“[The king of the Chaldeans]
carried off captive to Babylon those who escaped the sword, […] to fulfill Jehovah’s word spoken by Jeremiah […].”
~2 Chronicles 36:20, 21
In chapter 36 we witness the rapid declive of Judah’s dynasty.
After King Josiah died in 629 b.C.E. there were no more good kings (2 Chron. 35:23-25).
Jeremiah, the prophet, was gradually subjected to worse and worse treatment as the kingdom became less and less reverent of Jehovah God (Jer. 36:26; 38:7-13).
Yet he never gave in.
He never stopped preaching the dire future that awaited those who did not repent (Jer 35:13-17).
He survived the destruction of the Holy City in 607 b.C.E. and kept serving as a prophet to his people (Jer. 40:5,6).
His determination to carry out his calling in such deteriorated circumstances serves as an inspiration to all of us struggling to actively take part in the kingdom witnessing work in a morally disintegrating world.
Learn more about Jeremiah through this free audio book.
“Then Hezekiah appointed the priests in their divisions and the Levites in their divisions, each of the priests and Levites for their service […]”
~2 Chronicles 31:2
While reading this, you might ask yourself, weren’t all the priests Levites?
How is it that they were classified into two groups?
In many Bible passages the term “priests” refers specifically to males who descended from Aaron.
Though all of these priests belonged to the tribe of Levi, the term “Levites” refers to all of the other males in the tribe, the priests’ assistants.
The Levites were therefor organized into four groups:
- The priests, who descended from Aaron, who descended from Kohath.
- The other descendants of Kohath, who were in charge of the sacred furniture of the tabernacle.
- The descendants of Gershon, who were in charge of the linens within the tabernacle.
- The descendants of Merari, who were in charge of the framework of the tabernacle.
(Ge. 46:11; Nu. 3:25, 26, 30, 31, 36, 37).
All the Levites had to be familiar enough with Mosaic Law to teach it to others (2 Chron. 17:7-9).
Also, their tabernacle duties transferred to the temple once it was built (1 Chron. 23:24-32).
What I gathered from this reading is that whatever my personal assignment is within Jehovah’s organization, I should cherish the privilege of serving him and collaborating with brothers and sisters working in different capacities.
Our spiritual work should be free of envy or resentment because we are all working for the same God and the same cause.
“Then Uzziah was laid to rest with his forefathers, and they buried him with his forefathers, but in the burial field that belonged to the kings, for they said: ‘He is a leper.'”
~2 Chronicles 26:23
Kings were traditionally buried in tombstones between the rocks.
Though Uzziah had been a good king, he became haughty toward the end of his life and so God struck him with leprosy (2 Chron. 26:16, 19, 20).
As a leper, he lived out his days in isolation, cut off from his palace and reign (2 Chron. 26:21).
When he died, he was buried in the cemetery belonging to the kings, but not in a tombstone between the rocks.
He was buried in the ground, most likely on account of his leprosy and the Mosaic Law’s strict quarantine rules (Nu. 5:1-4).
A plaque was even found in Jerusalem containing the inscription: “Hither were brought the bones of Uzziah, king of Judah. Not to be opened,” (“Uzziah 3.” Watchtower Online Library. Watch Tower Bible and Tract Society of Pennsylvania, June 2015. Web. Jan. 3, 2016).
Such relatively extreme measures protected the people from likewise contracting the disease.
They also highlighted the need to respect that which is holy.
God no longer strikes his earthly representatives with ailments when they sin, as he did in this rare case.
It is still important, though, to serve him with a modest attitude and a pure heart (Mic. 6:8; Jas. 1:27).
Such an attitude not only protects one’s self, but the entire congregation.
“So they buried [Jehoiada] in the City of David along with the kings, because he had done good in Israel with respect to the true God […]”
~ 2 Chronicles 24:16
Jehoiada was the high priest of Judah who had hidden his nephew from being murdered for six years.
After officially proclaiming his young nephew, Jehoash, king, Jehoiada went on to rid the land of the apostate worship of Baal (2 Chron. chapter 23).
For his zealous service toward Jehovah’s worship, he was given the honor of a king’s burial.
This is in stark contrast to the end of King Jehoash’s life.
Influenced by his comrades, Jehoash ended up promoting pagan worship, to the point that he murdered a prophet.
This prophet was Zechariah, the late Jehoiada’s son (2 Chron. 24:17-22).
For his sins, Jehoash was denied a king’s burial by his own people (2 Chron. 24:25).
These two men were ultimately defined by their actions and not by their titles.
Therefor, what we do is more important than who we are.
One cannot justify inaction or poor decision making by blaming family or one’s position in society.
“Now let the fear of Jehovah be upon you. Be careful about what you do, for with Jehovah our God there is no injustice, no partiality, no bribe-taking.”
~2 Chronicles 19:7
When King Jehoshaphat of Judah appointed judges over God’s people, he instructed them to fear God and be impartial.
Nowadays, we can observe much discord and unrest in society due to statistics in the criminal justice system that suggest institutional racism.
In the above Bible passage, we learn that the key to fair judgment is the fear of God.
If an authority-figure believes that a higher power will ultimately hold him accountable for his motives and choices, his sense of justice should move him to avoid prejudiced judgments.
Thus, when society as a whole has little to no fear of God, social disparity increases.
“O Jehovah, it does not matter to you whether those you help are many or have no power […]”
~2 Chronicles 14:11
When the nation of Judah was attacked by Ethiopians, they were outnumbered at least 2 to 1.
King Asa did not turn to a pagan nation for help.
Instead, he relied on Jehovah:
“Help us, O Jehovah our God, for we are relying on you, and in your name we have come against this crowd.”
King Asa was convinced the best help he could get was only a prayer away because he had acted in accordance with God’s will throughout his kingship.
He knew Jehovah blesses those who serve him (2 Chron. 14:3-5).
More importantly, Asa considered it an attack not on his own sovereignty, but on Jehovah’s.
That is why he pleaded, “O Jehovah, you are our God. Do not let mortal man prevail against you,” (2 Chron. 14:11).
Jehovah intervened on their behalf and as a result, Judah was able to destroy its attackers (2 Chron. 14:12-15).
We can trust that Jehovah can and will hold his hand out to us when we face problems with solutions that are beyond us.
And when his people as a whole face a considerable threat, he defends them for the sake of his name and all it represents.
As a result, God’s people prevail even when odds are against them, so long as they demonstrate faith.
Solomon also brought Pharaoh’s daughter up from the City of David to the house that he had built for her, for he said: “Although she is my wife, she should not dwell in the house of King David of Israel, for the places to which the Ark of Jehovah has come are holy.”
~2 Chronicles 8:11
At the beginning of his reign, King Solomon had a clear view of how to keep true worship uncontaminated from false religion.
He understood that his wife’s traditions were not just incompatible with Mosaic Law, but they diametrically opposed it.
At the risk of offending her, he removed her from within the Holy City and built her a separate house next to his own.
We should also hold true worship in high esteem and avoid contaminating it with antibiblical traditions, even when this may stress close relationships (Matt. 10:36,37; 2 Co. 6:14).