2 Chronicles 33–36: Repentence & Return

Read the Bible in 2011Week 45: Tuesday

“Thus Manasseh misled Judah and the inhabitants
of Jerusalem to do more evil than the nations
whom the LORD destroyed before the sons of
Israel.

“The LORD spoke to Manasseh and his people, but they paid no attention. Therefore the LORD brought the commanders of the army of the king of Assyria against them, and they captured Manasseh with hooks, bound him with bronze chains and took him to Babylon. When he was in distress, he entreated the LORD his God and humbled himself greatly before the God of his fathers. When he prayed to Him, He was moved by his entreaty and heard his supplication, and brought him again to Jerusalem to his kingdom. Then Manasseh knew that the LORD was God.”
2 Chronicles 33:9–13

Tuesday’s Bible reading is 2 Chronicles 33–36. These final chapters of 2 Chronicles span the reigns of the last kings of Judah and record the destruction and burning of Jerusalem and the deportation of the survivors to Babylon.

I’ve find Manasseh to be one of the fascinating kings of Judah; the extent of his evil actions was broad—his works ranged from the practice of sorcery to sacrificing his children by fire to putting an idol within the temple—yet he completely turned from these deeds and humbled himself before God. “Then Manasseh knew that the LORD was God,” is such an apt description of his change of heart.

His son Amon reigned only two years before being assassinated, but Judah knew great revival and restoration under his grandson, Josiah. After Josiah’s death, however, the kingdom of Judah fell apart as Neco, king of Egypt, deposed one of Josiah’s sons, and Nebuchadnezzar defeated his other sons and a grandson.

The end of 2 Chronicles only mentions in passing the 70 years of the Babylonian exile. Why? In introducing 1 Chronicles, I quoted these words from Gleason Archer (emphasis added):

“The purpose of these two volumes is to review the history of Israel from the dawn of the human race to the Babylonian captivity and Cyrus’ edict of restoration. This review is composed with a very definite purpose in mind, to give to the Jews of the Second Commonwealth the true spiritual foundation of their theocracy as the covenant people of Jehovah. This historian’s purpose is to show that the true glory of the Hebrew nation was found in its covenant relationship to God…Always the emphasis is upon that which is sound and valid in Israel’s past as furnishing a reliable basis for the task of reconstruction which lay ahead. Great stress is placed upon the rich heritage of Israel and its unbroken connection with the patriarchal beginnings (hence the prominence accorded to genealogical lists).”1

So rather than ending the book on the final horrific days of Jerusalem, the chronicler ends with the return of the exiles to Judah.

“Now in the first year of Cyrus king of Persia—in order to fulfill the word of the LORD by the mouth of Jeremiah—the LORD stirred up the spirit of Cyrus king of Persia, so that he sent a proclamation throughout his kingdom, and also put it in writing, saying, “Thus says Cyrus king of Persia, ‘The LORD, the God of heaven, has given me all the kingdoms of the earth, and He has appointed me to build Him a house in Jerusalem, which is in Judah. Whoever there is among you of all His people, may the LORD his God be with him, and let him go up!’””
2 Chronicles 36:22–23

Repentance and return. What’s the ending to your story?

Click on Continue reading for a genealogy chart of the kings of Israel and Judah based on 1 and 2 Kings.

Click on the image to enlarge.


__________
Isaiah 42 Photograph: ChristianPhotos.net – Free High Resolution Photos for Christian Publications
Genealogy of the Kings of Israel and Judah, F. Duffy: Public Domain.
1Gleason L. Archer, Jr., “Postexilic Historical Books: 1 and 2 Chronicles, Ezra, Nehemiah, Esther,” A Survey of Old Testament Introduction, 404.

Original content: Copyright ©2011 Iwana Carpenter

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