Study Guide

2 Chronicles Summary

2 Chronicles Summary

When we last left our heroes, King Solomon had just taken the reins after the death of his father, King David. Will he turn out to be a good king? Will he build God that house he's been talking about for a while now?

No worries. Solomon's actually a pretty amazing king. When he humbly asks for the wisdom to rule, God's so impressed that he gives Solomon not only wisdom, but lots and lots of money to boot. Solomon also oversees a major project—the building of the Temple in Jerusalem. It's pretty lavish, with gold and bronze and angels everywhere. God's house is totally posh. Because of this, just about everyone all over the world thinks Solomon is just the smartest, richest, and best king alive.

Then Solomon dies and things go downhill fast. His son Rehoboam takes over and, under his rule, the nation of Israel fractures into two different countries. Rehoboam and the rest of David's ancestors rule in the Southern Kingdom of Judah while Jeroboam takes charge in the Northern Kingdom of Israel. Because the Chronicler loves him some David, he naturally thinks that the folks in the south are way superior. After all, they have the Temple in their territory, which means God's their neighbor down the street.

So the folks in the north and south are at war almost constantly. Meanwhile, each country goes through a string of not-so-great kings. Eventually, things go badly for both kingdoms when King Jehoshaphat of Judah attempts to call a truce by letting his son marry King Ahab of Israel's daughter. Turns out the lady in question is an idol-worshipper and she uses her influence to turn the people of Judah away from God. Seriously, if there's one thing God hates it's an idol-worshipper. (Well, there are actually 10 things God hates, but idol worshipping is at the top of the list.)

But it's not all bad. In between incompetent, murderous, idolatrous monarchs there are a few good apples. Hezekiah and Josiah are two examples of kings who turn things around. They spend their entire reigns making amends for the previous generation's idolatry and general corruption by trusting in God and following his laws. God is totally willing to help a country out as long as its people swear their unwavering loyalty and devotion to him. That's all it takes.

In the end, the people just can't get it together. Northern Israel is a lost cause, so God is forced to allow the Assyrian Empire to destroy that kingdom. See you later, 10 lost tribes of Israel. (Oh wait, we won't actually see you later.) Judah doesn't fare much better. After several kings there stray from God's commandments, he's had enough. He lets the Babylonian Empire invade Jerusalem, kill most of the important people and leave the rest to starve and die, exile the royal family and other officials, and burn the Temple to the ground. Wrath of God, etc.

After 70 years of exile and despair for the Judeans, the spirit of God moves King Cyrus of Persia (who managed to defeat the Babylonians) to allow the exiles from Judah to head home and start rebuilding the Temple. This is a hugely dramatic development—we're dying to see the looks on their faces when they first set eyes on Jerusalem again—but the story ends there.