Second Chronicles 36 Commentary
King Jehoahaz. King Jehoiakim. King Jehoiachin. King Zedekiah. King Nebuchadnezzar. King Cyrus. And the prophet Jeremiah. Chapter 36 is fast-paced and brings to a close the Book of Chronicles. Each of the characters mentioned plays a role but the LORD is pulling the strings in the background.
The kings of Egypt and Babylon attack Jerusalem at different times. David’s throne changes kings with each attack. Three of Josiah’s sons and a grandson sit on David’s throne at different times.
Eliakim’s name is changed to Jehoiakim. And Mattaniah’s name is changed to Zedekiah. These name changes are imposed by foreign powers. Israel’s identity is lost. The reign of kings-proper comes to an end – exactly as predicted by the many prophets that worked between the time of David and the exile to Babylon.
In fulfillment of the word of the LORD, King Cyrus of Persia ordered the return of the Israelites and the establishment of the temple worship system. It had been 70 years in exile away from the land of promise.
The Book of Chronicles is summarized by the following extract: “The Lord, the God of their ancestors, sent word to them through his messengers again and again, because he had pity on his people and on his dwelling place. But they mocked God’s messengers, despised his words and scoffed at his prophets until the wrath of the Lord was aroused against his people and there was no remedy.”
In between David and Cyrus, are numerous prophets, herein called messengers, who the LORD sent to try and steer Israel back to the true worship of the Creator God. Some of them wrote books and we shall hear from them in the near future.
In the Book of Exodus, the LORD had promised to take Israel to their own land, a land flowing with milk and honey. It was never going to be Eden, but it was going to be pretty good and they would prosper under the care and leadership of the LORD. Fast-forward to the Book of Judges, the land was more hell than Heaven. Idolatry had heightened and had reduced the nation to nothing more than the wicked Canaanites.
The cry for human leadership made the LORD invent kingship for Israel. The plan was good. But mortals are masters of confusion and destruction. Regardless of the frailties of David, the LORD establishes a strong and prosperous nation. The wisdom of Solomon, the wealth of Solomon, the power and splendor of Solomon; all stand as proof of what the LORD had done. Not before, nor after, did Israel come this close to seizing control of the land that the LORD had given them through their father Abraham.
But the same Solomon becomes wicked and things begin to fall apart. The end has begun. The powerful and united kingdom of Israel was scattered into two in an act of judgment. The northern kingdom of Israel was the more wicked of the two sister kingdoms and went into exile to Assyria earlier than the southern kingdom of Judah. Chapter 36 records for us the final years of Judah.
The main character in the Book of Chronicles is God. Since the LORD knows the end from the beginning, you guess nothing has overly surprised Him. David and his sons have been a disappointment. But the LORD had actually mentioned the son of David whose dynasty would never end. It wasn’t Solomon nor Zedekiah. The real Shepherd-king would rule in righteousness and complete obedience to the word of the LORD. His kingdom would know no end.
It is a blessing to belong to the Kingdom of the LORD Jesus Christ. Let the saint rejoice. Chronicles ends here.
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