Summary of the Book of 2 Chronicles
Originally the books of 1 and 2 Chronicles were a single book. Like the books of Kings, this is a historical book. The Kings focused on the northern kingdom, Israel, and this book (1 and 2 Chronicles) focuses on the southern kingdom, Judah.
The second of the two books of Chronicles cover the same time period as the two books of Kings. This is a time period of about 424 years, from the time of Solomon’s reign until Cyrus’ decree to rebuild Jerusalem. Approximately from 960 to 536 BC.
Author of 2 Chronicles
The author of 2 Chronicles is the same as 1 Chronicles:
The book does not claim an author, but tradition says that the author was Ezra. Ezra was a priest in the southern kingdom who lived in Jerusalem (Ezra 7:11). The books of Chronicles focus on temple worship, priests and Levites. This fits with the fact that Ezra was a priest. The writing style is very similar to Ezra, who wrote the book bearing his name. The two books of Chronicles are historical books which go up to the time period of the book of Ezra. The book of Ezra reads like a continuation of the book of 2 Chronicles.
The author, probably Ezra, wrote it after the Jews had returned to the land after the Babylonian Captivity (1 Chronicles 3:19; 6:15; 9:1, 2). The book is a guide to those returning from exile to know how to worship in the Temple of Jerusalem. It was written between 450 and 425 BC and covers approximately 424 years.
Purpose of 2 Chronicles
The book of 2 Chronicles is a historical book written from a priest’s perspective. The writer’s goal is to help the Jews, who have been away from the temple, know the history of life in Jerusalem before the exile. It is a history of Israel with an emphasis on the southern kingdom and temple worship in the city of Jerusalem. There is very little information about the northern kingdom. While the Kings (focused on the northern kingdom) and the Chronicles (focused on the southern kingdom) cover much of the same time period, there is very little overlap in their contents.
Along with a strong focus on the temple and Jerusalem, the book of 2 Chronicles is an evaluation of the nation of Israel’s religious history. The nation went through cycles of wickedness, repentance and restoration.
2 Chronicles 1:1 “And Solomon the son of David was strengthened in his kingdom, and the LORD his God was with him, and magnified him exceedingly.”
2 Chronicles 2:1 “And Solomon determined to build an house for the name of the LORD, and an house for his kingdom.”
2 Chronicles 5:1 “Thus all the work that Solomon made for the house of the LORD was finished: and Solomon brought in all the things that David his father had dedicated; and the silver, and the gold, and all the instruments, put he among the treasures of the house of God.”
2 Chronicles 29:1-3 “Hezekiah began to reign when he was five and twenty years old, and he reigned nine and twenty years in Jerusalem. And his mother’s name was Abijah, the daughter of Zechariah. And he did that which was right in the sight of the LORD, according to all that David his father had done. He in the first year of his reign, in the first month, opened the doors of the house of the LORD, and repaired them.”
2 Chronicles 36:14, 16-18 “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. But they mocked the messengers of God, and despised his words, and misused his prophets, until the wrath of the LORD arose against his people, till there was no remedy. Therefore he brought upon them the king of the Chaldees, who slew their young men with the sword in the house of their sanctuary, and had no compassion upon young man or maiden, old man, or him that stooped for age: he gave them all into his hand. And all the vessels of the house of God, great and small, and the treasures of the house of the LORD, and the treasures of the king, and of his princes; all these he brought to Babylon.”
- House – Used 148 times. This is referring to the Temple: the House of the Lord, or the House of God.
- Priest/Priests – Used more than 80 times.
Outline of 2 Chronicles
- King Solomon (2 Chronicles 1-9)
- Other Kings of Judah (2 Chronicles 10-36)
Summary of 2 Chronicles
Solomon, like his father David, reigned 40 years. In his lifetime he was given a choice of great riches or wisdom. He chose wisdom and was granted great riches along with wisdom (1 Kings 3). He uses this wisdom to rule the united kingdom of Israel.
The book opens with Solomon preparing to build the Temple in Jerusalem. Much of the construction materials were prepared by his father before him. Final preparations were made in chapter 2 and the construction was done in chapters 3 and 4. Chapters 5 through 7 Solomon dedicates the Temple.
Solomon’s life and reign are summarized in chapters 8 and 9. More details of the life of Solomon are given in the book of 1 Kings.
The rest of the book is dedicated to the divided kingdom with various stories about the kings in Judah. There were utterly wicked kings such as Jehoram, Ahaziah and Ahaz. There were some good kings like Jotham, Hezekiah and Josiah. Still there were other kings who started well, but who failed towards the end of their life. Examples are Asa and Uzziah.
Even though the book uses the kings to delineate time periods, the focus is not on them. The main emphasis in the book is on those who stood for the Lord during that time. There were wicked kings and sin in the land, but the focus is on the revivals that brought the people back to the Lord.
Under King Asa there was repentance and restoration in the kingdom (chapter 15). This is brought on because the prophet Azariah spoke up for the Lord. King Jehoshaphat saw revival a couple of times during his reign (chapters 17-20). Even though he allied himself with wicked King Ahab, he came back to the Lord and brought the nation with him. This cycle of repentance and restoration is seen several times in the book of 2 Chronicles after the people returned to their wickedness.
The book concludes with the destruction of Jerusalem and the Temple. Judah is carried away by the Babylonians into captivity for 70 years. They are allowed to return to their homeland by King Cyrus.