Scholars have debated the interpretation of Isaiah 7:14 for centuries. Three primary views tend to dominate the discussion. One view holds that the prophecy “the virgin will conceive” refers to a young, unmarried woman of marriageable age (the literal meaning of the Hebrew word translated “virgin”), who actually lived an married in the time of Isaiah and then gave birth to a son. Thus, this was not a “virgin birth” but a normal instance of marriage and childbirth.
Person totally responsible to and dependent on another person. Slavery was prevalent and widely accepted in the ancient world. The economy of Egypt, Greece, and Rome was based on slave labor, In the first Christians century, one out of three persons in Italy and one out of five elsewhere was a slave. Huge gangs toiled in the fields and mines and on building projects. Many were domestic and civil servants. Some were temple slaves and others were craftsmen. Some were forced to become gladiators. Some were highly intelligent and held responsible positions. Legally a slave had no rights; but, except for the labor gangs, most were treated humanely and were considered part of the family, and some were greatly loved by their masters.
Asa set a good example for his son and successor, Jehoshaphat. As the fourth king of Judah, Jehoshaphat continued to suppress pagan worship and to encourage worship of the one true God as his father had done. He implemented a nationwide program of teaching his officials and the people of the land to practice justice and follow the Lord’s commands (2 Chronicles 17:7-9).
The king himself practiced what he preached. When confronted by a huge army composed of Edomites, Moabites, and Ammonites, he prayed to the Lord for divine assistance. “We do not know what to do,” he admitted, “but we are looking to you for help” (2 Chronicles 20:12 NLT).
His army marched off to battle with the words of a psalm on their lips. When Judah’s army arrived at the battle site, there was no battle to fight. The allied enemy army had been mysteriously ambushed by an unknown foe. This created confusion among the soldiers of the allied enemy army, and they began to slaughter one another. The only thing Jehoshaphat’s troops had to do was pick up the spoils the confused army had abandoned (2 Chronicles 20:22-25).
During Jehoshaphat’s reign the bitter feelings between Judah and Israel grew more cordial. He and Ahab, king of the Northern Kingdom, formed an alliance against their common enemy-the nation of Aram, or Syria. They attempted to recapture the city of Ramoth Gilead from the Syrians, but their campaign was not successful. As it turned out, the wicked king Ahab was killed in this battle (1 Kings 22:29-36).
Jehoshaphat died after reigning over Judah for twenty-five years. He was commended for his leadership because “he walked in the way of his father Asa” and did “what was right in the sight of the LORD” (2 Chronicles 20:32 NKJV).