I’ve been reading through the Bible in a year, and every month I post about what I’ve read. Other posts this month are on 1 Chronicles, Micah, Nahum, Habakkuk, Zephaniah, Haggai, Zechariah and Malachi. This is the last post on reflections on my Bible readings, and I shall post a wrap-up next week.
2 Chronicles covers much of the same ground as 2 Kings, which left me wondering what to write for this post. Finally I decided to review the profiles of the kings thematically. You may find my charts on OT kings helpful.
Those who started badly and ended badly
Jehoram/ Joram, Ahaziah, Athaliah, Ahaz, Amon, Jehoahaz, Jehoiakim, Jehoiachin, Zedekiah.
Jehoram, Ahaziah and Ahaz are said to have walked in the ways of Ahab, doing evil in the Lord’s sight.
- Jehoram killed his brothers and other members of the royal family (21:4). For this and other sins, the Lord struck him with a lingering bowel disease, from which he died (21:14-15, 18-19) He passed away to no one’s regret (21:20) and wasn’t buried with the kings.
- Ahaziah was Jehoram’s youngest son. His brothers had all been killed by Arab raiders (22:1). On a visit to Joram, king of Israel, he is fatally wounded by Jehu, the next king of Israel (22:5-9). Jehu also kills many of the royal family.
- Athaliah was Ahab’s daughter, Jehoram’s wife and Ahaziah’s mother. At the death of her son, she killed her grandchildren (except one), usurped the throne and ruled for six years. There was great rejoicing at her death (23:21)
- Ahaz was idolatrous and went so far as to shut the temple (28:22-24). He wasn’t buried with the kings.
- Of the rest, little is said. Common to them all is that they didn’t humble themselves before God.
Those who were mostly bad but had bright moments
Rehoboam, Abijah, Manasseh.
These three kings are portrayed in a much better light in Chronicles than in Kings.
- Rehoboam was Solomon’s son. He listened to God’s prophet, and became strong (11:5-17). But after he became strong, he abandoned God. God sent another prophet, and the king and the elders humbled themselves. And God relented. However, his epitaph reads that he did evil and didn’t seek after the Lord (12:14).
- Abijah, faced by Jeroboam king of Israel in battle, gives a Yahweh-honouring speech (13:4-12). The people of Judah cried out to God, who responded by routing the army of the northern kingdom (13:13-18)
- For most of his life, Manasseh was a wicked idolater. In my post on 2 Kings, I noted that his was the longest reign, and that he used it to carry out despicable stuff. I puzzled why God let him get away with it. In 2 Chronicles, we find the answer. Late in life, Manasseh repents. God had been patient with him and forgave him. Praise God that He doesn’t treat us as our sins deserve!
Those who started well and could have ended better
Solomon, Asa, Joash, Amaziah, Azariah/Uzziah.
- I wrote about Solomon in my post on 1 Kings 1-11.
- Asa commanded the people to worship Yahweh, and destroyed the places of false worship (14: 2-5, 15:8). He called upon the Lord when faced by a vast army (14:9-15). But he later looked to political alliances for help, and ended up a grumpy old man with diseased feet. He was given a splendid funeral, though.
- Joash was the only survivor after the killings in the royal family carried out by Jehoram, the Arabs, Jehu and Athaliah. His aunt Jehosheba hid him away in the temple, and was thus instrumental in preserving the Davidic, and ultimately, the Messianic line. As long as Jehoiada the priest lived, Joash did right. The boy who had such a promising start ended up an idolater and a prophet-killer. He wasn’t buried with the kings.
- Amaziah started well, but he turned to idolatry and became proud. Like his father Joash, he was murdered.
- Azariah, aka Uzziah started well, and continued well as long as he had good influence. He too fell because of pride. He wasn’t buried in the tombs of the kings, but near them.
Those who started well and ended well
Jehoshaphat, Jotham, Hezekiah, Josiah.
- Jehoshaphattrusted God, and taught others to do the same. He wasn’t very discerning, though. His brightest moment was right before the battle with Edom, when he prayed a marvellous prayer of utter dependence on God.
- Not much is said about Jotham, but we know he walked steadfastly before the Lord.
- Hezekiah‘s story covers 4 chapters—the most since David & Solomon. He was as whole-hearted in his devotion as David had been. He reopened and purified the temple. He celebrated Passover, even inviting people from the northern kingdom (30:1-27). He organised contributions for worship (31:2-21). He demonstrated great faith when faced with the Assyrians. He was honoured at his death and buried witht he kings.
- Josiah was the last of the reforming kings. He purified and repaired the temple and celebrated Passover. He did all this with the help of a number of godly people. Sadly, he also lacked discernment. There was great mourning at his death, and he was buried with the kings.
Three things about God
One, God is near those who humble themselves and helps those who knew they are helpless.
Two, God is extremely patient. 2 Chronicles 36:15 tells us that out of compassion, He kept sending messengers to His people to warn then to turn from their sin.
Hallelujah, what a Saviour!
Source: Kevin DeYoung.