This is Episode #136 and today we’ll read 2 Chronicles chapters 21-24 together. Judah took an evil turn for a time…these are some nasty rulers.
Joy: You’re listening to Season 2 of the Lifting Her Voice podcast. This is Episode #136 and today we’ll read 2 Chronicles chapters 21-24 together. Judah took an evil turn for a time…these are some nasty rulers.
Welcome to the Lifting Her Voice podcast, Season 2! I’m your host, Joy Miller, and I invite you to grab your Bible and join me – from the beginning – simply reading God’s word together. We built some spiritual muscles in 2020 with just the New Testament. But this year we’re going all out, cover-to-cover, Old Testament and New. So, whether with your first cup in the morning, your commute to work, or as the last thing on your mind before sleep, God’s Word will equip you for every good work. I’m really glad you’re here!
2 Chronicles Chapter 21
Jehoram Becomes King over Judah
Jehoshaphat rested with his ancestors and was buried with his ancestors in the city of David. His son Jehoram became king in his place. He had brothers, sons of Jehoshaphat: Azariah, Jehiel, Zechariah, Azariah, Michael, and Shephatiah; all these were the sons of King Jehoshaphat of Judah. Their father had given them many gifts of silver, gold, and valuable things, along with fortified cities in Judah, but he gave the kingdom to Jehoram because he was the firstborn. When Jehoram had established himself over his father’s kingdom, he strengthened his position by killing with the sword all his brothers as well as some of the princes of Israel.
Judah’s King Jehoram
Jehoram was thirty-two years old when he became king, and he reigned eight years in Jerusalem. He walked in the ways of the kings of Israel, as the house of Ahab had done, for Ahab’s daughter was his wife. He did what was evil in the Lord’s sight, but for the sake of the covenant the Lord had made with David, he was unwilling to destroy the house of David since the Lord had promised to give a lamp to David and to his sons forever.
During Jehoram’s reign, Edom rebelled against Judah’s control and appointed their own king. So Jehoram crossed into Edom with his commanders and all his chariots. Then at night he set out to attack the Edomites who had surrounded him and the chariot commanders. And now Edom is still in rebellion against Judah’s control today. Libnah also rebelled at that time against his control because he had abandoned the Lord, the God of his ancestors. Jehoram also built high places in the hills of Judah, and he caused the inhabitants of Jerusalem to prostitute themselves, and he led Judah astray.
Elijah’s Letter to Jehoram
Then a letter came to Jehoram from the prophet Elijah, saying:
This is what the Lord, the God of your ancestor David says: “Because you have not walked in the ways of your father Jehoshaphat or in the ways of King Asa of Judah but have walked in the ways of the kings of Israel, have caused Judah and the inhabitants of Jerusalem to prostitute themselves like the house of Ahab prostituted itself, and also have killed your brothers, your father’s family, who were better than you, the Lord is now about to strike your people, your sons, your wives, and all your possessions with a horrible affliction. You yourself will be struck with many illnesses, including a disease of the intestines, until your intestines come out day after day because of the disease.”
Jehoram’s Last Days
The Lord roused the spirit of the Philistines and the Arabs who lived near the Cushites to attack Jehoram. So they went to war against Judah and invaded it. They carried off all the possessions found in the king’s palace and also his sons and wives; not a son was left to him except Jehoahaz, his youngest son.
After all these things, the Lord afflicted him in his intestines with an incurable disease. This continued day after day until two full years passed. Then his intestines came out because of his disease, and he died from severe illnesses. But his people did not hold a fire in his honor like the fire in honor of his predecessors.
Jehoram was thirty-two years old when he became king; he reigned eight years in Jerusalem. He died to no one’s regret and was buried in the city of David but not in the tombs of the kings.
2 Chronicles Chapter 22
Judah’s King Ahaziah
Then the inhabitants of Jerusalem made Ahaziah, his youngest son, king in his place, because the troops that had come with the Arabs to the camp had killed all the older sons. So Ahaziah son of Jehoram became king of Judah. Ahaziah was twenty-two years old when he became king, and he reigned one year in Jerusalem. His mother’s name was Athaliah, granddaughter of Omri.
He walked in the ways of the house of Ahab, for his mother gave him evil advice. So he did what was evil in the Lord’s sight like the house of Ahab, for they were his advisers after the death of his father, to his destruction. He also followed their advice and went with Joram son of Israel’s King Ahab to fight against King Hazael of Aram, in Ramoth-gilead. The Arameans wounded Joram, so he returned to Jezreel to recover from the wounds they inflicted on him in Ramoth-gilead when he fought against King Hazael of Aram. Then Judah’s King Ahaziah son of Jehoram went down to Jezreel to visit Joram son of Ahab since Joram was ill.
Ahaziah’s downfall came from God when he went to Joram. When Ahaziah arrived, he went out with Joram to meet Jehu son of Nimshi, whom the Lord had anointed to destroy the house of Ahab. So when Jehu executed judgment on the house of Ahab, he found the rulers of Judah and the sons of Ahaziah’s brothers who were serving Ahaziah, and he killed them. Then Jehu looked for Ahaziah, and Jehu’s soldiers captured him (he was hiding in Samaria). So they brought Ahaziah to Jehu, and they killed him. The soldiers buried him, for they said, “He is the grandson of Jehoshaphat who sought the Lord with all his heart.” So no one from the house of Ahaziah had the strength to rule the kingdom.
Athaliah Usurps the Throne
When Athaliah, Ahaziah’s mother, saw that her son was dead, she proceeded to annihilate all the royal heirs of the house of Judah. Jehoshabeath, the king’s daughter, rescued Joash son of Ahaziah from the king’s sons who were being killed and put him and the one who nursed him in a bedroom. Now Jehoshabeath was the daughter of King Jehoram and the wife of the priest Jehoiada. Since she was Ahaziah’s sister, she hid Joash from Athaliah so that she did not kill him. He was hiding with them in God’s temple for six years while Athaliah reigned over the land.
2 Chronicles Chapter 23
Then, in the seventh year, Jehoiada summoned his courage and took the commanders of hundreds into a covenant with him: Azariah son of Jeroham,Ishmael son of Jehohanan, Azariah son of Obed, Maaseiah son of Adaiah, and Elishaphat son of Zichri. They made a circuit throughout Judah. They gathered the Levites from all the cities of Judah and the family heads of Israel, and they came to Jerusalem.
Then the whole assembly made a covenant with the king in God’s temple. Jehoiada said to them, “Here is the king’s son! He will reign, just as the Lord promised concerning David’s sons.
“This is what you are to do: a third of you, priests and Levites who are coming on duty on the Sabbath, are to be gatekeepers. A third are to be at the king’s palace, and a third are to be at the Foundation Gate, and all the troops will be in the courtyards of the Lord’s temple. No one is to enter the Lord’s temple but the priests and those Levites who serve; they may enter because they are holy, but all the people are to obey the requirement of the Lord. The Levites are to completely surround the king with weapons in hand. Anyone who enters the temple is to be put to death. Accompany the king in all his daily tasks.”
The Death of Athaliah
So the commanders of hundreds did everything the priest Jehoiada commanded. They each brought their men — those coming on duty on the Sabbath and those going off duty on the Sabbath — for the priest Jehoiada did not release the divisions. The priest Jehoiada gave to the commanders of hundreds King David’s spears, shields, and quivers that were in God’s temple. Then he stationed all the troops with their weapons in hand surrounding the king — from the right side of the temple to the left side, by the altar and by the temple.
They brought out the king’s son, put the crown on him, gave him the testimony, and made him king. Jehoiada and his sons anointed him and cried, “Long live the king!”
When Athaliah heard the noise from the troops, the guards, and those praising the king, she went to the troops in the Lord’s temple. As she looked, there was the king standing by his pillar at the entrance. The commanders and the trumpeters were by the king, and all the people of the land were rejoicing and blowing trumpets while the singers with musical instruments were leading the praise. Athaliah tore her clothes and screamed, “Treason! Treason!”
Then the priest Jehoiada sent out the commanders of hundreds, those in charge of the army, saying, “Take her out between the ranks, and put anyone who follows her to death by the sword,” for the priest had said, “Don’t put her to death in the Lord’s temple.” So they arrested her, and she went by the entrance of the Horse Gate to the king’s palace, where they put her to death.
Then Jehoiada made a covenant between himself, the king, and the people that they would be the Lord’s people. So all the people went to the temple of Baal and tore it down. They smashed its altars and images and killed Mattan, the priest of Baal, at the altars.
Then Jehoiada put the oversight of the Lord’s temple into the hands of the Levitical priests, whom David had appointed over the Lord’s temple, to offer burnt offerings to the Lord as it is written in the law of Moses, with rejoicing and song ordained by David. He stationed gatekeepers at the gates of the Lord’s temple so that nothing unclean could enter for any reason. Then he took with him the commanders of hundreds, the nobles, the governors of the people, and all the people of the land and brought the king down from the Lord’s temple. They entered the king’s palace through the Upper Gate and seated the king on the throne of the kingdom. All the people of the land rejoiced, and the city was quiet, for they had put Athaliah to death by the sword.
2 Chronicles Chapter 24
Judah’s King Joash
Joash was seven years old when he became king, and he reigned forty years in Jerusalem. His mother’s name was Zibiah; she was from Beer-sheba. Throughout the time of the priest Jehoiada, Joash did what was right in the Lord’s sight. Jehoiada acquired two wives for him, and he was the father of sons and daughters.
Repairing the Temple
Afterward, Joash took it to heart to renovate the Lord’s temple. So he gathered the priests and Levites and said, “Go out to the cities of Judah and collect silver from all Israel to repair the temple of your God as needed year by year, and do it quickly.”
However, the Levites did not hurry. So the king called Jehoiada the high priest and said, “Why haven’t you required the Levites to bring from Judah and Jerusalem the tax imposed by the Lord’s servant Moses and the assembly of Israel for the tent of the testimony? For the sons of that wicked Athaliah broke into the Lord’s temple and even used the sacred things of the Lord’s temple for the Baals.”
The People Joyfully Brought the Tax
At the king’s command a chest was made and placed outside the gate of the Lord’s temple. Then a proclamation was issued in Judah and Jerusalem that the tax God’s servant Moses imposed on Israel in the wilderness be brought to the Lord. All the leaders and all the people rejoiced, brought the tax, and put it in the chest until it was full. Whenever the chest was brought by the Levites to the king’s overseers, and when they saw that there was a large amount of silver, the king’s secretary and the high priest’s deputy came and emptied the chest, picked it up, and returned it to its place.
They did this daily and gathered the silver in abundance. Then the king and Jehoiada gave it to those in charge of the labor on the Lord’s temple, who were hiring stonecutters and carpenters to renovate the Lord’s temple, also blacksmiths and coppersmiths to repair the Lord’s temple.
The workmen did their work, and through them the repairs progressed. They restored God’s temple to its specifications and reinforced it. When they finished, they presented the rest of the silver to the king and Jehoiada, who made articles for the Lord’s temple with it — articles for ministry and for making burnt offerings, and ladles and articles of gold and silver. They regularly offered burnt offerings in the Lord’s temple throughout Jehoiada’s life.
Jehoiada died when he was old and full of days; he was 130 years old at his death. He was buried in the city of David with the kings because he had done what was good in Israel with respect to God and his temple.
However, after Jehoiada died, the rulers of Judah came and paid homage to the king. Then the king listened to them, and they abandoned the temple of the Lord, the God of their ancestors, and served the Asherah poles and the idols. So there was wrath against Judah and Jerusalem for this guilt of theirs. Nevertheless, he sent them prophets to bring them back to the Lord; they admonished them, but the people would not listen.
The Spirit of God enveloped Zechariah son of Jehoiada the priest. He stood above the people and said to them, “This is what God says, ‘Why are you transgressing the Lord’s commands so that you do not prosper? Because you have abandoned the Lord, he has abandoned you.’” But they conspired against him and stoned him at the king’s command in the courtyard of the Lord’s temple. King Joash didn’t remember the kindness that Zechariah’s father Jehoiada had extended to him, but killed his son. While he was dying, he said, “May the Lord see and demand an account.”
Aramean Invasion of Judah
At the turn of the year, an Aramean army attacked Joash. They entered Judah and Jerusalem and destroyed all the leaders of the people among them and sent all the plunder to the king of Damascus. Although the Aramean army came with only a few men, the Lord handed over a vast army to them because the people of Judah had abandoned the Lord, the God of their ancestors. So they executed judgment on Joash.
When the Arameans saw that Joash had many wounds, they left him. His servants conspired against him, and killed him on his bed, because he had shed the blood of the sons of the priest Jehoiada. So he died, and they buried him in the city of David, but they did not bury him in the tombs of the kings.
Those who conspired against him were Zabad, son of the Ammonite woman Shimeath, and Jehozabad, son of the Moabite woman Shimrith. The accounts concerning his sons, the many divine pronouncements about him, and the restoration of God’s temple are recorded in the Writing of the Book of the Kings. His son Amaziah became king in his place.
Yikes! Judah had some tough years. Athaliah especially was just awful! I don’t usually applaud violent things like what happened to her, but this was unequivocally a judgement of God. There was no repentance or love in her…there was nothing redeemable in her. We know that because God passed that sentence on her.
And can we be wholly disappointed in Joash? He started out so well. The title Chronicles may mean “omitted things” in Ancient Hebrew, but we don’t have enough info in Chronicles or Kings to figure this one out. It does remind me though of what God said to Cain back in Genesis 4:7: “If you do what is right, won’t you be accepted? But if you do not do what is right, sin is crouching at the door. Its desire is for you, but you must rule over it.” Sin is always crouching at our doors. It’s a warning for us all to heed. Share your thoughts with me at Lifting Her Voice.com, Facebook, Instagram or Twitter.
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Unless otherwise noted, all Scripture quotations are taken from the Christian Standard Bible(r), Copyright (c) 2017 by Holman Bible Publishers. Used by permission. Christian Standard Bible(r) and CSB(r) are federally registered trademarks of Holman Bible Publishers.
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