2 Chronicles



by Ken Cayce



Ken Cayce All rights reserved.


Copyright



Table of Contents



Introduction

Chapters




Introduction


Back to Table of Contents




2 Chronicles Explained





Go To 2 Chronicles Index



Book of 2 Chronicles Explained

See 1 Chronicles for more info on the introduction page there. Click here for: Book of 1 Chronicles .


"Title": The Book of 2 Chronicles was originally one book with 1 Chronicles in the Hebrew text. They were divided by the translators of the Septuagint and were entitled "Things Left Behind" (i.e., details not included in Samuel and Kings). The Hebrew title, "Daily Matters" like the English title, implies an important and detailed narrative account. Written by the priests of Israel, the books of Chronicles view Israel's religious institutions, the temple, priesthood, offerings and feasts, as the essential elements of her national life.


"Authorship": Many believe that Ezra, a Levitical priest and teacher, answered those questions by writing 1 and 2 Chronicles as a history of the monarchy for the returning exiles.


The case for Ezra's authorship is well established in Jewish tradition. He was of priestly descent and Levitical training, as well as being the spiritual leader of the new state of Judah after the return from Babylonian captivity. Thus, he would have had access to the records of state and other official documents (compare 16:11; 20:34; 25:26; 28:26; 32:32; 35:27; 36:8; see also the note on 1 Chronicles 29:29). Critical arguments for a third century B.C. date are totally unwarranted. Besides, the need for such a book to establish national credibility was much more crucial for Ezra's community than for the Hasmonean leaders in the second century B.C.


"Historical Setting": The individual reigns of the descendants of David are featured, from the time of Solomon until the fall of Jerusalem under Zedekiah (in 586 B.C.). A concluding note concerning the edict of Cyrus the Great permitting the Jews to return to Jerusalem is added at the end. Throughout 1 and 2 Chronicles the emphasis is strictly on the southern kingdom of Judah, whose fortunes are viewed in light of her faithfulness to God's commandments and the institutions of Israel's religious faith. The political fate of Judah is also seen against the rising power of Babylon and Persia, although the book's major theme is that Judah is falling because of internal weaknesses brought about by her failure to remain faithful to God.


Returning to their homeland after 70 years of captivity, the Israelites were the very definition of an unsettle, transitioning people. Guides might be able to lead them 900 miles to Jerusalem, but who would help them understand the implications of that journey? Who would give them a context for what it meant to be the people of God?


The temple of the Lord in Jerusalem is a thread throughout 2 Chronicles, beginning with the construction and dedication of the first temple, built by Solomon and ending with a decree by the king of Persia to rebuild that temple after it lay desolate for 70 years. In between these two events, 2 Chronicles records the temple's fate throughout the history of the monarchy.


"What it Says": The terms temple, house of God, and house of the Lord occur 139 times (in 2 Chronicles), indicating what was on the author's mind as he wrote. That concern can be summarized under six headings:


"Solomon's Temple": The first nine chapters are about Solomon. His accession to power over the united nation proved God's promise to establish David's throne with great blessing. But six of those chapters pertain to Solomon's greatest and most important achievement, building a "house" for the Lord in Jerusalem. The earthly dwelling place of God. Nothing symbolized God's presence among His people more than the temple (chapters 1-9).


"Hezekiah's Rule": After the kingdom divided, all the rulers of the northern kingdom (Israel), and most in the southern kingdom (Judah), defied the Lord's commands. The worship of God in the temple was compromised, and the temple fell into disrepair. The eleventh king of Judah, Hezekiah, repaired and purified the temple and reinstated worship in Jerusalem according to the instructions given by God through Moses (chapters 29-32).


"Josiah's Rule": The two kings who followed Hezekiah, Manasseh and Amon, allowed Judah to lapse into idolatrous worship again. But when Josiah became king, he destroyed the idols, repaired the temple again, and led the people to a renewed devotion to the covenant and to God (chapters 34:1 - 36:1).


"Desecration and Destruction of the Temple": The three kings who followed Josiah allowed the temple to again be desecrated (36:14). God sent the Babylonian armies to destroy Jerusalem and burn its temple during the reign of the last king of Judah, Zedekiah.


"Decree to Rebuild the Temple": After 70 years in Babylon, which became the Persian kingdom, God moved the Persian king Cyrus to allow the Jews to return to Judah and rebuild the temple (36:23). As much as the destruction of the temple was a sign of God's absence among His people, so the decree to rebuild it was a sign of His enduring care for His people.


"What it Means": The destruction of the temple was a devastating consequence of Israel's sin. But the hope and challenge of 2 Chronicles is that despite the pervasiveness of sin (6:36), repentance and restoration will win the day.


"The Temple": Many who were taken captive probably died in Babylon, wondering what the destruction of the temple meant for the future of Israel. Ezekiel, in Babylon with the captives, saw in a vision the glory of the Lord filling the temple again (Ezek. 43:4; 44:4). But the temple had been left in rubble. To rebuild it, Israel would need to repent. The hope for rebuilding was fulfilled when Cyrus decreed the return of the Jews.


"Purity": Both Hezekiah and Josiah took steps to purify the temple and undertook major repairs to prepare it for proper use (chapters 29, 34). In both cases, God's holy dwelling place had been misused and made common, a storage and living space.


"Word of God": God had spoken through Moses and the prophets. He expected that His people would pay attention to His Word and obey it. Anyone who either perpetually ignored it or stubbornly disobeyed it would reap the consequences. Anyone who listened and obeyed would find blessing. And those who disobeyed but repented would know God's deliverance and restoration (as did Manasseh in chapter 33).


"What it Means for You": God no longer dwells in a physical temple of stone, but the New Testament says a believer's very body and spirit are together a temple where He truly, literally, resides. Paul wrote to the church at Corinth: "Do you not know that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you ... you were bought at a price; therefore, glorify God in your body and in your spirit" (1 Cor. 6:19-20).


Some estimate that Solomon's temple would cost billions of dollars to build in today's money. But God purchased each of His children with the more costly and precious, priceless blood of Jesus.


Just as the Lord paid careful attention to how His people treated His temple, so He takes note of the choices we make, our priorities, and the directions we pursue. They are no longer "our own" because we no longer belong to ourselves but wholly and completely to God. This is the single most important truth about our lives.





Chapters


Back to Table of Contents




Chapter Selection



Chapters



Back to Table of Contents



2 Chronicles 1 2 Chronicles 13 2 Chronicles 25
2 Chronicles 2 2 Chronicles 14 2 Chronicles 26
2 Chronicles 3 2 Chronicles 15 2 Chronicles 27
2 Chronicles 4 2 Chronicles 16 2 Chronicles 28
2 Chronicles 5 2 Chronicles 17 2 Chronicles 29
2 Chronicles 6 2 Chronicles 18 2 Chronicles 30
2 Chronicles 7 2 Chronicles 19 2 Chronicles 31
2 Chronicles 8 2 Chronicles 20 2 Chronicles 32
2 Chronicles 9 2 Chronicles 21 2 Chronicles 33
2 Chronicles 10 2 Chronicles 22 2 Chronicles 34
2 Chronicles 11 2 Chronicles 23 2 Chronicles 35
2 Chronicles 12 2 Chronicles 24 2 Chronicles 36

2 Chronicles 1



2 Chronicles Chapter 1

This second book of Chronicles contains in brief the contents of the books of 1 and 2 Kings. That is, from the reign of Solomon to the destruction of Jerusalem and the Babylonian captivity. In this book, some things are told in more detail than in the books of the kings and therefore help greatly in the understanding of the prophets. Three things are chiefly to be considered here. First, that when the godly kings saw the plagues of God prepared against their country for sin, they turned to the Lord and by earnest prayer were heard, and the plagues were removed. Secondly, while the good rulers always loved the prophets of God and were zealous to set forth his religion throughout their dominions, it offended God greatly that the wicked hated his ministers, deposed them and set up idolatry and attempted and served God according to the fantasy of men. Therefore, we have the chief acts from the beginning of the world to the rebuilding of Jerusalem in the 32nd year of Darius, in total 3568 years and six months.


2 Chronicles is actually a continuation of 1 Chronicles. It has to do with the reign of Solomon in Israel. Toward the end of the book it deals with the 12 tribes of Israel breaking into 10 tribes of Israel, and 2 tribes making up Judah. This takes place before the Babylonian captivity. It was, probably compiled by Ezra from records he found, when he returned from exile. 1 and 2 Kings cover the same period of time. Kings was written before the exile, and Chronicles was written after the return. The two tribes that made up Judah had a form of religion, which possibly, centered in the temple in Jerusalem, but they had wandered away from God Himself. There is very little mention in this of the ten tribes. This book is basically about the tribe of Judah.


Verses 1:1 - 9:31: This section continues from 1 Chronicles and covers the rule of Solomon (ca. 971 - 931 B.C.; compare 1 Kings chapters 3-11). The major theme is Solomon's building God's temple in Jerusalem for the purpose of centralizing and unifying the nation in the worship of God.


2 Chronicles 1:1 "And Solomon the son of David was strengthened in his kingdom, and the LORD his God [was] with him, and magnified him exceedingly."


A detailed account of "Solomon's" reign is found (in 1 Kings chapters 2-11). The audience of (2 Chronicles), exiles who had returned to Israel from captivity in Babylon, were likely aware of Solomon's whole story. The record from (1 Chronicles), continues in this book and is condensed to focus on the covenant God made with David (1 Chron. Chapter 17).


We must remember that Solomon was quite young when he began to reign. Many scholars believe he was as young as twelve years old. David was alive for a short period of Solomon's reign, and possibly guided him in the beginning. When God is for you, who can be against you? His strength lay in the fact that God was guiding everything he did. At this point in time, Solomon put his faith in God and not in his own abilities. God was with Solomon, and he grew in the sight of God and man.


2 Chronicles 1:2 "Then Solomon spake unto all Israel, to the captains of thousands and of hundreds, and to the judges, and to every governor in all Israel, the chief of the fathers."


As in (1 Chronicles), "all Israel" worships together. After the 40 years of Solomon's reign, however, the nation would be divided into two kingdoms, with each having its own king. (2 Chronicles), traces only the story of the southern kingdom, Judah, because David's descendants rule there.


These were the same people that David had encouraged (in the last lesson), to give for the construction of the temple, and they responded greatly. The temple had not been built at this time. The Ark was in Jerusalem, but the tabernacle was still in Gibeon. Solomon had brought them together so there would be unity of purpose.


2 Chronicles 1:3 "So Solomon, and all the congregation with him, went to the high place that [was] at Gibeon; for there was the tabernacle of the congregation of God, which Moses the servant of the LORD had made in the wilderness."


"Gibeon" (see notes on 1 Chron. 16:39 and 21:29). The tabernacles remained at Gibeon while the Ark resided in Jerusalem, waiting for the temple to be built.


"Tabernacle of the congregation": Built in the days of Moses, this tent was where God met with the people (compare Exodus 25:22; 29:42-43; 40:34-38). The center of worship was there until the temple was built (compare verse 6).


(See the notes on 1 Chron. 16:37-42).


This "high place" was termed a great high place (1 Kings 3:4), inasmuch as worship was carried on at several high places before the erection of the temple in Jerusalem.


The congregation that was with Solomon, was the leaders of the various groups of people. Solomon led them to the spot where the tabernacle was located. At this time, there was no other central place of worship. The Ark had been moved to Jerusalem, but the other things of the tabernacle that Moses had brought from the wilderness, were at Gibeon. Solomon wanted to honor and give thanks to God in the only way he knew how.


2 Chronicles 1:4 "But the ark of God had David brought up from Kirjath-jearim to [the place which] David had prepared for it: for he had pitched a tent for it at Jerusalem."


"Kirjath-jearim" (see note on 1 Chron. 13:5 and 2 Sam. 6:2).


He separated the Ark from the tabernacle, and brought it to Jerusalem, because there he intended to build a far more noble and lasting habitation for it. David's pitching of the tent for it is recorded emphatically (1 Chron. 15:1; 16:1; 2 Sam. 6:17).


(See the note on 2 Sam. 6:12).


When David brought the Ark to Jerusalem and erected a tent to protect it, he was saying this would be the place where the LORD would dwell with His people. The Ark symbolized the presence of God. Temporarily, the Ark was separated from the brasen altar that they used for burnt sacrifices.


2 Chronicles 1:5 "Moreover the brasen altar, that Bezaleel the son of Uri, the son of Hur, had made, he put before the tabernacle of the LORD: and Solomon and the congregation sought unto it."


"Bezaleel": The Spirit-enabled craftsman who built the bronze altar for the tabernacle (compare Exodus 31:1-11; 38:1-2).


There had to be a central place to sacrifice unto the LORD. The brasen altar was the original one that Bezaleel had made for the tabernacle in the wilderness. Solomon would know that this altar was acceptable to God. This was a large group of people who went with Solomon to worship and sacrifice to God, as we see in the size of the sacrifice.


2 Chronicles 1:6 "And Solomon went up thither to the brasen altar before the LORD, which [was] at the tabernacle of the congregation, and offered a thousand burnt offerings upon it."


One of the first acts of the new king was to worship at "the bronze altar before the Lord. David had prayed that Solomon would have a loyal heart for the Lord's commands, and Solomon did (1 Chron. 29:19). He led the people in worshipping God as well as praying, that they might know the will of God.


When it says, Solomon offered a thousand burnt offerings it means he carried the animals to be sacrificed. The priests did the actual act of the burning of the sacrifice. It was Solomon's offering however. It was as if Solomon could not offer enough in his own sight. He was grateful to God for this great honor He had bestowed upon him.



Verses 7-13: The account is paralleled (in 1 Kings 3:5-15). Every king of Israel needed to heed God's instructions recorded (in Deut. 17:14-20).


Since Solomon's concern was for the people, God gave him so much more than he asked, including "riches and wealth and honor" (1 Kings chapter 3). Blessing others often leads to being blessed.


2 Chronicles 1:7 "In that night did God appear unto Solomon, and said unto him, Ask what I shall give thee."


The parallel account (in 1 Kings 3:5), tells us the way in which "God appeared to Solomon," viz. by dream.


"And said, Ask what I shall give thee": God bid him ask what he would. Not only that he might put him in the right way to obtain the favors which were intended him.


It was either in a vision or a dream, and it does not matter which. The message is the same. God was so pleased with Solomon at this point, that He offered to grant him a wish.


2 Chronicles 1:8 "And Solomon said unto God, Thou hast showed great mercy unto David my father, and hast made me to reign in his stead."


"Thou, thou hast showed great mercy unto David" (the regular phrase; compare Luke 1:72). From this point, the relation here is briefer on the whole than that of Kings. The greater part of the long verse (1 Kings 3:6), is omitted, and the variations between the two texts become numerous, though the general sense is the same in each.


"And hast made me to reign in his stead": Compare (1 Kings 3:7); and the similar language of Esarhaddon, king of Assyria (681-668 B.C.).


Solomon did not immediately ask for his wish. He first thanked God for His goodness to David and to him. It had to be very humbling for God to choose him, when he had older brothers whom God could have put in the office of king. He could not understand, but did appreciate the confidence God had placed in him.


2 Chronicles 1:9 "Now, O LORD God, let thy promise unto David my father be established: for thou hast made me king over a people like the dust of the earth in multitude."


"Thy promise": A reference to the Davidic Covenant (in 2 Sam. chapter 7; 1 Chron. Chapter 17).


It is thought by some that the "promise "here challenged is not very distinctly recorded anywhere, but surely passages like (1 Chron. 17:12-14; 22:10; 28:6-7), amply meet the case (see also 2 Samuel 7:12, 15).


"Over a people numerous as the dust of the earth": This last clause freely corresponds with (1 Kings 3:8).


The twelve tribes were a very large number of people. Just those who David had gathered together for the twelve different watches, were a tremendous number. 24,000 times 12 is 288,000, and they were just those in service to the king. At this time, the 12 tribes would have been several million people. Solomon had learned his lesson from David, and was not about to number them. His statement showed a fulfillment of the promise made to Abraham. Solomon wanted to rule in the manner God would have him rule.


2 Chronicles 1:10 "Give me now wisdom and knowledge, that I may go out and come in before this people: for who can judge this thy people, [that is so] great?"


Solomon had agreed with his father (compare 1 Chron. 22:5 and 29:1) on his need for wisdom, and that is what he sought from God (compare 1 Kings 3:3-15; Prov. 3:15; James 1:5).


(See the note on 1 Kings 3:12).


Solomon was aware that he was not capable of ruling so great a people without supernatural wisdom and knowledge from God. This then, was his request. He wanted to be a good ruler. He knew with the power of God working in his life, he could be that leader. He asked for wisdom to lead his people. In (1 Kings 3:9), his request was expressed that he might have an understanding heart to judge thy people. He wanted to be able to discern between good and evil. In a sense, that is the same thing. If he had the gift of wisdom from God, he would have this ability.


2 Chronicles 1:11 "And God said to Solomon, Because this was in thine heart, and thou hast not asked riches, wealth, or honor, nor the life of thine enemies, neither yet hast asked long life; but hast asked wisdom and knowledge for thyself, that thou mayest judge my people, over whom I have made thee king:"


With this verse, the answer to Solomon's prayer begins. It is here concisely given in two verses, but occupies five (verses 10-14). in the parallel place, including the verse not found here, which says, "The speech pleased the Lord, that Solomon had asked this thing."


Otherwise there is no essential difference of any importance, though it may be noted that the parallel gives voice to the promise of "length of days," on the condition of Solomon fulfilling his part in showing obedience to the Divine will, and in following the steps of his father.


"Riches, wealth": The most elementary idea of the former of these two words seems to be "straight growth," "prosperity;" of the latter, "to gather together" or "heap up."


This request had to please God. It was very unselfish. God knew from this, that Solomon had a pure heart. He loved God and His people more than he loved himself. The word "because" is strong here. The blessings Solomon did receive hinged on this word.


2 Chronicles 1:12 "Wisdom and knowledge [is] granted unto thee; and I will give thee riches, and wealth, and honor, such as none of the kings have had that [have been] before thee, neither shall there any after thee have the like."


Which thou hast asked for.


"Is granted unto thee": The Hebrew expression is found only here and (in Esther 3:11). The parallel passage gives three verses for this one (1 Kings 3:12-14).


"And I will give thee": "I have given." The perfect tense (I will certainly give), is more idiomatic than the chronicler's simple imperfect.


"Such as none of the kings have had that have been before thee": These words were sadly ominous of the short-lived glory of the kingdom. Only two kings had reigned before Solomon in Israel, and the glory of the kingdom too surely culminated in his reign. And even before the end of it (2 Chron. 9:22-23; 29:25; Eccl. 2:9).


Saul and David had reigned before Solomon, and they had been very wealthy. It is hard to believe that he could have even more than they had. Solomon would become so wealthy and build such magnificent things, that even the Queen of Sheba would come to see if it was true. She came partially because of the great wisdom he possessed, as well. Wisdom and knowledge is the greatest gift, aside from salvation, that any person could ever receive. The riches, wealth, and honor are a by-product of wisdom and knowledge. Wisdom is a gift from God, and knowledge is accumulated learning. The gift of knowledge here, is a quickening of his ability to learn and retain knowledge. This is similar to what the Holy Spirit does as our Teacher and our Guide.


2 Chronicles 1:13 "Then Solomon came [from his journey] to the high place that [was] at Gibeon to Jerusalem, from before the tabernacle of the congregation, and reigned over Israel."


Or rather without the supplement, the words may be read as in the Septuagint and Vulgate Latin versions.


"Solomon came from the high places": Having sacrificed there, so Vatablus; being put for as R. Jonah observes; but the Targum agrees with us, he "came to the high place which is in Gibeon, and from thence to Jerusalem. "And to the same purpose Kimchi; having been there, he came to Jerusalem.


"From before the tabernacle of the congregation": Which was at Gibeon, where he had been sacrificing.


"And reigned over Israel ": In great splendor and prosperity. From here to the end of the chapter, the same things are said as in (1 Kings 10:26; see notes on 1 Kings 10:26-29).


Solomon had been empowered of God to rule over Israel justly. The tabernacle was of the congregation. It was a place where they could go and feel they had been in contact with God. It was their place of contact. The tabernacle was to benefit the people.



Verses 14-17: 1 Kings 10:14-29 and 2 Chron. 9:13-28), also extol Solomon's wealth.


2 Chronicles 1:14 "And Solomon gathered chariots and horsemen: and he had a thousand and four hundred chariots, and twelve thousand horsemen, which he placed in the chariot cities, and with the king at Jerusalem."


"Chariot cities": Gezer, Hazor, and Megiddo were among the chief cities.


One of the best ways to avoid war, is for your enemies around you to realize that you would win if they attacked you. This show of force, would help bring peace. David had defeated many of these enemies before his death, and had set up taxes against those defeated. There would be a constant flow of wealth to the king of Israel because of these defeated foes, who had to pay tribute.


2 Chronicles 1:15 "And the king made silver and gold at Jerusalem [as plenteous] as stones, and cedar trees made he as the sycamore trees that [are] in the vale for abundance."


God had blessed Israel with plentiful crops. Their neighbors needed grain. They gave cedar trees in abundance to Israel, and Israel gave them grain. We have been studying (in 1 Chronicles), about the vast amount of gold and silver that David had gathered for the building of the temple. Solomon would gather even more it seems. The wealth of Solomon would be widely known in the world of that day. Without the expense of war, the wealth grew mightily. Sycamore trees are abundant in Israel. The cedars were floated in for building purposes, because the wood does not decay easily.


2 Chronicles 1:16 "And Solomon had horses brought out of Egypt, and linen yarn: the king's merchants received the linen yarn at a price."


Solomon horses were "brought out of Egypt" and Kue, which is possibly Cilicia.


All things that the king desired were purchased for him. He had so much wealth, that he could have all the things his heart desired.


2 Chronicles 1:17 "And they fetched up, and brought forth out of Egypt a chariot for six hundred [shekels] of silver, and a horse for an hundred and fifty: and so brought they out [horses] for all the kings of the Hittites, and for the kings of Syria, by their means."


Literally, and they caused to come up and to come out. The book of Kings has: "And there came up and came out a chariot from Egypt." This passage is very nearly identical with (1 Kings 10:26-29, see the notes there).


"Chariot ... six hundred shekels": Assuming a shekel weights .5 oz. of silver this represents 18-3/4 pounds of silver for one chariot.


"And a horse for a hundred and fifty": Assuming the weight is in shekels, this would be about 4-3/4 pounds of silver. (Deut. 17:16), warned against the king's amassing horses.


"The Hittites": People, once expelled from Palestine, who lived north of Israel and northwest of Syria.


A shekel is a half-ounce of silver. Notice, Solomon's generosity to the kings of the Hittites and of Syria.


2 Chronicles Chapter 1 Questions


  1. What does 2 Chronicles cover?
  2. What tribe is covered in this book?
  3. Who compiled the book?
  4. What other book in the Bible is about the same thing?
  5. How was Solomon strengthened in his kingdom?
  6. How old do many scholars believe Solomon was, when he began to reign?
  7. Who did Solomon gather to him in verse 2?
  8. Where was the tabernacle at this time?
  9. Where did Solomon and the representatives of the congregation go to sacrifice?
  10. Where was the Ark at this time?
  11. The Ark symbolized the ___________ of God.
  12. The brasen altar at Gibeon had been built by ____________.
  13. How many offerings did Solomon offer on the brasen altar?
  14. When did God appear to Solomon?
  15. What did God offer Solomon?
  16. What did Solomon do, even before he asked for anything?
  17. What did Solomon ask for?
  18. How did Solomon describe the people he was leading?
  19. How did God answer the request of Solomon?
  20. What all did Solomon receive of God?
  21. When Solomon left Gibeon, what did he do?
  22. How many chariots did Solomon have?
  23. How many horsemen did he have?
  24. What is the easiest way to have peace, besides from God?
  25. Where did Solomon get his horses?
  26. How much did a chariot cost?
  27. What is a shekel?
  28. How much did a horse cost?
  29. Who did Solomon give horses to?



Go to Previous Section | Go to Next Section | Return to Top

Return to 2 Chronicles Menu | Return to Bible Menu


2 Chronicles 2



2 Chronicles Chapter 2

Verses 1-18: This section reports how Solomon selected men to gather building materials for the temple. This was in addition to the massive supplies stockpiled by David (compare 1 Chron. Chapters 22 and 29). This section parallels (1 Kings 5:1-16).


2 Chronicles 2:1 "And Solomon determined to build a house for the name of the LORD, and an house for his kingdom."


"A house for the name of the Lord" God's covenant name, Yahweh or Jehovah (compare Exodus 3:14), is in mind. David wanted to do this, but was not allowed to do any more than plan and prepare (1 Chron. Chapters 23 to 26; 28:11-13), purchase the land (2 Sam. 24:18-25; 1 Chron. Chapter 22), and gather the materials (1 Chron. 22:14-16).


Solomon began to build in the fourth year of his reign (966 B.C.), and completed it seven years later (1 Kings chapter 6).


"A house" (see 1 Kings 7:1-12), for details of David's royal palace (compare 2 Chron. 7:11; 8:1).


Solomon is just like a brand-new Christian here. He is determined to do a fabulous work for the glory of the LORD. I like the word determined, because it means he would not be easily discouraged. He would drive on to accomplish the job God gave him to do. He had his priorities straight, because the house for the name of the LORD was mentioned first and then his own house.


2 Chronicles 2:2 "And Solomon told out threescore and ten thousand men to bear burdens, and fourscore thousand to hew in the mountain, and three thousand and six hundred to oversee them."


These numbers are repeated (in 2:17-18). We see (1 Kings 5:16), records 3300 overseers, compared to 3600 (in 2:18). If, however, the additional supervisors (250 in 2 Chron. 8:10, but 550 in 1 Kings 9:23), are added, then both 1 Kings and 2 Chronicles agree that a total of 3850 men worked. David had done similarly at an earlier date (1 Chron. 22:2).


This is saying, that Solomon set 70,000 men aside for the task of carrying burdens. He set 80,000 men to cut the timber and shape it for the buildings. There were 3,600 men to oversee all of this work. Solomon would build a complex, along with building the temple.



Verses 3-10: Compare with the contents of (1 Kings 5:3-6). The differences can be accounted for in much the same way as in the Gospels, by combining the narratives of (1 Kings 5:3-6 and 2 Chron. 2:3-10), to complete the entire correspondence.


2 Chronicles 2:3 "And Solomon sent to Huram the king of Tyre, saying, As thou didst deal with David my father, and didst send him cedars to build him a house to dwell therein, [even so deal with me]."


When David built his palace, "Huram king of Tyre" sent him workers and cedar from Lebanon (2 Sam. 5:11; 1 Chron. 14:1). Hiram was king of a seaport city that was north of Jerusalem. He had his workers cut cedar logs and float them down the Mediterranean Sea to Joppa. From there workers took them inland to Jerusalem (1 Kings 5:8-9).


"Huram" is another spelling of Hiram "of Tyre".


(See the notes on 1 kings 5:1 and 5:7-10).


Huram is the same as Hiram. He had sent cedar for the home of David, and sent workers who were skilled in building with cedar. Solomon was sure that he would deal the same with him, as he did with his father David. David had sent grain to help them. It was not an exchange, but each sent the other a gift. Grain was plentiful in Israel, and Solomon would do the same.


2 Chronicles 2:4 "Behold, I build a house to the name of the LORD my God, to dedicate [it] to him, [and] to burn before him sweet incense, and for the continual showbread, and for the burnt offerings morning and evening, on the sabbaths, and on the new moons, and on the solemn feasts of the LORD our God. This [is an ordinance] for ever to Israel."


Am about to do it, and determined upon it (see 2 Chron. 2:1).


"To dedicate it to him": To set it apart for sacred service to him.


"And to burn before him sweet incense": On the altar of incense.


"And for the continual showbread": The loaves of showbread, which were continually on the showbread table. And the altar of incense, both were set in the Holy Place in the tabernacle, and so to be in the temple.


"And for the burnt offerings morning and evening": The daily sacrifice. On the Sabbaths, and on the new moons, and on the solemn feasts of the Lord our God. At which seasons, besides the daily sacrifice, additional burnt offerings were offered, and all on the brasen altar in the court. This is an ordinance,


"For ever unto Israel": To offer the above sacrifices, even for a long time to come, until the Messiah comes. And therefore Solomon suggests, as Jarchi and Kimchi think, that a good strong house ought to be built.


The burning of sweet incense symbolizes the prayers of the saints. The smoke and sweet smell rises to heaven like the prayers rise to heaven. The continual showbread is speaking of the twelve loaves that were always in the temple before the LORD. This bread is symbolic of the body of the Lord Jesus Christ, who is our Bread. This also is symbolic of that bread that fell from heaven to feed the Israelites. Twelve is a representative number of the whole. The body of Jesus took care of all of us. He gave His body (Bread), on the cross, that all men might be saved. Every one of the offerings and sacrifices represent that one great sacrifice that Jesus made for us all. He fulfilled all of the law in that one act. The list of the times are special observances they made.


2 Chronicles 2:5 "And the house which I build [is] great: for great [is] our God above all gods."


Not so very large, though that with all apartments and courts belonging to it, he intended to build, was so. But because magnificent in its structure and decorations.


"For great is our God above all gods": And therefore, ought to have a temple to exceed all others, as the temple at Jerusalem did.


This is another way of saying, "Our God is God".


2 Samuel 7:22 "Wherefore thou art great, O LORD God: for [there is] none like thee, neither [is there any] God beside thee, according to all that we have heard with our ears."


2 Chronicles 2:6 "But who is able to build him a house, seeing the heaven and heaven of heavens cannot contain him? who [am] I then, that I should build him a house, save only to burn sacrifice before him?"


Solomon's request to Hiram is accompanied by a witness as to the one true God. He will make the same point in his prayer of dedication at the time of the temple's completion (1 Kings 8:27; 2 Chron. 6:18).


The temple Solomon built to the LORD was the most magnificent house in the whole world at the time it was built. Even that was not enough to think that God would dwell there, because the world and everything in it, belongs to God. Even all the world could not contain God. The temple then, was built for man. It was a way man could try to convey his love for God. This was a point of contact for mortal man with his God. God is "omnipresent". He is everywhere all at the same time.


2 Chronicles 2:7 "Send me now therefore a man cunning to work in gold, and in silver, and in brass, and in iron, and in purple, and crimson, and blue, and that can skill to grave with the cunning men that [are] with me in Judah and in Jerusalem, whom David my father did provide."


"Send me ... a man cunning": The Israelites were familiar with agriculture, but not metalworking. They needed experts for that.


He needs a man like Bezaleel, that God sent to Moses. He is really speaking of a supervisor, who can direct all of the work that must be done. There are men already provided to do the actual work, but this would have to be someone highly skilled to see the work is perfect.


2 Chronicles 2:8 "Send me also cedar trees, fir trees, and algum trees, out of Lebanon: for I know that thy servants can skill to cut timber in Lebanon; and, behold, my servants [shall be] with thy servants,"


"Algum": A coniferous tree native to Lebanon. Some identify it as sandalwood, a smooth, expensive red wood that could be polished to a high gloss.


Solomon was aware that Hiram's men were more skilled at working with their native woods, than his men were. He would send men to do much of the menial labor, but the men of Hiram would have to do things that were not known by Solomon's men.


2 Chronicles 2:9 "Even to prepare me timber in abundance: for the house which I am about to build [shall be] wonderful great."


Since he would want a large quantity for raftering, covering, wainscoting, and flooring the temple.


"For the house which I am about to build shall be wonderful great": as to its structure and ornaments.


There would be a vast amount of timber needed to build the temple, the palace and all of the buildings associated with them. There would not only have to be vast amounts, but huge individual trees as well. The temple that Solomon was attempting to build was far beyond anything that any of them had ever worked on before.


2 Chronicles 2:10 "And, behold, I will give to thy servants, the hewers that cut timber, twenty thousand measures of beaten wheat, and twenty thousand measures of barley, and twenty thousand baths of wine, and twenty thousand baths of oil."


Solomon's payments to Hiram and his workmen were substantial. The details given here supplement those of (1 kings 5:11).


This listing of goods is more complete than that of (1 Kings 5:11). Lebanon traded with Israel regularly for food.


"Give ... twenty thousand measures": This is the same as a homer and could have measured as much as 7.5 bushels, making this amount about 150,000 bushels.


"And twenty thousand baths": The bath, a liquid measure, of six or seven gallons' capacity. The word "bath" occurs in the Greek of Luke 16:6-7. This would be about 120,000 gallons. The 20 measures of "pure oil" (in 1 Kings 5:11), is most likely not a scribal error but rather a finer grade of oil.


This would be very good news to the land of Hiram. They could not grow enough grain to feed their people. There had been a great shortage of this type of food in their land. Each measure of grain would be 32 pecks. The beaten wheat was wheat to make bread with. 20,000 measures would be 640,000 pecks of beaten wheat. The barley would also be 640,000 pecks. A bath is 7 gallons. This means they would give them 140,000 gallons of wine and 140,000 gallons of oil. The wine would be from the many vineyards in Israel, and the oil would be of the olive trees.



Verses 11-16: Compare with the context of (1 Kings 5:7-9).


2 Chronicles 2:11 "Then Huram the king of Tyre answered in writing, which he sent to Solomon, Because the LORD hath loved his people, he hath made thee king over them."


This is a very complimentary letter to Solomon. It appears from this, that Huram knew of the God of Israel. This would be the nicest thing a king could hear. When we live right, it sends a message to the unsaved around us. This was what Solomon had done here. Huram realized this was because God had blessed Israel.


2 Chronicles 2:12 "Huram said moreover, Blessed [be] the LORD God of Israel, that made heaven and earth, who hath given to David the king a wise son, endued with prudence and understanding, that might build a house for the LORD, and a house for his kingdom."


"God ... that made heaven and earth": This was the common identification of the true God when pagans spoke of or were told of Him. (compare 2 Chron. 36:23; Ezra 1:2; 5:11-12; 6:10; 7:12, 21, 23; Jer. 10:11-12; Acts 4:24; 14:15; 17:24-26; Col. 1:16-17; Rev. 11:1, 6).


Although he was not an Israelite, Hiram willingly helped Solomon build a temple for God. The king seemed to revere "the Lord God of Israel", at least in part because Solomon was such a wise king (1 Kings 5-7). When others see our reverence for God, they may also come to revere Him as well.


Huram or Hiram as he was better known, had been a close friend of king David. He was pleased to know that God had sent a son to David to carry out the building of the temple, which David had so greatly desired to do. Again, it was the LORD God of Israel who brought this all about. Solomon would do the work that David had in his heart to do. Huram was pleased with Solomon's desire to accomplish this.



Verses 13-14: "Huram": (1 Kings 7:14), states that his mother was of the tribe of Naphtali, not Dan, as reported here. This is resolved if she was of Naphtali by birth, but living in the territory of Dan. Or, if his parents were originally from the two tribes, then he could legitimately claim either. He was the parallel to Bezalel, who constructed the tabernacle (see note on 2 Chron. 1:5).


2 Chronicles 2:13 "And now I have sent a cunning man, endued with understanding, of Huram my father's,"


The people of Israel were experts in areas of agriculture but not in working with "gold and in silver, in brass, in iron". So Hiram graciously sent them a "cunning man", who was a skillful man, "endued with understanding". This craftsman resembles Oholiab, one of the tabernacle craftsmen, in genealogy and skill (Exodus 35:34-35), highlighting a thread running through God's work for the tabernacle to the temple.


The words "Huram my father's" may best be understood as one word giving the name and status of King Hiram's master craftsman, Hiram-abi. The compound name thus signifies that this Hiram is a valued member of the royal team and a skilled workman. The title "my father" was used of Elijah (2 Kings 2:12), and Elisha (2 Kings 13:14).


2 Chronicles 2:14 "The son of a woman of the daughters of Dan, and his father [was] a man of Tyre, skillful to work in gold, and in silver, in brass, in iron, in stone, and in timber, in purple, in blue, and in fine linen, and in crimson; also to grave any manner of graving, and to find out every device which shall be put to him, with thy cunning men, and with the cunning men of my lord David thy father."


Hiram's work was extensive, being concerned with the two pillars (Jachin and Boaz, 3:15-17; see the note on 1 Kings 7:15-22), the brazen altar (4:1), the molten sea with its bases (4:2-5, 10, 15), and the 10 lavers with their bases (4:6; see the note on 1 Kings 7:23-39), as well as certain brass utensils (4:11, 16), and golden articles (4:7-8, 19-22). His work was indeed an invaluable contribution.


It appears that this very skilled worker was of a father of Tyre, and a mother who was of the tribe of Dan. It was not unusual for these marriages between the Hebrews and other nations to take place. There was quite a bit of exchange between them in fact. He was probably an engraver, who worked with all of these things. Tyre was well known for the beautiful handwork they did in all of these things. If he was the best in their land, then he was very skilled.


2 Chronicles 2:15 "Now therefore the wheat, and the barley, the oil, and the wine, which my lord hath spoken of, let him send unto his servants:"


In his letter to him (2 Chron. 2:10). As for the phrase "my lord", which some think is used, because Hiram was tributary to Solomon, it may only be a respectful way of speaking.


"Let him send unto his servants": Hiram accepted thereof as a proper reward for the work of his servants.


Probably the need for the food was immediate in their land. He was asking Solomon to go ahead and send it. He would immediately start on the work Solomon had asked them to do as well.


2 Chronicles 2:16 "And we will cut wood out of Lebanon, as much as thou shalt need: and we will bring it to thee in floats by sea to Joppa; and thou shalt carry it up to Jerusalem."


"Joppa": A major coastal port of Israel. Later, Jonah would sail from Joppa (Jonah 1:3), and much later Peter would be there to received God's call in a vision (Acts 10:5).


Even today, logs are moved by letting them float in water to their destination. Joppa was a well-known port. It was known for its beautiful groves. The logs would be floated to Joppa, and the Israelites would be responsible for carrying them overland to Jerusalem, which was about 34 miles. There were thousands of men responsible for bearing burdens, in fact 70,000 men. This would be no problem then, if they could get the logs to Joppa.



Verses 17-18: Although Solomon used "strangers" (descendants of the pagan nations Israel had conquered), to help build the temple, he no doubt knew the law of God about how to treat them (Lev. 25:39-55).


(See the notes on 1 Kings 5:13-14 and 5:15-16).


2 Chronicles 2:17 "And Solomon numbered all the strangers that [were] in the land of Israel, after the numbering wherewith David his father had numbered them; and they were found a hundred and fifty thousand and three thousand and six hundred."


Which, according to Kimchi, were the remains of the Amorites, Hittites, Perizzites, and Jebusites (see 2 Chron. 8:8). Yet not idolaters, or they would not have been suffered by David and Solomon to have dwelt in the land. Such as become proselytes of the gate (see note on 2 Chron. 2:2).


"After the numbering wherewith David his father had numbered them": Not at the time Israel was numbered by him, but in order to provide workmen for the building of the temple (1 Chron. 22:2).


"And they were found a hundred and fifty thousand and three thousand and six hundred": Men able to bear burdens, and hew timber.


These strangers were there working on the building projects. There were 153,600 strangers in the land. They were mostly from Tyre. Many of them were engravers and those who carved wood.


2 Chronicles 2:18 "And he set threescore and ten thousand of them [to be] bearers of burdens, and fourscore thousand [to be] hewers in the mountain, and three thousand and six hundred overseers to set the people a work."


Literally, and he made seventy thousand of them bearers of burdens, and eighty thousand hewers in the mountains. This exactly agrees with (1 Kings 5:15).


"And three thousand and six hundred overseers": The same number was given in (2 Chron. 2:2). In (1 Kings 5:16), we read of 3,300 officers. In the Hebrew, three (shālsh) and six (shsh) might easily be confused; our reading appears right. The chronicler omits all notice of the levy of 30,000 Israelites, which the parallel passage records (1 Kings 5:13-14). Whether by an oversight, or from disapproval, we cannot say. Adding that number to the 70,000 and 80,000 other laborers, we get a grand total of 180,000, which gives a company of 50 for each of the 3,600 overseers.


"Overseers": It is the plural of a participle which occurs only in the titles of the Psalms (including Hab. 3:19). While the verb is read only in (Chron. and Ezra 3:8-9; see note on 1 Chron. 15:21).


"To set the people a work": Or, "to set the people to work". I. e., to compel them to labor. Probably, like the Egyptian and Assyrian overseers of forced labor, these officers carried whips or sticks, with which they quickened the movements of the sluggish.


This is a repetition of the first verses of this lesson. There were 70,000 burden bearers. There were 80,000 men cutting wood in the mountains. The 3,600 men were overseers.


2 Chronicles Chapter 2 Questions


  1. What had Solomon determined to do?
  2. How many men would be burden bearers?
  3. How many men would cut timber?
  4. How many overseers would there be?
  5. Huram is the same as __________.
  6. What had Hiram done for David?
  7. What had David done to help Hiram?
  8. What did Solomon say was the purpose for the house built to the name of the LORD?
  9. What does the burning of sweet incense symbolize?
  10. The continual showbread is speaking of what?
  11. Twelve is a _______________ number of the whole.
  12. Who was the true Bread?
  13. What were some of the special observances?
  14. Verse 5 is another way of saying what?
  15. Why could the temple Solomon built not hold God?
  16. In verse 7, Solomon is asking for what type of man?
  17. Why would they need so vast a supply of timber?
  18. How much beaten wheat would Solomon send in return?
  19. How large is a measure?
  20. How many pecks of wheat was sent then?
  21. How much barley was sent?
  22. A bath is ______ gallons.
  23. How many gallons of wine did Solomon send them?
  24. How much oil did he send them?
  25. How did Huram answer Solomon's offer?
  26. Who was the mother of the cunning man, that Hiram sent to Solomon?
  27. Why did Hiram ask Solomon to go ahead and send the food?
  28. How are large logs moved from place to place?
  29. How many strangers were in the land, when Solomon numbered them?



Go to Previous Section | Go to Next Section | Return to Top

Return to 2 Chronicles Menu | Return to Bible Menu


2 Chronicles 3



2 Chronicles Chapter 3

Verses 1-17: This is a condensed version of (1 Kings chapter 6), which details the building of "the house of the Lord". For amplification and additional material on the building of the temple (see 1 Kings 6:1-38; 7:15-22).


2 Chronicles 3:1 "Then Solomon began to build the house of the LORD at Jerusalem in mount Moriah, where [the Lord] appeared unto David his father, in the place that David had prepared in the threshing floor of Ornan the Jebusite."


Solomon began to build the temple at "Mount Moriah", a site rich with Israel's history (Gen. chapter 22; 1 Chron. Chapter 21). Each man was willing to pay a dear price in order to do what was acceptable to God.


"Threshing floor" (see notes on Gen. 22:1-18; 2 Sam. 24:18-25; 1 Chron. 21:20-30).


(See the note on 2 Sam. 24:24).


Mount Moriah was believed to be the spot where Abraham took Isaac to offer him to God. It was also, the place where David had gone to sacrifice in the threshing floor of Ornan. This was a place the LORD had chosen, and David said this was the place for the house of the LORD.


2 Chronicles 3:2 "And he began to build in the second [day] of the second month, in the fourth year of his reign."


"Second month ... fourth year" (ca. April - May, 966 B.C.; compare 1 Kings 6:1). The project took 7 years and 6 months to complete (ca. Oct. - Nov. 959 B.C.; compare 1 Kings 6:37-38).


(See the note on 1 Kings 6:1).


Solomon began to build in the spring of the year. April on our calendar is the same as their first month, so this is in May. The temple was begun somewhere near the 1,000 years before Christ. Some believe about 980 years prior to Christ. Really, this is not a critical element. The fact is the temple had begun. It appears that Solomon spent some of the 4 years in preparation of the beginning of the work. It would have been a tremendous job just to gather all of the materials, and the men to do the work.


2 Chronicles 3:3 "Now these [are the things wherein] Solomon was instructed for the building of the house of God. The length by cubits after the first measure [was] threescore cubits, and the breadth twenty cubits."


"Cubits ... first measure": About 18 inches or possibly the royal cubit which is 21 inches (compare 1 Kings 6:37-38).


This is speaking of the building being 30 feet wide and 90 feet long, if we agree that each cubit is 1-1/2 feet long.


2 Chronicles 3:4 "And the porch that [was] in the front [of the house], the length [of it was] according to the breadth of the house, twenty cubits, and the height [was] a hundred and twenty: and he overlaid it within with pure gold."


(See the note on 1 Kings 6:3). The "hundred and twenty" cubits here was apparently miscopied, such a "height" being too disproportionate even for a tower before the building proper. Some ancient versions read 20 cubits. Since the height of the building itself was 30 cubits (1 Kings 6:2), some have suggested that the porch was probably the same height.


But if not, this porch would be 30 feet wide. The height is 180 feet high. This is extremely high. Pure gold is 24 kt. To cover this entire area would be a fortune in gold. Some question this height. It is not my place to question, just to explain what each Scripture is saying.


2 Chronicles 3:5 "And the greater house he ceiled with fir tree, which he overlaid with fine gold, and set thereon palm trees and chains."


I.e., the Holy Place, or main chamber of the temple, intervening between the porch and the Holy of Holies (so in 2 Chron. 3:7).


"He ceiled with fir tree": Rather, "he covered," or "lined." The reference is not to the ceiling, which was entirely of wood, but to the walls and floor, which were of stone, with a covering of planks (marginal reference). The word translated "fir" bears probably in this place, not the narrow meaning which it has in (2 Chron. 2:8). Where it is opposed to cedar, but a wider one in which cedar is included.


"Palm trees and chains": (See 1 Kings 6:29). The "chains" are supposed to be garlands or festoons.


The greater house is speaking of the Holy Place. When we compare this with the other Scriptures on the same subject, we find the following.


1 Kings 6:15 "And he built the walls of the house within with boards of cedar, both the floor of the house, and the walls of the ceiling: [and] he covered [them] on the inside with wood, and covered the floor of the house with planks of fir."


The structure was made of stone, but the wood covered the stone and the wood was covered over with pure gold. The palm trees were engravings. The chains were probably wreaths of chains in the gold.


2 Chronicles 3:6 "And he garnished the house with precious stones for beauty: and the gold [was] gold of Parvaim."


A great many precious stones were dedicated to God (1 Chron. 29:2; 29:8). And these were set here and there where they would show to the best advantage.


"And the gold was gold of Parvaim": (1 Kings 10:11), tells up the gold was from Ophir, which is a country of uncertain location, possibly southern Arabia or the eastern coast of Africa.


The stones were mounted in the gold for beauty. The meaning of Parvaim is not known.


2 Chronicles 3:7 "He overlaid also the house, the beams, the posts, and the walls thereof, and the doors thereof, with gold; and graved cherubims on the walls."


And he covered (2 Chron. 3:5), the chamber. That is, the great chamber or Holy Place (see 1 Kings 6:21-23).


"The beams": Of the roof.


"The posts": The thresholds (Isa. 6:4).


"And graved cherubims on the walls": See (1 Kings 6:29), which gives a fuller account of the mural decorations.


"Cherubims": Cherubim, or cherubs (Psalm 18:10).


All of the wood within the temple used for beams, posts, or walls were covered with 24 kt. gold. There were cherubims engraved in the gold on the walls. Hiram's men would be skilled in this type of engraving. Their part of the world had been renowned for just this type of beauty.


2 Chronicles 3:8 "And he made the most holy house, the length whereof [was] according to the breadth of the house, twenty cubits, and the breadth thereof twenty cubits: and he overlaid it with fine gold, [amounting] to six hundred talents."


The chamber of the Holy of Holies, or chancel, called also the oracle (Dĕbr; 1 Kings 6:5).


"The length whereof was according to the breadth of the house, twenty cubits": Its length before the breadth of the house was twenty cubits (see note on 2 Chron. 3:4).


"And the breadth thereof twenty cubits" (1 Kings 6:20), adds that the height also was twenty cubits, so that the chamber formed a perfect cube.


"Six hundred talents": The weight of gold thus expended on the plating of the walls of the inner shrine is not given in Kings. Solomon's whole yearly revenue was 666 talents (1 Kings 10:14).


"Fine gold ... six hundred talents": Equal to almost 23 tons of gold.


The most holy place, where the Ark and the mercy seat was, measured thirty feet by thirty feet. The gold used in covering the walls and all of the boards in this place alone, took 900,000 ounces of gold.


2 Chronicles 3:9 "And the weight of the nails [was] fifty shekels of gold. And he overlaid the upper chambers with gold."


According to the above scale, therefore, this weight would be a twelve-thousandth part for the nails of all the weight of the overlaying plates of gold.


"And the upper chambers he covered with gold": The chambers over the Holy of holies are mentioned in (1 Chron. 28:11). The two statements of this verse are peculiar to the chronicle. The Syriac and Arabic omit the verse.


A shekel is a half-ounce of gold, so just the nails weighed 25 ounces of gold.



Verses 10-14: Although he could not build the temple, David had developed elaborate plans for it in concert with the Lord and then given them to Solomon (1 Chron. 28:11-19). Those plans included the large "cherubims" that stood within "the Most Holy House". These cherubims are not directly associated with the lid of the Ark of the Covenant as they were in the tabernacle instructions to Moses.


"Two cherubims" (see note on 1 Kings 6:23). This free-standing set of cherubim was in addition to the more diminutive set on the Ark itself.


2 Chronicles 3:10 "And in the most holy house he made two cherubims of image work, and overlaid them with gold."


"Two cherubim of image work": They were made of oleaster (A Eurasian shrub or small tree cultivated as an ornamental), plated with gold (1 Kings 6:23-28).


"Of image work": Literally, a work of statuary (meaning the art or practice of making statues).


"And overlaid": These figures in the tabernacle were of pure gold (Ex 25:1-40), and overshadowed the mercy seat.


2 Chronicles 3:11 "And the wings of the cherubims [were] twenty cubits long: one wing [of the one cherub was] five cubits, reaching to the wall of the house: and the other wing [was likewise] five cubits, reaching to the wing of the other cherub."


Their length was, altogether, twenty cubits. So that, being outspread, they reached from wall to wall of the Holy of holies, which was twenty cubits wide. Of this breadth each cherub covered half, or ten cubits, with his wings, which were five cubits apiece in length. Obviously, the inner wing of each cherub met the inner wing of the other in the middle of the wall.


"One wing . . . other cherub": The wing of the one, extending to five cubits, was touching the wall of the chamber while the other wing, five cubits, was touching the wing of the other cherub.


2 Chronicles 3:12 "And [one] wing of the other cherub [was] five cubits, reaching to the wall of the house: and the other wing [was] five cubits [also], joining to the wing of the other cherub."


They were of colossal size, like the Assyrian sculptures. For each, with expanded wings, covered a space of ten cubits in height and length.


Two wings touched each other, while the other two reached the opposite walls. Their faces were inward, that is, towards the Most Holy House, conformably to their use, which was to veil the Ark.


2 Chronicles 3:13 "The wings of these cherubims spread themselves forth twenty cubits: and they stood on their feet, and their faces [were] inward."


Or, These wings of the cherubim.


"Spread themselves forth": Were outspreading (participle; 1 Chron. 28:18).


"And they stood": Were standing. They were ten cubits high (1 Kings 6:26).


"Inward": See margin. Translated, toward the chamber. The cherubs did not face each other like the cherubim on the mercy seat (Exodus 25:20).


The wings of the two cherubims covered the entire area of thirty feet. The wings left no room on the outside on either side, and they met in the middle over the Ark. They were in the presence of the Ark, and had to be covered with pure gold. The two cherubims were standing at the back of the Ark looking with bowed heads to the Ark. It was as if they were in constant worship and protection of the presence of God.


2 Chronicles 3:14 "And he made the veil [of] blue, and purple, and crimson, and fine linen, and wrought cherubims thereon."


"Veil" (compare Exodus 26:31-35), on the veil of the tabernacle. The veil separated the Holy Place from the Holy of Holies, which was entered once annually by the High-Priest on the Day of Atonement (compare Lev. Chapter 16). This highly-limited access to the presence of God was eliminated by the death of Christ, when the veil in Herod's temple was torn in two from top to bottom (Matt. 27:51). It signified that believers had immediate, full access to God's presence through their Mediator and High-Priest Jesus Christ, who was the perfect, once-for-all sacrifice (compare Heb. 3:14-16; 9:19-22).


This is the veil that separated the Holy Place from the Most Holy Place. Linen speaks of righteousness. The three colors are godly colors. "Blue" means heavenly. "Purple" means royalty. The crimson is speaking of "red" which means blood or life. Even the curtains had cherubims woven into the cloth.



Verses 15-17 (see the notes on 1 Kings 6:3 and 7:15-22).


2 Chronicles 3:15 "Also he made before the house two pillars of thirty and five cubits high, and the chapiter that [was] on the top of each of them [was] five cubits."


"Thirty and five cubits" (1 Kings 7:15; 2 Kings 25:17 and Jer. 52:21), uniformly describe these cast-bronze pillars as 18 cubits high (about 27 feet). Most likely this is accounted for because the chronicler gave the combined height of both as they were lying in their molds (compare verse 17).


These two pillars were 52 1/2 feet high with chapiters on top of them that were 7 1/2 feet.


2 Chronicles 3:16 "And he made chains, [as] in the oracle, and put [them] on the heads of the pillars; and made a hundred pomegranates, and put [them] on the chains."


"As in the oracle": As he had done, or like unto those which he made, in the oracle. Of which see (1 Kings 6:21). The particle as is oft understood (as Gen. 49:9; Deut. 33:22).


"A hundred pomegranates": In each row, or two hundred in all, as it is said (1 Kings 7:20).


These decorations were engraved in the front of the pillars. The 100 pomegranates were on each of the pillars.


2 Chronicles 3:17 "And he reared up the pillars before the temple, one on the right hand, and the other on the left; and called the name of that on the right hand Jachin, and the name of that on the left Boaz."


"Jachin ... Boaz": Most likely these were so named because of the names' meaning rather than in honor of particular people. Jachin means "He shall establish" and Boaz means "In it is strength" (compare 1 Kings 7:21).


It is very unusual for pillars to have names. We must look for a spiritual meaning behind these names. These two pillars had messages on them spoken of as an oracle. "Jachin" means God establishes, so the message on that pillar would mean that. "Boaz" means strength. This one would speak of the strength of God. I do not know the exact wording of what was on the pillars, but I do know in my own heart, they both glorified God. Boaz was in the ancestry of Jesus. I personally believe the message for the Christians here, is that we will be established in the Lord Jesus Christ.


2 Chronicles Chapter 3 Questions


  1. Where did Solomon begin to build the temple?
  2. What special things had happened at this location?
  3. When did Solomon start the building?
  4. About how long before Christ was this?
  5. What was the size of the temple?
  6. What size is the author using for a cubit?
  7. How tall was the porch?
  8. The porch was overlaid with ________.
  9. What is the greater house speaking of?
  10. What type of wood was used in the greater house?
  11. The wood covered over what?
  12. The gold was garnished with what?
  13. What was the size of the Most Holy Place?
  14. What was the weight of the nails of gold?
  15. How many cherubims were in the Most Holy Place?
  16. The cherubims were covered with what?
  17. How long was the wing span of the cherubims?
  18. The cherubims were standing where?
  19. Where were they looking?
  20. Where was the veil?
  21. What was it made of?
  22. What does the color "blue" mean?
  23. What does "purple" mean?
  24. What does "red" mean?
  25. What was embroidered on the veil?
  26. How tall were the two pillars at the entrance?
  27. Why were they called oracles?
  28. What were the two pillars named?
  29. What does "Jachin" mean?
  30. What does the author believe is the message for the Christians in the pillars?



Go to Previous Section | Go to Next Section | Return to Top

Return to 2 Chronicles Menu | Return to Bible Menu


2 Chronicles 4



2 Chronicles Chapter 4

Verses 4:1 - 5:1 (see 1 Kings 7:23-51 for amplification and additional details).


2 Chronicles 4:1 Moreover he made an altar of brass, twenty cubits the length thereof, and twenty cubits the breadth thereof, and ten cubits the height thereof.


This "altar of brass": This is the main altar on which sacrifices were offered (compare the millennial temple altar, Ezek. 43:13-17). For comparison to the tabernacle's altar (see Exodus 27:1-8; 38:1-7).


Approximately 30 feet long by 30 feet wide by 15 feet high, was likely made of some of the brass that David had gathered for the temple work (Exodus 27:1-2; 1 Chron. 29:1-2; Ezek. 43:13, 16).


"Brass" or bronze symbolizes judgement. This altar of brass was the first thing a person saw when they came to the temple.



Verses 2-6 (see the note on 1 Kings 7:23-39).


2 Chronicles 4:2 "Also he made a molten sea of ten cubits from brim to brim, round in compass, and five cubits the height thereof; and a line of thirty cubits did compass it round about."


"Made ... sea": This large laver was used for ritual cleansing (compare Exodus 30:17-21 as it relates to the tabernacle). In Ezekiel's millennial temple, the laver will apparently be replaced by the waters that flow through the temple (Ezek. 47:1-12).


This "molten sea" was 15 feet across. It was 7 1/2 feet high and 45 feet in circumference. This also was made of brass, and was filled with water. This was a place for the priests to wash. The priests symbolize all believers in Christ. We too must be washed before we enter into fellowship with God.


2 Chronicles 4:3 "And under it [was] the similitude of oxen, which did compass it round about: ten in a cubit, compassing the sea round about. Two rows of oxen [were] cast, when it was cast."


"Oxen": (1 Kings 7:24), reports "gourds", which is the more likely translation. These were also around the laver, which was set on top of the 12 oxen.


The rim of the sea was turned down to make a lip around the whole thing. On this lip, there were figures of oxen all the way around. There were probably, about three hundred of these decorations around the rim of the sea.


2 Chronicles 4:4 "It stood upon twelve oxen, three looking toward the north, and three looking toward the west, and three looking toward the south, and three looking toward the east: and the sea [was set] above upon them, and all their hinder parts [were] inward."


"Twelve oxen": Very likely the 12 oxen represent the 12 tribes who were similarly arrayed around the tabernacle as they set out on their journey in the wilderness (compare Num. 2:1-34).


The words of the Hebrew text of this verse and the parallel (1 Kings 7:25), are facsimiles.


Oxen symbolize work or service. The fact that there were 12 oxen with three of them facing north, south, east and west shows us that the service the LORD had provided was for all the world. 12 is a number that represents the whole.


2 Chronicles 4:5 "And the thickness of it [was] a handbreadth, and the brim of it like the work of the brim of a cup, with flowers of lilies; [and] it received and held three thousand baths."


"Held three thousand baths": 1 Kings 7:26 reads 2000 baths. This discrepancy has been reconciled by accounting here not only the water the basin held, but also the water source that was necessary to keep it flowing as a fountain.


A "bath" is a little over 7 gallons. Even figuring a bath at 7 gallons shows us there would be 21,000 gallons of water in this sea. The decorations of lilies were representative of a true body of water where lilies grew. The thickness of the metal was about 4 inches.


2 Chronicles 4:6 "He made also ten lavers, and put five on the right hand, and five on the left, to wash in them: such things as they offered for the burnt offering they washed in them; but the sea [was] for the priests to wash in."


And he made ten pans. The word kyr is used (in 1 Sam. 2:14), as a pan for cooking, and (in Zechariah 12:6), as a pan holding fire. Its meaning here and in the parallel place is a pan for washing (compare Exodus 30:18; 30:28).


"To wash in them": This statement, and, indeed, the rest of the verse is peculiar to the chronicler. On the other hand (1 Kings 7:38), specifies the size and capacity of the lavers here omitted.


"Such things as they offered for the burnt offering they washed in them": Literally, the work (compare Exodus 29:36), "to do" being equivalent to "to offer" of the burnt offering they used to rinse (strictly, thrust, plunge), in them.


The lavers were to wash the animals in before sacrificing them. It is interesting that there were ten of them, since ten has to do with world government.


"But the sea was for the priests to wash in": (Read the notes in 2 Chron. above).



Verses 7-8: "Ten candlesticks of gold ... ten tables": The tabernacle had one of each. Everything was large because of the crowds of thousands that came on a daily basis and for special occasions.


(See the note on 1 Kings 7:48-50).


2 Chronicles 4:7 "And he made ten candlesticks of gold according to their form, and set [them] in the temple, five on the right hand, and five on the left."


And he made the golden lampstands ten, according to their rule, or, prescribed manner. (Compare 1 Kings 7:49; Exodus 25:31-40), where their type is described.


"According to their form": Rather, "after their manner" (compare 2 Chron. 4:20). There is no allusion to the shape of the candlesticks, which were made. No doubt, after the pattern of the original candlestick of Moses.


The candlesticks of gold represent the container for the Light which represents Jesus. Again, there are ten candlesticks. In the churches in Revelation, each church had its candlestick. Jesus is the Light in all Protestant churches. The fact that they are gold shows us that they are associated with God. "Gold" symbolizes the pureness of God.


2 Chronicles 4:8 "He made also ten tables, and placed [them] in the temple, five on the right side, and five on the left. And he made a hundred basins of gold."


The number of the tables (see 2 Chronicles 4:19), and of the basins, is additional to the information contained in Kings.


"Basins": or bowls, were to receive and hold the blood of the slain, about to be sprinkled for purification (see Exodus 24:6-8; 29:10-12; 20-21; Lev. 1:5).


The ten tables are the same as the ten candlesticks. There is sufficient room at the table for all of God's people. The hundred basins of gold for catching blood to be used in the sprinkling of the blood.


2 Chronicles 4:9 "Furthermore he made the court of the priests, and the great court, and doors for the court, and overlaid the doors of them with brass."


"The court of the priests": (See 1 Kings 6:36; 7:12). "The inner court;" Jeremiah 36:10, "the higher court."


The Syriac renders the whole verse: "And he made one great court for the priests and Levites, and covered the doors and bolts with bronze." (Compare note on 2 Chron. 4:3), for this plating of the doors with brass.


These doors were far away from the Most Holy Place. They were the doors of entrance. Brass was always at the entrance or very near. Gold was used in the near presence of God.


2 Chronicles 4:10 "And he set the sea on the right side of the east end, over against the south."


Literally, and he set the sea on the right shoulder, eastward, in front of the southward; i.e., on the south-east side of the house (1 Kings 7:39b). The LXX and some manuscripts add "of the house," which appears to have fallen out of the text.


"The right side of the east end, over against the south": (So also 1 Kings 7:39; compare Exodus 30:18). The sea found its position, therefore, in the place of the tabernacle, between the altar of brass and porch. It must be remembered that the entrance was east, but it was counted to a person standing with the back to the tabernacle or temple. As though he were, in fact, going out, not entering in, the sacred enclosure. Therefore, on the right side will be southward, as written in this verse.


(See the notes on 2:14 and 1 Kings 7:40-47).


This was for special access of the priests.



From (4:11 - 5:1: see notes on 1 Kings 7:40-51). All these details emphasize the great care and concern for worship, and served as a manual for the new temple being built by Zerubbabel after the Jews returned from Babylon.


Verses 11-16: The king of Tyre sent the craftsman "Huram" to help Solomon complete the detail work on the temple, including the "pots, shovels, and basins" made of bronze and used for temple sacrifices. God had appointed the craftsmen Bezalel and Oholiab to oversee similar details in the construction of the tabernacle (Exodus 31:1-11).


2 Chronicles 4:11 "And Huram made the pots, and the shovels, and the basins. And Huram finished the work that he was to make for king Solomon for the house of God;"


(1 Kings 7:40), has "lavers" (pans). Our reading, "pots," appears correct. Supported as it is by many manuscripts and the LXX and Vulgate of Kings. A single stroke makes the difference between the two words These "pots" were scuttles for carrying away the ashes of the altar.


"Basins": "Bowls" Probably the same as the mizrāqm of (2 Chron. 4:8).


"Huram": Hebrew text, Hiram, as in Kings. The LXX. renders: "And Hiram made the fleshhooks


(κρεάγρας) and the firepans (πυρεια), and the hearth of the altar and all its vessels."


"And Huram finished the work that he was to make for king Solomon for the house of God": Revised Version: So Huram made an end of doing the work that he wrought for king Solomon in the house of God.


"Huram" (see note on 2:13-14). He led the actual work which Solomon directed.


Huram and Hiram are believed to be the same person. These pots, shovels and basins were used in the preparation of the offerings. This fancy artistic work was done by Hiram's men, who had been hired for this purpose.


2 Chronicles 4:12 "[To wit], the two pillars, and the pommels, and the chapiters [which were] on the top of the two pillars, and the two wreaths to cover the two pommels of the chapiters which [were] on the top of the pillars;"


"Two pillars" (see 2 Chron. 3:15-17).


"The pommels": Revised Version, the bowls, as in (1 Kings 7:41), for the same Hebrew word.


I.e. the bowl-shaped part of the capital (or chapiter), of a pillar. "Pommel" or "knob."


"The chapiters": In modern English, "capitals."


"Two wreaths": R.V., two networks, as in (1 Kings 7:41), for the same Hebrew word.


"Which were on the top of the two pillars": Hebrew (and the globes and the chapiters), on the top of the pillars. Two; i.e., two globes and chapiters. The word "two" (shtayim) is feminine, agreeing with "globes and chapiters," which are also feminine. Whereas "pillars" is a masculine term.


The pillars had engraving on them, as well as all of the chapiters. The "pommels" were balls that were used for decoration on top of the chapiters. Hiram and his men were skilled in wood carving as well as engraving, and they were used for this purpose.


2 Chronicles 4:13 "And four hundred pomegranates on the two wreaths; two rows of pomegranates on each wreath, to cover the two pommels of the chapiters which [were] upon the pillars."


Four hundred pomegranates. This number of pomegranates substantially agrees with the parallel (1 Kings 7:20). There were two hundred of them on each wreath that encircled the chapiter. The pomegranate was a favorite ornament in work as well as in more solid architectural forms (Exodus 28:33-34).


The pomegranates were decorations that symbolized the fruitfulness of Israel.


2 Chronicles 4:14 "He made also bases, and lavers made he upon the bases;"


This repetition of the verb is suspicious; and the parallel text shows the right reading to be and the bases ten (in number). And the lavers ten upon the bases. "Ten" in Hebrew writing closely resembles "he made." The LXX. renders, "And the bases he made ten, and the lavers he made upon the bases;" which shows that the corruption of the text is ancient.


2 Chronicles 4:15 "One sea, and twelve oxen under it."


Kings, And the oxen, twelve, under the sea. The chronicler has abridged the expression.


Verse 15 is back again to the sea of brass which held over 21,000 gallons of water. This just explains that this is some more of the decorative work that Hiram and his men did.


2 Chronicles 4:16 "The pots also, and the shovels, and the fleshhooks, and all their instruments, did Huram his father make to king Solomon for the house of the LORD of bright brass."


"Flesh-hooks": Occurring twice in Exodus (Exodus 27:3; 38:3; once in Numbers, and twice in Chronicles). Another form of the same root, occurs twice in Samuel, in the same sense of "flesh-hook" (1 Samuel 2:13, 14). Where also its use is made dramatically plain. Huram his father; i.e. his chief artist.


"Did Huram": Whom Solomon reverenced for the gifts that God had given him. As a father; he had the same name as Huram the king of Tyrus, his mother was a Jewess, and his father a Tyrian. Some read, for his father, the author of this work.


The pots, shovels, and fleshhooks and all of their instruments made of brass were used away from the Holy of Holies. This brass when shined, was almost as pretty as gold, but it stayed out in the outer court.


2 Chronicles 4:17 "In the plain of Jordan did the king cast them, in the clay ground between Succoth and Zeredathah."


"In the plain": I.e. in the Ciccar (or round, equivalent to the New Testament "region round about"), of Jordan. A distinctive designation of the Jordan valley. The region here intended lies east of the river, in what became the division of Gad.


"The clay ground": that is," the clay of the ground "(Hebrew). The radical idea of the word here translated "clay" is "thickness," which should not be rendered, as in margin, "thicknesses." The word occurs thirty-five times, and is rendered a large proportion of these times "clouds" or "thick clouds" (e.g. Exodus 19:9).


"Succoth": Lay a little to the north of the river Jabbok, which flows almost east to west into the Jordan.


"Zeredathah": I.e. Zarthan of (1 Kings 7:46). And this latter is in the Hebrew also the same in characters and all with the Zaretan of (Joshua 3:16). Very possibly the place is the same as Zererath (Judges 7:22).


It appears from this, that sand molding is very old. Many of these pieces were so large that the seashore is needed for the open space to form them. They would be extremely hard to move because of their great weight, but we must remember, there were thousands of burden bearers to carry this. This place they were cast would have been near the Jordan, but in the eastern part in the land of Gad.


2 Chronicles 4:18 "Thus Solomon made all these vessels in great abundance: for the weight of the brass could not be found out."


1 Kings 7:47: "And Solomon left all the vessels unweighed, because they were exceeding many".


The brass that David had taken in battle was said to be so much it would not have been reasonable to try to weigh it. This brass was used for the things of the temple.



Verses 19-22: Details related to the temple and its worship provided important information for the returned exiles, who were faced with the task of rebuilding. Even through the new temple would be somewhat different (e.g., the Ark of the Covenant was not there), the returnees would need to carefully consider how to adjust the plan while preserving the worship that God had specified. Circumstances will always change, yet worship must remain. It us up to God's people to prayerfully and carefully consider how to maintain it.


2 Chronicles 4:19 "And Solomon made all the vessels that [were for] the house of God, the golden altar also, and the tables whereon the showbread [was set];"


"The tables": A single table only is mentioned (in 1 Kings 7:48; 2 Chron. 29:18). It is supposed that Solomon had ten similar tables made, any one of which might be used for the showbread. But that the bread was never placed on more than one table at a time.


This does not mean that Solomon personally did these things. It means that he had it done. There was a table of showbread where there were always 12 loaves of bread. This bread symbolized the body of the Lord Jesus Christ.


2 Chronicles 4:20 "Moreover the candlesticks with their lamps, that they should burn after the manner before the oracle, of pure gold;"


"With their lamps, that they should burn after the manner": (According to the legal rule, 2 Chron. 4:7). This is added by the chronicler, who omits "five on the right and five on the left" (Kings). The rest is as in Kings.


2 Chronicles 4:21 "And the flowers, and the lamps, and the tongs, [made he of] gold, [and] that perfect gold;"


"And the flowers . . . gold": (see 1 Kings 7:49). The Vulgate which renders "all were made of purest gold.


2 Chronicles 4:22 "And the snuffers, and the basins, and the spoons, and the censers, [of] pure gold: and the entry of the house, the inner doors thereof for the most holy [place], and the doors of the house of the temple, [were of] gold."


"The snuffers": Hebrew, occurring five times, and always translated "snuffers." A slightly different form of the word is translated "pruning-hooks "four times in the Prophets Isaiah, Joel, and Micah. No doubt these snuffers were something different from the tongs of the preceding verse. The use of one may have been rather to cut the wicks, and the other to trim them.


"The spoons": This is the word used so often for the "hand," but the essential idea of which is the hollow of either hand or foot or other thing, and among other things of a spoon shape. The word is used of the frankincense-cups (Num. 7:14, 20, 26), brought to the dedication of the tabernacle by the several princes.


"The censers": Hebrew. These were "snuff-dishes" (Exodus 25:38; 37:23; Num. 4:9).


"The entry of the house": The text is, by some, corrected by (1 Kings 7:50). "The hinges" of the doors of the house, etc.


"The doors of the house of the temple": Revised Version; the doors of the house. To wit, of the temple. The "[greater] house" or "temple" is here distinguished from the "Most Holy Place" or "shrine." (Compare 2 Chron. 3:5; 3:8).


Everything inside the Holy of Holies, the doors in the near vicinity, and even the walls inside the Most Holy Place were pure gold. Everything in the near presence of God had to be pure gold, or 24 kt. gold plate. The candlesticks and many other of the beautiful things in this Most Holy Place, were pure gold that had been engraved for extra beauty.


2 Chronicles Chapter 4 Questions


  1. How large was the altar of brass he made?
  2. What does "brass" symbolize?
  3. How large was the molten sea?
  4. The sea was made of _____________.
  5. The sea was used for what?
  6. Who do the priests symbolize?
  7. We must be ___________, before we come into fellowship with God.
  8. What was around the rim that was turned down of the molten sea?
  9. Oxen symbolize _________, or __________.
  10. What does the number of the oxen, and the way they were facing, tell us?
  11. ________ is the number that represents the whole.
  12. How thick was the metal in the sea?
  13. What was it decorated with?
  14. How much water would it hold?
  15. How many lavers were made?
  16. Where were they located?
  17. The lavers were used for ___________the ___________ for ___________.
  18. How many candlesticks of gold were there?
  19. Who is the Light?
  20. Which churches contain the Light of Jesus?
  21. How do we know the doors, in verse 9, are far away from the Most Holy Place?
  22. Where was the sea located?
  23. What were the items, in verse 11, used for?
  24. What were "pommels"?
  25. What did the decorations of pomegranates symbolize?
  26. The fleshhooks were made of ___________.
  27. What does verse 19 mean when it says, Solomon made it?
  28. The candlestick in the Most Holy Place was made of _________.
  29. Name some of the other things made of gold.
  30. Why were they made of gold?



Go to Previous Section | Go to Next Section | Return to Top

Return to 2 Chronicles Menu | Return to Bible Menu


2 Chronicles 5



2 Chronicles Chapter 5

2 Chronicles 5:1 Thus all the work that Solomon made for the house of the LORD was finished: and Solomon brought in [all] the things that David his father had dedicated; and the silver, and the gold, and all the instruments, put he among the treasures of the house of God.


The temple took 7 years to build and was completed in Solomon's 11th year (959 B.C.), in the eighth month (compare 1 Kings 6:38). Since it was dedicated in the seventh month (5:3), its dedication occurred 11 months later to coincide with the Feast of Booths, or Tabernacles (see note on 1 Kings 8:2). Why is there so much emphasis in the Old Testament on the temple?


(1) It was the center of worship that called people to correct belief through the generations;


(2) It was the symbol of God's presence with His people;


(3) It was the symbol of forgiveness and grace, reminding the people of the seriousness of sin and the availability of mercy;


(4) It prepared the people for the true Lamb of God, Jesus Christ, who would take away sin;


(5) It was a place of prayer (compare 7:12-17).


Much of the "silver" and "gold" used in the temple came from the spoils of the many battles King David had fought as well as from his personal resources. Following the example of their king, the people of Israel also gave freely to support the temple (1 Chron. 29:1-9).


The temple which began in the fourth year of the reign of Solomon, took 7 years to construct. (Verse 1), is re-capping the fact that much of the materials to build the temple and the things used in the services were given by king David before he died.



Verses 2-10 (see notes on 1 Kings 8:1-9).


2 Chronicles 5:2 "Then Solomon assembled the elders of Israel, and all the heads of the tribes, the chief of the fathers of the children of Israel, unto Jerusalem, to bring up the ark of the covenant of the LORD out of the city of David, which [is] Zion."


The Ark was in Jerusalem in a temporary tent (2 Sam. 6:17), not the original tabernacle, which was still at Gideon (1 Chron. 16:39).


The Ark was in Jerusalem where David had it carried. It was housed in the tent that David had prepared for it. Now it would be moved into the temple and placed in the Holy of Holies. The Ark would be moved with the dignitaries of the land looking on. This is a very important occasion in the lives of all Israel. This is why it was so important for the elders and the heads of the tribes to witness the moving. Notice, this Scripture explicitly calls the city of David Zion. This is still Jerusalem, but was where the threshing floor had been. This was the place God had chosen for the temple.


2 Chronicles 5:3 "Wherefore all the men of Israel assembled themselves unto the king in the feast which [was] in the seventh month."


"The men assembled": In the feast which was in the seventh month. The feast of the dedication of the temple was on the eighth day of that month. This is related, word for word, the same as in (1 Kings 8:1-10).


"In the feast which ... in the seventh month": I.e. the Feast of Tabernacles. This commenced on the fifteenth of the seventh month, named Ethanim (see 1 Kings 8:2). With this the festivals of the sacred year closed.


All here, does not mean every individual male in Israel. This means representatives of all of them came. The Feast of Tabernacles occurred in the seventh month on the fifteenth day. The moving occurred during the Feast of Tabernacles then.



Verses 4-5: Solomon directed the "Levites" to bring the "Ark" of God to the temple from its temporary shelter in Jerusalem (1 Chron. Chapter 16). The Levites also disassembled the "tabernacle of meeting" that was in Gibeon (1:3), and brought it and all the holy furnishings to the temple.


2 Chronicles 5:4 "And all the elders of Israel came; and the Levites took up the ark."


"The Levites": (see Num. 4:15, 19-20), which (with our verses 5, 7), throw this statement into sufficient harmony with that of the parallel (1 Kings 8:3). Which purports to say that the priests only, unaided by the Kohathite Levites, performed the service.


David had learned a good lesson about who was to move the Ark and how it was to be moved. We may be assured that David had passed this information on to Solomon. The Levites who were chosen to serve God, would be those to actually move the Ark.


2 Chronicles 5:5 "And they brought up the ark, and the tabernacle of the congregation, and all the holy vessels that [were] in the tabernacle, these did the priests [and] the Levites bring up."


"Brought up the Ark": I.e., such of the Levites as were also priests (compare 2 Chron. 5:7; 1 Kings 8:3).


"The tabernacle of the congregation": Revised Version: the tent of meeting.


This tabernacle then, and these "holy vessels", are carried into the new temple. But the Ark had still its ministry to perform (verse 7).


This makes it appear to be two different people, when it speaks of the priests and the Levites. The priests are Levites, but they alone of the Levitical tribe can handle the Ark. Even they must not touch the Ark. The staves that go through the rings on the sides of the Ark for carrying purposes. The descendants of Aaron were the priests.


2 Chronicles 5:6 "Also king Solomon, and all the congregation of Israel that were assembled unto him before the ark, sacrificed sheep and oxen, which could not be told nor numbered for multitude."


"Assembled": To meet at an appointed time and place (Exodus 25:22).


"Sacrificed": I.e., of course with the intervention of their priests.


This means the priests sacrificed the animals that Solomon and the congregation had offered for sacrifice. There were literally thousands of animals offered.



Verses 7-9 (see the note on 1 Kings 8:8).


2 Chronicles 5:7 "And the priests brought in the ark of the covenant of the LORD unto his place, to the oracle of the house, into the most holy [place, even] under the wings of the cherubims:"


"The wings of the cherubim": (see 2 Chronicles 3:10). Their situation was by the west wall of the oracle (1 Kings 6:16).


The cherubims were already in place, when the Ark was placed before them. We see again, the place of the Ark was the Most Holy Place. We remember from an earlier lesson, that the wings covered with gold were so large they covered the entire back wall of the temple.


2 Chronicles 5:8 "For the cherubims spread forth [their] wings over the place of the ark, and the cherubims covered the ark and the staves thereof above."


Rather, And the cherubim were spreading forth wings. Kings has for (k); making the sentence an explanation of the last clause of (2 Chron. 5:7).


It appears from this Scripture, that the staves stayed in place while the Ark was in the most holy place.


2 Chronicles 5:9 "And they drew out the staves [of the ark], that the ends of the staves were seen from the ark before the oracle; but they were not seen without. And there it is unto this day."


"From the Ark": Or, according to a different reading here and according to (1 Kings 8:8). Some read, "the ends of the staves were seen from the Holy Place."


"There it is unto this day": That is, at the time when this history was composed. For after the Babylonish captivity there is no trace of either Ark or staves.


In this Scripture, they appear to have been removed and been left somewhere in the room. It is our understanding that is not clear, not an error in Scripture.


2 Chronicles 5:10 "[There was] nothing in the ark save the two tables which Moses put [therein] at Horeb, when the LORD made [a covenant] with the children of Israel, when they came out of Egypt."


The Ark of the covenant contained only the "two tables which Moses put therein". Two other items were associated with the Ark: a golden pot containing manna and the rod of Aaron that had budded (Num. 17:1-9). The Bible records that these items were set alongside or within the Ark, apparently at different times than those recorded here (Exodus 16:33-34; Num. 17:10; Heb. 9:4).


See the note on 1 Kings 8:9.


In the original Ark there were the two tables of stone with the ten commandments on them, Aaron's rod that bloomed, and the golden pot with the manna. Perhaps the golden pot with the manna and Aaron's rod that bloomed had been removed, when the Ark had been in the hands of the enemy. Mount Horeb was believed to be a lower peak of Mount Sinai. This is the spot where God gave Moses the tables with the ten commandments.


Verses 11-13: This grand procession of the "priests" and "Levites" recalls the procession of David bringing the Ark to Jerusalem (1 Chron. 15:25-28). The role that the priests and Levites took in worshiping God through music should be fulfilled by every believer (Eph. 5:19-21).


2 Chronicles 5:11 "And it came to pass, when the priests were come out of the holy [place]: (for all the priests [that were] present were sanctified, [and] did not [then] wait by course:"


"The Holy Place": This was to be the last time anyone but the High-Priest went in, and then only once a year. It took several priests to place the Ark in its new home.


These priests took turns ministering in the temple. For this great occasion, they were all there. They were all sanctified and could watch this wonderful event for all of Israel.


2 Chronicles 5:12 "Also the Levites [which were] the singers, all of them of Asaph, of Heman, of Jeduthun, with their sons and their brethren, [being] arrayed in white linen, having cymbals and psalteries and harps, stood at the east end of the altar, and with them a hundred and twenty priests sounding with trumpets:)"


"All of them of Asaph . . . brethren": Hebrew, to all of them, to Asaph, to Heman, etc., and to their sons, and to their brethren. This use of the particle le (to, for), is characteristic of the chronicler, whose style in these verses stands in marked contrast with the former part of the chapter. As to the Levitical guilds of musicians (compare 1 Chron. 25:1-7; 15:16).


"Arrayed in white linen": (1 Chron. 15:27).


"Having cymbals and psalteries and harps": With cymbals and nebels and kinnors; which are harps and lutes, or guitars. (See 1 Chron. 15:28).


"Stood at the east end of the altar": Were standing east of the altar.


"And with them . . . trumpets": And with them priests, to a hundred and twenty, were trumpeting with trumpets (see 1 Chron. 15:24).


"A hundred and twenty": Thus five to each of the twenty-four classes of the priests.


For "Asaph, Heman," and "Jeduthun" (see the note on 1 Chron. 6:31-48; 1 Chron. Chapter 25).


White linen symbolized righteousness. In an earlier lesson, we learned that Asaph was the overseer of the praise and worship with singing and musical instruments. All 24 of the choirs were there for this very special occasion. The trumpets were being blown as a victory sound. The Ark was in the temple.



Verses 13-14: The glory of the Lord": The Lord's presence indwelt the temple and the first service of worship was held. In the same manner, He descended on the tabernacle (Exodus 40:34-38). He will do likewise on the millennial temple (Ezek. 43:1-5). His glory is representative of His person (compare Exodus chapter 33), and entering the temple signified His presence.


2 Chronicles 5:13 "It came even to pass, as the trumpeters and singers [were] as one, to make one sound to be heard in praising and thanking the LORD; and when they lifted up [their] voice with the trumpets and cymbals and instruments of music, and praised the LORD, [saying], For [he is] good; for his mercy [endureth] for ever: that [then] the house was filled with a cloud, [even] the house of the LORD;"


"It came even to pass . . . thanking the Lord": And the trumpeters and the minstrels were to sound aloud, as one man, with one sound, in order to praise and thank the Lord. This ends the parenthesis.


"Their voice with the trumpets": Rather, a sound with trumpets, etc.


"And praised the Lord, saying, For he is good": For this common liturgical formula (see 1 Chron. 16:34; 16:41).


"That then the house was filled with a cloud, even the house of the Lord": Omit that (1 Kings 8:10). "Then the cloud filled the house of the Lord." The LXX. reads, "with the cloud of the glory of the Lord; "the Vulgate simply, "so that the house of God was filled with a cloud." The Authorized Version is preferable; the phrase, "the house of the Lord," being added as a sort of climax (compare 2 Chron. 4:21).


God inhabits the praises of His people. This beautiful praising in word, song, and music was in perfect harmony. Notice the things that were said of the LORD. He is good. His mercy endureth forever. This was the presence of the LORD that was in the smoke that entered the temple. God had accepted the temple and the people. This was shown by His presence.


2 Chronicles 5:14 "So that the priests could not stand to minister by reason of the cloud: for the glory of the LORD had filled the house of God."


(See Exodus 40:34-35).


"House of God": Kings, "house of the Lord." (See 1 Kings 8:11, and 2 Chron. 7:2; see the note on 1 Kings 8:10-12).


This just means that the priests fell on their faces in worship to their LORD. Their strength had all left them, and they fell before the LORD. The LORD had moved into the temple that Solomon and all the people had built for Him.


2 Chronicles Chapter 5 Questions


  1. Who had dedicated much of the material and the vessels for the temple?
  2. When had Solomon begun the temple?
  3. How many years did it take to build the temple?
  4. Who did Solomon assemble?
  5. Where did he assemble them?
  6. Where was the Ark located, at the time the temple was finished?
  7. What does verse 2 call the city of David?
  8. What is meant by all the men assembled themselves?
  9. When did they move the Ark to the temple?
  10. What feast was taking place at the time?
  11. Who took up the Ark?
  12. What did he bring, besides the Ark, to the temple?
  13. The priests are __________.
  14. How must the priests handle the Ark?
  15. How many animals were sacrificed?
  16. Who sacrificed the animals?
  17. How large were the wings of the cherubims?
  18. Where were they positioned?
  19. What did the Ark contain, at the time it was moved to the temple?
  20. What, besides this, had been in the Ark before?
  21. When does the author believe the other things might have been removed?
  22. Which of the priests were in the temple for the moving of the Ark?
  23. White linen symbolizes _________________.
  24. What instruments were they playing in the temple?
  25. Who blew the trumpets?
  26. What happened, as they were playing and singing praises to the LORD?
  27. What did the smoke represent?
  28. What effect did this have on the priests?



Go to Previous Section | Go to Next Section | Return to Top

Return to 2 Chronicles Menu | Return to Bible Menu


2 Chronicles 6



2 Chronicles Chapter 6

The words with which chapter five begins are the same as (1 Kings 7:51). And what is contained in that and chapter six is much the same with (1 Kings 8:1, on which see the notes); The blessing of Solomon on the people of Israel, which is there, is here omitted, and two verses are here added (much the same with Psalm 132:8).


Verses 1-11 (see the note on 1 Kings 8:12-21).


2 Chronicles 6:1 "Then said Solomon, The LORD hath said that he would dwell in the thick darkness."


The building of the temple not only represented the fulfillment of God's promises to David but also to Abraham (Gen. 13:14-17). For Solomon to build "I have built an house of habitation" for God, a permanent dwelling place, required that the people fully possess the land.


Solomon had to remind these people, that this smoke and darkness was the presence of the LORD. It had been over 400 years since the LORD had led them through the wilderness, in a smoke by day and a fire by night.


2 Chronicles 6:2 "But I have built a house of habitation for thee, and a place for thy dwelling for ever."


It is of great consequence in all our religious actions that we design well, and that our eye be single. If Solomon had built this temple in the pride of his heart, as Ahasuerus made his feast, only to show the riches of his kingdom and the honor of his majesty, it would neither have glorified God nor have turned to his own advantage. But he here declares on what inducements he undertook it, and they are such as not only justify, but magnify the undertaking. The reader will recollect that this whole prayer occurs in (1 Kings chapter 8). And that it has been explained at length in the notes there.


This was Solomon speaking to the LORD. Solomon's desire was for the LORD to make His home in the temple in Jerusalem. Solomon saw the temple as a permanent dwelling, unlike the tabernacle which moved from place to place.



Verses 3-11: As Solomon blessed the people, he led them in thanking the Lord for His promises "fulfilled" and His power alone (2 Sam. 7:5-16; 1 Chron. Chapter 17). The phrase "with His hands" means "by His power".


2 Chronicles 6:3 "And the king turned his face, and blessed the whole congregation of Israel: and all the congregation of Israel stood."


Reading between the lines, this verse shows us that the face of Solomon had been turned to the symbol of God's presence, while he addressed to him the words of our second verse, since he now faces round to the assembly of the congregation. What words Solomon used in thus blessing the whole congregation are not given either here or in the parallel.


The dedication of the temple had begun. The people were assembled. Solomon spoke a blessing on the entire congregation. The congregation stood in honor of the LORD.


2 Chronicles 6:4 "And he said, Blessed [be] the LORD God of Israel, who hath with his hands fulfilled [that] which he spake with his mouth to my father David, saying,"


The impression one takes, is that the blessing was, in fact, wrapped up tacitly in all that Solomon recounts, when he said, "Blessed be the Lord God of Israel", etc. However, it is not impossible that, with the variation of the tense in (verse 59), the verses of (1 Kings 8:55 - 61), may contain the substance of it, if not itself.


"Who hath with his hands fulfilled that which he spake with his mouth to my father David": R.V. (Revised Version), which spake with his mouth unto David my father, and hath with his hands fulfilled it.


Solomon began by praising the LORD for keeping covenant with David. He had promised David that his son, Solomon, would build the temple. Now it was a fact. Solomon was overwhelmed by the LORD who does exactly what He says He will.


2 Chronicles 6:5 "Since the day that I brought forth my people out of the land of Egypt I chose no city among all the tribes of Israel to build a house in, that my name might be there; neither chose I any man to be a ruler over my people Israel:"


"My people Israel out of Egypt." (Compare 2 Chron. 5:10).


"I chose no city ... neither chose I any man": The tabernacle and all it contained had but travelled from place to place, and rested at temporary halting-places. And from Moses' time all the leaders of the people Israel had been men in whom vested no permanent and no intrinsic authority (1 Sam. 16:1-15; 2 Sam. 24:18-25).


The Chronicler regards Saul as rejected rather than chosen (1 Chronicles 10:13-14).


2 Chronicles 6:6 "But I have chosen Jerusalem, that my name might be there; and have chosen David to be over my people Israel."


See again references of preceding verses (2 Sam. 7:8; Psalm 78:70).


These are the Words and the exact statement that the LORD had made to David. It is interesting to me, that after over 400 years of living in the Promised Land, the LORD decided to choose a man to lead His people and a city to dwell in upon the earth. Jerusalem would be known as the city of God.



Verses 7-9: Although David was not the one to build the temple, these words would have encouraged him. If one's dream has been set aside by God, it is not a signal to quit but to continue pursuing Him and whatever good He has waiting in the days ahead (see 2 Sam. 7:2, 10-16; 1 Chron. 22:9-10; 28:2-7.)


2 Chronicles 6:7 "Now it was in the heart of David my father to build a house for the name of the LORD God of Israel."


Compare (1 Chron. 17:1-2; 22:7).


It was pleasing to God that David wanted to build Him a house. David loved the LORD with all of his heart. God did not allow him to build the house, because he was a bloody king. David loved the LORD so much, however, that he gathered much of the material to finish the work before his death.


2 Chronicles 6:8 "But the LORD said to David my father, Forasmuch as it was in thine heart to build a house for my name, thou didst well in that it was in thine heart:"


The words with which Solomon celebrates this wondrous evidence of the divine favor, entirely coincide with the narrative in (1 Kings 8:12-21). Except that in (2 Chronicles 6:5), the actual words of Solomon's speech are more completely given in (1 Kings 8:16). Where the words, "and I have not chosen a man to be prince over my people Israel, and I have chosen Jerusalem that my name might be there," are omitted.


For the commentary on this address, see at (1 Kings 8:12-21).


2 Chronicles 6:9 "Notwithstanding thou shalt not build the house; but thy son which shall come forth out of thy loins, he shall build the house for my name."


"Thou shalt not build": With stress on the pronoun.


"But thy son": Hebrew, for thy son; so LXX. Kings, "but;" and so some manuscripts and the Syriac, Vulgate, and Arabic here (otherwise the whole verse is as in Kings).


"He shall build the house for my name": Thus, one sows and another reaps: and one age begins that which the next brings to perfection. And let not the wisest of men think it any disparagement to them to pursue the good designs which those that went before them had formed. And to build on their foundation.


The LORD counted it as if David had built the temple, because it had been the desire of his heart to do this. God judges the heart of mankind. The temple in the heart of David was built by his son Solomon. Solomon did one of the most spectacular things of his time by the building of the temple, but David got even more credit for the building of it from God, because it was the desire of his heart.


2 Chronicles 6:10 "The LORD therefore hath performed his word that he hath spoken: for I am risen up in the room of David my father, and am set on the throne of Israel, as the LORD promised, and have built the house for the name of the LORD God of Israel."


The words with which Solomon celebrates this wondrous evidence of the divine favor, entirely coincide with the narrative in (1 Kings 8:12-21), except that in (2 Chron. 6:5). The actual words of Solomon's speech are more completely given than in (1 Kings 8:16), where the words, "and I have not chosen a man to be prince over my people Israel, and I have chosen Jerusalem that my name might be there," are omitted. For the commentary on this address (see 1 Kings 8:12-21).


2 Chronicles 6:11 "And in it have I put the ark, wherein [is] the covenant of the LORD, that he made with the children of Israel."


"The covenant of the Lord": The mosaic law written on tablets of stone (compare 5:10).


Solomon could have boasted of all of the finery that had been put in the temple at his command. His wisdom gave all of the credit for the building of the temple to his father David, and even further to the LORD who kept His Word. Solomon was aware that he was king, because God ordained it. The Ark symbolized the presence of God. The ten commandments represented the covenant God had made with His people.



Verses 12-14 (see note on 1 Kings 8:22-53). As Solomon led his people in prayer, he asked God to help them in many situations:


(1) Crime (verses 22-23);


(2) Enemy attacks (verses 24-25);


(3) Drought (verses 26-27);


(4) Famine (verses 28-31);


(5) Foreigners (verses 32-33);


(6) War (verses 34-35);


(7) Sin (verses 36-39).


Verses 12-39 (see the note on 1 Kings 8:22-53). The closing portion of the prayer (as recorded in 1 Kings), contains a restatement of the fact that Israel was truly God's special people (compare Exodus 19:5; Deut. 7:6; 14:2; 26:18). Solomon's closing benediction on this occasion is also recorded (see the note on 1 Kings 8:54-61).


2 Chronicles 6:12 "And he stood before the altar of the LORD in the presence of all the congregation of Israel, and spread forth his hands:"


(Compare 1 Kings 8:22-53).


The whole is given as in Kings, save that one verse (2 Chron. 6:13), is added, and the inspired prayer (2 Chron. 6:40-42), is quite different.


"Stood": Took his place. It is not implied that he remained standing (compare 1 Sam. 17:51; 2 Chron. 6:3).


"Spread forth his hands": Towards heaven (Kings). Syriac and Arabic have both.


2 Chronicles 6:13 "For Solomon had made a brazen scaffold, of five cubits long, and five cubits broad, and three cubits high, and had set it in the midst of the court: and upon it he stood, and kneeled down upon his knees before all the congregation of Israel, and spread forth his hands toward heaven,"


When Solomon "kneeled down" in front of all the people and humbly raised "his hands" toward heaven, his posture revealed his understanding that God should be worshiped by all, even the king. Solomon, in an unusually humbling act for a king, acknowledged God's sovereignty.


This scaffold of brass symbolized judgement. Solomon had bowed on this scaffold and raised both hands to heaven as if to say to the LORD, judge me for our effort of the temple. His bowing and raising of his hands, both showed that he had humbled himself before the LORD. This mighty king was not ashamed to kneel to God before this entire congregation. In the next few verses, we read one of the most beautiful prayers in the Bible.


2 Chronicles 6:14 "And said, O LORD God of Israel, [there is] no God like thee in the heaven, nor in the earth; which keepest covenant, and [showest] mercy unto thy servants, that walk before thee with all their hearts:"


"No God like thee": The quoting of Scripture and the utilizing of language in which the religious feeling of those who have gone before has expressed itself had plainly set in (Exodus 15:11-12; Deut. 7:9).


"In the heaven nor in the earth": Abridged from "in the heaven above, and upon the earth beneath" (Kings). Syriac, "Thou art the Lord that sittest in heaven above, and Thy will is done on earth beneath;" apparently a curious reminiscence of the Lord's Prayer.


"Which keepest covenant and showest mercy": Literally, keeping the covenant and the mercy; i.e., the covenanted mercy (compare Isa. 55:3).


"With thy servant": Hebrew, for; (so in 2 Chron. 6:16). The verse is word for word as in Kings.


This prayer begins as all prayers to God should, by recognizing the omnipotence of God. He was recognizing God as the self-existent One, the ONLY TRUE GOD.


2 Chronicles 6:15 "Thou which hast kept with thy servant David my father that which thou hast promised him; and spakest with thy mouth, and hast fulfilled [it] with thine hand, as [it is] this day."


This was thanksgiving to God for the things He had done in the past. This spoke of God keeping His Word always.


2 Chronicles 6:16 "Now therefore, O LORD God of Israel, keep with thy servant David my father that which thou hast promised him, saying, There shall not fail thee a man in my sight to sit upon the throne of Israel; yet so that thy children take heed to their way to walk in my law, as thou hast walked before me."


"There shall not fail thee": etc. (see 2 Sam. 7:12; 1 Kings 2:4; 6:12).


"Yet so that thy children take heed to their way to walk in my law": etc. (see Psalm 132:12).


His prayer to God was that the blessings of the covenant would not end with David, but would continue on forever. He was asking that his descendants, as well as David's, would sit upon the throne of Israel as God had promised if they kept His commandments.


2 Chronicles 6:17 "Now then, O LORD God of Israel, let thy word be verified, which thou hast spoken unto thy servant David."


"Let thy word be verified": Or promise (2 Chron. 6:10; 6:15; see 1 Chron. 17:9-13).


"Unto thy servant David": Hebrew, to thy servant, to David. Kings, "to thy servant David my father."


This was a request for God to hear and answer the prayers of the Israelites, just as He had heard and answered David's prayers. Let them know that you are Truth, as David did.


2 Chronicles 6:18 "But will God in very deed dwell with men on the earth? behold, heaven and the heaven of heavens cannot contain thee; how much less this house which I have built!"


Solomon marveled that God would condescend to live there (compare John 1:14; Col. 2:9).


Solomon was praying in praise and wonder at the idea that God would consider to come so near to His people. God did not need the temple for Himself, but the people needed the temple as a physical reminder of "God with us" (Isa. 66:1; Acts 7:49). Later, however, Jeremiah would warn Israel that they could not continue to sin just because God's temple was in Jerusalem (Jer. 7:4-8).


There was a sudden awareness of the omnipresence of God by Solomon here. He was suddenly aware of the greatness of God that could not be contained by the world that was His creation.



Verses 19-20: Solomon's prayer that the "eyes" of God "may be open" and that He "hearken unto the prayer" of his servant echoed the words of his father, David (in Psalm 34:15). Solomon and David knew that building a temple did not obligate God to dwell there; however, God honored their sincere worship by filling the temple with His presence and accepting the praise and prayers of the people.


2 Chronicles 6:19 "Have respect therefore to the prayer of thy servant, and to his supplication, O LORD my God, to hearken unto the cry and the prayer which thy servant prayeth before thee:"


"Prayer ... and to his supplication": "Supplication" as distinguished from "prayer" is prayer for favor.


2 Chronicles 6:20 "That thine eyes may be open upon this house day and night, upon the place whereof thou hast said that thou wouldest put thy name there; to hearken unto the prayer which thy servant prayeth toward this place."


"Upon": Unto or toward. "Day and night" (as in Psalm 1:2). Kings, "night and day" (as in Isa. 27:3); for which the chronicler has substituted a more usual phrase. The Syriac and Arabic follow Kings.


"This house .... the place whereof": This place (see Exodus 29:43; Deut. 12:5; 14:23; 15:20; 16:2).


"Which thy servant prayeth": R.V., which thy servant shall pray. Solomon refers in this verse to future prayers, not (as in 2 Chron. 6:19), to the prayer he is now praying.


Solomon believed that God heard David's prayers and answered them. He also knew that God had answered prayers for him in the past. This was a plea for God to continue hearing his prayers, and the prayers of His people. They would pray toward the temple, because they knew the presence of the LORD was there.


2 Chronicles 6:21 "Hearken therefore unto the supplications of thy servant, and of thy people Israel, which they shall make toward this place: hear thou from thy dwelling place, [even] from heaven; and when thou hearest, forgive."


"Hearken to the supplication of thy people": etc. He asks not that God would help them without their praying for themselves, but that God would help them in answer to their prayers. Even Christ's intercession does not supersede, but encourages our supplications (2 Chron. 6:21).


"From thy dwelling place, even from heaven": Here as in (2 Chron. 6:18), Solomon refuses to regard the Temple as Jehovah's "dwelling place" (compare 2 Chron. 2:6).


Solomon suddenly was aware that he was what he was, because God made him that. He knew that prayer was man's way of communicating with God. Solomon plead with God to listen to the earnest prayers of His people. He knew that all men sin, so he asked God to forgive His people and answer their prayers.



Verses 22-23: The temple reflected the character of God, and Solomon prayed that the people would too. The church today and God's people today, as the temple of God (Eph. 2:19-21), and the temple of the Holy Spirit respectively, should reflect God's justice, mercy, and forgiveness so others may know and worship Him.


2 Chronicles 6:22 "If a man sin against his neighbor, and an oath be laid upon him to make him swear, and the oath come before thine altar in this house;"


In cases where the testimony of witnesses could not be obtained and there was no way of settling a difference or dispute between two people but by accepting the oath of the accused, the practice had gradually crept in and had acquired the force of a higher law. For the party to be brought before the altar, where his oath was taken with all due solemnity, together with the imprecation of a curse to fall upon himself if his disavowal should be found untrue.


"And an oath be laid upon him to make him swear": This verse is explained by (Exodus 22:9-11; Lev. 6:1-5). The case of ordeal by self-purgation of oath is supposed. And the oath come. The Septuagint translates here, "and he come and declare by oath," etc.


2 Chronicles 6:23 "Then hear thou from heaven, and do, and judge thy servants, by requiting the wicked, by recompensing his way upon his own head; and by justifying the righteous, by giving him according to his righteousness."


"From heaven": In Kings, we have not the preposition. Perhaps the meaning there is "to heaven," as in (2 Chron. 6:30). The chronicler has substituted a more ordinary expression, which, indeed, is found in all the versions of Kings. Similarly, in (2 Chron. 6:25; 6:30; 6:33; 6:35; 6:39).


Revised Version: Requiting the wicked, to bring his way upon his own head; and justifying the righteous, to give him according to his righteousness.


Now we see specific prayer requests. This was also a recognition that only God Himself, knows who is right in such a situation. Solomon asked God to punish the guilty Himself.


2 Chronicles 6:24 "And if thy people Israel be put to the worse before the enemy, because they have sinned against thee; and shall return and confess thy name, and pray and make supplication before thee in this house;"


"And if thy people Israel be put to the worse": See margin. Kings has a different construction, "when thy people Israel are smitten" (compare 2 Chron. 6:26).


Verses 24 (see Lev. 26:3, 17, 33, 40; Deut. 27:7, 27:25; 4:27, 4:29-31; 28:64-68; 30:1-20).


2 Chronicles 6:25 "Then hear thou from the heavens, and forgive the sin of thy people Israel, and bring them again unto the land which thou gavest to them and to their fathers."


Verse 25 (see Lev. 26:3, 17, 33, 40; Deut. 27:7, 27:25; 4:27, 4:29-31; 28:64-68; 30:1-20).


Revised Version: from heaven (as in 2 Chron. 6:23).


We see a recognition by Solomon of why Israel would lose a war. Their sin would bring defeat upon them. We also see the only solution to this problem was to repent and return to God. Solomon asked God to never weary in forgiving His people, when they repented and asked for forgiveness. We know from these Bible studies that God did answer this prayer, and is even today still answering this prayer. They have sinned and been scattered many times. God had forgiven them, when they repented and gave them back their land.


2 Chronicles 6:26 "When the heaven is shut up, and there is no rain, because they have sinned against thee; [yet] if they pray toward this place, and confess thy name, and turn from their sin, when thou dost afflict them;"


"No rain": (see 1 Kings 17:1; Lev. 26:19; Deut. 11:17; 28:23).


"When thou dost afflict them": Render (with Revised Version manuscript and Peshitta), because thou answerest them. Israel "confesses God's name" because God answers the prayer of penitence.


2 Chronicles 6:27 "Then hear thou from heaven, and forgive the sin of thy servants, and of thy people Israel, when thou hast taught them the good way, wherein they should walk; and send rain upon thy land, which thou hast given unto thy people for an inheritance."


Rather, (to), heaven or (in), heaven, as in Kings (compare note on 2 Chron. 6:23). The versions read "from heaven."


"When thou hast taught them the good way": Or, seeing thou hast taught them the good way, or instructed them in the knowledge of thyself, and of the worship and service in which thou delightest.


Solomon knew these people were a rebellious people. He also knew that droughts came many times to punish the sins of God's people. God would withhold the rain to cause them to repent. Solomon asked God to forgive them when they prayed for forgiveness, and let it rain again.


2 Chronicles 6:28 "If there be dearth in the land, if there be pestilence, if there be blasting, or mildew, locusts, or caterpillars; if their enemies besiege them in the cities of their land; whatsoever sore or whatsoever sickness [there be]:"


"Darth": R.V. famine (as in 1 Kings).


"Caterpillars": Rather some kind of locust (see Joel 1:4).


"If their enemies besiege them": If his enemies (Kings, "enemy"), besiege him (2 Chron. 6:34).


"Whatsoever sore": R.V. whatsoever plague. "Plague" is used here in the general sense of calamity, as in the phrase "The Ten Plagues of Egypt".


2 Chronicles 6:29 "[Then] what prayer [or] what supplication soever shall be made of any man, or of all thy people Israel, when every one shall know his own sore and his own grief, and shall spread forth his hands in this house:"


"His own sore and his own grief": Kings, "the plague of his own heart." So Syriac and Arabic. The phrase of the chronicler looks like a gloss on this.


"In this house": R.V. toward this house.


2 Chronicles 6:30 "Then hear thou from heaven thy dwelling place, and forgive, and render unto every man according unto all his ways, whose heart thou knowest; (for thou only knowest the hearts of the children of men:)"


"Every man": The man. Distributive use of the article.


"Whose heart thou knowest": Because thou knowest his heart. So Syriac and Arabic. The Vulgate, "which thou knowest him to have in his heart".


"The children of men": All has dropped out. So some manuscripts, Syriac, Arabic, and Kings.


We should know from this prayer, that many problems that come on a land and its people are sent by God Himself. Much of the trouble in our land today is a punishment from God, to cause people to repent. The sin is not the important thing. The repenting is what is important. "Repent" means not only to confess our sins and ask forgiveness, but to walk in the opposite direction than the way that caused the sin.


2 Chronicles 6:31 "That they may fear thee, to walk in thy ways, so long as they live in the land which thou gavest unto our fathers."


"To walk in thy ways": An explanatory remark added by the chronicler.


The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom. We should walk in the ways of the LORD to please God. These Israelites were not always in the way of the LORD. Solomon prayed that they would walk in the ways of the LORD.


2 Chronicles 6:32 "Moreover concerning the stranger, which is not of thy people Israel, but is come from a far country for thy great name's sake, and thy mighty hand, and thy stretched out arm; if they come and pray in this house;"


"The stranger ... come from a far country for thy great Name's sake": These two verses, with every clause in them, must be felt most refreshing by every reader. But they ought also to be particularly observed, as both corrective of a common but strictly erroneous impression as to exclusiveness and a genius of bigotry inhering in the setting a part of the Jewish race for a certain purpose in the Divine government and counsel. And also, as revealing very significantly that that setting apart was nothing but a method and means to an end, as comprehensive and universal as the world itself. The analogies, in fact, in the world's history are linked, in one unbroken chain, to what sometimes seems to a mere reader of the Bible pages as an artificial and somewhat arbitrary decree or arrangement. See, amid many significant parallels (Exodus 22:21; Lev. 25:35; Num. 15:13-17; Deut. 10:19; 31:12).


"But is come": And shall come.


2 Chronicles 6:33 "Then hear thou from the heavens, [even] from thy dwelling place, and do according to all that the stranger calleth to thee for; that all people of the earth may know thy name, and fear thee, as [doth] thy people Israel, and may know that this house which I have built is called by thy name."


"People": The peoples.


"And fear thee": Better without and; as in Kings, "that they may fear thee." So the Syriac.


"May know that this house ... is called by thy name": That it is truly the house of the Almighty Jehovah. Solomon knew that the goodness of God was so immense, that the extending it, how much soever, toward other people, neither would nor could lessen the exercise of it toward Israel (2 Chron. 6:33).


This is almost prophetic that God would send His Son that all who believed might be saved. This is a very strange thing for a Hebrew, to recognize other nations as being under God as well. Solomon was requesting that God would hear the prayers of the heathen people, as well as Israel.


2 Chronicles 6:34 "If thy people go out to war against their enemies by the way that thou shalt send them, and they pray unto thee toward this city which thou hast chosen, and the house which I have built for thy name;"


The temple would be a place where the people of God prepared to "go out to war". God is a mighty warrior who fought on behalf of His people against their enemies. He continues to do this as He preserves and protects His church from the world's evil today.


2 Chronicles 6:35 "Then hear thou from the heavens their prayer and their supplication, and maintain their cause."


"Maintain their cause": Render with Revised Version. Maintain their right.


This is a prayer request for God to be with them in battles against their enemies, when they pray for His help.



Verses 36-40: Solomon realized that the people of Israel would sin, for there is no man which sinneth not" (Rom. 3:23). He also recognized that sin brought "captivity" with it. The remedy for sin is to "return" to God with all of one's heart.


Verses 36-39. - The matter of these verses is given fuller in the parallel (1 Kings 8:46-53). The prayer is remarkable all the more as the last of the whole series, and one so sadly ominous! The last clause of (verse 36), carrying the expression far off, as the alternative of near, throws its lurid glare of unwelcome suggestion on all the rest.


2 Chronicles 6:36 "If they sin against thee, (for [there is] no man which sinneth not,) and thou be angry with them, and deliver them over before [their] enemies, and they carry them away captives unto a land far off or near;"


"No man which sinneth not": The words need the summoning of no biblical parallels, for these are so numerous. But out of the rest emphasis may be placed at least on those furnished by Solomon himself (Prov. 20:9; Eccl. 7:20-21).


"Deliver them over before their enemies": R.V. deliver them to the enemy (as in 1 Kings).


2 Chronicles 6:37 "Yet [if] they bethink themselves in the land whither they are carried captive, and turn and pray unto thee in the land of their captivity, saying, We have sinned, we have done amiss, and have dealt wickedly;"


Compare-margin. If they take it to heart, i.e., repent.


"Turn and pray": R.V. says turn again, and make supplication (compare 1 Kings).


"We have sinned, we have done amiss, and have dealt wickedly": Compare the same three verbs in (Psalm 106:6; Dan. 9:5). Kings puts the conjunction before the second verb. There is a climax, "we have slipped (or missed the mark), we have done crookedly, we have been godless."


2 Chronicles 6:38 "If they return to thee with all their heart and with all their soul in the land of their captivity, whither they have carried them captives, and pray toward their land, which thou gavest unto their fathers, and [toward] the city which thou hast chosen, and toward the house which I have built for thy name:"


"If they return": (compare Lev. 26:39-41; Deut. 30:1-2). Passages anticipating captivity and also repentance in captivity.


"In the land of their captivity, whither they have carried them captives": Kings, "in the land of their enemies who carried them captives." The Syriac has, "in the cities of their captors who carried them captive." Perhaps their captivity is a corruption of their captors. Or the relative ('asher), rendered whither, may refer to land, meaning the hostile nation, "in the land of their captivity which carried them captive."


2 Chronicles 6:39 "Then hear thou from the heavens, [even] from thy dwelling place, their prayer and their supplications, and maintain their cause, and forgive thy people which have sinned against thee."


"Their cause": Render with R.V. manuscript their right (as in 2 Chron. 6:35).


"And forgive thy people": This is the first clause of (1 Kings 8:50). And from this point to the end of Solomon's Prayer, the two texts are wholly dissimilar.


This really did happen and God's people did pray toward the location of the temple and God did forgive them and brought them back into the land. The Babylonian captivity of Judah was a prime example of this.



Verses 40-42: This information supplements the details given (in 1 Kings 8:62-65 and 8:66).


2 Chronicles 6:40 "Now, my God, let, I beseech thee, thine eyes be open, and [let] thine ears [be] attent unto the prayer [that is made] in this place."


Let, I beseech thee, thine eyes be open": Compare (2 Chron. 6:20; 7:15; 1 Kings 8:52).


"And let thine ears be attent": Attentive, listening. The same phrase recurs (2 Chron. 7:15), which is in fact, a repetition of the whole verse in the shape of a Divine promise, Qas's'bth occurs, besides, only in the late Psalm 130:2.


"The prayer that is made in this place": See margin. "The prayer of this place" is a strange phrase, only occurring here and in (2 Chron. 7:15).


This was a plea for God to pay special attention to His own people when they prayed in the temple Solomon had built for God to dwell in.



Verses 41-42 (see notes on Psalm 132:8-10; 1 Kings 8:54-61).


2 Chronicles 6:41 "Now therefore arise, O LORD God, into thy resting place, thou, and the ark of thy strength: let thy priests, O LORD God, be clothed with salvation, and let thy saints rejoice in goodness."


"Arise, O Lord, into thy resting-place": Thus, he concludes his prayer with some expressions borrowed from one of his father's Psalms (namely Psalms 132). The whole word of God in general, and the Psalms in particular, are of use to direct us in prayer. And how can we express ourselves in better language to God, than in that of his own Spirit? But these words were peculiarly proper and suitable to be expressed now, because they had a reference to this very occasion on which Solomon used them. And, in quoting them, he prays that God would take and keep possession of the temple for himself. And make it, as it were, his resting-place, where he would continue to dwell.


"Thou, and the Ark of thy strength": Thou, in and by the Ark, which is the sign and instrument of thy great power, put forth from time to time in behalf of thy people.


"Let thy priests, O Lord God, be clothed with salvation": Let them be saved from their sins, restored to thy favor and image, and be encompassed on every side with thy protection and benediction.


And let thy saints rejoice in goodness": Let them have cause of rejoicing and thanksgiving for the effects of thy goodness imparted to them.


The smoke of the LORD had completely filled the temple. Solomon knew that the presence of the LORD would be ever present in the Most Holy Place in the temple. It would be terrible to have a priest who was not saved. The prayer was that all of those who ministered salvation to others would be saved themselves. The joy of the LORD is the strength of the believer (saint).


2 Chronicles 6:42 "O LORD God, turn not away the face of thine anointed: remember the mercies of David thy servant."


O Lord God. The temple invocation is used as in the priest's blessing (Num. 6:24-26).


"Turn not away the face of thine anointed": I.e., deny not his request (1 Kings 2:16; Psalm 132:10). "For the sake of David Thy servant, turn not away the face of thine anointed." The members of the couplet are transposed, and the language of the first is modified by the chronicler, so as to bring in the phrase, "the mercies of David," that is, Jehovah's mercies promised to David (Isa. 55:3; Psalm 89:49).


"Remember" (zokrāh). Only here and five times in Nehemiah.


There were many whom God had anointed. This was possibly Solomon speaking of himself. He wanted to remain as faithful to God as he was this day. It could also be a prophetic statement about the Lord Jesus Christ. It is His act of mercy to all mankind that makes salvation available to all who will. In Jesus Christ is fulfilled the everlasting throne of David.


2 Chronicles Chapter 6 Questions


  1. The LORD had said that He would dwell in the ________ _____________.
  2. How long had it been, since the LORD had led them through the wilderness?
  3. Who had built a habitation for the LORD?
  4. How would the temple differ from the tabernacle?
  5. What did the congregation do, when Solomon spoke a blessing on them?
  6. How did Solomon begin?
  7. What city did God choose to dwell in with His people?
  8. Who did God say He had chosen to rule His people Israel?
  9. Jerusalem would be known as the city of ______.
  10. Who had it in his heart, to build a house for name of the LORD God of Israel?
  11. Why did God not allow him to build the house?
  12. How did God grant David's wish for the temple to be built?
  13. The ______ symbolized the presence of God.
  14. What did Solomon stand on before he prayed?
  15. What did he do when he prayed?
  16. How should all prayers begin?
  17. What promise to David does Solomon ask God to keep?
  18. In verse 18, we find that the __________ of ___________ could not contain God.
  19. The people pray toward the __________.
  20. Why do they pray toward that?
  21. Where did Solomon say was God's dwelling place?
  22. Who is the only one who knows the truth in certain situations?
  23. Why would Israel lose a war?
  24. What are some of the things God would do to cause His people to repent?
  25. The ______ of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom.
  26. What was strange about a Hebrew recognizing other people?
  27. Who sins against God?
  28. What special plea did Solomon make to God about His people?
  29. Where would the presence of the LORD be in the temple?



Go to Previous Section | Go to Next Section | Return to Top

Return to 2 Chronicles Menu | Return to Bible Menu


2 Chronicles 7



2 Chronicles Chapter 7

Verses 1-3: "Fire came down": This also occurred when the tabernacle was dedicated (Lev. 9:23-24). This was the genuine dedication, because only God can truly sanctify.


The Lord's sending "fire ... down from heaven" that "consumed" the "sacrifices" is attested elsewhere (compare Gen. 15:7-17; 1 Kings 18:36-38). The inauguration of worship at the tabernacles had also been greeted with the Lord's consuming fire (Lev. 9:24). For the "glory of the Lord" (see the note on 1 Kings 8:10-12).


2 Chronicles 7:1 "Now when Solomon had made an end of praying, the fire came down from heaven, and consumed the burnt offering and the sacrifices; and the glory of the LORD filled the house."


The "fire" that indicated that God was present (Lev. 9:23-24; 1 Chron. 21:26), would perpetually burn under the altar of burnt offering (Lev. 6:8-13).


It appears the offerings had been made and were on the altar of sacrifice. This fire coming down from heaven and consuming the offerings was a manifestation of the presence of God. This was very similar to the fire that descended when Elijah offered on Mount Carmel. This left no doubt in anyone's mind who God was. This dramatic happening would leave no room for doubt. It would make an everlasting impression on those who saw it. This glory of the LORD was not just in the Most Holy Place, but filled the entire temple.


2 Chronicles 7:2 "And the priests could not enter into the house of the LORD, because the glory of the LORD had filled the LORD'S house."


They went in to carry the Ark thither, but not being able to stand to minister, they came out, and could not reenter.


"Because the glory of the Lord had filled the Lord's house": Both the Holy Place, and the Holy of Holies (see 1 Kings 8:10).


The priests could not stand in front of such great presence of God. Everyone who saw this, fell prostrate to the floor in total worship of God. The LORD was saying in this, I accept this house and will meet with my people here.


2 Chronicles 7:3 "And when all the children of Israel saw how the fire came down, and the glory of the LORD upon the house, they bowed themselves with their faces to the ground upon the pavement, and worshipped, and praised the LORD, [saying], For [he is] good; for his mercy [endureth] for ever."


Seeing the "glory of the Lord" in the temple, the people were prompted and "worshipped ... praised the Lord", echoing the words (of Psalm 106:1). The overwhelming, Holy Glory of God had also filled the tabernacle when it was finished (Exodus 40:34-35).


This dramatic appearance of the presence of the LORD brought adoration from the people who saw it. Their statement, for He is good; His mercy endureth forever was spontaneous.



Verses 4-10 (see the notes on 1 Kings 8:62-65 and 8:66).


2 Chronicles 7:4 "Then the king and all the people offered sacrifices before the LORD."


The number of sacrifices" suggests that a large crowd had assembled for the dedication of this magnificent temple. They had come from great distances.


These were in addition to the ones they had already offered, that the fire from heaven devoured. These were peace offerings which would be eaten by the priests and the people.


2 Chronicles 7:5 "And king Solomon offered a sacrifice of twenty and two thousand oxen, and a hundred and twenty thousand sheep: so the king and all the people dedicated the house of God."


(1 Kings 8:62-66). The Great Feast of Dedication.


"Twenty and two thousand oxen, and a hundred and twenty thousand sheep": These high numbers appear also (in 1 Kings).


"The people": Kings has the old name, sons of Israel, and house of Jehovah for house of God.


This would have fed hundreds of thousands of people, so this was a tremendous gathering of people to dedicate the temple.


2 Chronicles 7:6 "And the priests waited on their offices: the Levites also with instruments of music of the LORD, which David the king had made to praise the LORD, because his mercy [endureth] for ever, when David praised by their ministry; and the priests sounded trumpets before them, and all Israel stood."


Performed them, some in offering sacrifices, others in blowing trumpets. As it may be explained from the latter part of the verse.


"The Levites also with instruments of music of the Lord, which David the king had made to praise the Lord": Under a divine direction, on which the Levites played to the songs of praise offered to the Lord, and by which they made music sacred to him.


"Because his mercy endureth for ever": Which, as it was the close of their songs of praise, was the cause of them.


"When David praised by their ministry": The songs sung being composed by him, and the instruments they played upon being of his invention, and used by his order.


"And the priests sounded trumpets before them": Or rather over against them, that is, over against the Levites, as they were singing and playing on the instruments of music.


"And all Israel stood": While this sacred and delightful service was performing, they both stood up, and stood by the priests and Levites, and joined with them in praising the Lord.


This was a tremendous gathering of the people. There was singing and playing of instruments by the people David had set aside for that purpose. This was a very festive celebration. Each of the Levites served in the capacity David had assigned to them in advance. The priests took care of the sacrifices. The singers sang and the musicians played. The trumpets were blown in proclamation of this happening.


2 Chronicles 7:7 "Moreover Solomon hallowed the middle of the court that [was] before the house of the LORD: for there he offered burnt offerings, and the fat of the peace offerings, because the brazen altar which Solomon had made was not able to receive the burnt offerings, and the meat offerings, and the fat."


From here, to the end of (2 Chron. 7:10), is the same with (1 Kings 8:64; see notes on 1 Kings 8:64-66). Only mention is made in (2 Chron. 7:9), of the dedication of the altar, as if distinct from the dedication of the house, and hallowing the middle of the court (see Num. 7:10).


The thousands of animals being sacrificed were more than could be handled in the usual manner, so they sacrificed in the middle of the court also.



Verses 8-10: Solomon's celebration included the special assembly to dedicate the altar on the 8th to 14th of the 7 th month (Sept. - Oct.), which included the Day of Atonement. It was immediately followed by the Feast of Booths, or Tabernacles (15th to 21st ), and a special assembly on the 8th day, i.e., 22nd day of the month.


2 Chronicles 7:8 "Also at the same time Solomon kept the feast seven days, and all Israel with him, a very great congregation, from the entering in of Hamath unto the river of Egypt."


"Solomon kept the feast seven days": "The feast" was the Feast of Tabernacles (see Lev. 23:34-36).


"The entering in of Hamath unto the river of Egypt": I.e. from the extreme north to the extreme south of the land. The town Hamath was on the Orontes, through the valley of the Lebanon (Joshua 13:3, 5; Num. 13:21; 34:8; Judges 3:3; 2 Kings 14:25; 1 Chron. 13:5; Amos 6:2, 14). The river of Egypt; or the river before Egypt (Joshua 13:3), was the Shihor, or Sihor, separating Egypt and Judaea.


This dedication of the temple and the sacrificial feast that went along with it lasted 7 days. Not all of the sacrifices were made on one day. Some sacrifices were made each day.



Verses 9-10: After the eight-day celebration of the "dedication", Solomon also led the people in celebrating the Festival of Tabernacles (or (Ingathering) for "seven" days, which commemorated how God had brought His people out of Egypt (Lev. 23:33-44).


2 Chronicles 7:9 "And in the eighth day they made a solemn assembly: for they kept the dedication of the altar seven days, and the feast seven days."


That is, on the twenty-second of the seventh month (Ethanim, or Tisri; 2 Chron. 5:3).


"They made a solemn assembly": Compare (Lev. 23:36). Not mentioned in Kings (1 Kings 8:66 says: "and on the eighth day he dismissed the people," i.e., after this final gathering).


For they kept the dedication of the altar seven days": The seven days preceding the first day of the Feast of Tabernacles, or the 8th to the 14th Ethanim, had been kept as an extraordinary festival on account of the inauguration of the Temple.


"And the feast seven days": After this festival, the Feast of Tabernacles was celebrated in due course for seven days more.


The tone of the solemn assembly changed from a festive occasion to a more serious tone. The feasting stopped and this was a more holy day. It was the beginning of the services in the temple for years to come. "Eight" means new beginnings, and symbolized the new day that would begin.


2 Chronicles 7:10 "And on the three and twentieth day of the seventh month he sent the people away into their tents, glad and merry in heart for the goodness that the LORD had showed unto David, and to Solomon, and to Israel his people."


They kept the feast of the dedication of the altar seven days, from the second to the ninth. The tenth day was the day of atonement, when they were to afflict their souls for sin, and that was not unseasonable in the midst of their rejoicings. Then on the fifteenth began the feast of tabernacles, which continued to the twenty-second. And thus, they continued to be employed in sacred services, and did not part till the twenty-third. We ought never to begrudge the time that we spend in the worship of God, and in communion with him, nor think it long, or grow weary of it.


"Glad and merry in heart for the goodness": That is, according to the Targum, "for the goodness of the Lord shown unto David, in opening the doors of the sanctuary. And unto Solomon, whose prayer God had accepted, and had honored with his presence in the house which he had built. And unto his people Israel, in his acceptance of their sacrifices, and sending down fire from heaven to consume them."


After the solemn assembly, Solomon sent the people home to their own tents. The people who had seen the presence of God in the temple would have been very happy. There was no doubt in their hearts left, for they had experienced the presence of the One True God. A people are never satisfied until they are established in fellowship with their God. The temple worship had done just that for them.



Verses 11-12 (see note on 1 Kings 9:1-2). Perhaps years had passed since the dedication of the temple (in chapter 6), during which he had also built "the king's house" (compare 8:1). After all that time, God confirmed that He had heard Solomon's prayer (verse 12).


2 Chronicles 7:11 "Thus Solomon finished the house of the LORD, and the king's house: and all that came into Solomon's heart to make in the house of the LORD, and in his own house, he prosperously effected."


With which begins (1 Kings 11:1; see notes on 1 Kings 11:1).


The temple was built long before the house of Solomon. This verse above seems to be a summation that Solomon could have whatever he desired for the temple, or for his own house.


2 Chronicles 7:12 "And the LORD appeared to Solomon by night, and said unto him, I have heard thy prayer, and have chosen this place to myself for a house of sacrifice."


That God had accepted his prayer was shown by his sending fire from heaven. But a prayer may be accepted, and yet not answered in the letter of it. God therefore appeared to him in the night, as he had done once before (1 Chron. 1:7), and gave him a answer to his prayer.


From here to the end of the chapter, much the same things are related as in (1 Kings 9:2; see notes on 1 Kings 9:2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9).


Excepting (2 Chron. 7:13), which contain an answer to the requests made by Solomon in case of a famine or pestilence. That when the people of Israel should humble themselves in prayer and supplication, the Lord would be attentive to them, and forgive them (7:14). And which is given as a specimen, and as encouragement to expect the same treatment in all other cases mentioned in Solomon's prayer, they so behaving (2 Chron. 6:26).


We are not told whether this is a dream or a night vision. We do know that the LORD let Solomon know that He accepted the temple, and that Solomon's request in the prayer would be answered as well. God had chosen this place for the temple, before the death of David.


Verses 13-16: This section is almost all unique to 2 Chron. (compare 1 Kings 9:3), and features the conditions for national forgiveness of Israel's sins:


(1) Humility;


(2) Prayer;


(3) Longing for God; and


(4) Repentance.


2 Chronicles 7:13 "If I shut up heaven that there be no rain, or if I command the locusts to devour the land, or if I send pestilence among my people;"


"Shut up heaven that there be no rain": (Deut. 11:17; 2 Chron. 6:26).


"If I command the locusts to devour the land": That is, use my authority and power over them to cause them to do so. A metaphor elsewhere used in reference to irrational animals (as 1 Kings 17:4, Amos 9:3), which are not properly capable of receiving a command, or of paying obedience to it. Other national judgments are here supposed, such as famine, war, and the ravages of savage beasts.


"If I send pestilence" (2 Chron. 6:28; 1 Chron. chapter 21).


Notice these things come from God to cause people to repent of their sins.



Verses 14-15: While this promise was originally given to Solomon regarding the people of Israel, it is certainly applicable to all who will call on the Lord in repentance and faith. These verses stand as a high expression of God's loving readiness to hear the prayers of a repentant people (compare 6:37-39; James 4:8-10).


2 Chronicles 7:14 "If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land."


Thus, national repentance and reformation are required. God expects, that if his people, who are called by his name, have dishonored his name by their iniquity, they should honor it by accepting the punishment of their iniquity. They must humble themselves under his hand, must pray for the removal of the judgment, must seek his face and favor. And yet all this will not be sufficient, unless they turn from their wicked ways, and return to him from whom they have revolted. National mercy is then promised.


"Humble themselves": (Lev. 26:41), in a similar context.


"Seek my face": (Psalms 24:6; 27:8).


"Turn from their wicked ways": (Hosea 6:1; Isa. 6:10; Jer. 25:5).


"Then will I hear from heaven": God will first forgive their sin, which brought the judgment upon them, and then will heal their land, and redress their grievances.


This verse serves as the guiding statement for the rest of (2 Chron. 12:6-7; James 4:10). It would apply not only to the people as a whole but to individual kings such as Manasseh. God's people cannot appropriately confront sin in other people's lives if they have not done so in their own. Jesus speaks to this issue in (Matthew 7:1-6).


Solomon had asked God to hear their prayers and forgive them, and this was the answer. Notice the big "if". The blessings of God are conditional. The people must repent and turn from their wicked ways and then the LORD will hear, and will answer their prayers. Our country needs to heed this very Scripture today.


2 Chronicles 7:15 "Now mine eyes shall be open, and mine ears attent unto the prayer [that is made] in this place."


"For he speaks of the answers which he would give to the prayers which should afterward be made there (compare 2 Chron. 6:40).


Verses 16-20: God's "eyes and mine heart" represent His presence. He would be connected to the temple as long as Solomon and the people sought and followed Him. But if they rejected God, He would allow the temple to be destroyed as a visible symbol to other nations of Israel's sin. The Lord was true to His word on both counts.


2 Chronicles 7:16 "For now have I chosen and sanctified this house, that my name may be there for ever: and mine eyes and mine heart shall be there perpetually."


This verse glances, as an answer to the contents, or spirit of the contents, of the second petition at (2 Chron. 6:18-21). The beautiful touching condescension in the wording of the last clause.


"Mine eyes and mine heart shall be there perpetually": Will not escape notice.


God wanted to hear and answer their prayers. He is holy and they must live up to the conditions He had set for that. They must keep His commandments. The effectual fervent prayer of a (righteous man), availeth much. We must stay in right standing with God. They were His children. He wanted to help them. He wanted to be their God, and them to be His people.



Verses 17-18: "If ... then": If there was obedience on the part of the nation, the kingdom would be established and they would have "a man to be ruler". Their disobedience was legendary and so was the destruction of their kingdom and their dispersion. When Israel is saved (compare Zech. 12:14; Rom. 11:25-27), then their King Messiah will set up this glorious kingdom (Rev. 20:1).


2 Chronicles 7:17 "And as for thee, if thou wilt walk before me, as David thy father walked, and do according to all that I have commanded thee, and shalt observe my statutes and my judgments;"


"If thou wilt walk before me": He promises to establish and perpetuate Solomon's kingdom, on condition that he persevered in his duty. Assuring him, that if he hoped for the benefit of God's covenant with David, he must imitate the example of David.


"Walked": Kings adds, "in perfectness of heart, and in uprightness." So Syriac and Arabic.


"Shalt observe": R.V., wilt keep (as 1 Kings 9:4).


2 Chronicles 7:18 "Then will I stablish the throne of thy kingdom, according as I have covenanted with David thy father, saying, There shall not fail thee a man [to be] ruler in Israel."


The Lord's answer to Solomon's dedicatory prayer (compare 1 Kings 9:1-9). The general contents, and the order of the thoughts in the divine answer in the two texts, agree. But in the Chronicle individual thoughts are further expounded than in the book of Kings, and expressions are here and there made clear.


The second clause of (2 Chron. 7:11), is an instance of this, where "and all the desire of Solomon, which he was pleased to do," is represented by "and all that came into Solomon's heart. To make in the house of the Lord and in his own house, he prosperously effected." Everything else is explained in the Commentary on (1 Kings chapter 9).


At the time God spoke this to Solomon, he was a man after God's own heart. He was observing the statutes of God. God wanted to bless Solomon, and He did bless Solomon, until Solomon sinned with his foreign wives.


2 Chronicles 7:19 "But if ye turn away, and forsake my statutes and my commandments, which I have set before you, and shall go and serve other gods, and worship them;"


Thou or thy seed.


"And forsake my statutes": Thus, God sets before him death as well as life, the curse as well as the blessing. He supposes it possible, that though they had this temple built to the honor of God, yet they might be drawn aside to worship other gods. For he knew how prone they were to backslide into that sin. And he threatens, if they did so, it would certainly be the ruin of both church and state.


2 Chronicles 7:20 "Then will I pluck them up by the roots out of my land which I have given them; and this house, which I have sanctified for my name, will I cast out of my sight, and will make it [to be] a proverb and a byword among all nations."


That though they had been long in that good land, and had taken deep root in it, he would "pluck them up by the roots". Would extirpate their whole nation, as men pluck up weeds in a garden, and throw them out upon the dunghill. And that this sanctuary would be no sanctuary to them to protect them from the judgments of God, as they imagined.


God blesses those who are faithful, and curses those who do not keep His commandments. To worship false gods was committing spiritual adultery. This very thing did happen to the temple that God loved so much. Actually God did not immediately destroy the temple and Jerusalem, until all of the people themselves, committed spiritual adultery also. The temple burned during the war with the Babylonians when those of Judah fell to Babylon.


2 Chronicles 7:21 "And this house, which is high, shall be an astonishment to every one that passeth by it; so that he shall say, Why hath the LORD done thus unto this land, and unto this house?"


"And this house which is high": Not only for the magnificence of its structure, but for the intended ends and uses of it, could be brought down. Laid in ruins, and made a cause of wonder and astonishment to every one that passed by, and to all the neighboring nations.


This too happened. Those passing by could not believe the ruin that had come to so magnificent a temple. They did hiss as they passed by.


2 Chronicles 7:22 "And it shall be answered, Because they forsook the LORD God of their fathers, which brought them forth out of the land of Egypt, and laid hold on other gods, and worshipped them, and served them: therefore hath he brought all this evil upon them."


And men shall say.


"Hath he brought": Kings, "hath Jehovah brought." So the Syriac and Arabic here.


Israel's and Judah's disobedience to God brought the wrath of God down upon their heads. He did not destroy them, until they had forsaken Him. Our God is a Jealous God. He would not share His people with false gods.


2 Chronicles Chapter 7 Questions


  1. When Solomon had made an end of praying, what happened?
  2. What other Biblical event did this remind the author of?
  3. Where was the glory of the Lord?
  4. What did everyone do that saw the glory of God?
  5. What two statements did the people make about God?
  6. What did the king do, after the appearance of the presence of the LORD?
  7. How did they begin to praise the LORD?
  8. Why were trumpets blown?
  9. Where did Solomon hallow to offer sacrifices, besides the usual places?
  10. What kind of offerings were these?
  11. How long did they keep the feast?
  12. What did he do on the eighth day?
  13. How did this differ from the feast?
  14. What day of the month did he send the people to their own tents?
  15. How were they feeling?
  16. A people are never satisfied, until what happens?
  17. The _________ was built long before the house of Solomon.
  18. How did the LORD appear to Solomon?
  19. What did He tell him?
  20. Who sends the pestilence in verse 13?
  21. What is the Word, in verse 14, that is so significant?
  22. How do we know God wants to hear them?
  23. What was the condition, if Solomon is to be blessed?
  24. What did God say would happen, if Solomon turned away to other gods?
  25. To worship a false god was __________ _____________.
  26. When did these things really happen?



Go to Previous Section | Go to Next Section | Return to Top

Return to 2 Chronicles Menu | Return to Bible Menu


2 Chronicles 8



2 Chronicles Chapter 8

Verses 1-6: Solomon built all that he "desired to build" throughout his realm. He no doubt also controlled many trade routes, which contributed to his wealth. By making Solomon's success produce more success, God blessed him for building the temple.


2 Chronicles 8:1 "And it came to pass at the end of twenty years, wherein Solomon had built the house of the LORD, and his own house,"


The verb is identical with (1 Kings 9:10), slightly abbreviated.


"Twenty years, wherein Solomon had built the house of the Lord, and his own house": The description is intended to be, what it is, chronologically exact. Four years of Solomon had passed when he began the Lord's house. Seven were spent in building it, thirteen in finishing and furnishing it, and in building, finishing, and furnishing the king's house, in all twenty-four years. (Ca. 946 B.C.), 24 years after Solomon's reign began.


This is probably, at the 24th year of his reign as king. He did not begin the house of the LORD, until 4 years after he began to reign. He was 7 years building the house of the LORD. It was actually 20 years after he began the work on the temple and his own house, that everything was completed.


2 Chronicles 8:2 "That the cities which Huram had restored to Solomon, Solomon built them, and caused the children of Israel to dwell there."


(Compare 1 Kings 9:10-14).


Though these cities were within the boundaries of the Promised Land, they had never been conquered, so Solomon gave Huram the right to settle them. Huram, however, returned the Galilean cities which Solomon had given him because they were unacceptably poor. Solomon apparently then improved them and settled Israelites there.


(See the note on 1 Kings 9:13).


Hiram had acquired 20 cities from Solomon in payment for the cedars he had provided for the buildings in Jerusalem. Hiram had never been pleased with these cities, and now it appears that he had given them back to Solomon. They were pretty worthless in the condition they were in. Solomon now, takes them and restores them for the people. We are not told whether Solomon gave Hiram something else in place of the cities or not.



Verses 3-6: Here are additional military campaigns and building projects not mentioned (in 1 Kings chapter 9). He was building storage places for his commercial enterprises and fortifying his borders to secure his kingdom from invasion.


2 Chronicles 8:3 "And Solomon went to Hamath-zobah, and prevailed against it."


In a hostile manner, which is the only instance of any warlike expedition of Solomon's. This was Coelesyria, which though subdued in the times of David, perhaps rebelled, and now Solomon went forth to reduce it.


"And prevailed against it": Took it.


"Hamath-zobah": A city located in Syria, north of Damascus and in close proximity to but south of Hamath.


This is either a city, or an area at the border of Lebanon.


2 Chronicles 8:4 "And he built Tadmor in the wilderness, and all the store cities, which he built in Hamath."


That is, Palmyra, in the wilderness, on the traders' route between the coast and the Euphrates. (See 1 Kings 9:18), where Tamar of the Hebrew text is explained by the margin to mean Tadmor. And the epithet, "in the wilderness," seems certainly to identify the two names. That Solomon was the founder of Palmyra is the tradition of the country to this day. "Tadmor": A city 150 miles northeast of Damascus.


"And all the storehouses which he built in Hamath": a country in Syria, which he made himself master of, and where he laid up store of provision and ammunition to keep it, should any attempt be made to rescue it out of his hands. According to an Arabic writer, Solomon in the twenty fourth year of his reign having demolished Antioch, built seven cities, of which Tadmor was one.


"Hamath": A city north of Damascus.


Now we see why he had done this. He is safeguarding his borders. This Tadmor was built about 150 miles northeast of Damascus. The store cities were scattered throughout the territory.


2 Chronicles 8:5 "Also he built Beth-horon the upper, and Beth-horon the nether, fenced cities, with walls, gates, and bars;"


"Beth-horon": Two cities northwest of Jerusalem. Upper Beth-horon is at 2022 feet, 11 miles northwest of Jerusalem. Lower Beth-horon is at 1210 feet, 13 miles northwest of Jerusalem. They were both on a strategic road that connected Jerusalem with Joppa on the coast.


These were both in the land of Ephraim. These two cities were allotted to the Kohathite Levites. They were well fortified. It is almost as if he was building outskirt cities, to keep the enemy from ever making it into Jerusalem.


2 Chronicles 8:6 "And Baalath, and all the store cities that Solomon had, and all the chariot cities, and the cities of the horsemen, and all that Solomon desired to build in Jerusalem, and in Lebanon, and throughout all the land of his dominion."


(See 1 Kings 9:18). From here, to the end of (2 Chron. 8:11), it is the same with (1 Kings 9:19 on; see 1 Kings 9:19, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24).


(1 Kings 9:18). Like the two Beth-horons, it lay west of Jerusalem, and was a bulwark against the Philistines (compare Joshua 19:44, a Danite town). The rest of this verse is identical with (1 Kings 9:19). In the above section, no mention is made of the fortification of Jerusalem, and the building of Hazor, Megiddo, and Gezer, which last city had been taken by Pharaoh, and given by him to his daughter, Solomon's wife (see 1 Kings 9:15-16). On the other hand, as we have seen, the chronicler supplies several important details which are wanting in the parallel account.


"Store cities... chariot cities": Cities of the horsemen (see 2 Chron. 16:4; 32:28; 1 Kings 4:26; 9:19). In the parallel some of the names of the places built, or rebuilt, or repaired by Solomon in this connection are given as "Mille and the wall of Jerusalem" (Millo's foundations occupied the hollow at the south-west corner of the hill of the temple), "and Hazer and Megiddo and Gezer" (1 Kings 9:15).


"All that Solomon desired to build": I.e. for purposes of personal enjoyment or ornament.


We discussed in an earlier lesson, that the way to have peace is by having a very strong army that is well equipped, then let the enemies know of this strength. This is what Solomon was doing. He was showing strength in the outer areas. Baalath was in the land of Dan. These store cities were for several purposes. They were out posts to keep the enemies away. They were also, a place to collect the tribute and "corvee" (forced labor), for Solomon. Solomon was the wealthiest man that ever lived, so he could equip his men with the finest chariots and other things they needed. He also had the wealth to build all of the well-fortified cities.



Verses 7-10 (see the notes on 1 Kings 5:13; 14; 15; 16).


2 Chronicles 8:7 "[As for] all the people [that were] left of the Hittites, and the Amorites, and the Perizzites, and the Hivites, and the Jebusites, which [were] not of Israel,"


Verses 7-10. These verses, corresponding very nearly exactly with the parallel (1 Kings 9:20-23), betray how it was a thing never to be forgotten. If only as a fact, that the extermination of the old possessors of the land had not been entire. So that allusion to it is not omitted even by a post-Captivity compiler. The parallel charitably "whom the children of Israel were not able to destroy utterly," where our text shows with exacter fidelity, whom the children of Israel consumed not.


"Hittites ... Jebusites" (see notes on 1 Chron. 1:13-15).


2 Chronicles 8:8 "[But] of their children, who were left after them in the land, whom the children of Israel consumed not, them did Solomon make to pay tribute until this day."


Revised Version: Of their Children.


"Them did Solomon make to pay tribute": Revised Version: Of them did Solomon raise a levy of bondservants. The word "tribute" (Authorized Version), suggests payment in money, but, as may be seen from (2 Chron. 2:17-18), the subject peoples acknowledged their subjection otherwise. Viz., by submitting to do task-work for Solomon.


Solomon allowed them to live, but under the condition they would pay tribute to him. They were bondservants to Solomon. However, many of them were allowed to live in their homes they had before there was a tax levied upon everything they did.


2 Chronicles 8:9 "But of the children of Israel did Solomon make no servants for his work; but they [were] men of war, and chief of his captains, and captains of his chariots and horsemen."


"And chief of his captains": Read (with 1 Kings 9:22), and his princes and his captains. The statements of this verse must be read in connection with (1 Kings 5:13; 12:4). Whence it appears that though Solomon did not actually reduce any Israelite to permanent slavery, yet he imposed upon his own people a tax which was felt to be very burdensome.


The children of Israel were thought of as brethren of Solomon. They held the important positions such as leaders. The army was made up of Israelites. They had no hired soldiers. He gave a rank of captain to those he could.


2 Chronicles 8:10 "And these [were] the chief of king Solomon's officers, [even] two hundred and fifty, that bare rule over the people."


After this preface (compare 1 Kings 9:23), we expect both here and (in 1 Kings), a list of these persons (compare (1 Chron. 11:10; 12:1). Possibly the text of (1 Kings), suffered at an early date, and the list was missing when the Chronicler wrote.


"Two hundred and fifty": According to (1 Kings 9:23), five hundred and fifty. On the other hand, the under-overseers are reckoned at three thousand six hundred in (2 Chron. 2:18), as against three thousand three hundred (in 1 Kings 5:16). The total number therefore of overseers of all kinds is given (both in 1 Kings and 2 Chron. as 3850).


"Two hundred and fifty" (see note on 2 Chron. 2:2).


These 250 men were over the soldiers of Israel. They were not the rulers over the servants. The different tribes were represented in these 250. These were the men that would lead them to war, if there was a war. At that time, they were occupied with keeping the peace.



Verses 11-13: Solomon respected the holiness of the Ark by securing another dwelling for the "daughter of Pharaoh", since he respected God's law, he ensured that sacrifices were being offered "according to the commandment of Moses" (Lev. Chapter 23).


2 Chronicles 8:11 "And Solomon brought up the daughter of Pharaoh out of the city of David unto the house that he had built for her: for he said, My wife shall not dwell in the house of David king of Israel, because [the places are] holy, whereunto the ark of the LORD hath come."


"Daughter of Pharaoh" (compare (1 Kings 9:24).


(1 Kings 3:1), mentions the marriage and the fact that Solomon brought her to Jerusalem until he could build a house for her. Until that palace was built, Solomon lived in David's palace, but did not allow her to do so, because she was a heathen and because the Ark of God had once been in David's house. He surely knew his marriage to this pagan did not please God (compare Deut. 7:3-4). Eventually his pagan wives caused tragic consequences (1 Kings 11:1-11).


(See the notes on 1 Sam. 4:3 and 1 Kings 7:2-8).


Solomon had married an Egyptian woman. She was not a Hebrew. When Solomon experienced the presence of God in the temple in Jerusalem, he realized that the city of Jerusalem was the city of God. Solomon built this Egyptian wife a house, which was located out of Jerusalem. He realized she was not a believer in the One True God.



Verses 8-12: This section expands on (1 Kings 9:25), and indicates that Solomon was, in spite of his disobedience in marriage, still faithful to the religious practices required in the temple.


2 Chronicles 8:12 "Then Solomon offered burnt offerings unto the LORD on the altar of the LORD, which he had built before the porch,"


Meaning not barely at the time he rebuilt the above cities, for it was his constant practice.


"On the altar of the Lord, which he had built before the porch": The brazen altar, which was at the entrance into the temple, within the court, of which (see 2 Chron. 4:1).


We know that there were daily sacrifices to the LORD. Solomon saw that the animals for the sacrifices were available and ready. This altar seemed to be at the entrance of the porch. This altar was a brazen altar.


2 Chronicles 8:13 "Even after a certain rate every day, offering according to the commandment of Moses, on the sabbaths, and on the new moons, and on the solemn feasts, three times in the year, [even] in the feast of unleavened bread, and in the feast of weeks, and in the feast of tabernacles."


"Three ... feasts": These were prescribed in the Mosaic legislation:


(1) Unleavened Bread, or Passover;


(2) Weeks, or Pentecost; and


(3) Booths or Tabernacles (compare Exodus 23:14-17; Deut. 16:1-17).


There were three times a year that all the males had to appear at the temple. The Feast of Unleavened Bread overlapped Passover. The Feast of Weeks is the same as Pentecost. The Feast of Tabernacles was right after the Feast of Trumpets. The offerings had been re-established as they had been given to Moses on the way to the Promised Land. Solomon had been instructed by David on the need to observe these times.


2 Chronicles 8:14 "And he appointed, according to the order of David his father, the courses of the priests to their service, and the Levites to their charges, to praise and minister before the priests, as the duty of every day required: the porters also by their courses at every gate: for so had David the man of God commanded."


The twenty-four courses which served weekly in their turns (1 Chron. 24:1).


"And the Levites to their charges, to praise and minister before the priests, as duty of every day required": Who also had their courses by lot, to sing the praises of God, when the priests sacrificed, or blew the trumpets (1 Chron. 25:1).


"The porters also by their courses at every gate": From hence Dr. Lightfoot concludes that these were divided into twenty-four classes, as the priests and Levite singers were.


"For so had David the man of God commanded": (1 Chron. 26:1), who in all these affairs acted as a prophet, under the inspiration and direction of the Holy Spirit of God.


Solomon here confirms the institutions of his father "David" (compare 1 Chron. 23:2 - 26:28.


It appears that David had already set up the various duties of the various families before his death. He was led by the writings of Moses in his decisions he had made. Solomon did not change any of the arrangements David had set up, because he knew David was a man of God. We studied all of this in detail in an earlier lesson.


2 Chronicles 8:15 "And they departed not from the commandment of the king unto the priests and Levites concerning any matter, or concerning the treasures."


The priests and Levites departed not from it. Not from the commandment of Solomon, according to the order of David, but in all things obeyed it.


"Concerning any matter": Which related to the office of either of them, those sacrificing, singers, or porters.


"Or concerning the treasures": Such of the Levites as had the care of them were faithful to their trust (see 1 Chron. 26:20).


All of this is covered in detail (in 1 Chronicles chapters 24, 25 and 26). The king mentioned here, is David. Each family of the Levites were chosen for a specific ministry. This was re-established by David before his death. Solomon honored the wishes of his father.


2 Chronicles 8:16 "Now all the work of Solomon was prepared unto the day of the foundation of the house of the LORD, and until it was finished. [So] the house of the LORD was perfected."


The materials were prepared, and the money for the expenses. And even the very stones and timber were made fit for the building, so that there was nothing to retard the completion of it.


"So the house of God was perfected": In the space of seven years, in all the parts, and according to the form and pattern of it (see 1 Kings 6:38).


This is showing that Solomon was focused in on the detailed information David had left for him. He wanted the temple to be perfect. He did not let up on the work for a moment, until everything was exactly the way it had been planned.



Verses 17-18: These two ports where Solomon had received ships were located on the eastern gulf of the Red Sea, called Aqabah. Solomon was cultivating peace and commerce plus using Hiram's sailors to teach his people how to sail (see the notes on 1 Kings 9:26; 9:28).


2 Chronicles 8:17 "Then went Solomon to Ezion-geber, and to Eloth, at the sea side in the land of Edom."


Being now at leisure to look after his navy to carry on merchandise; and of this, and the following verse. And the reconciliation of them with (1 Kings 9:26; see notes on 1 Kings 9:26; 9:27, 9:28).


This was located near the Red Sea. David had conquered Edom, and this area was now part of Israel. They were some of those who paid tribute to Solomon.


2 Chronicles 8:18 "And Huram sent him by the hands of his servants ships, and servants that had knowledge of the sea; and they went with the servants of Solomon to Ophir, and took thence four hundred and fifty talents of gold, and brought [them] to king Solomon."


"Four hundred and fifty talents": (1 Kings 9:28 reports 420 talents), probably accounted for by a scribal error in transmission. This was about 17 tons of gold.


Solomon had built a navy. Hiram had sent sailors to help man the ships. The following verses help clear this passage up.


1 Kings 9:26-28 "And king Solomon made a navy of ships in Ezion-geber, which [is] beside Eloth, on the shore of the Red Sea, in the land of Edom." "And Hiram sent in the navy his servants, shipmen that had knowledge of the sea, with the servants of Solomon." "And they came to Ophir, and fetched from thence gold, four hundred and twenty talents, and brought [it] to king Solomon."


There are 30 talents difference in the weight in the two Scriptures, but that is unimportant. These Scriptures are speaking of the same thing. Solomon indeed, was the wealthiest king (besides Jesus), that ever lived on the earth.


2 Chronicles Chapter 8 Questions


  1. How many years after Solomon began, did he finish the house of the LORD and his own house?
  2. What year of his reign would this have been?
  3. How many of these years was he building the LORD's house?
  4. What are the cities mentioned in verse 2?
  5. What does Solomon do to the cities to make them worthwhile?
  6. Why had he built the store cities?
  7. How is a good way to have peace?
  8. Baalath was in the land of _____.
  9. What were some of the purposes for the outer cities?
  10. What people were left in the land, when their armies were defeated?
  11. What did Solomon require of them?
  12. What were the men of Israel required to do?
  13. How many chief officers did king Solomon have?
  14. What were they occupied with doing?
  15. Why did Solomon build a house out of the city for Pharaoh's daughter?
  16. What was this woman to Solomon?
  17. The city of Jerusalem was the city of ______.
  18. Where had Solomon built an altar for burnt offerings?
  19. What was the altar made of?
  20. What were the three times a year the males were required to worship in the temple?
  21. What other times did Solomon offer sacrifices?
  22. Unleavened Bread and __________ overlap.
  23. The Feast of Weeks is the same as _____________.
  24. Feast of Tabernacles is just after what feast?
  25. Who had allotted services for each family of the Levites, that Solomon honored?
  26. What is said about the house of the LORD in verse 16?
  27. Why was Edom part of Israel?
  28. How much gold did they take from Ophir?



Go to Previous Section | Go to Next Section | Return to Top

Return to 2 Chronicles Menu | Return to Bible Menu


2 Chronicles 9



2 Chronicles Chapter 9

The ninth chapter is the same with (1 Kings 10:1; except 2 Chron. 9:26), which agrees with (1 Kings 4:21). The same with (1 Kings 11:41). Only in (2 Chron. 9:29), it is more largely expressed that the acts of Solomon's reign were written in the book of Nathan the prophet. And in the prophecy of Ahijah the Shilonite, and in the visions of Iddo the seer, against Jeroboam the son of Nebat. Or rather "concerning Jeroboam", as the Septuagint and some other versions, in which Iddo is called Joel. And by Theodoret said to be the same that prophesied of Jeroboam and his altar (See notes on 1 Kings 13:1).


Verses 1-28 (see notes on 1 Kings 10:1-29).


2 Chronicles 9:1 "And when the queen of Sheba heard of the fame of Solomon, she came to prove Solomon with hard questions at Jerusalem, with a very great company, and camels that bare spices, and gold in abundance, and precious stones: and when she was come to Solomon, she communed with him of all that was in her heart."


The Queen of Sheba Visits Solomon; She Admires His Wisdom and Magnificence. (2 Chron. 9:1-12).


"Hard questions": Consisted in riddles (Judges 14:2). And enigmas and primitive use of clever but unsound reasoning, in which the Arabians found some considerable portion of their mental gymnastics. These, no doubt, bore some mild cousinly relationship to the proverbs and songs of Solomon, and his treasures of botanical and natural history facts (1 Kings 4:29-32).


"All that was in her heart": The expression simply means all that she had so desired to get information upon, since she had heard of the fame of Solomon.


(See the notes on 1 Kings 10:1-9).


1 Kings 10:1 "And when the queen of Sheba heard of the fame of Solomon concerning the name of the LORD, she came to prove him with hard questions."


The addition of the statement "concerning the name of the LORD", I believe is very important. The fame of Solomon and his kingdom had spread to the lands around them. This queen was very wealthy and came to see Solomon, bringing many camels laden with gifts. There were so many people named Sheba, that it is difficult to determine which of the persons the country of Sheba was named for. She had not only heard of Solomon's great wealth and magnificent buildings he had erected, but had heard of his great wisdom as well.


2 Chronicles 9:2 "And Solomon told her all her questions: and there was nothing hid from Solomon which he told her not."


"Nothing hid from Solomon": I.e. nothing obscure to him, no question too knotty for Solomon.


Solomon spent a great deal of time with her, as he would with any monarch of honor who visited him. He tried to answer her questions as fully as he could. He showed her his home and everything else she had wondered about. She of course, was not allowed to see the Ark.


2 Chronicles 9:3 "And when the queen of Sheba had seen the wisdom of Solomon, and the house that he had built,"


"And when the queen of Sheba": Visits Solomon; She Admires His Wisdom and Magnificence. We must not pass it over without observing, that those who know the worth of true wisdom will grudge no pains or cost to obtain it. The queen of Sheba put herself to a great deal of trouble and expense to hear the wisdom of Solomon.


I am sure that Solomon informed her that his wisdom was a gift from God. No one could deny that he had great wisdom. His judgements were just, but filled with wisdom only God could have given him. A good example of this is how he settled the argument of the two women, over who the baby belonged to (1 Kings 3:16-28). His house was magnificent. There was gold and silver in abundance. Some of the greatest artisans of that day had done the engravings and decorations.


2 Chronicles 9:4 "And the meat of his table, and the sitting of his servants, and the attendance of his ministers, and their apparel; his cupbearers also, and their apparel; and his ascent by which he went up into the house of the LORD; there was no more spirit in her."


And the meat of his table (see 1 Kings 4:22-23). Translating our thoughts rather violently into modern language, we might picture the queen inspecting the kitchens of the palace, and remember that the kitchens of an Oriental court did the work, not of an individual "table." But of those of a very large domestic and official retinue.


The sitting of his servants. The word here used occurs forty-three times, and is rendered in the Authorized Version thirty-two of these times as "habitation" or "dwelling." Of the remaining eleven times, one or other of those words would be almost the synonym of the word used, and in every ease the rendering "dwelling." If kept to the general idea of a dwelling or resting-place more or less temporary, would not be inappropriate or inconsistent with the evident drift of the connection.


Referring to their apparel, we find in the parallel mention, as here, of the cupbearers. Though the matter of their apparel is not included as it is here. Part of the difficulty of the verse arises from the consideration that up to this point the contents of the successive clauses of it may compose possibly enough a sharp graphic description of the daily banquet scene.


"His ascent by which he went up": Render (if the text be sound), his manner of going up. I.e. the pomp with which he went up (so Targum).


In (1 Kings chapter 4), we went into great detail on the amount of food furnished for Solomon's table. Solomon probably had a state dinner in her honor. The food so far surpassed anything she had ever seen, and she was very impressed. Many exotic foods were brought in from other countries. Solomon had need for nothing. The sitting of the servants is possibly speaking of his officers, who would have been invited to such an affair. The finest apparel in all the world was Solomon's. Even the stairs that he ascended up into the house of the LORD by, were elegant. "There was no spirit in her" means it was so wonderful it took her breath away.


2 Chronicles 9:5 "And she said to the king, [It was] a true report which I heard in mine own land of thine acts, and of thy wisdom:"


The queen of Sheba put herself to a great deal of trouble and expense to hear the wisdom of Solomon. And yet, learning from him to serve God, and do her duty, she thought herself well paid for her pains. Heavenly wisdom is that pearl of great price, for which, if we part with all, we make a good bargain. She Admires His Wisdom and Magnificence.


2 Chronicles 9:6 "Howbeit I believed not their words, until I came, and mine eyes had seen [it]: and, behold, the one half of the greatness of thy wisdom was not told me: [for] thou exceedest the fame that I heard."


"The one half of the greatness of thy wisdom": Kings has simply, "the half was not told me." The chronicler has made an explanatory addition. (See 1 Chron. 12:29; 2 Chron. 30:18), for the word marbith, "increase," "multitude." Which occurs thrice in the Chronicles and twice elsewhere.


"Thou exceedest the fame": Literally, thou hast added to the report. Kings, more fully, "Thou hast added wisdom and weal to the report."


2 Chronicles 9:7 "Happy [are] thy men, and happy [are] these thy servants, which stand continually before thee, and hear thy wisdom."


She had heard of the greatness of Solomon and his kingdom, but she had not believed any of it because it seemed impossible. Now that she had seen this, she was terribly impressed. It was far beyond even what she had heard. It seems, that all of the greatness of the buildings and the wealth they represented did not impress her as much, as the wisdom of Solomon.



Verses 8-12: Solomon's wisdom and riches were so vast that the Queen of Sheba concluded: "thy God loved Israel". This was affirmation that Israel was God's covenant people, even citizens of the world and leaders of pagan nations could see it (Deut. 7:8).


2 Chronicles 9:8 "Blessed be the LORD thy God, which delighted in thee to set thee on his throne, [to be] king for the LORD thy God: because thy God loved Israel, to establish them for ever, therefore made he thee king over them, to do judgment and justice."


"His throne": The thought that Solomon sat on God's throne is not included in the queen of Sheba's words (in 1 Kings 10:9). The blessing of God on Israel and on Solomon was to last as long as he followed the Lord as David had (2 Chron. 7:17-21).


These words are those of the Queen of Sheba. We can take notice here, that the queen spoke of the LORD as the God of Solomon, not her own God. She recognized Him as powerful above other gods, but she did not express a desire for Him to be her God. This seems so strange, because she really gave the LORD credit for Solomon's accomplishments.


2 Chronicles 9:9 "And she gave the king a hundred and twenty talents of gold, and of spices great abundance, and precious stones: neither was there any such spice as the queen of Sheba gave king Solomon."


"She gave the king a hundred and twenty talents of gold": This was indeed a royal gift.


"Any such spice": The parallel has "no more such abundance of spices," and "of spices very great store." The Arabian spices, and their land and even sea borne fragrance, as also the very lucrative trade they created, are often alluded to by historians.


The spices of the part of Arabia, that she came from, were well known for being the finest in the world. The precious stones are not explained any further than here. This was a tremendously valuable gift to bring Solomon.


2 Chronicles 9:10 "And the servants also of Huram, and the servants of Solomon, which brought gold from Ophir, brought algum trees and precious stones."


Kings, "And the fleet also of Huram which carried gold from Ophir." The phrase is altered here to correspond with (2 Chron. 8:18).


"Brought algum trees": (see 2 Chron. 2:8). LXX, Vulgate, "ligna thyina;" Syriac, "acacia wood". Kings, "brought from Ophir almug trees in great abundance." In the Mishna 'almg is "coral;" and the Rabbis ascribe a red color to the algum wood. The Pterocarpus Santalinus has blood-red wood with black streaks, is fragrant, and is used in works of art, as well as for burning.


2 Chronicles 9:11 "And the king made [of] the algum trees terraces to the house of the LORD, and to the king's palace, and harps and psalteries for singers: and there were none such seen before in the land of Judah."


"Terraces": Perhaps "raised paths." In (1 Kings 10:12), a different Hebrew word is used, which means probably "railings" ("pillars," A.V.).


"Psalteries": Compare note (1 Chron. 13:8).


"And there were none such seen before in the land of Judah": A shortened paraphrase of, "There came no such almug trees, nor were seen unto this day" (Kings). "The land of Judah" is a phrase which indicates how utterly the northern kingdom was excluded from the editor's thought.


These terraces made with the algum wood were probably, the terraces that were spoken of earlier as the ascent for Solomon to the temple. The beautiful wood was used for musical instruments as well. The decorations and all of the grandeur associated with the temple and Solomon's home, were probably what greatly impressed the queen. This algum was probably red sandal-wood.


2 Chronicles 9:12 "And king Solomon gave to the queen of Sheba all her desire, whatsoever she asked, beside [that] which she had brought unto the king. So she turned, and went away to her own land, she and her servants."


"Besides that which she had brought unto the king": Over and above that which was an equivalent for the presents she had made him (see note on 1 Kings 10:13).


We are not told exactly what Solomon gave to the Queen of Sheba. The things he gave her were probably things she could not get in her own land. Whatever Solomon gave her was even greater than what she had brought him.


2 Chronicles 9:13 "Now the weight of gold that came to Solomon in one year was six hundred and threescore and six talents of gold;"


"Now the weight of gold": The history of the queen of Sheba being ended, the writer returns to give an account of Solomon's riches and magnificence, which he had begun to set forth before. And first he relates what a vast quantity of gold was brought into his kingdom every year, not only from Ophir, but from other countries. Into which, perhaps, the queen of Sheba opened him a way, and particularly from Arabia and Ethiopia, which then were replenished with gold, though exhausted by the insatiable avarice of succeeding ages. From Ophir and Tarshish, and wherever he traded.


The 666 talents of gold would have 999,000 ounces of gold. This is almost beyond comprehension.


2 Chronicles 9:14 "Beside [that which] chapmen and merchants brought. And all the kings of Arabia and governors of the country brought gold and silver to Solomon."


"Chapmen": Revised Version the "chapmen". The English word means "merchant"; compare the verb, "to chaffer" and the German "Kaufmann." The Hebrew word means "those who go about" as merchants.


This gold probably came by way of tax payments from the merchant travelers, and as tribute money from the kings of the part of Arabia where the blood was mingled. Jewish and Arabian, and not exclusively and independently Arabian (see the word used in place of our Arabian in the parallel, and Jer. 25:24). And from those governors (perhaps in some cases superseding older kings), of adjacent countries, that had become in some part tributary to Solomon.


"Governors": Hebrew Paḥoth, a word applied specially to governors of provinces of the Assyrian, Babylonian, and Persian empires. Probably here governors outside the land of Israel are meant.


There were so many ways that Solomon was getting all of this wealth. He received tribute money, he probably charged taxes on the merchant seamen, as well. Of course, some of it was gifts from people like the Queen of Sheba.


2 Chronicles 9:15 "And king Solomon made two hundred targets [of] beaten gold: six hundred [shekels] of beaten gold went to one target."


Word for word as (1 Kings 10:16).


"Targets": Hebrew innh, a word meaning a large shield; compare (1 Sam 17:7). On the other hand, in 2 (Chron. 9:16), Hebrew mgn, small shields are meant. The English renderings should be transposed so as to be "shields" in (2 Chron. 9:15), and "targets" in (2 Chron. 9:16).


"Went to one target": Render (also in 2 Chron. 9:16), were spread upon one target.


The targets contained about 300 ounces of gold for each target. A shekel is a half-ounce of gold. The fact that they made targets of gold, shows just how plentiful it was.


2 Chronicles 9:16 "And three hundred shields [made he of] beaten gold: three hundred [shekels] of gold went to one shield. And the king put them in the house of the forest of Lebanon."


Solomon constructed the temple in a way that honored God; well-ordered and with all his heart. Excellence and enthusiasm should be the marks of every Christian endeavor (Col. 3:23).


For the "house of the forest of Lebanon" (see the note on 1 Kings 7:2-8).


2 Chronicles 9:17 "Moreover the king made a great throne of ivory, and overlaid it with pure gold."


It is not necessary to suppose that the throne was made of solid ivory (Psalm 45:9; Amos 3:15; Amos 6:4). Or that the overlaying gold concealed the ivory, whether more or less of it.


This is spoken of again in (1 Kings 10:19). The throne could have been inlaid with ivory, and the wood covered with gold. It also could have been solid gold over ivory.


2 Chronicles 9:18 "And [there were] six steps to the throne, with a footstool of gold, [which were] fastened to the throne, and stays on each side of the sitting place, and two lions standing by the stays:"


"With a footstool of gold": This is not mentioned in the parallel passage in (1 Kings 10:18), where see the note (2 Chron. 9:18).


"And stays on each side of the sitting place": "Revised Version": And stays (manuscripts "arms"), on either side by the place of the seat.


"There were two lions standing by the stays": (Or, arms) on each side of the sitting-place. We may easily imagine, from ancient modeled thrones, that of them the arms were themselves "no small part." It is remarkable that the parallel does not take notice of the footstool.


2 Chronicles 9:19 "And twelve lions stood there on the one side and on the other upon the six steps. There was not the like made in any kingdom."


There was a lion on each side of every step, a symbol of royal power, as before observed. So the Egyptians placed lions under the throne of Orus.


"There was not the like made in any kingdom": For the matter and form of it. For its grandeur and magnificence. there was none at least at that time, whatever has been since; for this is the first throne of ivory we read of.


The lions were on either end of each step going up to the throne. The lion was the emblem for the tribe of Judah. The fact that there were twelve represented the twelve tribes of Israel. These were beautifully carved.


2 Chronicles 9:20 "And all the drinking vessels of king Solomon [were of] gold, and all the vessels of the house of the forest of Lebanon [were of] pure gold: none [were of] silver; it was [not] any thing accounted of in the days of Solomon."


Such quantities of it were brought to him from Ophir, and paid to him in tribute, and given him as presents.


"And all the vessels of the house of the forest of Lebanon were of pure gold": Not only what were used in his palace at Jerusalem, but in his country house at some little distance.


"None were of silver; it was not any thing accounted of in the days of Solomon": To make plate of; or silver plate was but little esteemed. And scarce any use of it made in Solomon's palace, if at all. Though doubtless it was elsewhere, and especially silver as money.


The gold was so abundant, that even the drinking cups were of gold. This is probably speaking of the area where the great banquets were held. There was much pomp associated with the reign of Solomon.


2 Chronicles 9:21 "For the king's ships went to Tarshish with the servants of Huram: every three years once came the ships of Tarshish bringing gold, and silver, ivory, and apes, and peacocks."


"For the king had at sea a navy of Tharshish": Ships that went to Tharshish (A.V.). For Tharshish was the name of a place, upon the sea, famous for its traffic with merchants, and a place very remote from Judea, as appears from the three years usually spent in that voyage. For "Tharshish" (see the note on 1 Kings 10:22).


"Every three years once came the ships of Tharshish, bringing gold": It is likely a great part of this time was spent in digging for the gold, or in hunting the elephants, apes, and peacocks, and in other transactions of commerce.


"And apes": The Hebrew word kophim, is both by the ancients and moderns translated apes. Which creature Pliny calls cephus, and says they were seen but once at Rome in his days, and that they came from Ethiopia.


"And peacocks": These, being so beautiful a bird, might very probably be brought from foreign countries into Judea as a great rarity, there being none there before.


We dealt with this in (1 Kings 10:22). The ships were a way to bring in the gold and the other items of trade. Tarshish was across from the coast of Africa. We are not sure whether each voyage took three years or not. That would have been a long time to cover such a short distance. They could have made many stops however.


2 Chronicles 9:22 "And king Solomon passed all the kings of the earth in riches and wisdom."


By "of the earth" we are, of course, only to understand the kings or people of neighboring nations.


"In riches and wisdom": The latter of which he asked of God, who graciously promised to add the former, and did so to a great degree. But what is here said is not to be taken in too strict a sense, but only as intending that he was richer than the kings of the earth in general were at that time.


2 Chronicles 9:23 "And all the kings of the earth sought the presence of Solomon, to hear his wisdom, that God had put in his heart."


(See the note on 1 Kings 10:23-25).


His gift of wisdom that God had given him, was one of the reasons for his great wealth. There was no king before him or after him, that had the wealth of Solomon. Of course, this does not include Jesus who owns everything.


2 Chronicles 9:24 "And they brought every man his present, vessels of silver, and vessels of gold, and raiment, harness, and spices, horses, and mules, a rate year by year."


To recommend them, and introduce them into his presence.


"Vessels of gold, and raiment, harness, and spices, horses, and mules, a rate year by year ": Everyone brought according to the commodities of his country. And they did yearly, out of great respect to him, and in veneration of him for his wisdom, and for the advantages they received by his wise counsels and instructions. Besides, it was the custom of the eastern countries not to pay a visit, especially to great personages, without carrying a present.


The fact that these were brought year by year, indicates that this was tribute or taxes. It appears also, that Solomon accepted things as well as money for the tribute. Probably Solomon had so much gold and silver, that he needed the animals, and harness, and raiment more than the gold.


2 Chronicles 9:25 "And Solomon had four thousand stalls for horses and chariots, and twelve thousand horsemen; whom he bestowed in the chariot cities, and with the king at Jerusalem."


Both for war; for though it was a time of peace, he provided against the worst, lest an enemy should come upon him suddenly, and when unprepared.


"Solomon had four thousand stalls for horses and chariots, and twelve thousand horsemen": Of the latter (see notes on 1 Kings 4:26).


"Whom he bestowed in the chariot cities, and with the king at Jerusalem": Some of the horsemen were quartered in the cities where the chariots were placed, and some of them in Jerusalem. To be near the king's person, and to be a guard to him on occasion. Josephus says, half of them were in Jerusalem about the king, and the rest were dispersed through the king's villages (see the notes on 1 Kings 10:26-29).


This was the largest number of horses and chariots of any of his predecessors. It was more than his neighbors as well. The fact that they were so well-equipped, probably was one of the reasons they had peace. He had some of them in Jerusalem, but had many of them in the cities in the outskirts to protect Jerusalem.


2 Chronicles 9:26 "And he reigned over all the kings from the river even unto the land of the Philistines, and to the border of Egypt."


This verse corresponds to (1 Kings 4:21).


"From the river": (R.V.), from the River, i.e. the Euphrates.


"Even unto the land of the Philistines": The Philistines seem to have been able to keep their independence.


David had defeated these bordering countries in his reign, and Solomon kept them under subjection to himself.


2 Chronicles 9:27 "And the king made silver in Jerusalem as stones, and cedar trees made he as the sycamore trees that [are] in the low plains in abundance."


Identical with (1 Kings 10:27). On this and the following verse, compare the prohibitions of (Deut. 17:16-17).


By the vast quantity he received from Tarshish, this is a hyperbolical expression.


"And cedar trees made he as the sycamore trees that [are] in the low plains in abundance": Not by the growth of them, but by the importation of them from the dominion of Hiram. This is said in the same figurative way; of the sycamore trees. Rauwolff says, they are what the Moors and Arabians calls "mumeitz"; which he describes to be as large and as high as white mulberry trees, and having almost the same leaves, but rounder. And their fruit not unlike our figs, only sweeter, and no little seeds within, and not so good. And are therefore not esteemed, and are commonly sold to the poorer sort, and that they grow in all fields and grounds (of which see note on Amos 7:14).


The cedars had been sent into this area by Hiram. They were not native to the land of Israel. The sycamore tree was native to the land, and that is the reason for this. The silver was so plentiful; they did not even bother to weigh it.


2 Chronicles 9:28 "And they brought unto Solomon horses out of Egypt, and out of all lands."


Used to bring. The verse summarizes (1 Kings 10:28-29; 2 Chron. 1:16-17), and adds that Solomon imported horses "out of all the lands," as well as from Egypt.


The all lands here, is speaking of the horses that came from Arabia, and Armenia.



Verses 29-30: The "rest of the acts of Solomon" are not included in this account. The author likely assumes that his audience already knows about Solomon's late-in-life decisions (1 Kings chapter 11). Nevertheless, this is a reminder of God's promise to keep a descendant of David on the throne of Israel (1 Chron. Chapter 17), which would culminate in the birth of Jesus, the Messiah (see 1 Kings 11:41-43).


2 Chronicles 9:29 "Now the rest of the acts of Solomon, first and last, [are] they not written in the book of Nathan the prophet, and in the prophecy of Ahijah the Shilonite, and in the visions of Iddo the seer against Jeroboam the son of Nebat?"


(1 Kings 11:41), reports that Solomon's deeds were written in "the book of the acts of Solomon". For the rest of the record of Solomon's life (read 1 Kings 10:26 - 11:43). In later years, he turned away from God and, due to the influence of his wives, he led the nation into idolatry. This split the kingdom and sowed the seeds that led to its defeat and dispersion. The Chronicles do not record this sad end to Solomon's life because the focus is on encouraging the returning Jews from Babylon with God's pledge to them for a glorious future in the Davidic Covenant.


(See the note on 1 Chron. 29:29).


These works mentioned here are not in the Bible. These are historical works of that day. Nathan had a great deal to do with Solomon, so his work should be very accurate. Both Ahijah and Iddo are mentioned in other Scriptures, and their works were probably highly regarded as well.


2 Chronicles 9:30 "And Solomon reigned in Jerusalem over all Israel forty years."


"Forty years": The reign of Solomon was thus of the same length as that of his father (see 1 Kings 2:11). The coincidence is curious; but the accurate historical character of the whole narrative forbids the idea that the numbers given are merely round numbers, signifying long duration.


Solomon reigned 40 years, and if he was 12 years old when he began to reign, he was about 52 when he died. We do not know for sure how old he was when he began to reign, but he was no more than a youth. His reign was in Jerusalem. The one outstanding thing he was remembered for, was the building of the temple.


2 Chronicles 9:31 "And Solomon slept with his fathers, and he was buried in the city of David his father: and Rehoboam his son reigned in his stead."


The account of God's third visit to "Solomon" and the details of Solomon's sinful later life (1 Kings 11:1-13), are omitted by the chronicler.


The city of David is of course, Jerusalem. He was buried beside his father David. Rehoboam would reign over Judah in the divided kingdom.


2 Chronicles Chapter 9 Questions


  1. Why did the Queen of Sheba come to meet Solomon?
  2. What did she bring for Solomon?
  3. In 1 Kings, the same statement adds what?
  4. What was she more interested in than the great wealth of Solomon?
  5. What did Solomon tell her?
  6. What was a good example of Solomon's wisdom?
  7. Why did the food for Solomon's table impress her?
  8. What does the statement "there was no spirit in her" mean?
  9. After she had seen all of this and talked with Solomon, what was her reaction?
  10. Who did she call God in verse 8?
  11. How many talents of gold did she bring Solomon?
  12. What other things did she bring him?
  13. What had the servants of Huram brought Solomon?
  14. What had Solomon made of the algum trees?
  15. What did Solomon give the Queen of Sheba?
  16. How many talents of gold came to Solomon in one year?
  17. Where did some of the other gold come from?
  18. How much gold was in one target?
  19. How much gold was in one shield?
  20. The throne was made of what?
  21. How many steps led up to the throne?
  22. What was at either end of each step?
  23. What was the emblem of the tribe of Judah?
  24. Why were there twelve of them?
  25. What were the drinking vessels made of?
  26. What did all the other kings bring to Solomon?
  27. What was meant by them being brought yearly?
  28. Silver in Jerusalem was as _____________.
  29. How long did Solomon reign?
  30. Where was the city of David?



Go to Previous Section | Go to Next Section | Return to Top

Return to 2 Chronicles Menu | Return to Bible Menu


2 Chronicles 10



2 Chronicles Chapter 10

From (10:1 to 36:21), this section records all 20 of the Judean rulers in the divided kingdom from Solomon's son Rehoboam (ca. 931 B.C.), to Zedekiah (ca. 586 B.C.), when the people were taken captive to Babylon. The righteous kings and the revivals under them are presented, as well as the wicked kings and their disastrous influence. The northern kingdom is absent, since Chronicles focuses on the Davidic line.


Verses 10:1 - 11:4: For details on this chapter (see notes on 1 Kings 12:1-24). Rehoboam followed foolish and bad advice from novices rather than the good counsel of wise, seasoned men. The result was the division of the nation. Amazingly, with all the strength of Solomon's reign, unity was fragile and one fool in the place of leadership ended it. Rehoboam tried to unite the people by force, but was not allowed to by God (11:1-4).


Verses 1-2: Once Israel's 12 tribes divided (after Solomon's death), on the throne of Israel (1 Chron. Chapter 17), God left two tribes. Benjamin and Judah, under the rule of "Rehoboam", one of Solomon's sons, for the sake of His covenant with David. "Jeroboam" would rule the other 10 tribes. Jeroboam was an important and trustworthy leader in the king's labor force (1 Kings 11:29-40), but he had "fled" to "Egypt" because Solomon, after hearing the prophecy about the kingdom dividing, tried to kill him in order to keep the kingdom intact for his son.


The reign of Rehoboam (ca. 931 - 913 B.C.; compare 1 Kings chapters 12-14).


2 Chronicles 10:1 "And Rehoboam went to Shechem: for to Shechem were all Israel come to make him king."


For the details relative to Solomon's apostasy and the rising of adversaries to him, see (1 Kings chapter 11). For the term "all Israel" (see the note on 1 Kings 12:1).


In the last lesson, we learned that Rehoboam followed Solomon as king, at Solomon's death. Shechem had been the ancient capital, and he went there to be accepted of all Israel. The mother of Rehoboam was the Ammonite princess, Naamah.


2 Chronicles 10:2 "And it came to pass, when Jeroboam the son of Nebat, who [was] in Egypt, whither he had fled from the presence of Solomon the king, heard [it], that Jeroboam returned out of Egypt."


"Jeroboam": He became the first king of the northern kingdom of Israel (ca. 931 - 910 B.C.). His story leading to his return from Egypt is told in (1 Kings 11:26-40).


It appears that he heard of the death of Solomon, and also that Rehoboam was about to be crowned king of all Israel. Jeroboam had fled to Egypt, because he had greatly angered Solomon and he feared for his life. Jeroboam had been told by Ahijah, that he would be king of ten of the tribes. He was an Ephraimite. He now, returned to claim his kingdom.


2 Chronicles 10:3 "And they sent and called him. So Jeroboam and all Israel came and spake to Rehoboam, saying,"


"And they sent ": Rather, "for they had sent. This is stated as the reason of Jeroboam's return from Egypt (compare 1 Kings 12:20).


"All Israel": 2 Chronicles omits assembly of. "Came," singular; Kings, plural.


And it came to pass, when all Israel heard that Jeroboam was come again out of Egypt The chief men knew of it before, for he had headed them in their approach and address to Rehoboam. That they sent and called him unto the congregation, and made him king over all Israel. There was none that followed the house of David but the tribe of Judah only.


2 Chronicles 10:4 "Thy father made our yoke grievous: now therefore ease thou somewhat the grievous servitude of thy father, and his heavy yoke that he put upon us, and we will serve thee."


Apparently, Solomon's building projects had been funded by heavy taxes and built by forced labor (10:1-2). The people were weary under his "heavy yoke" and begged the new king for a reprieve. At the beginning of his reign, Rehoboam had a chance to demonstrate whether or not he would be like his father. Would he be wise, as his father had been when he began his rule, or harsh as he had been later in his rule? Successes and failures of the past did not determine this son's future; his choices did.


For the institution of corvee, or forced labor, see the notes on 1 Kings 5:13-14 and 12:4.


We see from this where much of the wealth of Solomon came from. He heavily taxed the people. We see also, that many of the people were unhappy with this taxing system. Jeroboam was the leader of the group that rebelled.


2 Chronicles 10:5 "And he said unto them, Come again unto me after three days. And the people departed."


This first reply of Rehoboam was not necessarily inauspicious. Yet sometimes, as it proved now, the caution that takes time to consider, was a fatal mistake. This is when either a generous, instinctive impulse, asking an instantaneous obedience, is chilled by some self-regard. Or yet worse, when the offended Spirit is restrained, and no inner guiding voice is heard, as Saul found, to his ruin. This showed a weakness in Rehoboam. He should have been close enough to God to be able to answer this. The three days he asked for were time enough to get some bad counsel, as well as good. He should have prayed and met with the high priest.



Verses 6-10: "Rehoboam" turned to "the young men that were brought up with him" but had not sat with Solomon and heard his wise words. Notice the contrast with his father, Solomon, who had prayed to God for wisdom when he ascended the throne.


2 Chronicles 10:6 "And king Rehoboam took counsel with the old men that had stood before Solomon his father while he yet lived, saying, What counsel give ye [me] to return answer to this people?"


"What counsel give ye [me] to return answer to this people?" They advised him to condescend to them and behave in a humble manner towards them. For this day however, and gratify and oblige them. Though indeed a king is but a servant to his people, and his administration of government a doing service to them.


The very next best thing that he could have done, was to have taken counsel of these old wise men that had been with Solomon.


2 Chronicles 10:7 "And they spake unto him, saying, If thou be kind to this people, and please them, and speak good words to them, they will be thy servants for ever."


Speak kindly and gently to them, and make them fair promises, and give them reason to expect that their requests will be granted. Such conduct would win them, and make such an impression upon them, that they would for ever after maintain a high opinion of him, and be strongly affected and attached to him, and readily serve him.


A really good king or a president is good, because he serves the people instead of himself. He should have allowed his greatness to show through his kindness to those he ruled over. This was excellent advice the old men gave him.


2 Chronicles 10:8 "But he forsook the counsel which the old men gave him, and took counsel with the young men that were brought up with him, that stood before him."


Judging it unworthy of his majesty and authority, and likely to encourage the people in their insolent demands. And being proud and vain, he scorned to condescend to them and court them in this way. But would have obedience paid to him as to an absolute monarch.


"The young men that were brought up with him": And he consulted with the young men, so called compared with the old men. Otherwise, as they had grown up with him, they must have been near forty years old. They were however, men who were unexperienced and who understood not the mood of the people they had to deal with. This is frequently the fault of new kings. To show their power, and gratify their dependence, they frequently change their counsellors and put in new officers. Not considering who are wisest and worthiest, but who have been their companions. It is not needful to suppose that they had been educated with him from their youth up. They now being his contemporaries were chosen to "stand before him", to be his private counsellors. This office the older men had held under Solomon (see 1 Kings 12:6).


Rehoboam is like so many of us who seek counsel. If the counsel lined up with what we wanted to do in the first place, it is good. If it is not what we want to hear, we are like Rehoboam, we reject it. He went and found someone who would say what he wanted to hear. These young men did not have even as much experience as Rehoboam, this was a terrible place to go for advice. Seek advice from those who know more than you, not less. Rehoboam was about 41 years old at this time. He should have known better.


2 Chronicles 10:9 "And he said unto them, What advice give ye that we may return answer to this people, which have spoken to me, saying, Ease somewhat the yoke that thy father did put upon us?"


They were still willing to be part of the larger nation, if he will reduce their taxes. The nation is ready for change. The people can stand no more extremely high taxation. They are about to revolt. They will serve Rehoboam, if he reduces their taxes. The forced labor and heavy taxation needed to support the splendor of Solomon's vast enterprises were loathsome to the northern tribes. See the note on (1 Kings 5:13-14).


"Yoke": The hardships that resulted from Solomon's policy of compulsory labor service (1 Kings 5:13; 9:22; 11:28), and excessive taxes (1 Kings 4:7), came because the splendor of his courts, the magnitude of his wealth, and the profits of his enterprises were not enough to sustain his demands.


This shows us that Solomon had taxed the people heavily to support his lavish way of life. The people had not been satisfied with this heavy tax levied upon them, and they have an opportunity now to revolt.


Had these young men not said what Rehoboam wanted to hear, he would have gone elsewhere. Rehoboam had never grown up himself. He had not realized what made David and Solomon great. They sinned, but they always sought God for advice.


2 Chronicles 10:10 "And the young men that were brought up with him spake unto him, saying, Thus shalt thou answer the people that spake unto thee, saying, Thy father made our yoke heavy, but make thou [it] somewhat lighter for us; thus shalt thou say unto them, My little [finger] shall be thicker than my father's loins."


"And the young men that were brought up with him spake unto him, saying": It is noticeable how Rehoboam identifies these young men with himself. He employs a different expression when addressing the old men.


"My little finger ... my father's loins": A proverbial manner of saying he was going to come at them with greater force than Solomon had exhibited (1 Kings 12:11-14).


2 Chronicles 10:11 "For whereas my father put a heavy yoke upon you, I will put more to your yoke: my father chastised you with whips, but I [will chastise you] with scorpions."


(See the note on 1 Kings 12:11).


Solomon had been the wealthiest king that had ever lived, but that was not enough, it seemed. Greed for things of the flesh would destroy Rehoboam. Solomon had been fair in his justice. They were telling Rehoboam to tell these people that he would be a tyrant over them. He would not be fair and just. He wanted to put these proud Hebrews into total servitude to him.


2 Chronicles 10:12 "So Jeroboam and all the people came to Rehoboam on the third day, as the king bade, saying, Come again to me on the third day."


(See the note on 2 Kings 20:8).


It appears, from this that Jeroboam was sincere in offering to serve Rehoboam as king, if he would be fair and just and stop the taxation without representation.


2 Chronicles 10:13 "And the king answered them roughly; and king Rehoboam forsook the counsel of the old men,"


"Answered them roughly": It was difficult for the son of so powerful a king as Solomon to realize that there was any necessity for a soft answer. Solomon had put down Israelite discontent by driving Jeroboam into exile in Egypt. And David had put down somewhat easily the movement under Sheba son of Bichri (2 Sam. 20:1-22). Could the good fortune of the House of David fail at this third crisis?


"Forsook the counsel of the old men": He chose the advice of the young men.


Rehoboam had spoken roughly, instead of speaking softly to these people. He felt as if they had no choice. He wanted to be supreme tyrant over his brethren. He had no compassion at all.


2 Chronicles 10:14 "And answered them after the advice of the young men, saying, My father made your yoke heavy, but I will add thereto: my father chastised you with whips, but I [will chastise you] with scorpions."


"My father made your yoke heavy" I will add to your yoke, i.e. make it heavier and stronger. Both to punish your attitude, and to curb and restrain you from seditious attempts.


"With scorpions": I.e. with such whips as will sting you like scorpions. If you proceed in these courses, I will most severely punish you for it.


This was the worst thing he could have possibly said to a people who were already discontent.



Verses 15-19: God used the hard heart of Rehoboam to bring about "the cause" He had ordained and to fulfill the Word He had spoken through His prophet "Ahijah". The kingdom would be divided as God's punishment for Israel's idolatry.


2 Chronicles 10:15 "So the king hearkened not unto the people: for the cause was of God, that the LORD might perform his word, which he spake by the hand of Ahijah the Shilonite to Jeroboam the son of Nebat."


"For the cause was of God": God sovereignly used the foolishness of Rehoboam to fulfill Ahijah's prophecy (1 Kings 11:29-39).


We can see in this, that the LORD was allowing this to happen to break up the twelve tribes into ten and two. God was so angered with the idolatry that was going on in the land of the ten tribes, that He wanted this break to be made. Idolatry had begun in Judah as well, but had not progressed as far as in the ten tribes. God hardened the heart of Rehoboam, as He had Pharaoh's, to accomplish His will in this.



Verses 16-19: Here is recorded the beginning of the divided kingdom. The tribes followed Jeroboam and were called Israel. The other two tribes, Benjamin and Judah, stayed loyal to David's line, accepted Rehoboam's rule and were call Judah. However, Benjamin at times demonstrated split loyalties (see note on 1 Kings 12:21).


2 Chronicles 10:16 "And when all Israel [saw] that the king would not hearken unto them, the people answered the king, saying, What portion have we in David? and [we have] none inheritance in the son of Jesse: every man to your tents, O Israel: [and] now, David, see to thine own house. So all Israel went to their tents."


The name "Israel" is now used for the 10 northern tribes. For problems relative to the identification of the 10 northern tribes and the two southern tribes "(see the note on 1 Kings 12:20). Because the northern kingdom was an apostate kingdom, despite the prediction concerning its formation (compare 1 Kings 11:35), Jeroboam's assumption of the throne (1 Kings 12:20), is not mentioned in the account (in chapter 10). The chronicler's interest is with the southern kingdom, which he views as the true remnant of Israel (compare 13:10), over which the sons of "David" were to rule (compare 11:3), and whose capital, Jerusalem, was the rightful place of worship (compare 11:16).


A different view of the "house" of "David" is expressed here versus the sentiment voiced by the leader of men loyal to David even before he became king (1 Chron. 12:18). And what a contrast to God's word to David (7:17-18).


This is the same separation there had been in the beginning of David's reign. David had reigned 7 years over just Judah, before he became king of all Israel. Rehoboam was now king of Judah, again. Benjamin was thought of as part of Judah. Now Israel would be speaking of the ten tribes, and Judah would be the other two. Ephraim had been always jealous of Judah. Jeroboam, the leader of the ten tribes, was of Ephraim.


2 Chronicles 10:17 "But [as for] the children of Israel that dwelt in the cities of Judah, Rehoboam reigned over them."


"Children of Israel": People from the northern tribes who had migrated south and settled in Judah.


Rehoboam continued to reign in Judah and Benjamin. Everyone living in the area, that would be known of as Judah, would be reigned over by Rehoboam. The main reason for this was the lineage God had promised to David on the throne of Jerusalem.


2 Chronicles 10:18 "Then king Rehoboam sent Hadoram that [was] over the tribute; and the children of Israel stoned him with stones, that he died. But king Rehoboam made speed to get him up to [his] chariot, to flee to Jerusalem."


Although "Hadoram" had supervised the forced labor under Solomon (1 Kings 4:6), he was probably the last person who could bring peace since the people were complaining about their heavy labor. This was another foolish move by Rehoboam.


2 Chronicles 10:19 "And Israel rebelled against the house of David unto this day."


The reign of Rehoboam marked the beginning of the divided kingdom and the end of "all Israel". Rehoboam ruled over the tribes of Judah and Benjamin, "the house of David", in Jerusalem and called his kingdom Judah. Jeroboam ruled the kingdom of Israel from Shechem (1 Kings 12:20-25), although Samaria later became Israel's capital city during the reign of Omri (1 Kings 16:24).


Hadoram and Adoniram are the same probably. This was a tax revolt. They killed the tax collector and would not pay. Rehoboam found safety in Jerusalem. The house of David was now called Judah.


2 Chronicles Chapter 10 Questions


  1. Which of Solomon's sons reigned in his stead?
  2. Why did he go to Shechem?
  3. Why was Jeroboam in Egypt?
  4. Who was Jeroboam's father?
  5. Who had told Jeroboam that he would rule ten of the tribes?
  6. What would cause Jeroboam to accept Rehoboam, as king over all twelve tribes?
  7. Where had the wealth of Solomon come from?
  8. How did the people feel about the taxing?
  9. What showed a weakness in Rehoboam?
  10. How many days did he make Jeroboam wait for an answer?
  11. Rehoboam should have sought counsel of whom?
  12. What good counsel did he get from the old men?
  13. Why did he not accept that counsel?
  14. About how old was Rehoboam, when this counsel was taken?
  15. If these young men's counsel had not pleased Rehoboam, what would he have done?
  16. What advice did they give Rehoboam?
  17. Whose advice did he take?
  18. What one word describes the way Rehoboam spoke to them?
  19. In verse 15, we find that this all happened for what purpose?
  20. God hardened the heart of Rehoboam, as he had hardened _____________ heart.
  21. Who did Rehoboam send to collect the tribute?
  22. What happened to him?
  23. Hadoram and ___________ are the same person.
  24. This is a ______ revolt.
  25. From this time on, who was the house of David?



Go to Previous Section | Go to Next Section | Return to Top

Return to 2 Chronicles Menu | Return to Bible Menu


2 Chronicles 11



2 Chronicles Chapter 11

2 Chronicles 11:1 "And when Rehoboam was come to Jerusalem, he gathered of the house of Judah and Benjamin a hundred and fourscore thousand chosen [men], which were warriors, to fight against Israel, that he might bring the kingdom again to Rehoboam."


After he had been at Shechem, and had given his answer to the request of the men of Israel, upon which they revolted from him.


"He gathered of the house of Judah and Benjamin": The parallel (1 Kings 12:21), says more distinctly, "The house of Judah with the tribe of Benjamin." They of Jeroboam (2 Chron. 10:16), had flung it at Judah: "Now, David, see to thine own house." Rehoboam, of course, does this very thing. For the first time formally, Benjamin is now introduced as throwing in its lot with Judah, and the acted prophecy of Ahijah is seen fulfilled.


"A hundred and four-score thousand chosen men, which were warriors": According to Joab, in David's time the men able to bear arms of Judah alone were five hundred thousand (2 Sam. 24:9). Compare the numbers in the next reign (2 Chron. 13:3), and, later on still, in Jehoshaphat's (2 Chron. 17:14-18). Both of these show that Abijah and Jehoshaphat respectively had improved the time given to training much larger armies, whereas now Rehoboam was taken by surprise.


The 180,000 men of war were those who were well-trained in war. Rehoboam was about to begin a civil war with his brethren, the Israelites. The prophecy of Ahijah had been fulfilled. Judah and Benjamin had sided against the other ten tribes.



Verses 2-4: Even though Rehoboam did not consult God about his decision to gather troops and "fight" Jeroboam, God intervened through the prophet "Shemaiah". Like many of the prophets (in 2 Chronicles), little is known about Shemaiah except that he was a man of God who declared a warning from God.


2 Chronicles 11:2 "But the word of the LORD came to Shemaiah the man of God, saying,"


"Shemaiah the man of God": This is the first historical mention (1 Kings 12:22), of Shemaiah. The second is found in (2 Chron. 12:5, 7), on occasion of the invasion of Judah and Jerusalem by Shishak King of Egypt. And the third, in the same chapter (verse 15), that he wrote a book respecting the acts of Rehoboam.


(See the note on 1 Kings 12:22).


2 Chronicles 11:3 "Speak unto Rehoboam the son of Solomon, king of Judah, and to all Israel in Judah and Benjamin, saying,"


Intimating that this was determined for the sin of Solomon, and therefore could not be reversed. But for all explanation of this paragraph (see notes on 1 Kings 12:21-24).


"To all Israel in Judah and Benjamin": The Chronicler does not hesitate to use the term "Israel" in speaking of Judah. Thus, the princes of the Southern Kingdom are called "the princes of Israel" (2 Chron. 12:6; 21:4). The populace as a whole is called "Israel" (2 Chron. 12:1; 15:17). Jehoshaphat and Ahaz are each called "king of Israel" (2 Chron. 21:2; 28:19), and the sepulchers of the kings at Jerusalem are called the "sepulchers of the kings of Israel" (2 Chron. 28:27).


2 Chronicles 11:4 "Thus saith the LORD, Ye shall not go up, nor fight against your brethren: return every man to his house: for this thing is done of me. And they obeyed the words of the LORD, and returned from going against Jeroboam."


"For this thing is done of me": Through the prophet Shemaiah, the Lord commanded Rehoboam and his army not to invade Israel. God, in judgment, had ordained the north-south split, so to attack Israel was to oppose God Himself.


This warning from God was enough to stop them. They would not go into battles against their brothers. This is the plan of God for taking the ten tribes away from the family of Solomon. God had warned him of this very thing, because he worshipped false gods. They are still listening to the Word of the Lord through the prophets at this time. There would be no war now.


Rehoboam had it in his mind to go and fight against Jeroboam and the ten tribes, but we see in this that the LORD stopped them. God stopped the battle by sending a message to both sides by Shemaiah, the man of God. After they had heard the message from God, all of the men went home to their own houses. God reminded all of these tribes that they were their brethren. They would not go against the will of God. There would be no war.



verses 5-12: since "Rehoboam's" defensive measure were made with regard to cities in southern and western Judah, they were probably aimed at the rising menace of Egypt (compare 12:2-9). This information is not mentioned in (1 Kings chapters 12-14).


2 Chronicles 11:5 "And Rehoboam dwelt in Jerusalem, and built cities for defense in Judah."


The metropolis of Judah, and the capital city of his kingdom.


"And built cities for defense in Judah": That is, rebuilt, enlarged, and fortified them. For otherwise they were built before, though neglected before the revolt of the ten tribes. But now it became necessary to make them more capacious and strong, to protect his people, and defend himself against Israel. For though he was forbid to act offensively, and therefore contented himself to abide in Jerusalem, and not go forth to war; yet he might lawfully put himself into a condition of defense.


"Built": To be understood as built further/strengthened/fortified (compare 11:11-12).


2 Chronicles 11:6 "He built even Beth-lehem, and Etam, and Tekoa,"


And "he built": I.e., fortified.


"Beth-lehem": Beit-lahm, on a rocky eminence, two hours south of Jerusalem (Gen. 35:19; Micah 5:2; Matt. 2:6). The birthplace of David and of Christ.


"Etam": Different from the place mentioned in (1 Chron. 4:32 and Judges 15:8), which lay in Simeonite territory.


"Tekoa": Teku'a; Ruins on a hill two hours south of Bethlehem (See Joshua 15:59).


2 Chronicles 11:7 "And Beth-zur, and Shoco, and Adullam,"


"Beth-zur": Beit-sr; a ruin midway between Urts and Hebron (Joshua 15:58).


"Shoco": Hebrew, in Wady Sumt, three and a-half hours' south-west of Jerusalem (Joshua 15:35; 1 Sam. 17:1).


"Adullam": (Joshua 15:35). Perhaps Aid-el-Mieh.


2 Chronicles 11:8 "And Gath, and Mareshah, and Ziph,"


"Gath": Uncertain. Perhaps in the Wady-el-Gat north of Ascalon. (See 1 Kings 2:39 and 1 Chron. 18:1), from a comparison of which it appears that, under Solomon, Gath was ruled by a vassal king.


"Mareshah": Marash; a ruin two miles south of Beit-jibrin, Eleuthero-polis (Joshua 15:44; 2 Chron. 14:9).


"Ziph": Tel Zif; ruins about one hour and a quarter south east of Hebron (Joshua 15:55; 1 Sam. 23:14). Another Judean Ziph is mentioned (Joshua 15:24).


2 Chronicles 11:9 "And Adoraim, and Lachish, and Azekah,"


"Adoraim": A village about seven and a-half miles south west of Hebron. Called Αδωρα, and often mentioned by Josephus in connection with Marissa (Mareshah). The name is not found elsewhere in the Old Testament.


"Lachish": A ruined city on a round hill, seven hours west of Beit-jibrn, on the road from Hebron to Gaza (Joshua 10:3; 15:39).


"Azekah": Near Socoh (1 Sam. 17:1; Joshua 10:10; 15:35).


2 Chronicles 11:10 "And Zorah, and Aijalon, and Hebron, which [are] in Judah and in Benjamin fenced cities."


"And Zorah": The same with Zoreah (Joshua 15:33).


"And Aijalon": There was a city of the tribe of Dan of this name, in the valley of which the moon stood still in the times of Joshua (Joshua 10:12). But whether the same with this, and now belonging to Judah, or another of the same name, is not certain.


"And Hebron; A city in the mountainous part of Judah, and a city of refuge, about twenty miles from Jerusalem (Joshua 15:54).


"Which are in Judah and in Benjamin fenced cities": As they were now made by Rehoboam.


All of these cities were surrounding Jerusalem. The enemy would have to pass through these cities, before they could get to Jerusalem. Out of the 15 cities of defense he built, 12 were south and west of Jerusalem to defend against any attack from Egypt. These cities were built with walls around them and fortified with weapons of defense. Beth-lehem had been called Ephrath. It was one of the oldest cities in the area. It was re-built, instead of being built entirely. It is less than 5 miles out of Jerusalem. Many of these cities are still in existence today. All of Rehoboam's efforts were turned to Judah and Benjamin, since he did not have to fight a war.


2 Chronicles 11:11 "And he fortified the strong holds, and put captains in them, and store of victual, and of oil and wine."


Of these and other cities.


"And put captains in them": Garrisons of soldiers, with captains over them to defend them.


"And store of victual, and of oil and wine": That they might be able to hold out a siege, should they be attacked.


He had prepared these cities to withstand a long battle if necessary. The food, oil and wine would keep them from starving if someone surrounded them. There were many chariots and horses that Solomon had gathered. They were a very well-equipped army.


2 Chronicles 11:12 "And in every several city [he put] shields and spears, and made them exceeding strong, having Judah and Benjamin on his side."


Furnished them with these and perhaps other pieces of armor. These being put for all, to defend themselves with against an enemy, and to annoy them.


"And made them exceeding strong": So that they could not be easily taken.


"Having Judah and Benjamin on his side": Which tribes cleaved to one another, and to Rehoboam, and to the kings of the house of David, in later times, as well as to the true religion.


The weapons of war that Solomon had gathered, still belonged to Rehoboam. Most of them had been located in and around Jerusalem. Judah and Benjamin would have been hard to separate, because Jerusalem was in the hands of Judah and the immediate area around it belonged to Benjamin. Soon, both Judah and Benjamin would be spoken of as Judah.



Verses 13-14: The priests and Levites from all the northern 10 tribes were rejected by Israel's king. Jeroboam (ca. 931 - 910 B.C.), who saw them as a treat because of their loyalty to Jerusalem and the temple. He appointed his own idol priests and all true priests moved south and found refuge in Judah with Rehoboam.


2 Chronicles 11:13 "And the priests and the Levites that [were] in all Israel resorted to him out of all their coasts."


In the ten tribes, in the cities assigned to them therein.


"Resorted to him out of all their coasts": As to their rightful sovereign, and chiefly for the sake of the service of the sanctuary at Jerusalem.


The priests were associated with the temple in Jerusalem. They could not separate themselves from the worship in the temple in Jerusalem, so they came to Judah and Benjamin. They could not accept the golden calves that were the symbol of worship in Israel.



Verses 14-15: Second Chronicles focuses mainly on the southern kingdom, Judah; however, here the chronicler describes the idolatrous northern kingdom, ruled by "Jeroboam". The "Levites" fled to Jerusalem, where they could still worship the Lord according to God's laws (e.g., Deut. 12:10-11).


2 Chronicles 11:14 "For the Levites left their suburbs and their possession, and came to Judah and Jerusalem: for Jeroboam and his sons had cast them off from executing the priest's office unto the LORD:"


The cities and the fields adjacent to them, which were given them in the several tribes, and were in all forty-eight (see Joshua 21:1). And came to Judah and Jerusalem; to the cities of Judah, which belonged to the Levites. And to Jerusalem, where they exercised their functions.


"For Jeroboam and his sons had cast them off from exercising the priest's office unto the Lord": Neither suffering them to go to Jerusalem in their courses, as they used to do by turns. Nor to perform their office in their own dwellings, according to the law of God, in teaching and instructing the people.


See the notes on (1 Kings 12:27-29 and 12:31-32).


Jeroboam would not let them come to Jerusalem for worship. They just left, because they could not participate in the worship of the false gods that Jeroboam erected. The two golden calves were an abomination as far as the priests and Levites were concerned.


2 Chronicles 11:15 "And he ordained him priests for the high places, and for the devils, and for the calves which he had made."


"He ordained him: This is in reference to Jeroboam (compare 1 Kings 12:25-33), who established idolatry in the north. "Devils" is another term for idols (compare Lev. 17:7).


Jeroboam chose men of the tribes, who were not Levites, and anointed them to work in the places of worship.



Verses 16-17: God's blessing rested on Rehoboam for 3 years because the people's commitment to the ways of God was patterned after David and Solomon.


The chronicler is concerned to show that God rewards those who will listen to Him. "Rehoboam" was "strong" for the "three years" he heeded the words of Shemaiah the prophet.


2 Chronicles 11:16 "And after them out of all the tribes of Israel such as set their hearts to seek the LORD God of Israel came to Jerusalem, to sacrifice unto the LORD God of their fathers."


Besides the priests and Levites, and after their example, many of the common people, out of all the ten tribes.


"Such as set their hearts to seek the Lord God of Israel": To seek his face and favor, where he was to be found. To worship him according to his revealed will, and to receive doctrine or instruction from him, as the Targum.


"Came to Jerusalem to sacrifice to the Lord God of their fathers": To sacrifice where only sacrifices were to be offered up, and by the priests of the Lord. Who were gone thither, and to their fathers' God, whom the ten tribes had revolted from.


This is speaking of those who refused to be associated with the worship of false gods.


2 Chronicles 11:17 "So they strengthened the kingdom of Judah, and made Rehoboam the son of Solomon strong, three years: for three years they walked in the way of David and Solomon."


Made it more numerous, and in a better condition to defend itself.


"And made Rehoboam son of Solomon strong three years": Established him on the throne, strengthened the government in his hands, and were the means of preserving him in the pure worship of God for the space of time mentioned. The reason of which follows:


"For three years they walked in the way of David and Solomon": In their good ways, which were according to the rule of the divine word. And which, as they refer to the whole of David's life and reign. Some particular actions excepted, so to the former part of Solomon's reign, before he fell into idolatry. And to the latter part of it after his repentance. For that he did repent is by some concluded from hence. And may be more strongly from the book of Ecclesiastes, written by him in his old age. This is to be understood both of Rehoboam and his people, who after three years forsook the law of the Lord (2 Chron. 12:1).


For three years, it seems that Rehoboam and the people followed the way of the LORD and prospered. They tried to live as David and Solomon had taught them in the beginning.



Verses 18-23: A summary of Rehoboam's life is given with special emphases on succession to the throne. This is not a commendation of polygamy or concubinage, which violated God's law for marriage (compare Gen. 2:24-25), and resulted in severe trouble and disaffection toward God. Never is polygamy commended in Scripture, and usually its tragic results are recorded.


2 Chronicles 11:18 "And Rehoboam took him Mahalath the daughter of Jerimoth the son of David to wife, [and] Abihail the daughter of Eliab the son of Jesse;"


Of which son of David we nowhere else read. Perhaps he might be the son of one of his concubines, or he might have two names.


"And Abihail the daughter of Eliab the son of Jesse": Who was David's eldest brother (1 Sam. 17:13). She must be a granddaughter or great-granddaughter of his.


Mahalath was the first of 18 wives of Rehoboam. Mahalath was the grand-daughter of David, then. Abihail was the niece of David.


2 Chronicles 11:19 "Which bare him children; Jeush, and Shamariah, and Zaham."


Or, "and she bore him"; for it is said only of one of them, the other perhaps died without children. This may refer to the last mentioned, Abihail, whose children were.


"Jeush, and Shamariah, and Zaham": Who perhaps all died in their father's lifetime, since the firstborn of a later wife succeeded him.


Most scholars give these three children to Abihail. It is possible, however that some could belong to Mahalath. Since it is not extremely important which they belong to, we will go on.


2 Chronicles 11:20 "And after her he took Maachah the daughter of Absalom; which bare him Abijah, and Attai, and Ziza, and Shelomith."


Thought by some to be Absalom the son of David, his father's brother, and his uncle, and so married his cousin. But Absalom seems to have had but one daughter, whose name was Tamar (2 Sam. 14:27), and the name of this man is different from his. He is called Abishalom (1 Kings 15:2).


"And Uriel of Gibeah (2 Chron. 13:2), of the tribe of Benjamin. Whereas Absalom was of the tribe of Judah.


"Which bare him Abijah, and Attai, and Ziza, and Shelomith": Abijah the firstborn, and who was successor in the kingdom, is the same with Abijam (1 Kings 14:31), of the rest we nowhere else read.


For "Maachah" (see the note on 1 Kings 15:1-3).


Maachah was probably the grand-daughter of Absalom by his daughter, Tamar.


2 Chronicles 11:21 "And Rehoboam loved Maachah the daughter of Absalom above all his wives and his concubines: (for he took eighteen wives, and threescore concubines; and begat twenty and eight sons, and threescore daughters.)"


The chronicler did not include the similar summary of Solomon's wives (compare 1 Kings 11:3), but clearly Rehoboam learned this disastrous marital style from his father Solomon. Even David was a polygamist. Polygamy was often practiced by the kings to secure alliances with nearby nations.


We see that Rehoboam had 18 wives. He had 60 concubines. From these wives and concubines, he had 28 sons and 60 daughters. It is interesting that he loved Maachah above all these other ladies. The following Scripture speaks against having many wives.


Deuteronomy 17:17 "Neither shall he multiply wives to himself, that his heart turn not away: neither shall he greatly multiply to himself silver and gold."


2 Chronicles 11:22 "And Rehoboam made Abijah the son of Maachah the chief, [to be] ruler among his brethren: for [he thought] to make him king."


The chief of all his sons. Head over them, being the son of his most beloved wife, and her firstborn however. And perhaps might be of a greater capacity than the rest of his children.


"To be ruler among his brethren": Or over them; gave him greater authority, and entrusted him with more power. Set him above them, and treated him as heir apparent to the crown. For he thought:


"To make him king": Either to take him into partnership in the throne with him in his lifetime, or to appoint and declare him to be his successor.


This is very similar to David choosing Solomon, of all of his brothers, to rule in his stead. David had several sons older than Solomon. He loved Bath-sheba more than his other wives and made her son king in his stead. Rehoboam made Abijah king in his stead, because he loved Maachah more than the other wives.


2 Chronicles 11:23 "And he dealt wisely, and dispersed of all his children throughout all the countries of Judah and Benjamin, unto every fenced city: and he gave them victual in abundance. And he desired many wives."


Despite his wisdom in administering the various parts of his kingdom through his sons, he perpetuated the folly of Solomon, his father, in desiring "many wives" (compare 1 Kings 11:1-4).


This dispersing of his children in the cities was so the cities would stay loyal to him. By providing separate places for his children, there would be less jealousy between each other as well. He was very rich from Solomon's wealth, so he provided abundantly for them all.


2 Chronicles Chapter 11 Questions


  1. How many men of war did Rehoboam gather in Jerusalem?
  2. What tribes were they from?
  3. What prophecy had been fulfilled?
  4. A Word of prophecy came for these people from what man of God?
  5. What was the prophecy?
  6. What effect did that have on Rehoboam's plans?
  7. What did God remind all of these tribes of?
  8. Where did Rehoboam live?
  9. Name the cities he built for defense.
  10. How many cities were there?
  11. Where were most of them built?
  12. What was an earlier name for Beth-lehem?
  13. What did he put in the cities?
  14. What were the weapons of war?
  15. Soon, Benjamin and Judah would be spoken of as ________.
  16. What did the priests and the Levites do?
  17. Who did Jeroboam choose for priests?
  18. Verse 16 is speaking of whom?
  19. What happened to the kingdom of Judah?
  20. How many years did Rehoboam do right in God's sight?
  21. Who was Rehoboam's first wife?
  22. How many wives did he have?
  23. How many concubines did he have?
  24. How many sons were born to him?
  25. How many daughters did he have?
  26. Which of Rehoboam's sons did he make chief?
  27. Where did his families live?



Go to Previous Section | Go to Next Section | Return to Top

Return to 2 Chronicles Menu | Return to Bible Menu


2 Chronicles 12



2 Chronicles Chapter 12

Verses 1-4: The words "all Israel" here refer to the southern kingdom, Judah. "Shishak" (Sheshonq in certain historical texts), was a military commander and the appointed heir of Pharaoh Psusennes II, who died without producing a son.


"Fifth year": Ca. 926 B.C. Presumably, Rehoboam's 3 years of blessing preceded a fourth year of spiritual rebellion, which God judged in his fifth year with judgment at the hand of the Egyptians.


2 Chronicles 12:1 "And it came to pass, when Rehoboam had established the kingdom, and had strengthened himself, he forsook the law of the LORD, and all Israel with him."


Or when the kingdom of Rehoboam was established. The tribes of Judah and Benjamin being firmly attached to him, and great numbers from the other tribes coming over to him, and things going on peaceably and prosperously during the three years that he and his people abode by the pure worship of God.


"And had strengthened himself": Built fortified cities for the defense of himself and kingdom (2 Chron. 11:5), he forsook the law of the Lord. After he had reigned three years, and was become strong, and thought himself safe and secure on the throne, trusting to his strength.


"And all Israel with him": The greater part of them following the example of their king; of this defection, and the sins they fell into (see 1 Kings 14:22).


We find that it did not take Rehoboam long to turn his back on the LORD. We saw a little of this in the beginning of the last lesson. He was a really evil man down deep in his heart. It appears that it was not just the king involved in this sin, but all of the people as well. Sodomy was one of the sins they were involved in. The grove worship they had gotten into was a religion of sensuousness.



Verses 12:2-5: "Shishak": He ruled over Egypt (ca. 945 - 924 B.C.). An Egyptian record of this invasion written on stone has been found, recording that Shishak's army penetrated all the way north to the Sea of Galilee. He wanted to restore Egypt's once-great power, but was unable to conquer both Israel and Judah. However, he was able to destroy cities in Judah and gain some control of trade routes. Judah came under Egyptian control.


2 Chronicles 12:2 "And it came to pass, [that] in the fifth year of king Rehoboam Shishak king of Egypt came up against Jerusalem, because they had transgressed against the LORD,"


It appears that by the "fifth year" of his reign, "King Rehoboam" had forgotten God. Perhaps he had begun to feel overly confident because he had so strengthened the cities in his realm (11:5-12). Power without accountability has a corrosive effect on the human heart.


For Shishak" (see the note on 1 kings 14:25-26).


One of the ways the LORD punished people, was by sending an army to war against them. Shishak was the son of the Assyrian king Nimrod. He had befriended Jeroboam in Egypt, when he was hiding from Solomon. This does not mean that Shishak was a righteous man. It means that God allowed him to come against Rehoboam and the people of Judah because of their sins.


2 Chronicles 12:3 "With twelve hundred chariots, and threescore thousand horsemen: and the people [were] without number that came with him out of Egypt; the Lubim, the Sukkiim, and the Ethiopians."


The "Lubim" were Libyan contingents. The "Sukkiim" were foreign mercenaries in Pharaoh's army.


This was a tremendous host of chariots and horsemen. Sixty thousand horsemen were an unusually large number, but could easily be correct. Solomon had that many, and more, when he was in power. The Lubims are the Libyians. Sukkiims were Arabs. And the Ethiopians are still a country of Africa today. They were descendants of Cush, the eldest son of Ham.


2 Chronicles 12:4 "And he took the fenced cities which [pertained] to Judah, and came to Jerusalem."


Which Rehoboam had lately built, and placed his sons in them (2 Chron. 11:5). These he took without any opposition.


"And came to Jerusalem": There being no army to oppose him. And so Sesostris took many countries without fighting, and among the rest Phoenicia, as Manetho relates, in which Judea may be included.


These fenced cities were the fifteen that we read of in the previous lesson. They had been well-fortified, but were not strong enough to ward off this type of attack. They came to Jerusalem, but not into Jerusalem.


2 Chronicles 12:5 "Then came Shemaiah the prophet to Rehoboam, and [to] the princes of Judah, that were gathered together to Jerusalem because of Shishak, and said unto them, Thus saith the LORD, Ye have forsaken me, and therefore have I also left you in the hand of Shishak."


The same as in (2 Chron. 11:2), there called the man of God.


"And to the princes of Judah that were gathered together to Jerusalem because of Shishak": Through fear of him, and for safety and protection from him, and to consult what was to be done at this critical juncture. Whether to fight him, or make peace with him on the best terms they could.


"And said unto them, thus saith the Lord, ye have forsaken me": His law, his word, worship, and ordinances (2 Chron. 12:1).


"And therefore have I also left you in the hand of Shishak": Suffered him to invade their land, take their fenced cities, and come up to Jerusalem without any opposition, as a punishment of their apostasy. And to explain this providence to them, and call them to repentance, was the prophet sent.


The princes were the leaders just under Rehoboam. They were not necessarily his sons. The LORD had sent them the prophet Shemaiah, to tell them why they were losing the battle with Shishak. It was not the strength of Shishak, it is the fact that the LORD is angry with Judah and Rehoboam.



Verses 6-7: "Humbled themselves": In the face of the Egyptian conqueror, the leaders responded to the Word of God through the prophet (verse 5), and repented, so that God would end His wrath worked through Shishak.


God kept His promise to Solomon at the dedication of the temple, that He would listen when people "humbled themselves", prayed, sought God, and turned from their evil ways (7:14). The consequences for their actions, however, were still to come: the leaders would be enslaved to Shishak so they would understand what service to the Lord was like in comparison to serving another king.


2 Chronicles 12:6 "Whereupon the princes of Israel and the king humbled themselves; and they said, The LORD [is] righteous."


Both by words acknowledging their sins, and the justice of God, and by deeds. Perhaps putting on sackcloth, as was usual on such occasions, and betaking themselves to fasting and prayer.


"And they said, the Lord is righteous": In giving them up into the hand of their enemies, seeing they had forsaken him, and sinned against him.


The princes and Rehoboam knew that what the prophet said was true. They had sinned and deserved to be destroyed. They repented of their sins, and spoke of the righteousness of God.


2 Chronicles 12:7 "And when the LORD saw that they humbled themselves, the word of the LORD came to Shemaiah, saying, They have humbled themselves; [therefore] I will not destroy them, but I will grant them some deliverance; and my wrath shall not be poured out upon Jerusalem by the hand of Shishak."


Though but externally. The Lord takes notice of external humiliation, as he did of Ahab's (1 Kings 21:29).


"The word of the Lord came to Shemaiah, saying, they have humbled themselves, therefore I will not destroy them": Not now, at least not altogether (2 Chron. 12:12).


"But I will grant them some deliverance": Yet not a complete one, for they were brought into servitude by Shishak (2 Chron. 12:8), or only for a short time.


"And my wrath shall not be poured out against Jerusalem by the hand of Shishak": That is, to the uttermost. That was reserved to another time, and to be done by another hand, Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon.


This was a reprieve for the moment. God would not let this king destroy Jerusalem. If they had truly repented and would turn to Him again in sincerity, He would bless them mightily. If they go back into their evil the minute their trouble is over, then another king would come and destroy them. Their deliverance was for as long as they were faithful to the LORD.


2 Chronicles 12:8 "Nevertheless they shall be his servants; that they may know my service, and the service of the kingdoms of the countries."


"Nevertheless": A fitting punishment arose to remind the Jews of their heritage in relationship to Egypt. This was the first major military encounter with Egypt since the Exodus had ended hundreds of years of slavery there. A taste of being enslaved again to a people from whom God had given liberation was bitter. The message was crystal clear, if the Jews would forsake the true worship of God, they would also lose His protective hand of blessing. It was much better to serve God than to have to serve "kingdoms of the countries".


They would have their lives spared, but would suffer great monetary loss. Judah would pay taxes to Shishak, as the countries around had paid tribute to Solomon in the past. They would be working for Shishak.



Verses 9-16 (see notes on 1 Kings 14:25-30).


2 Chronicles 12:9 "So Shishak king of Egypt came up against Jerusalem, and took away the treasures of the house of the LORD, and the treasures of the king's house; he took all: he carried away also the shields of gold which Solomon had made."


"Against Jerusalem": After the parenthetical section (verses 5-8), describing the state of the beleaguered court, the historian returns to discuss the attack on Jerusalem and the pillage of the temple and palace.


The tremendous value in gold that had been in the temple in Solomon's time would be in the hands of these invaders. The temple and the house of the king was stripped of all of the gold.



Verses 10-11: "Brass": The pure gold was replaced by brass, which was carefully guarded.


2 Chronicles 12:10 "Instead of which king Rehoboam made shields of brass, and committed [them] to the hands of the chief of the guard, that kept the entrance of the king's house."


The mention of the "shields of brass" indicates the price that Rehoboam had paid for his sin, even though the Lord had relented. The brass shields were not nearly as valuable as the gold shields that Solomon had made.


We remember there was so much brass that it could not even be weighed. This would still be plentiful, and would be as strong as the gold shields they had. "Brass" means judgement. We find that the people of Judah had been judged and found guilty of sin. God did spare their lives however.


2 Chronicles 12:11 "And when the king entered into the house of the LORD, the guard came and fetched them, and brought them again into the guard chamber."


The temple; for though he had fallen into idolatry, he had not wholly forsaken the worship of God in the temple, and perhaps by the late humbling providence he might be stirred up to attend there more frequently.


"The guard came and fetched them": Before him, partly for pomp and grandeur, and partly to keep in awe such as were inclined to mutiny and sedition.


"And brought them again into the guard chamber": When the king returned, the place where the guard lodged and slept by turns.


It appears the guards accompanied Rehoboam to the temple. They stayed outside, and Rehoboam went in and humbled himself before God.


2 Chronicles 12:12 "And when he humbled himself, the wrath of the LORD turned from him, that he would not destroy [him] altogether: and also in Judah things went well."


(Compare 12:7). God preserved Judah because of her repentance.


God forgave Rehoboam and the people of Judah. They were without their great wealth, but their lives had been spared. They had much to be thankful for. When God's wrath was stopped, blessings came in.


2 Chronicles 12:13 "So king Rehoboam strengthened himself in Jerusalem, and reigned: for Rehoboam [was] one and forty years old when he began to reign, and he reigned seventeen years in Jerusalem, the city which the LORD had chosen out of all the tribes of Israel, to put his name there. And his mother's name [was] Naamah an Ammonitess."


(Ca. 931 - 913 B.C.). By the general revival of true worship, Rehoboam's reign acquired new life and continued many years after the departure of Shishak. Sadly, he faltered (verse 14), probably due largely to his heathen mother (verse 13).


Finally, it appears that Rehoboam had grown up and made a decision on his own. He repented, and it helped him and the whole country. The marauders had gone, and left Jerusalem intact. He reigned until he was 58 years old. God's wishes were that all of Israel would worship in Jerusalem, where He had put His name. They would not. They sought false gods. The ten tribes of Israel would fall first, because they went into idolatry stronger and quicker than did Judah.


2 Chronicles 12:14 "And he did evil, because he prepared not his heart to seek the LORD."


Rehoboam's legacy is forever summed up with these words: "he did evil". The only way anyone can avoid the same judgment is to commit oneself wholly to the Lord.


This is a summation of his reign. He was an evil man and did not seek God, as David and Solomon had done.


2 Chronicles 12:15 "Now the acts of Rehoboam, first and last, [are] they not written in the book of Shemaiah the prophet, and of Iddo the seer concerning genealogies? And [there were] wars between Rehoboam and Jeroboam continually."


"Now the acts of Rehoboam": Of these two verses (see 1 Kings 14:29; 14:30; 14:31).


These wars between Rehoboam and Jeroboam were more like disputes. They fought a little, but never got into an all-out war. The books mentioned above, are not in the Bible, and are of a more historical nature.


2 Chronicles 12:16 "And Rehoboam slept with his fathers, and was buried in the city of David: and Abijah his son reigned in his stead."


"Abijah": (Compare 11:20, 22). In (1 Kings 15:3), he is called a great sinner. But consistent with his pattern, the writer of the Chronicles highlights the little good he did to indicate that he was still in line with God's covenant promise to David.


We read earlier that this was Rehoboam's favorite son by his favorite wife. He had planned from early on that Abijah would take his place as king. He was buried in Jerusalem with David and Solomon.


2 Chronicles Chapter 12 Questions


  1. When did Rehoboam forsake the LORD?
  2. What was one of the sins he was involved in?
  3. _________ king of Egypt came against Jerusalem.
  4. Why had this happened to Judah?
  5. Who was Shishak's father?
  6. When had he befriended Jeroboam?
  7. How many chariots did he bring with him?
  8. How many horsemen did he bring against Judah?
  9. Who were the Lubims?
  10. Sukkiims were __________.
  11. The Ethiopians were descended from whom?
  12. This is speaking of which fenced cities?
  13. Who was the prophet that brought the message from God?
  14. What was the message?
  15. Why did God decide not to kill them?
  16. What punishment did he allow to come on them?
  17. What did Shishak take out of the temple and the king's house?
  18. Rehoboam made the new shields out of ________.
  19. When did the wrath of God turn from him?
  20. How old was Rehoboam when he began to reign?
  21. How long did he reign?
  22. Why did Rehoboam do evil?
  23. What world books contain more on Rehoboam's life?
  24. The wars were really what?
  25. Where was he buried?



Go to Previous Section | Go to Next Section | Return to Top

Return to 2 Chronicles Menu | Return to Bible Menu


2 Chronicles 13



2 Chronicles Chapter 13

Verses 1-22: In the succession of Judah's kings, the reign of Abijah/Abijam is next (ca. 913 - 911 B.C.; compare 1 Kings 15:1-8). The disobedient nature of Abijah's reign is mentioned in (1 Kings 15:3), as is his faithless treaty with Syria (2 Chron. 16:3).


The writer chooses to focus on this incident when "Abijah" called on the Lord, but (1 Kings 15:3), sums up his life by saying, "his heart was not perfect with the Lord his God". This positive focus is probably in order to emphasize the covenant God made with David and encourage those returning from the exile.


2 Chronicles 13:1 "Now in the eighteenth year of king Jeroboam began Abijah to reign over Judah."


Reading this literally, it will appear that Rehoboam had completed a full seventeen years. The history of Abijah's reign is here related far more fully than in Kings (marginal reference), especially as regards with his war with Jeroboam.


(See the note on 1 Kings 14:31).


It appears, from this, that Rehoboam and Jeroboam began to reign the same year. They had both finished their 17 years of reign, when Rehoboam died and his son Abijah took his place.


2 Chronicles 13:2 "He reigned three years in Jerusalem. His mother's name also [was] Michaiah the daughter of Uriel of Gibeah. And there was war between Abijah and Jeroboam."


(See 1 Kings 15:2).


"His mother's name also was Michaiah the daughter of Uriel of Gibeah" (see 2 Chron. 11:20; 1 Kings 15:2).


"And there was war between Abijah and Jeroboam": And in this chapter, is an account of a battle fought between them, which is not recorded in the book of Kings.


Abijah is the same as Abijam and Abia. This Michaiah is the same as Maachah. During this 3 year period it seemed there was war between Jeroboam and Abijah. This was not like the skirmishes they had earlier. It was the desire of Abijah to force the ten tribes back under the control of the house of Judah.


2 Chronicles 13:3 And Abijah set the battle in array with an army of valiant men of war, [even] four hundred thousand chosen men: Jeroboam also set the battle in array against him with eight hundred thousand chosen men, [being] mighty men of valor.


See notes on (1 Kings 15:1-8). These numbers are large, but not surprising, given the immense number of capable men who could fight, as counted in David's census (compare 1 Chron. 21:5). Both armies were set for civil war.


It would appear that 800,000 men would destroy 400,000, but that does not take God into account. Abijah's 400,000 actually killed 500,000 of Jeroboam's men.


2 Chronicles 13:4 "And Abijah stood up upon mount Zemaraim, which [is] in mount Ephraim, and said, Hear me, thou Jeroboam, and all Israel;"


"Mount Zemaraim": The exact location is unknown, but it is likely near Beth-el (Joshua 18:22), inside Israel's territory.


This seemed to be a mountain area over the battlefield. This had to be an area where his voice would carry. He was speaking to Jeroboam, but also to all of the men of the ten tribes as well.


2 Chronicles 13:5 "Ought ye not to know that the LORD God of Israel gave the kingdom over Israel to David for ever, [even] to him and to his sons by a covenant of salt?"


"Covenant of salt" means a binding agreement faithfully upheld by the covenantal parties (compare Num. 18:19). God's answering faithfulness to the Davidic covenant is hereby asserted.


"Salt" is associated elsewhere with the Mosaic Covenant sacrifices (Lev. 2:13), the Priestly Covenant (Num. 18:19), and the New Covenant symbolic sacrifices in the millennial kingdom (Ezek. 43:24). The preservative quality of salt represents the fidelity or loyalty intended in keeping the covenant. Here it would refer to God's irrevocable pledge and intended loyalty in fulfilling the Davidic Covenant and God's desire for the loyalty of David's lineage to Him if the people are to enjoy the blessings of the covenant.


This kingdom over Israel was given to David and his descendants on a conditional basis. They must remain faithful to God. The people had broken covenant with God. The "covenant of salt" was to show its preserving factor. It was a sign that this covenant would not go bad.


2 Chronicles 13:6 "Yet Jeroboam the son of Nebat, the servant of Solomon the son of David, is risen up, and hath rebelled against his lord."


For the story of Jeroboam, read (1 Kings 11:26-40 and 2 Chron. Chapter 10). He was the first king of the northern kingdom called Israel.


This is just saying that Jeroboam had no right to rule over the Israelites. He was not of the family of David.



Verses 7-9: Jeroboam built the "golden calves" which became symbols of his wickedness (1 Kings 16:26; 22:52; 2 Kings 3:3; 10:29; 13:2), and allowed anyone to serve as a priest to "them that are no gods". God had reserved the role of the priest for those of the tribe of Levi, sons of Aaron (Exodus 28:1). Violating this holy calling was an offense to God.


2 Chronicles 13:7 "And there are gathered unto him vain men, the children of Belial, and have strengthened themselves against Rehoboam the son of Solomon, when Rehoboam was young and tenderhearted, and could not withstand them."


"Young": He was 41 (compare 2 Chron. 12:13).


For the "children of Belial" (see the note on Judges 19:22).


Rehoboam was 41 years old, when he began to reign. He was not a youngster. This seems so strange that he continues to be spoken of as a child. Perhaps he was one of those men who never grew up. We do know that Rehoboam was a weak person. He was very unsure of himself.


2 Chronicles 13:8 "And now ye think to withstand the kingdom of the LORD in the hand of the sons of David; and ye [be] a great multitude, and [there are] with you golden calves, which Jeroboam made you for gods."


"Kingdom of the Lord": Abijah reminds all that the Davidic Covenant is God's expressed will concerning who would rule on His behalf in the earthly kingdom. Thus, Judah is God's nation, since the king is in the line of David.


"Golden calves": Compare (1 Kings 12:25-33; 2 Chron. 11:15). Israel was full of idols and false priests, having driven out all the Levitical priests and, with them, the true worship of God.


Jeroboam had done a terrible thing in making the two golden calves to symbolize God. Jeroboam did this to cause the people to have a point of contact, so they would not feel they had to come back to the temple in Jerusalem to worship. They were actually mixing their worship of Jehovah with paganism. Jeroboam thought that his army which was twice as large as the army of Judah, would easily destroy Judah. He had overlooked the power of God. Abijah told the army of Jeroboam that Judah was the kingdom of the LORD.


2 Chronicles 13:9 "Have ye not cast out the priests of the LORD, the sons of Aaron, and the Levites, and have made you priests after the manner of the nations of [other] lands? so that whosoever cometh to consecrate himself with a young bullock and seven rams, [the same] may be a priest of [them that are] no gods."


Because they would not sacrifice to his idols, and that they might not instruct the people in the pure worship of God. And that he and his people might be free from the payment of tithes, firstfruits, etc. And their cities fall into his hands.


"And have made you priests after the manner of the nations of other lands?" After the manner of the Gentiles, without any regard to any particular tribe, which God had appointed those to be taken from.


"So that whosoever cometh to consecrate himself with a young bullock and seven rams": Which were five more than what were required by the law of Moses for the consecration of a priest (Exodus 29:1). The same:


"May be a priest of them that are no gods": By nature, only nominal and fictitious deities, as the calves were, which had no divinity in them (see 1 Kings 13:31).


There is a question of whether they cast the priests out, or whether the priests left because they refused to add the golden calves to the worship services. They had not remained with the Levitical tribe for priests. They chose men who wanted to be a priest and anointed them. Some of the things they did were Scriptural, but most of the things they did were pagan practices.



Verses 10-12: Abijah confessed a national commitment to pure worship and thus confidence in God's favor in battle.


2 Chronicles 13:10 "But as for us, the LORD [is] our God, and we have not forsaken him; and the priests, which minister unto the LORD, [are] the sons of Aaron, and the Levites [wait] upon [their] business:"


The Word of the Lord, as the Targum. We know and acknowledge no other. Not the calves at Dan and Bethel, nor any other idols, only the one living and true God.


"And we have not forsaken him": His laws, statutes, ordinances, and worship. For though Abijah was not a religious man, yet it seems the form of religion was kept up, and temple service was observed, in his days.


"And the priests which minister unto the Lord": By offering sacrifices, and burning incense.


"Are the sons of Aaron": And they only.


"And the Levites wait upon their business": Some in singing songs of praise, vocally and instrumentally. Others in keeping the doors of the temple and the treasures of the house of God. And others in assisting the priests at the altar.


These priests of Levi who were descended from Aaron, were the chosen of God for this purpose. The purpose of the priests was to keep the people worshipping God in an acceptable manner. The priest had great power over the people. He would even speak to a king of the errors in his reign, if God had him to. He was the spiritual guide for the nation. God had prepared the office of priest to keep His people following Him, and not worshipping false gods.


2 Chronicles 13:11 "And they burn unto the LORD every morning and every evening burnt sacrifices and sweet incense: the showbread also [set they in order] upon the pure table; and the candlestick of gold with the lamps thereof, to burn every evening: for we keep the charge of the LORD our God; but ye have forsaken him."


That is, the priests. The one they did on the altar of burnt offering, and the other on the altar of incense. And both every day, morning and evening.


"The showbread also set they in order upon the pure table": The showbread table, every sabbath day, when they took the old bread off, which had stood there a week.


"And the candlestick of gold, with the lamps thereof, to burn every evening": These were lighted every evening, and dressed every morning. And though there were ten tables and ten candlesticks in Solomon's temple, yet only one of each was used at a time. And therefore from hence it is not to be concluded that all the rest were taken away by Shishak.


"For we keep the charge of the Lord our God": Observe all the rites and ceremonies, laws, and ordinances enjoined by him. The Targum is, "the charge of the Word of the Lord our God:"


"But ye have forsaken him": His fear or worship, as the same paraphrase.


The High Priest represented the people to God, and represented God to the people. The burning of the incense twice a day symbolized the prayers of the saints which rose to heaven. The "showbread" symbolized the presence of the Lord Jesus, who is the Bread of Life. When the temple was there and the priests did as God had charged them to do, Judah was blessed. It was when they became unfaithful to God, that the blessings of God were taken away.


2 Chronicles 13:12 "And, behold, God himself [is] with us for [our] captain, and his priests with sounding trumpets to cry alarm against you. O children of Israel, fight ye not against the LORD God of your fathers; for ye shall not prosper."


To go before our armies, and fight our battles for us.


"And his priests with sounding trumpets to cry alarm against you": Which was one use of the trumpets, that the people might be remembered by the Lord, and saved from their enemies (Num. 10:9). So that this circumstance was against Jeroboam and his army, and for Abijah and his.


"O children of Israel, fight ye not against the Lord God of your fathers": For fighting against his people, that retained the pure worship of him, was fighting against him.


"For you shall not prosper": He seems to be assured of victory.


This was a tremendous closing statement by Abijah. Those who are not with God, are against Him. If Jeroboam had built the golden calves, he was not with God. God puts great importance to His people obeying Him. To have priests that are not of the Levitical tribe, would be in total disobedience to God. Abijah is trying to tell them, if they were against Judah, they were against God.


2 Chronicles 13:13 "But Jeroboam caused an ambushment to come about behind them: so they were before Judah, and the ambushment [was] behind them."


While Abijah was making his oration, he detached a party from his army. Which got about, and lay in ambush, behind the army of Abijah.


"So they were before Judah": Jeroboam and the greater part of his army.


"And the ambushment was behind them": Which Jeroboam had sent thither.


This did not affect Jeroboam at all. He totally disregarded what was said. While Abijah was speaking, the troops of Jeroboam ambushed him from behind and from in front.



Verses 14-18: Despite being greatly outnumbered, the "children of Judah prevailed". God intervened, not because He favored Judah over Israel (compare 25:17-28), but because they trusted in Him.


2 Chronicles 13:14 "And when Judah looked back, behold, the battle [was] before and behind: and they cried unto the LORD, and the priests sounded with the trumpets."


On hearing a noise behind them.


"Behold, the battle was before and behind": Men were set in battle array, and the battle was begun, and an attack made upon them both ways.


"And they cried unto the Lord": For help against their enemies, and to deliver them out of their hands.


"And the priests sounded with the trumpets": To inspire them with cheerfulness, and to suggest to them that God was with them and they need not be afraid.


God is our very present help in trouble, and He was their help as well. The blowing of the trumpet was for war, but it was the sound of victory also. The people would come to the trumpet blown. God heard their prayers.


2 Chronicles 13:15 "Then the men of Judah gave a shout: and as the men of Judah shouted, it came to pass, that God smote Jeroboam and all Israel before Abijah and Judah."


"God smote Jeroboam and all Israel": At the time of certain defeat, with 400,000 troops behind and the same number in front, Judah was saved by divine intervention. What God did is unknown, but the army of Israel began to flee (verse 16), and the soldiers of Judah massacred 500,000 of them in an unimaginable blood bath (verse 17).


This was a shout of triumph. Notice, God smote Jeroboam and his troops.


2 Chronicles 13:16 "And the children of Israel fled before Judah: and God delivered them into their hand."


Were in such a fright and consternation, that they could not stand their ground, or engage at all. But took to flight immediately.


"And God delivered them into their hand": To be taken and slain by them.


The power of God was with Judah, and these of Israel knew it and fled for their lives.


2 Chronicles 13:17 "And Abijah and his people slew them with a great slaughter: so there fell down slain of Israel five hundred thousand chosen men."


Before the battle, Jeroboam outnumbered Abijah two to one (13:3). After the fray, in which the Lord intervened on behalf of Judah, Abijah outnumbered Jeroboam 4 to 3.


The men that fell of the ten tribes of Israel that day were more than the entire army of Judah. This left no doubt that God was fighting for Judah.


2 Chronicles 13:18 "Thus the children of Israel were brought under at that time, and the children of Judah prevailed, because they relied upon the LORD God of their fathers."


Humbled and weakened, but not reduced to the government of the house of David.


"And the children of Judah prevailed": Or grew strong.


"Because they relied upon the Lord God of their fathers": Trusted in him, and not in an arm of flesh. The Targum is, "in the Word of the Lord God of their fathers."


Judah had put their trust in God, and not in their own strength. Their victory was in God.


2 Chronicles 13:19 "And Abijah pursued after Jeroboam, and took cities from him, Beth-el with the towns thereof, and Jeshanah with the towns thereof, and Ephrain with the towns thereof."


As he and his army fled.


"And took cities from him": The following ones.


"Beth-el with the towns thereof": The villages adjoining to it. Here one of the calves was set up, which either Jeroboam took care to remove before this place fell into the hands of Abijah. Or Abijah let it remain, and did not destroy it.


"And Jeshanah with the towns thereof": Which Reland thinks is the same that is called by Jerom, Jethaba.


"And Ephrain with the towns thereof": A city so called, thought to be the same that is mentioned in the passage (see notes on John 11:54). It is here called, in the Targum, Ephron. So Jerom calls it, and says it was Sichem.


These are cities that had belonged to Judah, which had been taken in the time of Rehoboam. Now, God had restored them to Judah. Beth-el had been one of the two places where Jeroboam had set up the golden calf to be worshipped. The taking of Beth-el was not only a defeat for Jeroboam, but for the false god too.


2 Chronicles 13:20 "Neither did Jeroboam recover strength again in the days of Abijah: and the LORD struck him, and he died."


So as to bring an army into the field against him, and fight him.


"And the Lord struck him": By some Jewish writers, this is interpreted of Abijah. And the reason of his being stricken, they say, was because he did not destroy the calf when he took Beth-el. But it is best to understand it of Jeroboam, since Abijah is afterwards said to wax mighty.


"And he died": Not immediately, for he lived two years after Abijah (1 Kings 14:20). But continued under a lingering disease he was smitten with, and which issued in his death. Again, God acted in a manner not described, to end the life of this wicked ruler (ca. 910 B.C.).


He was a very sinful king who caused Israel to sin with the golden calves. Jeroboam reigned 22 years. He was very evil, and the LORD killed him.


2 Chronicles 13:21 "But Abijah waxed mighty, and married fourteen wives, and begat twenty and two sons, and sixteen daughters."


In his kingdom, increasing in riches and numbers, power and authority, and in his family.


"And married fourteen wives, and begat twenty and two sons and sixteen daughters": Not after the above battle, nor since he began to reign. For he reigned but three years; but he, no doubt, married wives and had children before he came to the throne, as he might have others after.


Abijah followed in Solomon's and his father's footsteps, and married many wives. In the latter days of his reign, he drifted away from the law of God.


2 Chronicles 13:22 "And the rest of the acts of Abijah, and his ways, and his sayings, [are] written in the story of the prophet Iddo."


See the note on (1 Chron. 29:29). The term "acts" (Hebrew midrash), here refers to an interpretive study of an earlier work (compare 24:27). It was later used by Jewish scholars to designate a collection of expository comments on the Old Testament Scriptures gathered together from the first century B.C. to the third century A.D.


We have heard a great deal about these historical records that were kept, which were not part of the Bible.


2 Chronicles Chapter 13 Questions


  1. When did Abijah begin to reign?
  2. Who was his mother?
  3. What are two other names for him?
  4. What was the desire of Abijah?
  5. How many men of war did Abijah have?
  6. How many men did Jeroboam have?
  7. Why did Abijah stand on this point of the mountain to speak?
  8. Who did he say, God gave all of Israel to, to rule over?
  9. What did the "salt covenant" mean?
  10. Who did he say, Jeroboam had rebelled against?
  11. What did he call the men, that were with Jeroboam?
  12. How old was Rehoboam, when he began to reign?
  13. What had Jeroboam made for them, to symbolize God to them?
  14. Why were there no Levitical priests in the ten tribes of Israel?
  15. What kind of religion were they practicing?
  16. Who had chosen the descendants of Aaron to be the priests?
  17. What was the real purpose of a priest?
  18. What were some of the things the priests did, mentioned in verse 11?
  19. What did the "showbread" symbolize?
  20. Who did Abijah say was with them?
  21. Who did he tell them they were really fighting against?
  22. What did Jeroboam do, while Abijah was talking?
  23. What did Judah do, when they realized they were ambushed?
  24. What did the priests do, that frightened the troops of Jeroboam?
  25. How many men fell of Jeroboam?
  26. What cities did Abijah take from Jeroboam?
  27. How long did Jeroboam reign?
  28. How many wives and children did Abijah have?
  29. Where is there more written about this?
  30. What kind of records would they be called?



Go to Previous Section | Go to Next Section | Return to Top

Return to 2 Chronicles Menu | Return to Bible Menu


2 Chronicles 14



2 Chronicles Chapter 14

Verses 14:1 - 16:14: The reign of Asa (ca. 911 to 870 B.C.; compare 1 Kings 15:9-24).


Verses 1-2: (1 Kings 15:11), says that Asa did as his forefather David had done, honoring God while building the kingdom (verses 6-8). Times of peace were used for strengthening.


2 Chronicles 14:1 "So Abijah slept with his fathers, and they buried him in the city of David: and Asa his son reigned in his stead. In his days the land was quiet ten years."


The history of the southern kingdom is a study in contrasts: for instance, the first two kings were basically bad kings who had moments of goodness; the next two kings were basically good kings who had moments of badness.


The city of David was in Jerusalem. The son of Abijah was Asa. He was a good king, who reigned 41 years in Judah. Asa was strong in his belief of worship of the One True God. He was greatly opposed to idolatry. He even removed his grandmother as queen mother, because she had an idol. The first ten years of his reign was a time of peace.



Verses 2-3: When "Asa" took the throne of Judah after his father (Abijah), died. He determined to do "that which was good and right in the eyes of the Lord his God". During his 41year reign (910-869 B.C.), he sought to restore the ways of David (1 Kings 15:9-24).


2 Chronicles 14:2 "And Asa did [that which was] good and right in the eyes of the LORD his God:"


Asa was Rehoboam's grandson, and came to the throne when a young man. The two preceding reigns had favored idolatry. But the young king had a will of his own, and inaugurated a religious revolution, with which and its happy results this passage deals.


Happy they that walk by this rule. That do not only that which is right in their own eyes, or in the eyes of the world, but which is so in God's eyes. Asa saw that God's eye was always upon him, and therefore he kept his eye always upon God. Studied to approve himself to him, and endeavored in all things to please him.


He burned the idols he could find, and worshipped the True God. He restored the worship in the temple in its proper way.



Verses 3-8: During this time of peace "on every side", Asa worked hard to institute major reforms: he cleansed the kingdom of idolatry; he commanded Judah to "seek the Lord" and "to do the law"; he constructed "fenced cities" to protect the people from mighty men of valor. This was not a time of revival; this was simply reformation during a time of peace.


Asa removed elements of false worship that had accumulated over the years of Solomon, Rehoboam, and Abijah (compare 1 Kings 15:12-13). Apparently, he did not remove all the high places or, once removed, they reappeared (compare 15:17; 1 Kings 15:14). His son Jehoshaphat later had to remove them (compare 2 Chron. 17:6), although not completely (compare 20:33). This was done in an effort to comply with (Deut. 12:2-3).


2 Chronicles 14:3 "For he took away the altars of the strange [gods], and the high places, and brake down the images, and cut down the groves:"


Or of a strange people. Of the Zidonians, Ammonites, and Moabites, which had remained from the times of Solomon, and which he built for his wives (1 Kings 11:7).


"And the high places": Built for idols. For as for those on which the true God was worshipped, they were not removed in his days (1 Kings 15:14).


"And brake down the images": Or statues, or pillars, erected to the honor of idols, and on which the images of them were placed.


"And cut down the groves": In the midst of which they stood. For "groves" (see the note on Judges 3:6-7).


It seemed that Asa's father had allowed the worship of idols along with the worship of Jehovah. The favorite place for this false worship was in the groves and the high places. The strange gods here, are speaking of false gods that strangers had brought into Judah. He established the temple as the place of worship for Judah.


2 Chronicles 14:4 "And commanded Judah to seek the LORD God of their fathers, and to do the law and the commandment."


To pray to him, and him only, and attend his worship and service. This he did by a public edict.


"And to do the law and the commandment": To observe all the laws of God, moral, ceremonial, and civil.


The keeping of the law that God had given them, was what made them different from the countries around them. God had given the twelve tribes His law to live by on the way to the Promised Land. Every time they wandered away from the law, they fell. God's blessings on them were conditional on if they kept His law and commandments.


2 Chronicles 14:5 "Also he took away out of all the cities of Judah the high places and the images: and the kingdom was quiet before him."


Scripture records here that Asa "took away ... high places", yet the parallel account in (1 Kings 15:14), states that he did not remove the high places. This may be a matter of chronology: at the beginning of his reign, Asa did remove the high places, but then they gradually re-emerged in Judah over the span of his reign.


The images could have been anything they could see with their physical eyes. God is a Spirit. If you can see something or someone, with your physical eyes, it is not God. Whatever these were, they were idols. Asa tore them down.


2 Chronicles 14:6 "And he built fenced cities in Judah: for the land had rest, and he had no war in those years; because the LORD had given him rest."


For his defense against the kingdom of Israel and other nations, as Rehoboam had done before him. And which might have been demolished by Shishak king of Egypt, when he took them (2 Chron. 11:5).


"For the land had rest": According to the Targum, the land of Israel rested, and gave no disturbance to the kingdom of Judah, not having recovered the blow given them by Abijah. But it is rather to be understood of the land of Judah. Which, as it did not attempt the reduction of the ten tribes, so it was neither attacked by them, nor any other enemy.


"And he had no war in those years": In the ten years mentioned (2 Chron. 14:1). Neither with Israel nor any other nation.


"Because the Lord had given him rest": That he might be at leisure to do the above things. All rest is from the Lord, civil, spiritual, and eternal.


They could turn all of their energies to building, because there was no war. God had poured out His blessing upon them, because they were obeying His law and commandments.


2 Chronicles 14:7 "Therefore he said unto Judah, Let us build these cities, and make about [them] walls, and towers, gates, and bars, [while] the land [is] yet before us; because we have sought the LORD our God, we have sought [him], and he hath given us rest on every side. So they built and prospered."


To the nobles and principal men of the kingdom.


"Let us build these cities": Which he, no doubt, particularly mentioned by name, and pointed at. That is, repair and fortify them, and put them into a better condition of defense.


"And make about them walls and towers, gates and bars": Which are always made to fortified places, to protect the inhabitants, and keep out an enemy.


"While the land is yet before us": In our power, no enemy in it, nor any to hinder or molest.


"Because we have sought the Lord our God, we have sought him, and he hath given us rest on every side": Had set up his pure worship, reformed abuses in it, and removed idolatry from it. And closely attended to the service of the sanctuary, which was well pleasing to God. The happy effect of which they experienced, rest from all their enemies round about them. In this context, the word "rest" carries the sense of peace.


"So that they built, and prospered": They began, and went on, and finished, there being nothing to hinder them.


One of the major reasons the other countries left them alone, was possibly because they heard what God had done to Jeroboam and his men, when they came against them. True Peace and rest comes only from God. Notice, Asa was aware the peace was here, because they sought the LORD with all their hearts.


2 Chronicles 14:8 "And Asa had an army [of men] that bare targets and spears, out of Judah three hundred thousand; and out of Benjamin, that bare shields and drew bows, two hundred and fourscore thousand: all these [were] mighty men of valor."


Asa had an army of 580,000 compared to Abijah's 400,000 (2 Chron. 13:3).


This has jumped to a time after the 10 years of peace. This happened after the cities were finished. Asa had a very large army of 300,000 men of Judah. He also had 280,000 of the tribe of Benjamin. These were mighty men, because their strength was in their LORD.



Verses 9-15: A major threat developed from Zerah, the Ethiopian, probably on behalf of the Egyptian Pharaoh, who was attempting to regain control as Shishak had during the days of Rehoboam (compare 2 Chron. 12:7-8; ca. 901 - 900 B.C.).


For much of Israel' history, the Ethiopians were regarded as powerful warriors; therefore, their defeat demonstrated the mighty power of God. God not only defended Judah, but also helped Asa conquer "all the cities about Gerar", located near the Egyptian border.


2 Chronicles 14:9 "And there came out against them Zerah the Ethiopian with a host of a thousand thousand, and three hundred chariots; and came unto Mareshah."


"Mareshah": Located about 8 miles southeast of Gath and 25 miles southwest of Jerusalem. Rehoboam had earlier reinforced this city (2 Chron. 11:8).


The Ethiopian army was 1,000,000 strong. The Ethiopian, Zerah, was known as a Cushite. Most scholars believe this army included many Egyptians who were mercenaries. The chariots were a trademark of Egyptian armies.


2 Chronicles 14:10 "Then Asa went out against him, and they set the battle in array in the valley of Zephathah at Mareshah."


Notwithstanding he brought so great an army with him.


"And they set the battle in array in the valley of Zephathah at Mareshah": Where the Ethiopians were. He did not stay till they got further into his country, but marched against them when on the frontiers of it. And chose the valley to pitch in, as being more to the advantage of his smaller army (see Judges 1:17).


This Zephathah appears to be a long, deep valley near Philistia. Mareshah was a town of Judah near this valley. It is important to note the Ethiopians came against Judah.


2 Chronicles 14:11 "And Asa cried unto the LORD his God, and said, LORD, [it is] nothing with thee to help, whether with many, or with them that have no power: help us, O LORD our God; for we rest on thee, and in thy name we go against this multitude. O LORD, thou [art] our God; let not man prevail against thee."


Asa's appeal to God centered on God's omnipotence and reputation.


Asa's early trust in "God" is emphasized here. The battle against Zerah the Ethiopian is not recorded (in 1 Kings). Biblical Ethiopia (ancient Cush), is the modern Sudan.


This is a beautiful request of God from Asa. Asa and Judah cannot fail, because they have placed themselves in the hands of God. They knew they were outnumbered, but with God, one and God is a majority. This war was against God as much as it was against Asa and Judah. God would intervene.


2 Chronicles 14:12 "So the LORD smote the Ethiopians before Asa, and before Judah; and the Ethiopians fled." The glory for winning this battle was to be given to the LORD. He delivered Asa and Judah, and caused the Ethiopians to run in fear.


With consternation and terror; they were thrown into a panic.


"And the Ethiopians fled": Before them, just as Jeroboam and Israel had, as related in the preceding chapter (2 Chron. 13:15).



Verses 13-15: "Spoil": It appears that this great horde was a nomadic people who moved with all their possessions and had set up their camp near Gerar. The spoils of Judah's victory were immense.


2 Chronicles 14:13 "And Asa and the people that [were] with him pursued them unto Gerar: and the Ethiopians were overthrown, that they could not recover themselves; for they were destroyed before the LORD, and before his host; and they carried away very much spoil."


"Gerar": Approximately 8 miles south of Gaza on the Mediterranean coast. Egypt does not appear on the scene again for over 150 years (compare 2 Kings 17:4).


Asa and his men were the hands that the LORD used to win the battle, but it was the LORD who won the battle for Asa. Gerar is a Philistine city. It was Asa and his men who spoiled the Ethiopians and took many treasures home with them.


2 Chronicles 14:14 "And they smote all the cities round about Gerar; for the fear of the LORD came upon them: and they spoiled all the cities; for there was exceeding much spoil in them."


The cities of the Philistines, who were auxiliaries and confederates with these Ethiopians. And colonies from them, according to Theodoret, and who says, about Eleuthero-polis was a place, called in his time, Geraron Saton.


"For the fear of the Lord came upon them": So that they had no power to defend themselves, and oppose the men of Judah.


"And they spoiled all the cities": Of the goods and substance that were in them.


"For there was exceeding much spoil in them": Great wealth and riches of one kind or another.


It appears these Philistines had thrown in with these Ethiopians. They all lost together, and Asa spoiled all of the Philistine towns and cities near Gerar. It appears there was very little resistance from the Ethiopians, or the Philistines. The fear of the LORD had overcome them.


2 Chronicles 14:15 "They smote also the tents of cattle, and carried away sheep and camels in abundance, and returned to Jerusalem."


The people that dwelt in tents for the sake of the pasturage of their cattle; the Nomad Arabs, so called from dwelling in tents.


"And carried away sheep": Which those Arabs were feeding in Palestine, and which this great army brought with them for their support.


"And camels in abundance": Which is another circumstance proving them to be Arabs, who abounded with camels.


"And returned to Jerusalem": With their spoil, and with great joy


These were the tents of the invading army. This possibly had all of their back-up equipment. It was also full of animals possibly, to feed the million men that had come to fight. They would have no more need of these things. Asa and the men of Judah, took them as spoil of the battle.


2 Chronicles Chapter 14 Questions


  1. Where was Abijah buried?
  2. Who reigned in his stead?
  3. What kind of king was Asa?
  4. What did he do to his grandmother, that lets us know he was sincere in his belief in God?
  5. Where were the favorite places to worship false gods?
  6. What were the strange gods, in verse 3, speaking of?
  7. What made Judah different from the heathen countries?
  8. Who had God given His law to?
  9. How was God's blessings conditional?
  10. What can an image be?
  11. If you can see something, or someone, with your physical eyes, it is not _______.
  12. Why could they turn all of their energies to building?
  13. Why had the lands around them left them alone?
  14. How many from Judah were in Asa's army?
  15. How many from Benjamin were in Asa's army?
  16. How large was the Ethiopian army?
  17. Where did they meet in battle?
  18. Who smote the Ethiopians?
  19. How far did Asa pursue them?
  20. When they were overthrown, what did Asa do?
  21. Where else did Asa spoil?
  22. What did he take from the camp of the invading army?
  23. Why were there so many animals there?



Go to Previous Section | Go to Next Section | Return to Top

Return to 2 Chronicles Menu | Return to Bible Menu


2 Chronicles 15



2 Chronicles Chapter 15

Verses 1-2: After Asa's victory over the Ethiopians, the Spirit of God spoke powerfully to him through a prophet, Azariah the son of Oded". Perhaps God wanted to remind Asa to give Him credit for the victory and not take it for himself. Furthermore, this word encouraged Asa to continue to cleanse Judah from idols (15:8).


2 Chronicles 15:1 "And the Spirit of God came upon Azariah the son of Oded:"


"Spirit of God": An act of the Holy Spirit common in the Old Testament enabling servants of God to speak or act uniquely for Him.


"Azariah" This man was a prophet mentioned only here, who met Asa as he returned from the victory and spoke to him before all his army.


Asa's early years were spent wisely, his godly piety (14:2), being put to spiritual (14:4-5), and political purposes (14:5-8). The encouragement of "Azariah" (verses 1-7), only increased his faithful activities, including a further religious purge of idolatry (verse 8), that, unfortunately, stopped short of full cleansing (verse 17). Even his powerful grandmother, Maachah, saw the influence of her apostate religion terminated (verse 16; see the note on 1 Kings 15:2).


Oded was the prophet, who had encouraged Asa in the beginning. His son Azariah, covered with the Spirit of God, would now speak to him.


2 Chronicles 15:2 "And he went out to meet Asa, and said unto him, Hear ye me, Asa, and all Judah and Benjamin; The LORD [is] with you, while ye be with him; and if ye seek him, he will be found of you; but if ye forsake him, he will forsake you."


The spiritual truth here is basic, namely that God is present and powerful in defense of His obedient people (compare Deut. 20:1; 1 Chron. 28:9; Isa. 55:6-7; Jer. 29:12-14; James 4:8). While good Asa ruled for 41 years, 8 wicked kings ruled in Israel, including Jeroboam, who along with the others, was a negative illustration of this truth (compare 12:1).


Everyone should take to heart the words Azariah spoke to those who follow Him (Rom. 8:35-37).


Azariah was speaking the Words the LORD had put into his mouth. These were not the words of Azariah, but of the LORD. A prophet is a leader of those God has sent him to, for spiritual direction in his life. The LORD had been with them in the past, and would be with them in the future as long as they sought Him. He would bless them, as long as they were faithful to Him. He would curse them, if they were unfaithful to Him. The message was simple, but clear.


2 Chronicles 15:3 "Now for a long season Israel [hath been] without the true God, and without a teaching priest, and without law."


The fear, worship, and service of him being greatly neglected by them for a long time. What period of time is referred to is not expressed. Whether past, present, or to come, but left to be supplied. The Targum refers this to the time of the separation of the ten tribes, and the days of Jeroboam, when the calves were worshipped, and not the true God. And the teaching priests of the Lord were cast out, and the law of the Lord. Especially with respect to worship, was not regarded, in which it is followed by many interpreters. Others think it refers to time to come, and to what would be the case, should they forsake the Lord. And was fulfilled in the Babylonish captivity (see Hosea 3:4). And the Jews say, that" Oded prophesied that the days should come, when Israel would be "without the true God", since judgment should not be done in the world.


"And without a teaching priest": Since the high priesthood should cease (see Heb. 7:12). "And without the law"; since the Sanhedrim should cease. "But according to our supplement, and which seems most correct, it refers to time past. Not to the case of the ten tribes from the times of Jeroboam. Nor to the case of Judah from the times of Rehoboam. But to times more remote, even the times of the judges. When they worshipped Baal and Ashtaroth, and not the true God (Judges 2:10). Yet at the same time suggesting, that should the present inhabitants of Judah go into the same practices, their case would be like theirs, described in the following verses.


It appeared that for many years before the time of Asa, there had not been the teaching of the law by the priests, that God knew was necessary. They had a form of godliness, but had wandered from the Truth. That is the same as our society today. Many of our churches have a form of godliness, but are not teaching the people the Word of God. That is exactly what this was saying about worship then. To do the will of God, a person must know what the will of God for his or her life is. The only way to know is to study His Word, the Bible. In their case, they needed to be taught the law of God.


2 Chronicles 15:4 "But when they in their trouble did turn unto the LORD God of Israel, and sought him, he was found of them."


When being carried captive by neighboring nations, and oppressed. And they cried unto the Lord, and repented of their sins, and turned from them to him.


"And sought him": By prayer and supplication.


"He was found of them": And appeared for their help and deliverance, of which there are many instances in the book of Judges.


It is the same throughout all ages. If we truly seek God, we will find Him. Asa certainly found this to be true, when the Ethiopians had come against him. God is our very present help in trouble. He does expect us to seek to know His Truth, and live by that Truth. He helped them, now they must keep His law.


2 Chronicles 15:5 "And in those times [there was] no peace to him that went out, nor to him that came in, but great vexations [were] upon all the inhabitants of the countries."


There was no safety in going abroad for travelers from one part to another on account of trade and business. The highways being infested with thieves and robbers.


"But great vexations were upon all the inhabitants of the countries": Of the country villages, which were deserted, because of the plunders and depredations of them (Judges 5:6).


Without God, there is danger at every hand. There is no peace aside from what God can bring. Those away from God, are constantly vexed.


2 Chronicles 15:6 "And nation was destroyed of nation, and city of city: for God did vex them with all adversity."


Or one tribe of another; as the Ephraimites by the Gileadites. And the tribe of Benjamin by the other tribes. And Shechem by Abimelech (Judges 9:45).


"For God did vex them with all adversity": Both with foreign enemies and civil wars. And now it is intimated that this would be their case again, should they not keep close to the Lord their God.


Without the blessings of God, there was war on every side. Vile men killed each other for what little self-gain there was in it, when they did not know God.


2 Chronicles 15:7 "Be ye strong therefore, and let not your hands be weak: for your work shall be rewarded."


Be hearty, earnest, and vigorous, and not languid and remiss in reforming the worship of God, which Asa had begun.


"For your work shall be rewarded": With peace and prosperity at home, and success against enemies abroad, of which they had had a recent instance.


Their strength lay in their faith in God. They were strong because He made them strong. Everything they put their hands to would prosper, because of their faith in God.



Verses 8-15: Asa fostered revival in his nation. First, "he removed the abominable idols". Second, "he renewed the altar of the Lord". Third, he reassembled (unified), his people. As a result, God granted them "rest round around". Three components of revival are reflected here: Repentance and confession; restoring worship and teaching; unifying the people before God.


2 Chronicles 15:8 "And when Asa heard these words, and the prophecy of Oded the prophet, he took courage, and put away the abominable idols out of all the land of Judah and Benjamin, and out of the cities which he had taken from mount Ephraim, and renewed the altar of the LORD, that [was] before the porch of the LORD."


"Porch": This refers to the area outside the Holy Place, where the altar of the burnt offering was located.


This speaks of the prophet Oded telling Asa of these things. We do know that Asa had done away with the evil in the land at the very first of his reign. This could be saying, just as Oded the prophet had said before. Oded had warned Asa, and Asa had taken the warning. Asa would still receive warning from Azariah as well. Asa made sure all of the idols were destroyed and he re-established the brazen altar before the porch of the temple in Jerusalem.


2 Chronicles 15:9 "And he gathered all Judah and Benjamin, and the strangers with them out of Ephraim and Manasseh, and out of Simeon: for they fell to him out of Israel in abundance, when they saw that the LORD his God [was] with him."


"Ephraim ... Manasseh ... Simeon": This indicates that not all the people in the 10 tribes which constituted the apostate northern kingdom of Israel had abandoned God. Many migrated south into Judah, so that all tribes were represented in the mix of Jews in Judah.


Ephraim, Manasseh, and Simeon had the law as well as Judah and Benjamin. Many of them followed Asa, when they saw he was a man willing to humble himself before God. There was no question that the LORD was with Asa. They came to Judah, so they could be counted on the side of the LORD.


2 Chronicles 15:10 So they gathered themselves together at Jerusalem in the third month, in the fifteenth year of the reign of Asa.


"Fifteenth year" (ca. 897 B.C. in May/June). The Feast of Weeks would have been the occasion.


This was during the Feast of Weeks or Pentecost. This victory celebration would take place after the war with Zerah. The war began probably, about the 11th year, and this was 4 years later. We are not told why this was so long a period of time.



Verses 11-15: The assembled worshipers entered into a renewed promise to obey (compare Exodus 24:1), and to rigorously enforce the laws which made idolatry punishable by death (compare Deut. 17:2-5). This was inaugurated with the sacrifices of animals taken in spoil from the Ethiopians (14:15).


2 Chronicles 15:11 "And they offered unto the LORD the same time, of the spoil [which] they had brought, seven hundred oxen and seven thousand sheep."


The Targum adds, on the Feast of Weeks, or Pentecost. Of the spoil which they had brought; from the camp of the Ethiopians, and the cities of the Philistines.


"Seven hundred oxen and seven thousand sheep": Partly for burnt offerings, and partly for peace offerings, by way of thankfulness to the Lord for the victory he had given them. And for a feast at the making of the following covenant with him.


This was a tremendously large amount of offering. It was possibly a peace offering. It would not be thought of as too much however, considering the hundreds of thousands of soldiers involved in the victory. "Seven" means spiritually complete, and is not unusual to see in various offerings.


2 Chronicles 15:12 "And they entered into a covenant to seek the LORD God of their fathers with all their heart and with all their soul;"


Asa's spiritual fidelity showed itself further in his leading of the people in an act of "covenant" renewal (compare Joshua 24:2). All true Israelites from all quarters were invited to the ceremony (verse 9).


2 Chronicles 15:13 "That whosoever would not seek the LORD God of Israel should be put to death, whether small or great, whether man or woman."


That obstinately refused to worship him, and served other gods, which by the law was deserving of death (Deut. 17:2).


"Whether small or great, whether man or woman": Without any regard to rank or dignity, age or sex.


A "covenant" is an unbreakable agreement between man and his God. If a person does not seek God, he is in a sense dead already. Life is in the Lord Jesus Christ. Those who do not accept the Lord as their Savior will be thrown into the lake of fire.


Revelation 20:15 "And whosoever was not found written in the book of life was cast into the lake of fire."


2 Chronicles 15:14 "And they sware unto the LORD with a loud voice, and with shouting, and with trumpets, and with cornets."


As not being ashamed of the oath they took, and that there might be witnesses of it, and that it might be clear they did not equivocate in but expressed themselves in plain words.


"And with shouting, and with trumpets, and with cornets": Showing that the oath was not extorted from them unwillingly. But that they took it with the utmost cheerfulness, and with all the demonstrations of joy and gladness imaginable.


This was a time of great rejoicing. This was not just a victory over Ethiopia, but was a victory over their own lives. They decided to follow the LORD and Him only.


2 Chronicles 15:15 "And all Judah rejoiced at the oath: for they had sworn with all their heart, and sought him with their whole desire; and he was found of them: and the LORD gave them rest round about."


The greater part of them; for some there might be who were dissemblers.


"For they had sworn with all their heart": In the sincerity and uprightness of their souls.


"And sought him with their whole desire": None being more or so desirable as he.


"And he was found of them": And favored them with his presence.


"And the Lord gave them rest round about": From all their enemies.


Judah was not just paying lip service to the LORD. They really were thrilled in their hearts, that they had made covenant with their God. It was the desire of their hearts to serve the LORD. There is no happier person in the world, than the one who is serving the LORD in his heart as well as in his actions.



Verses 16-18 (see note on 1 Kings 15:11-15).


2 Chronicles 15:16 "And also [concerning] Maachah the mother of Asa the king, he removed her from [being] queen, because she had made an idol in a grove: and Asa cut down her idol, and stamped [it], and burnt [it] at the brook Kidron."


When revival touched Asa, it affected his relationships, including that with his grandmother "Maachah". (Hebrew uses the same word for mother and grandmother). "She had made an idol in a grove" (the Canaanite fertility goddess); Asa did not want her influencing others in the kingdom to worship false gods.


Maachah was really the grand-mother of Asa. She was acting queen, but Asa did not let that stop him. He removed her as queen because she had an idol. He also burned her idol. Asa had determined there would be no idols in Judah.


2 Chronicles 15:17 "But the high places were not taken away out of Israel: nevertheless the heart of Asa was perfect all his days."


Or rather his grandmother (1 Kings 15:10).


"He removed her from being queen": The Septuagint version is, "that she should not minister to Astarte"; which was the goddess of the Zidonians. Of this and the two next verses (see notes on 1 Kings 15:13-15).


These high places had been used, before the temple was built in Jerusalem, and had never been destroyed. There was no worship of false gods going on there. Asa loved God, and lived perfect before the LORD. He tried to see that all of the people he was reigning over did too.



Verses 18-19: The revival that took place under Asa's leadership prompted the return of the "dedicated" things to "the house of God". This likely refers to the temple treasures that Shishak had been given (12:9). The result of this revival was "no more war" - a time of rest in Judah.


2 Chronicles 15:18 "And he brought into the house of God the things that his father had dedicated, and that he himself had dedicated, silver, and gold, and vessels."


The verse is identical with (1 Kings 15:15), substituting God for Jehovah. "The things that his father had dedicated", were doubtless taken from the spoils after Abijah's great victory over Jeroboam (2 Chron. 13:16-19). And "the things that he himself had dedicated" were a portion of the Cushite booty (2 Chron. 14:13-15).


"The things that his father had dedicated": Probably spoils of war (compare 1 Chron. 18:11). The verse seems to say that Abijah had vowed a portion of his spoils, but that Asa first actually presented them in the Temple. May we not take the passage (which occurs also in 1 Kings), as an indirect confirmation of Abijah's victory (2 Chron. chapter 13).


"And that he himself had dedicated": Of the booty taken from the Ethiopians. Both of these were now deposited in the temple as votive offerings to Him whose Right Hand and Holy Arm had given them the victory.


So many of the beautiful things had been taken from the temple, while Rehoboam was king. It appears, that Abijah and Asa had gathered things of gold and silver, and dedicated them to the LORD. Asa put them in the temple.


2 Chronicles 15:19 "And there was no [more] war unto the five and thirtieth year of the reign of Asa."


That is, from the Ethiopian war to that time; after that there was no war with any foreign enemy. There were animosities and discords, bickering and hostilities of some sort continually between Asa and Baasha king of Israel as long as he lived (see 1 Kings 15:16).


"Five and thirtieth year": Ca. 875 B.C.


It was on the fifteenth year, Asa and the people had made covenant with God. The peace from that moment lasted 20 years. Baasha was a constant threat, but it appears no war actually broke out until the 35th year of Asa's reign.


2 Chronicles Chapter 15 Questions


  1. And the __________ of God came upon Azariah.
  2. Who did he go out to meet with a message from God?
  3. What was Azariah speaking?
  4. How long would God bless them?
  5. What terrible thing had gone on in the land, before Asa became king?
  6. Many of our churches today have a form of ______________.
  7. What must you do, before you can do the will of God?
  8. When they turned to the LORD God of Israel, and sought Him, he was ________ of them.
  9. Their strength lay in their __________in God.
  10. What did Asa do when he heard these things from Oded and Azariah?
  11. What was the altar that was before the porch of the temple?
  12. Why did some of Ephraim, Manasseh, and Simeon come to Judah?
  13. When did they gather in Jerusalem for the celebration?
  14. When is the Feast of Weeks?
  15. What did they offer to the LORD of the spoil?
  16. What does "seven" mean?
  17. What is a "covenant"?
  18. What covenant had they made with God?
  19. Why was there such rejoicing?
  20. Who did Asa remove as queen?
  21. Why did he remove her?
  22. What did he do with her idol?
  23. What wonderful thing was said of Asa in verse 17?
  24. What did Asa bring into the temple?
  25. How long was there peace after this celebration?



Go to Previous Section | Go to Next Section | Return to Top

Return to 2 Chronicles Menu | Return to Bible Menu


2 Chronicles 16



2 Chronicles Chapter 16

2 Chronicles 16:1 "In the six and thirtieth year of the reign of Asa Baasha king of Israel came up against Judah, and built Ramah, to the intent that he might let none go out or come in to Asa king of Judah."


"Six and thirtieth year": Since Baasha (ca. 909 - 886 B.C.), died in the 26th year of Asa's reign (compare 1 Kings 15:33), this could not mean that they were at war 10 years later. However, if the time reference was to the 35th year since the kingdom was divided, then the year is ca. 896 B.C. in the 14th year of Baasha's reign and the 16th of Asa's reign. This manner of reckoning was generally followed in the book of the record of the kings of Judah and Israel, the public annals of that time, from which the inspired writer drew his account (compare verse 11). This could be a cause for the defections of people from Israel to Judah as described in (2 Chron. 15:9; compare 1 Kings 15:16-17).


"Ramah": This frontier town was on the high road about 6 miles north of Jerusalem. Because of the topography and fortification of that city, this would effectively block all traffic into Jerusalem from the north (compare 1 Kings 15:16-22).


Baasha was unhappy about the number of his people relocating to Judah, so he built the fortified city "Ramah", about five miles north of Jerusalem. A fortified city was used to help protect a border. It usually included a large, thick wall and several towers.


Asa was a good king, who did right in the sight of the LORD. Jerusalem was in the hands of Judah, but the immediate surrounding territory such as this Ramah, belonged to Benjamin. It appears from this, that Ramah had been taken away from Benjamin by Israel. Baasha was the grandson of Jeroboam, and was just as evil as he had been. His intent in building up Ramah, was to stop traffic in or out of Judah.



Verses 2-6: Asa sinfully resorted to trusting in a pagan king, Ben-hadad, for protection against the king of Israel in contrast to:


(1) Abijah (2 Chron. 13:2-20); and


(2) Even earlier to his own battle against Egypt (2 Chron. 14:9:15), when they both trusted wholly in the Lord (see note on 1 Kings 15:18).


2 Chronicles 16:2 "Then Asa brought out silver and gold out of the treasures of the house of the LORD and of the king's house, and sent to Ben-hadad king of Syria, that dwelt at Damascus, saying,"


Ironically, Asa repeated the sin of Rehoboam and used "silver and gold out of the treasuries" of the temple to ensure protection by the "king of Syria".


2 Chronicles 16:3 "[There is] a league between me and thee, as [there was] between my father and thy father: behold, I have sent thee silver and gold; go, break thy league with Baasha king of Israel, that he may depart from me."


"My father ... thy father": A previously unmentioned treaty between Abijah (ca. 913 - 911 B.C.), and Tabrimmon (ca. 912 - 890 B.C.).


There was not the amount of gold and silver that there had been in the temple before. The temple had been robbed of much of its treasure in the last war. There seemed to be some however, and Asa sent this to make peace with Ben-hadad at Damascus in Syria. A league that must be bought with silver and gold is not permanent. The loyalty of Syria seemed to be with the highest bidder, whoever that might be.


2 Chronicles 16:4 "And Ben-hadad hearkened unto king Asa, and sent the captains of his armies against the cities of Israel; and they smote Ijon, and Dan, and Abel-maim, and all the store cities of Naphtali."


"Ijon ... cities": Along with the other cities mentioned, these were located north and east of the Sea of Galilee.


2 Chronicles 16:5 "And it came to pass, when Baasha heard [it], that he left off building of Ramah, and let his work cease."


These unexpected hostilities of his Syrian ally interrupted Baasha's fortifications at Ramah, and his death, happening soon after, prevented his resuming them.


"And it came to pass": "When Baasha heard thereof, that he left off building of Ramah, and dwelt in Tirzah (1 Kings 15:21).


"And let his work cease": Baasha (like Jeroboam; 1 Kings 14:17), fixed his seat of government at Tirzah in the center of the Northern Kingdom in order to be able to watch Syria as well as Judah. The Chronicler takes no interest in the home of Baasha.


This attack on the other cities of Israel was to get Baasha out of Ramah, so that Asa could take it back. Ben-hadad made an agreement with Asa and helped Asa get his land back. Baasha had to go home and protect his own cities from destruction. He had no time to try to take Asa's cities.


2 Chronicles 16:6 "Then Asa the king took all Judah; and they carried away the stones of Ramah, and the timber thereof, wherewith Baasha was building; and he built therewith Geba and Mizpah."


Geba located 2 miles east of Ramah, and ... Mizpah; located two miles north northwest of Ramah.


It appears that Baasha had left in such a hurry, he left his building materials behind. Asa built Ramah up, and then built Geba and Mizpah as fortresses to ward off another attack from Judah's enemies.



Verses 7-12: Apparently, Asa forgot the lessons he had learned earlier in his reign (14:9-13; 15:2). Since he did not heed the warning of the prophet but became angry instead, it is not so surprising that he didn't rely on the Lord when he was sick.


2 Chronicles 16:7 "And at that time Hanani the seer came to Asa king of Judah, and said unto him, Because thou hast relied on the king of Syria, and not relied on the LORD thy God, therefore is the host of the king of Syria escaped out of thine hand."


"Hanani": God used this prophet to rebuke Asa:


(1) For his wicked appropriation of temple treasures devoted to God to purchase power; and


(2) For his faithless dependence on a pagan king instead of the Lord, in contrast to before when opposed by Egypt (2 Chron. 14:9-15).


"The host of the king of Syria escaped": Asa forfeited by this sin the opportunity of gaining victory not only over Israel, but also Aram, or Syria. This could have been a greater victory than over the Ethiopians, which would have deprived Syria of any future successful attacks on Judah. Though God had delivered them when they were outnumbered (13:3; 14:9), the king showed his own spiritual decline both in lack of trust and in his treatment of the prophet of God who spoke truth (verse 10).


Because "Asa" hired an Aramean king to relieve the pressures put on his northern frontier by the Israelite king Baasha (verses 1-6), he is rebuked by God's prophet. For his breach of trust Asa is faced with judgment (verse 9). The episode marked a turning point in Asa's spiritual decline, during which he persecuted the godly "Hanani". Asa was to die in shame (verses 12-15).


God did not want His people looking for help from the heathen kings. He was their help. Hanani, the seer was the father of Jehu. God had intended to give the Syrians into the hands of Judah. Now Asa had stopped that by making an alliance.


2 Chronicles 16:8 "Were not the Ethiopians and the Lubims a huge host, with very many chariots and horsemen? yet, because thou didst rely on the LORD, he delivered them into thine hand."


They were no less than 1,000,000 men, and three hundred chariots (2 Chron. 14:9). The Lubim were the Libyans, a people near Egypt, that dwelt in Africa. According to an Arabic writer, they were the Nubians:


"Yet, because thou didst rely on the Lord, he delivered them into thine hand": And with equal ease could and would have delivered the Syrian army unto him, had he as then trusted in the Lord.


God was reminding Asa that it was not important how large the army was that came against Judah. God had been with them before, when they had been greatly outnumbered, and would have been with them again. They needed to cry out to God, not to the Syrians. God was their very present help. They did not need earthly help.


2 Chronicles 16:9 "For the eyes of the LORD run to and fro throughout the whole earth, to show himself strong in the behalf of [them] whose heart [is] perfect toward him. Herein thou hast done foolishly: therefore from henceforth thou shalt have wars."


"Behalf of them ... heart ... perfect toward him" (see note on 15:2).


"Thou shalt have wars": Divine judgement on the king's faithfulness.


God was disappointed and angry with the decision they had made without consulting Him. If their hearts had been right with God, He would have protected them from all of their foes. They were placing their faith in the arm of man, instead of in their LORD. He would allow the wars to come upon them, to teach them where their true source of help was.



Verses 10-12: During Asa's last 6 years, he uncharacteristically exhibited the ungodly behavior of:


(1) Anger at truth (verse 10);


(2) Oppression of God's prophet and people (verse 10); and


(3) Seeking man not God (verse 12).


2 Chronicles 16:10 "Then Asa was wroth with the seer, and put him in a prison house; for [he was] in a rage with him because of this [thing]. And Asa oppressed [some] of the people the same time."


For this faithful reproof of him, which was another instance of his sin and folly.


"And put him in a prison house": In a very strait place, in which he could not turn himself, what we call "little ease". Some say it was the stocks, others a wooden framework he put him into.


"For he was in a rage with him because of this thing": His passion rose very high, and to which he gave way, and was his infirmity. Thus, instead of turning to God in repentance, he disdained the admonition of the prophet, and punished him. As the wicked do when they are told of their faults.


"And Asa oppressed some of the people the same time": By fines and imprisonments, such as perhaps expressed their disapprobation of his league with the king of Syria, and of his ill usage of the prophet.


Asa did not want to believe what the seer had said. He classified him as a false prophet, and threw him in prison. The people who Asa oppressed had probably agreed with the seer. Their oppression was for not siding with their king.


2 Chronicles 16:11 "And, behold, the acts of Asa, first and last, lo, they [are] written in the book of the kings of Judah and Israel."


"The book of the kings of Judah and Israel": The mention in that verse of his "might" or "prowess," and of "the cities that he built," confirms the account in (2 Chron. 14), concerning his defensive measures and the invasion of Zerah.


1 Kings 15:23 "The rest of all the acts of Asa, and all his might, and all that he did, and the cities which he built, are they not written in the book of the chronicles of the kings of Judah? Nevertheless in the time of his old age he was diseased in his feet".


We did read a great deal about Asa (in the book of Kings, chapter 15), in the Bible. This is possibly speaking of some additional record books.


2 Chronicles 16:12 "And Asa in the thirty and ninth year of his reign was diseased in his feet, until his disease [was] exceeding [great]: yet in his disease he sought not to the LORD, but to the physicians."


"Thirty and ninth year": Ca. 872 B.C. He died because of what may have been severe gangrene.


This is a help to all of us who have an illness in our body. God wants to be consulted about every aspect of our lives. This indicates, had Asa prayed to God, he would have been healed. We see in this that Asa depended more in the flesh of mankind, than he did in the One who was Creator of that flesh. God created us, so He is perfectly capable of helping His creation in their troubles.


2 Chronicles 16:13 "And Asa slept with his fathers, and died in the one and fortieth year of his reign."


"One and fortieth year" (ca. 870 B.C.; see 1 Kings 15:10).


Asa made some mistakes, as we all do, but over-all he was thought of as a good king. He did restore worship in Judah, and he did destroy the idols. His weakness lay in the fact that he trusted strong earthly leaders.


2 Chronicles 16:14 "And they buried him in his own sepulchers, which he had made for himself in the city of David, and laid him in the bed which was filled with sweet odors and divers kinds [of spices] prepared by the apothecaries' art: and they made a very great burning for him."


"Great burning": Due to the longevity of his reign and his notable accomplishments, Asa was honored by the people in their memorial of his death. Cremation was rarely used by the Hebrews (compare 21:19; 1 Sam. 31:13; Amos 6:10). Later, Jehoram was not honored by fire (21:19), because of his shameful reign.


It appears that he prepared a room where he could be buried in his bed. It was very much like the mausoleums of our day. He was not in a coffin, but in his bed in a sealed room. The "burning" was possibly the spices and perfumes to cover the odor of the decaying body.


2 Chronicles Chapter 16 Questions


  1. Who came against Judah to build Ramah?
  2. __________ was the grandson of Jeroboam.
  3. What did Asa take out of the temple, to give to the king of Syria?
  4. Why was he to give him the things of the temple?
  5. Who had there been a league between before, that caused Asa to want this league?
  6. Who was king of Syria?
  7. Where was he staying?
  8. What did Ben-hadad do on the behalf of Asa?
  9. What did Baasha immediately do?
  10. What did Asa do with the building materials, that Baasha left in Ramah?
  11. What were Geba and Mizpah?
  12. What was the name of the seer that came to Asa?
  13. What message did he bring Asa from God?
  14. Hanani was the father of _______.
  15. What victory did God remind Asa of?
  16. Who is God constantly watching to help?
  17. What punishment would come to Asa for this mistake?
  18. What did Asa do with the seer?
  19. Why did he do the same thing to some of the people?
  20. Where are more of the acts of Asa written?
  21. What disease did Asa have in his 39th year as king?
  22. Who did he seek for help?
  23. When did Asa die?
  24. What was he buried in?
  25. What was the "burning" spoken of in verse 14?



Go to Previous Section | Go to Next Section | Return to Top

Return to 2 Chronicles Menu | Return to Bible Menu


2 Chronicles 17



2 Chronicles Chapter 17

Verses 17:1 - 21:3: The reign of Jehoshaphat (ca. 873-848 B.C.; compare 1 Kings 15:24; 22:1-50).


Verses 1-2: Jehoshaphat prepared the nation militarily for any aggression, particularly from the northern kingdom of Israel.


2 Chronicles 17:1 "And Jehoshaphat his son reigned in his stead, and strengthened himself against Israel."


In the "stead" of Asa his father.


"And strengthened himself against Israel": The ten tribes, by fortifying his cities, building castles, raising and keeping a large standing army. As the latter part of this chapter shows, and the next verse.


Jehoshaphat (whom Jehovah judges), was a powerful king who took over as king when he was 35 years old. He was the son of Asa and Azubah. He was also spoken of as Josaphat. It appears he strengthened his people against possible attack from Israel.



Verses 2-5: Asa's early spiritual sensitivity had a strong formative effect upon Jehoshaphat's character (compare 20:32). For "Baalim" (see the note on Judges 2:11-15).


2 Chronicles 17:2 "And he placed forces in all the fenced cities of Judah, and set garrisons in the land of Judah, and in the cities of Ephraim, which Asa his father had taken."


A considerable number of soldiers, to defend them should they be attacked.


"And set garrisons in the land of Judah": On the frontiers and borders of it, to protect it.


"And in the cities of Ephraim": Soldiers to keep garrison there.


"Which Asa his father had taken (see 2 Chronicles 15:8).


This appears that he sent troops and fortifications to these cities to ward off any attack from Israel. In the last lesson, we saw that Asa had begun to do these things at the latter part of his reign.



Verses 3-5: Because "Jehoshaphat ... walked in his commandments" as King "David had, "the LORD stablished the kingdom in his hand". This verse reflects an important theme (in 2 Chronicles): God blesses obedience and punishes the disobedient.


Verses 3-9: Jehoshaphat made three strategic moves, spiritually speaking:


(1) He obeyed the Lord (17:3-6);


(2) He removed false worship from the land (17:6); and


(3) He sent out teachers who taught the people the law of the Lord (17:7-9).


2 Chronicles 17:3 "And the LORD was with Jehoshaphat, because he walked in the first ways of his father David, and sought not unto Baalim;"


"Baalim": This is a general term used for idols (compare Judges 2:11-13).


David was not the father of Jehoshaphat. He was his ancestor. In fact, he was his great-great-great-grandson. He was a man after God's own heart. David had loved the LORD with all his heart, and that was what was said of Jehoshaphat here. Asa, his father, had loved the LORD as well. Israel had some very wicked kings, such as Ahab, during the reign of Jehoshaphat over Judah. Baalim was one of the false gods worshipped in Israel.


2 Chronicles 17:4 "But sought to the [LORD] God of his father, and walked in his commandments, and not after the doings of Israel."


Prayed to him, worshipped and served him.


"And walked in his commandments": Observed and kept them, moral, ceremonial, and judicial.


"And not after the doings of Israel": Who worshipped the golden calves at Dan and Bethel.


This of course, is speaking of Asa, who destroyed the idols in Judah.


2 Chronicles 17:5 "Therefore the LORD stablished the kingdom in his hand; and all Judah brought to Jehoshaphat presents; and he had riches and honor in abundance."


Piety is the best prop of government. The throne is best supported and established by truth, righteousness, and mercy. By the exercise of these Jehoshaphat was settled in his kingdom, and had a place in the hearts of his people.


"And all Judah brought to Jehoshaphat presents": Being well affected to him, as well as it was usual so to do at a prince's accession to the throne (see 1 Sam. 10:27).


"And he had riches and honor in abundance": Through the presents his subjects brought him, and the respect they showed him.


The gifts were not taxes. These were given, because the people loved and appreciated what Jehoshaphat stood for. When a king served the LORD with all his heart, the people were blessed as well. We see that God had poured an abundant blessing upon Jehoshaphat.


Verses 6-9: Jehoshaphat's zeal for the Lord saw to the appointment of officials and Levites who traveled throughout his kingdom teaching "the law of the Lord" in accordance with the prescription of the Mosaic legislation (Deut. 17:18-20; compare 2 Sam. 23:3-4).


2 Chronicles 17:6 "And his heart was lifted up in the ways of the LORD: moreover he took away the high places and groves out of Judah."


Like his father, Jehoshaphat attempted to remove "the high places and groves out of Judah". As the chronicler later explains, the king was not entirely successful (20:33).


Asa had begun this work when he was king, but it appears that Jehoshaphat continued the cleansing of the land of all false worship.


2 Chronicles 17:7 "Also in the third year of his reign he sent to his princes, [even] to Ben-hail, and to Obadiah, and to Zechariah, and to Nethaneel, and to Michaiah, to teach in the cities of Judah."


Jehoshaphat sent out his teachers with the Levites and priests because God had given them the task to teach God's law (Lev. 10:10). If we expect our teaching to bear fruit, it must be firmly rooted in the Word of God (John 7:16; 1 Tim. 4:6; 2 Tim. 1:13; 3:16).


This is a message to the princes of each of the areas, to see that their people were taught the book of the law. They had drifted away from God's teachings, much as our land has today. Notice what would get them back where they needed to be. They must learn God's Word. We must return to our Bible also, if we are to be a great nation again.


2 Chronicles 17:8 "And with them [he sent] Levites, [even] Shemaiah, and Nethaniah, and Zebadiah, and Asahel, and Shemiramoth, and Jehonathan, and Adonijah, and Tobijah, and Tobadonijah, Levites; and with them Elishama and Jehoram, priests."


With the five princes he sent nine Levites.


"Even Shemaiah, and Nethaniah, and Zebadiah, and Asahel, and Shemiramoth, and Jehonathan, and Adonijah, and Tobijah, and Tobadonijah, Levites": Of whom we nowhere else read. No doubt they were principal persons, and fit for the work they were sent.


"And with them Elishama and Jehoram, priests": Whose lips were to keep knowledge, and at whose mouth the law was to be sought (Mal. 2:7).


The Levites were the chosen ones to bring the people into a spiritual awareness of God and His ways. They were entrusted with the spiritual growth of the people of the land.


2 Chronicles 17:9 "And they taught in Judah, and [had] the book of the law of the LORD with them, and went about throughout all the cities of Judah, and taught the people."


The people their duty to God and man.


"And had the book of the law of the Lord with them": As the rule of their instruction, and the people's obedience. Out of this they taught them, and by it confirmed what they taught, and enforced it with the divine authority.


"And went about throughout all the cities of Judah": Not only their own cities, the Levitical ones, but all others.


"And taught the people": The law of the Lord, the fear and worship of God.


I have said this numerous times, but must say it again here. These people of Judah or even our people today, cannot do the will of God until we know what that will is. We cannot know His will, until we know His Word. We must study the Bible, as they had to study the law to know God.



Verses 10-19: The account of Jehoshaphat's growing power and prosperity is not recorded by the author of Kings.


Verses 10-11: Jehoshaphat's spiritual strategy accomplished its intended purpose, i.e., invoking God's blessing and protection, much like it did with Abijah (13:2-20), and Asa (14:9-15). It should be noted that the Jews needed animals for extensive sacrificial uses, as much as for food and clothing.


2 Chronicles 17:10 "And the fear of the LORD fell upon all the kingdoms of the lands that [were] round about Judah, so that they made no war against Jehoshaphat."


Upon the ten tribes, and on foreign nations about them, as Moabites, Edomites, Syrians, Egyptians, Arabs, and Philistines. This fear, as it came from the Lord, so might be raised and increased by observing, that religion was revived in them. For they might perceive, by former observations made, that the more religious these people were, the more prosperous and formidable they were.


"So that they made no war against Jehoshaphat": To interrupt him in the work of reformation he was so intent upon.


It is thrilling to me to see that even the worldly people around them feared the power of their God. The worldly people even knew that the knowing of God's law and doing it would bring tremendous blessings to Judah.


2 Chronicles 17:11 "Also [some] of the Philistines brought Jehoshaphat presents, and tribute silver; and the Arabians brought him flocks, seven thousand and seven hundred rams, and seven thousand and seven hundred he goats."


Perhaps those of Gerar, and the parts adjacent, Asa took and spoiled, and made tributary (2 Chron. 14:14).


"And the Arabians brought him flocks, seven thousand and seven hundred rams, and seven thousand and seven hundred he goats": With which their country abounded. And these might be the Scenite Arabs, who fearing lest Jehoshaphat should fall upon them, and take away their flocks as his father had done (2 Chron. 14:15). They brought these presents to him.


These Philistines were probably paying tribute. They would not dare come against Jehoshaphat's God. The Arabians were the same way. They did not necessarily fear Jehoshaphat. They feared Jehoshaphat's God.



Verses 12-13: These verses indicate the massive wealth that developed under divine blessing (compare 18:1), as well as formidable military power (verses 14-19).


2 Chronicles 17:12 "And Jehoshaphat waxed great exceedingly; and he built in Judah castles, and cities of store."


In wealth and riches, power and authority, in his forces and fortifications.


"And he built in Judah castles, and cities of stores": Castles for the defense of his kingdom, and store cities to lay up corn, and wine, and all provisions. In case of an invasion, or against a time of war.


With this type of tribute, it would not take long for the country of Judah to become wealthy. The castles and the cities of store come with great abundance.


2 Chronicles 17:13 "And he had much business in the cities of Judah: and the men of war, mighty men of valor, [were] in Jerusalem."


Partly in fortifying them, and partly in reforming the inhabitants of them.


"And the men of war, mighty men of valor, were in Jerusalem": Or by or near unto it, so the particle is rendered (Joshua 5:13). They encamped in places adjacent to it. For such a number of men as follows, even 1,160,000, could never be contained in Jerusalem, but must be disposed of in the territories of it. Nor did they wait on the king together; but in course (see 2 Chron. 17:19). By which it appears there is no need to suppose any mistake of the transcriber, in any or all of the following sums, as has been suggested.


There was plenty of work for everyone to do with all of the building that was going on. His great strength of his military was to guard Jerusalem, the city of God.


2 Chronicles 17:14 "And these [are] the numbers of them according to the house of their fathers: Of Judah, the captains of thousands; Adnah the chief, and with him mighty men of valor three hundred thousand."


Both of the tribe of Judah and of Benjamin. And first of Judah, the captains of thousands. Some had 1000 men under them, and some one hundred.


"Adnah the chief": He was the principal commander or general of them.


"And with him mighty men of valor, three hundred thousand": Such a number was under his command.


This is speaking of 300,000 standing men ready for war. This first captain of thousands was Adnah. He seemed to be like a general in our army. He was the main officer of authority of the troops.


2 Chronicles 17:15 "And next to him [was] Jehohanan the captain, and with him two hundred and fourscore thousand."


Being of the same rank as to office, but having a lesser number of men under him. And it may respect not any kind of subordination, only nearness of place, as the Targum, "he that encamped next to him".


"And with him two hundred and fourscore thousand": 280,000 which number was but 20,000 less than the former.


This is 280,000 men that Jehohanan captained.


2 Chronicles 17:16 "And next him [was] Amasiah the son of Zichri, who willingly offered himself unto the LORD; and with him two hundred thousand mighty men of valor."


Think of the potential impact in the world today if God's people were to act like "Amasiah ... who willingly offered himself unto the Lord".


It is interesting that this high officer in the army had dedicated his office as a soldier to the LORD. These 200,000 men were favored to have an officer who loved God.


2 Chronicles 17:17 "And of Benjamin; Eliada a mighty man of valor, and with him armed men with bow and shield two hundred thousand."


Was the chief commander.


"And with armed men with bow and shield two hundred thousand": Which were the armor of the tribe of Benjamin they were best skilled in (2 Chron. 14:8).


2 Chronicles 17:18 And next him [was] Jehozabad, and with him a hundred and fourscore thousand ready prepared for the war.


According to the Targum he encamped next him.


"And with him one hundred and fourscore thousand ready prepared for war": Being able bodied men, well disciplined, valiant, and well-armed. These numbers of Judah and Benjamin put together amount to 1,160,000 men. Whereas Asa only brought into the field 580,000. But it should be considered there had been a long time of peace, many had come off from the ten tribes to Judah. And the promise of multiplying the seed of Abraham was eminently fulfilled.


The first men mentioned were of Judah. Now this one was from Benjamin. These 200,000 of Eliada would have been expert in bows. The 180,000 of Jehozabad would have been foot-soldiers.


2 Chronicles 17:19 "These waited on the king, beside [those] whom the king put in the fenced cities throughout all Judah."


Not this vast number of men at one time, but in course, as David's military men waited on him (1 Chron. 27:1). Or each of these captains, with a proper number of men under them detached from the body. And they were all ready to obey the king's orders whenever he should have occasion for them.


"Besides those whom the king put into the fenced cities throughout Judah": And all together, the militia of the kingdom was very numerous and formidable.


It appears that literally hundreds of thousands of soldiers were stationed in Jerusalem. There were other soldiers dispatched to stop any attack, before it came to Jerusalem. We can see the blessings by seeing the men who were devoted to the security of Jerusalem. These fenced cities away from Jerusalem were like front line fortresses. Jehoshaphat was indeed, blessed of God as David had been.


2 Chronicles Chapter 17 Questions


  1. Who reigned in Asa's stead?
  2. Who did he strengthen himself against?
  3. How old was Jehoshaphat, when he began to reign?
  4. Who was his mother?
  5. Why did he place forces in the fenced cities of Judah?
  6. Why was the LORD with Jehoshaphat?
  7. What was David to him, really?
  8. Who was one of the wicked kings of Israel, that reigned in Israel during the time Jehoshaphat reigned in Judah?
  9. Who was one of the false gods of Israel?
  10. What did all Judah bring to Jehoshaphat?
  11. Did they do this, because it was required?
  12. Who is blessed, when the king follows God?
  13. Verse 6 says he did what?
  14. Who had begun to do that in his reign?
  15. What special thing did he do in the third year of his reign?
  16. What had the land done, that we can relate to our land today?
  17. What will get them back in good standing with God?
  18. What lesson can we take from that?
  19. Who did he send to teach them the law?
  20. What is the comment the author made on verse 9?
  21. And the fear of the _________ fell upon all the kingdoms of the lands that were round about Judah.
  22. What were the Philistine's gifts, really?
  23. What did the Arabians bring to Jehoshaphat?
  24. What did Jehoshaphat build during this time?
  25. Who was the captain, that was like a general?
  26. Whose men were armed with bow and shield?
  27. These hundreds of thousands were located in ___________, and others were in the fenced cities.



Go to Previous Section | Go to Next Section | Return to Top

Return to 2 Chronicles Menu | Return to Bible Menu


2 Chronicles 18



2 Chronicles Chapter 18

Verses 1-34: (See notes on 1 Kings 22:1-39). Ahab was king in Israel. Jehoshaphat arranged for his son (compare 21:6), to marry Athaliah, daughter of wicked Ahab, then made a military alliance with him. This folly had tragic results:


(1) Jehoshaphat drew God's wrath (19:2);


(2) After Jehoshaphat died and Athaliah became queen, she seized the throne and almost killed all of David's descendants (22:10); and


(3) She brought the wicked idols of Israel into Judah, which eventually led to the nation's destruction and captivity in Babylon.


Jehoshaphat had a tendency to rely on other kings as evidenced by this unique report of a marriage alliance with Ahab (verse 1; see also 2 Chron. 20:35-37), concerning an alliance with Ahaziah (ca. 853 - 852 B.C.).


2 Chronicles 18:1 "Now Jehoshaphat had riches and honor in abundance, and joined affinity with Ahab."


Jehoshaphat "joined affinity with Ahab" (the king of northern kingdom, Israel), by having his son Jehoram marry Ahab's daughter, Athaliah. King Ahab was a wicked man who did not fear God (1 Kings chapters 16-22). Jehoshaphat's decision would later drag him into war (18:28-34).


This was a terrible mistake on the part of Jehoshaphat. Those of God should never bind themselves together with the very worldly people. Ahab and his wife, Jezebel, were very evil. They could possibly be thought of as the evilest rule of the ten tribes of Israel. God had blessed Jehoshaphat so greatly that he was very rich. He had plenty of military men himself, and they were well-equipped. He did not need Ahab. The very worst thing that Jehoshaphat had done was to allow Ahab and Jezebel's daughter, Athaliah, to marry his son Jehoram.


2 Chronicles 18:2 "And after [certain] years he went down to Ahab to Samaria. And Ahab killed sheep and oxen for him in abundance, and for the people that [he had] with him, and persuaded him to go up [with him] to Ramoth-gilead."


Two years, according to the Syriac and Arabic versions, or in the third year after the affinity (or relationship), was contracted (see 1 Kings 22:2).


"He went down to Ahab to Samaria": To pay him a visit upon the alliance, civil and matrimonial, contracted between them.


"And Ahab killed sheep and oxen for him in abundance, and for the people that he had with him": Entertained him and his retinue in a very grand and liberal manner.


"And persuaded him to go up with him to Ramoth-gilead": From here, to the end of the chapter, it is the same with (1 Kings 22:4).


This is actually many years after the marriage of Jehoshaphat's son and Ahab's wicked daughter. This journey was believed to be in the 17th year of Jehoshaphat's reign. Ahab had probably invited Jehoshaphat to come, so he could talk him into helping him. The animals slaughtered were for a great feast for Jehoshaphat. Ramoth-gilead was the place for the battle that Ahab had planned. This was a city in the land of Gad.


2 Chronicles 18:3 "And Ahab king of Israel said unto Jehoshaphat king of Judah, Wilt thou go with me to Ramoth-gilead? And he answered him, I [am] as thou [art], and my people as thy people; and [we will be] with thee in the war."


For the background to Jehoshaphat's joining forces with "Ahab" (see the notes on 1 Kings 22:1-3 and 22:4(. For further details (see the notes on 1 Kings 22:6-8 and 22:37-38).


They were in-laws, since their children had married. Jehoshaphat would like to help him in his trouble.


2 Chronicles 18:4 "And Jehoshaphat said unto the king of Israel, Inquire, I pray thee, at the word of the LORD to day."


"Inquire ... at the word of the Lord": Jehoshaphat was willing to help Ahab fight Syria (verse 4), but reminded Ahab of the need to seek the will of the Lord before going into battle (1 Sam. 23:1-5, 9-13; 2 Sam. 2:1; 5:19-25; 2 Kings 3:11-20).


Ahab was not a follower of the LORD. This request from Jehoshaphat was so that he would not be in a battle that would displease God. Since he was in the land of Ahab, it would have to be Ahab who would inquire of the LORD.



Verses 5-6: These 400 men may have been some of the prophets who survived the fiery contest on Mount Carmel (1 Kings 18:19-40). Clearly, these prophets were more willing to tell Ahab what he wanted to hear than to speak the truth of God to him.


2 Chronicles 18:5 "Therefore the king of Israel gathered together of prophets four hundred men, and said unto them, Shall we go to Ramoth-gilead to battle, or shall I forbear? And they said, Go up; for God will deliver [it] into the king's hand."


"Prophets": These 400 prophets of Ahab were not true prophets of the Lord. They worshiped at Beth-el in the golden-calf center set up by Jeroboam (1 Kings 12:28-29), and were supported by Ahab, whose religious policy also permitted Baal worship. Their words were designed to please Ahab (verse 8), so they refused to begin with the authoritative "thus says the Lord" and did not use the covenant name for Israel's God, "Lord."


Evil kings had false prophets who told them what they wanted to hear (compare Isa. 30:10-11; Jer. 14:13-16; 23:16, 21, 30-36). The true prophet spoke God's Word and was arrested (verse 26).


These 400 prophets were not of Baal or Ashteroth, but were the prophets that had been chosen to serve in the calf worship. They were not true prophets, however. They would say exactly what the king wanted to hear. They were not true prophets of God.


2 Chronicles 18:6 But Jehoshaphat said, [Is there] not here a prophet of the LORD besides, that we might inquire of him?


"A prophet of the Lord": Jehoshaphat recognized that the 400 prophets were not true prophets of the Lord, and wished to hear from a true prophet.


Jehoshaphat was not impressed with these prophets, who had not been ordained of God to be prophets. He wants to hear from a true prophet of God.


2 Chronicles 18:7 "And the king of Israel said unto Jehoshaphat, [There is] yet one man, by whom we may inquire of the LORD: but I hate him; for he never prophesied good unto me, but always evil: the same[is] Micaiah the son of Imla. And Jehoshaphat said, Let not the king say so."


Ahab did not like the prophet "Micaiah" because he would not conform to the king's expectations.


"Micaiah": His name means "Who is like the lord?"


Ahab did not like the prophet Micaiah, because he prophesied the truth about Ahab. Ahab did not want to hear the truth. He wanted the prophet to agree with him. He is the only true prophet among them all. There is little known about Micaiah, except what is here. He seemed to be a prophet who had warned Ahab in the past. Jehoshaphat seems to be courteous to Ahab here, but Ahab is aware that Jehoshaphat wants to hear the prophet, so he sends for him.


2 Chronicles 18:8 "And the king of Israel called for one [of his] officers, and said, Fetch quickly Micaiah the son of Imla."


"And said, hasten hither Micaiah the son of Imlah": Who, as it seems from (1 Kings 22:26), was in prison, where perhaps Ahab had cast him for his last prophecy to him, and where he had lain ever since. And this gives a reason why he could so readily send for him, knowing where he was.


Ahab felt he needed the help of Jehoshaphat so badly, that he would chance a bad report from him. He sends for him to come to the palace.


He seems to be well-known. The officer knew where to find him. He went and brought the prophet to speak to Ahab and Jehoshaphat.


2 Chronicles 18:9 "And the king of Israel and Jehoshaphat king of Judah sat either of them on his throne, clothed in [their] robes, and they sat in a void place at the entering in of the gate of Samaria; and all the prophets prophesied before them."


In great state and majesty.


"Throne": A portable, high-backed chair made of wood with arm rests and separate foot stool.


"Having put on their robes": Their royal robes, which they wore when they appeared in pomp and grandeur.


"In a void place in the entrance of the gate of Samaria": Where courts of judicature were held, and there was an open void space for the people to assemble in to hear. The word has the signification of a corn floor, and the Jews suppose they and their attendants sat in a semicircle like the half of a corn floor, after the same manner in which they say the Sanhedrim at Jerusalem sat.


"And all the prophets prophesied before them": Concerning this affair of going to Ramoth-gilead.


These were their robes of authority as kings of their people. It is interesting that Jehoshaphat sat on his own throne. It was possibly a portable throne, carried with his for just such an occasion. The 400 prophesied even as they sent for Micaiah.


The place they were to accept the prophets, had to be a fairly large flat area for 401 prophets to be there. The robes meant that Jehoshaphat and Ahab were in their kingly robes. All of the prophets who had a message, would be heard.


2 Chronicles 18:10 "And Zedekiah the son of Chenaanah had made him horns of iron, and said, Thus saith the LORD, With these thou shalt push Syria until they be consumed."


"Zedekiah": He was the spokesman for the false prophets. He used the introductory formula and God's covenant name.


The "horns of iron" was a familiar symbol of strong victory. It is found not only in the Scriptures (Dan. 8:7; Micah 4:13; Zech. 1:18-19), but also in the inscriptions and art of the ancient Near East.


"Zedekiah" means "Justice of Jehovah". The name lets us know that these were not prophets of Astarte. "Horns" denote power. The fact they were made of iron; means they are almost unbreakable.


"Horns" symbolize strength or power. These horns of iron would show great strength. Zedekiah was saying, that the power of Ahab was so great, he could not lose. Syria would be nothing more than a push-over for him.


2 Chronicles 18:11 "And all the prophets prophesied so, saying, Go up to Ramoth-gilead, and prosper: for the LORD shall deliver [it] into the hand of the king."


Saying, go up to Ramoth-gilead, and prosper": All encouraged the king to go up against this place, and prophesied of victory, as Zedekiah did.


"For the Lord shall deliver it into the king's hand": (see 1 Kings 22:6).


It seems all 400 prophets agreed that they should attack Syria and take Ramoth-gilead. They are promising the blessings of the LORD on the army of Israel and the army of Judah.


Of course all of these false prophets would say the same thing, because that was what Ahab wanted to hear. They were prophesying to itching ears and not the truth.


2 Chronicles 18:12 "And the messenger that went to call Micaiah spake to him, saying, Behold, the words of the prophets [declare] good to the king with one assent; let thy word therefore, I pray thee, be like one of theirs, and speak thou good."


"Behold, now, the words of the prophets declare good unto the king with one mouth": They are unanimous that he shall prosper in his undertaking against the Syrians.


"Let thy word, I pray thee, be like the word of one of them, and speak that which is good": Which, as an ignorant man, he might advise from good will to the prophet, that he might not be branded with singularity, and a spirit of contradiction. And that he might have the favor of the king, and be released from prison, pitying his miserable condition in which he found him.


Not only had Ahab sent for him to come and prophesy, but the messenger is trying to tell Micaiah what to say. He would not be a true prophet, if he prophesied what the king wanted to hear. He would have to speak the Words the LORD put into his mouth.


This messenger that went to get Micaiah, did not want any trouble. He asked Micaiah to say the same thing the 400 false prophets had said. This would not be much of a prophet that would allow a messenger from this evil king tell him what to prophesy.


2 Chronicles 18:13 "And Micaiah said, [As] the LORD liveth, even what my God saith, that will I speak."


He swore by the living God, for the confirmation of what he was about to say.


"What the Lord saith unto me, that will I speak": Truly and faithfully, keeping nothing back, nor adding anything, whether it be good or evil, pleasing or displeasing. It looks as if he had no instruction from the Lord what to say, and yet the vision he later declares seems to have been had by him before (1 Kings 22:17).


Micaiah would go, but he would say exactly what God tells him to say.


This is spoken like a true prophet. He is a messenger from God.


2 Chronicles 18:14 "And when he was come to the king, the king said unto him, Micaiah, shall we go to Ramoth-gilead to battle, or shall I forbear? And he said, Go ye up, and prosper, and they shall be delivered into your hand."


"Micaiah" apparently gave to the "king" the words that he wanted. However, the sarcastic tone of his voice was clearly recognizable, and Ahab demanded that he speak what he really believed (verse 16).


"Go, and prosper": Micaiah sarcastically repeated the message of the false prophets as he had been encouraged to do (verse 13). Ahab clearly sensed the sarcasm and demanded that Micaiah tell him the truth.


The initial response from the prophet "Micaiah" was likely a sarcastic parody of the message the other 400 prophets had delivered to Ahab. When Ahab asks for the truth, Micaiah does not hesitate to give it.


This was a true prophecy from God. They probably might win the battle. But not all would come back alive though. He did not tell a lie; he just did not tell all of the truth. This is really what he thought they wanted from him.


2 Chronicles 18:15 "And the king said to him, How many times shall I adjure thee that thou say nothing but the truth to me in the name of the LORD?"


Not that he had as yet urged him at all, or not till now; but he asks him how often he must be obliged to do it. And now he adjures him once for all, that he might not be forced to repeat it.


"That thou tell me nothing but that which is true in the name of the Lord?" For he observed he did not speak in the name of the Lord before, and what he said was not in a serious but ludicrous manner, and not to be regarded as truth.


This is the reply the king gives to Micaiah. He wants the absolute truth from the LORD.


King Ahab senses there was something wrong here. He usually prophesied against Ahab.


2 Chronicles 18:16 "Then he said, I did see all Israel scattered upon the mountains, as sheep that have no shepherd: and the LORD said, These have no master; let them return [therefore] every man to his house in peace."


"Sheep that have not a shepherd": The image of the king as a shepherd and his people as the sheep was a familiar one (Num. 27:16-17; Zech. 13:7). Micaiah's point was that Israel's shepherd, King Ahab, would be killed and his army scattered.


This parabolic vision depicts the shepherdless Israelite forces trying to find their way home after being defeated in the battle.


Now we get a few more of the details of the prophecy. Their leader Ahab, would die. They would be sheep without a shepherd. The battle would be over, and all would go home in peace. The only difference was Ahab would die.


2 Chronicles 18:17 "And the king of Israel said to Jehoshaphat, Did I not tell thee [that] he would not prophesy good unto me, but evil?"


Plainly perceiving that the prophet foretold that he should fall in battle.


"Did not I tell thee that he would prophesy no good concerning me, but evil?" Intimating that this proceeded from spite and malice, from ill will to him and hatred of him, and was not from the Lord, and therefore not to be regarded. He had told him three years ago his life should go for letting Ben-hadad go; but it had not proved true, and no more would this. And Jehoshaphat being an easy man, and too credulous, believed what Ahab said of the character of this prophet, or otherwise it is not to be accounted for that he should go with him to war after such a declaration made.


The king of Israel these verses keep referring to is speaking of Ahab. Ahab knew that he had displeased God. He could expect nothing more than what the prophet had said if he is a true prophet.


Ahab did not take this as a warning, but as an affront from this prophet of the LORD. He reminded Jehoshaphat, that he had said this prophet would speak evil of him.



Verses 18-22: The prophet spoke of two visions that revealed to him the Lord has put a "lying spirit in the mouth of all his prophets". God had given these prophets over to their sinful desire to please the evil king rather than to please God (James 1:13-14).


2 Chronicles 18:18 "Again he said, Therefore hear the word of the LORD; I saw the LORD sitting upon his throne, and all the host of heaven standing on his right hand and [on] his left."


Since he had represented what he had said as proceeding from hatred to him, he would make it clear and plain that what he had said was the word of the Lord, and according to his mind. And that what the other prophets had said was owing to a lying spirit in them, which the Lord suffered for his ruin. All which are represented as in a vision, in which things are brought down to the capacities of men, and not as really transacted.


"I saw the Lord sitting on his throne": So it was represented to his mind, as if he had seen with his bodily eyes the divine Being in a glorious form, as a king sitting on his throne, to do justice and judgment. As Ahab and Jehoshaphat were now sitting on their thrones, only as a far greater King, even the King of kings, and in a more splendid manner.


"And all the host of heaven standing by him on his right hand and on his left": The ministering angels ready to do his will.


This is Micaiah speaking on. He says let me tell you even more. This is a statement from the prophet, that it is truly the LORD who is the King of all the earth and the heavens. It is His will that is done. Those standing around Him are subject to do whatever He wishes.


Micaiah had a vision of heaven and the throne of God. Notice, this prophet was telling Ahab that these words were from God. The "host of heaven" here, would be angels that were there to do the wishes of the LORD. "Angels" are ministering spirits.


2 Chronicles 18:19 "And the LORD said, Who shall entice Ahab king of Israel, that he may go up and fall at Ramoth-gilead? And one spake saying after this manner, and another saying after that manner."


Not that it can be supposed that the Lord entered into a consultation with the angels upon this subject; only that it was the decree of God that he should go thither, and fall by the hand of the man whom he had let go, as a just punishment of him.


"And one said on this manner, and another said on that manner": Not that there was such an altercation among them; it only signifies, that there are various ways and means, by which the purposes and decrees of God may be and are brought about.


These angel spirits around the throne were included in the actions of the LORD. It is interesting, that God would use these angel spirits. He could have just as easily caused Ahab to believe the lie without all of this. He had chosen to bring the lie to Ahab through these 400 false prophets however. He would die at Ramoth-gilead, after they convinced him to go.


2 Chronicles 18:20 "Then there came out a spirit, and stood before the LORD, and said, I will entice him. And the LORD said unto him, Wherewith?"


Not from the heavenly host on the right hand or the left, for they are pure and holy spirits, and impeccable, and cannot lie or deceive. But the evil spirit, Satan, the father of lies, the old deceiver, who came forth from his own place and his own company.


"And stood before the Lord presented himself before him": As Satan did, Job 1:6.


"And said, l will persuade him": Or prevail upon him; evil spirits love to be employed in doing harm to men, they go about seeking whom they may devour. This could not be the spirit of Naboth, as the Jews say, seeking revenge on Ahab; that was in a state of happiness, could not move from thence, and be capable of sinning.


This is the vision that Micaiah had of what goes on in the heavenlies. The LORD dispatches a spirit to go, and persuade Ahab to go to the battle at Ramoth-gilead and fall there.


2 Chronicles 18:21 "And he said, I will go out, and be a lying spirit in the mouth of all his prophets. And [the LORD] said, Thou shalt entice [him], and thou shalt also prevail: go out, and do [even] so."


"A lying spirit": This must be Satan, whom the Lord allowed to speak through 400 demons who indwelt the 400 false prophets.


This lying spirit would enter into the 400 false prophets, and they would prophesy a lie.


2 Chronicles 18:22 Now therefore, behold, the LORD hath put a lying spirit in the mouth of these thy prophets, and the LORD hath spoken evil against thee."


That is, suffered the lying spirit to suggest a lie to them, and sent them strong delusions to believe that lie, whose minds were disposed at any rate to flatter Ahab, to whom they told it. Which was the way designed to bring him to the ruin appointed for him.


"And the Lord hath spoken evil concerning thee": He had decreed it in himself, declared it by Micaiah his prophet, and suffered all those steps to be taken by Satan and the false prophets, to bring him to it.


In a sense, he is accusing the 400 prophets, first brought before Ahab to be lying. He explains that the LORD, Himself sent the lying spirit to deceive even the prophets. They have given the message sent from the throne of the LORD, but it is placed in their mouths by the lying prophet.


Michaiah was telling Ahab the truth, but he preferred to listen to the lies of the false prophets, because they were telling him something he wanted to hear.


2 Chronicles 18:23 "Then Zedekiah the son of Chenaanah came near, and smote Micaiah upon the cheek, and said, Which way went the Spirit of the LORD from me to speak unto thee?"


"Smote ... on the cheek": This was a rebuke by the leader of the false prophets (verse 6), for the perceived insolence of Micaiah and his claim to truly speak for God. It was followed by a sarcastic question asking if the prophet could tell which direction the spirit in Zedekiah had gone.


Now Zedekiah is accusing Micaiah of lying. He strikes him on the face, to show his disgust for his prophecy.


We see that the slap of Micaiah by Zedekiah was a way of insulting him. Zedekiah was saying, you were not hearing from God. We do not have a lying spirit speaking through us.


2 Chronicles 18:24 "And Micaiah said, Behold, thou shalt see on that day when thou shalt go into an inner chamber to hide thyself."


Who would accompany Ahab to the battle, and upon his being wounded, flee to the first place of secrecy for safety. Or, upon the news of his defeat brought to Samaria, would betake himself to a private chamber for security, fearing the enemy would pursue to the very place. Or else through fear of the populace, who would attribute the death of the king to the advice of him and the other prophets.


This is a true statement. Time will prove which of the prophets are telling the truth. Zedekiah will hide in an inner chamber when he discovers that Micaiah's prophecy is true.


Micaiah told Zedekiah that time would settle this. A prophecy that comes true is from God.


2 Chronicles 18:25 "Then the king of Israel said, Take ye Micaiah, and carry him back to Amon the governor of the city, and to Joash the king's son;"


To some of his officers.


"Take Micaiah, and carry him back unto Amon the governor of the city": The chief magistrate under the king; a sort of sheriff, who had the care of malefactors, and of all committed to prison, from whom he was received by the messenger, and now sent back to him.


"And to Joash the king's son": Who might be over his household, as sometimes the king's son was (2 Chron. 26:21). Or might be viceroy while the king was without the city, and at the gate of it, and about to go to war.


2 Chronicles 18:26 "And say, Thus saith the king, Put this [fellow] in the prison, and feed him with bread of affliction and with water of affliction, until I return in peace."


In the common prison of the city, where he had been before, as it seems; and might be now ordered into a more confined place in it, and what might be called "little ease".


"And feed him with bread of affliction, and with water of affliction": With bad bread and foul water, and but little of either; just enough to keep alive, and to continue starving.


"Until I come in peace": Which he seemed confident of, and intimates that then he would punish him more severely, even with death, as a false prophet.


It appears they had already had Micaiah locked up, because the king did not like his prophecies. This is probably speaking of the person in charge of the prison, not actually Ahab's son. It would be highly unlikely the king's son would be a jail-keeper.


2 Chronicles 18:27 "And Micaiah said, If thou certainly return in peace, [then] hath not the LORD spoken by me. And he said, Hearken, all ye people."


"If thou return": In accordance with (Deut. 18:21-22); Micaiah declared to Ahab that if he lived to return from the battle, then he had uttered a false prophecy.


A prophet had a rough life if he told the truth. Many times, the message for the king was not what he wanted to hear and he punished the prophet. In this particular case, they put him in prison and gave him nothing but bread and water. Ahab had believed a lie, and would go to war. He believes he will come back successful, so he says, "until I come in peace". If Ahab returns, Micaiah is a false prophet.


If Ahab returned alive it would mean that Micaiah was not a true prophet. If Ahab died in the battle, Micaiah was the only true prophet of Ahab's prophets. Micaiah wanted all of the people to remember this.


2 Chronicles 18:28 "So the king of Israel and Jehoshaphat the king of Judah went up to Ramoth-gilead."


Which, according to Bunting, was twenty-four miles from Samaria. That Ahab went is no wonder, it was his own idea first, his inclination led to it, his prophets encouraged him, and, in bravado to the prophet of the Lord, was determined upon it. But it may seem much stranger that Jehoshaphat should, after such an account as Micaiah had given, and who, doubtless, could observe a great difference between him and the prophets of Ahab. And yet there is much to be said which might incline him to go, as that there were four hundred prophets all agreed, and who made use of the name of the Lord, and pretended to be true prophets. And though he might suspect them, he could not confute them. And Micaiah, he prophesied evil of Ahab only, and therefore Jehoshaphat might think himself safe in going. Besides, he had given his word to Ahab, and he did not choose to go from it; to which may be added, that Ahab's cause was just, to recover a part of his own dominions.


Jehoshaphat would have been willing to listen to Micaiah's advice and call off the battle against Syria. Ahab was determined that Micaiah was a false prophet, so he went ahead with the battle.


2 Chronicles 18:29 "And the king of Israel said unto Jehoshaphat, I will disguise myself, and will go to the battle; but put thou on thy robes. So the king of Israel disguised himself; and they went to the battle."


Ahab never acted on spiritual advice, but he was taking no chances in the upcoming battle.


"Disguise myself": Rejecting the prophecy, but fearing it also, Ahab decided not to wear his official robe, but the clothes of an ordinary soldier.


Ahab thought he could outsmart God by disguising himself. But God's purposes are never thwarted by human schemes (1 Sam. 28:8).


This is a very evil request in itself. Ahab thought if anyone should be killed, it would be Jehoshaphat. He thought the king of Syria would mistake Jehoshaphat for him. Ahab put on the clothes of the common soldier and went into battle.


Jehoshaphat probably believed Michaiah, but he realized the harm would not come to him individually. In a sense Ahab believed him too, because he disguised himself, thinking they would not kill him if they thought him to be a commoner.


2 Chronicles 18:30 "Now the king of Syria had commanded the captains of the chariots that [were] with him, saying, Fight ye not with small or great, save only with the king of Israel."


"Save only with the king of Israel": The very Syrian king, Ben-hadad, whose life Ahab had spared (20:34), ungratefully singled him out for death.


Ben-hadad was still angry with Ahab for the two battles they had fought, when Ben-hadad lost thousands of his men. His anger is vented against Ahab personally. These thirty-two captains are specifically over the chariots, which is the strongest and best of the army. He is not saying that they should not kill any of the soldiers, if it is necessary. He is saying, concentrate on killing Ahab.


The orders from the king of Syria to his men was that they were not to kill anyone, except king Ahab. He had no quarrel with the men, just Ahab.



Verses 31-32: Like Abijah (chapter 13), and Asa (chapter 14), before him, Jehoshaphat "cried out" to God and God intervened to save him. The Lord's favor on Jehoshaphat was clearly visible to people trying to kill him, something they realized they would not see in the king of Israel.


2 Chronicles 18:31 "And it came to pass, when the captains of the chariots saw Jehoshaphat, that they said, It [is] the king of Israel. Therefore they compassed about him to fight: but Jehoshaphat cried out, and the LORD helped him; and God moved them [to depart] from him."


"Jehoshaphat cried out": According to (2 Chron. 18:31), this was a prayer for the Lord's deliverance. Jehoshaphat's cry showed the Syrians that he was not Ahab.


Jehoshaphat had on the kingly robes, and the men of Syria thought he was Ahab. The had encircled him to kill him, but he cried out that he was Jehoshaphat, and they believed him. God had actually opened their understanding that this truly was not Ahab.


2 Chronicles 18:32 "For it came to pass, that, when the captains of the chariots perceived that it was not the king of Israel, they turned back again from pursuing him."


Against whom only their orders were to fight.


"That they turned back from pursuing him": For upon so great a force coming upon him he could not withstand, so he fled.


Perhaps, the king of Judah cried out and told them he was not Ahab. It was possible that the thirty-two captains knew Ahab's voice and the voice of Jehoshaphat were not recognized as Ahab. He could have actually shouted something about Judah, which would have also caused them to know he was not Ahab. We do not know what showed them he was not Ahab, only that they did realize he was not. Their recognition of Jehoshaphat is what turned them away.


The men of Syria moved away from Jehoshaphat, when they realized he was not the king they were looking for.


2 Chronicles 18:33 "And a [certain] man drew a bow at a venture, and smote the king of Israel between the joints of the harness: therefore he said to his chariot man, Turn thine hand, that thou mayest carry me out of the host; for I am wounded."


This bow, drawn "at a venture", fulfilled the prophecy Micaiah had given earlier, and was certainly orchestrated by God.


The person who shot the arrow was not aiming at anything. He shot an arrow in the air at random, not expecting to hit anyone. God guided the arrow to the vital part of Ahab. He was shot in the area of his heart. This was the area covered by the breastplate. Ahab was not instantly killed, and requested his chariot man to turn the chariot around and take him out of the heat of the battle.


2 Chronicles 18:34 "And the battle increased that day: howbeit the king of Israel stayed [himself] up in [his] chariot against the Syrians until the even: and about the time of the sun going down he died."


Whatever his faults might have been, Ahab did not die as a coward. He did not allow his mortal "wound" to be a source of discouragement, hence defeat for his troops.


It seemed he remained in his chariot, even though he was wounded and removed from the front lines. He possibly even continued to fight at his retreated position, until he died. There seemed to be a pool of blood in the bottom of the chariot he died in.


One thing we would have to say for Ahab, he was a brave man. He retired to the outer part of the battle and fought all day even wounded as he was, before he died. His blood collected in the bottom of the chariot. His chariot was washed at the pool of Samaria and his blood was licked up of the dogs, as was prophesied.


2 Chronicles Chapter 18 Questions


  1. What terrible thing did Jehoshaphat do in verse 1?
  2. Who was Ahab's evil wife?
  3. What did Jehoshaphat do, that was even worse than joining affinity with Ahab?
  4. When did Jehoshaphat go to see Ahab in Samaria?
  5. What did Ahab do in his honor?
  6. Ramoth-gilead was the place of the __________.
  7. It was in the land of ______.
  8. What did Ahab ask Jehoshaphat to do?
  9. How did Jehoshaphat answer him?
  10. Who did Jehoshaphat want to consult before going to battle?
  11. How many prophets came to speak?
  12. Who were these prophets?
  13. What would these prophets say?
  14. Was Jehoshaphat satisfied with the 400 prophets?
  15. Why had Ahab not called Micaiah already?
  16. Where did Ahab receive the prophets?
  17. Who seemed to be the leader of the 400 prophets?
  18. What had he made of iron?
  19. "Horns" symbolize ____________, or __________.
  20. What message did the prophets give Ahab?
  21. What did the messenger, that went for Micaiah, try to get him to say?
  22. In verse 16, Micaiah saw what?
  23. What did that mean?
  24. What did Ahab do to Michaiah?
  25. What are the "host of heaven" spoken of here?
  26. What are "angels"?
  27. Whose mouth will the lie come from?
  28. What was meant by slapping Micaiah?
  29. What will determine which prophecy is true?
  30. What happens to Ahab?



Go to Previous Section | Go to Next Section | Return to Top

Return to 2 Chronicles Menu | Return to Bible Menu


2 Chronicles 19



2 Chronicles Chapter 19

Verses 1-4: Unlike his father, Asa, who imprisoned the prophet "Hanani", who had delivered the Lord's rebuke to him, "Jehoshaphat" receives well Hanani's "son Jehu" and responds with further spiritual zeal.


Having faced possible death that was diverted by God (18:31), Jehoshaphat was rebuked because of his alliances. The prophet condemned the king's alliance with God's enemy, Ahab (1 Kings 22:2), yet there was mercy mingled with wrath because of the king's concern personally and nationally for the true worship of God.


2 Chronicles 19:1 "And Jehoshaphat the king of Judah returned to his house in peace to Jerusalem."


From Ramoth-gilead, after Ahab was slain.


"To his house in peace to Jerusalem": To his palace there in safety, having narrowly escaped losing his life in the battle.


This is speaking of the fact that Jehoshaphat did not continue the battle with the Syrians. He came back home after the death of Ahab. It was probably an encouragement to the people to know that Jehoshaphat was not killed with Ahab.


2 Chronicles 19:2 "And Jehu the son of Hanani the seer went out to meet him, and said to king Jehoshaphat, Shouldest thou help the ungodly, and love them that hate the LORD? therefore [is] wrath upon thee from before the LORD."


The consequences of making an alliance with a wicked king was something that "Hanani", the father of "Jehu", had spoken of to the previous king, Asa, the father of "Jehoshaphat" (2 Chron. 16:7-9). Unfortunately, history repeated itself.


God's anger is not at what Jehoshaphat had done personally, but that he would help someone as wicked as Ahab. God did not like Jehoshaphat fellowshipping with Ahab. The Bible warns about fellowshipping with those of unbelief. This was as far as God was concerned, telling the world that he was opposed to God, because his friend Ahab opposed God. Jehu was a seer of God, the son of Hanani.



Verses 3-4: God knew that despite Jehoshaphat's wrongful alliance, Jehoshaphat's heart was prepared to "seek God". Although Jehoshaphat had obeyed regarding the idols, he had been blind to his wrong regarding the alliance. Thankfully, God had addressed this blind spot so that Jehoshaphat could bring the people of Judah "back unto the Lord".


2 Chronicles 19:3 "Nevertheless there are good things found in thee, in that thou hast taken away the groves out of the land, and hast prepared thine heart to seek God."


Principles of grace, righteousness, and holiness, faith, love, zeal, and other graces, true and genuine, from whence sprung many good works done by him.


"In that thou hast taken away the groves out of the land": Cut down the groves of trees, and destroyed the idols and images in them.


"And hast prepared thine heart to seek God": Through the grace of God his heart was disposed to serve and worship the Lord, and to seek his honor and glory.


God had greatly blessed Jehoshaphat because he had destroyed the idols in his own land, and tried to get people back into the study of the law of God. He was a man after God's own heart. He had just made a very bad choice of friends.



Verses 4-11: Jehoshaphat put God's kingdom in greater spiritual order than at any time since Solomon. To insure this order, he set "judges" (verse 5), in place and gave them principles to rule by:


(1) Accountability to God (verse 6);


(2) Integrity and honesty (verse 7);


(3) Loyalty to God (verse 9);


(4) Concern for righteousness (verse 10); and


(5) Courage (verse 11).


All are essential to spiritual leadership.


2 Chronicles 19:4 "And Jehoshaphat dwelt at Jerusalem: and he went out again through the people from Beer-sheba to mount Ephraim, and brought them back unto the LORD God of their fathers."


And went out no more to Samaria, nor concerned himself about the affairs of Israel, but attended to his own.


"And he went out again through the people": Took a tour throughout his dominions now, in his own person, as before by his princes, with the priests and Levites. He visited all his country and brought his people from idolatry to the knowledge of the true God.


"From Beer-sheba to Mount Ephraim": Beer-sheba was the southern boundary of the land of Judah, and Mount Ephraim lay to the north. And was the northern boundary of it since the division of the kingdom.


"And brought them back to the Lord God of their fathers": From idolatry to the pure worship of God, such who had relapsed since the first reformation, or had not been influenced by it.


It appears that Jehoshaphat saw the error in what he had done. He went back out into his land from city to city trying to get the people back into fellowship with God. He was doing everything he could to cause his land to conform to the ways of God. He did not have anything bad to say to Jehu, because he knew it was true. He took the advice of the seer and began his change immediately.



Verses 5-11: The details of Jehoshaphat's further religious and administrative innovations are not recorded by the author of Kings. Jehoshaphat introduced a system of local judges who both decided and applied justice "in the fear of the Lord". He also set up a system of appeals in "Jerusalem" over which the "chief priest" presided in spiritual matters. An official of the "king" administered civil affairs. This division of authority became a model for later Judaism (compare Zech. Chapters 3 and 4).


2 Chronicles 19:5 "And he set judges in the land throughout all the fenced cities of Judah, city by city,"


Inferior judges in lesser courts of judicature than that at Jerusalem, and that in every city, that judgment and justice might be executed everywhere. Such were appointed by David, but had been neglected, and now restored (see 1 Chron. 26:29).


These judges were to judge within the law of God. It was not just in Jerusalem, but throughout the entire land that he set the judges.


2 Chronicles 19:6 "And said to the judges, Take heed what ye do: for ye judge not for man, but for the LORD, who [is] with you in the judgment."


In judgment, that they judged righteous judgment according to the law of God, without partiality and respect of persons.


"For ye judge not for man, but for the Lord": Not for man only, but for the Lord. And not so much for man as for the Lord, whom they represented in judgment. Whose law was the rule of their judgment, and whose glory their end, and to whom they were accountable.


"Who is with you in the judgment": As to guide and direct you, so to observe how they behaved, and be a witness for or against them. The Targum is, "ye judge not before men, but before the Word of the Lord, whose Shekinah dwells with you in the affair of judgment."


This is a reminder to the judges that their judgement had better be just, because there was a Judge who would also judge them righteously in the end. They should keep in mind the wishes of God as they judged.


2 Chronicles 19:7 "Wherefore now let the fear of the LORD be upon you; take heed and do [it]: for [there is] no iniquity with the LORD our God, nor respect of persons, nor taking of gifts."


And act as having that before your eyes, and on your hearts.


"Take heed and do it": Do the commands enjoined them by him, and do judgment according to the law of God.


"For there is no iniquity with the Lord our God": None in his nature, nor in his law; none commanded nor approved of by him. And therefore none should be done by his representatives in judgment.


"Nor respect of persons": Whether high or low, rich or poor.


"Nor taking of gifts": He accepts not the faces of men, nor receives bribes, nor should his judges. This is forbidden by him (Deut. 16:19).


We see that Jehoshaphat was trying to see that his kingdom was ruled by the law of God. He did not want anyone who took bribes or was persuaded because of a person. The judgement of the land should be just and fair. God is not a respecter of persons, and neither should these judges be. They should judge as a servant of the LORD in truth and righteousness.


2 Chronicles 19:8 "Moreover in Jerusalem did Jehoshaphat set of the Levites, and [of] the priests, and of the chief of the fathers of Israel, for the judgment of the LORD, and for controversies, when they returned to Jerusalem."


This was the great court of judicature, consisting of princes, priests, and Levites, of ecclesiastics and political persons. For causes of both sorts were brought thither.


"For the judgment of the Lord": In things sacred, which related to the worship of God, and the support of it.


"And for controversies": Of a civil kind between man and man, whether pecuniary or capital, of a more private or public kind.


"When they returned to Jerusalem": That is, this court was set up at Jerusalem, when Jehoshaphat, the priests, Levites, and chief men that went with him, returned there.


The tribunal was re-established with the Levites as the head of it. What we would call the supreme court was in Jerusalem, and was judged by this group of men who were called of God for this job. This was comprised of several men like a jury in a court today would be. There were elders of the various families that sat on these juries, but the Levite in charge was like the judge. The Levites interpreted the law of the LORD in these cases.


2 Chronicles 19:9 "And he charged them, saying, Thus shall ye do in the fear of the LORD, faithfully, and with a perfect heart."


The members of the court at Jerusalem.


"Saying, thus shall ye do in the fear of the Lord, faithfully, and with a perfect heart": Judge righteously and impartially. As men fearing God, true to the trust reposed in them, and sincere and upright in heart and actions. Having nothing else in view but the glory of God, and the good of men.


They were in the service of the LORD as well as being in service to their community. God warned over and over in His Word that these men must be fair and just in all of their decisions. They must be guided by the law of God. They would have to answer to God for the decisions they made.


2 Chronicles 19:10 "And what cause soever shall come to you of your brethren that dwell in their cities, between blood and blood, between law and commandment, statutes and judgments, ye shall even warn them that they trespass not against the LORD, and [so] wrath come upon you, and upon your brethren: this do, and ye shall not trespass."


Whether sacred or civil, that should come before them by way of appeal from, inferior courts in the country, where they could not be determined.


"Between blood and blood": One relation and another, or with respect to shedding of blood, whether ignorantly or purposely.


"Between law and commandment, statutes and judgments": Not rightly understood, and so pleaded on both sides.


"Ye shall even warn them that they trespass not against the Lord": The persons engaged in controversy, that they take no false oath, nor bear false testimony. And act not stubbornly against any of the laws, when explained in court unto them.


"And so wrath come upon you and your children": Upon judges for the neglect of their duty in giving due warning. And upon the people for not taking it when given.


"This do, and ye shall not trespass": If the above charge in all its parts is strictly attended to.


These judges had a grave responsibility to be fair in their judgements. In the 17th chapter of Deuteronomy, we read of this very thing.


Deuteronomy 17:8-11 "If there arise a matter too hard for thee in judgment, between blood and blood, between plea and plea, and between stroke and stroke, [being] matters of controversy within thy gates: then shalt thou arise, and get thee up into the place which the LORD thy God shall choose;" "And thou shalt come unto the priests the Levites, and unto the judge that shall be in those days, and inquire; and they shall show thee the sentence of judgment:" "And thou shalt do according to the sentence, which they of that place which the LORD shall choose shall show thee; and thou shalt observe to do according to all that they inform thee:" "According to the sentence of the law which they shall teach thee, and according to the judgment which they shall tell thee, thou shalt do: thou shalt not decline from the sentence which they shall show thee, [to] the right hand, nor [to] the left."


2 Chronicles 19:11 "And, behold, Amariah the chief priest [is] over you in all matters of the LORD; and Zebadiah the son of Ishmael, the ruler of the house of Judah, for all the king's matters: also the Levites [shall be] officers before you. Deal courageously, and the LORD shall be with the good."


Perhaps Jehoshaphat was speaking as much to himself as he was to his leaders when he charged them: "Deal courageously, and the LORD shall be with the good". Jehoshaphat's trust was active, not passive. Trusting in the Lord did not mean sitting on his hands; he worked hard to organize the people and warn them.


This leaves no doubt at all who had the final word. The chief priest, Amariah, was the last and final say on a matter. The others here are under his command. Whoever was judged had to comply with whatever judgement they brought down. It was the law of the land, but it was taken from God's law.


2 Chronicles Chapter 19 Questions


  1. Where did Jehoshaphat go after, the death of Ahab?
  2. What is meant by the peace in verse 1?
  3. What was an encouragement to the people?
  4. Who came to meet him?
  5. What question did he ask Jehoshaphat?
  6. Why was God angry with Jehoshaphat?
  7. The Bible warns about _________________ with those of unbelief.
  8. In verse 3, what nice things did the seer say to Jehoshaphat?
  9. What had he done that was good, that was not mentioned in verse 3?
  10. Why did he go throughout the land?
  11. What did Jehoshaphat do to the seer?
  12. Where did he set up judges?
  13. How were they to judge?
  14. Who do the judges judge for?
  15. Why was it so important for them to be just in their judgement?
  16. In verse 7, what did he caution them to do?
  17. They must judge as servants of the LORD in __________ and __________________.
  18. In verse 8, we read of the ___________ being re-established?
  19. Who was the head of it?
  20. What is this tribunal like today?
  21. They were in the service of the _________.
  22. Where do we read more instructions on how they are to judge?
  23. Who was the chief priest at this time?
  24. Who were the officers?
  25. Who was the final say in the judgements?



Go to Previous Section | Go to Next Section | Return to Top

Return to 2 Chronicles Menu | Return to Bible Menu


2 Chronicles 20



2 Chronicles Chapter 20

Verses 1-2: The offspring of Lot, i.e., Moab and Ammon, located east of the Jordan, and those from Edom to the south (the offspring of Esau), had intentions of dethroning Jehoshaphat. They had come around the south end of the Dead Sea as far north as Engedi, at the middle of the western shore. This was a common route for enemies since they were invisible to the people on the other side of the mountains to the west.


2 Chronicles 20:1 "It came to pass after this also, [that] the children of Moab, and the children of Ammon, and with them [other] beside the Ammonites, came against Jehoshaphat to battle."


This Trans-Jordanian invasion in Jehoshaphat's day is not recorded by the author of Kings. It forms a backdrop for Jehoshaphat's later involvement in Jehoram's Moabite expedition (2 Kings 3:7).


After the revival among the people of Judah that Jehoshaphat had nurtured, the country discovered that not one but three armies "came against Jehoshaphat to battle". As in other times, the revival of the people was threatened by a vastly superior foreign army (see 14:2-15).


In the last lesson, we read of a peace that prevailed in Judah. The Ammonites and the Moabites had come against Jehoshaphat at the opening of this lesson.


2 Chronicles 20:2 "Then there came some that told Jehoshaphat, saying, There cometh a great multitude against thee from beyond the sea on this side Syria; and, behold, they [be] in Hazazon-tamar, which [is] En-gedi."


Deserters or spies, or some of the inhabitants of those parts where they had entered, who rode post haste to acquaint him with it.


"Saying, there cometh a great multitude against thee from beyond the sea on this side Syria". That is, beyond the Dead or Salt sea, the sea of Sodom. The Targum is, "beyond the west of Syria," that sea being the western boundary of it.


"And, behold, they be in Hazazon-tamar, which is Engedi" (see note on Gen. 14:7).


Hazazon-tamar means the dividing of the palms. This was actually a group of people attacking Judah from the area of the Dead Sea. This was not Syria however. It appears that Jehoshaphat was facing a war where he would probably be out-numbered.



Verses 3-6: "Jehoshaphat" again demonstrates that he was a righteous king and a man of prayer (compare 18:6; see the note on 2 Kings 3:11).


Verses 3-4: Jehoshaphat made the appropriate spiritual response, i.e., the king and the nation appealed to God in prayer and fasting. The fast was national, including even the children (verse 13; compare Joel 2:12-17; Jonah 3:7).


2 Chronicles 20:3 "And Jehoshaphat feared, and set himself to seek the LORD, and proclaimed a fast throughout all Judah."


Jehoshaphat "feared", meaning he realized he did not have the resources within himself to fight this battle. That fear prompted him "to seek the LORD" and proclaim "a fast" throughout the country (Matt. 6:16-18), a wise approach in any frightening situation (Acts 14:23).


2 Chronicles 20:4 "And Judah gathered themselves together, to ask [help] of the LORD: even out of all the cities of Judah they came to seek the LORD."


To implore his assistance against their enemies, and his protection of them. And they met not in their several cities, but at Jerusalem, as appears by what follows.


"Even out of all the cities of Judah they came to seek the Lord": At the temple, where was the Ark, the symbol of his presence.


Jehoshaphat had taught them well. They knew their strength was not in the flesh of man, but in the power of Almighty God. God honors a fast of this nature.



Verses 5-12: Jehoshaphat stood in the redecorated center court praying for the nation, appealing to the promises, and the glory and the reputation of God which were at stake since He was identified with Judah. In his prayer, he acknowledged God's sovereignty (verse 6), God's covenant (verse 7), God's presence (verses 8-9), God's goodness (verse 10), God's possession (verse 11), and their utter dependence on Him (verse 12).


Verses 5-7: When Jehoshaphat faced difficulty, he chose to worship God and remember Him, especially that "None is able to withstand thee". This is an essential reminder during difficult times (13:12; Neh. 4:20).


2 Chronicles 20:5 "And Jehoshaphat stood in the congregation of Judah and Jerusalem, in the house of the LORD, before the new court,"


In the temple, in the court of the people, where the inhabitants of Judah and Jerusalem were assembled. In the midst of which he stood very probably on the brazen scaffold erected by Solomon (2 Chron. 6:13).


"Before the new court": Which must be the court of the priests. For he stood in the great court, or court of the people. And before this, which might be so called, because renewed or repaired when the altar was by Asa (2 Chronicles 15:8). Dr. Lightfoot thinks it was the court of the women. But it is a question whether there was any such court in the first temple. Or that the great court was then divided into two, one for the men, the other for the women.


It is very interesting to me, that this prayer was sent heavenward by Jehoshaphat. He was king, not high priest. He was sincere in the prayer that follows.


2 Chronicles 20:6 "And said, O LORD God of our fathers, [art] not thou God in heaven? and rulest [not] thou over all the kingdoms of the heathen? and in thine hand [is there not] power and might, so that none is able to withstand thee?"


Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, whose covenant God he was.


"Art not thou God in heaven?" That dwells and rules there, and does whatever thou pleases in the armies of it.


"And rulest not thou over all the kingdoms of the Heathens?" Being King of kings, and Lord of lords, all the world over.


"And in thine hand is there not power and might, so that none is able to withstand thee?" His power being infinite, unlimited, and uncontrollable, and so not resistible by finite creatures, at least not so as to be stopped and overcome.


The answer to this is yes. God is over all the earth, the heavens, under the earth, and above the earth. No army could destroy them, except the LORD allowed it. God rules over everything.


2 Chronicles 20:7 "[Art] not thou our God, [who] didst drive out the inhabitants of this land before thy people Israel, and gavest it to the seed of Abraham thy friend for ever?"


Israel's possession of its God-given inheritance is a pivotal promise in the unconditional covenant with "Abraham" (compare Gen. 17:8; Ezek. 37:21-28). See the note on Joshua 21:43-45.


Again, the answer is yes. He is that God. He gave this land to His family to inhabit forever, as long as they obeyed His commandments.



Verses 8-9: In the face of imminent danger, Jehoshaphat remembered and believed both the words of Solomon at the dedication of the temple (verses 6-7), and the power of standing "before this house" in God's presence.


2 Chronicles 20:8 "And they dwelt therein, and have built thee a sanctuary therein for thy name, saying,"


From ages past, hitherto, since it was first given them, and they were put into the possession of it.


"And have built thee a sanctuary therein for thy name": A temple for his worship, honor, and glory, and for him to dwell in. And is a reason why it might be hoped he would protect them, especially when they prayed to him.


"Saying": And he promised to hear and help them, as follows.


2 Chronicles 20:9 "If, [when] evil cometh upon us, [as] the sword, judgment, or pestilence, or famine, we stand before this house, and in thy presence, (for thy name [is] in this house,) and cry unto thee in our affliction, then thou wilt hear and help."


Any calamity.


"As the sword, judgment, or pestilence, or famine": God's four sore judgments, if by "judgment" is meant wild beasts.


"We stand before this house": In the court before the Holy Place, and Holy of Holies.


"And in thy presence, for thy name is in this house": Called upon in it, and it was called by his name, and in which he dwelt.


"And cry unto thee in our affliction": As Solomon prayed at the dedication of it.


"Then thou wilt hear and help": As the Lord promised (see 1 Kings 8:33).


Solomon indeed had built the temple in Jerusalem for the LORD that his father David had wanted to build. When Solomon prayed at the dedication of the temple, he asked for a promise from God, and God granted the request to all generations. God loves to be reminded of His Word. He had promised if they prayed toward this temple, He would hear and answer their prayer.



Verses 10-11: Despite God's kindness in giving these nations the lands where they dwelled (Deut. 2:4, 9, 19), they attacked God's people in an attempt to gain more land. Although humans will not always repay Christian kindness with kindness, the Lord can be counted on to bless those who bless others.


2 Chronicles 20:10 "And now, behold, the children of Ammon and Moab and mount Seir, whom thou wouldest not let Israel invade, when they came out of the land of Egypt, but they turned from them, and destroyed them not;"


Charging them not to meddle with them, nor take any of their lands from them (Deut. 2:5).


"Mount Seir": A prominent landmark in Edom.


"But they turned from them, and destroyed them not": In obedience to the divine command, when it was in their power to have done it.


2 Chronicles 20:11 "Behold, [I say, how] they reward us, to come to cast us out of thy possession, which thou hast given us to inherit."


Evil for good.


"To come to cast us out of thy possession, which thou hast given us to inherit": The land of Canaan was their inheritance. An inheritance given them by God, their covenant God and Father, who had a right to dispose of it. And yet so given, that it was still his possession. He was the Lord and Proprietor, they but tenants under him. All which, as they were so many aggravations of the guilt of their enemies, so they were so many arguments with the Lord to protect them.


God had stopped the children of Israel from destroying the very people that were trying to destroy Judah and Jerusalem now. Jehoshaphat wanted to know if God stopped them then, so that these people could cast them out of their possession now.


2 Chronicles 20:12 "O our God, wilt thou not judge them? for we have no might against this great company that cometh against us; neither know we what to do: but our eyes [are] upon thee."


This prayer seems counterintuitive in today's self-sufficient culture. Still, Jehoshaphat admitted weakness: "we have no might", and he had no plan. He simply held on to what he did know: God.


Jehoshaphat knew that he would not be able to win this war with so vast an army against him, unless the LORD Himself won the war for them. He says that he had placed himself and all of the people of Judah into the hands of God. Whatever happened would be as a result of God's action on their behalf.


2 Chronicles 20:13 "And all Judah stood before the LORD, with their little ones, their wives, and their children."


Looking towards the most Holy Place, where the Ark of his presence was, in a humble and submissive posture. Waiting what would be the issue of things, what answer they should have from the Lord.


"With their little ones, their wives, and their children": They and their wives, with their children, both small and grown up, which they brought with them. That as the sight of them, now in the utmost danger, might affect them, and make them the more fervent in their supplications to God. So they might hope the Lord would have pity and compassion on them, and save them.


This was such a serious matter that even the wives and children were in attendance. The entire families were praying before the LORD.



Verses 14-17: The Lord responded immediately, sending a message of confidence through the prophet Jahaziel.


2 Chronicles 20:14 "Then upon Jahaziel the son of Zechariah, the son of Benaiah, the son of Jeiel, the son of Mattaniah, a Levite of the sons of Asaph, came the Spirit of the LORD in the midst of the congregation;"


For the coming of the "Spirit of the Lord" upon Old Testament believers (see the note on Judges 3:10).


This is an explanation that Jahaziel was of the Levitical lineage. He was in the temple, and the Spirit of the LORD descended upon him. The message was from God. The prayer was directly seeking an answer from God. The beautiful thing was that God used one of His own creation to bring the message through.


2 Chronicles 20:15 "And he said, Hearken ye, all Judah, and ye inhabitants of Jerusalem, and thou king Jehoshaphat, Thus saith the LORD unto you, Be not afraid nor dismayed by reason of this great multitude; for the battle [is] not yours, but God's."


The prophet Jahaziel spoke words of comfort to "all Judah: for the battle [is] not yours, but God's". Although Christians fight spiritual battles (Eph. 6:12), the battle is still God's (1 Cor. 15:24-25).


This had to be a tremendous relief to Jehoshaphat and to the people in attendance. This battle was God's. This was not a "fear not"; God will be with you. It was a statement that the battle was God's. They must not fear, only trust God.


2 Chronicles 20:16 "To morrow go ye down against them: behold, they come up by the cliff of Ziz; and ye shall find them at the end of the brook, before the wilderness of Jeruel."


"The cliff of Ziz ... wilderness of Jeruel": These areas lie between Engedi on the Dead Sea and Tekoa, which is 10 miles south of Jerusalem and 17 miles northwest of Engedi. This is the pass that leads from the valley of the Dead Sea toward Jerusalem.


This was just explaining that they would not fight down in the valley, but would in fact, fight on an elevated area near the Dead Sea. This was a totally desolate area with no trees to hide behind. The army of Judah would be at a higher place, and they would look down upon their enemy.


2 Chronicles 20:17 "Ye shall not [need] to fight in this [battle]: set yourselves, stand ye [still], and see the salvation of the LORD with you, O Judah and Jerusalem: fear not, nor be dismayed; tomorrow go out against them: for the LORD [will be] with you."


Since the Lord would fight for them.


"Set yourselves, stand ye still": Present themselves they might, as if ready to engage; and keep their ground. Not giving way in the least, but would have no need to strike a stroke.


"And see the salvation of the Lord with you": Which he would work for them (see Exodus 14:13).


"And Judah, and Jerusalem, fear not, nor be dismayed": Which is repeated for the confirmation of them.


"Tomorrow go out against them, for the Lord will be with you": To protect them, fight for them, and give them victory; the Targum is, "the Word of the Lord shall be your help."


The following is a very similar statement that Moses said at the Red Sea.


Exodus 14:13 "And Moses said unto the people, Fear ye not, stand still, and see the salvation of the LORD, which he will show to you today: for the Egyptians whom ye have seen today, ye shall see them again no more for ever."


Both of these are beautiful statements that the LORD would fight for them. They had nothing to fear.



Verses 18-21: Here was the praise of faith. They were confident enough in God's promise of victory to begin the praise before the battle was won. So great was their trust that the choir marched in front of the army, singing psalms.


Verses 18-19: Notice the two postures of worship: bowing "his head" in humility and then standing confidently to praise God "with a loud voice on high". These two postures are common to every season of revival.


2 Chronicles 20:18 "And Jehoshaphat bowed his head with [his] face to the ground: and all Judah and the inhabitants of Jerusalem fell before the LORD, worshipping the LORD."


Not only in reverence of God, and his prophet, but as a token of his belief of what was said, and his thankfulness for it. For the king's prostration "before the Lord" in public prayer (see 6:13-39).


"And all Judah, and the inhabitants of Jerusalem, fell before the Lord, worshipping him": Adoring his goodness to them, in imitation of their king.


They believed that God Himself, would save them and fell before Him in perfect adoration. This was an act of thanksgiving to God.


2 Chronicles 20:19 "And the Levites, of the children of the Kohathites, and of the children of the Korhites, stood up to praise the LORD God of Israel with a loud voice on high."


Who were of the posterity of Kohath, in the line of Korah.


"Stood up to praise the Lord God of Israel with a loud voice on high": In high notes; they being the course in turn at this time for this service.


In verse 18, we saw the king and his people adoring the LORD. Now we see those who ministered gave high praise to the LORD for His answer to these people.


2 Chronicles 20:20 "And they rose early in the morning, and went forth into the wilderness of Tekoa: and as they went forth, Jehoshaphat stood and said, Hear me, O Judah, and ye inhabitants of Jerusalem; Believe in the LORD your God, so shall ye be established; believe his prophets, so shall ye prosper."


Being confident of success, animated by what the prophet said to them.


"And went forth into the wilderness of Tekoa": Which, according to Jerom, was six miles from Beth-lehem, and nine from Jerusalem. Some say twelve, beyond which was nothing but a desert. It was part of the wilderness of Judah.


"And as they went forth": Out of Jerusalem, through one of the gates of it.


"Jehoshaphat stood and said, believe in the Lord your God": In the promises he had made, particularly with respect to the victory over their present enemies. The Targum is, "in the Word of the Lord your God:"


"So shall you be established": Have courage and firmness of mind, as well as be safe and secure.


"Believe his prophets": Sent by him, and that speak in his name, particularly Jahaziel, who had predicted victory to them.


"So shall ye prosper": Things will succeed to your wishes, and beyond your expectations.


We could add to this, that they went out rejoicing knowing that the victory was theirs. They were instructed once again, by Jehoshaphat to not fear but believe in the LORD God.


2 Chronicles 20:21 "And when he had consulted with the people, he appointed singers unto the LORD, and that should praise the beauty of holiness, as they went out before the army, and to say, Praise the LORD; for his mercy [endureth] for ever."


When the day of war arrived, Jehoshaphat implemented his unusual strategy: "He appointed singers unto the LORD" to lead the army. This is anything but a typical battle plan, it is a worship plan, the best kind of battle plan.


"The beauty of holiness": This refers to the manner in which the Levite singers were clothed in symbolic sacred clothing (compare 1 Chron. 16:29), in honor of the Lord's holiness.


The singers wore their garments they wore when they sang worship in the temple. This army was led by praise and worship. The singers were the front lines. These were songs of high praise. They were praising their God for His Holiness.



Verses 22-24: Similar to God's intervention in Gideon's day (Judges 7:15-23), God caused confusion among the enemy, who mistakenly turned upon themselves and slaughtered each other. Some think this may have been done by angels who appeared and set off this uncontrolled and deadly panic. The destruction was complete before Jehoshaphat and his army ever met the enemy (verse 24).


The confusion that resulted in the enemies' mutual quarrel and destruction is reminiscent of the case (in Judges 7:22), and the false assumption of the Moabites in the later Israelite/Judean expedition against them (2 Kings 3:23).


The Lord used this tactic, confusing the wicked to destroy themselves, on other occasions (Joshua 10:10; Judges 7:22; 1 Sam. 14:20; Isa. 19:2; Zech. 14:13).


2 Chronicles 20:22 "And when they began to sing and to praise, the LORD set ambushments against the children of Ammon, Moab, and mount Seir, which were come against Judah; and they were smitten."


They sung more or less all the way they went, from the time they set out, but when they came nearer the enemy, they sung louder and louder.


"The Lord set ambushments against the children of Ammon, Moab, and Mount Seir, which came against Judah": Some take them to be their own ambushments, which they set for the destruction of Judah. But the Lord turned them against their own confederates, mistaking them for Jews.


"And they were smitten": By them, many of them were destroyed.


I believe these who ambushed were actually angels God had sent to fight for Judah. I believe this army of God attacked these enemies of Judah and killed them.


2 Chronicles 20:23 "For the children of Ammon and Moab stood up against the inhabitants of mount Seir, utterly to slay and destroy [them]: and when they had made an end of the inhabitants of Seir, every one helped to destroy another."


Supposing that they had acted a treacherous part by them, and took on the side of their enemies.


"Utterly to slay and destroy them": As they did.


"And when they had made an end of the inhabitants of Seir": So that there were none left of them.


"Everyone helped to destroy one another": In their confusion mistook one another, either for Edomites or Jews, like the Midianites in the times of Gideon.


There was such confusion in these battles, that they turned against each other. The Moabites and the Ammonites fought each other, until no one was left.


2 Chronicles 20:24 "And when Judah came toward the watch tower in the wilderness, they looked unto the multitude, and, behold, they [were] dead bodies fallen to the earth, and none escaped."


Which might stand upon the hill or cliff of Ziz, for the sake of the direction of travelers. And the preservation of them from thieves and robbers.


"They looked unto the multitude": Which they could take a view of from the top of the hill.


"And behold, they were dead bodies fallen to the earth, and none escaped": All to a man slain, there was not one to be seen standing on his feet.


The army of Judah had not even gotten to the battlefield. These dead bodies were fallen, because of the angels of the LORD. The ones the angels killed, plus the ones that turned on each other and killed each other, were these dead bodies.



Verses 25-28: They went back just as they had gone out, with music (compare verses 21-22).


2 Chronicles 20:25 "And when Jehoshaphat and his people came to take away the spoil of them, they found among them in abundance both riches with the dead bodies, and precious jewels, which they stripped off for themselves, more than they could carry away: and they were three days in gathering of the spoil, it was so much."


Which was all they had to do; they had no need to fight, as they were told, the Lord had fought for them.


"They found among them in abundance both riches with the dead bodies": Rich garments on them, and gold and silver on them.


"And precious jewels, which they stripped of for themselves": With which their clothes, or some part of their bodies, were ornamented.


"More than they could carry away": There was so much, that it made a great burden for them.


"And they were three days in gathering of the spoil, it was so much": It took up so much time to strip the bodies, to search for their money and jewels, rings, chains, and such like things of value, worn by them.


Notice the battle was already won, when Jehoshaphat and his men got to the battlefront. All they had to do was gather up the riches this defeated army had left. There was so much of it, that it took three days to gather it up.


2 Chronicles 20:26 "And on the fourth day they assembled themselves in the valley of Berachah; for there they blessed the LORD: therefore the name of the same place was called, The valley of Berachah, unto this day."


As it was afterwards called from what they did there, as follows, which was the reason of its name.


"For there they blessed the Lord": Returned thanks to him for this wonderful appearance on their behalf, and gave him the glory of it. No doubt but they had given him praise before in some sort and manner. But now in a set, solemn, and public manner, with one heart and voice they united in ascribing honor, blessing, and glory to him.


"Therefore the name of the same place was called the valley of Berachah unto this day": The valley of Blessing. This name it bore in the times of Ezra, the writer of this book, even after the Jews returned from the Babylonish captivity. It is thought to be the same that is called by Jerom Cephar-baruchah, which he speaks of as not far from Engedi (see 2 Chron. 20:2). Others will have it to be the same with the valley of Jehoshaphat, but not so likely, that seems to be nearer Jerusalem.


"Berachah" means valley of blessing. The army of Judah gathered in this valley and praised God for His greatness.


2 Chronicles 20:27 "Then they returned, every man of Judah and Jerusalem, and Jehoshaphat in the forefront of them, to go again to Jerusalem with joy; for the LORD had made them to rejoice over their enemies."


There to praise the Lord in the temple, as they had done in the valley.


"For the Lord had made them to rejoice over their enemies": By giving them a complete victory, and making them masters of so much wealth and riches.


This war, they had feared so much, had turned into a beautiful blessing from God. Their joy was in the LORD.


2 Chronicles 20:28 "And they came to Jerusalem with psalteries and harps and trumpets unto the house of the LORD."


The three principal instruments of music used in singing the praises of God. These they played upon as they came to the city, and entered it, and passed through it.


"Unto the house of the Lord": The temple, there to offer praise and thanksgiving again.


It appears the singers and musicians led them in high praise all the way back to Jerusalem. The trumpets were blowing in victory, so all the land would know they had won.


2 Chronicles 20:29 "And the fear of God was on all the kingdoms of [those] countries, when they had heard that the LORD fought against the enemies of Israel."


This is the second time in Jehoshaphat's reign that fear came on the nations (compare 2 Chron. 17:10), which was similar to that when Israel came out of Egypt (Exodus 23:27; Num. 22:3; Joshua 2:9-11; 9:10-11).


Apparently, word traveled quickly about this battle, and it was obvious to all who heard the story that "the Lord fought against the enemies of Israel". The same was true when God led Joshua to take the Promised Land (Joshua 2:9-12).


2 Chronicles 20:30 "So the realm of Jehoshaphat was quiet: for his God gave him rest round about."


Both within and without; they were at peace among themselves. And none from abroad dared to molest them.


"For his God gave him rest round about": From all his enemies. The Targum has it, the Word of his God. And so, in the preceding verse, the Word of the Lord fought. And in 2 (Chron. 20:28), the Word of the Lord made them rejoice.


All of the countries in the near vicinity had heard what the LORD had done to the Ammonites and the Moabites. They now knew that the LORD fought for Judah. They were not afraid of Jehoshaphat, but they were afraid of his God. They would not dare attack him, for fear his God would defeat them as he had the Ammonites and the Moabites. There was peace in the land, because the people depended upon God.



Verses 20:31 - 21:3 (see notes on 1 Kings 22:41-49).


2 Chronicles 20:31 "And Jehoshaphat reigned over Judah: [he was] thirty and five years old when he began to reign, and he reigned twenty and five years in Jerusalem. And his mother's name [was] Azubah the daughter of Shilhi."


Compare (1 Kings 22:41-50). A brief section, which constitutes the whole account of the reign of Jehoshaphat in the older narrative.


"And Jehoshaphat reigned over Judah": Kings adds: "In the fourth year of Ahab king of Israel." With this omission, our verse coincides with (1 Kings 22:41-42).


We find that Jehoshaphat reigned from his 35th year, until he was 60.


2 Chronicles 20:32 "And he walked in the way of Asa his father, and departed not from it, doing [that which was] right in the sight of the LORD."


And he walked in the way of Asa his father, and departed not from it. Who was a good prince.


"He turned not aside from doing that which was right in the eyes of the Lord": In his moral conversation, religious worship, and civil government.


2 Chronicles 20:33 "Howbeit the high places were not taken away: for as yet the people had not prepared their hearts unto the God of their fathers."


The high places, where idols were worshipped, were taken away (2 Chron. 17:6). But not those where sacrifices were offered to the true God.


"For as yet the people had not prepared their hearts unto the God of their fathers": To seek and serve him wholly, according to His Will. To offer sacrifices to him only at Jerusalem, as the law required (Deut. 12:5). They could not as yet be prevailed upon to relinquish the high places, built and made use of before the temple was. Partly because they were nearer to some of them than that. And partly out of veneration for them, as being of a long time used.


Jehoshaphat had been even more devoted to God than Asa had been. They were both righteous kings in the sight of the LORD. Jehoshaphat's only errors were the fact that he was friends with Ahab, and not tearing down the high places. He sought the LORD with all his heart, and the LORD blessed him mightily.



Verses 34-37: Jehoshaphat, like other kings, made poor decisions along the way. Even though he was a good king, he still paid the consequences. His times of past success did not make him immune to sin or its consequences.


2 Chronicles 20:34 "Now the rest of the acts of Jehoshaphat, first and last, behold, they [are] written in the book of Jehu the son of Hanani, who [is] mentioned in the book of the kings of Israel."


Those that were done at the beginning, and those that were done at the latter end of his reign.


"Behold, they are written in the book of Jehu, the son of Hanani, who is mentioned in the book of the kings of Israel. (See 1 Kings 16:1), the same that reproved Jehoshaphat (2 Chron. 19:2). He wrote a book of his own times, and which was so much esteemed, according to Kimchi, that it was written with, or put along with, the book of the kings of Israel. For so he interprets the phrase. But the Targum understands it of Jehu being the king's historiographer, who had the care and oversight of the diary, journal, or annals of the kings of Israel.


This book of Jehu is not in the Bible. We may safely assume it was a book of records that someone kept from a more civil standpoint. Hanani was a seer of Judah during the time of Asa. Jehu was a prophet, who first appeared to denounce Baasha. He also appeared to Jehoshaphat to tell him of God's displeasure about his alliance with Ahab.



Verses 35-37 (see the (note on 1 Kings 22:48-49).


2 Chronicles 20:35 "And after this did Jehoshaphat king of Judah join himself with Ahaziah king of Israel, who did very wickedly:"


Meaning, not after the invasion of the Moabites, etc., and the slaughter of them. But after Jehoshaphat returned from Ramoth-gilead, when he was reproved by a prophet for helping the ungodly (2 Chron. 19:1). So that it was a great aggravation of his folly and weakness, then after that, and quickly after that, he should join himself to a wicked prince. Though not in war, but in trade. For so it must be, since Ahaziah reigned but two years, and those not complete (see 1 Kings 22:51). But is here related, that Jehoshaphat's weaknesses and blemishes might be laid together.


"Who did very wickedly": That is, Ahaziah, who walked in the ways of Ahab his father, and of Jezebel his mother, and of Jeroboam the son of Nebat (1 Kings 22:52).


2 Chronicles 20:36 "And he joined himself with him to make ships to go to Tarshish: and they made the ships in Ezion-geber."


Of which (see 1 Kings 22:48), and though it is there said (1 Kings 22:49), that Jehoshaphat refused letting the servants of Ahaziah go with his. That was after he had been reproved for joining with him, and after the ships were broken.


"And they made the ships in Ezion-geber" (of which see 1 Kings 9:26).


Jehoshaphat went into a commercial venture with Ahaziah. God showed his disapproval by sinking the ships they had made.


2 Chronicles 20:37 "Then Eliezer the son of Dodavah of Mareshah prophesied against Jehoshaphat, saying, Because thou hast joined thyself with Ahaziah, the LORD hath broken thy works. And the ships were broken, that they were not able to go to Tarshish."


A city in the tribe of Judah (Joshua 15:44).


"Prophesied against Jehoshaphat, saying, because thou hast joined thyself with Ahaziah": An idolatrous prince, with whom he ought to have had no fellowship, even in civil things. It being both a countenancing him, and exposing himself and people to danger.


"The Lord hath broken thy works": The ships built at the joint expense of the two kings, that is, the Lord had determined to break them. And now foretold that he would; the Targum is, "the Word of the Lord hath destroyed thy works."


"And the ships were broken, that they were not able to go to Tarshish" (see notes on 1 Kings 22:48).


God settled this alliance, before it got off the ground. The prophet that brought the reason for the destruction of the ships is not mentioned elsewhere. Jehoshaphat dissolved partnership immediately.


2 Chronicles Chapter 20 Questions


  1. Who sent their armies against Jehoshaphat?
  2. In verse 2, where had they come to?
  3. When Jehoshaphat heard of the oncoming army, what did he do?
  4. Jehoshaphat and his people believed their strength came from whom?
  5. Who prayed to God for them?
  6. How did his prayer begin?
  7. What were some of the things that Jehoshaphat reminded God of that were things done to honor Him?
  8. What had God promised Solomon about the prayers of the people?
  9. Why had Judah not already destroyed Ammon and Moab?
  10. What plea did Jehoshaphat make to God in verse 12?
  11. Who came to the temple to pray, besides the men?
  12. Who did the Spirit come upon and he spoke?
  13. What message did God have for His people?
  14. Who did this battle belong to?
  15. Where would Jehoshaphat find them?
  16. Verse 17 is similar to what verse in Exodus?
  17. What effect did this beautiful promise from God have on Jehoshaphat?
  18. Who stood up to praise in verse 19?
  19. In verse 20, Jehoshaphat encouraged his people to do what?
  20. The singers would sing of whom?
  21. What happened, when they began to sing?
  22. What happened to the enemies of Judah?
  23. Who does the author believe actually were the ambushers?
  24. What did the Ammonites and Moabites do, in the confusion?
  25. What did the troops of Judah find, when they came to the watch tower?
  26. What was left for Jehoshaphat and his men to do?
  27. Where did they assemble on the fourth day?
  28. What does "Berachah" mean?
  29. How did they return to Jerusalem?
  30. Why was there no more war for Jehoshaphat?
  31. How old was Jehoshaphat, when he stopped reigning?
  32. How was Jehoshaphat like Asa?
  33. What were the only errors mentioned of Jehoshaphat?



Go to Previous Section | Go to Next Section | Return to Top

Return to 2 Chronicles Menu | Return to Bible Menu


2 Chronicles 21



2 Chronicles Chapter 21

2 Chronicles 21:1 "Now Jehoshaphat slept with his fathers, and was buried with his fathers in the city of David. And Jehoram his son reigned in his stead."


Jehoram's sole reign now began (see note on 2 Kings 8:16). His eight years (2 Chron. 21:5), must be counted from the time of his association, in his father's 23rd year.


Jehoram was the wicked son of Jehoshaphat, who married the daughter of Ahab and Jezebel. Jehoshaphat was buried in Jerusalem. We will quickly find that Jehoram was the opposite of Jehoshaphat.



Verses 2-5: When the co-regency with his father ended at his father's death, Jehoram killed all who might have threatened his throne.


2 Chronicles 21:2 "And he had brethren the sons of Jehoshaphat, Azariah, and Jehiel, and Zechariah, and Azariah, and Michael, and Shephatiah: all these [were] the sons of Jehoshaphat king of Israel."


That is, Jehoram had, who succeeded him. Their names follow:


"Azariah, and Jehiel, and Zechariah, and Azariah, and Michael, and Shephatiah": Two of them were of the same name. Though it may be observed, that in the Hebrew text they are somewhat distinguished, the latter is called Azariah. Jehiel is said, by the Jews, to be the same with Hiel that rebuilt Jericho. Indeed, it was rebuilt in the times of Jehoshaphat, and was a city of the tribe of Benjamin (Joshua 18:21). Which was under his jurisdiction; but it can never be thought that he would ever suffer a son of his to rebuild it. Besides, he is expressly said to be from Beth-el (1 Kings 16:34).


"All these were the sons of Jehoshaphat king of Israel": Which generally, since the division of the kingdom, designs the ten tribes. But cannot be the meaning here, because Jehoshaphat was only king of two tribes, Judah and Benjamin. They were tribes of Israel indeed, and so he was king of a part of Israel. And besides, many out of the ten tribes came and settled in his kingdom, and were under his government. Though some think he is so called, because he concerned himself so much for the kingdom of Israel, and more than for his own. But the Vulgate Latin, Septuagint, Syriac, and Arabic versions, all read king of Judah. Wherefore some are of the opinion that Israel is a mistake of the transcriber. But this need not be supposed, since he was of right king of Israel, and was in fact king of two tribes that belonged to Israel.


There will be very little written of these brothers of Jehoram, because he murdered them.


2 Chronicles 21:3 "And their father gave them great gifts of silver, and of gold, and of precious things, with fenced cities in Judah: but the kingdom gave he to Jehoram; because he [was] the firstborn."


As jewels and precious stones; or precious garments, as the Targum. In like manner as Abraham gave to his sons, when he sent them from Isaac.


"With fenced cities in Judah": Not as their own property, but he appointed them governors in them, to defend them against an enemy, and as a mark of honor to them.


"But the kingdom gave he to Jehoram, because he was the firstborn": Strictly observing the law in (Deut. 21:16), which was not always done. Though it was reckoned by the Heathens contrary to the law of nations to give the kingdom to the younger.


It was the custom of the land for the eldest son to become king in his father's stead. There was great wealth in the land that God had given them from their victory over the Ammonites and the Moabites. It appears that Jehoshaphat gave them cities for their own, and gave them silver and gold so they would have a nice living.



Verses 4-20: The reign of Jehoram (ca. 853 - 841 B.C.; compare 2 Kings 8:16-24). Most likely, Obadiah prophesied during his reign.


Verses 4-6: Not only did Jehoram, the fifth king of Judah, "slew all his brethren", but he also walked in the wicked ways of the "house of Ahab, the king of Israel (compare 1 Kings chapters 16 - 22 for more information regarding Ahab).


2 Chronicles 21:4 "Now when Jehoram was risen up to the kingdom of his father, he strengthened himself, and slew all his brethren with the sword, and [divers] also of the princes of Israel."


Succeeded him in it, and reigned alone. For he had reigned with his father some years before his death (see notes on 2 Kings 8:16).


"He strengthened himself": In the kingdom, by some means or another closely attaching the greater part of the princes, and people of the land, unto him, when he thought himself well settled and established on the throne. Though some understand it of making strong, or hardening his heart to do what is next mentioned.


"And slew all his brethren with the sword": Either to get their riches into his hands, or lest, being religious princes, they should oppose his restoring idolatry. And for that reason, the people should depose him, and set up one of them. And therefore, he dispatched them out of the way to secure himself, and carry his point.


"And divers also of the princes of Israel": Such who had removed out of the ten tribes, for the sake of religion. And therefore, would never agree to the introduction of idolatry among them, for which reason Jehoram slew them. And perhaps they might express their disapprobation and abhorrence of his murder of his brethren.


We can see in this one verse, the extent of Jehoram's wickedness. He had no human kindness at all. We must remember that he had married Athaliah, one of the most wicked women in the Bible. I believe she was even worse than her mother, Jezebel. She might have helped influence Jehoram to do such a wicked thing as murdering his own brothers.


2 Chronicles 21:5 "Jehoram [was] thirty and two years old when he began to reign, and he reigned eight years in Jerusalem."


This section is parallel with (2 Kings 8:17-22).


"And he reigned eight years in Jerusalem": Which ended in the twelfth year of Joram king of Israel (2 Kings 8:25).


He had a very short reign of just 8 years.



Verses 6-7: For the individual appropriation of the provisions of the unconditional Davidic covenant (see the note on 2 Sam. 7:12-16). For the sinful nature of Jehoram (see the note on 2 Kings 8:18).


2 Chronicles 21:6 "And he walked in the way of the kings of Israel, like as did the house of Ahab: for he had the daughter of Ahab to wife: and he wrought [that which was] evil in the eyes of the LORD."


Imitated them in idolatry.


"For he had the daughter of Ahab to wife": Whose name was Athaliah (2 Kings 8:26). And by her he was drawn into idolatrous practices; of such bad consequence are marriages with idolaters. It is very much that so good a king as Jehoshaphat could have a son that should contract such an affinity. He suffered for it in more instances than one.


"And he wrought [that which was] evil in the eyes of the LORD": Was guilty of idolatry, of which nothing would have been more displeasing to the Lord. For he made high places, and compelled his subjects to commit idolatry (2 Chron. 21:11).


This Scripture does indicate that he chose to go the way of his evil wife. He was just as evil as Ahab and Jezebel. He was evil in the sight of the LORD. This should be an encouragement to Christian parents whose children have gone bad. It is not always the influence they were raised in that causes them to go bad. In this case, he married an evil woman.


2 Chronicles 21:7 "Howbeit the LORD would not destroy the house of David, because of the covenant that he had made with David, and as he promised to give a light to him and to his sons for ever."


Despite the evil ways of Jehoram, God "would not destroy the house of David" because of the promise He had made with David (2 Sam. 7:8-16; 1 Chron. 17:7-14). Every book in Scripture confirms that God keeps His promises.


The only thing that saved Jehoram from total destruction, was the promise God had made to David. Jehoram deserved to die. God had promised that the descendants of David would reign as king of Judah forever. This of course, was fulfilled in Jesus.



Verses 8-11: Under David and Solomon, Israel had controlled the "Edomites", Moab, and Libnah. Moab had revolted from Israel's King Joram (2 Kings Chapter 3), and now Edom and Libnah revolted from Judah's king" Jehoram". Jehoram lost control of these areas because he had led the people away from the Lord and into pagan practices.


(See the note on 2 Kings 8:22 and compare verses 16 and 17).


2 Chronicles 21:8 "In his days the Edomites revolted from under the dominion of Judah, and made themselves a king."


Who had been tributary to Judah ever since the times of David, for the space of one hundred and fifty years.


"And made themselves a king": For though they are said to have kings, those were only deputy kings (as in 1 Kings 22:47). And now the prediction of Isaac began to be accomplished (Gen. 27:40).


The Edomites had been paying tribute to Judah. They found a time when they knew that God was not pleased with the king, and revolted against Judah. They chose themselves a king to lead them.


2 Chronicles 21:9 "Then Jehoram went forth with his princes, and all his chariots with him: and he rose up by night, and smote the Edomites which compassed him in, and the captains of the chariots."


"And all his chariots with him": All the chariots of war he had.


"And he rose up by night, and smote the Edomites which compassed him in": Who came out of their cities in great numbers, and surrounded him, he having entered into their country in a hostile way, to subdue them.


"And the captains of the chariots": Which belonged to the Edomites; those he smote (2 Chron. 21:9).


This army that went forth was there in physical strength. He had to fight his own battles, because the LORD was not with him. He was strong enough that he smote Edom.


2 Chronicles 21:10 "So the Edomites revolted from under the hand of Judah unto this day. The same time [also] did Libnah revolt from under his hand; because he had forsaken the LORD God of his fathers."


"Edom revolted": For though Joram had given them a defeat, yet it may seem to have been no great slaughter, but only a putting them to flight. And therefore they might easily rally again. And Joram could not pursue the victory, because he was recalled by the revolt of his own subjects. Which had taken the occasion of his absence, and probably feared that others would follow their example, if they had the like occasion.


"The same time also did Libnah revolt from under his hand": A considerable city in his own kingdom. A Levitical one. This revolt was occasioned, perhaps, by his idolatrous practices, and which he compelled his subjects to. Of this city (see Joshua 10:29).


They revolted because they knew that he would not get help from the LORD. They were fighting just a man, and not God. They would no longer pay tribute to Jehoram.


2 Chronicles 21:11 "Moreover he made high places in the mountains of Judah, and caused the inhabitants of Jerusalem to commit fornication, and compelled Judah [thereto]."


"Compelled Judah": Undoubtedly, he was influenced by his marriage to Ahab's daughter (compare verse 6), and was influenced in the alliance just like his father (2 Chron. 18:1). They had not learned from Solomon's sinful example (compare 1 kings 11:3-4). His wicked wife, Athaliah, later became ruler over Judah and tried to wipe out David's royal line (2 Chron. 22:10).


The fornication spoken of here, is spiritual adultery. They worshipped false gods in the high places. It appears that not only did Jehoram do this, but he caused the inhabitants to do this also, for fear of losing their lives if they did not.



Verses 12-15: Elijah, best known for his confrontations with Israel's Ahab and Jezebel (1 Kings chapter 17 - 2 Kings 2:11), confronted prophetically Jehoram's sins of idolatry and murder (21:13). The consequences from God's judgment extended beyond himself to his family and the nation (21:14-15). This event undoubtedly occurred in the early years of Jehoram's co-regency with his father Jehoshaphat and shortly before Elijah's departure to heaven (ca. 848 B.C.; compare 2 Kings 2:11-12).


Either "Elijah" has not yet been translated into heaven at this time (compare 2 Kings chapter 2), or his prophecy was delivered after his translation. Some of Elijah's duties were carried out by others after his departure (compare 1 Kings 19:15-17 with 2 Kings 8:7-13; 9:6).


2 Chronicles 21:12 "And there came a writing to him from Elijah the prophet, saying, Thus saith the LORD God of David thy father, Because thou hast not walked in the ways of Jehoshaphat thy father, nor in the ways of Asa king of Judah,"


Not what was written by him after his ascension to heaven, and from thence came to Jehoram, even seven years after that, as say some Jewish writers. Nor was it a writing from another person of the same name in those times, since of such a one we nowhere read. Nor from Elisha bearing the name of Elijah, having a double portion of his spirit on him. Since he is never so called; but this was a writing of Elijah's before his ascension. Who, foreseeing by a spirit of prophecy what Jehoram would be guilty of, wrote this, and gave it to one of the prophets, as Kimchi suggests. And most probably to Elisha, to communicate it to him at a proper time. And who might, as the above writer intimates, think it came immediately from heaven.


"Saying, thus saith the Lord God of David thy father; and from whose God he had departed, and to which ancestor of his he was so much unlike.


Because thou hast not walked in the ways of Jehoshaphat thy father, nor in the ways of Asa king of Judah": Neither trod in the steps of his father nor grandfather.


The reason Elijah did not come in person, was that he was the prophet to Israel. This still did not stop him from sending a written warning to Jehoram. God had spared Jehoram a short time in honor of his father Jehoshaphat, and his grandfather Asa. Now he would be punished on his own, because he refused to worship God and obey Him.


2 Chronicles 21:13 "But hast walked in the way of the kings of Israel, and hast made Judah and the inhabitants of Jerusalem to go a whoring, like to the whoredoms of the house of Ahab, and also hast slain thy brethren of thy father's house, [which were] better than thyself:"


Worshipping the calves, and even Baal, with other idols, as they did.


"And hast made Judah and the inhabitants of Jerusalem to go a whoring, like to the whoredoms of the house of Ahab": Meaning spiritual whoredoms or idolatries.


"And hast also slain thy brethren of thy father's house, which were better than thyself": More religious, more humane, more prudent, and fitter for government.


Now, we see the charges against him. First of all, he was not seeking the LORD with all his heart as his father did. He had picked up the evil habits of Athaliah, Jezebel's daughter. He had even introduced the false gods of Israel into the land of Judah. He viciously killed his brothers, who were more like his father than he was.


2 Chronicles 21:14 "Behold, with a great plague will the LORD smite thy people, and thy children, and thy wives, and all thy goods:"


They going into the same idolatry with himself willingly, at least great part of them, and therefore deserved to be smitten, and which would be a punishme