Obviously, this book follows 1 Chronicles. Most of the information here is based on the 2 books of Kings. Basically this book tells the story of King Solomon and all his wonderful deeds with the emphasis on the building of the Temple. Upon his death, the breakup of Israel into Judah and Israel occurred. However, instead of following both kingdoms as in 2 Kings, this book concentrates on Judah only. The only mention about Israel was when there was an intersection of actions between the two kingdoms. 2 Chronicles is obviously a post-exilic book.
King Solomon established his kingdom. God then appeared to King Solomon to grant him his wish to be wise. King Solomon began preparations for building the Temple. He worked with King Huram of Tyre to get wood, labor, and other materials. The Temple was to be built where King David had built an altar. In fact, the Temple was not that big, about the quarter size of an American football field. However, it had gold ornamentation lining all over it with the most holy place with the gold cherubim. In front of the Temple was a square bronze altar. Off to the side was a bronze sea, or mini-swimming pool, with ten bronze basins. King Solomon finished the Temple with many bronze and golden works. Finally, he brought all the treasures to the Temple.
Once completed, there was a great assembly in Jerusalem. They celebrated the transfer of the Ark of the Covenant. Yahweh took possession of his Temple as the glory of Yahweh appeared in the Temple. There were great sacrifices at the feast of the dedication of the Temple. They consecrated the Temple courts during this festival that lasted eight days. Nevertheless, Yahweh warned about the future destruction of the Temple.
The great prayer of King Solomon followed as he blessed the people. He spoke to them from a bronze square platform. This was a personal prayer of King Solomon, his prayer for the new Temple, for sinners, for defeated Israelites, and for rain. He had a special prayer for bad times, foreigners, and in the time of war. He even prayed for exiled sinners as he concluded his great prayer.
King Solomon rebuilt many cities using slave labor. He was a great builder. The Egyptian Pharaoh’s daughter was the wife of King Solomon. The king himself would offer Temple sacrifices. The Queen of Sheba visited him with many gifts. She had heard of his great wisdom, which far exceeded her expectations. He in turn gave her gifts. King Solomon had a lot of gold including all gold drinking cups, as he was extremely wealthy. He made a couple of hundred gold shields. He sat on a golden ivory throne. He had a fleet of ships that brought him gold. Everyone gave him presents for his great wisdom. He ruled from the Euphrates River to Egypt, until he died without any fanfare.
At the death of King Solomon, his forty-one year old son Rehoboam succeeded him without any dispute among Solomon’s children. However, there was a major split among the Israelites, since Yahweh was not pleased with King Solomon. At a meeting at Shechem, King Rehoboam told Jeroboam, chosen by the prophet Ahijah to rule over Israel except for Judah, that he needed three days to make a decision. After consulting with the older counselors and the young counselors, King Rehoboam took the advice of the young ones who said to be tough with these Israelites. The response of northern Israel was swift. They killed the leader that King Rehoboam sent to oversee them.
King Rehoboam then went back to Jerusalem to gather a great army from Judah and Benjamin. However, Yahweh said that he wanted this separation between Judah and Israel to remain because of the sins of his father King Solomon. This separation of Judah from the rest of Israel remained in place until after the captivity of Babylon. Thus King Rehoboam failed to put down the northern revolt. Instead he fortified the cities in Judah. He reorganized the priests and Levites. However, he too was unfaithful to Yahweh, so that the king of Egypt attacked him. He took the King Solomon treasures from Jerusalem, but the city was saved, a major theme of this work.
King Abijah, unlike his father King Rehoboam, went to war with the king of Israel in the north, King Jeroboam. King Abijah defended Yahweh worship and had a victorious battle over King Jeroboam. Nevertheless, there was no reunion of Judah and Israel.
King Asa, the son of King Abijah ruled for forty-one years and once again fortified the cities in Judah. He suffered an invasion from Zerah the Ethiopian in the south. Despite great odds against him, the great prayer of King Asa meant that Yahweh defeated the Ethiopians. The prophecy of Azariah told about the downfall of Judah. The monotheistic worship of Yahweh was established in Judah with a death threat to those who did not worship Yahweh. However, Queen mother Maacah was opposed to Yahweh worship. Then King Asa had a dispute with King Baasha of Israel. Finally, Hanani the prophet came to see King Asa before he died.
King Jehoshaphat, the son of King Asa, ruled Judah for twenty-two years. He had a great concern for the law of Yahweh as he sent missionaries to instruct the people. He also grew stronger with a great army as he made an alliance with King Ahab of Israel. Then there was the classic scene with the prophets of Jezebel versus the prophet of Yahweh, Micaiah. After this, the two kings went out to fight the Arameans at Ramoth-gilead, where King Ahab died. King Jehoshaphat returned safe to Jerusalem, where he set up judges in Judah and Jerusalem. He was then attacked from the southeast. However, King Jehoshaphat sought the help of Yahweh with a prayer against the invaders. Yahweh responded via a prophet on how to attack the invaders. The king was successful and returned with the booty and spoils of the battle.
After his death, King Jehoram, his son, took over. Then, he promptly killed his brothers. Meanwhile southern Edom had revolted. God punished King Jehoram with a terrible bowel disease before he died.
King Ahaziah succeeded his father. He joined with King Jehoram of Israel to do battle, but was killed by the Israelite King Jehu.
With the death of King Ahaziah, Queen Athaliah killed all the other heirs to the throne, including her own children. The clergy rose up against Queen Athaliah. They stole one of the young heirs named Joash and made him king at the age of seven. Led by the priest Jehoiada, they killed the queen.
King Joash led a reform and reorganization of the Temple worship. He restored the Temple via money collections for the Temple. However, after the death of the priest Jehoiada, King Joash allowed idol worship. In fact, King Joash killed the son of the priest Jehoiada. He too had a war with the Arameans before he died.
King Amaziah killed the murders of this father. He assembled a great army and led a successful Edomite campaign. Then the northern Ephraimites attacked the border towns of Judah. King Amaziah worshiped foreign gods. He also exchanged words with the king of Israel. Then Israel attacked and defeated Judah as King Amaziah died.
His son, King Uzziah ruled for forty-one years. He was a fighter, a builder, and a farmer. He had a great army but he was struck with leprosy because he himself went into the Temple rather than let his priests offer the sacrifices. His son King Jotham ruled while he was still alive. He had to be buried in a separate place because of his leprosy. King Jotham, his son, was also a builder and a fighter as he defeated the Ammonites, but he only ruled by himself for four years.
While King Ahaz, the son of King Jotham, was ruling, there was a northern invasion by Israel. The prophet Oded warned King Ahaz. After the defeat, the men of Ephraim took sympathy on the men of Judah and released them from the Israelite captivity. King Ahaz was also under attack from Assyria. Finally the unfaithful King Ahaz died.
The restoration of Jerusalem and the Temple took place under King Hezekiah, who ruled for twenty-nine years. He re-opened the Temple. He gave a stirring speech to the Levites so that they then began the sanctification of the Temple. Once it was ready, the sacrifices and celebrations at the Temple began. They had a huge Passover celebration. King Hezekiah even invited the northern tribes to come but they refused. He set about to reform the worship and the clergy as he reinstituted tithing. He set up storage place for the gifts in the Temple. He took a census to find out how many priests and Levites there were. He obviously was successful and wealthy. However, he was invaded by King Sennacherib of Assyria, who insulted Yahweh. When King Hezekiah prayed, his prayers were heard as the Assyrians were defeated. The Assyrian king went home and was killed by his sons. King Hezekiah got sick, so the prophet Isaiah came to help him. Finally King Hezekiah died with great honors.
After the death of King Hezekiah, his son King Manasseh ruled for forty-five years. He destroyed most of his father’s great work by desecrating the Temple in Jerusalem. After he was captured by the Babylonians, he humbly turned to Yahweh. For some unknown reason, he was then released from captivity and restored the Yahweh worship. At his death, King Amon, his son, ruled for two years, but he was an evil king.
Finally King Josiah, at the age eight, began to rule Judah for thirty-nine years. He brought about many religious reforms including the restoration of the Temple. During this process of repairing the Temple, the high priest Hilkiah discovered the lost Book of the Law, probably Deuteronomy. King Josiah read the book and wanted to know what it meant. He sent his men to the female prophet Huldah. She responded that there should be a renewal of the covenant. Thus they had a great Passover feast like the one King Hezekiah had.
Then King Neco of Egypt invaded Judah and killed King Josiah in battle. King Neco then established a series of kings of Judah, Jehoahaz, Jehoiakim, Jehoiachin, and Zedekiah until they rebelled. Then he would send them off to captivity. The whole country was unfaithful. Finally, the Babylonian captivity came about with the capture and destruction of Jerusalem. This captivity lasted until King Cyrus of Persia sent them back to rebuild the Temple. The end of 2 Chronicles is the same as the beginning of Ezra, which had led many to believe it was the same author.