2 Chronicles 36 – “The Last Kings of Judah; Cyrus’s Proclamation”

Hebrew-English Text
I. Summary
Kings Jehoahaz, Jehoiakim, and Jehoiachin are sent into exile. Zedekiah becomes king and the Babylonians destroy the temple. The prophecy of Jeremiah is fulfilled when King Cyrus of Persia calls for the rebuilding of the temple.

II. Photo
Cyrus speaks: “The Lord God of Heaven has given me all the kingdoms of the earth, and has charged me with building Him a House in Jerusalem, which is in Judah.” (v. 23a)

III. Select Verses    
3: The king of Egypt deposed him in Jerusalem and laid a fine on the land of 100 silver talents and one gold talent.
6: King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon marched against him; he bound him in fetters to convey him to Babylon.
10: At the turn of the year, King Nebuchadnezzar sent to have him brought to Babylon with the precious vessels of the House of the LORD, and he made his kinsman Zedekiah king over Judah and Jerusalem.
15-16: The LORD God of their fathers had sent word to them through His messengers daily without fail, for He had pity on His people and His dwelling-place. But they mocked the messengers of God and disdained His words and taunted His prophets until the wrath of the LORD against His people grew beyond remedy.
17-21: He therefore brought the king of the Chaldeans upon them, who killed their youths by the sword in their sanctuary; He did not spare youth, maiden, elder, or graybeard, but delivered all into his hands.  All the vessels of the House of God, large and small, and the treasures of the House of the LORD and the treasures of the king and his officers were all brought to Babylon.  They burned the House of God and tore down the wall of Jerusalem, burned down all its mansions, and consigned all its precious objects to destruction.  Those who survived the sword he exiled to Babylon, and they became his and his sons’ servants till the rise of the Persian kingdom,  in fulfillment of the word of the LORD spoken by Jeremiah, until the land paid back its sabbaths; as long as it lay desolate it kept sabbath, till seventy years were completed.
22-23: And in the first year of King Cyrus of Persia, when the word of the LORD spoken by Jeremiah was fulfilled, the LORD roused the spirit of King Cyrus of Persia to issue a proclamation throughout his realm by word of mouth and in writing, as follows:  “Thus said King Cyrus of Persia: The LORD God of Heaven has given me all the kingdoms of the earth, and has charged me with building Him a House in Jerusalem, which is in Judah. Any one of you of all His people, the LORD his God be with him and let him go up.”

IV. Outline

1-4. Jehoahaz is exiled to Egypt
5-8. Jehoiakim (Eliakim) is exiled to Babylon
9-10. Jehoiachin is exiled to Babylon
11-20a. Zedekiah
    11. Introduction
    12. Condemnation
    13. Rebellion against Babylon
    14. The people’s sin
    15-16. Unheeded warnings
    17-20a. The Babylonian invasion
        17. Killing
        18. Pillaging
        19. Burning
        20a. Exile
20b-21. Jeremiah’s prophecy
22-23. Cyrus’s decree to rebuild the temple

V. Comment
No comment today. Stay tuned.

VI. Works Used
(see “Commentaries” page)
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2 Chronicles 35 – “Josiah Part II – The Passover; Battle with Necho”

Hebrew-English Text
I. Summary
The people keep the passover in Jerusalem. Josiah is killed in a battle with Pharaoh Necho.

II. Photo
Josiah is injured in battle: “Archers shot King Josiah, and the king said to his servants, ‘Get me away from here, for I am badly wounded.’” (v. 23)

III. Select Verses    
16-18: The entire service of the LORD was arranged well that day, to keep the Passover and to make the burnt offerings on the altar of the LORD, according to the command of King Josiah.  All the Israelites present kept the Passover at that time, and the Feast of Unleavened Bread for seven days.  Since the time of the prophet Samuel, no Passover like that one had ever been kept in Israel; none of the kings of Israel had kept a Passover like the one kept by Josiah and the priests and the Levites and all Judah and Israel there present and the inhabitants of Jerusalem.
20-24: After all this furbishing of the Temple by Josiah, King Necho of Egypt came up to fight at Carchemish on the Euphrates, and Josiah went out against him.  [Necho] sent messengers to him, saying, “What have I to do with you, king of Judah? I do not march against you this day but against the kingdom that wars with me, and it is God’s will that I hurry. Refrain, then, from interfering with God who is with me, that He not destroy you.”  But Josiah would not let him alone; instead, he donned [his armor] to fight him, heedless of Necho’s words from the mouth of God; and he came to fight in the plain of Megiddo.  Archers shot King Josiah, and the king said to his servants, “Get me away from here, for I am badly wounded.”  His servants carried him out of his chariot and put him in the wagon of his second-in-command, and conveyed him to Jerusalem. There he died, and was buried in the grave of his fathers, and all Judah and Jerusalem went into mourning over Josiah.
25: Jeremiah composed laments for Josiah which all the singers, male and female, recited in their laments for Josiah, as is done to this day; they became customary in Israel and were incorporated into the laments.

IV. Outline

1-19. The Passover
    1. Introduction to the Passover
    2. Josiah stations the priests
    3-6. Message to the Levites
        3. The ark
        4-5. Clan divisions
        6. The passover sacrifice
    7-9. Donations of Josiah, his officers, and the Levites
    10-16. The service is run well
    17-19. Praise; Summary statement
20-25.
    20. Josiah goes out to fight Necho
    21-22. Necho’s warning to Josiah
    23-24a. Josiah is wounded by arrows
    24b. Death
    24c-25. The people and Jeremiah lament
26. Summary statement

V. Comment
No comment today. Stay tuned.

VI. Works Used
(see “Commentaries” page)
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2 Chronicles 34 – “Josiah Part I – The Scroll of Hilkiah”

Hebrew-English Text
I. Summary
Josiah combats idolatry and repairs the temple. Hilkiah discovers a scroll and Josiah seeks an oracle, assembles the people, and forges a new covenant with God.

II. Photo
Josiah fights idolatry: “He burned the bones of priests on their altars and purged Judah and Jerusalem.” (v. 5)

III. Select Verses    
3-5: In the eighth year of his reign, while he was still young, he began to seek the God of his father David, and in the twelfth year he began to purge Judah and Jerusalem of the shrines, the sacred posts, the idols, and the molten images.  At his bidding, they demolished the altars of the Baals, and he had the incense stands above them cut down; he smashed the sacred posts, the idols, and the images, ground them into dust, and strewed it onto the graves of those who had sacrificed to them. He burned the bones of priests on their altars and purged Judah and Jerusalem.
14: As they took out the silver that had been brought to the House of the LORD, the priest Hilkiah found a scroll of the LORD’s Teaching given by Moses.
29-31: Then the king sent word and assembled all the elders of Judah and Jerusalem. The king went up to the House of the LORD with all the men of Judah and the inhabitants of Jerusalem and the priests and the Levites — all the people, young and old — and he read to them the entire text of the covenant scroll that was found in the House of the LORD. The king stood in his place and solemnized the covenant before the LORD: to follow the LORD and observe His commandments, His injunctions, and His laws with all his heart and soul, to fulfill all the terms of the covenant written in this scroll.

IV. Outline

1. Introduction
2. Josiah’s Righteousness
3-7. Abolishing idolatry
    3-4. Abolishing idolatry in Judah
    5. Burning the bones of illicit priests
    6-7. Abolishing idolatry in the northern kingdom
8-13. Temple repairs
14-. Hilkiah’s scroll
    14. Discovery
    15-18. Shaphan reads the scroll to Josiah; Temple report
    19. Josiah laments
    20-22. Josiah sends messengers to Huldah
    23-28. Huldah’s oracles
        23-25. God’s wrath
        26-28. Peace for Josiah
    29-30. Josiah reads the scroll to the Judeans
    31-32. Josiah’s covenant
    33. Josiah’s and the people’s righteousness

V. Comment
2 Chronicles 34 recounts Josiah’s dramatic reaction to the discovery of a scroll. A major concern of biblical scholarship is the identification of this scroll. Dillard summarizes the issue as follows:

  • There has been a long and vigorous debate over the identity of the book found in the temple. The general consensus is that it was Deuteronomy or some earlier stage of that book during its growth and formation. Numerous features favor the identification with Deuteronomy. (1) The centralization of worship in the one place chosen by God, the temple in Jerusalem, is envisaged in Deut 12. (2) The destruction of the high places and all rival cultic installations is enjoined in Deut 12. (3) The book has an extended section of curses (34:24; Deut 27:9–26; 28:15–68), including the threat of exile. (4) The character of the Passover observance reflects the stipulations of Deut 16. (5) A prophet is consulted to know the will of God (34:22–28; Deut 18:9–22). (6) The books of Kings are history viewed through spectacles consisting of the book of Deuteronomy; pentateuchal laws distinctive of Deuteronomy are the measure by which the kings of Israel and Judah are evaluated. It would be natural that the fidelity of Josiah in Kings flow from the stipulations of that book. (7) Deuteronomy shows many features in common with extrabiblical treaties or covenants, a fact which also favors its identification as “the book of the covenant” (34:30// 2 Kgs 23:2). While some have regarded Deuteronomy as a “pious fraud” written at the time of Josiah and attributed to Moses only in an effort to legitimate Josiah’s extension of his power, increasingly scholars have come to recognize the comparative antiquity of much of the book and to allow that many of its provisions antedate the time of Josiah. One need not have solved all the questions surrounding pentateuchal criticism to recognize the compelling evidence that Deuteronomy or a document somewhat like it was the motivating force behind Josiah’s reform as described in Kings. How it could have dropped from view or lost its influence can only be a matter of speculation; it is at least conceivable that during the threat of invasion under Hezekiah or during the apostasy under Amon and Manasseh it was concealed in the temple. (280)

Dillard also draws an interesting comparison between the reigns of Josiah (2 Chr 34-35) and Joash (2 Chr 23-24):

  • Many features 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). (282)

VI. Works Used
(see “Commentaries” page)
Dillard, R. B., 2 Chronicles (WBC 15; Waco, Texas 1987).
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2 Chronicles 33 – “Manasseh; Amon”

Hebrew-English Text
I. Summary
Manasseh worships foreign gods and is sent into exile. He repents and is restored to his throne in Jerusalem. His son Amon becomes king and is killed in his second year.

II. Photo
Manasseh is taken captive: “The officers of the army of the king of Assyria took Manasseh captive in manacles, bound him in fetters, and led him off to Babylon.” (v. 11b)

III. Select Verses    
3-7: He rebuilt the shrines that his father Hezekiah had demolished; he erected altars for the Baals and made sacred posts. He bowed down to all the host of heaven and worshiped them,  and he built altars [to them] in the House of the LORD, of which the LORD had said, “My name will be in Jerusalem forever.”  He built altars for all the host of heaven in the two courts of the House of the LORD.  He consigned his sons to the fire in the Valley of Ben-hinnom, and he practiced soothsaying, divination, and sorcery, and consulted ghosts and familiar spirits; he did much that was displeasing to the LORD in order to vex Him. He placed a sculptured image that he made in the House of God, of which God had said to David and to his son Solomon, “In this House and in Jerusalem, which I chose out of all the tribes of Israel, I will establish My name forever.
10-13:  The LORD spoke to Manasseh and his people, but they would not pay heed,  so the LORD brought against them the officers of the army of the king of Assyria, who took Manasseh captive in manacles, bound him in fetters, and led him off to Babylon.  In his distress, he entreated the LORD his God and humbled himself greatly before the God of his fathers.  He prayed to Him, and He granted his prayer, heard his plea, and returned him to Jerusalem to his kingdom. Then Manasseh knew that the LORD alone was God.

IV. Outline

1-20. Manasseh
    1. Introduction
    2-9. Manasseh’s sins
        2. Introduction
        3-5. Instituting idol worship
        6a. Child sacrifice
        6b. Magic
        7a. An idol in the temple
        7b-8. God’s conditional promise
        9. Summary
    10-16. Punishment and repentance
        10. Manasseh does not heed God’s warning
        11. Manasseh is brought to Babylon as a captive
        12-13. Manasseh repents and is restored in Jerusalem
        14. Building projects
        15. Removing idolatry
        16. Restoring the temple
        17. The people continue to sin
    18-20. Summary; Death
21-15. Amon
    21. Introduction
    22-23. Amon’s sins: idolatry and arrogance
    24. Amon is killed by his servants
    25. The people choose Josiah as king

V. Comment
No comment today. Stay tuned.

VI. Works Used
(see “Commentaries” page)
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2 Chronicles 32 – “Hezekiah Part IV – Sennacherib’s Invasion”

Hebrew-English Text
I. Summary
Sennacherib invades Judah and taunts the citizens of Jerusalem. An angel wipes out Sennacherib’s army because of Hezekiah’s and Isaiah’s prayers. Hezekiah’s successes and shortcomings are listed.

II. Photo
Hezekiah prospers: “Hezekiah enjoyed riches and glory in abundance; he filled treasuries with silver and gold, precious stones, spices, shields, and all lovely objects.” (v. 27)

III. Select Verses    
9-15: Afterward, King Sennacherib of Assyria sent his officers to Jerusalem — he and all his staff being at Lachish — with this message to King Hezekiah of Judah and to all the people of Judah who were in Jerusalem:  “Thus said King Sennacherib of Assyria: On what do you trust to enable you to endure a siege in Jerusalem?  Hezekiah is seducing you to a death of hunger and thirst, saying, ‘The LORD our God will save us from the king of Assyria.’  But is not Hezekiah the one who removed His shrines and His altars and commanded the people of Judah and Jerusalem saying, ‘Before this one altar you shall prostrate yourselves, and upon it make your burnt offerings’?  Surely you know what I and my fathers have done to the peoples of the lands? Were the gods of the nations of the lands able to save their lands from me?  Which of all the gods of any of those nations whom my fathers destroyed was able to save his people from me, that your God should be able to save you from me? Now then, do not let Hezekiah delude you; do not let him seduce you in this way; do not believe him. For no god of any nation or kingdom has been able to save his people from me or from my fathers — much less your God, to save you from me!”
20-21: Then King Hezekiah and the prophet Isaiah son of Amoz prayed about this, and cried out to heaven. The LORD sent an angel who annihilated every mighty warrior, commander, and officer in the army of the king of Assyria, and he returned in disgrace to his land. He entered the house of his god, and there some of his own offspring struck him down by the sword.
27-30: Hezekiah enjoyed riches and glory in abundance; he filled treasuries with silver and gold, precious stones, spices, shields, and all lovely objects;  28 and store-cities with the produce of grain, wine, and oil, and stalls for all kinds of beasts, and flocks for sheepfolds.  And he acquired towns, and flocks of small and large cattle in great number, for God endowed him with very many possessions. It was Hezekiah who stopped up the spring of water of Upper Gihon, leading it downward west of the City of David; Hezekiah prospered in all that he did.

IV. Outline

1-23. Sennacherib’s invasion
    1. Sennacherib invades Judah
    2-4. Hezekiah stops up the wadis
    5a. Rebuilding Jerusalem’s walls
    5b. Arming the people
    6-8. Rousing the people
    9. Sennacherib sends a message to Jerusalem
    10-15. The message: Hezekiah and Yhwh will fail
    16-19. Sennacherib’s messengers taunt the Jerusalemites
    20. Hezekiah and Isaiah pray
    21a. An angel strikes the Assyrian camp
    21b. Sennacherib is killed by his offspring in his land
    22. God’s involvement
    23a. Tribute to Yhwh
    23b. Hezekiah’s fame
24-30. Hezekiah’s shortcomings and successes
    24-26. Hezekiah’s arrogance, sickness, and repentance
    27-30. Hezekiah’s wealth and building projects
    31. Success with the Babylonians
32-33. Summary; Death

V. Comment
No comment today. Stay tuned.

VI. Works Used
(see “Commentaries” page)
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2 Chronicles 31 – “Hezekiah Part III – The Tithes”

Hebrew-English Text
I. Summary
The people destroy their idols and return home. Hezekiah organizes the Levites, arranges the tithes, and builds storehouses for the surpluses. Some of the Levites are listed with their duties.

II. Photo
The people bring their tithes: “The Israelites brought large quantities of grain, wine, oil, honey, and all kinds of agricultural produce, and tithes of all, in large amounts.” (v. 5b)

III. Select Verses    
1:  When all this was finished, all Israel who were present went out into the towns of Judah and smashed the pillars, cut down the sacred posts, demolished the shrines and altars throughout Judah and Benjamin, and throughout Ephraim and Manasseh, to the very last one. Then all the Israelites returned to their towns, each to his possession.
4-5: He ordered the people, the inhabitants of Jerusalem, to deliver the portions of the priests and the Levites, so that they might devote themselves to the Teaching of the LORD.  When the word spread, the Israelites brought large quantities of grain, wine, oil, honey, and all kinds of agricultural produce, and tithes of all, in large amounts.
8: When Hezekiah and the officers came and saw the heaps, they blessed the LORD and his people Israel.
11: Hezekiah then gave orders to prepare store-chambers in the House of the LORD; and they were prepared.
20-21: Hezekiah did this throughout Judah. He acted in a way that was good, upright, and faithful before the LORD his God.  Every work he undertook in the service of the House of God or in the Teaching and the Commandment, to worship his God, he did with all his heart; and he prospered.

IV. Outline
1a. The people destroy idolatry
1b. Returning home
2-3. Hezekiah organizes the Levites
4. Command to the people regarding the Levites
5-7. The people’s tithes
8. Blessing
9-10. Surplus of tithes
11. Hezekiah orders the building of storehouses
12-19. Organization of priests and Levites
20-21. Hezekiah’s devotion and prosperity

V. Comment
No comment today. Stay tuned.

VI. Works Used
(see “Commentaries” page)
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2 Chronicles 30 – “Hezekiah Part II – The Passover Festival”

Hebrew-English Text
I. Summary
Hezekiah organizes a passover festival in the second month. The people rejoice and celebrate for an additional seven days.

II. Photo
Hezekiah assembles the people: “Hezekiah sent word to all Israel and Judah; he also wrote letters to Ephraim and Manasseh to come to the House of the Lord in Jerusalem to keep the Passover for the Lord God of Israel.” (v. 1)

III. Select Verses    
1: Hezekiah sent word to all Israel and Judah; he also wrote letters to Ephraim and Manasseh to come to the House of the LORD in Jerusalem to keep the Passover for the LORD God of Israel.
6-9: The couriers went out with the letters from the king and his officers through all Israel and Judah, by order of the king, proclaiming, “O you Israelites! Return to the LORD God of your fathers, Abraham, Isaac, and Israel, and He will return to the remnant of you who escaped from the hand of the kings of Assyria.  Do not be like your fathers and brothers who trespassed against the LORD God of their fathers and He turned them into a horror, as you see.  Now do not be stiffnecked like your fathers; submit yourselves to the LORD and come to His sanctuary, which He consecrated forever, and serve the LORD your God so that His anger may turn back from you.  If you return to the LORD, your brothers and children will be regarded with compassion by their captors, and will return to this land; for the LORD your God is gracious and merciful; He will not turn His face from you if you return to Him.”
10-11: As the couriers passed from town to town in the land of Ephraim and Manasseh till they reached Zebulun, they were laughed at and mocked.  Some of the people of Asher and Manasseh and Zebulun, however, were contrite, and came to Jerusalem.
23: All the congregation resolved to keep seven more days, so they kept seven more days of rejoicing.
26: There was great rejoicing in Jerusalem, for since the time of King Solomon son of David of Israel nothing like it had happened in Jerusalem.
27: The Levite priests rose and blessed the people, and their voice was heard, and their prayer went up to His holy abode, to heaven.

IV. Outline
1-6a. Hezekiah’s plan to keep the Passover in the second month
6b-9. Hezekiah’s letter to northern Israel
10. The couriers are mocked
11. Some members of Asher, Manasseh, and Zebulun join
12-13. A united Judah at the festival
14. Removing the idols of Jerusalem
15-17. The paschal sacrifices, notes about sanctification
18a. Some eat the sacrifice in impurity
18b-19. Hezekiah’s prayer/statement on their behalf
20. God hears Hezekiah’s prayer
21-22. Israelites and Levites keep the Passover
23. A resolution to keep an additional 7 days
24a. Hezekiah’s donation
24b. Priestly sanctification
25-26. Rejoicing
27. Prayer

V. Comment
No comment today. Stay tuned.

VI. Works Used
(see “Commentaries” page)
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