Question:

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I am looking for a source of information concerning the apparent discrepancy regarding Jehoshaphat and the high places of Judah. In II Chronicles 17:6 the record says the king removed the high places and wooden images from Judah.

The parallel account in I Kings 22:43 says he failed to take away the high places. I have read several commentary explanations but none were very convincing (at least not to my feeble mind.


"And his heart took delight in the ways of the LORD; moreover he removed the high places and wooden images from Judah" (II Chronicles 17:6). The next verse tells us that this occurred during his third year as king. "Also in the third year of his reign he sent his leaders, Ben-Hail, Obadiah, Zechariah, Nethanel, and Michaiah, to teach in the cities of Judah" (II Chronicles 17:7).

The account in I Kings 22:43 is not truly a parallel account, but a summary of Jehoshaphat's reign. "Jehoshaphat was thirty-five years old when he became king, and he reigned twenty-five years in Jerusalem. His mother's name was Azubah the daughter of Shilhi. And he walked in all the ways of his father Asa. He did not turn aside from them, doing what was right in the eyes of the LORD. Nevertheless the high places were not taken away, for the people offered sacrifices and burned incense on the high places" (I Kings 22:42-43). The actual parallel to this account is found in II Chronicles 20:31-33: "So Jehoshaphat was king over Judah. He was thirty-five years old when he became king, and he reigned twenty-five years in Jerusalem. His mother's name was Azubah the daughter of Shilhi. And he walked in the way of his father Asa, and did not turn aside from it, doing what was right in the sight of the LORD. Nevertheless the high places were not taken away, for as yet the people had not directed their hearts to the God of their fathers." Thus the accounts in I Kings 22 and II Chronicles 20 agree.

Comparing the two accounts, it appears that Jehoshaphat made a good start in removing the high places, but he didn't address the real problem: the desire of the people to worship idols. Thus, as his reign continued, the high places were rebuilt and eventually Jehoshaphat stopped removing them.

His father Asa had the same problem. At the beginning of his reign we read: "Asa did what was good and right in the eyes of the LORD his God, for he removed the altars of the foreign gods and the high places, and broke down the sacred pillars and cut down the wooden images. He commanded Judah to seek the LORD God of their fathers, and to observe the law and the commandment. He also removed the high places and the incense altars from all the cities of Judah, and the kingdom was quiet under him" (II Chronicles 14:2-5). But Asa wasn't able to get them all. "Also he removed Maachah, the mother of Asa the king, from being queen mother, because she had made an obscene image of Asherah; and Asa cut down her obscene image, then crushed and burned it by the Brook Kidron. But the high places were not removed from Israel. Nevertheless the heart of Asa was loyal all his days" (II Chronicles 15:16-17).


See also:

Jehoshaphat's Peace
Questions and Answers regarding the Accuracy of the Bible