The fourth king of Judah (ca. 874–850 BCE). His reign is given only brief attention in Kings (1 Kings 22.41–50; cf. 1 Kings 22), but he is one of the Chronicler's favorite monarchs (2 Chron. 17–20). Jehoshaphat reverses the policy of his predecessors by entering into military, maritime, and marital alliances with kings of Israel. Jehoshaphat's achievements as a reformer are accentuated in Chronicles. He reorganizes the judiciary, sending ministers, Levites, and priests to the towns of Judah “to teach the law of the Lord” (2 Chron. 17.7–9), appoints judges for the towns of Judah, and establishes a court in Jerusalem (2 Chron. 19.5–11). Jehoshaphat also reorganizes the army and fortifies cities within his domain (2 Chron. 17.2, 13–19).

The reference to the “valley of Jehoshaphat” in Joel 3.2, 12 plays on Jehoshaphat's name (“the Lord has judged”). It is unclear whether Joel is designating geography (e.g., the Wadi Kidron) or dramatizing a future judgment.

Gary N. Knoppers