Monday, July 7, 2014

Second Chronicles

Second Chronicle continues the history of Israel from First Chronicles (originally they were one book). It covers a period of almost four centuries, beginning with the reign of Solomon and ending as the Babylonian captivity started.

The chronicles are books of comparisons and contrasts. There was something alike about all the periods when the kings of Israel were successful and the people thrived. Likewise, periods of defeat and loss all shared a common element. These thriving and dying periods similarly were unlike in a key way.

The key factor was the faithfulness of the king, and the people, to God. When the kings sought God and the people worshipped Him, he blessed them and caused to rise in wealth and power.  When the king and people sought their own ways, especially to worship the idols and practice the sins of neighboring kingdoms, God let them fall into the hands of their enemies. Eventually, Israel was completely taken over by Babylon.

This pattern could play out even if the reign of a single king. Some hard-hearted kings would start well but stray from God and lead the people away with him. Some evil kings responded to God’s call of repentance and reconciliation, and their turnaround could bring the whole kingdom back to God.

One could argue that the kingdom was at its peak during the reign of Solomon. He built the temple, he reigned in peace, and he stored up great wealth for himself and his kingdom. In spite of his wisdom, he strayed, too. Though he never abandoned the worship of God, he suffered for his sins, suffering he brought onto himself.

Even so, Solomon was the model of a good king. His reign takes up more pages than others in the book. A lot happened during that time, especially the building of the temple. The temple was the symbol of God’s presence with the nation of Israel, and His blessing is central to the prosperity of the nation, so it makes sense that His temple received a lot of attention.

Other notable kings include Jehoshaphat, Hezekiah, and Josiah. These leaders were associated with revivals, the destruction of idols, the restoration of worshipping God, and generally successful reigns. As an engineer, I take special note of Hezekiah, who was famous for building a reservoir and underground aqueduct to supply water to Jerusalem.

If you’re interested in this book, you may also be interested in

Second Chronicles. The Holy Bible. New King James Version. Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson, 1982.