Study Guide

2 Chronicles Themes

  • Contrasting Regions: Northern Israel vs. Southern Judah

    Our story starts out with a unified Kingdom of Judah and Israel. After Solomon's death, Israel splits into two different nations—the Northern Kingdom of Israel and the Southern Kingdom of Judah. The Chronicler is really only interested in telling the story of the Southern Kingdom. In his opinion, these are the good guys. They've held onto God's handpicked monarchs (David's boys) and the Temple (the holiest place on Earth). Meanwhile, those tribes up north are just blaspheming and worshipping other gods day and night. The Chronicler presents us with a pretty black-and-white picture, but are things ever that clear?

    Questions About Contrasting Regions: Northern Israel vs. Southern Judah

    1. The Chronicler says it was God's plan for Israel to divide. Why would he do this? Does the author really ever give a good explanation?
    2. The south is clearly superior to the north in our story. How do you think the northern tribes view the southern kings?
    3. How were the northern tribes so easily led into idolatry?
  • Family

    In 2 Chronicles, bloodlines are all-important. God lets everyone know that David and descendants will be the only people to rule over Israel, no matter how bad they are at the governing (we're looking at you, Rehoboam). God also has a special relationship with his people because he's made a pact with their ancestors that he considers unbreakable. Because of this, he gives them a pass for some pretty terrible behavior just because they're members of the tribe.

    Questions About Family

    1. Why does God decide to go all in with David's family? Does the fact that King Zedekiah is the last king from David's line mean that God broke this promise?
    2. How are the people of Israel and Judah linked through family ties? We bet tensions were high at those holiday gatherings.
    3. What's the benefit or harm in having Judah's rulership determined by family descent rather than merit? Does "Because God said so" cut it as an explanation?
  • Home

    They say home is where the heart is. But for the Chronicler, home was also where God was. The main benefit to living in the Southern Kingdom of Judah is that it's where God resides. Solomon built that fabulous Temple and God's presence resides there in Jerusalem. Being close to the Temple meant being close to God so he could hear your prayers and offer forgiveness. People from all over the region came to Jerusalem for this reason. Since sacrifices and pilgrimage festivals could only be observed there, it was everyone's spiritual home.

    Questions About Home

    1. Why would God need a house? Does the Creator of Heaven and Earth require a home or does the Temple have more to do with the way humans think about God?
    2. The fortunes of each king of Judah are tied to how he treats God's house. How does the Temple work as a symbol during each monarch's reign?
    3. God finally gets fed up and kicks the Jewish people out of the homeland he gave them. Why the eviction? And why let them come back again?
  • Politics

    If you were tempted to binge-watch Game of Thrones after reading 2 Chronicles, we can understand. This book has just as much political maneuvering (and murder) as any of George R.R. Martin's stories. In a way, the kings of Israel are playing at a sort of political game of thrones. The Kings of Judah are constantly making and shifting alliances, consolidating power in sometimes murderous ways, and trying to keep the people under control. In the end, the House of David is able to hang onto power by cleverly mixing the religious and the political. The Targaryens and Lannisters might want to take note.

    Questions About Politics

    1. Claiming that God is on your side is always a shrewd political move. How do the kings of Judah play this to their advantage?
    2. Are some of the kings in this story better at playing politics than others? What's the secret to a successful reign in the Chronicler's eyes?
    3. How do foreign kings use their political savvy to work with the guys in Judah? Which of these kings are successful? And which aren't?
  • Traditions and Customs

    Tradition! It's not just a catchy song from Fiddler on the Roof. For the people in the Southern Kingdom of Judah, it's the key to survival. The Chronicler wants to make sure that all the laws of Moses (from way back in the first five books of the Bible) are being followed on a daily basis. He also has a more recent role model in mind. If King David did it, then it's a custom worth keeping. One of the reasons God decides to give the kingship of Judah to David's descendants is that David keeps all the laws of Moses. Not all his descendants were so conscientious; plenty of them turned to the newer and cooler traditions of the surrounding tribes—you know, child sacrifice and nature worship. But for the Chronicler, the past was the key to a successful future. Everything old is new again.

    Questions About Traditions and Customs

    1. Why does the Chronicler think the old ways are good ways? Does he embrace any new ideas and reforms?
    2. The Temple is clearly the focus of this book's obsession with laws and traditions. Why does God's house need to be cared for in such a traditional way?
    3. How is the Northern Kingdom of Israel bucking tradition? Why is this such a terrible thing?