II - Chapter 19

1King Yehoshafat of Yehuda returned safely to his palace, to Yerushalayim.

אוַיָּשָׁב יְהוֹשָׁפָט מֶלֶךְ־יְהוּדָה אֶל־בֵּיתוֹ בְּשָׁלוֹם לִירוּשָׁלָ ִם׃

2Yehu son of Chanani the seer went out to meet King Yehoshafat and said to him, “Should one give aid to the wicked and befriend those who hate Hashem? For this, wrath is upon you from Hashem.

בוַיֵּצֵא אֶל־פָּנָיו יֵהוּא בֶן־חֲנָנִי הַחֹזֶה וַיֹּאמֶר אֶל־הַמֶּלֶךְ יְהוֹשָׁפָט הֲלָרָשָׁע לַעְזֹר וּלְשֹׂנְאֵי יְהֹוָה תֶּאֱהָב וּבָזֹאת עָלֶיךָ קֶּצֶף מִלִּפְנֵי יְהֹוָה׃

3However, there is some good in you, for you have purged the land of the sacred posts and have dedicated yourself to worship Hashem.”

גאֲבָל דְּבָרִים טוֹבִים נִמְצְאוּ עִמָּךְ כִּי־בִעַרְתָּ הָאֲשֵׁרוֹת מִן־הָאָרֶץ וַהֲכִינוֹתָ לְבָבְךָ לִדְרֹשׁ הָאֱלֹהִים׃

4Yehoshafat remained in Yerushalayim a while and then went out among the people from Be'er Sheva to the hill country of Efraim; he brought them back to God of their fathers.

דוַיֵּשֶׁב יְהוֹשָׁפָט בִּירוּשָׁלָ ִם וַיָּשָׁב וַיֵּצֵא בָעָם מִבְּאֵר שֶׁבַע עַד־הַר אֶפְרַיִם וַיְשִׁיבֵם אֶל־יְהֹוָה אֱלֹהֵי אֲבוֹתֵיהֶם׃

5He appointed judges in the land in all the fortified towns of Yehuda, in each and every town.

va-ya-a-MAYD sho-f'-TEEM ba-A-ratz b'-khol a-RAY y'-hu-DAH ha-b'-tzu-ROT l'-EER va-EER

הוַיַּעֲמֵד שֹׁפְטִים בָּאָרֶץ בְּכָל־עָרֵי יְהוּדָה הַבְּצֻרוֹת לְעִיר וָעִיר׃

19:5   He appointed judges in the land

Yehoshafat understands the importance of justice in the land. As he has dedicated himself to worship Hashem (verse 3) he not only prays and offers sacrifices, but also places a strong emphasis on seeking justice. He appoints judges throughout the land to judge “on behalf of Hashem” (verse 6), and warns them about being honest and against taking bribes. He understands that part of serving God in the Land of Israel is pursuing justice and righteousness. In fact, the prophets emphasize that it was when the Jewish people stopped acting with justice that their troubles in the land, culminating with the destruction and exile, really began. Therefore, as part of the ultimate redemption, Yeshayahu teaches that Hashem “will restore your magistrates as of old, and your counselors as of yore. After that you shall be called City of Righteousness, Faithful City.” He continues, “Tzion shall be saved in the judgment, her repentant ones, in the retribution” (Isaiah 1:26-27).

6He charged the judges: “Consider what you are doing, for you judge not on behalf of man, but on behalf of Hashem, and He is with you when you pass judgment.

ווַיֹּאמֶר אֶל־הַשֹּׁפְטִים רְאוּ מָה־אַתֶּם עֹשִׂים כִּי לֹא לְאָדָם תִּשְׁפְּטוּ כִּי לַיהֹוָה וְעִמָּכֶם בִּדְבַר מִשְׁפָּט׃

7Now let the dread of Hashem be upon you; act with care, for there is no injustice or favoritism or bribe-taking with Hashem our God.”

זוְעַתָּה יְהִי פַחַד־יְהֹוָה עֲלֵיכֶם שִׁמְרוּ וַעֲשׂוּ כִּי־אֵין עִם־יְהֹוָה אֱלֹהֵינוּ עַוְלָה וּמַשֹּׂא פָנִים וּמִקַּח־שֹׁחַד׃

8Yehoshafat also appointed in Yerushalayim some Leviim and Kohanim and heads of the clans of Israelites for rendering judgment in matters of Hashem, and for disputes. Then they returned to Yerushalayim.

חוְגַם בִּירוּשָׁלַ ִם הֶעֱמִיד יְהוֹשָׁפָט מִן־הַלְוִיִּם וְהַכֹּהֲנִים וּמֵרָאשֵׁי הָאָבוֹת לְיִשְׂרָאֵל לְמִשְׁפַּט יְהֹוָה וְלָרִיב וַיָּשֻׁבוּ יְרוּשָׁלָ ִם׃

9He charged them, “This is how you shall act: in fear of Hashem, with fidelity, and with whole heart.

טוַיְצַו עֲלֵיהֶם לֵאמֹר כֹּה תַעֲשׂוּן בְּיִרְאַת יְהֹוָה בֶּאֱמוּנָה וּבְלֵבָב שָׁלֵם׃

10When a dispute comes before you from your brothers living in their towns, whether about homicide, or about ritual, or laws or rules, you must instruct them so that they do not incur guilt before Hashem and wrath be upon you and your brothers. Act so and you will not incur guilt.

יוְכָל־רִיב אֲשֶׁר־יָבוֹא עֲלֵיכֶם מֵאֲחֵיכֶם הַיֹּשְׁבִים בְּעָרֵיהֶם בֵּין־דָּם לְדָם בֵּין־תּוֹרָה לְמִצְוָה לְחֻקִּים וּלְמִשְׁפָּטִים וְהִזְהַרְתֶּם אֹתָם וְלֹא יֶאְשְׁמוּ לַיהֹוָה וְהָיָה־קֶצֶף עֲלֵיכֶם וְעַל־אֲחֵיכֶם כֹּה תַעֲשׂוּן וְלֹא תֶאְשָׁמוּ׃

11See, Amariah the chief Kohen is over you in all cases concerning Hashem, and Zebadiah son of Ishmael is the commander of the house of Yehuda in all cases concerning the king; the Levitical officials are at your disposal; act with resolve and Hashem be with the good.”

יאוְהִנֵּה אֲמַרְיָהוּ כֹהֵן הָרֹאשׁ עֲלֵיכֶם לְכֹל דְּבַר־יְהֹוָה וּזְבַדְיָהוּ בֶן־יִשְׁמָעֵאל הַנָּגִיד לְבֵית־יְהוּדָה לְכֹל דְּבַר־הַמֶּלֶךְ וְשֹׁטְרִים הַלְוִיִּם לִפְנֵיכֶם חִזְקוּ וַעֲשׂוּ וִיהִי יְהֹוָה עִם־הַטּוֹב׃