Jehoshaphat the son of Asa was king over Judah around 819-797 BC. He was the son of Asa who worshipped God and removed the idols out of Judah. He was thirty five when he began to reign and he reigned for 25 years. He began in the fourth year of Ahab King of Israel. (I Kings 22:41, 42)

The dates given above are estimated. No one can, with certainty, pin point the dates of the Old Testament. Except for a few dates verified by secular means the chronologies are worked out referencing the duration of the reigns of kings or a three year drought or 7 years of famine etc. Bullinger put Jehoshaphat's reign beginning in 819, Dr. George Adam Smith in "Atlas of the Historical Geography of the Holy Land" estimates the time to be more around 874.

The most important aspect of History is knowing the chronological order of events as well as concurrent events. During the reign of Jehoshaphat Ahab reigned in Israel and Elijah prophesied of the three year drought and the success and demise of King Ahab. He also finds Elisha, trains him and transfers his office over to him. We will return to Elijah in a few weeks but during Elijah's life Jehoshaphat reigns. Therefore I am compelled to cover Jehoshaphat. So we return to the 4th year of the reign of Ahab King of Israel.

All the kings over Israel were unbelievers. Many of the Kings of Judah were Believers. Jehoshaphat is the 5th generation after David.

David begat
    1) Solomon, a Believer turned unbeliever begat
        2) Rehoboam, an unbeliever, who begat
            3) Abijam, an unbeliever, who begat
                4) Asa, a Believer, who begat
                    5) Jehoshaphat, a Believer

II Chronicles 17
:1 And Jehoshaphat his [Asa's] son reigned in his stead, [around 819 BC]
    and strengthened himself against Israel.
:2 And he placed forces in all the fenced cities of Judah,
    and set garrisons in the land of Judah,
    and in the cities of Ephraim,
        which Asa his father had taken.

Jehoshaphat reigned over Judah which was always fighting against Israel which was wicked and ungodly. Prior to Ahab, Jeroboam, Ahab's father, was an idolatrous king over Israel. He set up temples on hills (Bible refers to them as high places) for pagan gods. Ahab just followed in his father's footsteps. Jehoshaphat strengthened himself against Israel to protect Judah from the idolatry and wickedness of Israel.

He also placed forces in the fenced cities. These fenced cities were cities of refuge where people who had killed or injured someone accidentally could go and be safe from the avenger (usually a relative of the deceased-Number 35:11ff). Jehoshaphat didn't want Israel to recapture these cities so they were well protected.

Jehoshaphat pleased God and did that which was right. Therefore:

:3 And the LORD was with Jehoshaphat,
    because he walked in the first ways of his father David ,
    and sought not unto Baalim
:4 But sought to the LORD God of his father.
    and walked in his commandments,
    and not after the doings of Israel.

Jehoshaphat sought to the Lord God of his father and God was with him. He ruled his kingdom according to David's example.

17:5 Therefore the LORD stablished the kingdom in his hand ;
    and all Judah brought to Jehoshaphat presents;
    and he had riches and honour in abundance.
:6 And his heart was lifted up in the ways of the LORD:
    moreover he took away the high places and groves out of Judah.
:7 Also in the third year of his reign he sent to his princes,
        even to Benhail,
        and Obadiah,
        and to Zechariah
        and to Nethaneel,
        and to Michaiah,
    to teach in the cities of Judah.
:8 And with them he sent Levites,
        even Shemaiah,
        and Nethaniah,
        and Zebadiah,
        and Asahel,
        and Shemiramoth,
        and Jehonathan,
        and Adonijah,
        and Tobijah,
        and Tobadonijah,
            Levites; [They were all Levites doing their job]
    and with them Elishama 
        and Jehoram, 
:9 And they taught in Judah ,
    and had the book of the law of the LORD with them,
    and went about throughout all the cities of Judah,
    and taught the people.
:10 And the fear of the LORD fell upon all the kingdoms of the land
        that were round about Judah,
        so that they made no war against Jehoshaphat
:11 Also some of the Philistines brought Jehoshaphat presents,
        and tribute silver;
    and the Arabians brought him flocks,
        seven thousand and seven hundred rams,
        and seven hundred he goats.
:12 And Jehoshaphat waxed great exceedingly;
    and he built in Judah castles,
    and cities of store.

Jehoshaphat had the Word of God taught to the people. He didn't concentrate on collecting taxes and building his armies. But, he spent time with the things of God and God strengthened him and his kingdom. He had 1,160,000 mighty men of valour plus those whom he put in the fenced cities around Judah (you can add them up in II Chronicles 17:13-19). Also, his enemies around him gave him tribute silver--protection money--so he wouldn't destroy them.

Jehoshaphat prospered and was protected when he had his priorities right. God has not changed. Jehoshaphat removed the idolatrous temples and symbols out of Judah so their corrupting influence was minimized. He also sent priests out to teach the Word. When we remove idols and corrupting influences from our lives and introduce the Word God He will prosper us. He will take care of us. He has promised. It is import to know that what God has promised He is able and willing to perform.

Matthew 6
:33 But seek ye first the kingdom of God,
        and his righteousness;
    and all these things shall be added unto you.

II Corinthians 9
:6 But this I say,
        He which soweth sparingly shall reap also sparingly;
        and he which soweth bountifully shall reap also bountifully.
:7 Every man according as he purposeth in his heart, so let him give;
        not grudgingly,
        or of necessity:
    for God loveth a cheerful giver.
:8 And God is able to make all grace abound toward you;
    that ye,
        always having all sufficiency in all things,
    may abound to every good work:

Philippians 4
:19 But my God shall supply all your need
    according to his riches in glory by Christ Jesus.

I Timothy 6
:17 Charge them that are rich in this world,
    that they be not highminded,
    nor trust in uncertain riches,
    but in the living God,
        who giveth us richly all things to enjoy;

III John 2
    Beloved, I wish above all things that thou mayest prosper
        and be in health,
    even as thy soul prospereth.

Jehoshaphat continued: Part 2 It Is A Spiritual Battle