King Jehoshaphat appointed judges “throughout all the fenced cities of Judah, city by city” (2 Chron. 19:5). He warned them that they would be judging for God and not for man and that God would be with them in the judgment (19:6). He thus instructed them that they were judicial agents of God.
Because they were God’s judicial agents, God’s fear had to be upon them (19:7a). They had to be diligent and careful in their judging because God is the righteous Judge with whom is no iniquity, partiality, or accepting of bribes (19:7b).
In Jerusalem, his capital city, Jehoshaphat appointed some of the Levites, priests, and chiefs of the fathers of Israel “for the judgment of the LORD and for controversies” (19:8). Saying this, the writer of 2 Chronicles informs us that these men were also appointed God’s judicial agents.
As he had done earlier with the other judicial agents that he had appointed (19:7), the king then charged them to judge faithfully in the fear the Lord (19:9). This charge to God’s judicial agents throughout Judah shows that fearing God was a key qualification for those who would judge for Him.
He then gave them key instruction that reveals the vital ministry that they were to perform in behalf of God’s people:
“And what cause soever shall come to you of your brethren that dwell in their cities, between blood and blood, between law and commandment, statutes and judgments, ye shall even warn them that they trespass not against the LORD, and so wrath come upon you, and upon your brethren: this do, and ye shall not trespass” (19:10).
Through this instruction, the king informed these judicial agents that they had to play a key role in adjudicating disputes that arose between God’s people. By warning His people not to trespass against Him when such controversies would arise among them, the judicial agents would keep both themselves and God’s people from incurring the wrath of God.
Many people today seem to have largely negative perspectives about the ministry of God’s judicial agents, thinking of them mainly in terms of those who would punish people for wrongdoing. This passage, however, reveals that they played a very beneficial and “positive” role of instructing God’s people to keep them from sinning against Him!
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