Sunday, September 8, 2013

CLXXIII - II Chronicles 21-24

As I've stated in earlier posts, most of Chronicles is parallel to II Samuel and Kings.  It is important that you read all of these chapters, but I will provide a synopsis of each, along with some {commentary}.

As we saw in the last post, Jehoshaphat was a good king, much like his father Asa.  He reigned in Jerusalem for thirty-five years and died at age seventy in 849 BC.

Chapter 21  -  King Jehoram

Jehoshaphat  had seven sons.  He gave each of them cities to govern and gave them many other gifts, but he kept his oldest son Jehoram in Jerusalem to assist him in ruling the nation because Jehoshaphat would have Jehoram inherit the throne.  Jehoram was evil.  He learned nothing from his father or his grandfather.  As soon as he had control, Jehoram had all of his brothers killed.  He also killed many of Judah's leaders.  He married Athaliah who was the daughter of Ahab and Jezebel.  {Evidently Jehoshaphat was involved in this arranged marriage.  As we saw in the last post, Jehoshaphat "bent over backwards" for Ahab.  This arranged marriage must have been one of the worst things that Jehoshaphat could have done for posterity.}  Jehoram was a terrible king.  His wife and her parents must have had a tremendous influence on Jehoram.  Because of his evil and ungodly ways, he failed at everything he did.  He lost the territory of Edom, which had served Judah since the reign of David.  He was a failed military commander who's selection of officers was poor, as they were probably all based on politics, rather than ability.  His diplomatic skills were destructive, as the Philistines reappear as an enemy.  The Philistines attacked Jerusalem and took all things valuable from the city and Temple.  As hard as Asa and Jehoshaphat worked to build up the nation of Judah, Jehoram worked equally as hard to destroy it.  It took Asa and Jehoshaphat seventy-six long years to rebuild Judah into a strong and Godly nation.  It took Jehoram only eight years to accomplish all that destruction.  In verses 12-15 the great prophet Elijah wrote Jehoram a letter, warning him that his disrespect to God was not going unnoticed.  Elijah goes on to prophecy tragedy for Jehoram.  Then, just as Elijah had prophesied, Jehoram was afflicted with a disease in his "inner parts".  The Scripture says that he lived two years in terrible pain, and died at the age of forty.  When he died, nobody was sad. The people did not give any honor to him.  And they did not bury him in the graves of the kings.

Chapter 22  -  King Azariah

When the Philistines invaded Jerusalem, they not only plummaged the city and the Temple, but they also killed all of Jehorams sons except Ahaziah.  {Had they killed all of his sons, the Davidic covenant could not have continued on.}  This chapter opens with the people of Judah crowning Ahaziah king immediately following the death of Jehoram.  Ahaziah was no better than his father.  {The evil legacy of Ahab and Jezebel continue.  Remember, their daughter was king Ahaziah's mother and she and her evil influence was still around.  She and Jehoram raised Ahaziah.}  This chapter has in it the interesting story of how the royal lineage got out from under the evil influence of Ahab and Jezebel.  Ahaziah somehow got to be allied with Joram, the evil king of Israel.  This was another bad decision made by a bad king.  Coincidentally, both
joram of Israel and Ahaziah of Judah died at the same time.  Both of them went to fight against Hazael, king of the Arameans.  In verses 7-9 Jehu comes on the scene.  He is part of Israel whose father was Nimshi.  He came to kill Joram which was of the prophecy that all of Ahab's house would be destroyed, thus cutting off the lineage.  Jehu was to be the one to fulfill this prophecy.  Azariah and the leaders of Judah were there when Jehu came to Jezreel where the battle was taking place.  Ahaziah went out with Joram to meet Jehu.  When Joram and Azariah realized that Jehu was there to kill them they tried to run away.  Jehu killed Joram but Ahaziah escaped and hid in Samaria.  Jehu’s men eventually found him and mortally wounded him.

Verses 10-12  -  {Remember, God promised a descendant of David will always occupy the throne in Jerusalem.}  When Ahaziah's evil mother Athalia (daughter of Ahab and Jezebel) heard that her son the king was dead, she proceeded to have all of the royal family killed.  This would make her queen and give her absolute rule, which she actually had for six years.  However, while Athalia was having all of the king's sons killed, one of the king's daughters, Jehoshabeth, took one of the princes (Joash) and hid him in the Temple for six years while Athalia served as queen.  Joash was the only living male descendant of king David.  He was only a baby when Jehoshabeth took him.  At that time Jehoiada was the High Priest in the Temple, keeping Joash's existance as secret for six years.  Although Athaliah served as queen of Judah, her position was not official, as she was not crowned nor ordained as queen.

Chapter 23  -  Joash Crowned King of Judah

When Joash was seven years old, Jehoiada the High Priest decided Joash was old enough to be made king.  It had been six long years of Athalia ruling Judah.  {I'm not so certain Joash was old enough, so much as Jehoiada and Judah could not take any more of Athalia.}  This chapter tells how careful Jehoiada was as he crowned and ordained Joash the king of Judah.  (vs 12) Athalia heard the noise of the celebration and went to the Temple to see what was going on.  She tore her clothes and hollered "Treason", hoping to have her military stop the proceedings, but she held loyalty from nobody.  Jehoiada made a point that no human blood would be shed inside the Temple and had the Levite guards take her outside to kill her.  Joash was officially the new king of Judah at the tender age of seven.  Jehoiada and the Levites immediately began tearing down the Baal worship centers in an attempt to purify Judah.  Notice in the final verses of this chapter that the entire nation rejoiced over the death of Athalia.

Chapter 24  -  Be Careful Who You Listen To

This chapter is a classic example of what happens when a leader is influenced by the wrong people.  {More to the point I would have to cite Rehoboam, but this is more toward the opposite with Jehoiada being a positive influence on Joash.}

Joash was only seven years old when he became king.  During the time he was hidden in the Temple, Jehoiada the High Priest was the main influence in his life.  Joash continued to turn to Jehoiada after he was crowned king.  The influence of the High Priest was evidence by the young king's priorities, which were to rid the nation of the pagan practices and articles of worship that pertained to Baal and other false gods promoted by Athalia.  Additionally, Joash ordered the Temple to be repaired to its previous glory.  Joash became personally involved with this when he noticed that the work had not been going as fast as it should.  In verses 15-16 it speaks of Jehoiada's death.  Jehoiada lived for a long time. He died at the age of 130 years. This was older than Moses (120).  Jehoiada probably became chief priest when the chief priest  Amariah died (19:11).  Jehoiada had done many good things and the people respected him.  He had been loyal to the God and to the royal family all his life.  He was an important helper to the king because Joash was not a strong king.  While Jehoiada lived, he kept Joash loyal to the Lord.  As a special honor, they buried Jehoiada with the kings in the city of David.

2 Chronicles 24:17-27  Joash Turns to the Wrong People to Replace Jehoiada as Chief Council

After Jehoiada died, several officials came to Joash.  Not much is given about these men, but evidently they wanted things to go back to the way they were when the heathen Athalia was ruling the nation.  Joash was immediately drawn in by these people.  {He must have been very weak in character.}  Jehoiada's son Zechariah had become High Priest and he was much like his father, recognizing the evil that was taking place.  Zechariah spoke truth in his objections to the reintroducing of Baal worship into the minds and hearts of the nation Judah.  Needless to say, Zechariah made many enemies.  They raised up against him and his message of righteousness,  King Joash gave the order to have him stoned to death.  The last word of Zechariah (vs 22) was that God would hold Joash accountable for his evil acts.  In less than a year after Zechariah died, the army of King Hazael of Aram attacked Judah.  They marched on Judah's cities, then Jerusalem itself.  They killed many of the leaders of Judah, most of which were responsible for turning the people away from God and His commandments.  Then, in an attemmpt to buy peace from the Arameans, Joash took what few valuables were left in the Temple and gave them to King Hazael, who took them back to Damascus.  Verse 24 tells me that Hazeal's army was much smaller than that of Judah's, but defeated them anyway.  Letting go of God and His protective hands is a dangerous decision.  During the invasion of the Arameans, Joash was injured.  While he was lying in bed recovering from his injuries, some officials came in and killed him.  Joash had ended up being such a bad king, they didn't even bury him in the traditional cemetery of kings, but rather in an ordinary gravesite in Jerusalem.  Joash reigned forty years and died at the age of forty-seven.  His son Amaziah succeeded him on the throne of Judah.

Next Post  -  Continueing Our Study of the Kings of Judah

No comments:

Post a Comment