Survey of 2 Chronicles
Book Type: Book of History; the fourteenth book of the Old Testament; the fourteenth book of the Bible.
Author: The book itself does not name its author and remains anonymous. Jewish tradition states it was written by the Jewish priest Ezra.
Audience: First and Second Chronicles were originally completed as one book, written to the Jewish people of Jerusalem and the surrounding region following the return from Babylonian exile. The audience reading 2 Chronicles would have noted the important contrast between the mostly godly reign of Solomon, versus the often ungodly reigns of the kings who followed. The failure of these kings of Judah ultimately led to Babylonian exile. The text also offers final words of hope, for a return to their Promised Land.
Date: Unknown, though it likely took place shortly after the concluding events of 2 Kings; between 450—425 BC.
Overview: This book consists of 36 chapters and includes three main sections. The first section discusses the reign of King Solomon (2 Chronicles1—9). After he is crowned king (2 Chronicles 1), chapters 2—7 provide the Bible's most detailed accounts of the building of the Jewish temple. Solomon's wealth and accomplishments receive ample attention as well, concluding with brief words regarding his death (2 Chronicles 8—9).
The second main section includes the list of the kings of Judah between Rehoboam, son of Solomon, and the exile to Babylon under Zedekiah (2 Chronicles 10—36). Twenty separate kings of Judah are mentioned. The reigns of Rehoboam (2 Chronicles 10—12) and Jehoshaphat (2 Chronicles 17:1—21:3) receive long accounts, while the reigns of some receive only brief attention, such as Jehoahaz (2 Chronicles 36:1–4) and Jehoiachin (2 Chronicles 36:9–10).
The third main section is not really an account, but more of a statement, and consists of only the final two verses of the book (2 Chronicles 36:22–23). This is the proclamation of King Cyrus for the Jewish people to return to Jerusalem and rebuild the temple. These final words offer significant hope, confirming Old Testament prophecies regarding a return to the land after seventy years of exile.
Key Verses (ESV):
2 Chronicles 2:1: "Now Solomon purposed to build a temple for the name of the Lord, and a royal palace for himself."
2 Chronicles 29:1–3: "Hezekiah began to reign when he was twenty-five years old, and he reigned twenty-nine years in Jerusalem. His mother's name was Abijah the daughter of Zechariah. And he did what was right in the eyes of the Lord, according to all that David his father had done. In the first year of his reign, in the first month, he opened the doors of the house of the Lord and repaired them."
2 Chronicles 36:14: "All the officers of the priests and the people likewise were exceedingly unfaithful, following all the abominations of the nations. And they polluted the house of the Lord that he had made holy in Jerusalem."
2 Chronicles 36:23: "Thus says Cyrus king of Persia, 'The Lord, the God of heaven, has given me all the kingdoms of the earth, and he has charged me to build him a house at Jerusalem, which is in Judah. Whoever is among you of all his people, may the Lord his God be with him. Let him go up.'"