Asa takes the throne in Judah and institutes religious reform. He fortifies some cities and has a great army at his command, probably not half a million men. From what I understand, ancient historians weren’t all that concerned with accuracy when it came to numbers if it makes for a better story.
And the better story here is that Asa faces off against a million Ethiopians. He’s outnumbered two to one, but he prays to the Lord and the Lord gives him victory over the bigger army and they Judeans trounce them and chase them back to North Africa, pillaging, burning, and looting all the way, including killing a bunch of shepherds for their herds.
Once they’ve had their fill of spoils, they head back to Jerusalem.
A prophet meets Asa and tells him, “Hey, you’re doing good with Yahweh, keep on keeping on, king, because if you waiver or forsake God, he’s going to abandon you.”
So Asa continues his religious reforms and clears out more idols and holds festivals to the Lord that draw in some families from the renegade Israelite tribes.
Asa removes his mother from her position in the court for her idolatry and burns her idols. Because of his dedication, God gives him peace for a long time.
Baasha, the king of Israel decides to war with Judah, and they fortify the city of Ramah to embargo Judah. Asa tries a geopolitical solution, so he bribes the king of Damascus with gold and silver to break his treaty with Baasha and draw the Israelites away.
The apparently makes God mad, because… Asa didn’t pray about it first? Sure, we’ll go with that. So God sends Asa a prophet to say, “Hey, king, you screwed up. God would have given both armies into your hands. But from now, you will have wars.”
The king throws the prophet in jail and decides to become a bit of a tyrant.
Three years later, Asa gets infected feet and foolishly goes to the doctor! Can you believe that? Going to a doctor when you’re sick instead of heading over to see your local priest? What an idiot.
So Asa dies and they bury him.
Jehoshaphat takes the throne in Judah, and he is on board with the Yahweh cult and continues the religious reforms of his father.
He sends out envoys to the cities in Judah to read to the people the Law.
And the peoples around Judah try to get on his good side with tribute because he has a really large army.
Is this book over yet?
We revisit how Jehoshaphat decided to go to war with Ahab against Ramoth-gilead, how he asks Ahab to inquire of Yahweh first, how Ahab has court prophets that tell him what he wants to hear, how Jehoshaphat asks for a real prophet of Yahweh, who tells the kings that they will lose the battle and Ahab will die. How Jehoshaphat goes anyway and almost dies, before fleeing the field. To which you’ve got to wonder, why ask for God’s opinion if you’re just going to ignore it?
I’d really like for this book to be over now.
A prophet named Jehu meets Jehoshaphat and says, “Why are you allying with Ahab’s house? The guy worships other gods. I mean, God still likes you because you got rid of the sex idols and orgies, but still, man, consider yourself on notice.”
Jehoshaphat appoints a bunch of priests and judges to serve the people and charges them to do what is right, to act justly, to treat everyone equally, and to refuse bribes and corruption.
Three tribes unite to take on Judah and they march towards the country. Word reaches the king of a vast army approaching, so he calls for a national fast.
Jehoshaphat: Hey, God, remember how you’ve always been there for us and gave us this land? Now these jerks are heading this way, could you maybe do something about that?
God: Okay. Head on out to battle. You won’t have to fight, but I want you guys to see this.
So Judah heads out for war and he puts the musicians out at the head of the army to sing to the Lord, but when they arrive, they see a battlefield of corpses, as a dispute had happened between the three tribes and they killed each other.
Jehoshaphat: O-kay… I guess it’s over. Everyone go loot.
So they did. Jehoshaphat scored a sweet +5 Sword of Fire and a Shield that boosted his Dexterity stat. But then everyone got mad because he rolled for a Rogue class item, so he had to drop out of the raid and return to Jerusalem.
So Jehoshaphat rules 25 years, and God gets mad at him for agreeing to build a trading fleet with Israel, so God wrecks his ships like a petulant child.