Scripture reading – 2 Chronicles 36


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Today’s Scripture reading concludes the Second Book of the Chronicles, believed to have been written after the Babylonian captivity. In earlier devotions, I observed that 1 Kings and 2 Kings appear to have been written from man’s perspective, while 1 Chronicles and 2 Chronicles are arguably written from God’s perspective.

2 Chronicles 36

2 Chronicles 36 provides a brief historical record of the succession of kings who followed King Josiah, the last good king of Judah. Tragically, four evil kings succeeded Josiah: Jehoahaz, Jehoiakim, Jehoiachin, and Zedekiah (2 Kings 23-25; 2 Chronicles 36). Those kings not only failed Judah, but the religious leaders of the nation were also guilty of leading the people into gross wickedness and idolatry.

A Succession of Wicked Kings (2 Chronicles 36:1-13)

Jehoahaz succeeded his father, Josiah, as king. He reigned over Judah for three months before being deposed by the king of Egypt, who “carried him to Egypt” (2 Chronicles 36:1-4). The king of Egypt then “made Eliakim [Jehoahaz’] brother king of Judah…and turned his name to Jehoiakim” (2 Chronicles 36:4).

Jehoiakim reigned for “eleven years…and he did that which was evil in the sight of the LORD his God” (2 Chronicles 36:5). It was during Jehoiakim’s reign that Nebuchadnezzar, king of Babylon, led the first of three sieges against Jerusalem and then “bound him in fetters [i.e., ropes and chains], to carry [Jehoiakim] to Babylon” (2 Chronicles 36:6). “Nebuchadnezzar also carried of the vessels of the house of the Lord to Babylon, and put them in his temple at Babylon” (2 Chronicles 36:7).

Jehoiachin “did that which was evil in the sight of the LORD”

Jehoiachin, the son of Jehoiakim and grandson of Josiah, succeeded his father as king of Judah when he was eight years old (2 Chronicles 36:9). Though young, the Scriptures record that Jehoiachin “did that which was evil in the sight of the LORD” (2 Chronicles 36:9). After reigning for “three months and ten days… Nebuchadnezzar sent, and brought [Jehoiachin] to Babylon, with the goodly vessels of the house of the Lord, and made Zedekiah his brother king over Judah and Jerusalem” (2 Chronicles 36:9-10).

Zedekiah, also a son of Josiah, “reigned eleven years in Jerusalem. 12And he did that which was evil in the sight of the Lord his God, and humbled not himself before Jeremiah the prophet speaking from the mouth of the Lord” (2 Chronicles 36:12). Zedekiah “rebelled against king Nebuchadnezzar, who had made him swear by God: but he stiffened his neck, and hardened his heart from turning unto the Lord God of Israel” (2 Chronicles 36:13).


The Sins of Judah and God’s Judgment (2 Chronicles 36:14-17)

We read, “Moreover all the chief of the priests, and the people, transgressed very much after all the abominations of the heathen; and polluted the house of the LORD which he had hallowed in Jerusalem” (2 Chronicles 36:14). God sent prophets who faithfully heralded a warning of His judgment. Still, the people “mocked the messengers of God, and despised [their] words, and misused his prophets, until the wrath of the Lord arose against his people, till there was no remedy” (2 Chronicles 36:16).

God did not forget the wickedness of the leaders who scorned His Word and brought Nebuchadnezzar “who slew their young men with the sword in the house of their sanctuary [Temple], and had no compassion upon young man or maiden, old man, or him that stooped for age: he [the LORD] gave them all into his [Nebuchadnezzar’s] hand” (2 Chronicles 36:17). Furthermore, the Temple treasuries and the treasuries of the king and leaders of Jerusalem were taken and “brought to Babylon” (2 Chronicles 36:18).

2 Chronicles 36:19 records a graphic scene of death and destruction: the Temple was destroyed by fire, the walls of Jerusalem were brought down, and the palaces and their contents were destroyed (2 Chronicles 36:19). The inhabitants of Jerusalem who survived the siege were “carried away to Babylon; where they were servants to [Nebuchadnezzar] and his sons until the reign of the kingdom of Persia” (2 Chronicles 36:20).

The Sins of Judah and God’s Judgment

Seventy Years of Captivity (2 Chronicles 36:21)

Jeremiah prophesied that God’s people would be in Babylonian captivity for seventy years, according to the number of sabbaths the people failed to observe in the land (the law required the land to lie dormant every seven years, Leviticus 25:4; Leviticus 26:43; Jeremiah 25:11; Jeremiah 29:10). We may deduce that the nation failed to observe the Sabbatical and Jubilee years for seventy years of its history as a nation (Leviticus 25:4-7).


A Message of Hope (2 Chronicles 36:21-23)

When the seventy years of captivity were accomplished, we read:

2 Chronicles 36:22-23 – “Now in the first year of Cyrus king of Persia, that the word of the LORD spoken by the mouth of Jeremiah might be accomplished, the LORD stirred up the spirit of Cyrus king of Persia, that he made a proclamation throughout all his kingdom, and put it also in writing, saying, 23  Thus saith Cyrus king of Persia, All the kingdoms of the earth hath the LORD God of heaven given me; and he hath charged me to build him an house in Jerusalem, which is in Judah. Who is there among you of all his people? The LORD his God be with him, and let him go up.”

Israel and Judah were gone, but the LORD had not forgotten His people! All was fulfilled in God’s time, for His Word and promises are sure!

Copyright © 2024 – Travis D. Smith 

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