Daily Bible Studies
Series Theme: Studies in 2 Chronicles 10-36
"The Kings of Judah" (The Southern Kingdom)
Chapter: 2 Chron 21
Passage: 2 Chron 21:1-20
A. Find Out:
1. What happened at the start of the next reign? v.1-4
2. What are we told about Jehoram? v.5-7
3. Who rebelled and what happened? v.8-10
4. What did Jehoram do that was bad? v.11
5. How did the Lord respond to this? v.12-14
6. So what happened? v.15-20
1. What was the wrong that Jehoram did?
2. What were the immediate signs of the Lord's disfavour?
3. What was the final sign of the Lord's disfavour?
If you have done the series on the kings if Israel , you will have noted that one of the amazing things about those dynasties was that the Lord mostly allowed them to carry on a long time even though they were doing wrong. When it comes to the house of David and the southern kingdom based upon Jerusalem , that does not seem so.
We have already observed in these studies that when a king sought the Lord and sought to put the nation on a right footing with Him, then they had the Lord's blessing in the form of peace with all surrounding nations.
This new king starts his reign and immediately acts unrighteously by wiping out the rest of the family so that there are no possible contenders against him. He is obviously a very insecure man, but then he doesn't have a relationship with the Lord. He also encourages false idol worship and immediately the Lord's hand of protection is lifted off Judah , and Edom and Libnah revolt. The king goes to deal with this revolt and only just manages to escape with his life. Then comes a stern rebuke from Elijah which is a death sentence. This foolish king does not repent and so the sentence falls upon him and he dies. The illness was lingering so he had plenty of time to call on the Lord, but his folly was so deeply ingrained that he never did. He died!
1. A spiritual father doesn't mean a spiritual son. Wisdom is individual.
2. The Lord always gives time for repentance.
Chapter: 2 Chron 22
Passage: 2 Chron 22:1-9
A. Find Out:
1. How did Ahaziah come to be king? v.1
2. What did he do and why? v.3,4
3. What further did he do? v.5,6
4. What occurred through that visit? v.7
5. How did it happen? v.8,9
1. How was Athaliah related to Ahab? Read 1 Kings 16:28
2. How does Ahab's house influence Ahaziah?
3. How does that bring his downfall?
After Jehoshaphat, the southern kingdom degenerated spiritually under his son, Jehoram, who married Ahab's daughter (21:6), Athaliah, and she obviously worshipped the same false gods as her mother and father (see family table that follows). When Jehoram died by God's judgement, part of that judgement had included upset with surrounding nations and tribes, and this had meant all his sons being killed, with the exception of the youngest, Ahaziah. He is now dominated by his mother and so simply goes along with the false worship of the northern kingdom.
Advised by her he goes to give military support to his uncle, Joram, in Israel . Joram however was seriously wounded and so Ahaziah goes to visit him in Jezreel. Unfortunately for him this coincided with Jehu's visit to exercise the judgement of God on Joram. Joram is killed and Ahaziah flees to Samaria . Jehu pursues him and kills him also. Thus his reign is ended very rapidly.
Under-girding all this activity is the ungodly influence of the house of Ahab. The Lord speaks against and acts against both the northern and southern kingdoms and the total spiritual shambles is potentially brought to an end. The enemy is clearly seeking to destroy the people of God through idolatry and the only way to deal with that is to eradicate the idol worshippers. This is all-out spiritual war!
1. Recognise that Satan seeks to undermine and destroy God's people.
2. Do not join your heart with ungodliness and unrighteousness.
SPECIAL NOTE : The Family Tree of Ahaziah
Thus we can see how the pagan worship which permeated the whole of Ahab's family flowed through into Judah when Jehoram took Athaliah as one of his wives. She led him astray into idol worship and when he died, as Queen Mother, guided her son, Ahaziah, along similar paths. Both he and his uncle died by the judgement of God as the Lord stepped in to end this pagan path. Joash subsequently brought the nation back to the Lord in his early years.
A. Find Out:
1. What did Athaliah do, but how was Joash saved? v.10-12
2. Who did what, when, to change the situation? v.1-3a
3. How did he arrange the Levites? v.3b-10
4. What did they do with Joash? v.11
5. How did Athaliah react and what happened to her? v.12-15
6. What did Jehoiada then do? v.16-21
1. How did Jehoiada first show his wisdom in the preparations?
2. How did he show respect for the Temple ?
3. How did he re-establish true worship?
This is all about transition and about Jehoiada. Athaliah, the Queen Mother, has been reigning and when Ahaziah had been killed, she assassinated all the other children from the royal family. Whether Ahaziah had more than one wife and therefore children from different wives is unclear but the Queen Mother tries to destroy the house of Judah . She is only thwarted by her sister who steals the young Joash away and hides him in the Temple . Six or seven years pass with her ruling.
Now comes the priest, Jehoiada, who makes friends with army commanders and gathers the Levites from around the land and explains that it's time for the male dynasty of David to be restored. He gathers them all in Jerusalem so there are plenty of helpers. The Temple is holy and so he instructs them not to let anyone in who has not prepared properly to come and worship this will mean only true worshippers of God can come, not the followers of Baal. From the Temple he presents Joash as the new king. It's a successful coup and their men are in control. Athaliah is put to death and Joash is affirmed as king. Then the process of re-establishing covenant with God goes ahead and for the first time for a number of years, true worship takes place in Jerusalem . The future looks good!
1. Evil has to be overcome by wise strategy. Seek God for it.
2. Evil has to be destroyed if good is to prevail.
Chapter: 2 Chron 24
Passage: 2 Chron 24:1-16
A. Find Out:
1. How is Joash summarised? v.1,2
2. What did Joash decide to do and why? v.4,7
3. So who did he instruct to do what? v.5,6,8,9
4. What then happened? v.10-13
5. What was enabled to happen? v.14
6. What brought this period to an end? v.15,16
1. What had become the state of the Temple , and why?
2. Why do you think restoring it was important?
3. What was a sign that this had God's blessing?
The start of this passage indicates that Joash had only just been born when his father had been killed. Now he has survived and been made king he receives the ongoing mentoring of the chief priest, Jehoiada, and some time into his reign decides that the temple looks run down and needs restoring. This is a reflection of his growing awareness of the Lord. The Temple was the established meeting place with God and therefore its state was a reflection of the spiritual state of the nation. It had been plundered by Athaliah's Baal-worshippers and is in desperate need of restoration. Joash takes steps to ensure that is done.
He first instructs the Levites to go round the land collecting the temple tax to provide funds to restore it, but they are slow to respond and so he instructs a chest be made and placed outside the temple to collect from all who come. The word is then sent through the land and the people come and give in abundance. Thus the restoration work is able to proceed, including the articles for the temple use, and thus the temple worship is restored under Jehoiada's direction as long as he lived. This is the sad part, for we will see in the next study that once he had gone Joash fell away from the Lord. What an influence Jehoiada had been to keep the young man on track for all those years, but how sad that in his later years Joash didn't remember his guidance when he had gone!
1. We have the potential to influence others for good. Do we?
2. Is our heart fully for God or held by others?
Chapter: 2 Chron 24
Passage: 2 Chron 24:17-27
A. Find Out:
1. Who led Joash astray, in what way? v.17,18
2. What did the Lord do, with what effect? v.19
3. Who spoke what and what happened to him? v.20-22
4. Who came and did what, when? v.23
5. Why did this happen? v.24
6. What was the outcome? v.25
1. What was obviously the state of the people of Judah ?
2. How was God's grace shown?
3. How was God's judgement shown?
This passage holds a twofold sadness, if we can put it like that. The first is that the state of the people, despite the good leadership of Jehoiada as chief priest and Joash as his protégé, is far from good. First the leaders come and apparently plead with the king for a lifting of the one-religion' reign in favour of being allowed to worship whatever gods they want. The second sadness here is that Joash, despite his years of being mentored by Jehoiada, gives way. This would rather suggest that his faith was second hand, which is really no faith at all.
Not surprisingly God's anger is stirred against this folly but His grace is revealed in His sending prophets to call the king and the nation back to Himself, but to no avail. Eventually the Lord stirs Zechariah, who was Jehoiada's son, to prophesy removal of God's blessing. Now when God's prophetic word of chastising comes, it is always a sign of God's grace because it means God is still talking and not acting. It is, in fact, an opportunity for repentance to come but it doesn't! What is worse they kill this prophet.
What then follows is an enemy attack leaving Joash seriously wounded and while he is weak his officials kill him for killing the prophet. Accident? Chance? Coincidence? No, clearly the will of God being exercised in judgement! Authority must be accountable.
1. Faith cannot be second hand or relying on another. It must be yours!
2. The Lord will hold leaders to account.
A. Find Out:
1. How was Amaziah described and what did he first do? v.1-6
2. How did God correct him? v.7-10
3. What did he go on to do? v.11-14
4. How did the Lord correct him? v.15-16
5. What did he go on to do and with what result? v.17-24
6. What happened in the end? v.25-28
1. How does verse 2 summarise what follows?
2. How was God gracious to him?
3. Yet how did he fail to respond?
It's difficult to know whether Amaziah was insecure or a proud person, of whether one thing was a cover for the other. Most of the record is taken up with two battles and the circumstances surrounding them. He seemed intent on battle.
The first one was against the Edomites from the south. The location is uncertain. He is chided by a man of God for using troops from Israel and not relying on the Lord, and then has to be chided by another prophet for taking idols from the defeated army. He listens to the first correction but not the second one.
Having defeated the Edomite forces he obviously thinks he can vanquish anyone and so decides to take on Israel , the bigger neighbour to the north. Israel initially declined the challenge but this king is intent on battle. He doesn't realise that he is being provoked into this folly to bring the might of Israel upon them in discipline. That is the outcome and Israel actually come and plunder Jerusalem. Surprisingly Amaziah survives but his life is now constantly under threat and eventually he is murdered. He is a marked man, a man who has gone against the counsel of God and therefore all the protection and blessing of the Lord is removed. God will not tolerate wilful folly of His chosen people who are supposed to represent Him. It's a sad story.
1. Half-heartedness leads us to do silly things.
A. Find Out:
1. How was Uzziah summarised? v.1-5
2. During that time what successes did he have? v.6-8
3. So what was he able to do? v.9-15
4. But what eventually happened to him? v.16
5. How was he challenged and what occurred? v.17-20
6. How did he end his days? v21-23
1. How did Uzziah start his reign well?
2. What was his eventual failure?
3. How was what followed directly linked to that?
In the study of the kings of the northern kingdom, as we've commented before, we see that although all the kings go off the rails, it seems that the Lord tolerates them and keeps calling to them, as if He realises that being away from Jerusalem is a distinct disadvantage. For the kings of Judah who might be seen as the trustees of Jerusalem and of course the Temple , no such leeway is given. These kings have a greater access to the Lord through the Temple and therefore the expectation on them is higher.
Uzziah is another king who has faith as long as his mentor is around. In his case it was another man named Zechariah who was his spiritual mentor. While he lived Uzziah did what was right in God's sight and sought the Lord. While this state continued, the Lord blessed him and he had military victories and was enabled to strengthen the nation in a variety of ways. Although we're not told specifically, the implication is that this only continued as long as Zechariah was alive. After he died, and as Uzziah got older, pride settled in his heart and he entered the Temple to do what God had said only the priests were to do. As a result he was rebuked by the priests and when he refused to respond well to them, he was struck with leprosy, so that for his remaining years he lived in isolation. What a disgrace! What folly!
1. To those who should know the Lord, greater responsibility is required.
2. God disciplines those He loves (Heb 12:6)
A. Find Out:
1. How is Jotham summarised? v.1,2
2. What are the people doing? v.2c? (See also 2 Kings 15:35)
3. What building work did he do? v.3,4
4. What also did he do? v.5
5. With what result and why? v.6
1. What did Jotham focus on in his reign?
2. How and why did he have success?
3. Yet what was still the state of the people?
If you read 2 Kings 15:37 you find that in this time the Lord started sending Aram against Judah . Now we have noted that when a king and the nation sought the Lord they were always blessed with peace with their neighbours. When they fell away, that peace went. The fact that the Lord started sending Aram against Judah , at this time, is an indication of the true state of affairs and what He felt about it.
The king is summarised as doing what was right in God's eyes without making the mistake of his father, so that sounds good. The king is able to press on with building work which is always a sign of peace, with the king having not to concentrate on defence and he is also able to sort out the Ammonites and bring them into a place of subservience. He grows powerful because God blesses him, yet the record shows that God starting sending Aram against Judah , an act of discipline.
Why? Because, although the king is behaving himself, the people are not! They are still continuing to have high places' where they worship idols and this is in direct opposition to God's commands through Moses (see Exo 20:3-6 in the Ten Commandments). This king does what is right in respect of himself, but he doesn't do anything about drawing the people back to God. We thus see two aspects of the roles of the kings of Judah : to reign over the daily affairs of the land and also, when their hearts rise to it, to ensure a good spiritual state in the land. Jotham misses the latter.
1. We can be righteous but ungodly. Not good.
2. Righteousness must go with relationship. That's what it's all about.
A. Find Out:
1. How is Ahaz described and what did he do? v.1-4
2. So what did the Lord do? v.5-8
3. Yet how did the Lord look after them in that? v.9-15
4. What further did the Lord do against them? v.17-19
5. How did they seek help but what happened? v.16,20,21
6. How did Ahaz respond to all this? v.22-25
1. List the sins of Ahaz seen in this chapter.
2. List the peoples the Lord used to chastise Judah .
We must remember something that we've noted along the way, that even though some of these kings of Judah were good and godly, often we've seen that the people have not been so. In the background there has been this foolish tendency to forsake the Lord and turn to idols and this from a nation that has the Temple in the midst of their capital city, the doorway to access to God. Thus now we find this foolish king, Ahaz, who turns to idols, completely forsaking the Lord.
The Lord's response is not to completely destroy this foolish king and his foolish people, but to chastise them by allowing a whole variety of the neighbours of the Middle East to come against them. First it is the people of Aram from the far north (v.5). Then it was their own people, Israel , immediately north (v.5). Then it is the Edomites from the south east (v.17) and the Philistines from the south west (v.18). When they look to Assyria , even they turn on them (v.20). From every direction people come against them. They are hard pressed and thousands die, but still this stupid king does not turn to the Lord. In fact he more and more turns to other idols in his superstitious folly. What seems sad, is that there is no spiritual mentor for him like some of the previous kings had, but perhaps he wouldn't have taken any notice of them even if he had. Such is the folly of Sin.
1. Sin is stupid. Sin blinds to the truth of what is happening.
2. Trusting in God alone is the only means of salvation.
RECAP - "The Middle Kings" - 2 Chronicles 21-28
In this third group of 9 studies we have seen :
For a more detailed overview of these kings, please go to the Summary Page by CLICKING HERE. Accountability before God might be considered one of the key issues in these chapters.
1. Those in leadership are held strictly accountable.
2. Those who should know the Lord are held strictly accountable.
3. The call is to whole heartedness in relationship with the Lord.
4. The call is to call the followers to whole-hearted following of God.
5. The call is to a personal relationship, not relying on someone else's.
Commit yourself fully to the Lord. Thank Him for those who have shown you the way.
PART 4 : "Hezekiah"
In this next Part, in the next four chapters of 2 Chronicles, we focus solely on King Hezekiah, a king who brought new spiritual order to Judah but who was also tested by the king of Assyria invading. Judah alone remains ( Israel having been destroyed in 722BC). A critical time.