Dr. Thomas L. Constable
For an explanation of the title, writer, date, scope, purpose, and distinctive characteristics of this book, see my comments in my notes on 1 Chronicles. Second Chronicles continues the historical narrative begun in 1 Chronicles.
(Continued from notes on 1 Chronicles)
III. The reign of Solomon chs. 1—9
A. Solomon's wisdom and prosperity ch. 1
1. Solomon's sacrifice and theophany 1:1-13
2. Solomon's power and wealth 1:14-17
B. The building of the temple 2:1—5:1
1. Preparations for building the temple ch. 2
2. The temple proper 3:1-9
3. The temple furnishings 3:10—5:1
C. The dedication of the temple 5:2—7:10
1. The installation of the ark 5:2-14
2. Solomon's address 6:1-11
3. Solomon's prayer 6:12-42
4. The descent of God's glory 7:1-3
5. The celebration of the people 7:4-10
D. God's blessings and curses 7:11-22
E. Solomon's successes chs. 8—9
1. Solomon's political success 8:1-11
2. Solomon's religious success 8:12-16
3. Solomon's economic success 8L17—9:28
4. Solomon's death 9:29-31
IV. The reigns of Solomon's successors chs. 10—36
A. Rehoboam chs. 10—12
1. The division of the nation ch. 10
2. Rehoboam's kingdom ch. 11
3. The invasion by Egypt ch. 12
B. Abijah 13:1—14:1
C. Asa 14:2—16:14
1. Asa's wisdom 14:2-15
2. Asa's reform ch. 15
3. Asa's failure ch. 16
D. Jehoshaphat chs. 17—20
1. Summary of Jehoshaphat's reign 17:1-6
2. The strength of Jehoshaphat's kingdom 17:7-19
3. Jehoshaphat and Ahab ch. 18
4. Jehoshaphat's appointment of judges ch. 19
5. Victory over the Moabite-Ammonite alliance 20:1-30
6. Jehoshaphat's failures 20:31-37
E. Jehoram ch. 21
F. Ahaziah ch. 22
G. Athaliah ch. 23
H. Joash ch. 24
I. Amaziah ch. 25
J. Uzziah ch. 26
K. Jotham ch. 27
L. Ahaz ch. 28
M. Hezekiah chs. 29—32
1. The cleansing and rededication of the temple ch. 29
2. Hezekiah's Passover 30:1—31:1
3. Re-establishment of proper worship 31:2-21
4. The invasion by Sennacherib 32:1-23
5. Hezekiah's humility and greatness 32:24-33
N. Manasseh 33:1-20
O. Amon 33:21-25
P. Josiah chs. 34—35
1. Josiah's reforms ch. 34
2. Josiah's Passover 35:1-19
3. Josiah's death 35:20-27
Q. The last four kings 36:1-21
1. Jehoahaz 36:1-4
2. Jehoiakim 36:5-8
3. Jehoiachin 36:9-10
4. Zedekiah 36:11-21
R. The edict of Cyrus 36:22-23
Even though 1 and 2 Chronicles give one continuous story, the emphasis in 2 Chronicles is somewhat different from that in 1 Chronicles.
In 1 Chronicles, the emphasis is the importance of the temple in national life. However in 2 Chronicles, the emphasis is the impotence of the temple in national life.
First Chronicles condemns rationalism in national life: the idea that we can get along without God. Second Chronicles condemns ritualism in national life: the idea that what satisfies God is external conformity rather than internal reality.
First Chronicles emphasizes the importance of recognizing God in national life. Second Chronicles emphasizes the importance of following up that formal recognition with actual recognition in attitudes and actions. Second Chronicles is a negative lesson because in it we see that the Israelites' recognition of God was only formal, not actual.
In the first part of the book (chs. 1—9), we have the story of Solomon. It is a demonstration of the impotence and uselessness of merely formal religion. This comes through in four respects.
First, Solomon's inheritance was more than the throne of Israel. His throne only gave him the opportunity to fulfill God's purpose for his life. That purpose was to enable the people to acknowledge Yahweh's rule over them, which the temple symbolized. This had been David's great passion in life. He wanted the people to realize that national strength came from submission to God's heavenly throne. Solomon appreciated that fact. When he offered his first sacrifice as king to God, he did so at the old tabernacle, not at the temporary tent where the ark resided. He realized that Israel's strength lay in her relationship to God, which the tabernacle symbolized. His temple was to become the tabernacle's successor. Solomon's real inheritance, therefore, was his opportunity to build the temple as a reminder to the people of how important it was for them to recognize Yahweh as their real Ruler.
Second, Solomon's greatness was not really his wealth and political influence. These were the results of his greatness. His real greatness lay in his humility before God and in his intercession for the people with God. He later got away from these things, but when he first began to reign, he had the essentials of greatness.
Third, Solomon's service was not most importantly the administration of Israel, though he did that well. His primary service to the nation was the erection of the temple, which the writer emphasized.
Fourth, Solomon's failure was worse than his oppression of the people that set the stage for the division of the kingdom. It was essentially the fact that he ceased to recognize God's rule over him and his kingdom, the very thing the temple he had built promoted. His life became self-centered rather than God-centered. He stopped submitting to the Word of God. For Solomon the temple became only an outward form, not the expression of his inward life. It became an object of ritual rather than the expression of reality. In the years that followed, what had become true of Solomon became true of the whole nation.
In the second part of the book (chs. 10—36) we have the history of the nation Solomon ruled. It is an illustration of the impotence and uselessness of merely formal religion. We can observe this in four respects.
First, the division of the kingdom resulted because Rehoboam did not acknowledge God's sovereignty over the nation in reality, even though he did so formally. Rehoboam continued the true form of worship in Judah, whereas Jeroboam substituted a new form of worship in Israel. In both cases, the worship became only a matter of formal observance, not a matter of reality. That is why both nations eventually failed.
Second, the degeneracy of the kingdom of Judah, as well as Israel, continued because most of the kings and people that followed continued worship only as a matter of formal observance. This resulted, too, in increasing neglect of even the form. People do not continue to observe a form of worship that is devoid of power very long. Mere formalism dies eventually, as it should. The real issue in Judah was apostasy: infidelity to Yahweh.
Third, the reformations in the kingdom began at the temple. Asa restored the altar. Jehoshaphat sent messengers throughout the land to read the Word of God to the people. Joash renovated the temple. Hezekiah reopened it and revitalized worship in it. And Josiah repaired it. In each case, conditions were appalling when these reformations began. In Asa's day, the altar was in disrepair. In Jehoshaphat's day, the people were ignorant of God's Word. In Joash's day, Athaliah had damaged the temple. In Hezekiah's day, no one came to the temple. Its doors were shut and its worship abandoned. In Josiah's day, not one copy of the Law was available. When the king heard the copy read aloud, that someone had found in the rubble of the temple, he was completely unfamiliar with it. Throughout this period of history, about 350 years in chapters 10—36, Judah moved further and further from God.
Fourth, the ultimate disaster in the kingdom was the burning of the temple and the captivity of the people. All through the years, Solomon's temple had stood as a reminder to the people to recognize God's rule over them as a nation. It had become a hollow symbol, the symbol of a formal ritualism—rather than the symbol of a vital relationship. It was only fitting that when the nation ceased to exist, and the people left their land, the Babylonians destroyed the temple.
If 1 Chronicles teaches that it was necessary that the people recognize God, 2 Chronicles teaches that if that recognition is only formal and ceremonial, it is not only useless but impotent. That is the message of this book. If our recognition of God is only formal and not real, that recognition will be useless for us and impotent in us.
The message of this book is applicable to the church.
First, note the similarity that exists between Christians and the Israelites. They had a physical, material temple. We are a spiritual temple (1 Cor. 3:16; cf. 1 Pet. 2:4-10, esp. vv. 5, 9-10). As the presence of God filled Solomon's temple at its beginning, God's presence filled the church at its beginning (2 Chron. 5:13-14; Acts 2:1-4). As Solomon's temple was the center of national life in Israel, so the church is to be the center of international life in the world. As God intended Solomon's temple to remind His people of His heavenly rule over them, so God intended the church to remind all people of God's rule over them. As Solomon's temple became simply a symbol of a form of worship, so can the church. Christians must remember what we are here to do, namely: to call people to recognize God's gracious and beneficent rule over them that can result in their blessing.
Second, notice some manifestations of formalism in the church today. One of these is insistence on doctrinal orthodoxy without a corresponding vital spiritual life. This is what James called dead faith (James 2:20). This can mark individual Christians and local churches. I do not mean to suggest that doctrinal orthodoxy is unimportant. I am not suggesting that we tear down the temple. But we must make sure that our theological edifice is having its full effect and not merely giving us a false sense of God's approval. It is possible to argue for the correctness of our views and to curse the person who does not share them. That is an evidence of formalism. It is possible to go to church faithfully, and yet to live outside of church as though there were no God. That is ritualism. It is possible to worship God passionately—and then slack off at work. That is formalism, ritualism, empty hypocrisy.
Third, let us observe the consequences of formalism. The most serious consequence is not only that a church will fail to be what God wants it to be. It is also that it will fail to do what God has placed it on the earth to do. As Israel failed to bring the light of God's revelation to the world, the church can fail to do so too. Our nation and our world can rush headlong toward godlessness if we are content merely with playing church. We Christians can bear the marks of unworthy conduct, cowardice in the face of wrong, and carelessness about what is right. If we do, we will be useless and impotent. Why is the modern church so often unlike the Jerusalem church in Acts 2? It is often different because of formalism, ritualism, lack of reality. The world has no time or patience with formalism. Why are so many local churches not growing? Often they are stagnant because the Christians in them are just going through motions. There is no evidence to others that they are anything but useless and impotent.
Is your Christian life vital, or are you just going through motions? Watch out for what I call “the second year syndrome”: just going through the motions without a vital relationship with Christ. Two kinds of students show themselves in the second year of seminary: vital and dead. The difference is their personal relationship with Christ, not their brains, or grades, or study habits. The great Polish politician and pianist Paderewski is reported to have said, "If I fail to practice one day, I notice it. If I fail to practice two days, the critics notice it. If I fail to practice three days, everybody notices it." Christians must cultivate our walk with the Lord daily so that it does not degenerate into simply going through motions.
The Chronicler's main interest in David's reign in 1 Chronicles focused on the Davidic Covenant with God's promises to David and his descendants, including instructions for building the temple. In recounting the events of Solomon's reign, the writer proceeded to emphasize the temple that Solomon built. Almost everything he mentioned about Solomon ties in with the temple somehow. The writer of Kings, on the other hand, emphasized many different aspects of Solomon's reign, though his interest was particularly Solomon's fidelity to the Mosaic Covenant (1 Kings 1—11). In the rest of 2 Chronicles the writer likewise pointed out how the kings who succeeded Solomon cared for the temple and perpetuated temple worship.
When the Chronicler wrote his history, there was controversy over the second temple (i.e., the temple that Ezra built). Some of the residents in and around Jerusalem opposed its construction (Ezra 4:4-24; Hag. 1:2-4). If the returned exiles were to renew their (Mosaic) covenant relationship with God, they had to have a temple. There they could obey the laws regarding expiation of sin, worship, and fellowship with God (cf. Exod. 25:8).
Furthermore, when the Chronicler lived, the Israelites realized that God had not fulfilled the promises concerning David's son completely in Solomon's day, or during any of his successors' reigns. They looked for a Messiah to appear who would be both a king and a priest. The prophets had given revelation that such a person would come someday. He would be a perfect king who would rule the whole world, not just Israel (Ps. 2; et al.). Moreover he would be a priest, not of the Aaronic order, but of the order of Melchizedek (Ps. 110; et al.). David was the first king of Israel who served as a faithful priest after this order. He personally offered sacrifices and led the people in worship as well as in government. David's successors on the throne did the same things.
The prophets promised that Messiah would build a spiritual house (temple) for God. He would give attention to His people's worship of God and their fellowship with God. He would be a man of peace compared to David, who was a man of war (1Chron. 22:7-9). David's rule was the kind of rule the coming King would establish. Consequently, the writer of Chronicles measured all of David's successors by the standard of David and his kingdom.
Concern for temple worship marked David's rule (cf. 1 Chron. 17—29). The King who would fulfill God's covenant promises to David would have to possess similar zeal for temple worship (cf. John 2:17). The writer viewed Solomon as a second David and compared him to David, as Joshua compares to Moses. He also viewed Solomon and "Huram" (Hiram) as the new Bezalel and Oholiab, who were the builders of the tabernacle.The Chronicler reviewed the histories of David's successors to see if any one of them was that King. He showed in 2 Chronicles that none was. He was yet to come.
When Solomon began to rule, he stepped onto a political stage in the ancient Near East that God had prepared. There were no major empires reaching out to conquer surrounding territories, because the empires of the time had internal problems that demanded their attention. Some of them were experiencing harassment from their neighbors. Consequently, Solomon was free to solidify David's gains in an atmosphere of peace.
A Solomon's wealth and wisdom 1:1-17
B Recognition by Gentiles/dealings with Hiram 2:1-16
C Temple construction/gentile labor 2:17—5:1
D Dedication of the temple 5:2—7:10
D' Divine response 7:11-22
C' Other construction/gentile labor 8:1-16
B' Recognition by Gentiles/dealings with Hiram 8:17—9:12
A' Solomon's wealth and wisdom 9:13-28
"The center of a chiasm is ordinarily the peak moment of dramatic tension or the central interest of the writer. . . . His [this writer's] account does not focus on the building itself, but rather on the dedicatory addresses of Solomon and the divine response. In Chronicles particularly these speech materials constitute the 'charter' for the remainder of the Chronicler's historiography; the author will seek again and again to demonstrate the realization in Israel's history of the principles announced in Solomon's prayer and in God's response."
"In chap. i., before the history of the temple building, we have an account of the sacrifice at Gibeon by which Solomon inaugurated his reign (ver. 1-13), with some short notices of his power and riches (vers. 14-17)."
Solomon had some serious weaknesses that the writer of Kings pointed out. However, the Chronicler presented a generally positive picture of this great ruler, because Solomon did well regarding Yahweh worship at the temple. His people's spiritual life was one of Solomon's primary concerns. He devoted himself to making worship and fellowship with God possible for the Israelites. In this, he was similar to the promised ideal King.
"V 2 provides a brief but important glimpse into the military and tribal organization of early monarchic Israel. The military units were composed of 'hundreds' and 'thousands' raised by a levy along ancient tribal and clan lines and led by the 'heads of the families'; beyond this force raised by clan conscription, David and Solomon also had a standing army of professional soldiers. The units 'hundreds' and 'thousands' presumably represented divisions along clan and phratry [kinship group] or subphratry lines; the number of men at arms in each unit would be a function of the size of the clan and need not correspond in a literal way to the number one hundred or one thousand."
One of Solomon's first official acts as king was to worship Yahweh (v. 3). This happened at Gibeon where the central sanctuary stood. David had taken the ark into Jerusalem, but the Mosaic tabernacle at Gibeon was still a legitimate place of worship. It was the only place where the priests could offer sacrifices on the bronze altar that apparently remained from the wilderness wanderings.
The writer emphasized the legitimacy of Solomon's act of worship (vv. 3-6). Other "high places" were contaminated by association with Baal worship and were, therefore, under God's ban, even if the Israelites used them to worship Yahweh (cf. Num. 33:52; Deut. 12:2).
"The second book [of Chronicles] begins, theologically and not just geographically, at Gibeon, for 'the bronze altar . . . was there' (1:5a). The previous two chapters focus on what God does; these two [i.e., chs. 1 & 2] turn our attention to what man will do in response."
Solomon requested the wisdom he needed to understand and obey the Mosaic Law by which Israel's kings were to shepherd the nation (v. 10; cf. Deut. 4:5-8; 17:18-20; Matt. 7:7; James 1:5). Solomon's heart was right, as David's had been. He wanted to serve God faithfully and to honor Him above himself. He was off to a good start as Israel's shepherd.
The promise God gave Solomon in 1:7-10 was the basis of God's dealings with him thereafter. We should pay special attention to God's promises in our study of Scripture. They are essential to understanding why God behaves as He does.
"Hittites [v. 17] were the peoples of the ancient nation of Hatti in central Asia Minor. They reached the height of their power at about 1350–1300 B.C., but were nearly exterminated by the Sea Peoples in about 1200 B.C. There were pockets of Hittites in Solomon's day, mainly north of Israel among the Syrians."
"The right place to begin was with God. His favor and direction alone could give health and peace to the nation. Once again, therefore, the king is portrayed in a favorable light not in order to obscure his sins but in order to make the point that the good things he did are what we should imitate."
Solomon was a model of the ultimate Davidic temple builder. Consequently the writer gave his temple construction much attention. This was Solomon's major accomplishment from this writer's point of view.
Though he gave some attention to the materials Solomon used in the temple, the writer's primary interest was the communications between Solomon and Hiram ("Huram," the spelling of "Hiram" in Chronicles). Solomon's letter to Hiram (vv. 3-10) reveals that he had a sincere desire to glorify God. He did not regard building the temple as a duty David had imposed on him. Furthermore, his conception of Yahweh was appropriate and realistic (v. 5).
Solomon promised to send Hiram 125,000 bushels, or 3,750 tons, of ground wheat, and 20,000 baths, or 115,000 gallons, of wine, and the same amount of olive oil (v. 10).
Hiram's reply (vv. 11-16) shows that in Solomon's day, Israel was drawing Gentile nations to Yahweh. This was part of God's purpose for Israel and was something the ideal Son of David would accomplish (cf. Exod. 19:5-6; Hag. 2:7; Zech. 8:22-23). Verses 11 and 12 are not in the parallel passage in 1 Kings 5. The Chronicler also mentioned the lead craftsman "Huram-abi" (vv. 13-14), whose other name was "Hiram" (cf. 1 Kings 7:13-14), who was of mixed Danite and Tyrian ancestry.
This chapter concludes as it began: with a tally of the workers who carried loads, quarried stones, and supervised the laborers (vv. 17-18; cf. v. 2).
The mention of Mount Moriah as the site of the temple (v. 1) recalls God's provision of a substitute sacrifice for Isaac on that very spot (Gen. 22:2, 14). The temple would later stand there, and the high priest would offer a substitute sacrifice for Israel on the Day of Atonement each year there.
The glory of the temple was not so much its size as its quality and appearance. The writer stressed the gold that overlaid it and its general magnificence. Solomon used 600 talents of gold, or about 23 tons, to overlay the holy of holies alone. The significance of the temple was that it represented the glory of Yahweh, the greatest of all "gods" (2:5). In the ancient Near East a god's house (temple) represented the god. This section of text describes the temple "foundations" (v. 3), "the porch" (v. 4), the holy place ("the main room"; vv. 5-7), and the most holy place ("the holy of holies"; vv. 8-9).
The cherubim (3:10-13) represented angelic beings (cf. Gen. 3:24). Probably they looked more like the sculptured combination human-animal-bird creatures that archaeologists have discovered in the ancient Assyrian and Babylonian capitals, than like pudgy-winged children. The child image is traceable back to medieval Christian artists. The cherubim evidently stood against the back (west) wall of the temple and faced east toward the ark. They were twice as high as human beings. There were two freestanding cherubim beside the ark, as well as two smaller cherubim mounted on top of the ark (Exod. 25:18), for a total of four in the holy of holies.
The two pillars (3:15-17), while not "furnishings" in the usual sense, were evidently freestanding objects on the "porch" that served as visual aids designed to emphasize God's faithfulness and strength in establishing Israel (cf. 1 Kings 7:21; 2 Chron. 7:16). They were probably 18, rather than 35, cubits high (cf. 1 Kings 7:15; 2 Kings 25:17; Jer. 52:21). The whole temple façade was 30 cubits high (45 feet; 1 Kings 6:2). One explanation for this unusual "35 cubits" reference is that it is the result of a scribal confusion of the Hebrew numeral letters.
God designed other temple furnishings (ch. 4) to enable the priests to carry out the instructive ritual that the Mosaic Law prescribed. These furnishings and ritual taught, and reminded everyone who viewed them, lessons about God, man, and the relationship between them that God's grace had made possible. These furnishings included: a "bronze altar" (v. 1), a "sea" (large pool; vv. 2-5), 10 "basins" (v. 6), 10 "golden lampstands" (v. 7), 10 "tables" for showbread (v. 8), and the "court[yard]" (vv. 9-10). The capacity of the bronze "sea" (vv. 4, 5) was 3,000 baths, or about 27,000 gallons, which would have made it weigh about 110 tons, when it was full of water.
"The Chronicler . . . fashioned his account of Solomon as temple builder, with his helper Huram-Abi (2 Chr 4:16), on that of Bezalel, the tabernacle supervisor of building, and his helper Oholiab (Exod 36:1-2). Solomon is seen as the new Bezalel and Huram-Abi as the new Oholiab."
Chapter 4 concludes, and chapter 5 begins, with a summary catalogue of the temple utensils and furniture (4:11b-22), and a statement that Solomon brought all of David's contributions into the temple (5:1). The whole temple was a tribute to the greatness of Yahweh. It enhanced His reputation (2:4).
The dedication ceremony consisted of four parts: the installation of the ark, Solomon's address to the people, Solomon's prayer, and the celebration of the people.
Solomon dedicated the temple during the Feast of Tabernacles (v. 3). The priests brought the ark and the utensils, that had been in the tent David had pitched for the ark, into the temple. The temple site was north of, and higher than, the "city of David" where the Jerusalemites lived. Sacrifices of worship accompanied the installation. The descent of the cloud (shekinah) signified that God's presence now abode in the most holy place in a localized sense (cf. Exod. 40:34-35). From then on God dwelt there among His people until the Babylonians destroyed the temple in 586 B.C. (cf. Ezek. 10). His presence was the basis for Solomon's address to the people and his prayer that followed.
The statement in verse 9 that the poles of the ark were visible "to this day" suggests that someone wrote Chronicles before the destruction of the temple. However, most scholars believe the evidence for a postexilic date of composition is overwhelming, and that this reference is a copyist's mistake. Probably it came into this text from 1 Kings 8:8. Evidently the veil did not extend the full width of the sanctuary.
The evidence that God approved Solomon's construction of the temple was that the cloud filled it at its dedication (5:13-14). Fire also fell and consumed the sacrifices (7:1-3).
Solomon repeated some of the promises in the Davidic Covenant publicly. His completion of the temple fulfilled part of what God had promised. Complete fulfillment required Solomon's continued faithfulness to God (1 Chron. 28:9). Unfortunately, Solomon was not completely faithful, so some of those promises remained unfulfilled. Another Son of David would fulfill them later.
God had previously dwelt in the thick cloud on Mount Sinai (Exod. 20:21), as well as among His people in the wilderness (Exod. 40:34-35). This cloud again represented God's presence among His people (cf. 2 Sam. 22:7-18; Ps. 97:2; et al.).
God's choice of Jerusalem as His place of dwelling, and David as His vice-regent (v. 6), would have encouraged the returned exiles. They were back in Jerusalem, and the descendants of David lived among them. God had commended David's desire to glorify Himself (v. 8), another incentive for Solomon's hearers, for the restoration community, and for us.
In his prayer, Solomon explained the significance of God coming to indwell His temple. God had come to empower, to have fellowship, and to judge, if necessary. God was present among His people, and He would hear their prayers when they obediently called out to Him.
Solomon acknowledged that God had fulfilled some of the promises of the Davidic Covenant already (v. 15), but he also saw that there were others yet unfulfilled. He called on God to grant them (v. 16). Solomon's view of God was that He was both transcendent and immanent (v. 18). Even though God is everywhere at once, He can and does localize (not limit) His presence as well (e.g., the incarnate Christ, cf. John 2:20-21). At this period in history He localized His presence in the temple. Nevertheless, in heaven, He would hear the prayers of His people, wherever they might be when they called out to Him (vv. 38-39).
Solomon specified seven specific situations in which he asked the Lord to intervene in answer to prayer. These were when the people swore an oath in the temple (vv. 22-23), suffered defeat and exile from an enemy (vv. 24-25), and lacked rain (vv. 26-27). They were also when they experienced disease or other disasters (vv. 28-31), and when foreigners would come to pray toward the temple (vv. 32-33). The final two situations were when Israel was at war (vv. 34-35), and when Israel was in captivity due to sin (vv. 36-39).
In this prayer, there is plenty of evidence that Solomon understood God's purpose for Israel. He referred to God's name 14 times, showing his concern for the reputation of Yahweh. His concern for foreigners (vv. 32-33) shows that he realized that Israel was to reach out and share the knowledge and blessings of God with Gentiles. His concern for Israel's restoration and cleansing, following sin, shows that he realized Israel would need forgiveness in order to return to fellowship with God and fruitfulness as His servant.
This prayer is similar in its structure to Abraham's prayer recorded in Genesis 18:22-33. It also recalls Elijah's prayer on Mount Carmel in that God responded to both of these prayers with fire from heaven (7:1; cf. 1 Kings 18:38-39).
"In 2 Chr 6 Solomon is performing the duties of a king toward the cult and takes on almost a priestly role through his officiation. It is interesting to compare this prayer with John 17, a passage popularly called the 'high priestly prayer of Jesus.' Both prayers are concerned with the glory of God, manifest in the cloud at the temple and in the presence of the Son of God (John 17:1, 5, 10, 22, 24); both prayers constitute somewhat of a 'charter' for the subsequent history of the people of God and are basically oriented to generations to follow (John 17:6, 9, 20). Both prayers occur at the completion of work undertaken by divine appointment (5:1; 6:10-11; John 17:4); both are concerned to solicit divine protection for those who follow (John 19:11-12, 15). But for all of their similarities, two prayers could hardly contrast more as representatives of the old and the new covenant[s]."
At the conclusion of Solomon's prayer, fire fell from heaven and consumed the offerings. Evidently smoke filled the temple, which the people associated with God's glory (cf. Exod. 19:18). There was so much smoke that the priests could not enter the temple proper. This spectacular demonstration caused the people to fall on their faces and praise God for His goodness and everlasting lovingkindness.
Years later, Ezekiel saw, in a vision, the glory of the Lord depart from this temple, when the Babylonians took Judah captive (Ezek. 9:3; 10:4, 18-19; 11:22-23). But Ezekiel also saw, in the future, the glory of the Lord return to His future temple (Ezek. 43:2-5; 44:4).
Celebration followed God's descent to His temple and His people. This celebration consisted of a seven-day dedication of the bronze altar, followed by the seven-day Feast of Tabernacles. The very large number of sacrifices Solomon offered seems incredible, but there are records of other large sacrifices such as this one that scholars have discovered from ancient times (cf. 1 Kings 8:63).
"To anyone who thinks they were slaying too many animals for sacrifice, how many animals are slain in this country every day? There are thousands of animals slain every day in the packing houses of our country. No one raises a voice or does anything to protest that. After all, that is to satisfy us. But when something is done for the glory of God, there will always be people who will object."
"The double attestation of the temple, in 5:13, 14 and 7:1-3a, reminds one of the twofold divine endorsement of Jesus, with a voice from heaven at his baptism and a voice from the cloud of glory at his transfiguration (Mark 1:11; 9:7)."
This record of the dedication of the temple emphasizes both the importance of the temple and the character of Israel's God who indwelt it. Solomon reunited the ark, the symbol of God's grace, and the altar, the symbol of human sacrificial response to that grace. It was now possible for Israel to fulfill the purpose for which God had created her as never before in her history. The temple was the key to this possibility. That is one reason the temple was so important in the national life of Israel.
God responded to Solomon's prayer with a special revelation. He promised to grant the petitions of the people, as Solomon had requested, if they manifested a true heart for Him (vv. 12-14). Verses 13 and 14 are a short summary of the message of Chronicles. Raymond Dillard argued that 2 Chronicles 7:14 was also a "charter" for the rest of Israel's history.
"This verse [v. 14] is of vital significance for the Chronicler's theology. Four avenues of repentance are mentioned that will lead God to forgive and restore. Each of these is taken up at appropriate places in the later narrative of Chronicles, often in connection with one of the remarkable interventions of God."
God would establish Solomon's kingdom if he fully obeyed God's Word (vv. 17-18). However, if Solomon proved unfaithful, the nation might go into exile, and Israel's enemies might destroy the temple (vv. 19-22).
This passage shows how to avoid the consequences of disobedience: submit to God, pray, and repent (i.e., change direction, not just feeling; v. 14). This remedy is as applicable today as it was in postexilic Israel and in the days of Israel's monarchy. The promise that God would "heal their land" ties in with His earlier promise to bless the Israelites' land with rain and fertility if they obeyed His commandments in the Mosaic Law (Deut. 28:11-12). God has not promised specifically to heal the land of other believers who obey His will for them. However, He has promised to bless generally those who do so (Ps. 1; Matt 6:33; Gal. 6:7-8; et al.).
"Solomon's prayer and God's response form the center of the author's Solomon narrative; the Chronicler will remain through the rest of his history concerned to show that God did indeed keep his promise to Solomon to answer with favor the prayers and repentance of his people."
This section of the text is similar to 1 Chronicles 18—21. Those chapters showed how God kept His promises to David that the Chronicler recorded in 1 Chronicles 17:8-12. These chapters (8—9) show how God kept His promise to Solomon in 1:12 and 7:17-18. Chapter 8 parallels 1 Kings 9:10-28.
This pericope describes Solomon's cities (vv. 1-6), his labor force (vv. 7-10), and his wife's ("Pharaoh's daughter['s]") house (v. 11). God blessed Solomon by giving him good relations with King Hiram of Tyre (vv. 2, 18). Hiram evidently returned the cities Solomon had previously given (or mortgaged) to him (v. 2; cf. 1 Kings 9:10-14). Then Solomon developed these towns. Solomon also captured more territory and fortified many cities (vv. 3-6).
"It seems safe to say that, following this action, Israel controlled more territory than at any other time in its history. In his day, Solomon was probably the most powerful and influential ruler in the Middle East."
Moreover, Solomon controlled the native Canaanite population (v. 8). Verse 3, which is very brief, is the only reference in Chronicles to Solomon's military activity. Everywhere else his image is that of a peaceful king (1 Chron. 22:9).
Solomon was faithful to perform what the Mosaic Law and David required in ritual worship (vv. 12-15). In this he succeeded, though in his heart he departed from the Lord. The Chronicler gave him credit where credit was due and did not draw attention to his failings. Solomon finally completed the construction of the temple (v. 16).
"This verse [v. 16] represents an important literary mark in the story of the Chronicler, concluding the long section that began at 2:1. A similar phrase to 'so the temple of the LORD was finished' occurs in 29:35, as the Chronicler concluded his account of the restoration of the temple service under Hezekiah."
God gave Solomon wisdom and wealth as He had promised (1:12). The location of Ophir (8:18) is uncertain. Scholars have suggested India, Somalia on the east coast of Africa, West Arabia, and South Arabia.
The Queen of Sheba attested to Solomon's wisdom and wealth (9:1-12; cf. 1 Kings 10:1-13). God's purpose for Israel was that His people should draw the nations to Yahweh (Exod. 19:5-6). We see Israel realizing this purpose partially in this queen's visit to Solomon. She came to listen to him, and she brought gifts to him (cf. Isa. 2:3; 60:3, 5-6; Hag. 2:7).
"Negotiations with Solomon concerning trade in aromatic resins were to be expected. Frankincense and myrrh were in high demand for use in pharmacopoeia and cosmetics, embalming and religious offerings (Isa 60:6; Jer 6:20). Frankincense and myrrh ranked alongside gold for trade and as gifts for a king."
"The Queen of Sheba who came to Jerusalem with much wealth and found that she had only imagined the half of the king's wisdom gives a dramatic picture of the hope that the Chronicler, along with the prophets, had vested in the Davidic kingship."
Other Gentile nations also contributed greatly to Solomon's wealth (vv. 22-24; cf. 1 Kings 10:14-29). God brought this wealth to Solomon because of his obedience. Nevertheless, Solomon only partially fulfilled God's promises. Their complete fulfillment awaited the appearance of the perfectly obedient Son of David.
The Chronicler omitted any reference to Solomon's apostasy that resulted in the division of the kingdom (cf. 1 Kings 11:9-11). By doing so, he was not trying to whitewash Solomon's record. The Book of Kings was available to the postexilic community as were other records of Solomon's reign, to which he referred his readers (v. 29). Iddo was a seer (cf. 12:15) and prophet (13:22) whose ministry apparently consisted primarily in writing books. No references to him depict him as involved in any other event.
The writer chose to present only those aspects of Solomon's career in which he provided a positive example of trust and obedience and consequent blessing. His purpose was to encourage his readers with a good example and to build hope for the future King, not to lament the past. The purpose of Chronicles thus emerges quite clearly. It was to preach a message for the present generation from the earlier historical records. It was not primarily to provide a parallel or supplementary historical record to what existed in Samuel and Kings.
Solomon modeled the ultimate Davidic temple builder. He was wise and prosperous. He built and dedicated the glorious temple, and he received the wealth of the Gentiles who sought his wisdom. David's ultimate Son would do all of these things too. Solomon proved not to be the Son of David who would rule forever. Nevertheless, his reign helped the Jews of the restoration period know what they needed to do, and to what they could look forward.
"The Chronicler's aim in his portrayal of Solomon is to show how God governed the events of history to impart to the kingdom of Israel, at least once, a splendour [sic] which was fit to symbolize his own. . . . The Kings and Chronicles accounts, taken together, become another testimony—alongside the whole biblical picture of David—to the way in which God deigns to use great sinners in the work of his kingdom, so much so that the OT's latest picture of Solomon does not even remember his sins."
"Though the history of research in Chronicles has been characterized by vigorous debate surrounding the author's theology, date, and purpose, on one theme of his historiography there is a near consensus. The Chronicler's adherence to a 'theology of immediate retribution' provides his dominant compositional technique, particularly formative in his approach to the history of Judah after the schism. 'Retribution theology' refers to the author's apparent conviction that reward and punishment are not deferred, but rather follow immediately on the heels of the precipitating events. For the Chronicler sin always brings judgment and disaster, while obedience and righteousness yield the fruit of peace and prosperity. Even a cursory reading of the text reveals the contours of the writer's convictions; they are both (1) specifically articulated [cf. 1 Chron. 28:8b-9; 2 Chron. 7:14; 12:5; 20:20] and (2) demonstrated in his reshaping of narratives."
"Of the twenty-six chapters devoted to this period, about half of the material is unique to the Chronicler, without parallel in Kings; the vast majority of this nonsynoptic material is directly in the service of retribution theology as the Chronicler seeks to provide the theological rationale for the events he narrates."
"The Chronicler has not reduced the principle of retribution to its logical extreme, such that it is a barren and unalterable law in his writings. Punishment does not always follow hard on the heels of transgression, not until the prophets come with their warnings and offers of mercy from God. Not every attack of an enemy army is due to transgression (2 Chr 32:1; 16:1; 25:13)."
The reason for this approach seems to be that the Chronicler wanted to encourage and warn his audience that both obedience and disobedience usually have immediate consequences. The Book of Job deals with the fact that retribution is not always immediate.
"With the close of Solomon's reign we embark upon a new phase in Chr.'s account of Israel's history. That account can be broadly divided . . . into the pre-Davidic era, the time of David and Solomon, and the period of the divided monarchy up until the Babylonian exile."
". . . the Chronicler never regarded the northern monarchy as anything but illegitimate and a rebellion against God's chosen dynasty. As far as he was concerned, all Israel had one and only one ruling family."
The writer continued his "sermon" by evaluating each of Solomon's successors with the same yardstick he had used on Solomon, namely, the example of David. His intent appears to have been to show that none of David's descendants measured up to him, much less surpassed him. Consequently, the promised Son of David was yet to appear. The relationship of each king to temple worship showed his heart commitment to God. So there is much in what follows that deals with the kings' relationship to the temple and temple worship. The subject of spiritual revival is a notable theme of this part of 2 Chronicles.
This writer selected three things to stress in regard to Rehoboam's reign: the division of the kingdom (ch. 10), characteristics of both the northern and southern kingdoms, but especially Rehoboam's (ch. 11), and Egypt's invasion of Rehoboam's kingdom (ch. 12).
This account is very similar to the one in 1 Kings 12. However, in Kings the reason for the schism was Solomon's sinfulness, but in Chronicles the reasons are Jeroboam's lust for power and Rehoboam's folly. This is another case of "both/and," rather than "either/or." Solomon's son Rehoboam did not act wisely and therefore lost his kingdom.
The chapter unfolds as follows: the people's request (vv. 1-5), Rehoboam's options (vv. 6-11), Rehoboam's answer (vv. 12-15), the people's revolt (vv. 16-19).
"Rehoboam represented the third generation of the Davidic dynasty, and so often it's the third generation that starts to tear down what the previous generations have built up. The people of Israel served the Lord during Joshua's days and during the days of the elders he had trained, but when the third generation came along, they turned to idols, and the nation fell apart (Judg. 2:7-10). I've seen this same phenomenon in businesses and local churches."
The Chronicler added that a prophet had foretold this situation (v. 15; cf. 11:1-4). The division of the kingdom looked like a tragedy, but it was part of God's plan for His people. That would have given hope to the original readers since the captivity looked like a tragedy, but prophets had foretold it too. It was part of God's sovereign will. Furthermore it was not the end of the nation (cf. Ezek. 37:11-13).
"Jeroboam stands forever as a caution against the danger of becoming passionately angry about a rightly perceived evil, yet blinded by that passion to such an extent that all measures taken against it seem right. When this happens there is almost inevitably a failure, ironically, to distinguish between right and wrong."
This chapter is unique to Chronicles. It divides as follows: civil war avoided (vv. 1-4), civil projects completed (vv. 5-12), migrations from Israel to Judah (vv. 13-17), and Rehoboam's family (vv. 18-23). This chapter contains an evaluation of both Northern and Southern Kingdoms.
Dillard believed that the large numbers of troops should be taken literally (v. 1; cf. 1 Kings 12:21; 2 Kings 14:7; 1 Chron. 21:5; 27:1; 2 Chron. 25:5). Israel set up a humanly devised form of worship (v. 15). This resulted in many of the faithful followers of Yahweh traveling from Israel to Judah so they could continue to worship God as He had specified (vv. 14, 16). Many faithful worshippers of Yahweh thus populated Judah.
"Some priests and Levites merely 'sided with Rehoboam' (v. 13) and remained in Israel, but others gave up their property in Israel and moved permanently to Judah (v. 14). A third group stayed in Israel but traveled to Jerusalem three times a year for the annual feasts (v. 16). (To some extent, we have these same three groups in the churches today.)"
"Just as the forced exile of hundreds of thousands of godly French Huguenots brought incalculable blessing to surrounding nations in the seventeenth century A.D., so this influx of spiritually-minded Israelites 'strengthened the kingdom of Judah and made Rehoboam the son of Solomon strong, three years' (II Chron. 11:17) and modified God's otherwise negative evaluation of his entire reign: 'in Judah there were good things found' (II Chron. 12:12)."
The true Israel was now in Judah (cf. v. 3; 12:1). The faithfulness of these northern Yahweh worshippers lasted only three years, however (v. 17). Rehoboam, like Solomon, was not entirely faithful. In spite of Rehoboam's foolish decision in the last chapter, the Chronicler gave him credit for acting "wisely" in this one (v. 23). However, the Chronicler was harder on Rehoboam than was the writer of Kings, and the Chronicler regarded the prophets highly.
"One way the Chronicler demonstrates the cycles of obedience and blessing or sin and punishment that are the basis of retribution theology is by introducing chronological notes [v. 17] into his record."
"Each of the three short paragraphs which make up this section [11:5-23] uses a motif (building; defection of the faithful from the north to the south; large family) which the Chronicler regularly uses to demonstrate God's reward for faithfulness."
"According to G. Schaefer (Seeking, 28-29), of the 165 speeches in Chronicles, 95 have parallels in Samuel/Kings; many of the nonparallel speeches tend to be longer. Of these the speeches of prophets and kings are particularly important as vehicles for the Chronicler's own theological assessments."
This chapter divides as follows: Rehoboam's apostasy and repentance (vv. 1-6), the Lord's judgment (vv. 7-8), Shishak's invasion (vv. 9-12), a summary of Rehoboam's reign (vv. 13-14), and the writer's sources for Rehoboam's reign (vv. 15-6).
The writer pointed out clearly the connection between Shishak's invasion and Rehoboam's unfaithfulness (vv. 1-5; cf. Prov. 3:12). This chapter gives another example of Rehoboam's lack of wisdom (cf. ch. 10). However, it also credits him with humbling himself and repenting (vv. 6-7, 12). Consequently, "conditions were good in Judah" (v. 12).
"The inhabitants of the kingdom of Judah are here [vv. 1, 6] called Israel, to hint at the contrast between the actual conduct of the people in their defection from the Lord, and the destiny of Israel, the people of God."
"The passage makes use of terms that are characteristic of the Chronicler's theology of divine retribution, namely, 'forsake' or 'abandon' (vv. 1, 5), 'be unfaithful' (v. 2), and 'humble oneself' (vv. 6-7, 12). The Shishak incident provided a model of the sort of thing that could happen again."
"After three years of stability, Rehoboam led Judah into apostasy. There are conscious parallels with Saul. The 'unfaithfulness' of v. 2 is the same term as that which was applied to Israel's first king (1 Chr. 10:13). Rehoboam, therefore, has entered upon what might be termed a 'Saul' period in his reign, which contrasts with the early phase, in which he 'walked . . . in the way of David and Solomon'."
"The Lubim [v. 3] were the Libyans. The Sukkiim were other desert tribes, perhaps from western Libya. Ethiopians: Sometimes referred to as Cushites, these famous warriors originated in the land south of Egypt."
Rehoboam's repentance caused God to spare Judah from the Egyptians' destruction, but Judah became a vassal state of Egypt (vv. 6-8, 12; cf. Ps. 51:17). Overall, Rehoboam failed to set his heart on the Lord (v. 14). This resulted in his doing evil, namely, not leading the people to follow Yahweh as David had done.
"Perhaps the most important theological statement in this entire account is 12:6, 'Righteous is Yahweh!' Even in humbling himself at Shemaiah's reproach, this meant that Rehoboam could not escape Shishak. The principle of divine righteousness governs Chr[onicler]H[istorian]'s entire pattern of coming punishments on apostasy."
"The destiny of any country depends to a great extent on the character of its leaders; and this was particularly the case among the Hebrews, into whose history God chose to intervene more directly than he has for other nations."
Abijah generally did not please God (1 Kings 15:3). However there was the instance the Chronicler recorded in which he spoke out in favor of the temple, the priests, and the Levites against the apostate Jeroboam I and Israel.
This is the only place in Chronicles where the writer linked the reigns of the southern and northern kings (vv. 1-2). He may have done this to identify the occasion on which Abijah made his speech, since he and Jeroboam were constantly fighting. Abijah took the offensive this time, even though Jeroboam's army outnumbered his two soldiers to one (v. 3). Since the town of Zemaraim lay within the territory of Benjamin (Josh. 18:22), this battle must have taken place near the border between Ephraim (Israel) and Judah.
Abijah charged Israel with fighting against Yahweh, since the Judahites had remained faithful to Him, evidenced by their following the proper worship requirements (vv. 11-12). Judah won because the people relied on Yahweh (vv. 15, 18).
The reference to a "covenant of salt" (v. 5) suggests the connection between the ratification of a treaty and a meal (Exod. 24:11) at which salt provided the seasoning (cf. Lev. 2:13). Normally participants sealed covenants by eating a meal together. What is more important, salt as a preservative symbolized the covenant-makers' hope that their agreement would last a long time (cf. Num. 18:19).
The real difference between the Southern and Northern Kingdoms was theological. Judah was relying on what God had done, but Israel was trusting in what she could do. The temple site and ritual were God's provision for His people (cf. Gen. 22:14). Israel had rejected these, and had set up a system of her own devising that she hoped would make her acceptable to God. Israel had rejected God's grace and had adopted a works system of worship.
This chapter is the only assessment in Chronicles of the Northern Kingdom's sin. From here on, the writer's attention focused on Judah primarily.
Other evidences of God's blessing on Abijah were the cities he was able to take from Israel (v. 19), the death of his enemy, Jeroboam (v. 20), his power (v. 21), and his many children (v. 21). Though marrying many wives was a sin, fathering many children was an evidence of divine blessing (fruitfulness). The writer's notation "the treatise of the prophet Iddo" (v. 27) is literally in Hebrew "the midrash of the prophet Iddo." A midrash is a commentary (cf. 24:27).
Chronicles gives much more attention to Asa than Kings does. That is because Asa's experiences illustrated the points the Chronicler wanted to drive home to his readers.
We have already seen in Rehoboam's history that obedience brought blessing from God, but disobedience brought discipline (chs. 11—12). The Chronicler used this retributive motif frequently. We see it clearly here in Asa's history. In chapters 14—15 we see Asa obeying and blessed. In chapter 16 he was disobedient, and God disciplined him.
Asa inherited a kingdom at peace. He wisely used the peace to purge the idolatry that had crept into Judah (vv. 3-5). The term "Asherim" (pl. of 'asherah) refers to the various representations of Baal's goddess consort Asherah. The Canaanites believed this goddess resided in a carved wooden pole that they erected beside a carved stone pillar in which they believed Baal abode. Both the wooden poles and the stone pillars served as incense stands, and both were idols.
"Sacred pillars were stone posts associated with Canaanite fertility rites. Wooden images were fashioned from live evergreen trees, which were regarded as a fertility symbol, since they retain their leaves throughout the year. Eventually, cut poles took the place of live trees, because they could be erected anywhere, even in places where trees did not grow."
Asa also fortified his defenses against future attacks from the North (vv. 6-8). Because of his trust in Yahweh, God gave him deliverance from his attackers (vv. 9-15).
"They [the Cushites, v. 9] have been identified with Ethiopians (cf. 16:8). This is rejected by recent commentators. The reference in 14:15 to a Bedouin group with sheep, goats, and camels that Asa drove off has led several recent writers to suggest that Cush may have been an ethnic group living in the vicinity of Judah (cf. Hab 3:7)."
Asa's prayer (v. 11) is a model for all who are in distress to follow. In all these events, Asa followed the good examples of David and Solomon.
The Chronicler featured Azariah's sermon (vv. 1-7), Asa's reformation (vv. 8-15), and Maacah's removal (vv. 16-19) during the middle part of Asa's reign.
A message from the prophet Azariah, who is mentioned only here, was the spark that ignited revival in Asa's day. Gerhard von Rad named the literary form in which a confessional statement is made with a quotation from the canonical prophets as "the Levitical Sermon" (cf. vv. 2-7; 16:7-9; 19:6-7; 20:15-17, 20; 29:5-11). Asa responded to Azariah's challenge by rededicating the temple, himself, and his people to the Mosaic Covenant. He even executed those who refused to submit to that covenant (Exod. 22:20; Deut. 13:6-9). His removal of the powerful dowager queen (v. 16) shows that he put spiritual purity above family loyalty. Actually, "Maacah" was Asa's grandmother, not his "mother" (cf. 11:20-21; 1 Kings 15:2). In 13:2 she is called "Micaiah."
Other significant queen mothers during the monarchy were Bathsheba, Jezebel, and Athaliah. Unfortunately, Asa's revival did not result in the removal of the high places in Israel (v. 17), even though Asa destroyed them in Judah (cf. 14:3). Asa's heart was not sinless, but it was blameless all his days (v. 17). God considers a person blameless when he or she deals with his or her sins appropriately, rather than ignoring them. Zeal for the house and worship of the Lord marked Asa as a true son of David.
There are two types of revivals. Some revivals are occasions when God’s people attain new heights of godliness never achieved before. Other revivals are occasions when God’s people return to a level of godliness that is God’s will, from which they had departed. It is the second type that was more characteristic of the revivals in Judah. Every revival in Israel's history involved returning to the Law of Moses.
J. Vernon McGee wrote that there are three bridges that must be crossed on the road to revival, and we see these in the record of Asa in 2 Chronicles. These are: knowledge of the Word of God (14:4; 15:3), scriptural separation (14:3, 5; 15:8, 13, 16), and faith in God (14:11; 15:4, 12).
The writer counted Simeon among the northern tribes because many of the Simeonites, although some lived within the tribe of Judah, allied with their northern brothers in their religion (cf. 34:6). Many Simeonites had apparently moved north into Israel.
Three parts also mark this record of the later period of Asa's reign: his war with Baasha (vv. 1-6), Hanani's sermon (vv. 7-10), and the conclusion of his reign (vv. 11-14).
There is a chronological problem in verse 1, which says: "In the thirty-sixth year of Asa's reign Baasha king of Israel" attacked Judah. But in 1 Kings 16:8 and 10 we read: "In the twenty-sixth year of Asa . . . Elah the son of Baasha became king over Israel." Keil attributed the difference to a scribal error and concluded that the number in 1 Kings is correct.
Asa's heart was right in that he consistently loved God. Nevertheless, like David, his obedience lapsed. He trusted in a foreign alliance and later in physicians more than in Yahweh. This resulted in defeat and death.
"Asa, then, has done a complete volte-face from his earlier faithfulness. It is as if we meet two altogether different Asas. He appeared first in the strength of God-reliance, now in the weakness of self-reliance."
Rather than confessing his guilt, Asa became angry and oppressed his own kingdom. It may have looked for a while as if Asa was the Son of David who would perfectly trust and obey God. Unfortunately he did not remain faithful.
"There are some occasions in the Bible when a person's handling of some small matter is taken as an indication of his capacity to handle a large one (e.g. Matt. 25:21, 23; Jer. 12:5). Asa, however, having passed the sternest of tests first (by withstanding Zerah), fails a comparatively trivial one."
Verse 9 is especially noteworthy (cf. Zech. 4:10). No problem can arise for God's people of which He is not aware and out of which He cannot deliver them if they commit themselves to Him fully (cf. Rom. 8:28). Verse 10 records the first persecution of a prophet, but many others followed (cf. 1 Kings 22:27; Mark 6:17-18).
"The lesson of Asa is clear: when formidable enemies attack God's people, their trust in Yahweh will assure them the victory. But when they use force and intrigue on their own initiative, ignoring their special calling as his people, they bring ineluctable [i.e., inescapable] ruin on themselves and their posterity."
This account of Jehoshaphat's rule reveals that God was then actively leading His people. These were the years of alliance with Israel, and Ahab was on the throne of the Northern Kingdom.
The Chronicler deliberately presented Jehoshaphat's record very similarly to the way he recounted Asa's experiences. In chapters 17—20, as in 14—16, we have a series of contrasts that teach the same lessons. These lessons are the importance of depending on Yahweh and being loyal to Him by obeying His Word and seeking His help.
Both Asa and Jehoshaphat followed similar patterns of reform, experienced victory in battle, and transgressed. Both of them suppressed and failed to suppress the high places (cf. 14:2-5; 17:6). Both enjoyed prosperity, conducted great building programs, and experienced victory in battle because of their obedience. Both made foreign alliances, and both are mentioned together as the standard of piety to which Jehoram failed to attain.
Jehoshaphat did right because he followed David's example (v. 3). He remained faithful to Yahweh by obeying His Law rather than worshipping Baal (vv. 3-4). Consequently God blessed his reign by giving him riches and honor (v. 5). The king took pride in obeying God, and he weeded out the high places that kept sprouting up around Judah (v. 6).
This survey of the king's administrative accomplishments is not in Kings. Jehoshaphat sent teachers of the Mosaic Law throughout Judah to enable the people to know God's will (vv. 7-9). Thus he fortified his nation spiritually as well as physically. God blessed this effort to glorify Him by putting the fear of the Lord in Judah's enemies (v. 11). Again we see Gentiles bringing gifts to the Davidic king who walked in the ways of the Lord, as in Solomon's day (cf. 9:14; 26:8). Jehoshaphat strengthened Judah by building and stocking his cities and his military forces, as well (vv. 12-19).
This chapter is very similar to 1 Kings 22. Since Jehoshaphat "had great riches and honor," he did not need to make an alliance with Ahab "by marriage" (v. 1). This alliance proved to be a source of much trouble for Jehoshaphat. However, generally Jehoshaphat's concern for God's will guided his actions (vv. 4, 6). For other instances of prophets providing war oracles for the Divine Warrior, see 11:1-4; 1 Kings 20:13, 28; 2 Kings 3:11-19; 6:12-22; 7:1-7; 13:14-20; and 2 Chronicles 20:14-19. The Chronicler undoubtedly wanted to encourage his audience toward repentance and restoration by showing them first how low Jehoshaphat could sink and then how the consequences of his failure were reversed. Ahab's disregard for Yahweh makes Jehoshaphat's faithfulness to Him stand out even more dramatically.
The end of verse 31 is unique to the Chronicler's account.
It was God who delivered Jehoshaphat in the heat of battle but put Ahab to death. The writer of Kings recorded this incident to show the fulfillment of Elijah's prophecy that Ahab would die for his murder of Naboth (cf. 1 Kings 22:37-38). The writer of Chronicles used it to show how God delivered Jehoshaphat because he followed God and cried out to Him for help when he was in trouble.
Even though God had spared Jehoshaphat's life in the battle, his close brush with death was the result of an unwise decision to help ungodly Ahab (cf. 2 Cor. 6:14-15. A prophet rebuked him for this alliance (v. 2).
"A Christian's attachment to God is necessarily expressed in the kind of atmosphere in which he prefers to live and move and have his being. Company, pursuits, ambitions will all bear upon them the mark of a love of God. This is by no means to put an embargo upon normal social intercourse with those who are not basically like-minded. It has to do with the sort of life-pattern which one chooses to construct. The task of construction is no easy one, and the temptation is to model oneself upon the 'architects' about us. This was Jehoshaphat's fault, and his error calls us to consistency in exhibiting the characteristics which are truly Christian. (See further Rom. 12:1f.; Gal. 5:16-26.)"
Jehoshaphat sought to help the upright and to punish the wicked by appointing judges in Judah. Perhaps Jehu's words encouraged Jehoshaphat's decision to appoint judges (v. 2). The king instructed the judges to remember that they were acting in God's place when they judged. Therefore they needed to be fair (vv. 6-7).
Jehoshaphat's judges not only made legal decisions, they instructed the people in God's ways. In this, Jehoshaphat followed Moses' example (Exod. 18:17-26). As in Israel's earlier history, there were both local judges and a supreme court of appeals in Jehoshaphat's day (vv. 5, 8, 11). The king himself became actively involved in judging and teaching the people. Evidently the Israelites had failed to continue the judicial policy that Moses had established, and Jehoshaphat revived it.
"One of the greatest sadnesses of Christians who have been in positions of responsibility within the Church, but who have become burdened by guilt because of some sin, is a sense that they are no more qualified to serve. The author of the greatest penitential Psalm feared as much. Yet in the throes of his prayer for restoration he gains the assurance that he shall again 'teach transgressors thy ways' (Ps. 51:13). The experience of Jehoshaphat proves the point."
This chapter does not appear in Kings. It illustrates well that "the Lord will rule (judge)," the meaning of Jehoshaphat's name and the truth that characterized his reign. The "Meunites" (v. 1; 26:7 1 Chron. 4:41) evidently lived in the neighborhood of Petra, southeast of the Dead Sea. The motif of retribution is very strong here. God gave victory because Jehoshaphat and Judah trusted and obeyed Him (v. 17).
Jehoshaphat's prayer (vv. 6-12) was very similar to Solomon's at the temple dedication (cf. 6:12-42). Jehoshaphat based his petition for deliverance on God's promises (vv. 5-9). Verse 12 is another classic expression of trust in the Lord (cf. 1 Sam. 17:47).
God revealed what the king was to do. Essentially he was just to observe the victory that God would give him (v. 15). The expression, "Do not fear," (v. 17) occurs 365 times in the Bible, one for every day of the year. The wilderness of Tekoa (v. 20) was the Judean wilderness near the town of Tekoa that stood 10 miles south of Jerusalem. Other blessings God brought to Judah as a result of Jehoshaphat's faith were spoil from the nations (v. 25), her enemies' fear of Judah that restricted other attacks (v. 29), and peace (v. 30).
"The unusually large quantity of booty is accounted for by the fact that these peoples had gone forth with all their property to drive the Israelites out of their inheritance, and to take possession of their land for themselves; so that this invasion of Judah was a kind of migration of the peoples, such as those which, at a later time, have been repeated on a gigantic scale, and have poured forth from Central Asia over the whole of Europe."
The reference to Jehoshaphat not removing the high places (v. 33) seems to contradict what the writer said in 17:6. Perhaps when the people rebuilt the high places that Jehoshaphat destroyed earlier in his reign, he failed to tear them down again. Another view is that he tore down the better known high places, but let stand those at which many of the common people worshipped (cf. 1 Kings 22:43). In not removing all of the high places, the king fell short of the complete obedience required for God to establish his throne forever (1 Chron. 17:11-14). Jehoshaphat's alliance with Ahaziah, king of Israel, was another instance in which he failed to trust and obey God as he should have done (vv. 35-37).
"The weakness of Jehoshaphat, then, is a perilous thing. It is actually related to his excellence as a shepherd. He cares; if he is to be a good pastor, he cannot afford to be hard-hearted. His troubles begin when he is not sufficiently hard-hearted."
The reference to Jehoshaphat having been the king of "Israel" (v. 2) is not an error. As we have already noted, the Chronicler regarded Judah as the true Israel and sometimes referred to Judah as Israel (cf. 12:6; 23:2; et al.). Furthermore, Jehoshaphat walked in the footsteps of Israel ("Prince with God"), whose other name was "Jacob".
The events from Jehoram's reign that the Chronicler selected present a classic example of the consequences that follow departing from Yahweh. The king violated God's will by murdering his brothers (v. 4) and practicing idolatry (v. 6).
The retributions Yahweh brought for these sins were the rebellion of and invasion by his neighbor nations (vv. 8-10, 16-17), his own painful death (vv. 18-19), and death with no one's regret (v. 19).
"It cannot be said too often that the tracing of cause and effect which so typifies Chr. does not imply that all suffering is the result of specific sin. The central point here relates rather to the folly and wickedness of usurping the place of God. Jehoram did not merely aim to exercise authority. He sought to control destinies. The same urge is not absent from the twentieth century."
Even though Jehoram apostatized, largely through the influence of his wife and in-laws in Israel (v. 6), God did not cut off the Davidic line. This was because He had promised David He would never do that (v. 7).
It is significant that the prophet God sent to announce judgment on Jehoram was Elijah (v. 12), who was still alive at this time. Elijah's ministry was to condemn Baalism in Israel, but God sent him to Jehoram because Jehoram shared the same guilt as the kings of Ahab's house. This is the only record we have of a prophet from the Northern Kingdom rebuking a king of the Southern Kingdom. All the other prophets God sent to the Davidic kings were from Judah. This is also the only reference to a letter that either Elijah or Elisha wrote.
The house of Ahab also strongly influenced Ahaziah (v. 3). His mother was Athaliah, the daughter of Ahab and Jezebel. Because of his apostasy, Jehu executed Ahaziah, along with his uncle Joram, the king of Israel. This took place at Ramoth-gilead (v. 5), abbreviated in verse 6 as "Ramah."
"There is ironic justice in the death of Ahaziah: the king who lived by the counsel of the Omrides shared their fate; he who had taken advice from Samaria found no refuge there at the time of his death."
Ahaziah had no descendant who could succeed him on the throne when he died (v. 9). His mother, whom Whitcomb called a "feminine Antichrist," killed all of Ahaziah's sons except one, whom the high priest and his wife hid away when he was only an infant (vv. 10-11). The absence of the regnal formulae in Athaliah's case, both in Kings and Chronicles, indicates that the writers did not consider her a legitimate ruler.
"The fact that royal infants may regularly have been put into the care of wet nurses or foster mothers becomes the key to Jehosheba's frustrating Athaliah's plans; the suckling child was overlooked and could have escaped detection as he grew by mingling with other priests' children or perhaps as a temple devotee like the young Samuel."
The Chronicler did not have much interest in Athaliah because she was not of the Davidic line; she was the daughter of Ahab. His concern in this chapter was with the events that brought the next Davidic king to the throne: Joash.
Instead of protecting the temple, as had all the good kings of Judah so far, Joash enjoyed protection in the temple. The temple was a visual symbol of the continuity of the Davidic dynasty. Even though there was no visible king during Athaliah's usurpation, the temple reminded the people that God would fulfill His promise to David of an unbroken royal line. The "pillar" that Joash took his stand beside, when he was presented to the nation (v. 13), was probably one of the two pillars that stood on the porch of the temple.
Many years later, the returned exiles were in a similar situation. A Davidic king was not on the throne in their day, but the rebuilt temple gave hope that a successor to David would again sit on his throne. In their day, they could not set a king on their throne, because they were no longer a sovereign nation but only a province of the Persian Empire. Evidently the people had already rebuilt the temple when the Chronicler wrote this book (cf. 5:9). Clearly the restoration community's hope of the fulfillment of the promise God made to David centered on the temple. As long as they had permission to rebuild the temple, there was hope that someday a successor to David might rule over them again. The temple was in that sense the protector of the promise to David, both in Athaliah's day and in the Chronicler's day.
The public presentation of Joash recalls the anointing of Solomon, which ended Adonijah's vain attempt to succeed David (1 Kings 1:39-40, 45-46).
Jehoiada's reforms indicated the extent to which Judah had departed from God's ordained worship (vv. 16-17). Jehoiada was the Chronicler's ideal high priest. It is interesting to read that the popular reaction to Athaliah's death was joy (v. 21).
The flame of love for Yahweh burned low, but it was still alive among His people. In the absence of a king, the Lord raised up the high priest as Judah's spiritual leader.
Joash's life, as the writer narrated it, proves again the principles that Chronicles stresses. God was faithful to His promise to provide rulers over His people from David's descendants. Each king's success depended on his submission to God's authority as expressed in the Law of Moses and the announcements of the prophets. The writer evaluated each king's success and measured it by his attitude toward prescribed worship that centered at the temple.
The use of boxes or baskets to receive the gifts of the people was common in the ancient Near East (v. 8). Coined money did not exist before the sixth century B.C., so the people evidently brought their contributions in the form of refined or unrefined metals.
The account of Jehoiada's death and the relapse of the people into idolatry (vv. 15-22) does not appear in 2 Kings. The fact that Jehoiada live to be 130 years old testifies to his godly character (cf. Deut. 4:40; 5:16; 22:6-7; Prov. 3:1-2, 16; 10:27).
The priests were to instruct the kings in God's Law (cf. 26:16-18). As long as Joash listened to this instruction, he succeeded. When he stopped listening, he began to fail. He began to lead the people away from God.
Nevertheless God did not abandon His people because they had abandoned Him. He sent at least one prophet to warn them to return to Him or experience discipline (v. 20). The Hebrew text says literally, "The Spirit clothed Himself with Zechariah" (v. 20; cf. 1 Chron. 12:18). When the people refused to respond properly, judgment followed (vv. 21-27). The way of repentance was still open to the people (cf. 6:24-25; Jer. 18:7-10).
"This prayer of imprecation, rather than of forgiveness [by Zechariah] (cf. Lk 23:34; Acts 7:60), was justified by the official positions of both the killer and the killed. God's name was at stake, and vengeance did follow (II Chr 24:24, 25)."
Joash's murder of Jehoiada's son, Zechariah, who was also Joash's cousin (cf. 22:11), was especially heinous. Zechariah died in the very courtyard where "Jehoiada and his sons" (23:11) had anointed his executioner, Joash, as king. An earlier instance of conspiracy followed by stoning involved Naboth in the days of Ahab (1 Kings 21:8-14). Thus Joash suffers by comparison with Ahab. Ironically, Jehoiada sought to protect the sanctity of the temple from murder (23:14-15), but his own son was murdered there. Other ironies are: Zechariah was murdered in the same place where Joash was protected during Jehoiada's coup, and Joash fell to treason like Athaliah had fallen earlier.
Many students of Scripture believe that the Zechariah to whom Jesus referred in Matthew 23:35 was this man. However, Jesus referred to Zechariah the son of Berechiah (cf. Zech. 1:1). Furthermore, Zechariah the son of Berechiah (i.e., the prophet Zechariah) died hundreds of years later than Zechariah the son of Jehoiada (the priest).
"Either (1) the chronicler's Zechariah was actually the grandson of Jehoiada and the son of an unmentioned Berechiah, or (2) the prophet who wrote the Book of Zechariah was also slain in the temple precincts, a fact recorded only in the Gospels."
In this chapter in particular, the people's response to the temple clearly reflects their response to God (vv. 4, 5, 13, 18, 20, 24). This is always the case in Chronicles. Divine punishment came on Joash in the form of a successful invasion by the Syrians (vv. 23-24), and a conspiracy by his servants that resulted in his death (vv. 25-26; cf. 2 Kings 12:17-21).
The writer of Kings presented four kings of Judah as reformers: Asa, Jehoshaphat, Hezekiah, and Josiah. The writer of Chronicles recorded an additional revival that took place in Judah under Joash.
The Chronicler selected three events from Amaziah's reign to teach important spiritual lessons.
First, Amaziah followed the Mosaic Law faithfully in dealing with the people who had killed his father (vv. 1-4; cf. Deut. 24:16). These actions transpired at the beginning of his reign.
Second, the king obeyed God partially in his war with the Edomites (vv. 5-16). He unwisely hired mercenary soldiers to help him rather than seeking the Lord's help (v. 6; cf. 20:12). However, when the prophet rebuked him, he obediently dismissed them even though it cost him 7,500 pounds of silver (v. 10). Nevertheless because he had hired them, he not only lost his money but he also lost the lives of some of his soldiers when the Israelites retaliated for having been dismissed (v. 13). Furthermore, he disobeyed Yahweh by importing the gods of Edom (v. 14). Finally, he refused to repent (v. 10).
Third, Amaziah disobeyed God by attacking Israel late in his reign (vv. 17-24). This was due, from the divine perspective, to the king's idolatry (v. 20) and, from the human perspective, to his pride (v. 18). The consequences were that Judah's enemy destroyed a portion of the wall around Jerusalem (God removed its defense, v. 23), and stripped the temple (the glory of God diminished, v. 24). Verse 24 is the only instance in the Bible in which taking hostages is mentioned specifically. Joash's parable of the arrogant thistle recalls Jotham's parable of the ignominious bramble (Judg. 9:7-15).
Idolatry was a serious matter because it struck at the heart of God's relationship with His people. God blessed Israel with the opportunity to have an intimate personal relationship with the living sovereign Lord as no other people in the world then. To turn from this privilege to pursue dead idols was the height of effrontery (cf. Exod. 20:5). From the time Amaziah turned from Yahweh, God began to turn against him by using the faithful in Judah as His instruments of judgment (v. 27). "The city of Judah" (v. 28) is another name for Jerusalem (cf. 2 Kings 14:20).
"Instead of royal building programs, the walls of Jerusalem are destroyed; instead of wealth from the people and surrounding nations, the king is plundered; instead of a large family, there were hostages; instead of peace, war; instead of victory, defeat; instead of loyalty from the populace and long life, there is conspiracy and regicide."
"The main lesson of this pericope is the ineluctability [i.e., inevitability] of retribution. Even though Amaziah far outlives his nemesis Joash, as Chr[onicler]H[istorian] tells it, there has been a conspiracy since the beginning of the time of his apostasy, and at last it breaks out and gets him."
The Chronicler gave us much more information about Uzziah than we have in Kings (2 Kings 15:1-7). Uzziah ("Yahweh Is Strong" or "Yahweh Is My Strength") was evidently the king's throne name (cf. Isa. 6:1), and Azariah ("Yahweh Helps" or "Yahweh Has Helped") his personal name.
Uzziah, like his father, began well but ended poorly. The Chronicler often divided a king's reign into two parts: good and bad—with a chronological note separating them. The writer documented Uzziah's fidelity to Yahweh and God's consequent blessing of him and his kingdom at length (vv. 1-15). Perhaps verse 5 summarizes this best. To seek the Lord meant to seek to please Him by trusting and obeying Him. Verses 6 through 13 describe Uzziah's wars, buildings, and army.
"The note that Uzziah provided the army with its weapons and armor reflects both Uzziah's prosperity under divine blessing and a departure from ordinary practice in expecting conscripts to provide their own arms (Judg 20:8-17; 1 Chr 12:2, 8, 24, 33; 1 Sam 13:19-22)."
Unfortunately, Uzziah took personal credit for what God had given him (v. 16). The writer noted several times that Uzziah was strong (vv. 8, 15, 16). His pride led to self-exaltation; he put himself above God.
The Mosaic Law permitted only the priests to offer incense in the temple (Exod. 30:1-10; Num. 3:10, 38; 16:40; 18:1-7). The Davidic kings could offer sacrifices on the bronze altar in the temple courtyard, as could the ordinary Israelites. But Uzziah's presumptuous act of offering incense in the holy place manifested rebellion against God's will. For this reason God struck him with leprosy (v. 19; cf. Num. 16:46-50; 2 Kings 15:5).
"He had not been one of the weak kings of Judah who was easily swayed by others (like Jehoshaphat) or too open and accommodating with the leaders in the north. But as is often the case with strong leaders, this virtue gave way to a headstrong, I-can-do-no-wrong attitude. It was precisely his strength that blinded him to the effrontery of his action."
Evidently Uzziah wanted to become more than a king, namely, a priest-king, like other Egyptian and northern Israelite kings (cf. 1 Kings 12:33). Uzziah's leprosy meant that he could no longer enjoy personal worship at the temple (v. 21). Rather than caring for the temple and building it up as God had said David's son would do, Uzziah could not even enter its courtyard. The king's leprosy was an outward evidence of his inward uncleanness (cf. Isa. 6:5).
Uzziah's reign was the fourth in a group of kings who began well but ended poorly: Asa, Joash, Amaziah, and Uzziah. Their histories show the reader how difficult, yet how important, it is to hold the confidence of right standing with God that we have at the beginning of our lives firm until the end (cf. 1 Cor. 10:12; Heb. 3:14).
Jotham was also a good king. He built up the temple and so contributed to the greater glory of Yahweh (v. 3). Consequently his neighbors to the east submitted to him and paid him tribute (v. 5). The Chronicler clearly stated the reason Jotham became strong: "he ordered his ways [i.e., conducted himself] before the LORD his God" (v. 6). Building projects and political success were two marks of divine blessing for the Chronicler (cf. 11:5-12; 14:6-7; 17:12-13; 26:9-10; 33:14).
However, Jotham appears to have failed to lead his people in righteousness. There was no reformation of abuses or revival during his reign, as far as we know. Evidently the reference to Jotham not entering the temple (v. 2) means that he did not inappropriately violate the holy place as his father had done (26:16). Another view is that he did not want to have anything to do with the temple, since God had judged his father when Uzziah entered it and offered incense inappropriately.
"Here is a man with a tremendous opportunity to lead his people back to God, but he had this hang-up—perhaps a root of bitterness. His father was made a leper in the temple, and he didn't want to go into that temple."
With the reign of Ahaz the Chronicler introduced a new interest, namely, the prospect of captivity for Judah, which he again called "Israel"—the true Israel—twice in this chapter (vv. 19, 23). The possibility of Judah's exile appears first in Chronicles at this point.
Why did Israel go into captivity? Why did the perfectly obedient Davidic King not appear? Ahaz's behavior helps explain the reason. The writer selected three major events from Ahaz's reign: the king's idolatry (vv. 2-15), his appeal for help to Assyria (vv. 16-21), and his sacrifices to foreign gods (vv. 22-25).
Ahaz's heart was far from God. He was more like Saul in this respect than like David. Even though he failed to obey God, like the other kings, there is no mention of his ever repenting when God chastened him. Instead he hardened his heart even more (v. 22; cf. the pharaoh of the Exodus). The reason for Israel's exile was the hardness of heart that Ahaz exemplified. At this time in her history, the nation needed a faithful Son of David more than ever. A prophet who spoke in Ahaz's reign promised that He would appear (Isa. 7:1—12:6).
In Ahaz's day, the army of Israel threatened to capture the people of Judah and lead them into slavery (vv. 8, 10). While God prevented this (vv. 9-15), the threat of captivity by another foreign foe became a more realistic possibility. (Verse 15 may be a source for Jesus' parable of the Good Samaritan [Luke 10:25-37]). The Edomites even captured some Judahites and took them to Edom (v. 17). The Philistines took some of Judah's glory (i.e., towns) captive during the Philistine conquest (v. 18), and Ahaz gave more of it away to Tiglath-Pileser III (treasure, v. 21). Ahaz's personal disregard for Yahweh mirrored his disrespect for the temple.
"The Chronicler is perfecting the parallel between the apostasy of Judah under Ahaz and the apostasy of Israel at the time of the schism. Just as Israel worshiped idols and those that were 'not gods' (13:8-9), so too Ahaz leads Judah into idolatry."
"Under Ahaz, Judah appeared to have reached its nadir. But for the Chronicler there was always hope of tragedy and despair being turned to rejoicing through repentance. Such a return would occur preeminently under Hezekiah, the king most like David (cf. 29:2, 25-30)."
"It is clear that the Chronicler has quite a different outlook on Hezekiah than that which he inherited from the deuteronomic historian [i.e., the writer of Kings]. A number of the Chronicler's distinctive emphases intersect in his portrayal. (1) Hezekiah reunifies Israel, reflecting the Chronicler's concern with 'all Israel.' (2) Hezekiah is portrayed as a second David and Solomon. (3) Hezekiah also exemplifies the operation of the Chronicler's retribution theology."
The Chronicler credited Hezekiah with doing right in the sight of the LORD, "according to all that his father David had done" (27:2). This high praise was also given to Asa (1 Kings 15:11), Jehoshaphat (2 Chron. 17:3), and Josiah (2 Kings 22:2), but not to the other four good kings of Judah (Joash, Amaziah, Uzziah, and Jotham).
Not only is this writer's assessment of Hezekiah higher than that of the writer of Kings, but his record of Hezekiah's reign is quite different (cf. 2 Kings 18—20). In contrast to Ahaz, we can see Hezekiah's love for Yahweh in how he cared for the temple. Ahaz's reign was full of war, but Hezekiah enjoyed peace. God rewarded Hezekiah's spiritual restoration of Judah with a remarkable military deliverance. Yet "good king" Hezekiah was not the completely faithful Son of David whose kingdom God had promised to establish forever (1 Chron. 17:11-14).
The Chronicler gave more space to Hezekiah's reign than to any others except David and Solomon, to whom he likened Hezekiah.
Ahaz had closed the temple and had set up other centers of worship throughout the land (28:24-25). Hezekiah reopened the temple and cleansed it in preparation for reusing it (vv. 3, 5). He began this work in the first month of the first year of his reign (v. 3). First, he called on the Levites to cleanse the temple (vv. 3-11). The Levites then went to work and cleaned it up (vv. 12-19). The king then offered sacrifices to atone for "all Israel" (vv. 20-24).
"'All Israel' [v. 24] are probably not only all the inhabitants of the kingdom of Judah, but Israelites in general (the twelve tribes), for whom the temple in Jerusalem was the only lawful sanctuary."
The offering of these sacrifices was followed by a worship service, with restored music (vv. 25-28), and the people offered very many more sacrifices to the Lord (vv. 29-36).
Whereas the writer of Kings described Hezekiah's religious reforms in only one verse (2 Kings 18:4), the Chronicler devoted three chapters to them (chs. 29—31). Hezekiah wanted to rededicate the nation to God (v. 10).
"When there is a financial crisis, the first thing we think about is money. When there is a communications crisis, our prime concern is to learn how to talk the language of the modern generation. When there is a church attendance crisis, we make it our chief aim to get numbers up. If Hezekiah had responded to a military threat in a military way, the Assyrians would have understood that. Army would have been matched against army, with dire consequences for Judah. But instead he and his people first look up to God."
Hezekiah carried out his clean-up job hurriedly to prepare for the celebration of the Passover (vv. 17, 26; 30:1). The Kidron Valley was a convenient place to dump unclean things since it lay just east of the temple area. Hezekiah first offered a sin offering to atone for the guilt of Judah (v. 21). Then he sacrificed burnt offerings of worship (v. 27) and led the people in worship (v. 29), joyful singing (v. 30), and willing sacrificial giving (v. 31). All the people of Judah who reverenced Yahweh rejoiced over the king's re-establishment of the temple services (vv. 35-36).
"The Chronicler is portraying Hezekiah as a second Solomon. After the fall of the Northern Kingdom, the spiritual successor of Israel is the united kingdom under Hezekiah. Though Judah had fallen to its nadir under Ahaz and had become just like the Northern Kingdom and had itself also endured an exile of large parts of its population, Hezekiah comes to bring restoration in the path of cultic fidelity. The lesson for the author's audience in the post-exilic period could not be missed: he summoned his readers to zeal for the LORD's house, to a national life of cultic fidelity, and to rejoicing over what God had done in their own day."
"Following the restoration of the temple and its services in ch. 29, the emphasis now falls heavily upon Hezekiah's strenuous efforts to reunite in worship the hitherto separated peoples of the north and south."
Hezekiah wanted all the Israelites, namely, those left in the Northern Kingdom following its captivity, as well as the Judahites, to rededicate themselves to Yahweh (vv. 1-9). Many in Israel had no interest in doing this (v. 10), but some responded positively, as did many of the people in Judah (vv. 11-12). The complete repentance of the Israelites in the north might have resulted in God setting free many of the captive exiles (v. 9).
Verses 13 through 22 record the celebration of the Passover per se. Large numbers of the people who came to the feast had not prepared themselves as the Mosaic Law specified. This group included priests and Levites who were ashamed of their uncleanness (v. 15). This revelation shows how the people had disregarded the Law. God pardoned ritual uncleanness if the worshipper's heart was right (vv. 18-20; cf. John 7:22-23; 9:14-16). The heart attitude is more important than ritual cleanliness.
"This intercession of Hezekiah's ["May the good LORD pardon everyone who prepares his heart to seek God . . .; vv. 18-19] is worthy of remark, not only because it expresses the conviction that upright seeking of the Lord, which proceeds from the heart, is to be more highly estimated than strict observance of the letter of the law, but also because Hezekiah presumes that those who had come out of Ephraim, etc., to the passover had fixed their heart to seek Jahve, the God of their fathers, but had not been in a position to comply with the precept of the law, i.e. to purify themselves up to the day appointed for the passover."
The feast was such a success that Hezekiah extended the celebration another week (vv. 23-27). Great joy followed return to the Lord and His temple (v. 26), and God paid attention to the prayers of the rededicated Israelites (v. 27). The celebration ended with the people going throughout the land and tearing down the idols that stood, not only in Judah and Benjamin, but also in Ephraim and Manasseh (31:1)..
"Hezekiah is portrayed here as a second Solomon (v. 26), and the celebration of the Passover is a watershed between the disruption of Israel after Solomon's death and a return to the spiritual conditions that existed in Solomon's day."
Josiah carried out his Passover (35:1-19) in stricter conformity to the Mosaic Law, but Hezekiah's Passover was the greatest—in terms of participation and spiritual renewal—since Solomon's reign (v. 26).
The king organized the priests and Levites again into the divisions David had specified. Evidently Hezekiah's predecessors had not observed these divisions. He also instituted tithing again as the Mosaic Law commanded (cf. Lev. 27:30; Num. 18:8; Deut. 14:28). Because the people responded obediently, there was an abundance of money for temple maintenance and for its servants (v. 10).
Verse 16 refers to "the males from thirty years old and upward—everyone who entered the house of the LORD for his daily obligations." The Hebrew text has "three" instead of "thirty." These were probably young apprentice priests who had been dedicated to temple service by their parents. Another possibility is that they were the sons of these men. Samuel had been one of these boys (1 Sam. 1:24, 28; 2:18).
The principle these reforms illustrates is that when God's people obey His Word, they prosper (in some form). God always desires people's welfare. Hezekiah prospered, too (v. 21), because he sought God with all his heart, as David had done. In New Testament terms, he did all for the glory of God (1 Cor. 10:31).
In a few details this account differs from the one in 2 Kings 18—20 and Isaiah 36—37. It was after Hezekiah's acts of faithfulness that God tested his trust (v. 1). Many of Judah's other good kings had followed God faithfully, only to abandon faith in Him later in life as a result of pride (e.g., Solomon, Uzziah, et al.). In this respect, Hezekiah failed too (v. 25).
Hezekiah's preparations for Sennacherib's siege did not indicate reliance on the flesh rather than on God, as his praying shows. They were simply wise defensive measures (vv. 1-8).
The real difference between the two armies was that while both had a measure of physical strength, Israel possessed an additional spiritual resource (v. 8). This is a difference between a Christian and a non-Christian too.
Sennacherib tried to defeat Jerusalem by sending his generals, who tried to get the people to submit by using boastful speeches, and by writing threatening letters to Hezekiah (vv. 9-19). Sennacherib's fatal mistake was that he regarded Yahweh as only one of many idols (v. 19). This was his undoing. Hezekiah and Isaiah prayed for God's help, and He not only granted a miraculous deliverance to Jerusalem, because of Hezekiah's reliance on Him, but many nations brought gifts to the king and to Yahweh (vv. 20-23).
"Population estimates for ancient societies are notoriously difficult; sober estimates would put the population of Iron Age Judah around 300,000 people (Y. Shiloh, 'Population Estimates of Iron Age Palestine in the Light of a Sample Analysis of Urban Plans, Areas, and Population Density,' BASOR 239  25-35)."
Hezekiah became deathly ill, and in response to his prayers, God gave him a sign (the shadow on a stairway went backwards; 2 Kings 20:11) that he would recover (v. 24). However, he did not respond to God appropriately for this blessing, because his heart had grown proud (v. 25). God's judgment fell, consequently, on Judah and Jerusalem, but the king humbled himself, and God postponed the remaining judgment (v. 26). Hezekiah fell short of being the perfect Son of David, just like all the rest of Judah's monarchs.
Hezekiah was immensely wealthy and enjoyed much honor in his day (vv. 27-30; cf. Solomon). God rewarded his faithfulness and commitment. The Chronicler passed over Hezekiah's unwise decision—to show the Babylonian envoys his riches—with a brief comment (v. 31; cf. 2 Kings 20:12-19). This was a test from God, and Hezekiah failed it.
King Hezekiah was one of the greatest of Judah's reformers. We can see his zeal for God clearly in his zeal for God's house and the worship it facilitated. Not since Solomon had there been a king who more consistently reflected the heart of David.
"The deuteronomic historian [i.e., the writer of Kings] and the Chronicler reached opposite moral judgments on the reign of Manasseh—one finding him the nadir of Judah, and the other, a reformer. Yet both judgments are 'word of God.'"
The Chronicler catalogued Manasseh's many serious sins (vv. 2-9). Divine judgment inevitably followed (vv. 10-11).
The Assyrians captured Manasseh but released him after he turned back to Yahweh (vv. 12-13). The Assyrian king in view (v. 11) was Ashurbanipal. Manasseh was taken to Babylon, which at that time was a province of the Assyrian Empire.
His experience would have been an encouragement to the returned exiles who first read Chronicles. If God had shown mercy to Manasseh and had reestablished him in the land, He could do the same for them (cf. 7:14). The writer emphasized the results of the king's repentance. He magnified the grace of God rather than the rebellion of the sinner.
"Here was a son of godly parents who went into sin to the very limit and then came back to God. That should be an encouragement to parents who are reading this today. Maybe you have a son or a daughter who has gone the very limit, and you despair that your child will ever turn back to God. I would have given Manasseh up, but God didn't. God heard his prayer."
On a larger scale, the reigns of Ahaz (ch. 28) and Hezekiah (chs. 29—32) illustrate the same thing: prefiguring exile (Ahaz) and restoration (Hezekiah).
"Manasseh's sin is repeated, in essence, whenever man uses or manipulates his fellow-men for some supposedly higher good than their own welfare—or, indeed, uses any part of God's creation for purposes other than those which God intends."
"The Chronicler is as concerned as his predecessor [the writer of Kings] was to point out the effects of sin. Both historians note the moral consequences of the actions of men. But the Chronicler regularly deals in immediate consequences: 'the soul that sins shall die' (Ezek. 18:4, 20). Though it is true that one man's sin can cause others to suffer sixty years after he is dead and gone, this is not the kind of lesson which Chronicles as a whole aims to teach . . . What Manasseh's sin leads to is not the fall of Jerusalem long after his death, as Samuel/Kings say, but 'distress' for him himself [sic], as he is taken by Assyrian forces 'with hooks . . . and fetters of bronze' to Babylon (33:11-12)."
After his repentance and return to Jerusalem, Manasseh took measures to secure his kingdom (v. 14), including removing foreign gods and an idol in the temple, and reestablishing Yahweh worship (vv. 15-16). But in spite of Manasseh's efforts, the people still sacrificed at the high places, though only to Yahweh (v. 17).
Amon was an evil king, as Manasseh was, but he did not repent as his father had done. Consequently, rather than experiencing forgiveness and restoration, he died prematurely. He represented the other alternative the returned exiles could take. His fate would have been, and is, a warning to seek the Lord.
Like Amon's death (33:24), Josiah's was unnecessarily premature. However, unlike Amon, Josiah was one of Judah's best reformers.
"Despite this, however, Josiah is not so significant a monarch overall for the Chronicler as he is for the earlier historian [i.e., the writer of Kings]. Much that he records is now to be understood as recapitulation of Hezekiah's work, who stands out as the real innovator in Chronicles."
The godly in Judah may have regarded Josiah as the most likely candidate to fulfill the promises God had given to David. His early life and reign were spiritually exemplary (vv. 2-3). Several kings are said to have "walked in the ways of . . . David" (v. 2), but only Josiah "did not turn aside to the right or to the left." He sought to purge idolatry from the whole territory of Israel as well as Judah (vv. 4-7). Many of the Simeonites (v. 6) had allied themselves with Israel religiously (cf. 15:9).
In Jerusalem, Josiah embarked on a renovation of the temple because Manasseh and Amon had abused it (vv. 8-13). The "book of the law" that Hilkiah found (vv. 14-21) may have been the Book of Deuteronomy, another portion of the Pentateuch, or the whole Pentateuch. Most conservative scholars believe the book found was Deuteronomy.
It may be hard for us to understand how the people could have lost the Law of Moses and how they could have forgotten it in just two generations. However, written copies were scarce. Moreover, parents and the Levites conducted most instruction orally (17:9). Only one generation separated the people from ignorance of God's will (cf. Deut. 6:6-7; 17:18). This has been true throughout history. Josiah's response to the reading of Torah (the Law) shows his heart to please God (vv. 19, 27).
Huldah announced that God had decreed captivity for Judah (v. 22-28). She was one of four female prophets mentioned in the Old Testament, the others being: Miriam (Exod. 15:20), Deborah (Judg. 4:4), and Noadiah (Neh. 6:14). In spite of Judah's coming captivity, Josiah would experience mercy because of his tender heart and humility (v. 27). He would die before Judah went into captivity (v. 28). Another, less attractive interpretation of the prediction that he would die in peace, is that it refers to what would have happened if Josiah had not violated the will of God by engaging Pharaoh Neco in battle.
The announcement of God's coming judgment led the king and the nation to commit anew to follow God's Word (vv. 29-33). Perhaps He would postpone captivity.
The temple had been the protector of the Law (v. 14), as it had earlier protected David's heir, Joash (22:10-12). It had preserved the two foundational elements in Israel's life: God's Word and God's vice-regent. As mentioned before, the temple represented God. The preservation of these two essential elements was an act of Israel's faithful God. Concern for the things of God resulted in the discovery of God's will (cf. 7:14).
"Many feature of Josiah's reign have parallels with the reign of Joash (2 Chr 23—24). Both came to the throne while children. Both were involved in collection of funds at the temple and in subsequent renovations. Both are reported to have stood in the temple precincts in the king's place (34:31; 24:13); both led the nation in covenant renewal in the temple (34:29-32; 23:16-17). But here the parallels end. While Joash would remain faithful only so long as Jehoiada lived (24:2, 15-18), Josiah never turned from following the LORD to the right or left (34:2), and 'for the duration of his life they did not turn from following Yahweh' (34:33). No foreign army would invade Judah in his day (34:24-25, 28; contrast 24:23-24)."
As Hezekiah had done, Josiah led his people in observing the Passover, that greatest feast of Israel that commemorated her redemption from Egyptian slavery. He instructed the priests and Levites concerning their duties (vv. 1-6). Then he and his officers contributed sacrifices for the Passover (vv. 7-9). The Passover began (vv. 10-15), and continued through the following week (the Feast of Unleavened Bread; vv. 17). It was the most elaborate Passover since the days of Samuel (vv. 18-19; cf. 2 Kings 23:22).
Josiah's Passover was even greater than Hezekiah's, which Hezekiah had put together quickly (cf. 29:36). Josiah offered almost twice as many sacrifices as Hezekiah did (30:24), but far fewer than Solomon did at the temple dedication (7:5). The writer's attention to detail reflects his intense interest in Josiah's concern that the people worship Yahweh properly. All that the writer recorded between 34:8 and 35:19 happened when Josiah was 26 years old. The phrase "in the eighteenth year of his reign" forms an inclusio for the section.
Josiah was fatally wounded at Megiddo (2 Kings 23:29-30) and died shortly thereafter in Jerusalem (2 Chron. 35:23-24), in 609 B.C., when he interrupted Pharaoh Neco's military advance against the Babylonians.
"Fearing the advance of the Babylonians, Pharaoh Neco and the Egyptian army were on their way to assist the Assyrians. Josiah, who apparently was an ally of the Babylonians (or at least an opponent of the Assyrians), attempted to impede the march of Neco."
This is similar to what Ahab had done years earlier, when he and Jehoshaphat had opposed the Arameans at Ramoth-gilead (cf. ch. 18). Quite clearly Pharaoh's word to Josiah to turn back was from the Lord (v. 22). Probably the writer included this event in his narrative because Josiah came closer to the Davidic ideal than any other king since Solomon. Yet he, too, was disobedient to God, and this is why he was not blessed with a longer reign. Thus David's greatest Son was yet to come. When He comes back to the earth He will win the battle that will be raging at the very place where Josiah died: the Plain of Megiddo (i.e., Armageddon, lit. the mountain of Megiddo).
Josiah's death is another example of immediate retribution for sin, of which we have seen many in Chronicles. He is one more king who began well but ended up doing something wrong (cf. Asa, Jehoshaphat, Joash, Amaziah, Uzziah). He was not the only king to hear a warning before his tragic military error (cf. 11:1-4; 18:16-22; 1 Sam. 28:19). Like the other reforming kings (Asa, Jehoshaphat, and Hezekiah), he sensed a military threat by an external enemy after enacting his religious reforms.
"During his whole reign, Josiah had endeavoured to carry out the will of God; while in his action against Pharaoh, on the contrary, he had acted in a different way, going into battle against the will of God [cf. v. 22]."
The sovereignty of the Davidic kings over Judah had ended. With the death of Josiah, Judah fell under the control of foreign powers, first Egypt and then Babylonia. God used other more powerful kings and kingdoms to punish His people (cf. 2 Kings 23:31—25:17). The temple motif in Chronicles also climaxes in this section with its destruction.
In these few verses, the will of the king of Egypt contrasts with the will of Judah's people. Whereas the people still held out hope that a descendant of David would lead them to the great glories predicted for David's greatest Son (e.g., Ps. 2), such was not to be the case any time soon. Other superpowers now dominated Judah's affairs. God had given His people over into their hands in discipline (cf. Deut. 28:32-57). Jehoahaz (Joahaz), rather than lifting the Davidic dynasty to its greatest glories, ended his life as a prisoner in Egypt, the original prison-house of Israel. Jehoahaz reigned only three months. Then Pharaoh Neco replaced him, fined the Judahites, and set up Jehoahaz's brother on Judah's throne.
Jehoiakim (Eliakim) ruled for 11 years. Then King Nebuchadnezzar took him captive to Babylon, and took some of the glory of the temple, and of the God it represented, with him. This was the first deportation of Judahites to Babylon in 606 B.C.
Jehoiakim's conduct did nothing to retard the inevitable conquest of Jerusalem. Judah's captivity was one step closer when Babylon replaced Egypt as the controller of God's people.
Jehoiachin assumed the throne when he was 18 years old (2 Kings 24:8; cf. Ezek. 19:5-9), not eight, as our text of Chronicles reads (v. 9). Like his father Jehoiakim, Jehoiachin was under Nebuchadnezzar's thumb. He too suffered deportation to Babylon, and with him went more of the glory of Israel. This was the second deportation in 597 B.C.
In Zedekiah's reign, Judah bottomed out spiritually. The king refused to humble himself before either Yahweh or Nebuchadnezzar, even though God repeatedly sent messages and messengers urging him to do so. Hardness of heart now characterized the Davidic king as it had characterized the pharaoh of the Exodus. God humbled this king against his will as He had previously humbled that pharaoh.
The last verses of this section are very sermonic (vv. 14-21). Yet the Chronicler did not set them off as a sermon but caused them to flow out of what he had said about Zedekiah. The writer gave reasons for the conquest of Jerusalem and the exile of the Israelites.
This was the third deportation in 586 B.C. The burning of the temple symbolized the end of God's glory and presence among His people in the land that He had given them to occupy.
"What constitutes the greatest evil for the Chronicler—and it is a theme that is taken up elsewhere in the Bible—is not wrongdoing in and of itself, but wrongdoing in defiance of the clear knowledge of what is right (Mark 12:1-2; Luke 16:31; Isa. 1:2f.)."
"The real tragedy of the exile was not the removal of the people nor even the utter destruction of the city and the temple. It was the departure of their God from their midst, an absence symbolized in one of Ezekiel's visions by the movement of the Shekinah from the temple to the summit of the Mount of Olives (Ezek. 11:23)."
God had descended on the temple in a cloud at its dedication (7:1). Now He left it in smoke. Ezekiel, who was already in Babylon, saw the glory of God depart from the temple in a vision (Ezek. 10:18-19). Had the Chronicler ended here, there would have been little hope for the future. He justified God's treatment of His vice-regent amply. The returned exiles could not accuse Yahweh of being unfair or impatient. Rather, His grace stands out, though it had now run out.
"We have seen in this book that although there was a general decline of the nation, there were five periods of revival, renewal, and reformation [under kings Asa, Jehoshaphat, Joash, Hezekiah, and Josiah]. . . . In each instance, return to the Word of God led to the repentance of the people and the temporary reformation of the nation."
These two verses reflect the whole mood of Chronicles. Rather than ending with the failure of man, the writer concluded by focusing attention on the faithfulness of God (cf. Lam. 3:22-23). God was in control of the Persian king as He had controlled the kings of Babylon, Egypt, and Israel. God had promised Israel a future as a nation. His people would experience this future under the rule of a perfect Davidic Son. Yahweh was moving now—after 70 years of captivity—to bring that future to pass (cf. Isa. 9:7). Even though the Babylonian army had burned Yahweh's temple to the ground (v. 19), it would rise again (v. 23).
The message to the returned exiles was clear. God would respond to their repentance (6:36-39). He would forgive their sin and heal their land (7:14). Moreover, He would raise up a descendant of David who would rule over not only Israel but all the nations forever (1 Chron. 17:11-14).
The closing words of Chronicles are identical to the opening ones in Ezra. If the same person wrote both books, he may have duplicated this pivotal information to tie the events of these two books together. If different people wrote them, the writer of Chronicles probably included this material to present a note of hope at the end of his "sermon."
"If Chronicles in its last chapter tells us that God acted in mercy by restoring his people Judah, Ezra-Nehemiah will reveal to us how they fared upon their return, privileged with a new opportunity to be God's people in their own land."
The writer of Chronicles built his history around the records of David and Solomon's reigns. He flanked these with a long introduction and a longer sequel that span history from Adam to Anani, who was apparently the eighth generation after Jehoiachin. The Chronicler, or perhaps a later editor, himself lived after Cyrus' edict that dates to 538 B.C. Chronicles is really a long sermon intended to point all of its readers into the future and to give them hope.
In view of what God promised David, there must be a great King coming. History shows that God blessed all of David's descendants who followed Him faithfully—in proportion to their obedience. Consequently, the coming King's reign must be greater than anything history has yet seen, since He will carry out God's will completely.
The responsibility of every reader is to follow the example of David. He realized that he was the recipient of great grace. He responded to that grace by submitting to the authority of the Giver. He put the interests of his Benefactor before his own selfish ambitions and desires. This was his heart for God. God responded by blessing him and by making him a channel of blessing to God's people and to the nations of the world.
"The great theological burden of Chronicles is the assertion that Yahweh, through covenant establishment with the Davidic dynasty, has offered to all peoples a model of His dominion and a means of their participation in it. David, the royal priest and son of God, was chosen both to reign over Israel, 'a kingdom of priests and a holy nation,' and to typify that messianic sovereign of his descent whose dominion would be forever. Every effort is bent, therefore, to the task of centralizing this integrating theme. The genealogies provide for David by linking him to creation and the patriarchal promises; the campaigns and conquest of the king validate his election to his redemptive role; the establishment of an elaborate cultus witnesses to the priestly nature of that calling; and the promises of historical and eschatological restoration of the nation and its Davidic kingship attest to the permanency of God's saving purposes. The people of the covenant might (and did) fail in Old Testament times, but Yahweh has reserved a day when, as He said, 'I will restore David's fallen tent. I will repair its broken places, restore its ruins, and build it as it used to be' (Amos 9:11). This is the message of Chronicles."
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_____. "The Forms of Prophetic Address in Chronicles." Hebrew Annual Review 10 (1986):15-35.
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_____. "The Chronicler's Solomon." Westminster Theological Journal 43 (1981):289–300.
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_____. "Reward and Punishment in Chronicles: The Theology of Immediate Retribution." Westminster Theological Journal 46 (1984):164-72.
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_____. "The Accession of Solomon in the Book of Chronicles." Vetus Testamentum 26 (1976):351-61.
_____. "The Death of Josiah and the Continuing Development of the Deuteronomic History." Vetus Testamentum 32:2 (April 1982):242-48.
_____. "Reliving the Death of Josiah: A Reply to C. T. Begg." Vetus Testamentum 37:1 (January 1987):9-15.
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_____. The Prophets of Israel. Grand Rapids: Baker Book House, 1979.
_____. A Survey of Israel's History. Grand Rapids: Zondervan Publishing House, 1970.
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On the similarities between the building of the tabernacle and the building of Solomon's temple, see Payne, p. 444; Roddy Braun, "The Message of Chronicles: Rally 'Round the Temple," Concordia Theological Monthly, 42:8 (September 1971):502-14; and Raymond B. Dillard, "The Chronicler's Solomon," Westminister Theological Journal 43 (1981):289-300.
Thompson, p. 267. Cf. Williamson, 1 and 2 . . ., pp. 263-65. J. Daniel Hays, "The Cushites: A Black Nation in the Bible," Bibliotheca Sacra 153:612 (October-December 1996):401-3, argued for their being from Cush (modern Ethiopia).
On the parallels between this passage (vv. 5-15) and the parable of the good Samaritan in Luke 10:25-37, see F. Scott Spencer, "2 Chronicles 28:5-15 and the Parable of the Good Samaritan," Westminster Theological Journal 46 (1984):317-49.
George Harton, "Fulfillment of Deuteronomy 28—30 in History and in Eschatology" (Th.D. dissertation, Dallas Theological Seminary, 1981), p. 190. See Finegan, pp. 230-33, for information about Cyrus and the early history of Persia.
See Menahem Haran, "Explaining the Identical Lines at the End of Chronicles and the Beginning of Ezra," Bible Review 2:3 (Fall 1986):18-20, for one explanation of the duplication, and Edwin Yamauchi, "Ezra-Nehemiah," in I Kings—Job, vol. 4 of Expositor's Bible Commentary, p. 573, for another.
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