Daily Bible Studies
Series Theme: Studies in 2 Chronicles 10-36
"The Kings of Judah" (The Southern Kingdom)
Chapter: 2 Chron 33
Passage: 2 Chron 33:1-20
A. Find Out:
1. List the things Manasseh did wrong. v.1-9
2. How did this conflict with God's word? v.4,7,8
3. How did the Lord deal with him? v.10,11
4. How did he respond? v.12
5. How did the Lord respond? v.13
6. What did Manasseh go on to do? v.15,16
1. How would you describe the sin of Manasseh?
2. How would describe God's way of dealing with him?
3. What does the outcome show?
The story of Manasseh is incredible. It is first of all the story of a pagan, idol-worshipper who defies the Lord in the most terrible of ways, not only building pagan altars all over the country, but also in the very Temple itself! Here is a man who defies God. Incredible!
Second, it is also a story of the grace of God. The truth, of course, is that God knows how men will react and so deals with them accordingly. So in the case of Manasseh, He does not kill him, but disciplines him by letting him be taken captive as a slave to Babylon .
Third, it is the story of a man willing to humble himself before the Lord. Unlike previous kings, this one responds well to God's discipline and cries out to Him.
Fourth, it is the story of incredible resurrection. As good as dead, as a slave in the far-off Babylon , he is actually restored to Jerusalem and to kingship. That is amazing. We're not told how it happened; just that God did do it – and Manasseh knew it was Him!
Fifth, it is the story of a man who responded with thankfulness, a man who used his position to cleanse the city of all signs of idol worship. This is an amazing story of grace, of a man as far from God as you can get, yet who was disciplined and who came back into a right relationship with the Lord.
1. While you're still alive, it's never too late to repent.
2. God's grace is always there to restore where that is possible.
Chapter: 2 Chron 33
Passage: 2 Chron 33:21 - 34:13
A. Find Out:
1. What did Amon do? v.21-23
2. What happened to him? v.24-25
3. How was Josiah described? v.2
4. What did he first do? v.3-7
5. What project did he then set under way? v.8-13
1. How was Amon similar to and different from his father?
2. What was the first phase of Josiah's ‘clean-up'?
3. What was the second phase of it?
Amon gets only a short record of his reign. He was foolish and reverted to the idol worship that the land had known previously, but unlike his father, the Lord obviously knew he would not repent and allowed his officials to rise against him and kill him.
His son Josiah is then made king. He is only eight years old. By the time he is sixteen something is stirring in him and he seeks the Lord. Four years later, by the time he is twenty, he starts to clean up the land and all the signs of idol worship are removed from around the land. Another six years pass, and he is now twenty six, and he realises that the temple needs repairing.
In Josiah we see three stages of restoration taking place. The first stage is SEEKING the Lord, the second stage is REMOVING THE IDOLS, and the third state is REPAIRING THE TEMPLE. These latter two stages could be described as removing all false religion and then establishing the foundation for true religion. The Temple was supposed to be the meeting place with God and so once the false has been removed, it is only wise to re-establish the proper channel of communication with the Lord.
There is more to come but we'll see that in the next study. It takes ten years but the Lord is patient and His man is slowly moving in the right direction. The Lord can cope with our slow progress as long as it is in the right direction.
1. Put away wrong (Eph 4:22 ,23, Col 3:5)
2. Put on what is right and good (Eph 4:24 , Col 3:12 ,14)
Chapter: 2 Chron 34
Passage: 2 Chron 34:14-33
A. Find Out:
1. Who found what and did what with it? v.14-18
2. What was the king's response? v.19-22
3. Who did they seek and what did she say? v.23-28
4. How did the king respond? v.29-31
5. Who did he then get to do what? v.32
6. What did the king then do and with what result? v.33
1. What impact did the written Law have?
2. What impact did the prophetic word have?
3. What role did the king play in all of this?
Josiah has sought the Lord (v.3), cleansed the land (v.3,4) and purified the Temple (v.8). So far, so good, but now the book of the Law has been found in the cleaned out temple, and is brought before the king and read. As Josiah hears it (see v.24), especially the blessings and curses of Deuteronomy 28, he realises how far they have gone from the Lord, and now deserve every ounce of God's punishment. He humbles himself before the Lord and instructs that those with an ear to hear, listen for what the Lord says about their present situation. The prophetess, Huldah, confirms that God will act in accordance with His word, but because He has found a good response in Josiah, it will not be in his life-time. The king responds well and renews the covenant with the Lord, both himself and then the people.
Verse 33 is particularly instructive. “As long as he lived, they did not fail to follow the Lord”. We thus see that the role of the king was to restrain wicked practices and encourage goodness. This, after all, is the role of the Law of the land, to restrain evil doers and to guide the nation into good. Josiah is thus the administrator of the Law (of the Lord for Israel ) and does it well, so that the people do NOT follow idols and do worship the Lord throughout his reign. He uses his power and influence as king well, for Israel 's well-being, throughout his reign.
1. Leaders should restrain evil and encourage good.
2. The written and prophet words confirm God's will for us.
Chapter: 2 Chron 35
Passage: 2 Chron 35:1-27
A. Find Out:
1. Who did Josiah instruct to do what? v.1-6
2. What did he provide for whom? v.7
3. Who else provided what for whom? v.8,9
4. Who did what in the celebration? v.10-17
5. How was this Passover described? v.18
6. How did Josiah come to die? v.20-24
1. When was this Passover held? How old was Josiah?
2. How old was he when he died?
3. How would you summarise his life?
The eighteenth year of Josiah's reign (when he was 26) was clearly a special year. He first of all cleansed the temple (v.8) and now he holds the Passover on the required date. The Passover was one of THE great events in Israel 's calendar, in memory of the Exodus. Having just had the Law read, Josiah now applies the Law and sets up the celebrations using the priests (v.2) and the Levites (v.3) and the appointed musicians (v.15). He has the Ark of the Covenant placed in the Temple where it should be (v.3) – a symbol of God's presence. More than this he provides the animals for slaughter by the ordinary people, (v.7) who he encourages to participate, but who might not have their own. His example is followed by his officials (leaders) who also provide animals. This was a massive celebration involving all the people. In fact nothing like it had been seen since before kings had been appointed to Israel . An incredible time!
The next thing we are told about was 13 years later and Josiah must have now been 39. For some reason Josiah decides to intervene in a battle far to the south, involving Egypt . The Egyptian king tries to put him off but Josiah perseveres and the result is that he dies as a result of a wound in the battle. This seems just simple folly. There was no need for it. It just shows yet again the folly of mankind.
1. Worship of God should be whole-hearted.
2. Avoid foolish mistakes that can lead to your downfall.
Chapter: 2 Chron 36
Passage: 2 Chron 36:1-8
A. Find Out:
1. How old was Jehoahaz and how long did he reign? v.1,2
2. What happened to him? v.3
3. How did Jehoiakim come to the throne? v.4
4. How was he described? v.5
5. What happened to him? v.6
1. Read also 2 Kings 23:31 – 24:6
2. What sort of men were both these kings?
3. Why did the things happen that we've read?
The information given about these two kings in 2 Chronicles is simple and straight forward: they were both sons of Josiah and the second one did evil in the eyes of the Lord. We have to go to 2 Kings to see the same description of the first son (2 Kings 23:32 ). The first king was taken off into captivity by the king of Egypt and the second one, some eleven years later, was taken into captivity by the king of Babylon .
To see the spiritual causes behind this we have to go to 2 Kings 24:3 where the recorder concludes that it must be because of the Lord's word about Manasseh seen in 2 Kings 21:10-15. Manasseh had done such evil and had so desecrated Jerusalem that this had invoked God's ultimate judgement: Judah will go into exile. You may remember that Manasseh had been carried into exile but had repented there and been brought back by the Lord. The Lord is constantly looking for humility and repentance and where He finds it, He holds back His hand of destruction.
Thus Judah had been spared some more years and known real blessing in Josiah's reign. Yet as soon as Josiah is gone, the sons revert back to the bad old ways. Judah is now hanging on by just a thread of God's mercy but it is now very thin. Manasseh had worn it down and now these two foolish sons wear it away even more, and first one then the other are dealt with. Will not this nation and further kings learn the lesson and repent. Unfortunately, no!
1. God's judgement comes incredibly slowly.
2. God's mercy constantly looks for an opportunity to relent and bless.
Chapter: 2 Chron 36
Passage: 2 Chron 36:9-24
A. Find Out:
1. How is Jehoiachin's reign described? v.9
2. What happened to him? v.10
3. How was Zedekiah described? v.11,12
4. What did he and the other leaders do? v.13,14
5. So what did the Lord do? v.15-21
6. Yet how was their hope for the future? v.22,23
1. What indications are there here of God's mercy and grace?
2. Yet what drove Him to send Judah into exile?
3. How is that shown NOT to be the end?
These verses are a mixture of the sin and stupidity of mankind and the wonderful grace and mercy of the Lord. We may be tempted, with only a casual look, to think that this chapter is about the harsh judgement of God. Look again, it is not!
The previous two kings were taken and the nation did not learn the lesson and call on the Lord. These last two kings followed exactly in the path of the previous two. One lasted 3 months, the other 11 years. One short sharp shock, the other a period for reflection – but that doesn't work, for both king and people are set in their way, and that is away from the Lord. There WILL be a faithful remnant no doubt (Jeremiah is an example) but the majority are set in idolatry – and this in a people who were called out and created to be holy! The only solution is radical surgery and so the Lord used Nebuchadnezzar to decimate Jerusalem and take the majority of the people away. Note in verse 15 that the Lord sent “his messengers again and again”.
To catch the full import of that you need to do the studies on Jeremiah who brought God's word to Jerusalem again and again. No, God gave this king EVERY chance to learn, EVERY chance to repent – but he ignored them. Yet there is hope as the writer hints at the new day under Cyrus.
1. God speaks again and again and again. Do we hear?
2. God will not hold back judgement for ever. It will come.
RECAP - "The Last Kings" - 2 Chronicles 33-36
In this final group of 6 studies we have seen :
- doing evil and being carried to Babylon (33:1-11)
- repenting & being restored (33:12-20)
- doing evil & being assassinated (33:21-25)
- seeking the Lord (34:1-3)
- cleansing the land (34:4-7)
- restoring the temple (34:8-13)
- renewing the Covenant (34:14-33)
- celebrating the Passover (35:12-19)
- being killed after a battle (35:20-27)
- Jehoahaz – being deposed by Egypt (36:1-5)
- Jehoiakim – being taken to Babylon (36:5-8)
- Jehoiachin – being taken to Babylon (36:9,10)
- Zedekiah refusing the Lord (36:11-14)
- Judah being taken into exile (36:15-21)
- Cyrus instructs about the Temple (36:22-24)
Looking at this list of kings and what they did or did not do can be a sobering exercise. As outside observers we can see that whenever a king sought the Lord, the Lord's blessing was there in great measure. Yet, again and again, the folly of these kings is revealed as they refuse to learn the lessons of history, especially their history with the Lord. The Lord's grace calls out to them again and again to little avail. Don't ‘blame' God for the exile. It was wise justice creating hope for the future.
1. God's mercy perseveres, patiently, but will end.
2. Man's sinfulness is stupid and ignores God's mercy.
Thank the Lord for the wonder of His grace and mercy. Ask Him to open your eyes to recognise and respond to it more fully.
In these studies we have seen the following:
As we come to the end of this series about the kings of Judah, the following are some of the things we may wish to consider further:
1. The Inconsistency of Mankind
Until we get to the end of this period, we find that every new king is a son of the previous one, going right back to King David. You might expect each son to follow in the footsteps of his father, but you would be mistaken! Some of the kings were very godly, others very ungodly. Some, such as Josiah, had ungodly fathers but nevertheless sought the Lord. Some who had godly fathers went right away from the Lord. The lesson? Every man is an individual and faith is not something that is handed on; it has to be the heart of the individual.
Some of these kings started off well and then failed in later life. Some had spiritual mentors and remained godly as long, and only as long, as the mentor was alive. Some of these kings started off badly and then later came to repentance. Others started off badly and never repented. There is no accounting for how kings responded; it is a mystery. That's what humanity is like!
2. The Consistency of Mankind
The presence of sin is clearly observed in most of these kings. Either in the way they were ungodly throughout their reigns or how it come through in the later years of their reign. There is not a perfect king in sight! The advantage these kings had over the kings of Israel was that they had the Temple in their midst, the constant reminder of the Lord. Yet for many of them that was not good enough!
3. The Sovereignty and Grace of God
This comes through in every part of the Bible and no less so than in these chapters. God has decreed His will in the Law: obey Him and be blessed, disobey and be cursed. Thus throughout this period He operates on this basis. It is not automatic; it is an act of God's sovereignty. Even more we see again and again, God speaking to His people through His prophets. Where there is a hope of response, the Lord speaks. There do seem to be some times when He seems to know there will be no response and so acts, but most times He calls and calls and calls again to His miscreant people. His greatest desire is to bring them back into blessing, into relationship with Him. So it is still, today!