Daily Bible Studies
Series Theme: Studies in 2 Chronicles 10-36
"The Kings of Judah" (The Southern Kingdom)
Introduction to 2 Chronicles 10-36
The Subjects of these Studies
In this set of studies you will find us looking at the kings of Judah, the kings of the southern kingdom after Israel was divided following Solomon's reign. There is a similar set of studies looking at the kings of Israel , the kings of the northern kingdom.
These studies start with Solomon's son, Rehoboam, and follow the kings of Judah right through to the point of their exile when Nebuchadnezzar took most of the inhabitants of Judah to Babylon and destroyed Jerusalem .
The Breakdown of these Studies
Largely for the sake of convenience we will break the studies into the following sections:
You will note that sections 2 and 4 are given over to two individuals. This is simply because the recorder of 2 Chronicles gives a larger amount of space to those two kings. We thus divide up the studies either side of those two kings as shown.
What to look for
As we go through these studies, look out especially for:
Part 1 : The Early Kings
We start off with Rehoboam who didn't do very well, even if his outcome was dictated by the will of God, and conclude with Asa who mainly did well, although at the end of his reign he failed to trust the Lord. Watch for the good aspects and the failures of these men.
Chapter: 2 Chron 10
Passage: 2 Chron 10:1-19
A. Find Out:
1. What did Jeroboam and the others ask of Rehoboam? v.1-4
2. Who did he first consult with what result? v.6,7
3. Who did he next consult and what advice did he follow? v.8-15
4. So how did the people respond? v.16
5. Who was left for him to rule over? v.17
6. How was he rebuffed? v.18,19
1. How did the 2 sets of advice to Rehoboam differ?
2. Why didn't he listen to his elders?
3. Read also 1 Kings 11:9-13 & 11:29 -40
Behind all the events we have read in this reading, is the hand of the Lord. If you have read the 1 Kings verses as well, you will have seen that the Lord rebuked Solomon for turning to idol worship at the end of his life to keep the peace with his many foreign wives. Because of this the Lord said He would divide the kingdom when Solomon died (A damage limitation exercise?). He then also spoke to Jeroboam and told him the same thing. Thus the scene is set when we come to today's reading.
Life under Solomon had been harsh and so when they come to make Rehoboam king they ask him to lighten the load. Rehoboam asks for three days to consider this request, a clear sign of the absence of the wisdom of his father in his early days. Why can't he make a wise decision himself? Anyway, he consults the elders, which was good and they advise him to go along with the request. It is at this point his folly is revealed; he consults his peers, the young men, who lack wisdom and are brash. They advise harshness and the appearance of being a tough king. This he goes along with and the people rebel they've had enough of that sort of life!
Perhaps Jeroboam was encouraged to declare the rebellion by the word he had received. The outcome is just as the Lord had said it would be. Rehoboam's rule is greatly curtailed to two tribes! Will he learn? Will he seek the Lord for restoration? Watch this space!
1. God works in the affairs of men to bring about His will.
2. The Lord disciplines His people because He loves them.
Chapter: 2 Chron 11
Passage: 2 Chron 11:1-23
A. Find Out:
1. What was Rehoboam's intention? v.1
2. But what stopped him? v.2-4
3. What did he do in the land? v.5-12
4. Who supported him? v.13-17
5. What sort of family did he have? v.18-21
6. How did he organise the land? v.22,23
1. What good things about Rehoboam are seen here?
2. Yet what little bad thing is mentioned that is big!
3. How would you summarise all that takes place in Judah ?
Rehoboam has been made king but a majority of the tribes have rejected him. He feels bad about this and goes to take steps to take control of the northern kingdom with his army, but as he goes to do this the Lord speaks and tells him not to, for this is of His doing. Rehoboam responds well to this and returns to Jerusalem . He has just got to cope with a divided kingdom but he still feel threatened as the much smaller people and so we read of how he strengthened all the towns and cities of Judah so that they could repel any attackers. It seems a wise move.
The next thing to happen is that the Levites from throughout Israel come to Jerusalem, for their reason for existence is to serve in the Temple, so now the kingdom is divided they need to be in the southern kingdom. This must have had a very reassuring effect in Rehoboam. He takes wives and creates a large family. As they grow he uses his sons as local leaders around the land. Again, another means of strengthening the kingdom. Everything in this chapter is about strengthening his reign.
This makes all the more strange one little verse in the middle of all this verse 15! Rehoboam allows and develops idol worship! Perhaps it is so ingrained because of all the wives of his father, Solomon, but this is the worse thing that could happen to the covenant people of God. It gives us a clue about future events.
1. Leaders have responsibilities to bring security to their people.
2. Security means rightly relating to the Lord.
Chapter: 2 Chron 12
Passage: 2 Chron 12:1-16
A. Find Out:
1. What did Rehoboam and the people do? v.1
2. So what happened? v.2-4
3. Who did the Lord send to say what? v.5
4. How did the people respond, with what result? v.6-8
5. How was the Temple depleted? v.9-11
6. What was Rehoboam's failure? v.14
1. When did Rehoboam abandon the Lord? What does this teach us?
2. What did repentance achieve? What does that teach us?
3. Why did Rehoboam do evil? What does that teach us?
There are some strong lessons in this passage. First, note that the king and the people turned from the Lord when they were established and strong. A great temptation when we are feeling secure is to turn from the Lord because we think we don't need Him. Folly!
Second, note that when the word of the Lord came to them, they accepted the truth of it we deserve this! Acknowledging the truth and coming in humility and repentance opens the door for the Lord's mercy. Yes, note also, He will still discipline if He sees that this is needed. The Lord knows that this people have a tendency to turn away so He gives them a short sharp lesson He allows the king of Egypt to carry off the riches from the Temple . You are trusting in your affluence? Very well, we'll take some of it away! You will be constantly reminded of what has happened.
Finally, note the summary in verse 14. Rehoboam did evil because he had not set his heart on seeking the Lord . That was part of the evil but it led to him drifting away from the Lord. There is no neutral half-way house with the Lord. You will either seek him and be totally for Him, or you will drift away into evil. Real relationship with the Lord means communication. Communication means seeking His face. Absence of that soon means drifting into wrong. Beware.
1. Beware complacency in the face of affluence.
2. Beware half-heartedness which means drifting away.
Chapter: 2 Chron 13
Passage: 2 Chron 13:1-22
A. Find Out:
1. What was the balance in the battle between the armies? v.3
2. About what did Abijah proclaim before the armies? v.4-8
3. What also was he able to speak about? v.9-12
4. What had Israel done and how did Judah respond? v.13-14
5. What was the outcome? v.15-18
6. What was the long standing change? v.19-21
1. Read also 1 Kings 15:1-8. How was Abijah summarised there?
2. How would you summarise what is covered in our reading today?
3. What does it show about the Lord?
The accounts of the kings in Kings and Chronicles sometimes leaves us wondering why the recorder included what he did or left out what he did. In 1 Kings the account summarises Abijah very briefly, leaving us seeing him as a sinful king who allowed idol worship to continue in the land and never did anything to stop it. In Chronicles the recorder gives us one single episode in the three year reign, that of his battle with Israel .
Abijah's approach to the battle is quite remarkable: he relied on the Lord and the Lord delivered him from overwhelming odds. That's it in a nutshell! Abijah reminds Israel that the Davidic line is the godly line though he conveniently forgets God's judgement on Solomon! He is correct in what he says about the priesthood and Levites, all of which says Judah are in a right place with God and Israel aren't! He declares, the Lord is our God (v.10) and God is with us (v.12) and then they call on the Lord (v.14). The result is clear. Putting the two accounts together we find we have a king who conveniently calls on the Lord when he is in need but casual about the daily spiritual life of Judah . (Sounds like many believers?). The amazing thing is that the Lord acts on their behalf when they cry to Him, despite the bad practices in the land. That is grace!
1. Casual in daily relationship with the Lord? May it not be so!
2. Cry out only in crisis? May it not be so!
Chapter: 2 Chron 14
Passage: 2 Chron 14:1-15
A. Find Out:
1. List the good things Asa did? v.2-5
2. What was he also able to do and why? v.6,7
3. Who came against Asa so what did he do? v.9-11
4. So what happened? v.12-15
1. How did Asa begin his reign and why did it please the Lord?
2. What was the fruit attributed to that?
3. How further did he show his reliance upon the Lord?
Although Asa's reign did not end gloriously, as we'll see in a later study, it certainly started well. Asa worked to restore Israel to a good place with the Lord by a) taking away what was wrong and b) putting back into place what was right. Taking away what was wrong was removing all aspects of idol worship and putting back what was right was commanding the people to seek the Lord and obey the Law. Now immediately he did that peace came. There was a cessation of conflicts with their neighbours. This almost became a universal observable law with Israel . When they were not right with God there was conflict with surrounding nations, but as soon as they re-established their relationship with the Lord, peace came.
Now you may think the battle that followed contradicts that but there will always be exceptions to the rule as the Lord allows such things to strengthen His people. This was an opportunity for the king and his people to show the reality of their relationship with the Lord, and this they did as they cried out to Him. The result was an overwhelming victory. It may be this victory that ensured subsequent peace. Sometimes we have to deal with the enemy positively before we can have ongoing peace. In our case it is spiritual battles but it's still the same: there are times when we have to give a death blow to the enemy's particular activity before we can have ongoing peace. It's not a case of self-effort but calling on the Lord and letting Him lead the way to victory.
1. Is the enemy still troubling you? Is there an underlying cause?
2. Is trust in the Lord at the heart of your life?
Chapter: 2 Chron 15
Passage: 2 Chron 15:1-19
A. Find Out:
1. Who prophesied what to Asa? v.1,2
2. Of what did he remind them and then command? v.3-7
3. How did Asa respond to this? v.8
4. Who gathered to him and why? v.9
5. What did they do, and with what result? v.10-15
6. What further did Asa do with what result? v.16-19
1. How would you summarise verses 1 to 7?
2. How would you summarise Asa's activity?
3. How would you summarise the people's response?
Asa has started cleaning up the land (v.3,4) assuming chapters 14 and 15 are in chronological order and now the Spirit of God comes and encourages Asa to persevere with what he has started. (It is possible that v.3,4 are simply summary verses of what later occurred but these prophetic words seem to indicate a continuation of what he has started.) Whether this is an initiating prophecy or a further encouraging word, Asa responds well and goes about/continues cleaning up the land and clearing out idol worship and restoring godly worship.
We then come to an intriguing part of the passage. He gathered the people in Jerusalem to worship the Lord. Now this is not only the people of the two tribes, but also people from three of the other tribes who heard that the Lord was with Asa. There is a gathering of those whose hearts are yearning after the Lord, a mini revival!
The extent of their worship is worth noting. They not only move into a major renewal of the sacrificial aspects of their faith, but they firmly commit themselves to seek after the Lord with all their heart and soul! Powerful stuff! They even make a solemn oath to confirm this. Asa goes on to deal with ungodly remnants of his family and the reference in verse 17 to Israel probably is in contrast to Judah (still seen as part of the covenant people). Peace follows as we noted previously.
1. The old life has to be removed if the new is to be effective.
2. God brings the blessing of peace where there is obedience.
A. Find Out:
1. What happened in Asa's thirty sixth year? v.1
2. So what did he do? v.2-6
3. Who came and said what about this? v.7-9
4. What was Asa's response? v.10
5. What subsequently happened to him? v.12
6. With what eventual outcome? v.13
1. What appears to be God's first disciplining here?
2. What seems to be the second disciplining?
3. Summarise Asa's folly in the closing years of his life.
Asa started well but finished badly. How sad. Let's note the detail. First the king of Israel barricaded the frontier between Judah and Israel . Now Asa took this badly but instead of seeking the Lord for what he anticipated were possible preparations for war, he entered into a treaty with the king of Aram in the far north and caused the king of Israel to cease his activities in this way.
Now there are two things to note about this. First, throughout his reign so far, there has been peace with neighbours because of his obedience to the Lord (see 14:6,7, 15:15), except the short war in the ten year of his reign. This was clearly the hand of the Lord and any challenge to that peace Asa should have referred to the Lord. Second, when there had been that war with the Cushite, Asa had sought the Lord and had a great victory. Because he failed to seek the Lord he was rebuked by the Lord, but reacted badly and imprisoned the Lord's messenger. When he is subsequently afflicted, Asa fails to seek the Lord. We must see this as the disciplining hand of the Lord seeking to bring his child back to Him. Asa refuses and eventually dies, presumably as a result of this severe' disease. Moreover there is a brief mention that Asa is now brutally oppressing some of his people. In a whole variety of ways, in his latter years Asa fails. How sad.
1. Did you start well, but are not continuing so well?
In this first group of 7 studies we have seen:
The thing that stands out, or perhaps more realistically, under-girds or runs as a thread through these accounts, is the presence and activity of the Lord. All that took place to do with Rehoboam was at the Lord's instigation because of Solomon. In the account of Abijah's battle, it is his reliance on the Lord and the Lord's victory that stand out. In Asa's history it is his putting the nation back on a right footing with the Lord, and then his own failure to trust the Lord that are the key issues that are recorded. The important issues are all about the Lord!
1. Security is all about living in right relationship with God.
2. Half-heartedness is a recipe for disaster.
3. Blessing follows obedience.
4. If rebuked take it and respond well.
Commit yourself afresh to the Lord.
PART 2 : "Jehoshaphat"
In this next Part we will focus entirely on this one king because that's what the writer did.