The Book of 2 Chronicles
Questions from last week’s lesson:
- What is in the book of 1 Chronicles?
- How does 1 Chronicles help us today?
- 1 Chronicles contains many genealogies with lists of names. The book focuses on the reign of King David. It chronicles his mighty men and the return of the Ark of the Covenant.
Summary Statement: 1 Chronicles is a reminder of God’s purpose from Adam to David for his kingdom and his people of Israel as a guide to returning exiles in re-establishing Israel in the land, rebuilding the temple, and the importance of obeying God.
- Understanding 1 Chronicles should humble us as we read the genealogies. Name after name, representing life after life speed past us. Some of them we know of and some we know nothing of. Men come and go, yet God continues his purpose and rules over all. God is central and we are not. It’s not all about me or you, it’s about him and the accomplishment of his will.
Understanding 1 Chronicles reminds us of God’s unstoppable ability to fulfill his own plans. God is not thwarted by man, nor is he limited by man’s limitations.
Understanding 1 Chronicles prompts us to glory in Jesus Christ. We trace God’s working all the way back to Adam and see his purpose for Jesus to come into the world through the reign of David.
What is in the book of 2 Chronicles?The book has the account of Solomon building the temple, the dividing of the kingdom, the death of Ahab, and the Babylonian captivity.
2 Chronicles continues the account of the Davidic line in Judah to recount the reasons for the exile and highlight God’s faithfulness in preserving his people and his promises to David. It is written to guide the returning exiles in repentance and faith.
This lesson covers the book of 2 Chronicles. The lesson considers the structure and content of the book, along with major themes and practical applications to modern readers. We will consider what 2 Chronicles reveals about Christ and his kingdom as it fits into the Bible’s main story.
2 Chronicles is the ninth book of history in the Old Testament. In the Tanak, the material of 2 Chronicles closes the Hebrew Old Testament. Just as with 1 Chronicles, the authorship is unknown and the date of the writing uncertain. Scholars have advanced numerous theories, but without needed historical foundation. It was likely written sometime during or after the return from the Babylonian exile.
2 Chronicles begins with the reign of Solomon and traces the history of the southern kingdom of Judah through the Babylonian captivity and Cyrus’ decree to return to Jerusalem, which covers about 350 years of history. The book covers the same ground as 1 and 2 Kings. The book focuses on the kings of Judah and only mentions a few kings of Israel as they intersect, or interact with the southern kingdom.
2 Chronicles continues from 1 Chronicles narrating historical events and give theological reflection on those events. It covers selective material. For instance, the idolatries of Solomon are not recorded in 2 Chronicles. The temple is the focus throughout the book, as it obviously wasn’t intended to be a full history.
2 Chronicles doesn’t give as much about the prophets as the books of Kings do. There are about nine prophets mentioned in the book: Gad, Nathan, Ahijah, Jahaziel, Elijah, Obed, Jehu, Shemaiah, and Micaiah. The book records four different significant prayers in chapters 1, 6, 20, and 30. The book ends with the captivity (36:9-21) and the decree to return to Jerusalem (36:22-23).
A brief outline of 1 Chronicles:
- Chapters 1-9 Solomon’s Reign, with a focus on the dedication of the temple
- Chapters 10-36 The Kings of Judah to the Captivity
What does 2 Chronicles teach?
The Character of God
2 Chronicles is bookended with statements highlighting God’s faithfulness to his word. Various aspects of God’s character are highlighted throughout the book. We read of his sovereignty (1:1; 21:16; 25:17-20), greatness (6:14; 2:5-6), faithfulness (6:42), and justice (19:5-7).
2 Chronicles draws attention to different instances of sins being punished. We read of punishments for idolatries in the times of the southern kings Jehoram (21:11), Amaziah (25:14), Ahaz (28:3), and Manasseh (33:2-9). We read of instruments of punishment such as war (12:2, 6). We also read of insensitivity to sins like with Ahaz (28:23).
Responding to God’s Word
Much like in the books of Kings, 2 Chronicles evaluates kings by their response to God’s word. Do they heed or shun the word sent to them? We see positive responses in the time of Jehoshaphat (17:7-10) and the repentance of Josiah (34:19, 30). Of course, all wicked kings refuse and reject God’s word sent to them. Ahab is a prime example (18:4-27).
The Messiah and His Kingdom
2 Chronicles contributes to the expectation of the Messiah and his kingdom through recounting the kingdom under the son of David and his descendants. Solomon is David’s son. He received unequaled wisdom, builds the temple in Jerusalem, achieves peace, and his glory spread to the ends of the earth. This book gives us the historical account of the Queen of Sheba’s visit (9:1-12), which was prophesied by David (Psalm 72:15) and referred to by Jesus (Matthew 12:42).
Though Solomon seemed to go a long way toward fulfilling God’s covenant with David, he fell short. Even if he had sinned as grievously as he did, he still died and failed to establish an everlasting kingdom from David’s throne. He was buried just like his father David and stayed in the grave.
Immediately after Solomon, his son Reheboam reigned and the kingdom divided. The divided kingdom was never reunited and both kingdoms went into exile because of their sins. The kingdoms of Israel and Judah will only be reunited under the kingship of David’s son who is greater than Solomon, which is Jesus Christ when he returns. The book ends with the proclamation of Cyrus for the return to Jerusalem showing God’s promises to the fathers will not be forgotten and forsaken (36:22-23).
How does 2 Chronicles help us as modern readers?
Understanding 2 Chronicles helps us to see the sovereign supremacy of God in his ordering the affairs of men for blessing or punishment. These histories make clear that God uses nations to come against nations as a punishment for sin. It encourages us to look at our own circumstances and quit blaming others.
Understanding 2 Chronicles helps us understand the hope we have in God. The book ends on the not of hope because of God’s promises and his faithfulness. God alone should be trusted and he alone should be worshiped. He will not fail to keep all his promises.
Understanding 2 Chronicles helps us understand promise fulfillment. It encourages us to keep praying through dry and difficult times.
Understanding 2 Chronicles helps us persevere. The returned exiles reading this book were not under godly rule. They were not surrounded by the blessings of righteous rule. God’s word had not failed, because he had long promised just such an exile and return because of the people’s sins and lack of faith and repentance. The book teaches perseverance to the better things to come.
2 Chronicles presents the kingdom of Israel at its greatest to its worst, from Solomon through division to exile. David’s son failed and the temple failed. Both kingdom and temple were destroyed. Despite all that was lost, God’s promises remained, as the end of the book highlights. The people were taught to look for the true Son of David, greater than Solomon, and to look for the better temple, which would be torn down and raised in three days.