jehoram. (1) Elishama was the name of a son of David, but this one is a priest. (2) Jehoram is a complicated name since two kings had that same name, one was the son of King Jehoshaphat who ruled from (848-840 BCE) and that other was the king of Israel (852-842 BCE). This priest could possibly be the son of King Jehoshaphat.

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