What is the difference between the prayer of Jabez and the 2nd Chronicles 7:13 prayer?      By Jack Kettler


What can the reader learn about these two prayers? God responds to both prayers, yet how are they different?


The LORD's response to Solomon:


“If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land.”  (2nd Chronicles 7:14)


From the Benson Commentary:


“2 Chronicles 7:14. If my people shall humble themselves, and pray, &c. — Thus, national repentance and reformation are required. God expects, that if his people, who are called by his name, have dishonoured his name by their iniquity, they should honour it by accepting the punishment of their iniquity. They must humble themselves under his hand, must pray for the removal of the judgment, must seek his face and favour: and yet all this will not be sufficient, unless they turn from their wicked ways, and return to him from whom they have revolted. National mercy is then promised, then will I hear from heaven, &c. — God will first forgive their sin, which brought the judgment upon them, and then will heal their land, and redress their grievances.” (1)


The prayer of Jabez:


“And Jabez called on the God of Israel, saying, oh that thou wouldest bless me indeed, and enlarge my coast, and that thine hand might be with me, and that thou wouldest keep me from evil, that it may not grieve me! And God granted him that which he requested.” (1st Chronicles 4:10)


Again, from the Benson Commentary:


“1 Chronicles 4:10. Jabez called on the God of Israel — The living and true God, who alone can hear and answer prayer: and in prayer he had an eye to him as the God of Israel, a God in covenant with his people, the God with whom Jacob wrestled and prevailed, and was thence called Israel. Saying, O that thou wouldest bless me indeed! — He did not say in what respect he desired God to bless him, but leaves that to God, giving him, as it were, a blank paper, that he might write what he pleased. Spiritual blessings are the best blessings, and those are blessed indeed, who are blessed with them. God’s blessings are real things, and produce real effects. We can but wish a blessing: he commands it. And enlarge my coast — Prosper my endeavours for the increase of what has fallen to my lot: drive out these Canaanites, whom thou hast commanded us to root out; and therefore, I justly beg and expect thy blessing in the execution of thy command. That thy hand might be with me — The prayer of Moses for this tribe of Judah was, that his own hands might be sufficient for him; but Jabez expects not that, unless he have God’s hand with him, and the presence of his power. God’s hand with us to lead, protect, strengthen us, and to work all our works in and for us, is indeed a hand sufficient for us, yea, all-sufficient. And keep me from evil — The evil of sin, the evil of trouble; all the evil designs of my enemies, and all disastrous events. That it may not grieve me — That it may not oppress and overcome me. He uses this expression in allusion to his name, which signifies grief: as if he had said, Lord, let me not have that grief which my name implies, and which my sin deserves. God granted him that which he requested — Prospered him remarkably in his undertakings, in his worldly business, in his conflicts with the Canaanites, and his endeavours after knowledge, and holiness, and other spiritual blessings.” (2)


In closing:


There is a significant difference between the 1st and 2nd Chronicles’ prayers in how God answers the prayers. In both cases, God answers the prayers. In the 1st Chronicles prayer, God answers the private prayer of Jabez. However, there is nothing in the prayer that directs God’s people to repeat this prayer of Jabez. In 2nd Chronicles, God answers Solomon by giving him a corporate prayer that extends beyond Solomon to all of God’s people and is to be prayed when national repentance is needed. One prayer is personal, and one is corporate.    


“Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.” (2 Timothy 2:15)




1.      Benson, Joseph. Joseph Benson's Commentary of the Old and New Testaments (p. 2720). Kindle Edition.

2.      Benson, Joseph. Joseph Benson's Commentary of the Old and New Testaments (p. 12772). Kindle Edition.


Mr. Kettler has previously published articles in the Chalcedon Report and Contra Mundum. He and his wife Marea attend the Westminster, CO, RPCNA Church. Mr. Kettler is the author of books defending the Reformed Faith. Books can be ordered online at: Amazon