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Bible: What Does 2 Chronicles 33-36 Teach Us About God's Grace and Judgment?
Instrument of Torture and Servitude
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The LORD Saves Manasseh
Manasseh's rampant idolatry slights God's relationship to Israel.
The text cites his gross transgressions against the LORD in the forms of Baal worship, child sacrifice, and demonism (vv. 3, 6).
Manasseh also profanes the temple with pagan altars (vv. 4, 7).
Since Israel's permanent dwelling in the land depends upon their adherence to Mosaic legal stipulations (v. 8), they are in danger of judgment.
Still, the king proceeds to seduce the people even deeper into sin, prophetic influence notwithstanding (vv. 9-10).
Consequently, God takes drastic, remedial action, causing the Assyrians to conquer Manasseh and pull him into captivity with nose hooks (v. 11).
Under captivity, a most remarkable conversion then takes place within the afflicted king (vv. 12-13).
He demonstrates his changed heart once he returns to Jerusalem through various fruits of repentance:
(1) He rebuilds defenses;
(2) He removes idols; and
(3) He repairs the altar of God (vv. 14-17).
After Manasseh dies (vv. 18-20), Amon resumes his father's former evil practices.
Although his servants quickly depose him, the people, in turn, execute Amon's assassins and make Josiah king in Amon's stead (vv. 21-24).
[No one, not even a Manasseh, is beyond the saving ability of God's grace].
Josiah Reads the Law
The Book of the Law
Huldah the Prophetess
The Discovery of the Law Brings About Covenant Renewal
2 Chronicles 34
Josiah starts his godly career early in life, seeking the LORD at the age of sixteen and purging Jerusalem and northern territories of their idolatry at twenty (vv. 1-7).
At twenty-six he commissions the repair of the temple, commanding that the Levites be given oversight and that workers be paid for their labor (vv. 9-13).
Meanwhile, Hilkiah the high priest finds the book of the Law of Moses and gives it to Shaphan the scribe, who then reads it to the king (vv. 14-18).
Recognizing the poor spiritual conditions in Judah, Josiah responds appropriately with grief, and commands his spiritual leaders to seek the LORD regarding His threatened wrath against Israel (vv. 19-21).
He also consults Huldah, the prophetess, who warns of judgment on the land and its people because they have forsaken God.
Nevertheless, comfort will come to Josiah because he humbled himself before the LORD and His word (vv. 22-28).
Afterwards, the king gathers together everyone in Jerusalem and makes a covenant before the LORD, reading Moses' Book of the Covenant (vv. 29-33).
[It is possible that Josiah forced compliance upon the people to renew the covenant with God, though the text does not explicitly state this event actually occurred].
Judah Celebrates a Great Passover; Josiah Dies in Battle at Carchemish
2 Chronicles 35
Josiah directs the Levites to deposit the Ark of the Covenant in the temple and to prepare themselves spiritually to officiate at the Passover (vv. 1-6).
They sacrifice thousands of cattle and sheep, and the people celebrate the feast as never before (vv. 7-18).
Again, after a great victory, a spiritual and national leader suffers humiliating defeat (cf. 2 Chron. 32:24).
Pharaoh Necho, obeying God's direction to fight against Carchemish, defeats a stubborn Josiah in the valley of Megiddo (vv. 20-23).
The king dies in battle, and the prophet Jeremiah and all Judah and Jerusalem lament his passing (vv. 24-27).
[God sometimes works through unbelievers and not exclusively with His people.
Even to the most devout, His purposes are often mysterious].
Nebuchadnezzar, King of Babylon
Years of Rest
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Cyrus, King of Persia
Nebuchadnezzar's and Cyrus' Deeds
2 Chronicles 36
Pharaoh Necho deposes the new Judean king Jehoahaz after three months, and sets up Eliakim (Jehoiakim) as king instead, carrying off the former ruler to Egypt (vv. 1-4).
Nebuchadnezzar exiles Jehoiakim to Babylon, and sets up Jehoiachin in his place for a short time (vv. 5-10).
The next king, Zedekiah, rebels against Jeremiah and Nebuchadnezzar, and leads the leaders and the people into general apostasy (vv. 11-14).
Although God seeks to restore Jerusalem through His prophets, the city nevertheless falls to Babylon (vv. 15-19).
Her people remain exiles in that foreign kingdom until the Land "enjoys" seventy years of Sabbaths, even until the reign of Persia (vv. 20-21).
Cyrus, king of Persia, fulfills Jeremiah's prophecy by sending the Jews back to Jerusalem to rebuild the temple (vv. 22-23; Jer. 25, 29).
[God uses three foreign kings—Necho, Nebuchadnezzar and Cyrus—to effect significant changes in the history of Israel.
Through all these movements, His word stands forever true].
1. With what does much of the first seven chapters of 2 Chronicles deal?
2. What do you notice about the good kings of Judah?
3. With what kings does 2 Chronicles deal?
4. Name some of the deeds of reformation these kings performed.
5. What kept Rehoboam from failing immediately, humanly speaking?
6. With which foreign powers did Judah have difficulty during this period?
7. Both righteous and unrighteous kings served Judah. What were some of the character flaws that brought the "good" kings tragically to their knees? What sins dominated the lives of those deemed unrighteous?
8. What roles did the prophets and priests play in the kingdom, and what kind of influence did they wield over the king in power?
9. When the kingdom worked right, what factors were involved?
10. What roles did the surrounding nations play in the kingdom of Judah?
11. How did God respond to the apostasies that He saw among His people?
12. Who defeated Josiah, and where did that battle take place?
13. What Pharaoh set up Jehoiakim as king of Israel?
14. Who found the Torah in the temple, and who read it to Josiah?
15. Which son did Hezekiah beget after Yahweh healed his sickness?
16. Why do you think Asa refused to trust God?
17. What do you believe motivated Jehoshaphat to help Ahab?
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