II Chronicles

The two Books of Chronicles have much in common with the books of Samuel and Kings. They contain genealogical tables from Adam to the death of Saul, the reign of Solomon, the division of the kingdom, the Exile, and the proclamation of Cyrus.

Author: Unknown. Possibly by Ezra or a contemporary of Ezra.

Two key passages to look at in II Chronicles:

II Chronicles 7:14 – “My people who are called by My name will humble themselves, and pray and seek My face, and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin and heal their land.”

II Chronicles 16:9 – For the eyes of the LORD run to and fro throughout the whole earth, to show Himself strong on behalf of those whose heart is loyal to Him. In this you have done foolishly; therefore from now on you shall have wars.”

II Chronicles 34 is a key chapter because it records the reforms and revivals under such kings as Asa, Hezekiah, Jehoshaphat, Josiah, and Joash. Chapter 34 traces the dramatic revival that takes place under Josiah when the “Book of the Law” is found, read, and obeyed.

Observations of II Chronicles

1. II Chronicles is similar to I & II Kings, but virtually ignores the Northern Kingdom because of its false worship and refusal to acknowledge the temple in Jerusalem.
2. Chapters 1-9 cover the 40 years from 971 B.C. to 931 B.C. (Solomon’s Reign)
3. Chapters 10-36 cover the 393 years from 93 B.C. to 538 B.C.
4. About 70% of chapters 10-36 deals with the 8 good kings of Judah, leaving only 30% to
cover the 12 evil rulers.
5. II Chronicles repeatedly teaches that whenever and wherever God’s people forsake Him, He withdraws His blessings and to trust in God and obedience to God will bring victory.
6. The temple in Jerusalem is the major unifying theme of I and II Chronicles. Six of the first nine chapters concern the construction and dedication of the temple.
7. Only what is done in accordance with God’s will has any lasting value.
8. During Solomon’s reign, Israel’s boundaries extend to their greatest point.
9. Solomon’s reign brings in Israel’s golden peace, prosperity and temple worship.
10. Legendary during Solomon’s reign are his wealth, his palace, his wisdom, and his temple.

II Chronicles repeatedly teaches that whenever God’s people forsake Him, He withdraws His blessings, but trust in and obedience to the Lord brings victory.
Since everything in Chronicles is related to the temple, it is not surprising that this concludes with Cyrus’s edict to rebuild it.

There are two divisions to 2 Chronicles:

Solomon’s Reign (1-9)

The reign of Solomon brings in Israel’s golden age of peace, golden age of prosperity, and temple worship. These are great days for Israel. The kingdom is united and its borders extend to their greatest point. Solomon’s wealth, wisdom, palace, and temple become legendary. His mighty spiritual , political, and architectural feats raise Israel to her zenith. However, in keeping with the purpose of Chronicles, six of these nine chapters in the first part of the book concern the construction and dedication of the temple in Jerusalem.

The Reign of Judah’s Kings (10-36)

Unfortunately, Israel’s glory is short-lived. Soon after Solomon’s death, the nation is divided and both kingdoms begin a downward spiral that can only be delayed by the religious reforms. The nation generally forsakes the temple and the worship of Yahweh, and is soon torn by warfare and unrest. The reformation efforts on the part of some of Judah’s kings are valiant, but never last beyond one generation. Nevertheless, about seventy percent of chapters 10-36 deals with the rule of eight good kings, leaving only thirty percent to cover the twelve evil rulers. Each king is seen with respect to his relationship to the temple as the center of worship and spiritual strength. When the king serves Yahweh, Judah is blessed with political and economic prosperity.

A brief survey of Judah’s twenty kings

  1. REHOBOAM (933-916 B.C) II Chronicles 10-12
    a. Successor to his father, Solomon.
    b. The kingdom divides early in his tenure
    c. Although he is not righteous, he humbles himself before God and averts His wrath (12:12).
    d. He reigns 17 years.
    e. His character is bad.
  2. ABIJAH (915-913 B.C.) II Chronicles 13
    a. He enjoys a short and evil reign that lasts only three years.
    b. His character is bad.
    c. During his reign he conquered Israel because “the children of Judah . . . relied on the Lord God” (13:18)
  3. ASA (912-872 B.C.) II Chronicles 14-16
    a. He enjoys a long reign of some 41 years.
    b. His character is good.
    c. Asa does some good things:
    1. He destroys foreign altars and idols.
    2. He conquers Ethiopia against great odds through his trust in God.
    3. He restores the altar of the Lord.
    d. And yet, he fails to trust God when threatened by Israel.
  4. JEHOSHAPHAT (874-850 B.C.) II Chronicles 17-20
    a. His reign is 25 years.
    b. His character is good.
    c. He brings in a great revival. “His heart took delight in the ways of the Lord” ( 17:6).
    d. Jehoshaphat does some good things.
    1. He overthrows idols.
    2. He teaches God’s Word to the people.
    3. He trusts God before entering battle.
    e. He and Asa are the two best of the twenty kings.
  5. JEHORAM (850-843 B.C.) II Chronicles 21
    a. His reign is 8 years.
    b. His character is good.
    c. Jehoram is a wicked king.
    1. He follows the ways of Ahad.
    2. He marries his daughter.
    3. He leads Judah into idolatry.
    d. When he dies in pain, departs “to no one’s sorrow” ( 21:20)
  6. AHAZIAH (843 B.C.) II Chronicles 22:1-19
    a. He reigns for one year.
    b. His character is bad.
  7. ATHALIAH (843-837 B.C.) II Chronicles 22:10 – 23:21
    a. This “king” is a queen.
    b. She reigns for 6 years.
    c. Her character is bad.
    d. She is the daughter of Ahab and Jezebel.
    e. She is the wife of Jehoram of Judah.
    f. She is the mother of Ahaziah.
    g. She usurps the throne of Judah and reigns for six years in which she introduces the worship of into the region.
    h. To seize the throne, she kills all the members of the royal family who had escaped the sword of the northern king Jehu, except for the infant Joash, who was secluded by his aunt Jehosheba, the wife of Jehoiada, the high priest. Later the boy is revealed by Jehoiada and anointed king. The people rally toward the new king and Athaliah is put to death.
    i. Athaliah represents the only interruption of the dynasty of David in the Southern
    NOTE: God’s providence continues the Davidic line to bring forth the Messiah.
  8. JOASH (843-803 B.C.) II Chronicles 24
    a. He reigns for 40 years.
    b. His character is mostly good.
    c. Although he repairs the temple and restores the worship of God, when Jehoiada the
    priest dies, he allows the people to forsake the temple and return to idolatry.
  9. AMAZIAH (833-775 B.C.) II Chronicles 25
    a. He reigns for 29 years,
    b. His character is mostly good.
    c. Mixed in his relationship with god, the later forsakes the Lord for the gods of Edom.
    d. By contrast:
    1. Amaziah, a Jew forsakes God for the gods of Edom.
    2. Ruth, and Edomite forsook the gods of Edom for the God of Israel.
    d. He is defeated by Israel and later murdered.
  10. UZZIAH (785-735 B.C.) II Chronicles 26
    a. He reigns for 52 years, the 2nd longest in the Southern Kingdom. (14th king, Manasseh reigns 55 years)
    b. His character is good.
    c. He begins well with the Lord and is blessed with military victories.
    d. However, when he becomes strong, he proudly and presumptuously plays the role of a priest by offering incense in the temple and therefore is struck with leprosy.
  11. JOTHAM (749-734 B.C.) II Chronicles 27
    a. He reigns for 16 years.
    b. His character is good.
    c. Because he rebuilds the gate of the temple and reveres God, the Lord blesses him
    with prosperity and victories.
  12. AHAZ (741-726 B.C.) II Chronicles 28
    a. He reigns for 16 years.
    b. His character is wicked.
    c. Ahaz is a wicked king and an idolater.
    d. He is oppressed by his enemies and forced to give tribute to the Assyrians from the temple treasures.
  13. HEZEKIAH (726-697 B.C.) II Chronicles 29-32
    a. He reigns for 29 years. Would have been 14, but in answer to his prayer that he not die, God extended his life and reign for reign 15 more years.
    b. His character is among the best of the eight good kings.
    c. He does some good things:
    1. He repairs and reopens the temple.
    2. He puts away the altars and idols set up by his father, Ahaz.
    d. Judah is spared destruction by Assyria because of his righteousness.
    e. His reforms are given only a few verses in Kings but three chapters in Chronicles.
  14. MANASSEH (697-642 B.C.) II Chronicles 33:1-20
    a. He begins to reign at age 12, and reigns for 55 years, the longest of any of David’s house.
    b. Unfortunately, his character is among the worst of the worst. Some say he is Judah’s most wicked king.
    c. He reverses the good reforms of his father, Hezekiah.
    d. Despite the warning of the prophets, he brings the kingdom to its lowest degradation.
    e. Although he sets up idols and altars all over the land, he repents when he is carried away by Assyria.
    f. God brings him back to Judah and he makes a halfway reform, but it comes too late.
    g. He is murdered.
  15. AMON (641-640 B.C.) II Chronicles 33:21-25
    a. He reigns for 2 years.
    b. His character is among the worst of the Southern Kingdom kings.
    c. He is murdered.
  16. JOSIAH (639-608 B.C.) II Chronicles 34-35
    a. He reigns for 31 years.
    b. By way of characters, he is one of Judah’s best kings.
    c. Among his accomplishments:
    1. He is a leader in reforms and spiritual revival.
    2. He centers worship around the temple.
    3. He finds the law and obeys it.
    4. He institutes the Passover.
  17. JEHOAHAZ (608 B.C.) II Chronicles 36:1-4
    a. His reign only lasts 3 month.
    b. His character is bad.
    c. Pharaoh Necho takes him in chains to Egypt where he died.
  18. JEHOIAKIM (608-597 B.C.) II Chronicles 36:5-8
    a. He reigns 11 months.
    b. his character is wicked.
    c. His original name is Eliakim, changed by Pharaoh Necho to Jehoiakim, and set on the throne when Jehoahaz is taken to Egypt.
    d. Despite Jeremiah’s threat of judgment on unrepentance, Jehoiakim burns the roll of prophecy. (Jeremiah 36)
    e. In his 4th year as king, Nebuchadnezzar conquers Pharaoh and the Egyptians at the battle of Carchemish, them moves against Jerusalem and Judah.
    1. In a cage with hooks, he is brought before the Babylonian king in his camp near Jerusalem.
    2. Jehoiakim is taken to Babylon.
    3. Nebuchadnezzar later reinstates him.
    4. Three years after being reinstated he rebels and suffers greatly.
    f. Jehoiakim is an irreligious man.
    g. In the 11th year of his reign, he appears to have met a violent end and is buried “with the burial of a donkey, without pomp and lamentation” (Jeremiah 22:19, 36-50)
  19. JEHOIACHIN (597 B.C) II Chronicles 6:8-10
    a. He reigns three and one-third months.
    b. His character is bad.
    c. In the 2nd deportation to Babylon in 597 B.C. along with:
    1. His wives.
    2. His mother.
    3. His servants.
    4. Artisans
    5. Principal men
    6. Ezekiel is in the group as well
    7. Some 10,000 people are in this 2nd deportation.
    d. After 36 years in prison, the next king, Evil-Merodach, liberates him and honors him.
    e. Jeremiah prophesies during and after his reign calling him Jeconiah or Coniah.
    Note: The temple of God in Jerusalem is ravaged during each of the reigns of:
    • Jehoahaz
    • Jehoiakim
    • Jehoiachin
  20. ZEDEKIAH (597-586 B.C.) II Chronicles 36
    1. His character is bad.
    2. Jerusalem and the temple are destroyed.
    Note: Zedekiah is the last king until the Messiah comes in the lineage of David and from the house of Judah.

Chronicles nevertheless ends on a note of hope at the end of the captivity, when Cyrus issues the decree for the restoration of Judah: “Who is among you of all His people? May the Lord his God be with him and let him go up!” (36:23)

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