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Friday Bible Blogging - 2 Chronicles 1 to 2 Chronicles 10

This entry is part of a series. For a listing of all entries in the series, go to the Index. Unless otherwise noted, all Bible quotations are from the New Revised Standard Version (NRSV).

BibleAs I've written previously, 1 Chronicles and 2 Chronicles were originally one book, and were only separated for convenience to make the manuscripts easier to handle. So, 2 Chronicles continues on in much the same way as 1 Chronicles. The first 9 chapters of 2 Chronicles summarize the reign of Solomon, and chapter 10 begins the summary of his son, Rehoboam. As the New Oxford Annotated Bible (NOAB) pointed out, the Chronicler (i.e. the person who compiled the book) felt the Israelite kings were illegitimate, so unlike the previous books of Kings, the history of 2 Chronicles focuses on the Judean kings.

And as I've written previously, since Chronicles is so similar to Kings, my summaries here will be brief.

2 Chronicles, Chapter 1

While Solomon was mentioned in the last chapter of 1 Chronicles, this is where his story begins in earnest. It includes him gathering all of Israel to make sacrifices to God at the "high place" of Gibeon, the dream he had while there where he asked for the gift of wisdom, and a bit of a description of how wealthy Judah was under his reign.

2 Chronicles, Chapter 2

This chapter began the start of the temple construction, "Solomon decided to build a temple for the name of the Lord, and a royal palace for himself." It included the trading with King Huram of Tyre for certain building materials (in Kings, it was spelled Hiram), getting a skilled artisan from Tyre, and Solomon taking "a census of all the aliens who were residing in the land of Israel" to force them into labor. Chronicles only had non-Israelites as forced labor, in contrast to Kings where Israelites were also forced to help on the temple construction.

2 Chronicles, Chapter 3

Solomon began the actual construction of the temple. Measurements were given for the temple, which matched those from Kings other than the height - 120 cubits here vs. xx cubits in Kings. The temple consisted of three rooms or chambers - the holy of holies in the very back that only certain priests could enter, a larger nave in the middle that wasn't as restricted, and a small vestibule in the front. The NOAB noted that this 'tripartite' design was relatively common in the ancient near east, and can be found in archaeological remains. On the more interesting side, this shows where the temple design evolved from. From the skeptical side, this calls into question why a divinely inspired temple designed by God himself would have merely copied surrounding temples.

This chapter also contained details of decorations and furnishings of the temple.

2 Chronicles, Chapter 4

This chapter contained more detail of the decorations and furnishings of the temple, including the large "cast sea" that rested on twelve oxen. It included the detail that "The sea was for the priests to wash in," which wasn't included in Kings. According to the NOAB, this was another instance of the Chronicler inventing an origin/justification for a practice that existed in his time.

2 Chronicles, Chapter 5

With the temple completed, Solomon had the ark of the covenant moved to its new home, along with sacrifices and celebrations. The final verses of the chapter noted, "the house, the house of the Lord, was filled with a cloud, so that the priests could not stand to minister because of the cloud; for the glory of the Lord filled the house of God." The Chronicler really is showing an active involved God.

If I stop and take a step back, I realized how inured I'm becoming to sacrifice in the Bible. Consider verse 6, "King Solomon and all the congregation of Israel, who had assembled before him, were before the ark, sacrificing so many sheep and oxen that they could not be numbered or counted." Think about the bloodshed and slaughter that would be involved in killing so many animals. But there's so much of this type of thing that I just read over this sentence hardly noticing it, and it wasn't until I reviewed the chapter again that it struck me how barbaric it was.

2 Chronicles, Chapter 6

This was mainly one long prayer to God, very closely following 1 Kings 8, some sections verbatim (at least in the translation).

2 Chronicles, Chapter 7

When Solomon had finished with the prayer, there was again a miracle by god that wasn't mentioned in the older version of the story, " fire came down from heaven and consumed the burnt-offering and the sacrifices; and the glory of the Lord filled the temple." Then there was more sacrificing, consecrating, and a seven day long festival.

God came to Solomon and in a bit of a long passage promised to take care of his chosen people so long as they remained faithful to him and followed his statutes.

2 Chronicles, Chapter 8

This chapter gave short snippets summarizing portions of Solomon's reign - building cities, capturing other cities, taking Pharaoh's daughter for a wife, more sacrifices, organizing the priests, etc.

2 Chronicles, Chapter 9

Chapter 9 contained the story of the visit from the Queen of Sheba. It was largely similar to the account in 1 Kings 10. There was a bit more praising Solomon, such as, " Thus King Solomon excelled all the kings of the earth in riches and in wisdom." And in the last verse, "Solomon slept with his ancestors and was buried in the city of his father David; and his son Rehoboam succeeded him."

2 Chronicles, Chapter 10

Jeroboam's reign began, repeating the story of the elders coming to him to "lighten the hard service of your father and his heavy yoke that he placed on us," and Jeroboam's subsequent refusal to do so, "My little finger is thicker than my father's loins. Now, whereas my father laid on you a heavy yoke, I will add to your yoke. My father disciplined you with whips, but I will discipline you with scorpions." This led to the breakup of the united kingdom, with most of Israel following Rehoboam, and Jeroboam leading the tribe of Judah, "So Israel has been in rebellion against the house of David to this day."


As I've noted previously, the Chronicler has idealized David and Solomon, removing details that portray them in a bad light, and adding some details that make them look better. But with that in mind, it is interesting that in some respects, the portrayal of Solomon in 2 Chronicles is more believable than that in 1 Kings. In that older book, Solomon's reputation and people's reaction to him was so over the top that it wasn't believable at all. Chronicles didn't play up Solomon's reputation nor his wisdom as extravagantly as Kings.

New Revised Standard Version Bible, copyright 1989, Division of Christian Education of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

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