New Defender's Study Bible Notes
18:1 affinity with Ahab. God greatly blessed Jehoshaphat because of his strong spiritual leadership in his kingdom (II Chronicles 17:3-9), but he made the sad mistake of yoking himself together with wicked king Ahab and queen Jezebel of Israel. Furthermore, he continued this alliance with Ahab’s son, the equally wicked king Ahaziah (II Chronicles 20:35). Jehoshaphat’s son and successor Jehoram married Athaliah, the murderous daughter of Ahab and Jezebel (II Chronicles 21:5,6). Jehoshaphat’s compromise with his pagan colleagues may have been well-intentioned (II Chronicles 18:3), but it had tragic results. Jehu rebuked him for it (II Chronicles 19:2), and so did Eliezer the prophet (II Chronicles 20:37). He almost died when Ahab was killed (II Chronicles 18:30-34) and his commercial venture with Ahaziah ended in disaster (II Chronicles 20:35-37). The marriage of his son to Athaliah no doubt contributed to Jehoram’s decision to slay all his brothers when their father died (II Chronicles 21:1-4). Jehoram died eight years later of a loathsome disease (II Chronicles 21:18-20), unloved and unmourned.
Jehoshaphat was a godly king, but God has warned against believers being yoked together with unbelievers (II Corinthians 6:14-18), and the story of Jehoshaphat and his family is a sad illustration of what can happen. Believers today are continually being confronted with temptations to join with unbelievers (marriage, business partnerships, religious alliances, etc.), and such unions are dangerous and often disastrous.
18:3 Ahab King of Israel. As is frequently the case, the parallel account in I Kings and II Chronicles have obviously drawn upon the same original record of the events in this key chapter, probably “the book of the chronicles of the kings of Israel (I Kings 22:39). Thus II Chronicles 18:3-34 is very similar to I Kings 22:3-35.
18:5 to Ramoth-Gilead. This city had been one of the cities of refuge designated by Joshua, but had fallen under control of Ben-hadad and the Syrians. Jehoshaphat agreed that it should be recaptured for Israel, even though for better reasons than those of Ahab. This perhaps played a part in his willingness to align his army with that of wicked king Ahab.
18:20 stood before the LORD. This scene evidently parallels that of Job 1:6, “when the sons of God came to present themselves before the LORD.” Both the holy angels and the fallen angels, including Satan, were there in God’s presence. So it seems to be here, the host of heaven “standing on his right hand and on his left” (II Chronicles 18:18) apparently includes both God’s ministering spirits and the lying spirits.
18:22 lying spirit. See note on I Kings 22:23.
18:24 to hide thyself. Ahab’s prophets, including Zedekiah, were false prophets, probably prophets of Baal recruited by Jezebel. The time was soon to come when they would all be slain by Jehu (II Kings 10:19,25).