“In days to come,
Jacob shall take root.
Israel shall blossom.
Israel shall put forth shoots.
They will fill the whole world
Has he struck them down
As he struck those
Who struck them?
Or have they been killed
As their killers
You struggled against them.
He removed them
With his fierce blast
In the day of the east wind.
Therefore by this
The guilt of Jacob will be expiated.
This will be the full fruit
Of the removal of his sin.
When he makes all the stones of the altars
Crushed to pieces.
No sacred poles will remain standing.
No incense altars will remain standing.”
In some future date, not specified, Jacob or Israel will take root and blossom with many sprouts so that its fruits will be all over the world. Yahweh has struck down and killed those who had struck and killed the Israelites. Thus this appears to be a post-exilic comment. However, the punishment for Israel had been merely banishment or exile via the powerful wind of the Near Eastern powers. That punishment was enough for them to remove the guilt of their sins. Now, however, he was going to remove all those sacred poles and stone altars of incense to the false idol gods. These worship places were to be crushed to pieces like stones or chalk.
“Now when all this was finished, all Israel who were present went out to the cities of Judah. They broke down the pillars and hewed down the sacred poles. They pulled down the high places and the altars throughout all Judah, Benjamin, Ephraim, and Manasseh, until they had destroyed them all. Then all the people of Israel returned to their cities. All returned to their individual properties.”
After the big celebration, they were all riled up. They went to the cities of Judah and tore down the sacred pillars and totem poles. They pulled down the altars at all the high places not only in Judah, but also in Benjamin, Ephraim and Manasseh. It is possible that they went north since the Assyrians had a loose control of the north as they had taken away all the northern Israelite leaders. Finally, everyone returned home to their cities. However, there was no mention here of Nehushtan, the bronze serpent of Moses that was in 2 Kings, chapter 18.
“Yahweh was with King Jehoshaphat, because he walked in the earlier ways of his father. He did not seek the Baals. Thus he sought the God of his father. He walked in his commandments and not according to the ways of Israel. Therefore Yahweh established the kingdom in his hand. All Judah brought tribute to King Jehoshaphat. He had great riches and honor. His heart was courageous in the ways of Yahweh. Furthermore he removed the high places and the sacred poles from Judah.”
Yahweh was well pleased with King Jehoshaphat. He sought God with all his heart and kept the commandments of Moses. Therefore Yahweh was kind to him as he grew in riches and honor. He removed the high places and the sacred totem poles. However, his father did the same thing. Why did these things keep cropping up? Notice that he did not follow the northern ways of Israel.