2 Chronicle Key People


Rehoboam

Settling for cheap imitations in exchange for the real thing is a poor way to live. In every area of his life, Rehoboam consistently traded away what was real for what was counterfeit. Given wise and unwise counsel by his advisers at his coronation, he chose to grab for power and control rather than being patient and taking the counsel of those older and wiser than he to treat his people with kindness. Although his position came from God, he chose to abandon God. These unwise decisions made him weaker rather than stronger. As a result, he was invaded by the Egyptians and stripped of the riches he had inherited from David and Solomon. To replace them, he had cheap bronze copies made.  


Throughout the early part of his reign, Rehoboam fluctuated between obeying God and going his own way. Outward appearances were kept up, but his inward attitudes were evil. Following in the tradition of David gave Rehoboam many opportunities for real greatness. Instead, he ended up with a divided and broken kingdom.


How much of real living have we traded away for the things that do not last? We trade healthy bodies for momentary excitement, personal integrity for fast-fading wealth, honesty for lies, God’s wise guidance for our selfish ways. We sin when we willingly give little value to “the real thing” God has already given us.


Our counterfeit lives may fool some people, but they never fool God. Yet in spite of what he sees in us, God offers mercy. Are you a self-managed enterprise, counterfeit at best? Or have you placed yourself in God’s care? Do the decisions you must make today need a second consideration in light of Rehoboam’s example?


Strengths and accomplishments

  • Fourth and last king of the united nation of Israel, but only for a short time

  • Fortified his kingdom and achieved a measure of popularity

Weaknesses and mistakes

  • Followed unwise advice and divided his kingdom

  • Married foreign women, as his father, Solomon, had done

  • Abandoned the worship of God and allowed idolatry to flourish


Lessons from his life

  • Thoughtless decisions often lead to exchanging what is most valuable for something of far less value

  • Every choice we make has real and long-lasting consequences


Vital statistics

  • Where: Jerusalem

  • Occupation: King of the united kingdom of Israel and later of the southern kingdom of Judah

  • Relatives: Father: Solomon. Mother: Naamah. Wife: Maacah. Son: Abijah

  • Contemporaries: Jeroboam, Shishak, Shemaiah


Key verse

  • “But when Rehoboam was firmly established and strong, he abandoned the Law of the Lord, and all Israel followed him in this sin”  (2 Chronicles 12:1)


Rehoboam’s story is told in 1 Kings 11:43-14:31 and 2 Chronicles 9:31-13:7. He is also mentioned in Matthew 1:7.



Asa

God does not condone the idea that “the end justifies the means.” He is just and perfect in all his ways. People, on the other hand, are far from perfect. That a bond can exist between a loving and merciful Creator and his rebellious creation is as great a miracle as creation itself! As a king Asa came very close to being good. He traveled a long way with God before getting off track. His sin was not so much deliberate disobedience as choosing the easy way rather than the right way.


When the odds seemed impossible in the battle with the Ethiopians, Asa recognized his need to depend on God. Following that victory, God’s promise of peace based on obedience spurred the king and people to many years of right living. But Asa was to face a tougher test.


Years of animosity between Asa and Israel’s king Baasha took an ugly turn. Baasha, king of the rival northern kingdom, was building a fort that threatened both the peace and the economy of Judah. Asa thought he saw a way out-he bribed King Ben-hadad of Aram to break his alliance with King Baasha. The plan worked brilliantly, but it wasn’t God’s way. When Asa was confronted by God’s prophet Hanani, he flew into a rage, jailed Hanani, and took out his anger on his people. Asa rejected correction and refused to admit his error to God. His greatest failure was missing what God could have done with his life if he had been willing to be humble. His pride ruined the health of his reign. He stubbornly held on to his failure until his death.  


Does this attitude sound familiar? Can you identify failures in your life that you have continued to rationalize rather than admit to God and accept his forgiveness for? The end does not justify the means. Such a belief leads to sin and failure. The stubborn refusal to admit a failure due to sin can become a big problem because it makes you spend time rationalizing rather than learning from your mistakes and moving on.       


Strengths and accomplishments

  • Obeyed God during the first 10 years of his reign

  • Carried out a partially successful effort to abolish idolatry

  • Deposed his idolatrous grandmother, Maacah

  • Defeated Ethiopia’s mighty army


Weaknesses and mistakes

  • Responded with rage when confronted about his sin

  • Made alliances with foreign nations and evil people


Vital statistics

  • Where: Jerusalem

  • Occupation: King of Judah

  • Relatives: Grandmother: Maacah. Father: Abijah. Son: Jehoshaphat

  • Contemporaries: Hanani, Ben-hadad, Zerah, Azariah, Baasha


Key verse

  • “The eyes of the Lord search the whole earth in order to strengthen those whose hearts are fully committed to him. What a fool you have been! From now on you will be at war” (2 Chronicles 16:8).      


Asa’s story is told in 1 Kings 15:8-24 and 2 Chronicles 14-16. He is also mentioned in Jeremiah 41:9, Matthew 1:7.



Jehoshaphat

Are children more likely to learn from their parents’ mistakes or to simply repeat them? In the lives of the people in the Bible, we find that the effects of parental examples are powerful and long lasting. For much of his life, Jehoshaphat seems to have been a son who learned from his father Asa’s mistakes and followed his positive actions. But on several occasions, his decisions reveal the negative aspects of his father’s example.


When the challenges were obvious, like the need for religious education of the people or the threat of war with a vast army, Jehoshaphat turned to God for guidance and made the right choices. His dependence on God was consistent when the odds were clearly against him. It was in depending on God for the day-to-day plans and actions that Jehoshaphat was weak. He allowed his son to marry Athaliah, the daughter of the wicked Ahab and Jezebel of Israel, who did her best to be as evil as her parents. Jehoshaphat was almost killed when, without asking God, he made an alliance with Ahab. Later, he got involved in an unwise shipbuilding venture with Ahab’s son, Ahaziah - a venture that was shipwrecked by God.


God’s faithfulness when the issues are clear and the enemy overwhelming is more than enough reason to seek his guidance when the issues are unclear and the enemy unseen. Jehoshaphat knew this, yet he made little use of that knowledge.


We repeat Jehoshaphat’s error when we relegate God to the background in the “easy” decisions of life. Then, when things get out of hand, we want him to get us out of the mess we got ourselves into. God wants us to give him not only the major decisions but also our daily lives - the things we are most often fooled into believing we can control. Perhaps there is nothing major facing you today. Have you paused long enough to give your day to God anyway?


Strengths and accomplishments

  • A bold follower of God, he reminded the people of the early years of his father, Asa

  • Carried out a national program of religious education

  • Had many military victories

  • Developed an extensive legal structure throughout the kingdom


Weaknesses and mistakes

  • Failed to recognize the long-term results of his decisions

  • Did not completely destroy idolatry in the land

  • Became entangled with evil King Ahab through alliances

  • Allowed his son Jehoram to marry Athaliah, Ahab’s daughter

  • Became Ahaziah’s business partner in an ill-fated shipping venture


Vital statistics

  • Where: Jerusalem

  • Occupation: King of Judah

  • Relatives: Father: Asa. Mother: Azubah. Son: Jehoram. Daughter in-law: Athaliah

  • Contemporaries: Ahab, Jezebel, Micaiah, Ahaziah, Jehu


Key verses

  • “Jehoshaphat was a good king, following the ways of his father, Asa. He did what was pleasing in the Lord’s sight. During his reign, however, he failed to remove all the pagan shrines, and the people never fully committed themselves to follow the God of their ancestors”

(2 Chronicles 20:32, 33)  


Jehoshaphat’s story is told in 1 Kings 15:24-22:50 and 2 Chronicles 17:1-21. He is also mentioned in 2 Kings 3:1-14 and Joel 3:2, 12.



Joash

All parents want their children to make the right decisions. But to do this, children must first learn to make their own decisions. Making bad ones helps them learn to make good ones. If parents make all the decisions for their children, they leave their children without the skills for wise decision making when they are on their own. This problem seriously affected Joash. He had great advice, but he never grew up. He became so dependent on what he was told that his effectiveness was limited to the quality if his advisers.


When Joash was one year old, his grandmother Athaliah decided to slaughter all her descendants in a desperate bid for power. Joash, the only survivor, was rescued and hidden by his aunt and uncle, Jehosheba and Jehoiada. Jehoiada’s work as a priest made it possible to keep Joash hidden in the Temple for six years. At that point, Jehoiada arranged for the overthrow of Athaliah and the crowning of Joash. For many years following, Jehoiada made most of the kingdom’s decisions for Joash. When the old priest died, he was buried in the royal cemetery as a tribute to his role.


But after Jehoiada’s death, Joash didn’t know what to do. He listened to counsel that led him into evil. Within a short time he even ordered the death of Jehoiada’s son Zechariah. After a few months, Joash’s army had been soundly defeated by the Arameans. Jerusalem was saved only because Joash stripped the temple of its treasures as a bribe. Finally, the king’s own officials assassinated him. In contrast to Jehoiada, Joash was not buried among the kings; he is not even listed in Jesus’ genealogy in the New Testament.


As dependent as Joash was on Jehoiada, there is little evidence that he ever established a real dependence on the God Jehoiada obeyed. Like many children, Joash’s knowledge of God was secondhand. It was a start, but the king needed his own relationship with God that would outlast and overrule the change in the advice he received.


It would be easy to criticize Joah’s failure were it not for the fact that we often fall into the same traps. How often have we acted on poor advice without considering God’s Word?


Strengths and accomplishments

  • Carried out extensive repairs on the Temple

  • Was faithful to God as long as Jehoiada lived


Weaknesses and mistakes

  • Allowed idolatry to continue among people

  • Used the Temple treasures to bride King Hazael of Aram

  • Killed Jehoiada’s son Zechariah

  • Allowed his advisers to lead the people away from God


Lessons from his life

  • A good and hopeful start can be ruined by an evil end

  • Even the best counsel is ineffective if it does not help us make wise decisions

  • As helpful or hurtful as others may be, we are individually responsible for what we do


Vital statistics

  • Where: Jerusalem

  • Occupation: King of Judah

  • Relatives: Father: Ahaziah. Mother: ZIbiah. Grandmother: Athaliah. Aunt: Jehosheba. Uncle: Jehoiada. Son: Amaziah. Cousin: Zechariah

  • Contemporaries: Jehu, Hazael


Key verses

  • “But after Jehoiada’s death, the leaders of Judah came and bowed before King Joash and persuaded him to listen to their advice. They decided to abandon the Temple of the Lord, the God of their ancestor, and they worshiped Asherah poles and idols instead! Because of this sin, divine anger fell on Judah and Jerusalem” (2 Chronicles 25:17, 18).  


Joash’s story is told in 2 Kings 11:1-12:21 and 2 Chronicles 22:11-24:27.



Uzziah

We are never closer to failure than during our greatest successes. If we fail to recognize God’s part in our achievements, they are no better than failures. Uzziah was a remarkably successful king. His achievements brought him fame. He was successful in war and peace, in planning and execution, in building and planting.


Uzziah overestimated his own importance in bringing about the great achievements he experienced. He did so many things well that a consuming pride gradually invaded his life like the leprous disease that finally destroyed his body. In trying to act like a priest, he took on a role that God did not mean for him to have. He had forgotten not only how much God had given him but also that God had certain roles for others that he needed to respect.


Uzziah’s pride was rooted in his lack of thankfulness. We have no account of this king’s aver showing appreciation to God for the marvelous gifts he received. Our accomplishments may not compare with Uzziah’s, but we still owe a debt of thanksgiving  to God for our very lives. If God not getting the credit for your successes, shouldn’t you start looking at your life differently?


Strength and accomplishments

  • Pleased God during his early years as king

  • Successful warrior and city builder

  • Skillful in organizing and delegating

  • Reigned for 52 years


Weaknesses and mistakes

  • Developed a prideful attitude due to his great success

  • Tried to perform the priests’ duties, in direct disobedience to God

  • Failed to remove many of the symbols of idolatry in the land      


Lessons from his life

  • Lack thankfulness to God can lead to pride

  • Even successful people must acknowledge the role God has for others in their lives


Vital statistics

  • Where: Jerusalem

  • Occupation: King of Judah

  • Relatives: Father: Amaziah. Mother: Jecoliah. Son: Jotham

  • Contemporaries> Isaiah, Amos, Hosea, Jeroboam, Zechariah, Azariah


Key verses

  • “And he built structures on the walls of Jerusalem, designed by experts to protect those who shot arrows and hurled large stones from the towers and the corners of the wall. His fame spread far and wide, for the Lord gave him marvelous help, and he became very powerful. But when he had become powerful, he also became proud, which led to his downfall. He sinned against the Lord his God by entering the sanctuary of the Lord’s Temple and personally burning incense on the incense altar” (2 Chronicles 26:15, 16).


Uzziah’s story is told in 2 Kings 15:1-7 and in 2 Chronicles 26:1’23. He is also mentioned in Isaiah 1:1; 6:1; 7:1; Hosea 1:1; Amos 1:1; Zechariah 14:5.



Ahaz

Our heritage influences, but doesn’t necessarily determine, our life decisions. King Ahaz of Judah illustrates this truth in two ways: he turned away from the good examples of his father Jotham and his grandfather Uzziah, but his poor example seems to have had little effect on his own son Hezekiah, who proved to be a great and godly king.


The circumstances in the life of King Ahaz fall into the general categories of bad and worse. When Judah suffered a debilitating attack from rivals Israel and Aram, the king ignored an opportunity to seek God’s help and turned instead to Assyria for assistance. Ahaz’s cowardly leadership forced Judah into virtual slavery to the Assyrians.


Soon every evidence that Judah had once been a God-fearing nation was smashed, defaced, or tucked out of sight. Ahaz imported idolatry. He even presented some of his children as offerings to the gods he hoped would rescue him and his nation from their disastrous situation.


We share Ahaz’s sin when, from beneath a local of failures and trials, we turn away from good examples and from God. Instead of repenting of any known sin and calling upon God for relief, we, like Ahaz, may appeal to every other source of aid but God - our own abilities, money, or harmful habits. The results only serve to increase our tragic circumstances.


Difficulties and mistakes will either devastate our faith or they will stimulate growth and maturity. The positive differences come when we humbly seek God’s help, whatever the situation. Trials that tempt us to turn away from God should, instead, spur us to turn toward God.


Weaknesses and mistakes

  • Failed to trust God

  • Asked Assyria for help and submitted Judah to crushing domination

  • Adopted Assyrian religious practices that undermined his people’s faith

  • Sacrificed some of his own children in Baal worship


Lessons from his life

  • Fear is never a good excuse for failing to trust God

  • Some people or things that seem like obvious sources to help or relief may turn out to be controlling and enslaving instead

  • Good examples in our lives can’t prevent us from making the wrong choice


Vital statistics

  • Where: Jerusalem

  • Occupation: King of Judah   

  • Relatives: Father: Jotham. Son: Hezekiah


Key verse

  • “Even during this time of trouble, King Ahaz continued to reject the Lord” (2 Chronicles 28:22).


Ahaz’s story is told in 2 Kings 16 and 2 Chronicles 28. Isaiah 7-10 records several amazing prophecies given during his reign.



Manasseh

Even a brief outline of King Manasseh’s evil sickens us, and we wonder how God could ever forgive him. Not only did he intentionally offend God by desecrating Solomon’s Temple with idols, but he also worship pagan gods and even sacrificed his children to them! Child sacrifice is a vile act of pagan idolatry, an act against both God and people. Such blatant sins require severe correction.


God showed justice to Manasseh in warning and punishing him. He showed mercy in responding to Manasseh’s heartfelt repentance by forgiving and restoring him. Given the nature of Manasseh’s rebellion, we are not surprised by God’s punishment - defeat and exile at the hands of the Assyrians. But Manasseh’s repentance and God’s forgiveness are unexpected. Manasseh’s life was changed. He was given a new start.


How far God gone to get your attention? Have you ever, like Manasseh, come to your senses and cried out to God for help? Only your repentance and a prayer for a new attitude stand between you and God’s complete forgiveness.


Strengths and accomplishments

  • Despite the bitter consequences of his sins, he learned from them

  • Humbly repented of his sins before God


Weaknesses and mistakes

  • Challenged God’s authority and was defeated

  • Reversed many of the positive effects of his father Hezekiah’s rule

  • Sacrificed his children to idols


Lessons from his life

  • God will go a long way to get someone’s attention

  • Forgiveness is limited, not by the amount of sin, but by our willingness to repent


Vital statistics

  • Where: Jerusalem

  • Occupation: King of Judah

  • Relatives: Father: Hezekiah. Mother: Hephzibah. Son: Amon


Key verses

  • “But while in deep distress, Manasseh sought the Lord his God and sincerely humble himself before the God of his ancestors. And when he prayed, the Lord listened to him and was moved by his request. So the Lord brought Manasseh back to Jerusalem and to his kingdom. Then Manasseh finally realized that the Lord alone is God!” (2 Chronicles 33:12-13).


Manasseh’s story is told in 2 Kings 2:1-18 and 2 Chronicles 32:33-33:20. He is also mentioned in Jeremiah 15:4.