Second Chronicles obviously carries on the account begun in 1 Chronicles with the same point of reference and emphasis. It covers chronologically the same period as Kings with certain notable emphases. The first 9 chapters are given over to the reign of Solomon. Chapter 10 records the division of the kingdom, but thereafter only the account of the southern kingdom of Judah is given. The spotlight is on the kings who followed in the line of David. Given special prominence are 5 of these kings in whose reigns were periods of revival, renewal, and reformation.
These kings were:
1. Asa (chapters 14 — 16),
2. Jehoshaphat (chapters 17 — 20),
3. Joash (chapters 23, 24),
4. Hezekiah (chapters 29 — 32), and
5. Josiah (chapters 34, 35).
Second Chronicles concludes with the decree of Cyrus after the 70-year captivity, with no record of the captivity itself. This was “time out” in God’s program. All of this is given from God’s viewpoint, in contrast to 1 & 2 Samuel and 1 & 2 Kings. The line of David during the period of the kingdom, together with the building and service of the temple, were foremost to God in His wisdom and plan.
I. Solomon’s reign, Chapters 1 — 9
Chapter 1 — Solomon becomes king and prays for wisdom (2Ch_1:10), probably at the suggestion of David (1Ch_22:12). Although he is given divine wisdom to rule, he doesn’t seem to have wisdom to order his personal life.
Chapter 2 — Solomon makes preparation to build the temple and enlists a large army of workmen. He enlists technical advice and secures materials from Huram, king of Tyre, a friend of David. He requires skilled workmen because Israelites apparently were given to agriculture (2Ch_2:7). The total number of workmen is 153,600 (2Ch_2:17).
Chapter 3 — Solomon begins construction of the temple on Mt. Moriah where Abraham had offered Isaac (compare 2Ch_3:1 with Genesis 22:2). The temple proper is twice the size of the tabernacle (2Ch_3:3), and the plan includes many surrounding buildings.
Chapter 4 — The temple is provided with new articles of furniture. Notice that the brazen altar is 4 times as large as the one in the tabernacle (2Ch_4:1), and there are 10 lavers in the temple. There are many other additions and changes. The innovations and enlargements take away the simplicity of the tabernacle and the plain references to Christ. The tabernacle, not the temple, became the figure used in the Epistle to the Hebrews to depict the person and work of Christ.
Chapter 5 — The ark from the tabernacle is brought into the new temple from the city of David. An unnumbered multitude of animals are offered (2Ch_5:6). The ark is brought now to a permanent place and the staves are removed (2Ch_5:9). The pot of manna and Aaron’s rod had been removed from the ark (2Ch_5:10). The glory of the Lord fills the temple as it had previously filled the tabernacle (2Ch_5:13-14). This is God’s approval.
Chapter 6 — Solomon delivers a message and prays a prayer of dedication. Jerusalem was God’s choice as well as David’s choice (2Ch_6:6-7). Israel entertains no pagan notion that God could dwell in a man-made house when the heavens could not contain Him. 2Ch_6:21-42 give the place and plan of the temple in the future relationship of God and Israel. Daniel, in a foreign land, opens his window toward Jerusalem to pray (Dan_6:10).
Chapter 7 — God accepts the sacrifices (2Ch_7:1), and the temple becomes a beehive of activity (2Ch_7:6). God appears to Solomon and gives to him the condition of blessing upon Israel in the land. Verse 14 has direct reference to Israel.
Chapter 8 — Reveals the notoriety of Solomon. Note the interesting decision he makes in reference to the daughter of Pharaoh (2Ch_8:11).
Chapter 9 — Records the visit of the queen of Sheba to Solomon (see 1Ki_10:1-13). The witness of Israel to the world was not in going out to the nations but having them come to Jerusalem to worship. “I was glad when they said unto me, Let us go into the house of the LORD. Our feet shall stand within thy gates, O Jerusalem” (Psa_122:1, 2). Our command, in contrast to this, is to go to the world. The temple at Jerusalem was for all people (1 Kings 8:41-43; 2Ch_6:32-33). This chapter reveals the partial success of Israel in witnessing. Remember that from the East came wise men to Jerusalem. In 2Ch_9:4, “his ascent” should be “burnt offering.” This offering was the most complete and perfect picture of Christ (Rom_3:21, 22; Mat_12:42). 2Ch_9:22-23 are a further evidence of the witness of Israel. The death of Solomon concludes this chapter.
II. Division of the kingdom and the history of Judah, Chapters 10 — 36
(See chart of kings at the conclusion of these comments.)
Chapter 10 — The stupidity of Rehoboam, son of Solomon, leads to the division of the kingdom. Jeroboam leads the 10 northern tribes of Israel into rebellion.
Chapter 11 — The early reign of Rehoboam is seen in contrast to Jeroboam’s refusal to worship God in Jerusalem.
Chapter 12 — Rehoboam departs from the law of God; Shishak, king of Egypt, invades the land. Rehoboam dies. Notice that his mother’s name is given (2Ch_12:13). One of the striking features of this section is the giving of the mothers’ names of both good and bad kings. In God’s sight, the mother shares responsibility.
The Kings of Judah:
(See 1 & 2 Kings for the specific features of the reign of each king.)
Rehoboam Chapters 10 — 12
Abijah Chapter 13
Asa Chapters 14 — 16
Jehoshaphat Chapters 17 — 20
Jehoram Chapter 21
Ahaziah Chapter 22:1-10
Athaliah Chapters 22:11 — 23:21
Joash Chapter 24
Amaziah Chapter 25
Uzziah Chapter 26
Jotham Chapter 27
Ahaz Chapter 28
Hezekiah Chapters 29 — 32
Manasseh Chapter 2Ch_33:1-20
Amon Chapter 2Ch_33:21-25
Josiah Chapters 2Ch_33:34-35
Jehoahaz Chapter 2Ch_36:1-3
Jehoiakim Chapter 2Ch_36:4-8
Jehoiachin Chapter 2Ch_36:9-10
Zedekiah Chapter 2Ch_36:11-21
The five periods of revival, renewal, and reformation are enlarged upon in this section. Notice the striking features that characterize each period.
A return to the Word of God led to the repentance of the people and the reformation of the nation.
Chapter 21 — Gives the only written prophecy of Elijah (2Ch_21:12-15).
Chapter 36 — Second Chronicles closes with two remarkable incidents:
(1) The explanation of Jeremiah as to the reason God chose 70 years for the duration of the captivity — “To fulfill the word of the LORD by the mouth of Jeremiah, until the land had enjoyed her sabbaths; for as long as she lay desolate she kept sabbath, to fulfill threescore and ten years” (2Ch_36:21).
(2) The decree of Cyrus for the permission given to Israel to return and rebuild the temple in Jerusalem. The 70 years are passed over entirely, as the people are out of the will of God. God’s clock is not spelled R-O-L-E-X or T-I-M-E-X but I-S-R-A-E-L, and it runs only while Israel is in the land.