Who wrote it?
The book of 2 Chronicles does not specifically name its author. The tradition is that 1 and 2 Chronicles were written by Ezra.
When(ish) was it written?
The book of 2 Chronicles was likely written between 450 and 425 BC.
Why was it written?
1 & 2 Chronicles cover mostly the same information as 1 & 2 Samuel and 1 & 2 Kings. The books of 1 & 2 Chronicles focus more on the priestly aspect of the time period. 2 Chronicles is essentially an evaluation of the nation’s religious history.
Some Key Verses
Now Solomon purposed to build a temple for the name of the Lord, and a royal palace for himself.
– 2 Chronicles 2:1
Hezekiah began to reign when he was twenty-five years old, and he reigned twenty-nine years in Jerusalem. His mother’s name was Abijah the daughter of Zechariah. And he did what was right in the eyes of the Lord, according to all that David his father had done. In the first year of his reign, in the first month, he opened the doors of the house of the Lord and repaired them.
– 2 Chronicles 29:1-3
All the officers of the priests and the people likewise were exceedingly unfaithful, following all the abominations of the nations. And they polluted the house of the Lord that he had made holy in Jerusalem.
– 2 Chronicles 36:14
Thus says Cyrus king of Persia, ‘The Lord, the God of heaven, has given me all the kingdoms of the earth, and he has charged me to build him a house at Jerusalem, which is in Judah. Whoever is among you of all his people, may the Lord his God be with him. Let him go up.’
– 2 Chronicles 36:23
A Quick Summary
The book of 2 Chronicles records the history of the southern kingdom of Judah, from the reign of Solomon to the conclusion of the Babylonian exile. The decline of Judah is disappointing, but emphasis is given to the spiritual reformers who zealously seek to turn the people back to God. Little is said about the bad kings or of the failures of good kings; only goodness is stressed. Since 2 Chronicles takes a priestly perspective, the northern kingdom of Israel is rarely mentioned because of their false worship and refusal to acknowledge the Temple of Jerusalem. 2 Chronicles concludes with the final destruction of Jerusalem and the Temple.
As with all references to kings and temples in the Old Testament, we see in them a reflection of the true King of Kings—Jesus Christ—and of the temple of the Holy Spirit—His people. Even the best of the kings of Israel had the faults of all sinful men and led the people imperfectly. But when the King of Kings comes to live and reign on the earth in the millennium, He will establish Himself on the throne of all the earth as the rightful heir of David. Only then will we have a perfect King who will reign in righteousness and holiness, something the best of Israel’s kings could only dream of.
Similarly, the great temple built by Solomon was not designed to last forever. Just 150 years later, it was in need of repair from decay and defacing by future generations who turned back to idolatry (2 Kings 12). But the temple of the Holy Spirit—those who belong to Christ—will live forever. We who belong to Jesus are that temple, made not by hands but by the will of God (John 1:12-13). The Spirit who lives within us will never depart from us and will deliver us safely into the hands of God one day (Ephesians 1:13; 4:30). No earthly temple contains that promise.
What does this mean?
The reader of the Chronicles is invited to evaluate each generation from the past and discern why each was blessed for their obedience or punished for their wickedness. But we are also to compare the plight of these generations to our own, both corporately and individually. If we or our nation or our church is experiencing hardships, it is to our benefit to compare our beliefs and how we act upon those beliefs with the experiences of the Israelites under the various kings. God hates sin and will not tolerate it. But if the Chronicles teach us anything, it is that God desires to forgive and heal those who will humbly pray and repent (1 John 1:9).
If you could have anything you wished from God, what would you ask for? Fabulous wealth? Perfect health for you and your loved ones? The power over life and death? Amazing to think about it, isn’t it? But more amazing is that God made such an offer to Solomon and he chose none of these things. What he asked for was wisdom and knowledge to complete the task God had assigned to him and to do it well. The lesson for us is that God has given each of us a commission to fulfill and the greatest blessing we can seek from God is the ability to carry out His will for our lives. For that, we need the “wisdom from above” (James 3:17) to discern His will, as well as the understanding and intimate knowledge of Him in order to motivate us to be Christ-like in both deed and attitude (James 3:13).
Take a few minutes to review the Scripture from 2 Chronicles 33. What verses or ideas stand out to you from these passages? What questions do you have? What would you like to remember and apply to your life?
What cultural pulls present a risk for you to replace God’s love and guidance with that of culture?
How are things going with keeping The Word of God in your life to protect against looking for other forms of wisdom?
Is there anyone in your life whom you struggle with thinking they are too far from God for him to save? Take a few minutes as a group to pray for these people and for God to help your unbelief to trust in his ability to save.