The name Jehoshaphat in the Bible
Apart from the men named Joshaphat (a contracted form of Jehoshaphat), in the Bible there are three men and one valley named Jehoshaphat:
- A son of Ahilud, who worked as a recorder under kings David and Solomon (2 Samuel 8:16, 1 Kings 4:3).
- The son and successor of king Asa of Judah and his wife Azubah (1 Kings 15:24). King Jehoshaphat is generally considered a good king, except for his failure to do away with pagan centers of worship, and his allegiance to the evil king Ahaziah of Israel, with whom he tried to set up a gold trade with Tarshish (1 Kings 22:43-48).
- The father of king Jehu of Israel, the son of Nimshi (2 Kings 9:2). Since this king Jehoshaphat is an ancestor of Christ according to the Solomonic genealogy of Matthew, he is also mentioned in the Greek New Testament: Ιωσαφατ, Iosaphat, which some translations interpret as Josaphat (Matthew 1:8).
- The prophet Joel makes mention of a valley of Jehoshaphat, where God will gather all nations, saying, "For there I will sit to judge all the surrounding nations" , and the harrowing, "Multitudes, multitudes in the valley of decision!" (Joel 3). It seems clear that the valley of Jehoshaphat is the same as the valley of Armageddon.
Etymology of the name Jehoshaphat
The name Jehoshaphat consists of two elements:
1) The name יה (Yah) = יהו (Yahu) = יו (Yu) or Jehu, which in turn are abbreviated forms of the Tetragrammaton; the name of the Lord: YHWH.
2) The verb שפט (shapat), meaning to judge or govern:
For a meaning of the name Jehoshaphat, NOBSE Study Bible Name List reads Yahweh Has Judged, and BDB Theological Dictionary has the similar Yah Hath Judged. Jones' Dictionary of Old Testament Proper Names translates Yah and suggests The Lord Judges.