Handbook of 2 Chronicles
Reign of Solomon
History of Judah after Secession of the Ten Tribes
II Chronicles covers the same ground as I and II Kings, except it omits the narratives about the kings of the seceded Ten Tribes.
(See also on I Kings 1 to 11)
Israel had gone for 400 years with only a Tent as God's dwelling place among them, and God, it seems, had been satisfied (II Samuel 7:5-7). Yet when it seemed expedient that they have a Temple, God wanted to have a say as to the kind of building it should
be, and gave the plans for it, to David, in his "own handwriting" (I Chronicles 28:19; Exodus 25:9), that it be "exceeding magnificent, of fame and glory in all the earth" (I Chronicles 22:5).
David had wanted to build the Temple, but was forbidden, because he was a men of war (I Chronicles 22:8). God helped David in his wars. But, it appears, that God thought it not best for a man of war to be the builder of God's House; lest subdued nations feel bitter toward Israel's God; for, after all, God's purpose was, through His nation, to win other nations to Himself.
The Temple was built of great stones, cedar beams and boards, overlaid within with gold (I Kings 6:14-22 7:9-12). The gold and silver, and other material, used in building the Temple (I Chronicles 22:14-16 29:2-9), is variously estimated to equal, in our money, from 2 to 5 billions of dollars; no doubt, the most costly and resplendent
building on earth at the time. The pomp and grandeur of the Temple may have served a purpose, but its gold became an object of cupidity to other kings.
It was built after the general plan of the Tabernacle, every part twice the size: that is, figuring the cubit at a foot and a half, 90 feet long, 30 feet wide, and 45 feet high (I Kings 6:2).
It faced the east. The west 30 feet constituted the Most Holy Place, or Oracle. The east 60 feet was the Holy Place, or House (I Kings 6:16-20). They were separated by a Veil (II Chronicles 3:14).
In the Most Holy Place was the Ark, overshadowed by the two Cherubim (I Kings 6:23-28) In the Holy Place, next to the Veil, in the center, was the Golden Altar of Incense; and, 5 Golden Candlesticks on North side, and 5 on South side; and 5 Tables of Showbread on North side, and 5 on South side (I Kings 7:48, 49; II Chronicles 4:8)
In front, on the east, was a Porch, width of the House, 15 feet deep. On the porch were two Pillars of brass, each about 6 feet in diameter, and 35 feet high, one on either side (I Kings 6:3; 7:15-21).
Against the wall of the Temple, on north, south, and west sides, were three stories of side-chambers, for priests (I Kings 6:5-10).
In front of Temple was Brazen Altar of Burnt Offering, 30 feet square and 15 feet high (II Chronicles 4:1); thought to have stood on the Rock Where Abraham offered Isaac, now called Rock of the Dome, directly under the center of present Mohammedan Mosque. Nearby, to the south, stood the great Brazen Laver, 15 feet in diameter, 8 feet deep, set on 12 brazen oxen, to hold water for priests to wash in. And there were 10 smaller portable Lavers, 5 on north side, and 5 on south side, for water for the sacrifices (I Kings 7:38, 39; II Chronicles 4:1-6).
The Temple was surrounded by two Courts: an "inner court," and a "great court" (I Kings 6:36; 7:12). Their size is not known. The great court may have included the Palace buildings.
The Temple was built by 30,000 Israelites, and 150,000 Canaanites (I Kings 5:13-16; II Chronicles 2:17, 18; 8:7-9). Was 7 years in building (I Kings 6:38). Every part prepared at a distance from the site, and put in place without sound of hammer or any tool (I Kings 6:7).
Jerusalem was built on 5 hills. David's Wall covered the Southeast hill. Solomon's Wall is thought to have included Central East and Southwest hills. Solomon's Palace stood, down the hill, just south of the Temple Court; and south of the Palace. Solomon's
Throne Room; and south of that, the house of the forest of Lebanon, thought to have been an Armory (I Kings 7:2, 8). Roughly illustrated in Map on preceding page.
Solomon's Temple stood 400 years (970-589 B.C.). Zerubbabel's, 500 years (520-20 B.C.). Herod's, 90 years (20 B.C.- A.D. 70).
The Temples of God
The Tabernacle. Only a Tent. God's localized dwelling-place in Israel for 400 years. Most of the time at Shiloh. (See on Exodus 25 to 40.)
Solomon's Temple. Its glory was short-lived. Plundered within 5 years after Solomon's death. Destroyed by Babylonians 586 B.C.
Ezekiel's Temple ( Ezekiel 40-43). Not an actual temple, but a vision of a Future Ideal Restored Temple.
Synagogs. Arose during the Captivity. Not temples, but small buildings, in scattered Jewish communities.
Zerubbabel's Temple. Built after Return from Captivity. (See under Ezra and Nehemiah.) Stood 500 years.
Herod's Temple. This was the Temple to which Christ came. Built by Herod, of marble and gold. Magnificent beyond description. Destroyed by the Romans A.D. 70. (See under John 2:13.)
Christ's Body. Jesus called his body a Temple (John 2:19-21). In Him God tabernacled among men. Jesus said that earthly temples were not necessary to the worship of God (John 4:20-24).
The Church, collectively, is a Temple of God, God's dwelling-place in the world (1 Corinthians 3:16-19).
Each Individual Christian is a Temple of God (1 Corinthians 6:19), of which the grandeur of Solomon's Temple may have been a type.
Church Building are sometimes called Temples of God, but nowhere so designated in the Bible.
The Temple in Haven. The Tabernacle was a pattern of something in Heaven (Hebrews 9:11, 24). John saw a Temple (Revelations 11:19). Later God and the Lamb had become the Temple (revelations 21:22)
Son of Solomon. Reigned 17 years. (Told also in I Kings,12, 13, 14). Under his reign the magnificent kingdom of Solomon took a plunge from its pinnacle of glory. Ten Tribes, out of the Twelve, seceded from his kingdom, and Shishak, king of Egypt, plundered Jerusalem (12:2-9)
ARCHAEOLOGICAL NOTE: Shishak's Invasion of Judah
Shilshak's own record of this campaign is inscribed on the south wall of the great Temple of Amon at Karnak, in which he is depicted as presenting 156 cities of Palestine to his god Amon.
A layer of ashes from his burning of Kiriath-sepher has been uncovered. Also a fragment of a monument he set up in Megiddo.
Shishak's Murmmy was found (1939) at Tanis, in a sarcophagus of silver encased in solid gold, possibly some of Solomon's gold which he had taken from Jerusalem.
Reigned 3 years. (Told also in I Kings 15:1-8.) Wicked, like his father. But, in battle with Jeroboam, he "relied upon the Lord," and defeated him, recovering some of the Northern cities.
Reigned 41 years. (Told also in I Kings 15:9-24.) His long reign overlapped the reigns of 7 kings in the Northern kingdom. He was a good king, serving the Lord with great zeal. A great wave of reform swept the land. He broke down the foreign altars, high places, pillars, sun-images and asherim; he put away the sodomites (male prostitutes), and removed his mother from being queen because she worshiped an idol. Very prosperous.
Reigned 25 years. (Told also in I Kings 22:41-50.) Very religious: "sought the Lord in all things." Inaugurated a system of public instruction, sending priests and levites on regular circuits, with the "book of the law," to teach the people. He established courts of justice throughout the land. He maintained a vast army, and waxed exceeding great.
Reigned 8 years. (Told also in II Kings 8:16-24.) Son of a good father and grandfather, made vile by marriage to a wicked women, Athaliah, daughter of the infamous Jezebel. Under his reign Jerusalem was plundered by Arabians and Philistines. He died of a horrible disease. "His bowels fell out."
Reigned 1 year. (Told also in II Kings 8:25-29.) Son of Athaliah, grandson of Jezebel; a scion of the house of David in an awful tie-up. Very wicked. Was killed by Jehu.
Reigned 6 years. (Told also in II Kings 11.) She was daughter of the infamous Jezebel; and devilish, like her mother. She married Jehoram, king of Judah; and was mother of Judah's next king, Ahaziah. Thus, she was queen eight years, queen mother 1 year, beside the 6 years she ruled in her own right; 15 years in all. Fanatically devoted to Baalism, she massacred her own grandchildren.
Reigned 40 years (probably included Athaliah's 6 years). (Told also in II King 12.) Joash was grandson of Athaliah. While Athaliah was murdering the seed royal, Joash, son of Ahaziah, as a babe, was stolen away, and hid in the Temple, for 6 years. When Joash was 7 years old Jehoiada, the high priest, his uncle, engineered the removal of Athaliah, and placed Joash on the throne. Jehoiada was the real ruler as long as he lived. Under his tutorship, Joash cleared the land of Baalism, repaired the Temple which Athaliah had broken down, and restored the worship of God.
Joash "did right all the days of Jehoiada." But after the death of Jehoiada, he apostatized, and set up idols. The princes who, had known the licentious worship of Ashtoreth were the ruin of Joash. Joash even ordered Zechariah, son of Jehoiada who had placed him on the throne, to be stoned to death. And within t year after Zechariah's death, the Syrians came, and plundered Jerusalem, slew the princes, and "executed judgment on Joash."
Reigned 29 years. (Told also in II Kings 14: 1-22.) "Did right, but not with a perfect heart'" Served the gods of Edom. Had war with Israel, and Jerusalem was plundered by Israel's king.
Reigned 52 years. (Told also in II Kings 15:1-7.) Thought to have been "part time co-regent with his father Amaziah. "Did right. Set himself to seek God." "As long as he sought God, God made him to prosper." He had a huge army, with the best military equipment. Was victorious over Philistines, Arabians and Ammonites. Paid great
attention to agriculture. Greatest extent of kingdom since the Secession of the Ten Tribes. But he became arrogant, and God smote him with leprosy.
ARCHAEOLOGICAL NOTE: Uzziah. An inscription of Tiglathpileser, Assyrian king (747-727 B.C.), who carried North Israel into captivity, mentions, four times, "Azariah (Uzziah) the Judean."
Uzziah's Gravestone has been discovered, in the Russian Archaeological Museum on the Mt. of Olives, by Dr. E. L. Sukenik, of the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. It is inscribed, in Aramaic script of the time of Christ, thus: "Hither were brought the bones
of Uzziah, king of Judah-do not open." Uzziah had been buried in the city of David (II Kings 15:7); but, for some reason or other, it seems, the tomb site was later cleared, and his bones removed to another location.
Reigned 16 years, mostly co-eval with his father. (Told also in II Kings 15:32-38.) "He became mighty, because he ordered his ways before the Lord his God," as his father Uzziah had done.
ARCHAEOLOGICAL NOTE: Jotham. A Seal has been found in the excavations at Ezion-geber inscribed "Belonging to Jotham."
Reigned 16 years. (Told also in II Kings 16.) Part time co-regent with his father, it seems; but utterly different. A wicked young king who set himself against the policies of his forefathers. He reintroduced Baal worship; revived Moloch worship; burnt his own sons in the fire. "But it helped him not." Syria and Israel attacked him from the north: Edomites from the east; and Philistines from the west. And Judah was brought very low because of Ahaz.
ARCHAEOLOGICAL NOTE: Ahaz. A Seal has been found inscribed
an "Official of Ahaz."
Ahaz and his Tribute to Tiglath-pileser (16; II Kings 16:6-8). An inscription of Tiglath-pileser says, "The tribute of Ahaz the Judean I received, gold, silver, lead, tin, and linen. Damascus I destroyed. Rezin I took. His officers I impaled alive on stakes. I hewed down his orchards, nor did I leave a tree standing." This exactly parallels the accounts in II Kings 16 and Isaiah 7.
Reigned 29 years. (Told also in II Kings 18, 19, 20.) Inherited a disorganized
realm and t heavy burden of tribute to Assyria. Began his reign with a great Reformation. Broke down the idols Ahaz had set up. Reopened and cleansed the Temple. Restored the service of God. "Trusted in God." "God was with him, and he prospered." Gained independence from Assyria. Isaiah was his trusted adviser.
In Hezekiah's 6th year (721 B.C.), the Northern Kingdom fell. In his 14th year (713 B.C.), it seems, Sennacherib, as leader of his father Sargon's armies, invaded Judah. Hezekiah paid him tribute. Then the visit of the Babylonian embassy (II Kings 20:12-15), which looked suspicious to Sennacherib, who again (701 B.C.) invaded Judah.
Hezekiah strengthened the wall, built the conduit and made great military preparation. Then followed the Great Deliverance by the Angel (II Kings 19:35). This victory brought Hezekiah great prestige and power.
ARCHAEOLOGICAL NOTES: Hezekiah's Repairs in the Wall (32:5), hurriedly done, under pressure of the Assyrian siege, are distinctly indicated in the walls as they stand today. Foundations of the "outer wall" have been discovered. running parallel to David's wall, 30 feet apart.
Hezekiah's Tunnel (32:3, 4; II Kings 20:20), by which he brought water into the city. This Tunnel has been found. Gihon Spring was situated at the east foot of Ophel Hill, just outside the wall. Hezekiah's r,''orkmen cur a tunnel through solid rock, under
the hill, running 1700 feet southwest from the Spring, to the Pool of Siloam, within ihe wall, thus diverting the water of the Spring from its natural flow into the Brook Kidron. The tunnel is an average height of about 6 feet, and average width of 2 1/2, feet. Its fall is 7 feet. At its mouth the Siloam Inscription was found.
The Siloam Inscription. A truant school boy (1880), playing in the mouth of Hezekiah's Tunnel, noticed some marks cut on the rock wall, 19 feet from the opening, that looked like writing, He told his teacher, Dr. Schick, who found it to be an account, in the Hebrew language, of the building of the Tunnel. It was cut our of the wall, and sent to the Constantinople Museum, where it is now. It reads:
"The tunnel is completed. This is the story of the tunnel. While
the stone cutters were lifting up the pick, each toward his neighbor
(from opposite ends), and while they were yer 3 cubits apart, there
was heard a voice of one calling to another; and after that pick
struck against pick; and waters flowed from the Spring to the Pool,
1200 cubits, and 100 cubits was the height of the rock above."
Sennacherib's Invasion of Judah (32:1), in which he took "fortified cities" of Judah (II Kings 18:13); besieged Jerusalem (II Kings 18:17) and returned without taking Jerusalem (II Kings 19:35, 36).
Sennacherib's own account of this invasion has been found on a clay prism which he himself had made. It is now in the Oriental Institute Museum in Chicago. It says:
"As for Hezekiah, king of Judah, who had not submitted to my yoke, 46 of his fortified cities, and smaller cities without number, with my battering rams, engines, mines, breaches and axes, I besieged and captured. 200,150 people, small and great, male and female, and horses, mules, asses, camels, oxen, sheep, without number, I took as booty. Hezekiah himself I shut up like a caged bird in Jerusalem, his royal city. I built a line of forts against him, and turned back everyone who came forth out of his city gate. His cities which I captured I gave to the king of Ashdod, king of Ekron, and king of Gaza."
While no Assyrian king would ever record a defeat, such as Sennacherib's army received before the walls of Jerusalem (II Kings 19:35, 36), it is significant that he did not claim to have taken Jerusalem. It is indeed a most remarkable confirmation of Biblical History.
Sennacherib "Before Lactrish" in "All his Power" (32:9). On walls of Sennacherib's palace at Nineveh, uncovered by Layard, a sculptured relief of his encampment at Lachish bore this inscription:
"Sennacherib, king of the world, sat upon his throne, and caused the spoil of Lachish to pass before Him."
The Tribute which Hezekiah sent to Sennacherib ( II Kings I8: 14- 16). The inscription says: "Fear of my majesty overwhelmed Hezekiah. He sent tribute: 30 talents of gold, 800 talents of silver, precious stones, ivory, women of his palace, and all sorts of gifts."
Lachish and Gibeah ( 32:9; Isaiah 10:29) , are named among the cities which suffered at the hands of Sennacherib. At Lachish, the Welcome Archaeological Expedition found a layer of ashes from a fire of 700 B.C. And at Gibeah, Albright found a layer of ashes from a fire of 700 B.C.
Sennacherib's Assassination by his own sons (32:21 II Kings 19:36, 37). An Assyrian inscription says: "On the 20th day of Tebet, Sennacherib was killed by his sons in revolt. On the 18th day of Sivan, Esarhaddon, his son, ascended the throne."
Reigned 55 years. (Told also in II Kings 21:1-18.) Wickedest of all Judah's kings; and the longest reign. Rebuilt the idols his father Hezekiah had destroyed. Re-established Baal worship. Burnt his own children in the 6re. He filled Jerusalem with blood. Tradition says that he had Isaiah sawn asunder.
ARCHAEOLOGICAL NOTE: Manasseh. An inscription of Esarhaddon, Assyrian king (681-668 B.C.) says: "I compelled 22 kings of the West Land to provide building material for my palace," and names "Manasseh king of Judah."
Reigned 2 years. (Told also in II Kings 21:19-25.) Wicked.
Reigned 31 years. (Told also in II Kings 22, 23.) Began to reign when he was eight years old. When he was 16, he began to seek after the God of David. When he was 20, he began his reforms. When he was 26, the Ending of the "Book of the Law" gave great impetus to his reforms, the most thoroughgoing reformation Judah had known. But the people were at heart idolaters; for the long and wicked reign of Manasseh had just about obliterated God from their thinking. Josiah's reforms delayed, but could not avert, the fast approaching doom of Judah.
In Josiah's dry the Scythian Invasion swept over Western Asia, and greatly weakened Assyria. Pharaoh's march against Carchemish (35:20-24) was to give a final blow to the sinking Assyrian Empire. Josiah, as a vassal of Assyria, felt it his duty to
attack Pharaoh, at Megiddo, and was killed.
Reigned 3 months. (Told also in II Kings 23:30-34.) Was deposed by Pharaoh, and taken to Egypt, where he died.
Reigned ll years. (Told also in II Kings 23:34-24:7.) Was placed on the throne by Pharaoh. After I years he was subdued by Babylon (Daniel 1:1). Then he served the king of Babylon 3 years. Then revolted. And the king of Babylon came, and bound him in chains to carry him to Babylon (II Chronicles 36:6). But ere he left the city, he died, or was killed, and buried as an ass (Jeremiah 22:18, 19; 36:30). He was conceited, hard-hearted, and wicked, exact opposite of his father Josiah. He sought repeatedly to kill Jeremiah (Jeremiah 26:21; 36:26).
Reigned 3 months. (Told also in II Kings 24:6-17.) He was taken to Babylon, where he lived at least 37 years (II Kings 24:15; 25:27).
ARCHAEOLOGICAL NOTES: Jehoiachin. Seal of Jehoiachin's Steward. At Kiriath-sepher (1928), Kyle and Albright found, in the layer of ashes left by Nebuchadnezzar's fire, two jar handles stamped, "Belonging to Eliakim Steward of Jehoiachin." One of these is now in the Pittsburgh-Xenia Seminary. Same impression was found (1930)
at Betl'r-shemesh, by Grant.
Jehoiachin "Lifted Up," and "Given an Allowance" (II Kings 25:27, 30). Albright has reported a discovery by Weidner, in the ruins of the Hanging Gardens of Babylon. of tablets listing the names of those to whom regular allotments of oil and grain were
made, among them, "Jehoiachin king of the land of Judah."
Reigned 11 years. (Told also in II Kings 24, 25.) He was placed on the throne by Nebuchadnezzar. A weak king. In his 4th year he visited Babylon. But later he rebelled against Babylon. Then Nebuchadnezzar came, and destroyed Jerusalem, took Zedekiah, put out his eyes, and carried him in chains to Babylon, where he died in prison (Jeremiah 52:11). This was the apparent end of David's kingdom. (See further under II Kings 25.)
Gadaliah made Governor (II Kings 25:22. See on Jeremiah 40).
Remnant's Flight to Egypt (II Kings 25:26. See on Jeremiah 42).
Proclamation of Cyrus (36:22. See on Ezra 1).
ARCHAEOLOGICAL NOTE: Zedekiah. Zedekiah's Flight "between the two walls" (II Kings 25:4). That "way between the two walls," on the southeast edge of Jerusalem, can now be seen for 150 feet.