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Bible: What Does 2 Chronicles 12-16 Teach Us About Obedience and Compromise?
Gate of Pharaoh Sheshonk I
Rehoboam's Defeat and Repentance
Yet Rehoboam does not remain faithful (v. 1; cf. 1 Kings 14:22-24).
To chasten him, Yahweh permits Shishak king of Egypt to attack Judah with a powerful army and to take many cities (vv. 2-5).
By repenting of their transgression, Rehoboam and Israel's leaders escape total annihilation.
Nevertheless, wishing to teach them the vast difference between serving Him and chafing under the yoke of the heathen, God allows Shishak to subjugate His people (vv. 6-8).
The king of Egypt completely ransacks the temple and the king's house, including Solomon's golden shields (v. 9; cf. 1 Kings 14:25-28).
Rehoboam's repentance providentially spares him and his kingdom (v. 12).
The chronicler concludes the king's history in his customary way (vv. 13-16).
Abijah, King of Judah
Abijah Defeats Jeroboam
2 Chronicles 13
Abijah (Abijam, 1 Kings 15:1) receives much more attention from the chronicler than he did from the compiler of Kings.
The former scribe chooses an incident which shows Abijah facing two to one odds (in terms of the strength of their respective armies) against Jeroboam (vv. 1-3).
Attempting to persuade the king of Israel to call off the battle, Abijah addresses him and his troops, and argues two main points:
(1) God gave David's sons dominion over Israel, but Jeroboam is a rebel, surrounded by rogues (vv. 4-8), and
(2) Judah follows the LORD's commandment regarding the Levitical priesthood, but Jeroboam makes a false priest of anyone who consecrates himself with a bull and seven rams (vv. 9-12).
Jeroboam ignores the truth, and it costs him his life and the lives of one-half million of his soldiers at the hand of Judah's army (vv. 15, 17, 20).
Anticipating a glorious victory (because he had devised a brilliant strategy), the king of Israel instead endures a devastating loss, for he does not expect God to fight for his enemies (vv. 13-14, 16, 18).
He not only loses the battle, but his adversary Abijah also captures many of his cities (v. 19).
Afterwards, the king of Judah prospers greatly and then rests with his fathers (vv. 21-14:1a).
Asa, King of Judah
Asa's Righteous Rule
2 Chronicles 14
Again, the compiler of these records provides detailed accounts of the reign of a king of Judah (here, Asa), which the author of 1 Kings does not.
He makes much of the peace and rest in Asa's day (vv. 1b, 5, 6, 7), and attributes these conditions to the king's righteous government (vv. 2-5).
Not only does Asa eliminate idolatry from the land (v. 3), but he also commands positive obedience to the Law (v. 4).
Both proper worship and defensive measures—architectural and military—make for peace of spirit and body (vv. 5-8).
Asa’s prayer against the Ethiopian invader exhibits his extraordinary faith (vv. 9-11).
[Interestingly, the concept of "rest" dominates the context even here (see v. 11)].
Judah overthrows Ethiopia with a vengeance, defeating its cities and carrying away much booty to Jerusalem (vv. 12-15).
Result of Reform
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2 Chronicles 15
Asa's wonderful reign continues with still more triumphs, but this time on the home front.
Motivated by Azariah's historic exhortation to remain true to Yahweh (vv. 1-7), the king carries out reforms in all the land of Judah, Benjamin, and the mountains of Ephraim, and consequently gathers many followers from the tribes of Israel (vv. 8-9).
In Asa's fifteenth year all Judah covenants with the LORD, sacrificing thousands of beasts and instituting capital punishment for any and all faithless Israelites (vv. 10-13).
Again, God permits Himself to be found by them, and gives them peace (vv. 14-15).
Almost as any afterthought, the writer mentions Asa's removal of his evil, idolatrous mother from her position as queen, and the destruction of her Asherah image (v. 16).
Although he loyally serves Yahweh, Asa yet fails to remove all the high places (v. 17).
Nevertheless, he replenishes the temple and maintains peace in his kingdom for thirty-five years (vv. 18-19).
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2 Chronicles 16
1 Kings 15:17-22 record almost exactly what appears in Chronicles regarding Asa's relationship with Ben-Hadad of Syria (16: 1-6).
However, the chronicler alone relates the prophet Hanani's rebuke of Asa and the king's angry retaliation (vv. 7-10).
Misplaced trust and inconsistency cause Asa not only to lose an opportunity to defeat Syria (vv. 7-8), but also a chance to go to war against Baasha, imprison the prophet, and oppress the people (vv. 9-10).
Even at the end of his life while suffering from a foot disease, Asa refuses to trust God (vv. 11-12).
Still, his death evokes a great outpouring of love from the people, for he was a great king (vv. 13-14).
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