2 Chronicles 19:8 Commentary - English Annotations on the Holy Bible by Matthew Poole
The chief of the fathers of Israel; who were not priests and Levites, but such persons of other tribes as were most eminent for their dignity, ability, and integrity. But whether these persons made up one court, called the Sanhedrim, by which all causes ecclesiastical and civil were decided; or there were two distinct courts, the one ecclesiastical, consisting of the priests and Levites; the other civil, consisting of the chief of the fathers of Israel; belongs to another place to determine, and requires more words than the nature of this work can permit.
For the judgment of the Lord, i.e. for sacred matters concerning the laws, and worship, and service of God.
For controversies; for matters of difference between man and man.
When they returned to Jerusalem, i.e. when Jehoshaphat and his company were returned to Jerusalem, then he made this order concerning establishing judges there. But so this last clause may seem superfluous and tautological, being more than implied in the beginning of the verse. Or rather,
when they, i. e. the causes and controversies last mentioned, shall return, or be returned, to Jerusalem, i.e. when the causes shall be so difficult that the judges ordained in every city cannot determine them; or, when your brethren that dwell in every city shall come to you, as it is expressed, 2Ch 19:10, appealing from their city courts, to the great court or council at Jerusalem; of which See Poole "Exo 18:26"; See Poole "Deu 1:17"; See Poole "Deu 17:8". As for the phrase, not only persons, but things, are said to return, or be returned, as blood, 1Ki 2:33, and clouds, Ecc 12:2, and reproach, Hos 12:14. If it be further objected, that these causes were never brought to Jerusalem before, and therefore cannot be properly said to be returned thither; that may be answered both from the usage of our law, wherein such causes are said to be returned to Westminster, which never were there before; and from the use of Scripture, wherein sinners are commonly said to return to the Lord, though they had never been with the Lord in that sense before, but were estranged from God even from the womb till the time of their conversion. And the dust, i.e. man’s body, is said to return to the earth, Ecc 12:7, though it was never there before.
Consult other comments:
English Annotations on the Holy Bible by Matthew Poole
Matthew Poole (1624–1679) wrote English Annotations on the Holy Bible, completing the chapters as far as Isaiah 58 before his death in 1679. The rest of the Annotations were completed by friends and colleagues among his Nonconformist brethren. The first printing of the completed edition was in 1685, 2 volumes folio, followed by editions in 1688, 1696 (with valuable chapter outlines added by the editors, Samuel Clark and Edward Veale), and the 4th and definitive edition in 1700, the basis of all others.