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Highlights From the book of Second Chronicles | Bible Reading: 2 Chronicles

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Highlights From Bible Reading: 2 Chronicles | texts explained and practical lessons


CHRONICLES, THE BOOKS OF


Two inspired books of the Hebrew Scriptures that were apparently one volume in the original Hebrew canon. The Masoretes regarded them as one single work, and they are reckoned as one book in the counts that regard the Hebrew Scriptures as made up of 22 or 24 books, and as two books in the count that regards the total number of books as 39. The division into two books seemingly originated with the translators of the Greek Septuagint. In Hebrew manuscripts the twofold division began in the 15th century. In the Hebrew text, Chronicles appears at the end of the section called Writings. The Hebrew name, Div•rehʹ Hai•ya•mimʹ, means “The Affairs of the Days.” Jerome suggested the name Khro•ni•konʹ, from which we get Chronicles in the English Bible. A chronicle is a record of happenings in the order in which they occurred. The Greek title (in the Septuagint) is Pa•ra•lei•po•meʹnon, meaning “Things Passed Over (Left Untold; Omitted),” that is, from the books of Samuel and Kings. However, it is to be noted that the Chronicles are by no means a mere supplement to those books.

HIGHLIGHTS OF SECOND CHRONICLES


A vivid summary of history under kings of the royal house of David, highlighting the consequences of obedience to God and of disobedience
Originally part of one scroll with First Chronicles

The kingship of Solomon (1:1–9:31)

His wisdom, prosperity; but unwisely he acquires many horses from Egypt and has as a wife the daughter of Pharaoh
Construction of the temple; Solomon’s prayer of dedication
Queen of Sheba visits

Events associated with the reign of other kings of the royal house of David, and their outcome (10:1–36:23)

Following Rehoboam’s harsh reply ten tribes break away under Jeroboam and turn to calf worship; Rehoboam also leaves God’s law, is abandoned to Shishak of Egypt
Because Abijah leans upon Jehovah, Judah is victorious over army of Israel that relies on superior numbers and worship of golden calves; 500,000 are slain
When Asa relies on Jehovah, a million invading Ethiopians are defeated; Asa foolishly makes alliance with Syria and gets incensed over rebuke from Jehovah’s prophet
Jehoshaphat institutes program of education in God’s law; unwisely makes marriage alliance with Ahab
Moab, Ammon, Seir invade Judah; Jehoshaphat turns to Jehovah for help; reminded, ‘The battle is God’s!’
Jehoram (whose wife is daughter of Ahab and Jezebel) acts wickedly, as does his son Ahaziah; then murderous Athaliah, Jehoram’s widow, usurps the throne
Jehoash starts out well under High Priest Jehoiada’s influence; later becomes apostate and orders stoning of faithful Zechariah
Amaziah begins well, then worships idols of Seir; defeated by Israel, assassinated
Uzziah also begins well; later haughtily attempts to offer incense in temple, is smitten with leprosy
Jotham does right, but people act ruinously
Ahaz turns to Baal worship; nation suffers severely
Hezekiah cleans up temple; Sennacherib invades Judah, taunts Jehovah; Hezekiah relies on Jehovah; 185,000 Assyrians slain by angel
Manasseh practices gross idolatry and sheds much innocent blood; taken captive by Assyrians; repents, is restored by Jehovah to his throne
Amon follows bad example of his father Manasseh; does not humble himself
Josiah conducts zealous religious reform, repairs temple; insists on fighting Pharaoh Necho and is killed
Jehoahaz rules briefly, then is taken captive to Egypt
Jehoiakim acts detestably; son and successor Jehoiachin is taken captive to Babylon
Zedekiah rebels against Babylon’s yoke; Jews are carried into exile; land desolate 70 years
Cyrus of Persia issues decree liberating Jews for return to Jerusalem to rebuild the temple

Nov. 23 Bible reading: 2 Chronicles 1-5


(2 CHRONICLES 1:11)

“Then God said to Solʹo•mon: “Because this is your heart’s desire and you have not asked for wealth, riches, and honor or for the death of those hating you, nor have you asked for a long life, but you have asked for wisdom and knowledge to judge my people over whom I have made you king,”

*** w05 12/1 p. 19 par. 6 Highlights From the Book of Second Chronicles ***
1:11, 12. Solomon’s request showed Jehovah that gaining wisdom and knowledge was close to the king’s heart. Our prayers to God indeed reveal what is close to our heart. We are wise to analyze their content.

(2 CHRONICLES 1:17)

“Each chariot imported from Egypt cost 600 silver pieces, and a horse cost 150; in turn, they would export them to all the kings of the Hitʹtites and the kings of Syria.”

*** it-1 p. 1145 Horse ***
During Solomon’s reign, royal merchants trafficked in horses and chariots. The price of a horse was 150 silver pieces ($330, if the silver pieces were shekels), and the price of a chariot was 600 silver pieces (c. $1,320, if shekels).—1Ki 10:28, 29; 2Ch 1:16, 17.

(2 CHRONICLES 2:8)

“And send me timbers of cedar, juniper, and algum from Lebʹa•non, for I well know that your servants are experienced at cutting down the trees of Lebʹa•non. My servants will work along with your servants”

*** it-1 p. 72 Algum ***
ALGUM
[Heb., ʼal•gum•mimʹ (2Ch 2:8; 9:10, 11); ʼal•mug•gimʹ (1Ki 10:11, 12)].
A tree included by Solomon in his request to Hiram of Tyre for timbers for the construction of the temple and from which stairs and supports as well as harps and stringed instruments were constructed.
The algum tree of this account cannot be identified with certainty. It is traditionally suggested to be the red sandalwood (Pterocarpus santalinus) now found in India and Sri Lanka, although some favor the white sandalwood (Santalum album), perhaps because of Josephus’ statement that it is whitish in color. (Jewish Antiquities, VIII, 177 [vii, 1]) The red sandalwood grows to heights of about 7.5 to 9 m (25 to 30 ft) and has a hard, fine-grained, reddish-brown wood that takes a high polish. It is suggested as suitable for musical instruments of the type mentioned in the Bible account. The wood has a sweet scent and is highly resistant to insects.
The red sandalwood does not grow in Lebanon at the present time. However, the record is not definite whether the “algum” trees were native to Lebanon or not. At any rate, Hiram later saw fit to bring them from Ophir, and here again, the timbers may have been imports even in Ophir, as it was in position to act as a trading center dealing with India, Egypt, and other places in Africa. (1Ki 10:11, 22) The rarity and preciousness of the wood delivered by Hiram is indicated by the statement that “timbers of algum trees like this have not come in nor have they been seen down to this day.”—1Ki 10:12.

(2 CHRONICLES 2:10)

“Now look! I will supply the food for your servants, the woodcutters who cut down the trees: 20,000 cors of wheat, 20,000 cors of barley, 20,000 baths of wine, and 20,000 baths of oil.””

*** it-1 p. 256 Barley ***
Solomon provided 20,000 cor measures (4,400 kl; 125,000 bu) of barley, along with a corresponding quantity of wheat, and large amounts of oil and wine to Hiram as supplies for the Tyrian king’s servants who were preparing temple materials. (2Ch 2:10, 15)

(2 CHRONICLES 2:13)

“Now I am sending a skilled craftsman, endowed with understanding, Hiʹram-aʹbi,”

*** it-1 p. 1122 Hiram-abi ***
HIRAM-ABI
(Hiʹram-aʹbi) [Hiram My Father].
An appellation applied to the “skillful man” whom the king of Tyre sent to make the furnishings of Solomon’s temple. It evidently indicated that Hiram was “father” in the sense of being a master workman.—2Ch 2:13; see HIRAM No. 2.

*** it-1 pp. 1121-1122 Hiram ***
2. The skilled artisan who made many of the furnishings of Solomon’s temple. His father was a Tyrian, but his mother was a widow “from the tribe of Naphtali” (1Ki 7:13, 14) “of the sons of Dan.” (2Ch 2:13, 14) This apparent difference resolves itself if we take the view, as some scholars do, that she was born of the tribe of Dan, had been widowed by a first husband of the tribe of Naphtali, and then was remarried to a Tyrian.
Hiram, the king of Tyre (No. 1), sent this Hiram to supervise the special construction for Solomon because of his ability and experience in working with materials such as gold, silver, copper, iron, stone, and wood. Hiram was also unusually skilled in dyeing, engraving, and designing all sorts of devices. No doubt from childhood on he received some of his technical training in the industrial arts of the times from his Tyrian father, who himself was an accomplished craftsman in copper.—1Ki 7:13-45; 2Ch 2:13, 14; 4:11-16.
The king of Tyre apparently refers to this man as Hiram-abi, which seems to be an appellation literally meaning “Hiram My Father.” (2Ch 2:13) By this the king did not mean that Hiram was his literal father but, perhaps, that he was the king’s “counselor” or “master workman.”

(2 CHRONICLES 2:14)

“who is the son of a Danʹite woman but whose father was a man of Tyre; he has experience in working in gold, silver, copper, iron, stones, timbers, purple wool, blue thread, fine fabric, and crimson. He can do every sort of engraving and make any design he is given. He will work with your own skilled craftsmen and the skilled craftsmen of my lord David your father.”

*** w05 12/1 p. 19 par. 1 Highlights From the Book of Second Chronicles ***
2:14—Why is the lineage of the craftsman described here different from the one found at 1 Kings 7:14? First Kings refers to the craftsman’s mother as “a widowed woman from the tribe of Naphtali” because she had married a man of that tribe. She herself, though, was from the tribe of Dan. After her husband’s death, she married a man of Tyre, and the artisan was an offspring of that marriage.

*** it-1 pp. 1121-1122 Hiram ***
2. The skilled artisan who made many of the furnishings of Solomon’s temple. His father was a Tyrian, but his mother was a widow “from the tribe of Naphtali” (1Ki 7:13, 14) “of the sons of Dan.” (2Ch 2:13, 14) This apparent difference resolves itself if we take the view, as some scholars do, that she was born of the tribe of Dan, had been widowed by a first husband of the tribe of Naphtali, and then was remarried to a Tyrian.
Hiram, the king of Tyre (No. 1), sent this Hiram to supervise the special construction for Solomon because of his ability and experience in working with materials such as gold, silver, copper, iron, stone, and wood. Hiram was also unusually skilled in dyeing, engraving, and designing all sorts of devices. No doubt from childhood on he received some of his technical training in the industrial arts of the times from his Tyrian father, who himself was an accomplished craftsman in copper.—1Ki 7:13-45; 2Ch 2:13, 14; 4:11-16.

(2 CHRONICLES 2:16)

“And we will cut down trees from Lebʹa•non, as many as you need, and we will bring them to you as rafts by sea to Jopʹpa; and you will take them up to Jerusalem.””

*** w89 9/1 p. 16 Joppa—Notable Ancient Harbor ***
When offering to aid Solomon in building the temple, Hiram the king of Tyre said: “We shall bring [trees from Lebanon] to you as rafts by sea to Joppa, and you, for your part, will take them up to Jerusalem.” (2 Chronicles 2:1, 11, 16) These rafts may have left from the Phoenician ports of Tyre or Sidon. (Isaiah 23:1, 2; Ezekiel 27:8, 9) Passing Carmel, the cedar-tree rafts landed at Joppa. From there the cedars could be moved to Jerusalem, 34 miles [55 km] east/southeast.

(2 CHRONICLES 2:18)

“So he assigned 70,000 of them as common laborers, 80,000 as stonecutters in the mountains, and 3,600 as overseers for putting the people to work.”

*** w05 12/1 p. 19 par. 2 Highlights From the Book of Second Chronicles ***
2:18; 8:10—These verses state that the number of deputies serving as overseers and as foremen over the labor force was 3,600 plus 250, whereas according to 1 Kings 5:16; 9:23, they numbered 3,300 plus 550. Why do the numbers differ? The difference seems to be in the way the deputies are classified. It may be that Second Chronicles differentiates between 3,600 non-Israelites and 250 Israelite deputies, while First Kings distinguishes 3,300 foremen from 550 chief supervisors of higher rank. In any case, the total number of those serving as deputies was 3,850.

*** it-1 p. 615 Deputy ***
“Princely deputies” also served as foremen and overseers of the labor force engaged in construction during Solomon’s reign. It seems that the two accounts of these deputies in First Kings and Second Chronicles differed only in methods of classification, the first listing 3,300 plus 550 for a total of 3,850 (1Ki 5:16; 9:23), and the second giving 3,600 plus 250, which also totals 3,850. (2Ch 2:18; 8:10) Scholars (Ewald, Keil, Michaelis) suggest that the Chronicles figures distinguish between the 3,600 non-Israelite and the 250 Israelite deputies, whereas in Kings the distinction in deputies is between 3,300 subordinate foremen and 550 chief supervisors, this latter figure including 300 non-Israelites.

(2 CHRONICLES 3:1)

“Then Solʹo•mon started to build the house of Jehovah in Jerusalem on Mount Mo•riʹah, where Jehovah had appeared to his father David, in the place that David had prepared on the threshing floor of Orʹnan the Jebʹu•site.”

(2 CHRONICLES 3:3)

“And the foundation that Solʹo•mon laid for building the house of the true God was 60 cubits long and 20 cubits wide, according to the former measurement.”

*** it-2 p. 1077 Temple ***
Length of “cubit” used. In the following discussion of the measurements of the three temples—built by Solomon, Zerubbabel, and Herod—we shall calculate them on the basis of the cubit of 44.5 cm (17.5 in.). However, it is possible that they used the longer cubit of about 51.8 cm (20.4 in.).—Compare 2Ch 3:3 (which mentions a “length in cubits by the former measurement,” this perhaps being a longer measure than the cubit that came to be commonly in use) and Eze 40:5; see CUBIT.

(2 CHRONICLES 3:4)

“The porch in front was 20 cubits long, corresponding to the width of the house, and its height was 120; and he overlaid it inside with pure gold.”

*** it-2 p. 654 Porch ***
Solomon’s Temple. While the primary portions of the temple were the Holy and Most Holy compartments, in front of the Holy (toward the E) there was a massive porch that served as an entranceway to the temple. The porch was 20 cubits (8.9 m; 29.2 ft) long (running along the width of the temple) and 10 cubits (4.5 m; 14.6 ft) deep. (1Ki 6:3) It was 120 cubits (53.4 m; 175 ft) high. Second Chronicles 3:4 presents the height of the porch in the context of other measurements for the house, measurements that are generally accepted and that harmonize with those in First Kings. (Compare 2Ch 3:3, 4 with 1Ki 6:2, 3, 17, 20.) Thus the porch would have appeared as a tall, evidently rectangular, tower that extended high above the rest of the temple building.

(2 CHRONICLES 3:6)

“Further, he overlaid the house with beautiful precious stones; and the gold he used was gold from Par•vaʹim.”

*** it-2 p. 75 Jewels and Precious Stones ***
When Solomon built the temple, he “overlaid the house with precious stone for beauty,” or studded it with precious stones.—2Ch 3:6.

(2 CHRONICLES 4:1)

“Then he made the copper altar, 20 cubits long, 20 cubits wide, and 10 cubits high.”

*** it-1 p. 83 Altar ***
Temple Altars. Prior to the dedication of Solomon’s temple, the copper altar made in the wilderness served for Israel’s sacrificial offerings at the high place in Gibeon. (1Ki 3:4; 1Ch 16:39, 40; 21:29, 30; 2Ch 1:3-6) The copper altar thereafter made for the temple covered an area 16 times as large as the one made for the tabernacle, measuring about 8.9 m (29.2 ft) square and about 4.5 m (14.6 ft) high. (2Ch 4:1) In view of its height, some means of approach was essential. God’s law prohibited the use of steps to the altar to prevent exposure of nakedness. (Ex 20:26) Some believe that the linen drawers worn by Aaron and his sons served to obviate this command and thus made steps allowable. (Ex 28:42, 43) However, it seems likely that an inclined ramp was used to approach the top of the altar of burnt offering. Josephus (The Jewish War, V, 225 [v, 6]) indicates that such an approach was used for the temple altar later built by Herod. If the arrangement of the altar of the temple followed that of the tabernacle, the ramp was probably on the S side of the altar. “The molten sea,” where the priests washed, would thus be convenient, as it also lay toward the south. (2Ch 4:2-5, 9, 10) In other respects the altar constructed for the temple apparently was modeled after that of the tabernacle, and no detailed description of it is given.

(2 CHRONICLES 4:2)

“He made the Sea of cast metal. It was circular in shape, 10 cubits from brim to brim and 5 cubits high, and it took a measuring line 30 cubits long to encircle it.”

*** it-1 p. 261 Basin ***
Another basin of great size was the large ornamented molten sea that stood upon 12 fashioned bulls and was “placed at the right side, to the east, toward the south” of the house. Stored therein was water the priests used. It was circular, 10 cubits (4.5 m; 14.6 ft) from brim to brim and 5 cubits (2.2 m; 7.3 ft) high.—2Ch 4:2-6, 10.

(2 CHRONICLES 4:3)

“And there were ornamental gourds under it, completely encircling it, ten to a cubit all around the Sea. The gourds were in two rows and were cast in one piece with it.”

*** it-1 p. 991 Gourd ***
The gourd-shaped ornaments (Heb., peqa•ʽimʹ) adorning the molten sea and the cedarwood paneling inside Solomon’s temple may have been round like the fruit of the colocynth.—1Ki 6:18; 7:24; 2Ch 4:3.

(2 CHRONICLES 4:4)

“It stood on 12 bulls, 3 facing north, 3 facing west, 3 facing south, and 3 facing east; and the Sea rested on them, and all their hindquarters were toward the center.”

*** w05 12/1 p. 19 par. 3 Highlights From the Book of Second Chronicles ***
4:2-4—Why was the representation of bulls used in the construction of the base of the molten sea? In the Scriptures, bulls are a symbol of strength. (Ezekiel 1:10; Revelation 4:6, 7) The choice of bulls as a representation was fitting because the 12 copper bulls supported the huge “sea,” which weighed some 30 tons. The making of bulls for this purpose did not in any way violate the second commandment, which prohibited the making of objects for worship.—Exodus 20:4, 5.

(2 CHRONICLES 4:5)

“And its thickness was a handbreadth; and its brim was made like the brim of a cup, like a lily blossom. The reservoir could hold 3,000 bath measures.”

*** w08 2/1 p. 15 Did You Know? ***
What was the size of the molten sea at Solomon’s temple?
The account at 1 Kings 7:26 refers to the sea as containing “two thousand bath measures” of water used by the priests, whereas the parallel account at 2 Chronicles 4:5 speaks of it as containing “three thousand bath measures.” This has led to the claim that the difference is the result of a scribal error in the Chronicles account.
However, the New World Translation helps us understand how these two texts can be harmonized. First Kings 7:26 reads: “Two thousand bath measures were what it would contain.” Notice that 2 Chronicles 4:5 says: “As a receptacle, three thousand bath measures were what it could contain.” So 2 Chronicles 4:5 refers to the maximum capacity of the temple basin, what it could contain, whereas 1 Kings 7:26 states the quantity of water that was usually put into the temple basin. In other words, it was never filled to maximum capacity. It appears that it was customarily filled to only two thirds of its capacity.

*** w05 12/1 p. 19 par. 4 Highlights From the Book of Second Chronicles ***
4:5—What was the total capacity of the molten sea? When filled, the sea could hold three thousand bath measures, or about 17,400 gallons [66,000 L]. The normal level, however, was probably about two thirds of its capacity. First Kings 7:26 states: “Two thousand bath measures [11,600 gallons [44,000 L]] were what [the sea] would contain.”

*** it-2 pp. 425-426 Molten Sea (Copper Sea) ***
The brim of the sea resembled a lily blossom. The thickness of this large vessel was “a handbreadth [7.4 cm; 2.9 in.].” (1Ki 7:24-26) This huge quantity of copper came from the supplies King David had obtained in his conquests in Syria. (1Ch 18:6-8) The casting was done in a clay mold in the region of the Jordan and was indeed a remarkable feat.—1Ki 7:44-46.
Capacity. The account at 1 Kings 7:26 refers to the sea as ‘containing two thousand bath measures,’ whereas the parallel account at 2 Chronicles 4:5 speaks of it as ‘containing three thousand bath measures.’ Some claim that the difference is the result of a scribal error in the Chronicles account. However, while the Hebrew verb meaning “contain” in each case is the same, there is a measure of latitude allowable in translating it. Thus some translations render 1 Kings 7:26 to read that the vessel “held” or “would contain” 2,000 bath measures, and translate 2 Chronicles 4:5 to read that it “had a capacity of” or “could hold” or “could contain” 3,000 bath measures. (AT, JB, NW) This allows for the understanding that the Kings account sets forth the amount of water customarily stored in the receptacle while the Chronicles account gives the actual capacity of the vessel if filled to the brim.
There is evidence that the bath measure anciently equaled about 22 L (5.8 gal), so that, if kept at two thirds capacity, the sea would normally hold about 44,000 L (11,620 gal) of water. For it to have had the capacity indicated, it must not have had straight sides, but instead, the sides below the rim, or lip, must have been curved, giving the vessel a bulbous shape. A vessel having such a shape and having the dimensions stated earlier could contain up to 66,000 L (17,430 gal). Josephus, Jewish historian of the first century C.E., describes the sea as “in the shape of a hemisphere.” He also indicates that the sea’s location was between the altar of burnt offering and the temple building, somewhat toward the south.—Jewish Antiquities, VIII, 79 (iii, 5); VIII, 86 (iii, 6).

(2 CHRONICLES 4:6)

“Further, he made ten basins for washing and put five to the right and five to the left. They would rinse in them the things used for the burnt offering. But the Sea was for the priests for washing.”

*** it-1 p. 261 Basin ***
The Hebrew word ki•yohrʹ (or ki•yorʹ), meaning “basin” or “laver,” is used for the tabernacle basin. (Ex 35:16, ftn) It is also used to refer to the ten basins Solomon had made for temple use, in which things having to do with the burnt offering were rinsed.—2Ch 4:6, 14.

(2 CHRONICLES 4:16)

“and the cans, the shovels, the forks, and all their utensils Hiʹram-aʹbiv made of polished copper for King Solʹo•mon for the house of Jehovah.”

*** it-1 p. 1122 Hiram ***
Similarly, the expression Hiram-abiv (literally, “Hiram His Father”) seems to mean ‘Hiram is his (that is, the king’s) master workman.’—2Ch 4:16.

*** it-1 p. 1122 Hiram-abiv ***
HIRAM-ABIV
(Hiʹram-aʹbiv) [Hiram His Father].
A term used in reference to the skilled craftsman sent from Tyre to supervise construction of the furnishings of Solomon’s temple. It seems to indicate that Hiram was “father,” not in a literal sense, but in that he was a master workman.—2Ch 4:16; see HIRAM No. 2.

(2 CHRONICLES 5:2)

“At that time Solʹo•mon congregated the elders of Israel, all the heads of the tribes, the chieftains of the paternal houses of Israel. They came to Jerusalem to bring up the ark of the covenant of Jehovah from the City of David, that is, Zion.”

*** it-2 p. 549 Older Man ***
References to “all Israel, its older men and its heads and its judges and its officers” (Jos 23:2; 24:1), “the older men of Israel and all the heads of the tribes, the chieftains of the paternal houses” (2Ch 5:2), do not mean that the “heads,” “judges,” “officers,” and “chieftains” were distinct from the “older men” but, rather, indicate that those named in such a specific way held singular offices within the body of older men.—Compare 2Ki 19:2; Mr 15:1.

(2 CHRONICLES 5:10)

“There was nothing in the Ark but the two tablets that Moses placed in it at Hoʹreb, when Jehovah made a covenant with the people of Israel while they were coming out of Egypt.”

*** w06 1/15 p. 31 Questions From Readers ***
Questions From Readers
Did the ark of the covenant contain only the two stone tablets, or did it also hold other items?
At the time of the dedication of Solomon’s temple in 1026 B.C.E., “there was nothing in the Ark but the two tablets that Moses had given at Horeb, when Jehovah covenanted with the sons of Israel while they were coming out from Egypt.” (2 Chronicles 5:10) However, this was not always the case.
“In the third month after the sons of Israel came out of the land of Egypt,” they entered the wilderness of Sinai. (Exodus 19:1, 2) Thereafter, Moses went up into Mount Sinai and received the two stone tablets of the Law. He relates: “Then I turned and went down from the mountain and placed the tablets in the ark that I had made, that they might continue there, just as Jehovah had commanded me.” (Deuteronomy 10:5) This was a temporary ark, or container, that Jehovah had told Moses to construct to hold the tablets of the Law. (Deuteronomy 10:1) The ark of the covenant was not made ready until about the end of 1513 B.C.E.
Shortly after their deliverance from Egypt, the Israelites began to murmur about food. So Jehovah provided manna for them. (Exodus 12:17, 18; 16:1-5) At that time, Moses instructed Aaron: “Take a jar and put in it an omerful of manna and deposit it before Jehovah as something to be kept throughout your generations.” The account states: “Just as Jehovah had commanded Moses, Aaron proceeded to deposit it before the Testimony [an archive for the safekeeping of important documents] as something to be kept.” (Exodus 16:33, 34) While Aaron undoubtedly gathered manna into a jar at that time, the depositing of it before the Testimony had to wait until Moses made the Ark and placed the tablets in it.
As already noted, the ark of the covenant was constructed late in 1513 B.C.E. Aaron’s rod was placed in that Ark much later, after the rebellion of Korah and others. The apostle Paul mentions “the ark of the covenant . . . , in which were the golden jar having the manna and the rod of Aaron that budded and the tablets of the covenant.”—Hebrews 9:4.
The manna was a provision made by God during the 40-year sojourn of the Israelites in the wilderness. It was no longer provided when “they began to eat some of the yield of the land” of promise. (Joshua 5:11, 12) Aaron’s rod was placed in the ark of the covenant for a purpose—to serve as a sign to or a witness against the rebellious generation. This suggests that the rod remained there at least for the duration of the wilderness journey. It would, then, seem logical to conclude that some time after Israel entered the Promised Land and before the dedication of Solomon’s temple, Aaron’s rod and the golden jar of manna were removed from the ark of the covenant.

*** it-1 p. 166 Ark of the Covenant ***
The Ark served as a holy archive for the safekeeping of sacred reminders or testimony, the principal contents being the two tablets of the testimony, or the Ten Commandments. (Ex 25:16) A “golden jar having the manna and the rod of Aaron that budded” were added to the Ark but were later removed sometime before the building of Solomon’s temple. (Heb 9:4; Ex 16:32-34; Nu 17:10; 1Ki 8:9; 2Ch 5:10)

(2 CHRONICLES 5:13)

“At the moment when the trumpeters and the singers were praising and thanking Jehovah in unison, and as the sound ascended from the trumpets, the cymbals, and the other musical instruments as they were praising Jehovah, “for he is good; his loyal love endures forever,” then the house, the house of Jehovah, was filled with a cloud.”

*** w94 5/1 p. 10 par. 7 Sing Praises to Jehovah ***
There was also a singing of praise to Jehovah accompanied by instrumental music at the time King Solomon dedicated the temple at Jerusalem. We read at 2 Chronicles 5:13, 14: “It came about that as soon as the trumpeters and the singers were as one in causing one sound to be heard in praising and thanking Jehovah, and as soon as they lifted up the sound with the trumpets and with the cymbals and with the instruments of song and with praising Jehovah, ‘for he is good, for to time indefinite is his loving-kindness,’ the house itself was filled with a cloud, the very house of Jehovah, and the priests were not able to stand to minister because of the cloud; for the glory of Jehovah filled the house of the true God.” What does that show? That Jehovah was listening to this melodious praise and was also pleased with it, as was indicated by the supernatural cloud.

(2 CHRONICLES 5:14)

“The priests were not able to stand to minister because of the cloud, for the glory of Jehovah filled the house of the true God.”

*** w94 5/1 p. 10 par. 7 Sing Praises to Jehovah ***
There was also a singing of praise to Jehovah accompanied by instrumental music at the time King Solomon dedicated the temple at Jerusalem. We read at 2 Chronicles 5:13, 14: “It came about that as soon as the trumpeters and the singers were as one in causing one sound to be heard in praising and thanking Jehovah, and as soon as they lifted up the sound with the trumpets and with the cymbals and with the instruments of song and with praising Jehovah, ‘for he is good, for to time indefinite is his loving-kindness,’ the house itself was filled with a cloud, the very house of Jehovah, and the priests were not able to stand to minister because of the cloud; for the glory of Jehovah filled the house of the true God.” What does that show? That Jehovah was listening to this melodious praise and was also pleased with it, as was indicated by the supernatural cloud.

Nov. 30 Bible reading: 2 Chronicles 6-9


(2 CHRONICLES 6:4)

“He said: “May Jehovah the God of Israel be praised, the one who by his own mouth promised my father David and by his own hands has given fulfillment, saying,”

*** w05 12/1 p. 19 par. 7 Highlights From the Book of Second Chronicles ***
6:4. Heartfelt appreciation for Jehovah’s loving-kindness and goodness should move us to bless Jehovah—that is, praise him with affection and gratitude.

(2 CHRONICLES 6:29)

“whatever prayer, whatever request for favor may be made by any man or by all your people Israel (for each one knows his own plague and his own pain) when they spread out their hands toward this house,”

*** w10 12/1 p. 11 He Knows “the Heart of the Sons of Mankind” ***
Draw Close to God
He Knows “the Heart of the Sons of Mankind”
2 CHRONICLES 6:29, 30
WHO of us has not felt overwhelmed by life’s challenges and problems? At times, it may seem that there is no one who can truly grasp the struggles we face or the deep pain we feel. Yet, there is someone who fully understands our feelings—Jehovah God. We can find comfort in the words of Solomon found at 2 Chronicles 6:29, 30.
Solomon is offering a prayer at the inauguration of the temple in Jerusalem in 1026 B.C.E. In his prayer, perhaps ten minutes in duration, Solomon extols Jehovah as a God of loyalty, the Fulfiller of promises, and the Hearer of prayer.—1 Kings 8:23-53; 2 Chronicles 6:14-42.
Solomon implores God to hear the entreaty of his worshippers. (Verse 29) Although Solomon mentions many afflictions (verse 28), he notes that each worshipper knows “his own plague” and feels “his own pain.” One person might be grieved by one thing while another may carry a very different inward burden.
Whatever the case, God-fearing ones need not carry their burdens alone. In his prayer, Solomon has in mind the individual worshipper who may be moved to ‘spread out his palms,’ approaching Jehovah in heartfelt prayer. Perhaps Solomon recalls that his father, David, when greatly distressed, said: “Throw your burden upon Jehovah.”—Psalm 55:4, 22.
How will Jehovah respond to sincere pleas for help? Solomon beseeches Jehovah: “May you yourself hear from the heavens, the place of your dwelling, and you must forgive and give to each one according to all his ways.” (Verse 30) Solomon knows that the “Hearer of prayer” cares about his worshippers not just as a group but also as individuals. (Psalm 65:2) Jehovah provides the help needed, including forgiveness for the sinner who returns to God with all his heart.—2 Chronicles 6:36-39.
Why is Solomon sure that Jehovah will respond to the pleas of the repentant worshipper? Continuing his prayer, Solomon observes: “Because you [Jehovah] know his heart (for you yourself alone well know the heart of all the sons of mankind).” Jehovah is aware of the plague or pain that each faithful worshipper may carry in his heart, and his distress matters to Him.—Psalm 37:4.
We can draw comfort from Solomon’s prayer. Fellow humans may not fully understand our inner feelings—our “own plague” and our “own pain.” (Proverbs 14:10) But Jehovah knows our heart, and he deeply cares about us. Pouring out our heart to him in prayer can make our burdens easier to bear. “Throw all your anxiety upon him,” says the Bible, “because he cares for you.”—1 Peter 5:7.
[Footnote]
In Bible times, ‘spreading out the palms,’ holding out the hands with the palms facing upward, was a gesture of prayer.—2 Chronicles 6:13.

*** w08 3/15 pp. 12-13 pars. 5-6 Jehovah Hears Our Cries for Help ***
5 David’s son Solomon highlighted this fact at the dedication of the temple in Jerusalem. (Read 2 Chronicles 6:29-31.) He implored Jehovah to hear the prayer of each honesthearted one who approached Him concerning “his own plague and his own pain.” How would God react to the prayers of these distressed individuals? Solomon expressed his confidence that God would not only hear their prayers but also act in their behalf. Why? Because he truly knows what is in “the heart of the sons of mankind.”
6 We can likewise approach Jehovah in prayer concerning ‘our own plague and our own pain,’ our individual distresses. We should be comforted in knowing that he understands our distresses and that he cares about us.

*** w04 1/1 p. 32 Does God Care About Us? ***
Does God Care About Us?
DO YOU find yourself laboring under an emotional load because of problems with your family, health, work, or other weighty responsibilities? Many people do. And who today is not affected by injustice, crime, and violence? Indeed, it is just as the Bible says: “All creation keeps on groaning together and being in pain together until now.” (Romans 8:22) No wonder that many people ask: ‘Does God care? Will he come to our aid?’
Wise King Solomon said to God in prayer: “You yourself alone well know the heart of the sons of mankind.” Solomon trusted that God not only knows us but also cares about us as individuals. He was able to ask God to “hear from the heavens” and to answer the prayers of each God-fearing individual who reveals to God “his own plague and his own pain.”—2 Chronicles 6:29, 30.
Today, Jehovah God still cares about us and invites us to call on him in prayer. (Psalm 50:15) He promises to respond to heartfelt prayers that are in harmony with his will. (Psalm 55:16, 22; Luke 11:5-13; 2 Corinthians 4:7) Yes, Jehovah listens to “whatever prayer, whatever request for favor there may occur on the part of any man or of all [his] people.” Hence, if we put our trust in God, pray for his help, and draw close to him, we will experience his loving care and guidance. (Proverbs 3:5, 6) The Bible writer James assures us: “Draw close to God, and he will draw close to you.”—James 4:8.

*** w97 4/15 p. 4 “The God of Peace” Cares for the Afflicted ***
Jehovah is not aloof concerning the adversities of his people. (Psalm 34:15) He is attentive to the needs not only of his servants as a group but also of each individual who fears him. When dedicating the temple in ancient Jerusalem, Solomon implored Jehovah to listen to “whatever prayer, whatever request for favor there may occur on the part of any man or of all your people Israel, because they know each one his own plague and his own pain.” (2 Chronicles 6:29) As Solomon acknowledged, each individual has his own unique affliction to endure. For one person it might be physical illness. For another, emotional distress. Some may be afflicted by the death of a loved one. Unemployment, economic hardship, and family problems are also common afflictions in these difficult times.

(2 CHRONICLES 6:30)

“then may you hear from the heavens, your dwelling place, and may you forgive; and reward each one according to all his ways, for you know his heart (you alone truly know the human heart),”

*** w10 12/1 p. 11 He Knows “the Heart of the Sons of Mankind” ***
Draw Close to God
He Knows “the Heart of the Sons of Mankind”
2 CHRONICLES 6:29, 30
WHO of us has not felt overwhelmed by life’s challenges and problems? At times, it may seem that there is no one who can truly grasp the struggles we face or the deep pain we feel. Yet, there is someone who fully understands our feelings—Jehovah God. We can find comfort in the words of Solomon found at 2 Chronicles 6:29, 30.
Solomon is offering a prayer at the inauguration of the temple in Jerusalem in 1026 B.C.E. In his prayer, perhaps ten minutes in duration, Solomon extols Jehovah as a God of loyalty, the Fulfiller of promises, and the Hearer of prayer.—1 Kings 8:23-53; 2 Chronicles 6:14-42.
Solomon implores God to hear the entreaty of his worshippers. (Verse 29) Although Solomon mentions many afflictions (verse 28), he notes that each worshipper knows “his own plague” and feels “his own pain.” One person might be grieved by one thing while another may carry a very different inward burden.
Whatever the case, God-fearing ones need not carry their burdens alone. In his prayer, Solomon has in mind the individual worshipper who may be moved to ‘spread out his palms,’ approaching Jehovah in heartfelt prayer. Perhaps Solomon recalls that his father, David, when greatly distressed, said: “Throw your burden upon Jehovah.”—Psalm 55:4, 22.
How will Jehovah respond to sincere pleas for help? Solomon beseeches Jehovah: “May you yourself hear from the heavens, the place of your dwelling, and you must forgive and give to each one according to all his ways.” (Verse 30) Solomon knows that the “Hearer of prayer” cares about his worshippers not just as a group but also as individuals. (Psalm 65:2) Jehovah provides the help needed, including forgiveness for the sinner who returns to God with all his heart.—2 Chronicles 6:36-39.
Why is Solomon sure that Jehovah will respond to the pleas of the repentant worshipper? Continuing his prayer, Solomon observes: “Because you [Jehovah] know his heart (for you yourself alone well know the heart of all the sons of mankind).” Jehovah is aware of the plague or pain that each faithful worshipper may carry in his heart, and his distress matters to Him.—Psalm 37:4.
We can draw comfort from Solomon’s prayer. Fellow humans may not fully understand our inner feelings—our “own plague” and our “own pain.” (Proverbs 14:10) But Jehovah knows our heart, and he deeply cares about us. Pouring out our heart to him in prayer can make our burdens easier to bear. “Throw all your anxiety upon him,” says the Bible, “because he cares for you.”—1 Peter 5:7.
[Footnote]
In Bible times, ‘spreading out the palms,’ holding out the hands with the palms facing upward, was a gesture of prayer.—2 Chronicles 6:13.

*** w08 3/15 pp. 12-13 pars. 5-6 Jehovah Hears Our Cries for Help ***
5 David’s son Solomon highlighted this fact at the dedication of the temple in Jerusalem. (Read 2 Chronicles 6:29-31.) He implored Jehovah to hear the prayer of each honesthearted one who approached Him concerning “his own plague and his own pain.” How would God react to the prayers of these distressed individuals? Solomon expressed his confidence that God would not only hear their prayers but also act in their behalf. Why? Because he truly knows what is in “the heart of the sons of mankind.”
6 We can likewise approach Jehovah in prayer concerning ‘our own plague and our own pain,’ our individual distresses. We should be comforted in knowing that he understands our distresses and that he cares about us.

*** w04 1/1 p. 32 Does God Care About Us? ***
Does God Care About Us?
DO YOU find yourself laboring under an emotional load because of problems with your family, health, work, or other weighty responsibilities? Many people do. And who today is not affected by injustice, crime, and violence? Indeed, it is just as the Bible says: “All creation keeps on groaning together and being in pain together until now.” (Romans 8:22) No wonder that many people ask: ‘Does God care? Will he come to our aid?’
Wise King Solomon said to God in prayer: “You yourself alone well know the heart of the sons of mankind.” Solomon trusted that God not only knows us but also cares about us as individuals. He was able to ask God to “hear from the heavens” and to answer the prayers of each God-fearing individual who reveals to God “his own plague and his own pain.”—2 Chronicles 6:29, 30.
Today, Jehovah God still cares about us and invites us to call on him in prayer. (Psalm 50:15) He promises to respond to heartfelt prayers that are in harmony with his will. (Psalm 55:16, 22; Luke 11:5-13; 2 Corinthians 4:7) Yes, Jehovah listens to “whatever prayer, whatever request for favor there may occur on the part of any man or of all [his] people.” Hence, if we put our trust in God, pray for his help, and draw close to him, we will experience his loving care and guidance. (Proverbs 3:5, 6) The Bible writer James assures us: “Draw close to God, and he will draw close to you.”—James 4:8.

(2 CHRONICLES 7:14)

“if my people on whom my name has been called humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn away from their evil ways, then I will hear from the heavens and forgive their sin and heal their land.”

*** g94 1/22 p. 19 How Can I Break Free From a Double Life? ***
Simply feeling bad about what you are doing is not enough, though. A young man named Robert, who got involved in a secret practice of drug abuse, admits: “I was miserable. I knew right from wrong. Still, I continued leading a double life.” Courageous action is thus needed! At 2 Chronicles 7:14, God said that if sinners would “humble themselves and pray and seek [his] face and turn back from their bad ways, then [he himself would] hear from the heavens and forgive their sin.”
‘Seeking God’s face’ means to approach him in prayer, confess your wrong, and beg for forgiveness. This may not be easy to do, but you will no doubt feel greatly relieved for having done so.

(2 CHRONICLES 8:2)

“Solʹo•mon rebuilt the cities that Hiʹram had given Solʹo•mon and settled Israelites there.”

*** it-1 p. 381 Cabul ***
In the parallel account of events following the completion of Solomon’s building project, 2 Chronicles 8:2 mentions cities “that Hiram had given to Solomon,” which cities Solomon rebuilt for use by the Israelites. Whether or not these were the same cities that Solomon had first presented as a gift to Hiram is not stated. If so, then this text would indicate that Hiram rejected the gift. It is also suggested by some that an exchange of gifts of cities was involved, though this is not mentioned in the account at First Kings 9.

*** it-1 p. 1121 Hiram ***
At the end of Solomon’s 20-year building project he gave Hiram 20 cities, but they proved most undesirable in Hiram’s eyes. (1Ki 9:10-13; see CABUL No. 2.) Whether Hiram returned these same cities or gave Solomon other cities is not certain. (2Ch 8:1, 2)

(2 CHRONICLES 8:3)

“Furthermore, Solʹo•mon went to Haʹmath-zoʹbah and captured it.”

*** it-1 p. 1025 Hamath-zobah ***
HAMATH-ZOBAH
(Haʹmath-zoʹbah).
This place was apparently conquered by Solomon and thus figuring in his only military engagement alluded to in Scripture. (2Ch 8:3) The exact identity of Hamath-zobah is uncertain. Hamath and Zobah may have been adjoining kingdoms (compare 1Ch 18:9; 2Ch 8:4), whence the compound name “Hamath-zobah.” That two neighboring geographic locations may be joined in this way is illustrated by 1 Chronicles 6:78. The literal Hebrew of this text reads “the Jordan Jericho,” or “the Jordan of Jericho,” and is usually rendered “the Jordan at [by] Jericho.”—NW, RS, KJ.

*** it-2 p. 1240 Zobah ***
The compound form “Hamath-zobah” may designate adjoining kingdoms named Hamath and Zobah. (2Ch 8:3)

(2 CHRONICLES 8:4)

“Then he built up Tadʹmor in the wilderness and all the storage cities that he had built in Haʹmath.”

*** w99 1/15 p. 28 “The Dark-Haired Mistress of the Syrian Wild” ***
A City at the Edge of a Desert
Zenobia’s city, Palmyra, was situated about 130 miles [210 km] northeast of Damascus, at the northern edge of the Syrian Desert where the Anti-Lebanon mountains drop off into the plain. This oasis city was about halfway between the Mediterranean Sea to the west and the Euphrates River to the east. King Solomon may have known it as Tadmor, a place that was vital to his kingdom’s welfare on two counts: as a garrison for the defense of the northern frontier and as a crucial link in the chain of caravan towns. Therefore, Solomon “rebuilt Tadmor in the wilderness.”—2 Chronicles 8:4.
The history of the thousand years following King Solomon’s reign is silent about Tadmor. If correctly identified with Palmyra, its climb to prominence began after Syria became an outpost province of the Roman Empire in 64 B.C.E.

*** it-2 pp. 1061-1062 Tadmor ***
TADMOR
(Tadʹmor).
A wilderness location where Solomon did building work sometime after 1017 B.C.E. (2Ch 8:1, 4) Tadmor is commonly identified with the city known to the Greeks and Romans as Palmyra. Its ruins lie in an oasis on the northern edge of the Syrian Desert about 210 km (130 mi) NE of Damascus. A nearby village is still called Tudmur by the Arabs. If correctly identified with Palmyra, Tadmor may have served as a garrison city for defending the distant northern border of Solomon’s kingdom and also as an important caravan stop.—See TAMAR No. 4.

(2 CHRONICLES 8:10)

“There were 250 chiefs of the deputies of King Solʹo•mon, the foremen over the people.”

*** w05 12/1 p. 19 par. 2 Highlights From the Book of Second Chronicles ***
2:18; 8:10—These verses state that the number of deputies serving as overseers and as foremen over the labor force was 3,600 plus 250, whereas according to 1 Kings 5:16; 9:23, they numbered 3,300 plus 550. Why do the numbers differ? The difference seems to be in the way the deputies are classified. It may be that Second Chronicles differentiates between 3,600 non-Israelites and 250 Israelite deputies, while First Kings distinguishes 3,300 foremen from 550 chief supervisors of higher rank. In any case, the total number of those serving as deputies was 3,850.

*** it-1 p. 615 Deputy ***
“Princely deputies” also served as foremen and overseers of the labor force engaged in construction during Solomon’s reign. It seems that the two accounts of these deputies in First Kings and Second Chronicles differed only in methods of classification, the first listing 3,300 plus 550 for a total of 3,850 (1Ki 5:16; 9:23), and the second giving 3,600 plus 250, which also totals 3,850. (2Ch 2:18; 8:10) Scholars (Ewald, Keil, Michaelis) suggest that the Chronicles figures distinguish between the 3,600 non-Israelite and the 250 Israelite deputies, whereas in Kings the distinction in deputies is between 3,300 subordinate foremen and 550 chief supervisors, this latter figure including 300 non-Israelites.

(2 CHRONICLES 8:18)

“Hiʹram sent him ships and experienced seamen by means of his own servants. They went with Solʹo•mon’s servants to Oʹphir and took from there 450 talents of gold and brought it to King Solʹo•mon.”

*** it-1 p. 796 Ezion-geber ***
It may be noted that both in Solomon’s case and in that of Jehoshaphat some of the ships were intended to go not only to Ophir but also to Tarshish. (2Ch 9:21; 20:36, 37) Since the evidence is strong that Tarshish was in Spain, some have doubted that ships sailing from Ezion-geber could have made such a trip in ancient times. As to this, see the article TARSHISH No. 4, where the possibility of the existence of a Nile–Red Sea canal is presented. Such a canal might also explain how King Hiram could send not only men but “ships” to Ezion-geber and Eloth (Elath) for Solomon’s use. (2Ch 8:17, 18) On the other hand, it has also been suggested that these ships may have been sent to a point on the Philistine coast, dismantled, and transported overland to the Gulf of ʽAqaba, where they were reconstructed. Those holding this view point out that the Crusaders later used a similar method. Whether by some Nile–Red Sea canal or by an overland route, it seems likely that at least timber was supplied from forest lands elsewhere, since the region around Ezion-geber has palm groves but no trees suitable for ship construction.

*** it-2 p. 558 Ophir ***
Later, the trading fleet of David’s son Solomon regularly brought back from Ophir 420 talents of gold. (1Ki 9:26-28) The parallel account at 2 Chronicles 8:18 reads 450 talents. Some scholars have suggested that this difference came about when letters of the alphabet served as figures—that an ancient copyist could have mistaken the Hebrew numeral letter nun (נ), representing 50, for the letter kaph (כ), standing for 20, or vice versa. However, the evidence is that all numbers in the Hebrew Scriptures were spelled out, rather than represented by letters. A more probable explanation, therefore, is that both figures are correct and that the gross amount brought was 450 talents, of which 420 were clear gain.

(2 CHRONICLES 9:1)

“Now the queen of Sheʹba heard the report about Solʹo•mon, so she came to Jerusalem to test Solʹo•mon with perplexing questions. She was accompanied by a very impressive entourage, with camels carrying balsam oil and great quantities of gold and precious stones. She went in to Solʹo•mon and spoke to him about everything that was close to her heart.”

*** it-1 p. 140 Arabia ***
Because of the great superiority of the camel over the ass for extended desert travel, its domestication is considered to have accomplished somewhat of an economic revolution for Arabia, contributing to the development of the so-called “Spice Kingdoms” of South Arabia.
Camel caravans out of the more fertile S wound along the desert routes that ran parallel to the Red Sea, moving from oasis to oasis and from well to well until reaching the Sinai Peninsula, from which point they could branch off to Egypt or continue up into Palestine or to Damascus. Besides their highly prized spices and aromatic resins, such as frankincense and myrrh (Isa 60:6), they might carry gold and algum wood from Ophir (1Ki 9:28; 10:11) and precious gems, as did the queen of Sheba on her visit to King Solomon. (1Ki 10:1-10, 15; 2Ch 9:1-9, 14)

(2 CHRONICLES 9:4)

“the food of his table, the seating of his servants, the table service of his waiters and their attire, his cupbearers and their attire, and his burnt sacrifices that he regularly offered up at the house of Jehovah, she was left completely breathless.”

*** w99 11/1 p. 23 When Generosity Abounds ***
During Solomon’s glorious reign, “all the kings of the earth” who heard of him came to visit him. Yet, the Bible names only one ruler—the queen of Sheba. (2 Chronicles 9:23) What a sacrifice she made! But she was richly rewarded—so much so that by the end of her visit, she was left “breathless and amazed.”—2 Chronicles 9:4, Today’s English Version.

(2 CHRONICLES 9:9)

“Then she gave the king 120 talents of gold and a great quantity of balsam oil and precious stones. Never again was such balsam oil brought in as what the queen of Sheʹba gave to King Solʹo•mon.”

*** it-2 p. 913 Sheba ***
2Ch 9:1-9) The queen gave Solomon 120 talents of gold (valued now at $46,242,000) as well as balsam oil and precious stones.

(2 CHRONICLES 9:11)

“The king made from the algum timbers stairs for the house of Jehovah and for the king’s house, as well as harps and stringed instruments for the singers. Nothing like them had ever been seen before in the land of Judah.”

*** it-1 p. 72 Algum ***
ALGUM
[Heb., ʼal•gum•mimʹ (2Ch 2:8; 9:10, 11); ʼal•mug•gimʹ (1Ki 10:11, 12)].
A tree included by Solomon in his request to Hiram of Tyre for timbers for the construction of the temple and from which stairs and supports as well as harps and stringed instruments were constructed.
The algum tree of this account cannot be identified with certainty. It is traditionally suggested to be the red sandalwood (Pterocarpus santalinus) now found in India and Sri Lanka, although some favor the white sandalwood (Santalum album), perhaps because of Josephus’ statement that it is whitish in color. (Jewish Antiquities, VIII, 177 [vii, 1]) The red sandalwood grows to heights of about 7.5 to 9 m (25 to 30 ft) and has a hard, fine-grained, reddish-brown wood that takes a high polish. It is suggested as suitable for musical instruments of the type mentioned in the Bible account. The wood has a sweet scent and is highly resistant to insects.
The red sandalwood does not grow in Lebanon at the present time. However, the record is not definite whether the “algum” trees were native to Lebanon or not. At any rate, Hiram later saw fit to bring them from Ophir, and here again, the timbers may have been imports even in Ophir, as it was in position to act as a trading center dealing with India, Egypt, and other places in Africa. (1Ki 10:11, 22) The rarity and preciousness of the wood delivered by Hiram is indicated by the statement that “timbers of algum trees like this have not come in nor have they been seen down to this day.”—1Ki 10:12.

(2 CHRONICLES 9:12)

“King Solʹo•mon also gave the queen of Sheʹba whatever she desired and asked for, more than what she had brought to the king. Then she left and returned to her own land, together with her servants.”

*** w99 11/1 p. 20 When Generosity Abounds ***
The queen of Sheba was obviously a wealthy and generous woman. What is more, her generosity was returned to her. “King Solomon,” the Bible says, “gave the queen of Sheba all her delight for which she had asked, besides the value of what she brought to the king.” (2 Chronicles 9:12) True, it may have been the custom for royalty to exchange gifts; yet, the Bible specifically mentions Solomon’s “openhandedness.” (1 Kings 10:13) Solomon himself wrote: “The generous soul will itself be made fat, and the one freely watering others will himself also be freely watered.”—Proverbs 11:25.

*** it-2 p. 913 Sheba ***
Solomon gave her gifts that apparently exceeded the value of the treasures she brought, and then she returned to her own land.—2Ch 9:12, AT, Mo.

*** g87 11/22 p. 4 The Greater Happiness of Giving—Do You Experience It? ***
When the unnamed queen of Sheba traveled to Jerusalem to visit King Solomon, she was moved by his God-given wisdom and pronounced his servants happy for being able to hear and benefit from this wisest of men. So moved was she that she presented Solomon with gifts of 120 talents of gold (worth about $50,000,000) as well as precious stones and much-prized balsam oil. She may have depleted her tiny kingdom’s treasury by a considerable sum, but doubtless she experienced the joy of giving. Solomon too was to experience the joy of giving, for he gave her gifts in return that apparently exceeded the value of the treasures she had given him.—2 Chronicles 9:12; American Translation, Moffatt.

(2 CHRONICLES 9:13)

“And the weight of the gold that came to Solʹo•mon in one year amounted to 666 talents of gold,”

*** it-2 p. 990 Solomon ***
Solomon’s annual revenue of gold came to be 666 talents (c. $256,643,000), aside from silver and gold and other items brought in by merchants. (1Ki 10:14, 15; 2Ch 9:13, 14)

(2 CHRONICLES 9:15)

“King Solʹo•mon made 200 large shields of alloyed gold (600 shekels of alloyed gold went on each shield)”

*** it-1 p. 171 Arms, Armor ***
The smaller “shield” or “buckler” (Heb., ma•ghenʹ) was customarily carried by archers and is usually associated with light weapons such as the bow. For instance, it was carried by Benjaminite bowmen of Judean King Asa’s military force. (2Ch 14:8) The smaller shield was usually round and more common than the large shield, probably being used chiefly in hand-to-hand fighting. That the Hebrew tsin•nahʹ and ma•ghenʹ differed considerably in size seems to be indicated by the gold shields Solomon made, the large shield being overlaid with four times as much gold as the smaller shield, or buckler. (1Ki 10:16, 17; 2Ch 9:15, 16) Ma•ghenʹ, like tsin•nahʹ, seems to be used as part of a formula for weapons of war.—2Ch 14:8; 17:17; 32:5.

*** it-1 p. 1156 House of the Forest of Lebanon ***
After Solomon finished the house, he placed in it 200 large shields of alloyed gold, each overlaid with 600 shekels of gold (worth c. $77,000), and 300 bucklers of alloyed gold, each plated with three minas of gold (worth c. $19,300). This would be over 21 million dollars’ worth of gold on the shields and bucklers. Besides this, there was an unstated number of gold vessels used in the house. (1Ki 10:16, 17, 21; 2Ch 9:15, 16, 20) These gold shields were carried away by Shishak king of Egypt during the reign of Solomon’s son Rehoboam.

(2 CHRONICLES 9:16)

“and 300 bucklers of alloyed gold (three miʹnas of gold went on each buckler). Then the king put them in the House of the Forest of Lebʹa•non.”

*** it-1 p. 171 Arms, Armor ***
The smaller “shield” or “buckler” (Heb., ma•ghenʹ) was customarily carried by archers and is usually associated with light weapons such as the bow. For instance, it was carried by Benjaminite bowmen of Judean King Asa’s military force. (2Ch 14:8) The smaller shield was usually round and more common than the large shield, probably being used chiefly in hand-to-hand fighting. That the Hebrew tsin•nahʹ and ma•ghenʹ differed considerably in size seems to be indicated by the gold shields Solomon made, the large shield being overlaid with four times as much gold as the smaller shield, or buckler. (1Ki 10:16, 17; 2Ch 9:15, 16) Ma•ghenʹ, like tsin•nahʹ, seems to be used as part of a formula for weapons of war.—2Ch 14:8; 17:17; 32:5.

*** it-1 p. 1156 House of the Forest of Lebanon ***
After Solomon finished the house, he placed in it 200 large shields of alloyed gold, each overlaid with 600 shekels of gold (worth c. $77,000), and 300 bucklers of alloyed gold, each plated with three minas of gold (worth c. $19,300). This would be over 21 million dollars’ worth of gold on the shields and bucklers. Besides this, there was an unstated number of gold vessels used in the house. (1Ki 10:16, 17, 21; 2Ch 9:15, 16, 20) These gold shields were carried away by Shishak king of Egypt during the reign of Solomon’s son Rehoboam.

(2 CHRONICLES 9:17)

“The king also made a great ivory throne and overlaid it with pure gold.”

*** it-2 p. 1097 Throne ***
It was ‘a great ivory throne overlaid with refined gold with a round canopy behind it and armrests.’ Although ivory could have been the basic material in this royal chair, the construction technique generally followed at the temple would seem to indicate that it was made of wood, overlaid with refined gold and richly ornamented with inlaid panels of ivory. To the observer, such a throne would appear to be made entirely of ivory and gold. After mentioning six steps leading to the throne, the record continues: “Two lions were standing beside the armrests. And there were twelve lions standing there upon the six steps, on this side and on that side.” (2Ch 9:17-19) The symbolism of the lion denoting ruling authority is appropriate. (Ge 49:9, 10; Re 5:5) The 12 lions appear to have corresponded to the 12 tribes of Israel, possibly symbolizing their subjection to and support of the ruler on this throne. Attached in some way to the throne was a footstool of gold. By its description this ivory-and-gold throne—in its lofty, canopied position with the majestic lions in front—transcends any throne of that time period, whether discovered by archaeologists, depicted on the monuments, or described in the inscriptions. As the chronicler truthfully observed: “No other kingdom had any made just like it.”—2Ch 9:19.

(2 CHRONICLES 9:18)

“There were six steps to the throne, and there was a gold footstool attached to the throne, and there were armrests on both sides of the seat, and two lions were standing beside the armrests.”

*** it-2 p. 1097 Throne ***
It was ‘a great ivory throne overlaid with refined gold with a round canopy behind it and armrests.’ Although ivory could have been the basic material in this royal chair, the construction technique generally followed at the temple would seem to indicate that it was made of wood, overlaid with refined gold and richly ornamented with inlaid panels of ivory. To the observer, such a throne would appear to be made entirely of ivory and gold. After mentioning six steps leading to the throne, the record continues: “Two lions were standing beside the armrests. And there were twelve lions standing there upon the six steps, on this side and on that side.” (2Ch 9:17-19) The symbolism of the lion denoting ruling authority is appropriate. (Ge 49:9, 10; Re 5:5) The 12 lions appear to have corresponded to the 12 tribes of Israel, possibly symbolizing their subjection to and support of the ruler on this throne. Attached in some way to the throne was a footstool of gold. By its description this ivory-and-gold throne—in its lofty, canopied position with the majestic lions in front—transcends any throne of that time period, whether discovered by archaeologists, depicted on the monuments, or described in the inscriptions. As the chronicler truthfully observed: “No other kingdom had any made just like it.”—2Ch 9:19.

(2 CHRONICLES 9:19)

“And there were 12 lions standing on the six steps, one at each end of the six steps. No other kingdom had made anything like it.”

*** it-2 p. 1097 Throne ***
It was ‘a great ivory throne overlaid with refined gold with a round canopy behind it and armrests.’ Although ivory could have been the basic material in this royal chair, the construction technique generally followed at the temple would seem to indicate that it was made of wood, overlaid with refined gold and richly ornamented with inlaid panels of ivory. To the observer, such a throne would appear to be made entirely of ivory and gold. After mentioning six steps leading to the throne, the record continues: “Two lions were standing beside the armrests. And there were twelve lions standing there upon the six steps, on this side and on that side.” (2Ch 9:17-19) The symbolism of the lion denoting ruling authority is appropriate. (Ge 49:9, 10; Re 5:5) The 12 lions appear to have corresponded to the 12 tribes of Israel, possibly symbolizing their subjection to and support of the ruler on this throne. Attached in some way to the throne was a footstool of gold. By its description this ivory-and-gold throne—in its lofty, canopied position with the majestic lions in front—transcends any throne of that time period, whether discovered by archaeologists, depicted on the monuments, or described in the inscriptions. As the chronicler truthfully observed: “No other kingdom had any made just like it.”—2Ch 9:19.

(2 CHRONICLES 9:21)

“For the king’s ships would go to Tarʹshish with the servants of Hiʹram. Once every three years, the ships of Tarʹshish would come loaded with gold and silver, ivory, apes, and peacocks.”

*** it-1 p. 119 Ape ***
APE
[Heb., qohph].
The apes imported by King Solomon may have been a species of long-tailed monkeys referred to by ancient writers as being native to Ethiopia. (1Ki 10:22; 2Ch 9:21) The fact that the Hebrew word qohph may be related to the Sanskrit word kapi and that peacocks are considered to be native to SE Asia has given rise to the conclusion that the apes were brought by Solomon’s fleet from India or Sri Lanka. However, the imported items need not necessarily have come directly from the country of origin nor from the same land, in view of the indications that commercial intercourse existed between India and Africa even before Solomon’s time.—See PEACOCK; TARSHISH No. 4.

*** it-1 p. 796 Ezion-geber ***
It may be noted that both in Solomon’s case and in that of Jehoshaphat some of the ships were intended to go not only to Ophir but also to Tarshish. (2Ch 9:21; 20:36, 37) Since the evidence is strong that Tarshish was in Spain, some have doubted that ships sailing from Ezion-geber could have made such a trip in ancient times. As to this, see the article TARSHISH No. 4, where the possibility of the existence of a Nile–Red Sea canal is presented. Such a canal might also explain how King Hiram could send not only men but “ships” to Ezion-geber and Eloth (Elath) for Solomon’s use. (2Ch 8:17, 18) On the other hand, it has also been suggested that these ships may have been sent to a point on the Philistine coast, dismantled, and transported overland to the Gulf of ʽAqaba, where they were reconstructed. Those holding this view point out that the Crusaders later used a similar method. Whether by some Nile–Red Sea canal or by an overland route, it seems likely that at least timber was supplied from forest lands elsewhere, since the region around Ezion-geber has palm groves but no trees suitable for ship construction.

*** it-2 pp. 1066-1067 Tarshish ***
It is generally believed that the term “ships of Tarshish” in course of time came to stand for a type of ship, as one lexicon puts it: “large, sea-going vessels, fit to ply to Tarshish.” (A Hebrew and English Lexicon of the Old Testament, by Brown, Driver, and Briggs, 1980, p. 1077) In a similar way, the name Indiamen originally was derived from the name applied to large British ships engaged in trade with India and in time came to apply to ships of that type no matter what their origin or destination. Thus 1 Kings 22:48 shows that King Jehoshaphat (936-911 B.C.E.) “made Tarshish ships to go to Ophir for gold.”
The Chronicles account, however, states that Solomon’s ships used for the triannual voyages “were going to Tarshish” (2Ch 9:21); also that Jehoshaphat’s ships were designed “to go to Tarshish” and, when wrecked, “did not retain strength to go to Tarshish.” (2Ch 20:36, 37) This would indicate that Ophir was not the only port of call of the Israelite “ships of Tarshish,” but that they also navigated Mediterranean waters. This, of course, poses a problem, since the launching site of at least some of these vessels is shown to have been Ezion-geber on the Gulf of ʽAqaba. (1Ki 9:26) For the ships to reach the Mediterranean Sea, they would either have to traverse a canal from the Red Sea to the Nile River and then into the Mediterranean or else circumnavigate the continent of Africa. While it is by no means possible to determine now the details of navigational routes (including canals) available or employed in Solomon’s and in Jehoshaphat’s time, there is likewise no need to view the record of their maritime projects as unfeasible.

(2 CHRONICLES 9:29)

“As for the rest of the history of Solʹo•mon, from beginning to end, is it not written among the words of Nathan the prophet, in the prophecy of A•hiʹjah the Shiʹlo•nite, and in the record of visions of Idʹdo the visionary concerning Jer•o•boʹam the son of Neʹbat?”

*** w12 2/15 p. 25 Nathan—Loyal Advocate of Pure Worship ***
Nathan is also identified with the composition of an account regarding “the affairs of Solomon.” (2 Chron. 9:29) Very likely, this means that Nathan continued to be active in affairs of the royal court even after David’s death.

*** it-1 p. 64 Ahijah ***
“The prophecy of Ahijah,” one of the written records including Solomon’s affairs, survived to the time of Ezra’s compilation of Chronicles.—2Ch 9:29.

Dec. 7 Bible reading: 2 Chronicles 10-14


(2 CHRONICLES 10:11)

“My father imposed a heavy yoke on you, but I will add to your yoke. My father punished you with whips, but I will do so with scourges.’””

*** it-2 p. 1180 Whip ***
WHIP
Usually a flexible cord or leather lash with a handle. This instrument has been used since ancient times to beat humans (2Ch 10:11, 14) as well as to drive and direct animals.—Pr 26:3; Na 3:2.
King Rehoboam boasted that, whereas his father Solomon had chastised the Israelites with “whips,” he would do so with “scourges.” Rehoboam’s expression was figurative, but the scourges alluded to may have been lashes equipped with sharp points, since the Hebrew word (ʽaq•rab•bimʹ) for “scourges” literally means “scorpions.”—1Ki 12:11, 14, ftn; 2Ch 10:11, 14.

(2 CHRONICLES 10:14)

“He spoke to them according to the advice of the young men, saying: “I will make your yoke heavier, and I will add to it. My father punished you with whips, but I will do so with scourges.””

*** it-2 p. 876 Scorpion ***
At 1 Kings 12:11, 14 and 2 Chronicles 10:11, 14, the Hebrew term ʽaq•rab•bimʹ, which is rendered “scourges,” literally means “scorpions.” The instrument of punishment alluded to may have been a scourge equipped with sharp points.

*** it-2 p. 1180 Whip ***
WHIP
Usually a flexible cord or leather lash with a handle. This instrument has been used since ancient times to beat humans (2Ch 10:11, 14) as well as to drive and direct animals.—Pr 26:3; Na 3:2.
King Rehoboam boasted that, whereas his father Solomon had chastised the Israelites with “whips,” he would do so with “scourges.” Rehoboam’s expression was figurative, but the scourges alluded to may have been lashes equipped with sharp points, since the Hebrew word (ʽaq•rab•bimʹ) for “scourges” literally means “scorpions.”—1Ki 12:11, 14, ftn; 2Ch 10:11, 14.

(2 CHRONICLES 11:12)

“and he supplied all the different cities with large shields and lances; he reinforced them to a very great degree. And Judah and Benjamin remained his.”

*** it-1 p. 171 Arms, Armor ***
The “large shield” (Heb., tsin•nahʹ) was carried by the heavily armed infantry (2Ch 14:8) and sometimes by a shield bearer. (1Sa 17:7, 41) It was either oval or else rectangular like a door. Apparently a similar “large shield” is designated at Ephesians 6:16 by the Greek word thy•re•osʹ (from thyʹra, meaning “door”). The tsin•nahʹ was large enough to cover the entire body. (Ps 5:12) It was on occasion used to set up solid-front battle lines with lances protruding. The large shield is sometimes mentioned with the lance or spear as a form of reference to weapons in general.—1Ch 12:8, 34; 2Ch 11:12.

(2 CHRONICLES 11:15)

“Jer•o•boʹam then appointed his own priests for the high places and for the goatlike demons and for the calves that he had made.”

*** it-1 pp. 966-967 Goat-shaped Demon ***
GOAT-SHAPED DEMON
The Hebrew sa•ʽirʹ (literally, hairy) refers to a goat or kid of the goats. (Le 16:18; Nu 7:16) However, in four texts (Le 17:7; 2Ch 11:15; Isa 13:21; 34:14) the word is generally considered by translators as having a sense beyond its ordinary meaning of “goat” or “kid.”
At both Leviticus 17:7 and 2 Chronicles 11:15 it is clear that the term (seʽi•rimʹ, plural) is used in referring to things to which worship and sacrifice are given, and this in connection with false religion. The translators of the Greek Septuagint and Latin Vulgate, therefore, rendered the Hebrew word as “the senseless things” (LXX) and “the demons” (Vg). Modern translators and lexicographers in general adopt the same view in these two texts, using “demons” (Ro), “satyrs” (RS, AT, JB, JP), or “goat-shaped demons” (NW; see also Koehler and Baumgartner’s Lexicon in Veteris Testamenti Libros, Leiden, 1958, p. 926, and A Hebrew and English Lexicon of the Old Testament by Brown, Driver, and Briggs, 1980, p. 972), exceptions being the translation by Robert Young, which renders the term literally as “goat(s),” and the American Standard Version, which uses “he-goats.”
Joshua’s words at Joshua 24:14 show that the Israelites had been affected to some extent by the false worship of Egypt during their sojourn there, while Ezekiel indicates that such pagan practices continued to plague them long afterward. (Eze 23:8, 21) For this reason some scholars consider that the divine decree issued in the wilderness to prevent the Israelites from making “sacrifices to the goat-shaped demons” (Le 17:1-7) and Jeroboam’s establishing priests “for the high places and for the goat-shaped demons and for the calves that he had made” (2Ch 11:15) indicate there was some form of goat worship among the Israelites such as was prominent in Egypt, particularly in Lower Egypt. Herodotus (II, 46) claims that from such Egyptian worship the Greeks derived their belief in Pan and also in the satyrs, woodland gods of a lustful nature, who were eventually depicted as having horns, a goat’s tail, and goat’s legs. Some suggest that such half-animal form of these pagan gods is the source of the practice of picturing Satan with tail, horns, and cloven feet, a custom prevalent among professed Christians in the Dark Ages.
Just what such “hairy ones” (seʽi•rimʹ) actually were, however, is not stated. While some consider them to be literal goats or idols in the form of goats, this does not necessarily seem to be indicated; nor do other scriptures provide evidence of that nature. The term used may simply indicate that in the minds of those worshiping them such false gods were conceived of as being goatlike in shape or hairy in appearance. Or, the use of “goats” in these references may be merely a means of expressing contempt for all idolatrous objects in general, even as the word for idols in numerous texts is drawn from a term originally meaning “dung pellets,” not denoting, however, that the idols were literally made of dung.—Le 26:30; De 29:17.

(2 CHRONICLES 11:18)

“Then Re•ho•boʹam took as his wife Maʹha•lath the daughter of David’s son Jerʹi•moth and of Abʹi•ha•il the daughter of Jesʹse’s son E•liʹab.”

*** it-1 pp. 21-22 Abihail ***
4. The daughter of Eliab, David’s oldest brother. (Though the Hebrew word bath [daughter] at 2 Chronicles 11:18 may also mean “granddaughter.”)
The King James Version at 2 Chronicles 11:18 says: “And Rehoboam took him Mahalath the daughter of Jerimoth the son of David to wife, and Abihail the daughter of Eliab the son of Jesse.” This would make Abihail appear to be the second wife of Rehoboam. However, the original Hebrew allows for a different rendering, and hence many modern translations here read: “Mahalath the daughter of Jerimoth the son of David, and of Abihail the daughter of Eliab the son of Jesse.” (See RS, AT, JP, NW, JB.) Concerning this, the Soncino Books of the Bible says in a footnote on 2 Chronicles 11:18: “The conjunction is implied. Mahalath was the daughter of Jerimoth and Abihail. Some commentators regard Abihail as the name of another of Rehoboam’s wives.” (Edited by A. Cohen, London, 1952) The singular pronouns used in the following verses (19, 20) support the view that only one wife of Rehoboam is meant in verse 18. It therefore appears most probable that Abihail was the mother of Rehoboam’s wife Mahalath.

(2 CHRONICLES 11:21)

“Re•ho•boʹam loved Maʹa•cah the granddaughter of Abʹsa•lom more than all his other wives and concubines, for he took 18 wives and 60 concubines, and he became father to 28 sons and 60 daughters.”

*** it-2 pp. 1142-1143 Uriel ***
3. Father of Micaiah (Maacah), who was the wife of King Rehoboam and mother of Abijah. (2Ch 13:1, 2; 11:21) Maacah was Absalom’s granddaughter. Since Absalom’s three sons apparently died young and childless (2Sa 14:27; 18:18), Micaiah must have been the child of Absalom’s daughter Tamar and of Uriel, not the son of Absalom, but the son-in-law.

(2 CHRONICLES 11:23)

“However, he acted with understanding and sent some of his sons to all the regions of Judah and Benjamin, to all the fortified cities, and gave them abundant provisions and acquired many wives for them.”

*** it-2 p. 768 Rehoboam ***
Before his death at the age of 58, and the ascension of Abijah to the throne in 980 B.C.E., Rehoboam distributed many gifts among his other sons, presumably to prevent any revolt against Abijah after his death. (1Ki 14:31; 2Ch 11:23; 12:16)

(2 CHRONICLES 12:2)

“In the fifth year of King Re•ho•boʹam, King Shiʹshak of Egypt came up against Jerusalem, for they had behaved unfaithfully toward Jehovah.”

*** it-1 pp. 149-150 Archaeology ***
At Karnak (ancient Thebes), on the Nile River, a vast Egyptian temple contains an inscription on its S wall confirming the campaign of Egyptian King Shishak (Sheshonk I) in Palestine, described at 1 Kings 14:25, 26 and 2 Chronicles 12:1-9. The giant relief depicting his victories shows 156 manacled Palestinian prisoners, each representing a city or village, the name of which is given in hieroglyphics. Among the names identifiable are those of Rabbith (Jos 19:20), Taanach, Beth-shean and Megiddo (where a portion of a stele or inscribed pillar of Shishak has been excavated) (Jos 17:11), Shunem (Jos 19:18), Rehob (Jos 19:28), Hapharaim (Jos 19:19), Gibeon (Jos 18:25), Beth-horon (Jos 21:22), Aijalon (Jos 21:24), Socoh (Jos 15:35), and Arad (Jos 12:14). He even lists the “Field of Abram” as one of his captures, the earliest reference to Abraham in Egyptian records.

*** it-1 p. 697 Egypt, Egyptian ***
Shishak (known as Sheshonk I from Egyptian records) had founded a Libyan dynasty of Pharaohs (the “Twenty-second Dynasty”), with its capital at Bubastis in the eastern Delta region. In the fifth year of the reign of Solomon’s son Rehoboam (993 B.C.E.), Shishak invaded Judah with a powerful force of chariots, cavalry, and foot soldiers including Libyans and Ethiopians; he captured many cities and even threatened Jerusalem. Because of Jehovah’s mercy, Jerusalem was not devastated, but its great wealth was handed over to Shishak. (1Ki 14:25, 26; 2Ch 12:2-9) A relief on a temple wall at Karnak depicts Shishak’s campaign and lists numerous cities in Israel and Judah as having been captured.

*** it-2 p. 934 Shishak ***
Some years later, in the fifth year of Solomon’s successor Rehoboam (993 B.C.E.), Shishak invaded Judah with a mighty force of chariots and horsemen. He captured fortified cities in Judah and then came to Jerusalem. But Jehovah did not allow him to bring Jerusalem to ruin, for Rehoboam and the princes of Judah humbled themselves upon receiving a message from the prophet Shemaiah. Shishak, however, did strip the city of its treasures.—2Ch 12:1-12.
There is archaeological evidence concerning Shishak’s invading the area of Palestine. A fragment of a stele found at Megiddo mentions Sheshonk (Shishak), possibly indicating that the stele was erected there to commemorate his victory. (Ancient Near Eastern Texts, edited by J. Pritchard, 1974, pp. 263, 264) Also, a relief on a temple wall at Karnak (the N part of the ancient Egyptian city of Thebes) lists numerous cities or villages that Shishak conquered. (PICTURE, Vol. 1, p. 952; Supplements to Vetus Testamentum, Leiden, 1957, Vol. IV, pp. 59, 60) A considerable number of the places that can be identified with Biblical sites were located in the territory of the ten-tribe kingdom. This would indicate that the purpose of Shishak’s campaign was, not to assist the ten-tribe kingdom, but to gain control of the important trade routes and thereby extend Egypt’s power and influence.

(2 CHRONICLES 12:4)

“He captured the fortified cities of Judah and finally reached Jerusalem.”

*** it-1 pp. 149-150 Archaeology ***
At Karnak (ancient Thebes), on the Nile River, a vast Egyptian temple contains an inscription on its S wall confirming the campaign of Egyptian King Shishak (Sheshonk I) in Palestine, described at 1 Kings 14:25, 26 and 2 Chronicles 12:1-9. The giant relief depicting his victories shows 156 manacled Palestinian prisoners, each representing a city or village, the name of which is given in hieroglyphics. Among the names identifiable are those of Rabbith (Jos 19:20), Taanach, Beth-shean and Megiddo (where a portion of a stele or inscribed pillar of Shishak has been excavated) (Jos 17:11), Shunem (Jos 19:18), Rehob (Jos 19:28), Hapharaim (Jos 19:19), Gibeon (Jos 18:25), Beth-horon (Jos 21:22), Aijalon (Jos 21:24), Socoh (Jos 15:35), and Arad (Jos 12:14). He even lists the “Field of Abram” as one of his captures, the earliest reference to Abraham in Egyptian records.

*** it-2 p. 1057 Taanach ***
Archaeological evidence from Taanach and the relief on a temple wall at Karnak indicate that the city was taken by Pharaoh Shishak when he invaded Palestine in the fifth year of the reign of Solomon’s son and successor Rehoboam.—2Ch 12:2-4.

(2 CHRONICLES 12:9)

“So King Shiʹshak of Egypt came up against Jerusalem. He took the treasures of the house of Jehovah and the treasures of the king’s house. He took everything, including the gold shields that Solʹo•mon had made.”

*** w88 2/1 p. 26 Part 1—Ancient Egypt—First of the Great World Powers ***
Shishak (Sheshonk I, “22nd Dynasty”) is the first Pharaoh mentioned by name in the Bible. With a mighty force of chariots and horsemen, he invaded Judah, threatened Jerusalem, and “took the treasures of the house of Jehovah and the treasures of the king’s house. Everything he took.” (2 Chronicles 12:9) This event is confirmed by a relief on the southern wall of the temple of Amon at Karnak (ancient Thebes). It shows 156 manacled prisoners, each representing a captured city or village, including Megiddo, Shunem, and Gibeon. Among the places captured, Shishak even lists the “Field of Abram”—the earliest reference to Abraham in Egyptian records.

(2 CHRONICLES 13:5)

“Do you not know that Jehovah the God of Israel gave to David a kingdom over Israel forever, to him and to his sons, by a covenant of salt?”

*** w05 12/1 p. 20 par. 2 Highlights From the Book of Second Chronicles ***
13:5—What is meant by the expression “a covenant of salt”? Because of its preserving properties, salt became a symbol of permanence and immutability. “A covenant of salt,” then, denotes a binding agreement.

*** it-1 p. 521 Covenant ***
The Bible uses the expression “covenant of salt” to denote the permanence and immutability of a covenant. (Nu 18:19; 2Ch 13:5; Le 2:13) Among ancient peoples it was a sign of friendship to eat salt together and denoted enduring fidelity and loyalty; the eating of salt with communion sacrifices symbolized perpetual loyalty.

*** it-1 p. 834 Fire ***
Salt represented freedom from corruption and was a symbol of enduring loyalty, as found in the expression “covenant of salt.” (2Ch 13:5)

*** it-2 pp. 842-843 Salt ***
Because salt prevented decay, it became a symbol of stability and permanence. Often when covenants were made, the parties ate together—eating salt together—denoting perpetual loyalty and fidelity to one another in the covenant relationship. “A covenant of salt” therefore was considered very binding. (Nu 18:19) Accordingly, Judean King Abijah’s statement that Jehovah had made “a covenant of salt” with David and his sons meant that the covenant with David’s line for the kingship would stand forever. Jesus Christ the “son of David” and “the root of David” proves to be the one holding the Kingdom and administering its affairs forever.—2Ch 13:4, 5; Ps 18:50; Mt 1:1; Re 5:5; Isa 9:6, 7.

(2 CHRONICLES 13:9)

“Have you not driven out Jehovah’s priests, the descendants of Aaron, and the Levites, and have you not appointed your own priests just like the peoples of the other lands? Anyone who came along with a young bull and seven rams could become a priest of what are not gods.”

*** it-1 p. 831 Fill Hand With Power ***
Later, King Jeroboam, in instituting calf worship in Israel, installed his own priests from the people in general; the Aaronic priests and the Levites remained loyal to Jehovah’s worship centered at Jerusalem and were, evidently for this reason, driven out of the ten-tribe kingdom.—1Ki 12:31; 13:33; 2Ch 13:9.

(2 CHRONICLES 13:19)

“A•biʹjah kept chasing after Jer•o•boʹam and captured cities from him, Bethʹel and its dependent towns, Jeshʹa•nah and its dependent towns, and Eʹphra•in and its dependent towns.”

*** it-1 pp. 754-755 Ephraim ***
3. A city generally considered to be the same as the Ephrain captured by Abijah the king of Judah from Jeroboam the king of Israel. (2Ch 13:19)

(2 CHRONICLES 14:3)

“He removed the foreign altars and the high places, smashed the sacred pillars, and cut down the sacred poles.”

*** w09 6/15 p. 12 par. 4 Be “Zealous for Fine Works”! ***
Asa “removed the foreign altars and the high places and broke up the sacred pillars and cut down the sacred poles.” (2 Chron. 14:3) Jehoshaphat, fired by his zeal for the worship of Jehovah, “removed the high places and the sacred poles from Judah.”—2 Chron. 17:6; 19:3.

*** w09 6/15 p. 12 Be “Zealous for Fine Works”! ***
Asa may have removed the high places associated with the worship of false gods but not those where people worshipped Jehovah. Or it may be that high places were rebuilt in the latter part of Asa’s reign and that these were removed by his son Jehoshaphat.—1 Ki. 15:14; 2 Chron. 15:17.

*** it-1 pp. 183-184 Asa ***
The record at 2 Chronicles 14:2-5 states that Asa “removed the foreign altars and the high places and broke up the sacred pillars and cut down the sacred poles.” However, 1 Kings 15:14 and 2 Chronicles 15:17 indicate that “the high places he did not remove.” It may be, therefore, that the high places referred to in the earlier Chronicles account were those of the adopted pagan worship that infected Judah, while the Kings account refers to high places at which the people engaged in worship of Jehovah. Even after the setting up of the tabernacle and the later establishment of the temple, occasional sacrificing was done to Jehovah on high places, which was acceptable to him under special circumstances, as in the cases of Samuel, David, and Elijah. (1Sa 9:11-19; 1Ch 21:26-30; 1Ki 18:30-39) Nevertheless, the regular approved place for sacrifice was that authorized by Jehovah. (Nu 33:52; De 12:2-14; Jos 22:29) Improper modes of high-place worship may have continued in spite of the removal of the pagan high places, perhaps because the king did not pursue their elimination with the same vigor as he did the removal of the pagan sites. Or Asa may have effected a complete removal of all high places; but if so, such cropped up again in due time and had not been removed by the time of the conclusion of his reign, allowing for their being smashed by his successor Jehoshaphat.

(2 CHRONICLES 14:5)

“So he removed from all the cities of Judah the high places and the incense stands, and under him, the kingdom continued without disturbance.”

*** it-1 pp. 183-184 Asa ***
The record at 2 Chronicles 14:2-5 states that Asa “removed the foreign altars and the high places and broke up the sacred pillars and cut down the sacred poles.” However, 1 Kings 15:14 and 2 Chronicles 15:17 indicate that “the high places he did not remove.” It may be, therefore, that the high places referred to in the earlier Chronicles account were those of the adopted pagan worship that infected Judah, while the Kings account refers to high places at which the people engaged in worship of Jehovah. Even after the setting up of the tabernacle and the later establishment of the temple, occasional sacrificing was done to Jehovah on high places, which was acceptable to him under special circumstances, as in the cases of Samuel, David, and Elijah. (1Sa 9:11-19; 1Ch 21:26-30; 1Ki 18:30-39) Nevertheless, the regular approved place for sacrifice was that authorized by Jehovah. (Nu 33:52; De 12:2-14; Jos 22:29) Improper modes of high-place worship may have continued in spite of the removal of the pagan high places, perhaps because the king did not pursue their elimination with the same vigor as he did the removal of the pagan sites. Or Asa may have effected a complete removal of all high places; but if so, such cropped up again in due time and had not been removed by the time of the conclusion of his reign, allowing for their being smashed by his successor Jehoshaphat.

(2 CHRONICLES 14:8)

“Aʹsa had an army of 300,000 men from Judah, equipped with large shields and lances. And out of Benjamin were 280,000 mighty warriors who carried bucklers and were armed with bows.”

*** it-1 p. 171 Arms, Armor ***
The “large shield” (Heb., tsin•nahʹ) was carried by the heavily armed infantry (2Ch 14:8) and sometimes by a shield bearer. (1Sa 17:7, 41) It was either oval or else rectangular like a door. Apparently a similar “large shield” is designated at Ephesians 6:16 by the Greek word thy•re•osʹ (from thyʹra, meaning “door”). The tsin•nahʹ was large enough to cover the entire body. (Ps 5:12) It was on occasion used to set up solid-front battle lines with lances protruding. The large shield is sometimes mentioned with the lance or spear as a form of reference to weapons in general.—1Ch 12:8, 34; 2Ch 11:12.

(2 CHRONICLES 14:9)

“Later Zeʹrah the E•thi•oʹpi•an came against them with an army of 1,000,000 men and 300 chariots. When he reached Ma•reʹshah,”

*** it-1 p. 951 Enemy Nations That Attacked Israel ***
Ethiopia 2Ch 14:9-13

*** it-2 p. 511 Number, Numeral ***
Occasionally numbers are used in an approximate sense, as round numbers, for example, at Psalm 90:10, where the psalmist speaks of man’s age limit, and possibly also at 1 Kings 19:18 (7,000 who had not bowed to Baal) and 2 Chronicles 14:9 (the million Ethiopians defeated by Asa).

(2 CHRONICLES 14:10)

“Aʹsa went out against him and they drew up in battle formation in the Valley of Zephʹa•thah at Ma•reʹshah.”

*** it-2 p. 1231 Zephathah ***
ZEPHATHAH
(Zephʹa•thah).
A valley near Mareshah where Jehovah enabled the forces of Judah’s King Asa to defeat those of Zerah the Ethiopian (967 B.C.E.). (2Ch 14:9-12) Zephathah is apparently one of the valleys N of Mareshah. The Greek Septuagint has been translated to read “in the valley north of Maresa” (Bagster), but “Zephathah” appears in the Hebrew Masoretic text.

(2 CHRONICLES 14:11)

“Aʹsa then called to Jehovah his God and said: “O Jehovah, it does not matter to you whether those you help are many or have no power. Help us, O Jehovah our God, for we are relying on you, and in your name we have come against this crowd. O Jehovah, you are our God. Do not let mortal man prevail against you.””

*** w12 8/15 p. 9 “There Exists a Reward for Your Activity” ***
Today, Jehovah’s people face many powerful opponents. We will not fight them with material weapons on a literal battlefield. Yet, we can be sure that Jehovah will reward with victory all faithful ones who wage spiritual warfare in his name. Our personal battles may include exertion to resist the pervading spirit of moral laxity, to fight our own weaknesses, or to protect our family from defiling influences. Whatever adversity we face, however, we can find encouragement in Asa’s prayer. His victory was Jehovah’s victory. It showed what can be expected by all who rely upon God. No human power can withstand Jehovah.

*** w12 8/15 pp. 8-9 “There Exists a Reward for Your Activity” ***
In view of Asa’s record, we should not be surprised that he prayed when confronted with the largest human army mentioned in the Scriptures. Asa knew that God rewards acts of faith. In his prayer, the king pleaded for Jehovah’s help. Asa recognized that if he relied on God and had his backing, it did not matter how numerous or powerful the enemy was. Jehovah’s name was involved in this conflict, and Asa therefore appealed to God on that basis. The king prayed: “Help us, O Jehovah our God, for upon you we do lean, and in your name we have come against this crowd. O Jehovah, you are our God. Do not let mortal man retain strength against you.” (2 Chron. 14:11) That was like saying: ‘The Ethiopian invasion is an attack on you, Jehovah. Do not allow your name to be dishonored by permitting weak humans to overthrow those who bear your name.’

(2 CHRONICLES 14:14)

“Further, they struck all the cities around Geʹrar, for the dread of Jehovah had come upon them; and they plundered all the cities, for there was much to plunder in them.”

*** it-1 p. 925 Gerar ***
After Jehovah brought about the defeat of the impressive army of Zerah the Ethiopian, King Asa’s forces pursued the fleeing enemy as far as Gerar. Thereafter the Judeans struck and plundered “all the cities round about Gerar” (probably because of their being allied with the Ethiopians); “even the tents with livestock they struck so that they took captive flocks in great number and camels.”—2Ch 14:8-15.

Dec. 14 Bible reading: 2 Chronicles 15-19


(2 CHRONICLES 15:1)

“Now the spirit of God came upon Az•a•riʹah the son of Oʹded.”

*** it-2 p. 525 Oded ***
ODED
(Oʹded) [[God] Has Relieved].
1. Father of the prophet Azariah. (2Ch 15:1) Second Chronicles 15:8 describes Oded himself as being a prophet: “As soon as Asa heard these words and the prophecy of Oded the prophet.” Some scholars would drop the words “of Oded the prophet” as a copyist’s error, but this would not explain why the writer says Asa heard “these words and the prophecy.” Others would make an addition so as to read, “Asa heard these words and the prophecy of Azariah the son of Oded,” to agree with the Greek Septuagint (Alexandrine Codex), Syriac Peshitta, and Latin Vulgate (Clementine recension), but this still leaves the above difficulty unexplained. The third solution is to accept the Masoretic text as it is, with the understanding that Oded himself gave a prophecy that has not been preserved in the record. Asa heeded the words of Azariah (2Ch 15:2-7) and those of his father Oded.

(2 CHRONICLES 15:2)

“So he went out to meet Aʹsa and said to him: “Hear me, O Aʹsa and all Judah and Benjamin! Jehovah is with you as long as you remain with him; and if you search for him, he will let himself be found by you, but if you abandon him, he will abandon you.”

*** w12 8/15 p. 9 “There Exists a Reward for Your Activity” ***
“Hear me, O Asa and all Judah and Benjamin! Jehovah is with you as long as you prove to be with him; and if you search for him, he will let himself be found by you, but if you leave him he will leave you.

*** w12 8/15 p. 9 “There Exists a Reward for Your Activity” ***
These words can strengthen our faith. They show that Jehovah will be with us as long as we serve him faithfully. When we cry out to him for help, we can be confident that he hears us.

*** w12 8/15 pp. 9-10 “There Exists a Reward for Your Activity” ***
However, there was also an ominous side to the words of the prophet Azariah. He warned: “If you leave [Jehovah] he will leave you.” Never may that happen to us, for the consequences can be tragic! (2 Pet. 2:20-22) The Scriptures do not reveal why Jehovah sent Asa this warning, but the king failed to heed it.

*** w12 8/15 p. 9 “There Exists a Reward for Your Activity” ***
2 Chron. 15:1, 2,

(2 CHRONICLES 15:7)

“But you, be strong and do not become discouraged, for your activity will be rewarded.””

*** w12 8/15 p. 9 “There Exists a Reward for Your Activity” ***
Be courageous and do not let your hands drop down, because there exists a reward for your activity.”—2 Chron. 15:1, 2, 7.

*** w12 8/15 p. 9 “There Exists a Reward for Your Activity” ***
“Be courageous,” said Azariah. It often takes great courage to do what is right, but we know that we can do so with Jehovah’s help.
Because Asa’s grandmother Maacah had made “a horrible idol to the sacred pole,” Asa faced the difficult task of removing her from her royal position as “lady.” He met the challenge and also burned her idol. (1 Ki. 15:13) Asa was blessed for his resolve and courage. We too must stick unflinchingly to Jehovah and his righteous standards whether our relatives are loyal to God or not. If we do, Jehovah will reward us for our faithful conduct.
Part of Asa’s reward was to see many Israelites from the apostate northern kingdom flow into Judah when they observed that Jehovah was with him. They appreciated pure worship so much that they chose to leave their homes in order to live among servants of Jehovah. Asa and all Judah then joyfully entered into ‘a covenant to search for Jehovah with all their heart and soul.’ The result? God “let himself be found by them; and Jehovah continued to give them rest all around.” (2 Chron. 15:9-15)

*** it-1 p. 1029 Hand ***
‘dropping the hands down,’ becoming discouraged (2Ch 15:7;

(2 CHRONICLES 15:8)

“As soon as Aʹsa heard these words and the prophecy of Oʹded the prophet, he took courage and removed the disgusting idols from all the land of Judah and Benjamin and from the cities that he had captured from the mountainous region of Eʹphra•im, and he restored Jehovah’s altar that was before the porch of Jehovah.”

*** it-2 p. 525 Oded ***
ODED
(Oʹded) [[God] Has Relieved].
1. Father of the prophet Azariah. (2Ch 15:1) Second Chronicles 15:8 describes Oded himself as being a prophet: “As soon as Asa heard these words and the prophecy of Oded the prophet.” Some scholars would drop the words “of Oded the prophet” as a copyist’s error, but this would not explain why the writer says Asa heard “these words and the prophecy.” Others would make an addition so as to read, “Asa heard these words and the prophecy of Azariah the son of Oded,” to agree with the Greek Septuagint (Alexandrine Codex), Syriac Peshitta, and Latin Vulgate (Clementine recension), but this still leaves the above difficulty unexplained. The third solution is to accept the Masoretic text as it is, with the understanding that Oded himself gave a prophecy that has not been preserved in the record. Asa heeded the words of Azariah (2Ch 15:2-7) and those of his father Oded.

(2 CHRONICLES 15:17)

“But the high places were not removed from Israel. Nevertheless, Aʹsa’s heart was complete all his life.”

*** it-1 pp. 183-184 Asa ***
The record at 2 Chronicles 14:2-5 states that Asa “removed the foreign altars and the high places and broke up the sacred pillars and cut down the sacred poles.” However, 1 Kings 15:14 and 2 Chronicles 15:17 indicate that “the high places he did not remove.” It may be, therefore, that the high places referred to in the earlier Chronicles account were those of the adopted pagan worship that infected Judah, while the Kings account refers to high places at which the people engaged in worship of Jehovah. Even after the setting up of the tabernacle and the later establishment of the temple, occasional sacrificing was done to Jehovah on high places, which was acceptable to him under special circumstances, as in the cases of Samuel, David, and Elijah. (1Sa 9:11-19; 1Ch 21:26-30; 1Ki 18:30-39) Nevertheless, the regular approved place for sacrifice was that authorized by Jehovah. (Nu 33:52; De 12:2-14; Jos 22:29) Improper modes of high-place worship may have continued in spite of the removal of the pagan high places, perhaps because the king did not pursue their elimination with the same vigor as he did the removal of the pagan sites. Or Asa may have effected a complete removal of all high places; but if so, such cropped up again in due time and had not been removed by the time of the conclusion of his reign, allowing for their being smashed by his successor Jehoshaphat.

*** it-1 pp. 1108-1109 High Places ***
Asa, who succeeded Abijam to the throne, served Jehovah in faithfulness and put forth decisive efforts to rid the kingdom of all appendages of false worship. (1Ki 15:11-13) “He removed from all the cities of Judah the high places and the incense stands.” (2Ch 14:2-5) However, 1 Kings 15:14 and 2 Chronicles 15:17 apparently indicate that the high places were not removed. It may be that, although Asa removed the high places for worship of false gods, he left those at which the people worshiped Jehovah. Or, perhaps, high places cropped up again toward the end of his reign and were thereby present for his successor Jehoshaphat to destroy. But even during Jehoshaphat’s reign the high places did not fully disappear. (1Ki 22:42, 43; 2Ch 17:5, 6; 20:31-33) So entrenched was Judah’s worship at high places that the reforms of both Asa and Jehoshaphat could not remove all of them permanently.

(2 CHRONICLES 15:19)

“There was no war until the 35th year of Aʹsa’s reign.”

*** it-1 p. 184 Asa ***
So, too, the apparent difference between the statement at 2 Chronicles 15:19 to the effect that, as for “war, it did not occur down to the thirty-fifth [actually, the fifteenth] year of Asa’s reign,” and the statement at 1 Kings 15:16 to the effect that “warfare itself took place between Asa and Baasha the king of Israel all their days,” may be explained in that once conflicts began between the two kings they were thereafter continuous, even as Hanani had foretold.—2Ch 16:9.

(2 CHRONICLES 16:1)

“In the 36th year of the reign of Aʹsa, King Baʹa•sha of Israel came up against Judah and began to build up Raʹmah to prevent anyone from going out or coming in to King Aʹsa of Judah.”

*** w12 8/15 p. 10 “There Exists a Reward for Your Activity” ***
In the 36th year of Asa’s reign, King Baasha of Israel made hostile moves against Judah. Perhaps to prevent his subjects from expressing loyalty to Asa and pure worship, Baasha began to fortify the border city of Ramah, five miles (8 km) north of Jerusalem.

*** w12 8/15 p. 10 “There Exists a Reward for Your Activity” ***
2 Chron. 16:1

*** it-1 p. 184 Asa ***
The statement at 2 Chronicles 16:1 that Baasha came up against Judah “in the thirty-sixth year of the reign of Asa” has caused some question, since Baasha’s rule, beginning in the third year of Asa and lasting only 24 years, had terminated about 10 years prior to Asa’s 36th year of rule. (1Ki 15:33) While some suggest a scribal error and believe the reference is to the 16th or the 26th year of Asa’s reign, the assumption of such error is not required to harmonize the accounts. Jewish commentators quote the Seder Olam, which suggests that the 36th year was reckoned from the existence of the separate kingdom of Judah (997 B.C.E.) and corresponded to the 16th year of Asa (Rehoboam ruling 17 years, Abijah 3 years, and Asa now in his 16th year). (Soncino Books of the Bible, London, 1952, ftn on 2Ch 16:1) This was also the view of Archbishop Ussher.

(2 CHRONICLES 16:3)

““There is a treaty between me and you and between my father and your father. I am sending you silver and gold. Come, break your treaty with King Baʹa•sha of Israel, so that he will withdraw from me.””

*** it-1 p. 184 Asa ***
Intrigue and Warfare Against Baasha. King Baasha of Israel set out to block the path of any inclining toward a return to Judah by fortifying the frontier city of Ramah, located on the main road to Jerusalem and only a short distance N of that city. Asa, by some process of human reasoning or because of heeding bad counsel, now failed to rely solely on Jehovah and resorted to diplomacy and conspiratorial maneuvering to remove this threat. He took the temple treasures and those from the royal house and sent them as a bribe to King Ben-hadad I of Syria to induce him to divert Baasha’s attention through an attack on Israel’s northern frontier. Ben-hadad I accepted, and his raid on Israelite cities in the N disrupted Baasha’s building work and brought a withdrawal of his forces from Ramah. Asa now conscripted all the available manpower from the entire kingdom of Judah and carried off all Baasha’s supplies of building materials, using them to build up the cities of Geba and Mizpah.—1Ki 15:16-22; 2Ch 16:1-6.

(2 CHRONICLES 16:4)

“Ben-haʹdad listened to King Aʹsa and sent the chiefs of his armies against the cities of Israel, and they struck down Iʹjon, Dan, Aʹbel-maʹim, and all the storage places of the cities of Naphʹta•li.”

*** it-1 p. 16 Abel-beth-maacah ***
The surrounding fertile, well-watered fields doubtless gave rise to another merited name, Abel-maim (meaning “Watercourse of Waters”). Its situation made it a good storage place.—2Ch 16:4.

(2 CHRONICLES 16:9)

“For the eyes of Jehovah are roving about through all the earth to show his strength in behalf of those whose heart is complete toward him. You have acted foolishly in this matter; from now on there will be wars against you.””

*** cl chap. 4 pp. 42-43 pars. 15-16 “Jehovah Is . . . Great in Power” ***
15 Jehovah also uses his power to benefit us as individuals. Note what 2 Chronicles 16:9 says: “As regards Jehovah, his eyes are roving about through all the earth to show his strength in behalf of those whose heart is complete toward him.” Elijah’s experience, mentioned at the outset, is a case in point. Why did Jehovah give him that awesome demonstration of divine power? Well, wicked Queen Jezebel had vowed to have Elijah executed. The prophet was on the run, fleeing for his life. He felt alone, frightened, and discouraged—as if all his hard work had been in vain. To comfort the troubled man, Jehovah vividly reminded Elijah of divine power. The wind, the earthquake, and the fire showed that the most powerful Being in the universe was there with Elijah. What had he to fear from Jezebel, with the almighty God on his side?—1 Kings 19:1-12.
16 Although now is not his time for performing miracles, Jehovah has not changed since Elijah’s day. (1 Corinthians 13:8) He is just as eager today to use his power in behalf of those who love him. True, he dwells in a lofty spirit realm, but he is not far off from us. His power is limitless, so distance is no barrier. Rather, “Jehovah is near to all those calling upon him.” (Psalm 145:18) Once when the prophet Daniel called upon Jehovah for help, an angel appeared before he had even finished praying! (Daniel 9:20-23) Nothing can prevent Jehovah from helping and strengthening those whom he loves.—Psalm 118:6.

*** w02 10/15 p. 14 Jehovah Cares for You ***
Jehovah Seeks to Help Us
4 The Devil roves about in the earth, seeking to accuse and devour someone. (Job 1:7, 9; 1 Peter 5:8) In contrast, Jehovah seeks to help those who need his strength. The prophet Hanani told King Asa: “As regards Jehovah, his eyes are roving about through all the earth to show his strength in behalf of those whose heart is complete toward him.” (2 Chronicles 16:9) What a difference between Satan’s hateful scrutiny and Jehovah’s loving care!

*** it-1 p. 184 Asa ***
So, too, the apparent difference between the statement at 2 Chronicles 15:19 to the effect that, as for “war, it did not occur down to the thirty-fifth [actually, the fifteenth] year of Asa’s reign,” and the statement at 1 Kings 15:16 to the effect that “warfare itself took place between Asa and Baasha the king of Israel all their days,” may be explained in that once conflicts began between the two kings they were thereafter continuous, even as Hanani had foretold.—2Ch 16:9.

(2 CHRONICLES 16:11)

“Now the history of Aʹsa, from beginning to end, is written in the Book of the Kings of Judah and of Israel.”

*** w09 3/15 p. 32 Questions From Readers ***
On the other hand, certain references may be to books that have names similar to books of the Bible but that are not actually part of the Bible. We might illustrate this with four ancient books: “the book of the affairs of the times of the kings of Judah,” “the Book of the Kings of Judah and of Israel,” “the Book of the Kings of Israel,” and “the Book of the Kings of Israel and of Judah.” While those names may sound similar to the names of the Bible books we know as 1 Kings and 2 Kings, the four books were not inspired, nor do those books find a place in the Bible canon. (1 Ki. 14:29; 2 Chron. 16:11; 20:34; 27:7) They were likely just historical writings available back in the period when the prophet Jeremiah and Ezra wrote the accounts that we have in the Bible.

(2 CHRONICLES 16:12)

“In the 39th year of his reign, Aʹsa developed an ailment in his feet until he became very sick; and even in his sickness, he turned, not to Jehovah, but to the healers.”

*** w12 8/15 p. 10 “There Exists a Reward for Your Activity” ***
2 Chron. 16:12

*** w12 8/15 p. 10 “There Exists a Reward for Your Activity” ***
In the 39th year of his reign, Asa became very ill with an ailment in his feet. “Even in his sickness he searched not for Jehovah but for the healers,” says the account. At that time, Asa seems to have been neglecting his spiritual health.

*** it-1 p. 184 Asa ***
Illness and Death. Asa’s last three years brought suffering due to an illness of the feet (perhaps gout), and he unwisely sought physical healing over spiritual healing.

(2 CHRONICLES 16:14)

“So they buried him in the grand burial place that he had excavated for himself in the City of David, and they laid him on a bier that had been filled with balsam oil and different sorts of ingredients mixed into a specially made ointment. Further, they made an extraordinarily great funeral burning for him.”

*** w05 12/1 p. 20 par. 5 Highlights From the Book of Second Chronicles ***
16:13, 14—Was Asa cremated? No, the “extraordinarily great funeral burning” refers, not to the cremation of Asa, but to the burning of spices.—Footnote.

*** it-1 p. 378 Burial, Burial Places ***
Spices such as myrrh and aloes were customarily included in with such bandages (Joh 19:39, 40), or the body might be laid in oil and ointment, as was done with King Asa’s body. (2Ch 16:14) The great “funeral burning” mentioned in this latter case was evidently a burning of such spices, giving off an aromatic incense.

*** it-1 p. 722 Embalming ***
The Scriptures, in telling about the burial of King Asa, state: “They laid him in the bed that had been filled with balsam oil and different sorts of ointment mixed in an ointment of special make. Further, they made an extraordinarily great funeral burning for him.” This was not cremation of the king, but a burning of spices. (2Ch 16:13, 14) And, if this use of an ointment may be considered a form of embalming at all, it was not the type practiced by the Egyptians.

*** it-2 p. 547 Ointment and Perfumes ***
When perfumed ointments of special make were used in preparing a corpse for burial, they no doubt served primarily as disinfectants and deodorants. (2Ch 16:14; Lu 23:56) With such usage in mind, Jesus explained that the anointing he received in the house of Simon the leper, which consisted of very costly perfumed oil the scent of which filled the whole house, was in a figurative sense “for the preparation of me for burial.” (Mt 26:6-12; Joh 12:3)

(2 CHRONICLES 17:6)

“His heart became bold in the ways of Jehovah, and he even removed the high places and the sacred poles from Judah.”

*** w09 6/15 p. 12 par. 4 Be “Zealous for Fine Works”! ***
Asa “removed the foreign altars and the high places and broke up the sacred pillars and cut down the sacred poles.” (2 Chron. 14:3) Jehoshaphat, fired by his zeal for the worship of Jehovah, “removed the high places and the sacred poles from Judah.”—2 Chron. 17:6; 19:3.

*** w09 6/15 p. 12 Be “Zealous for Fine Works”! ***
Asa may have removed the high places associated with the worship of false gods but not those where people worshipped Jehovah. Or it may be that high places were rebuilt in the latter part of Asa’s reign and that these were removed by his son Jehoshaphat.—1 Ki. 15:14; 2 Chron. 15:17.

(2 CHRONICLES 17:17)

“And out of Benjamin was E•liʹa•da, a mighty warrior, and with him were 200,000 men equipped with the bow and shield.”

*** it-1 p. 171 Arms, Armor ***
The smaller “shield” or “buckler” (Heb., ma•ghenʹ) was customarily carried by archers and is usually associated with light weapons such as the bow. For instance, it was carried by Benjaminite bowmen of Judean King Asa’s military force. (2Ch 14:8) The smaller shield was usually round and more common than the large shield, probably being used chiefly in hand-to-hand fighting. That the Hebrew tsin•nahʹ and ma•ghenʹ differed considerably in size seems to be indicated by the gold shields Solomon made, the large shield being overlaid with four times as much gold as the smaller shield, or buckler. (1Ki 10:16, 17; 2Ch 9:15, 16) Ma•ghenʹ, like tsin•nahʹ, seems to be used as part of a formula for weapons of war.—2Ch 14:8; 17:17; 32:5.

(2 CHRONICLES 18:25)

“Then the king of Israel said: “Take Mi•caiʹah and turn him over to Aʹmon the chief of the city and to Joʹash the king’s son.”

*** it-2 p. 81 Joash ***
6. One of those into whose custody the faithful prophet Micaiah was committed for imprisonment by Ahab. He is designated “the king’s son.” (1Ki 22:26, 27; 2Ch 18:25, 26) This expression may refer to an offspring of King Ahab or it could denote an official of royal descent or someone else closely connected with the royal household.

(2 CHRONICLES 19:3)

“Nevertheless, there are good things that have been found in you, because you cleared out the sacred poles from the land and you have prepared your heart to search for the true God.””

*** cl chap. 24 p. 245 par. 12 Nothing Can “Separate Us From God’s Love” ***
12 An even more positive example may be found in good King Jehoshaphat. When the king committed a foolish act, Jehovah’s prophet told him: “For this there is indignation against you from the person of Jehovah.” What a sobering thought! But Jehovah’s message did not end there. It went on: “Nevertheless, there are good things that have been found with you.” (2 Chronicles 19:1-3) So Jehovah’s righteous anger did not blind him to the good in Jehoshaphat. How unlike imperfect humans! When upset with others, we may tend to become blind to the good in them. And when we sin, the disappointment, shame, and guilt that we feel may blind us to the good in ourselves. Remember, though, that if we repent of our sins and strive hard not to repeat them, Jehovah forgives us.

*** w05 12/1 p. 20 par. 12 Highlights From the Book of Second Chronicles ***
19:1-3. Jehovah looks for the good in us even when we give him reasons to be angry with us.

*** w03 7/1 p. 17 par. 13 “God Is Love” ***
13 The Bible reveals something else that assures us of Jehovah’s love. He looks for and values the good in us. Take, for example, good King Jehoshaphat. When the king committed a foolish act, Jehovah’s prophet told him: “For this there is indignation against you from the person of Jehovah.” What a sobering thought! But Jehovah’s message did not end there. It went on: “Nevertheless, there are good things that have been found with you.” (2 Chronicles 19:1-3) So Jehovah’s righteous anger did not blind him to the “good things” about Jehoshaphat. Is it not reassuring to know that our God looks for the good in us even though we are imperfect?

(2 CHRONICLES 19:4)

“Je•hoshʹa•phat continued living in Jerusalem, and he went out again among the people from Beʹer-sheʹba to the mountainous region of Eʹphra•im, to bring them back to Jehovah the God of their forefathers.”

*** it-1 p. 277 Beer-sheba ***
Beer-sheba came to stand for the southernmost point in describing the length of the Promised Land, as expressed in the proverbial phrase “from Dan down to Beer-sheba” (Jg 20:1), or, in a converse direction, “from Beer-sheba to Dan.” (1Ch 21:2; 2Ch 30:5) After the division of the nation into two kingdoms, Beer-sheba continued to be used to indicate the southern extremity of the kingdom of Judah in the expressions “from Geba as far as Beer-sheba” (2Ki 23:8) and “from Beer-sheba to the mountainous region of Ephraim” (where the northern kingdom of Israel began). (2Ch 19:4) In postexilic times the expression was used in a yet more limited form to refer to the area occupied by the repatriated men of Judah, extending from Beer-sheba “clear to the valley of Hinnom.”—Ne 11:27, 30.
In reality, there were other towns of the Promised Land that lay to the S of Beer-sheba, even as there were Israelite towns N of Dan. However, both Dan and Beer-sheba were situated at natural frontiers of the land. In the case of Beer-sheba, its position was below the mountains of Judah on the edge of the desert. Additionally, it was one of the principal cities of Judah (along with Jerusalem and Hebron), and this was not only because it had an excellent supply of water as compared with the surrounding region, thus allowing for both farming and grazing of herds and flocks, but also because important roads converged on it from several directions. From Egypt an ancient route led up by the “Way of the Wells” through Kadesh-barnea to Beer-sheba, being joined by another road over which traveled the camel caravans from the “Spice Kingdoms” of the Arabian Peninsula, heading for Philistia or Judah. From Ezion-geber, at the head of the Gulf of ʽAqaba, another route led up through the Arabah and then turned W, climbing the Ascent of Akrabbim to Beer-sheba. At Gaza, in the Philistine Plain, a road branching from the highway led SE to Beer-sheba. And, connecting it with the rest of Judah, a road ran from Beer-sheba to the NE, climbing the plateau up into the mountains of Judah to Jerusalem and points farther N.—Ge 22:19.

(2 CHRONICLES 19:7)

“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.””

*** w11 8/1 p. 28 A Day of High Hopes and Happy Expectations ***
“Let the Dread of Jehovah Be Upon You”
Anthony Morris of the Governing Body explained the meaning of the Scriptural phrase “the dread of Jehovah.” (2 Chronicles 19:7) Those words do not refer to any kind of morbid terror but, rather, to an intense desire to do what is right, a respect so intense and sincere as to be characterized by nervous trembling.

*** w86 10/1 p. 30 Questions From Readers ***
What is bribery, and what does the Bible say about it? The World Book Encyclopedia explains: “Bribery means giving or offering something of value to a person in a position of trust, who in return violates his or her duty or the law in order to benefit the giver.” Thus it is bribery to give money (or a gift) to a judge to influence his decision and pervert justice. It is also bribery to offer money so as to circumvent the law, such as asking a building or automobile inspector to ignore a violation.
God condemns bribery, telling Israelite judges: “You must not pervert judgment. You must not be partial or accept a bribe, for the bribe blinds the eyes of wise ones and distorts the words of righteous ones.” (Deuteronomy 16:19; compare Proverbs 17:23; Isaiah 1:23; 5:23; 1 Samuel 8:3-5.) Jehovah himself sets the standard, for with him “there is no unrighteousness or partiality or taking of a bribe.” (2 Chronicles 19:7; Deuteronomy 10:17) Christians desiring God’s approval refuse to resort to bribery.—Compare Acts 24:26.

(2 CHRONICLES 19:11)

“Here is Am•a•riʹah the chief priest who is over you for every matter of Jehovah. Zeb•a•diʹah the son of Ishʹma•el is the leader of the house of Judah for every matter pertaining to the king. And the Levites will serve as officers for you. Be strong and act, and let Jehovah be with those who do what is good.””

*** it-1 p. 87 Amariah ***
3. Chief priest “for every matter of Jehovah,” especially legal cases, during Jehoshaphat’s reign.—2Ch 19:11.

Dec. 21 Bible reading: 2 Chronicles 20-24


(2 CHRONICLES 20:1)

“Afterward the Moʹab•ites and the Amʹmon•ites, together with some of the Amʹmon•im, came to wage war against Je•hoshʹa•phat.”

*** it-1 p. 92 Ammonim ***
AMMONIM
(Amʹmon•im) [The Peoples].
At 2 Chronicles 20:1 the Masoretic text refers to some of the “Ammonim [Heb., ʽAm•moh•nimʹ]” as being joined with the sons of Moab and of Ammon in war against Jehoshaphat king of Judah. The King James Version inserts the word “other” to make the text read, “the children of Moab, and the children of Ammon, and with them other beside the Ammonites”; while some other translations render the phrase in question as reading “some of the Ammonites” (MR, JP, Dy), though this seems illogical since the Ammonites are already mentioned in the verse. Biblia Hebraica Stuttgartensia (ftn) and most modern translations (Ro, Mo, AT, RS, JB) regard the text as referring to the Meunim of 2 Chronicles 26:7. This view supposes that a scribal error resulted in the first two consonants (מע) of the Hebrew Meʽu•nimʹ being transposed, thus giving ʽAm•moh•nimʹ. This identification with the Meunim may find support in the fact that the remainder of the account of the fight against Jehoshaphat refers to “the mountainous region of Seir” (in place of “the Ammonim”) as joined with the Ammonite-Moabite forces. (2Ch 20:10, 22, 23) The translators of the Septuagint used the same Greek word (Mi•naiʹon) to render the Hebrew term at 2 Chronicles 20:1 as they did in the texts referring to the Meunim, showing that they understood them to be the same.—See MEUNIM.
Since the matter is not certain, however, some translations, such as that of Isaac Leeser and the New World Translation, prefer simply to transliterate the term into English, thereby retaining the wording found in the Masoretic text.

*** it-1 p. 951 Enemy Nations That Attacked Israel ***
Ammon 2Ch 20:1-3, 10, 11; 2Ki 24:2

*** it-2 p. 421 Moab ***
So it seems likely that it was at an earlier date during Jehoshaphat’s reign that Moab combined with the forces of Ammon and the mountainous region of Seir to attack Judah. By Jehovah’s intervention the three armies turned on one another and destroyed themselves. (2Ch 20:1, 22-24) Some scholars believe that this event is alluded to at Psalm 83:4-9.—Compare 2Ch 20:14 with Ps 83:Sup.

(2 CHRONICLES 20:7)

“O our God, did you not drive away the inhabitants of this land from before your people Israel and then give it as a lasting possession to the offspring of your friend Abraham?”

*** it-1 p. 873 Friend ***
Friend of God. Among the divine blessings bestowed upon Abraham was the privilege and honor of being called “Jehovah’s friend [or, lover].” This was by reason of Abraham’s outstanding faith, which he demonstrated to the greatest degree possible in his willingness to offer up his son Isaac as a sacrifice.—Isa 41:8, ftn; 2Ch 20:7; Jas 2:21-23; see DECLARE RIGHTEOUS.

(2 CHRONICLES 20:10)

“Now here are the men of Amʹmon, Moʹab, and the mountainous region of Seʹir, whom you did not allow Israel to invade when they came out of the land of Egypt. They turned away from them and did not annihilate them.”

*** it-1 p. 951 Enemy Nations That Attacked Israel ***
Ammon 2Ch 20:1-3, 10, 11; 2Ki 24:2

(2 CHRONICLES 20:11)

“Now they are repaying us by coming in to drive us out from your possession that you gave us as an inheritance.”

*** it-1 p. 951 Enemy Nations That Attacked Israel ***
Ammon 2Ch 20:1-3, 10, 11; 2Ki 24:2

(2 CHRONICLES 20:17)

“You will not need to fight this battle. Take your position, stand still, and see the salvation of Jehovah in your behalf. O Judah and Jerusalem, do not be afraid or be terrified. Tomorrow go out against them, and Jehovah will be with you.’””

*** w05 12/1 p. 21 par. 2 Highlights From the Book of Second Chronicles ***
20:17. To “see the salvation of Jehovah,” we need to “take [our] position” in active support of God’s Kingdom. Rather than take matters into our own hands, we must “stand still,” placing our implicit trust in Jehovah.

*** w03 6/1 pp. 21-22 Stand Still and See the Salvation of Jehovah! ***
How Will God’s Servants React?
14 What will servants of God be expected to do once they come under attack? Again, the reaction of God’s typical nation in the days of Jehoshaphat sets the pattern. Note that its citizens were commanded to do three things: (1) take their position, (2) stand still, and (3) see the salvation of Jehovah. How will God’s people today act in harmony with these words?—2 Chronicles 20:17.
15 Take their position: Without wavering, God’s people will continue to hold to their position of active support for God’s Kingdom. They will continue to maintain their position of Christian neutrality. They will be “steadfast, unmovable” in their loyal service to Jehovah and will continue publicly to praise Jehovah for his loving-kindness. (1 Corinthians 15:58; Psalm 118:28, 29) No present or future pressure can shake them from this divinely approved position.
16 Stand still: Jehovah’s servants will not try to save themselves but will place their implicit trust in Jehovah. Only he is capable of rescuing his servants out of world chaos, and he has promised to do so. (Isaiah 43:10, 11; 54:15; Lamentations 3:26) Trusting in Jehovah will include trusting the modern visible channel that he has clearly been using for decades to serve his purposes. As never before, true Christians will then need to place their confidence in fellow worshipers authorized by Jehovah and his reigning King to take the lead. These faithful men will direct God’s people. Ignoring their direction could end in disaster.—Matthew 24:45-47; Hebrews 13:7, 17.
17 See the salvation of Jehovah: Salvation will be the reward for all those who hold to their position of Christian integrity and who trust in Jehovah for deliverance. Until the final hour—and to the extent they can—they will announce the arrival of the day of Jehovah’s judgment. All creation must know that Jehovah is the true God and that he has faithful servants on earth. Never again will there be the need for a prolonged controversy over the rightfulness of Jehovah’s sovereignty.—Ezekiel 33:33; 36:23.

(2 CHRONICLES 20:20)

“They rose up early the next morning and went out to the wilderness of Te•koʹa. As they went out, Je•hoshʹa•phat stood up and said: “Listen to me, O Judah and you inhabitants of Jerusalem! Put faith in Jehovah your God so that you may be able to stand firm. Put faith in his prophets, and you will be successful.””

*** w98 5/1 p. 20 par. 4 Judgment Executed in the Low Plain of Decision ***
4 Jehovah required more of King Jehoshaphat and his people than that they merely sit idly by, awaiting a miraculous deliverance. They were to take the initiative in coping with the enemy’s challenge. The king and ‘all those of Judah, even their little ones, their wives and their sons,’ expressed strong faith as they obediently rose early in the morning and marched out to meet the invading hordes. On the way, the king continued to provide theocratic instruction and encouragement, urging them: “Put faith in Jehovah your God that you may prove yourselves of long duration. Put faith in his prophets and so prove successful.” (2 Chronicles 20:20) Faith in Jehovah! Faith in his prophets! Therein lay the key to success. Likewise today, as we continue active in Jehovah’s service, may we never doubt that he will make our faith victorious!

(2 CHRONICLES 20:21)

“After he consulted with the people, he appointed men to sing to Jehovah and to offer praise in holy adornment as they went out ahead of the armed men, saying: “Give thanks to Jehovah, for his loyal love endures forever.””

*** w98 5/1 p. 20 par. 5 Judgment Executed in the Low Plain of Decision ***
5 Like the Judeans of Jehoshaphat’s day, we must “give praise to Jehovah, for to time indefinite is his loving-kindness.” How do we render this praise? By our zealous Kingdom preaching! As those Judeans “started off with the joyful cry and praise,” so we add to our faith works. (2 Chronicles 20:21, 22) Yes, let us exhibit similar sterling faith as Jehovah prepares to move into action against his enemies! Though the road may appear to be long, let us be determined to endure, active in faith, even as his victorious people are doing in trouble spots of the earth today.

(2 CHRONICLES 20:22)

“When they began joyfully singing praises, Jehovah set an ambush against the men of Amʹmon, Moʹab, and the mountainous region of Seʹir who were invading Judah, and they struck each other down.”

*** w98 5/1 p. 20 par. 5 Judgment Executed in the Low Plain of Decision ***
5 Like the Judeans of Jehoshaphat’s day, we must “give praise to Jehovah, for to time indefinite is his loving-kindness.” How do we render this praise? By our zealous Kingdom preaching! As those Judeans “started off with the joyful cry and praise,” so we add to our faith works. (2 Chronicles 20:21, 22) Yes, let us exhibit similar sterling faith as Jehovah prepares to move into action against his enemies! Though the road may appear to be long, let us be determined to endure, active in faith, even as his victorious people are doing in trouble spots of the earth today.

(2 CHRONICLES 20:26)

“On the fourth day they congregated together at the Valley of Berʹa•cah, for there they praised Jehovah. That is why they named that place Valley of Berʹa•cah—until today.”

*** it-1 p. 290 Beracah ***
2. A low plain in Judah lying between Bethlehem and Hebron. It is presently identified with the Wadi el-ʽArrub, and nearby Khirbet Bereikut (Berakhot) seems to preserve evidence of the original name. This valley runs E-W, connecting the hill country of Judah with the wilderness area W of the Salt Sea.
Following the miraculous victory over the combined forces of Ammon, Moab, and Edom, Jehoshaphat congregated the people at this low plain to bless Jehovah, hence the name of the Low Plain of Beracah (meaning “Blessing”).—2Ch 20:26.

(2 CHRONICLES 20:34)

“As for the rest of the history of Je•hoshʹa•phat, from beginning to end, there it is written among the words of Jeʹhu the son of Ha•naʹni, which were included in the Book of the Kings of Israel.”

*** w09 3/15 p. 32 Questions From Readers ***
On the other hand, certain references may be to books that have names similar to books of the Bible but that are not actually part of the Bible. We might illustrate this with four ancient books: “the book of the affairs of the times of the kings of Judah,” “the Book of the Kings of Judah and of Israel,” “the Book of the Kings of Israel,” and “the Book of the Kings of Israel and of Judah.” While those names may sound similar to the names of the Bible books we know as 1 Kings and 2 Kings, the four books were not inspired, nor do those books find a place in the Bible canon. (1 Ki. 14:29; 2 Chron. 16:11; 20:34; 27:7) They were likely just historical writings available back in the period when the prophet Jeremiah and Ezra wrote the accounts that we have in the Bible.

(2 CHRONICLES 20:36)

“So he made him his partner in making ships to go to Tarʹshish, and they built the ships in Eʹzi•on-geʹber.”

*** it-1 p. 796 Ezion-geber ***
It may be noted that both in Solomon’s case and in that of Jehoshaphat some of the ships were intended to go not only to Ophir but also to Tarshish. (2Ch 9:21; 20:36, 37) Since the evidence is strong that Tarshish was in Spain, some have doubted that ships sailing from Ezion-geber could have made such a trip in ancient times. As to this, see the article TARSHISH No. 4, where the possibility of the existence of a Nile–Red Sea canal is presented. Such a canal might also explain how King Hiram could send not only men but “ships” to Ezion-geber and Eloth (Elath) for Solomon’s use. (2Ch 8:17, 18) On the other hand, it has also been suggested that these ships may have been sent to a point on the Philistine coast, dismantled, and transported overland to the Gulf of ʽAqaba, where they were reconstructed. Those holding this view point out that the Crusaders later used a similar method. Whether by some Nile–Red Sea canal or by an overland route, it seems likely that at least timber was supplied from forest lands elsewhere, since the region around Ezion-geber has palm groves but no trees suitable for ship construction.

*** it-2 pp. 1066-1067 Tarshish ***
It is generally believed that the term “ships of Tarshish” in course of time came to stand for a type of ship, as one lexicon puts it: “large, sea-going vessels, fit to ply to Tarshish.” (A Hebrew and English Lexicon of the Old Testament, by Brown, Driver, and Briggs, 1980, p. 1077) In a similar way, the name Indiamen originally was derived from the name applied to large British ships engaged in trade with India and in time came to apply to ships of that type no matter what their origin or destination. Thus 1 Kings 22:48 shows that King Jehoshaphat (936-911 B.C.E.) “made Tarshish ships to go to Ophir for gold.”
The Chronicles account, however, states that Solomon’s ships used for the triannual voyages “were going to Tarshish” (2Ch 9:21); also that Jehoshaphat’s ships were designed “to go to Tarshish” and, when wrecked, “did not retain strength to go to Tarshish.” (2Ch 20:36, 37) This would indicate that Ophir was not the only port of call of the Israelite “ships of Tarshish,” but that they also navigated Mediterranean waters. This, of course, poses a problem, since the launching site of at least some of these vessels is shown to have been Ezion-geber on the Gulf of ʽAqaba. (1Ki 9:26) For the ships to reach the Mediterranean Sea, they would either have to traverse a canal from the Red Sea to the Nile River and then into the Mediterranean or else circumnavigate the continent of Africa. While it is by no means possible to determine now the details of navigational routes (including canals) available or employed in Solomon’s and in Jehoshaphat’s time, there is likewise no need to view the record of their maritime projects as unfeasible.

(2 CHRONICLES 21:2)

“His brothers, Je•hoshʹa•phat’s sons, were Az•a•riʹah, Je•hiʹel, Zech•a•riʹah, Az•a•riʹah, Miʹcha•el, and Sheph•a•tiʹah; all of these were the sons of King Je•hoshʹa•phat of Israel.”

*** it-1 p. 224 Azariah ***
7, 8. Two of Jehoshaphat’s seven sons, listed second and fifth. They were given many gifts and fortified cities by their father, but when their elder brother, Jehoram, became king, these sons were killed. (2Ch 21:1-4) “It seems far-fetched to suppose [as some have] that the name was used twice because the boys were only half brothers or because one had already died in infancy.” (The Interpreter’s Dictionary of the Bible, edited by G. A. Buttrick, 1962, Vol. 1, p. 325) It is unusual for two brothers to have apparently the same name, but in Hebrew there is a slight difference between the two in spelling and pronunciation, ʽAzar•yahʹ (“Jah Has Helped”) and ʽAzar•yaʹhu (“Jehovah Has Helped”).

(2 CHRONICLES 21:12)

“Eventually a written message came to him from E•liʹjah the prophet, saying: “This is what Jehovah the God of David your forefather says, ‘You have not walked in the ways of your father Je•hoshʹa•phat or in the ways of King Aʹsa of Judah.”

*** it-1 p. 712 Elijah ***
A number of years after his ascension in the windstorm Elijah is still alive and active as a prophet, this time to the king of Judah. Because of the wicked course taken by King Jehoram of Judah, Elijah writes him a letter expressing Jehovah’s condemnation, which is fulfilled shortly thereafter.—2Ch 21:12-15; see HEAVEN (Ascension to Heaven).

(2 CHRONICLES 21:16)

“Then Jehovah stirred up against Je•hoʹram the Phi•lisʹtines and the Arabs who were near the E•thi•oʹpi•ans.”

*** it-1 pp. 140-141 Arabia ***
Since the SW corner of Arabia is separated from Africa by a narrow strait of water only about 32 km (20 mi) across, products from Ethiopia (2Ch 21:16), such as ivory and ebony, could also have been included in the wares of these traveling merchants.—Eze 27:15.

*** it-1 p. 561 Cushite ***
The expression at 2 Chronicles 21:16 “by the side of the Ethiopians [Cushites]” as applying to certain Arabs may also mean “under the control of the Ethiopians,” and this might indicate one basis for applying the name “Cushite” to persons not descended from Cush. Several of Cush’s sons are believed to have settled on the Arabian Peninsula.—See HAVILAH No. 3; SABTAH.

(2 CHRONICLES 21:17)

“So they invaded Judah, forcing their way in, and carried off all the possessions that were found in the king’s house, as well as his sons and his wives; and the only son left to him was Je•hoʹa•haz, his youngest son.”

*** it-1 p. 63 Ahaziah ***
Ahaziah is also referred to as “Azariah” at 2 Chronicles 22:6 (though here 15 Hebrew manuscripts read “Ahaziah”), and as “Jehoahaz” at 2 Chronicles 21:17; 25:23 (a case of transposing the divine name to serve as a prefix instead of as a suffix).

(2 CHRONICLES 21:20)

“He was 32 years old when he became king, and he reigned for eight years in Jerusalem. No one regretted it when he died. So they buried him in the City of David, but not in the burial places of the kings.”

*** w98 11/15 p. 32 What Kind of Name Do You Have? ***
In contrast, Judean King Jehoram made a bad name for himself. He turned his subjects away from the worship of Jehovah and even had his six brothers and some of the princes of Judah put to death. Eventually, Jehovah afflicted Jehoram with a painful illness that led to his death. The Bible says that Jehoram “went away without being desired,” or as Today’s English Version puts it, “nobody was sorry when he died.”—2 Chronicles 21:20.

(2 CHRONICLES 22:6)

“He returned to Jezʹre•el to recover from the wounds that they had inflicted on him at Raʹmah when he fought against King Hazʹa•el of Syria. A•ha•ziʹah the son of Je•hoʹram the king of Judah went down to Jezʹre•el to see Je•hoʹram the son of Aʹhab, because he had been wounded.”

*** it-1 p. 63 Ahaziah ***
Ahaziah is also referred to as “Azariah” at 2 Chronicles 22:6 (though here 15 Hebrew manuscripts read “Ahaziah”), and as “Jehoahaz” at 2 Chronicles 21:17; 25:23 (a case of transposing the divine name to serve as a prefix instead of as a suffix).

(2 CHRONICLES 22:7)

“But God brought about the downfall of A•ha•ziʹah by his coming to Je•hoʹram; and when he came, he went out with Je•hoʹram to meet Jeʹhu the grandson of Nimʹshi, whom Jehovah had anointed to do away with the house of Aʹhab.”

*** it-1 p. 63 Ahaziah ***
Coordinating the two accounts (2Ki 9:21-28; 2Ch 22:7-9), the following evidently took place: Jehu, on nearing Jezreel, met Jehoram and Ahaziah. Jehu struck down Jehoram, but Ahaziah fled. At this time Jehu did not pursue Ahaziah but continued to Jezreel to finish his executional work there. Meanwhile the fleeing Ahaziah tried to make his way back to Jerusalem; however, he only got as far as Samaria, where he tried to hide himself. Jehu’s men, pursuing Ahaziah, discovered him in Samaria and captured him, and he was brought to Jehu, who was near the town of Ibleam, not far from Jezreel. When Jehu saw Ahaziah, he ordered his men to kill him in his chariot. They struck and wounded him on the way up to Gur, near Ibleam; but Ahaziah was allowed to escape, and he fled to Megiddo, where he died of his wounds. He was then taken to Jerusalem and buried there. The accounts of his death are not contradictory but complementary.
Second Chronicles 22:7 points out that Ahaziah’s death “was from God,” and thus Jehu acted as God’s executioner in slaying this man who fellowshipped with the condemned house of Ahab.

(2 CHRONICLES 22:9)

“Then he looked for A•ha•ziʹah; they captured him where he was hiding in Sa•marʹi•a, and they brought him to Jeʹhu. Then they put him to death and buried him, for they said: “He is the grandson of Je•hoshʹa•phat, who searched for Jehovah with all his heart.” There was no one of the house of A•ha•ziʹah who had the power to rule the kingdom.”

*** it-1 p. 63 Ahaziah ***
Coordinating the two accounts (2Ki 9:21-28; 2Ch 22:7-9), the following evidently took place: Jehu, on nearing Jezreel, met Jehoram and Ahaziah. Jehu struck down Jehoram, but Ahaziah fled. At this time Jehu did not pursue Ahaziah but continued to Jezreel to finish his executional work there. Meanwhile the fleeing Ahaziah tried to make his way back to Jerusalem; however, he only got as far as Samaria, where he tried to hide himself. Jehu’s men, pursuing Ahaziah, discovered him in Samaria and captured him, and he was brought to Jehu, who was near the town of Ibleam, not far from Jezreel. When Jehu saw Ahaziah, he ordered his men to kill him in his chariot. They struck and wounded him on the way up to Gur, near Ibleam; but Ahaziah was allowed to escape, and he fled to Megiddo, where he died of his wounds. He was then taken to Jerusalem and buried there. The accounts of his death are not contradictory but complementary.
Second Chronicles 22:7 points out that Ahaziah’s death “was from God,” and thus Jehu acted as God’s executioner in slaying this man who fellowshipped with the condemned house of Ahab.

(2 CHRONICLES 22:11)

“However, Je•ho•shabʹe•ath the daughter of the king took Je•hoʹash the son of A•ha•ziʹah and stole him away from among the sons of the king who were to be put to death, and she put him and his nurse in an inner bedroom. Je•ho•shabʹe•ath the daughter of King Je•hoʹram (she was the wife of Je•hoiʹa•da the priest and a sister of A•ha•ziʹah) managed to keep him concealed from Ath•a•liʹah, so that she did not put him to death.”

*** it-2 p. 1093 Thief ***
The aunt of young Jehoash saved his life by ‘stealing him away from among his brothers,’ who were killed by wicked Athaliah.—2Ki 11:1, 2; 2Ch 22:11.

(2 CHRONICLES 23:5)

“another third will be at the house of the king, and the other third will be at the Gate of the Foundation, and all the people will be in the courtyards of the house of Jehovah.”

*** it-1 p. 897 Gate, Gateway ***
Gate of the Foundation. A temple gate, the location of which is uncertain.—2Ki 11:6; 2Ch 23:5.

(2 CHRONICLES 23:13)

“Then she saw the king standing there by his pillar at the entrance. The princes and the trumpeters were with the king, and all the people of the land were rejoicing and blowing the trumpets, and the singers with musical instruments were leading the praises. At this Ath•a•liʹah ripped her garments apart and cried out: “Conspiracy! Conspiracy!””

*** it-2 p. 643 Pillar ***
The most noteworthy pillars in Solomon’s temple were two huge copper pillars named Jachin and Boaz in front of the porch. (1Ki 7:15; 2Ki 25:17; Jer 52:21; see CAPITAL.) The New Bible Dictionary edited by J. Douglas (1985, p. 941) suggests that the king stood by one of these pillars on ceremonial occasions, but that cannot be confirmed, for the Bible merely says the king was “standing by his pillar at the entry.” (2Ch 23:13; 2Ki 11:14; 23:3) He could have been standing at a gate of the inner court or some other elevated place for addressing the people.

(2 CHRONICLES 23:15)

“So they seized her, and when she reached the entrance of the Horse Gate of the king’s house, they immediately put her to death there.”

*** it-1 p. 896 Gate, Gateway ***
Some have held that the Horse Gate was one providing communication between two parts of the temple-palace quarter. They reach this conclusion from the account of Athaliah’s execution, which reports that, on being led out of the temple by the soldiers, “she came to the entry of the horse gate of the king’s house.” (2Ch 23:15; 2Ki 11:16) However, this was likely an entry just to the precincts of the royal palace and not the Horse Gate through which the horses passed in and out of the city itself.

(2 CHRONICLES 24:6)

“So the king called Je•hoiʹa•da the chief and said to him: “Why have you not required the Levites to bring in from Judah and Jerusalem the sacred tax ordered by Moses the servant of Jehovah, the sacred tax of the congregation of Israel, for the tent of the Testimony?”

*** it-1 p. 502 Contribution ***
Some contributions were required under the Law. When Moses took a census of the Israelites, each male 20 years old and upward was to give a ransom for his soul, “a half shekel [probably $1.10] by the shekel of the holy place.” It was “Jehovah’s contribution” in order to make atonement for their souls and “in behalf of the service of the tent of meeting.” (Ex 30:11-16) According to the Jewish historian Josephus (The Jewish War, VII, 218 [vi, 6]), this “sacred tax” was thereafter paid annually.—2Ch 24:6-10; Mt 17:24; see TAXATION.

*** it-2 p. 1069 Taxation ***
Taxes for Maintaining Jehovah’s Sanctuary. The service of the sanctuary was maintained through taxation. Obligatory tithing provided the major source of maintenance for the Aaronic priests and Levites, and on at least one occasion, they received a share of the war booty in accordance with a tax stipulated by Jehovah. (Nu 18:26-29; 31:26-47; see TITHE.) Jehovah also instructed Moses that after he took a census, each person registered was to give a half shekel ($1.10) as “Jehovah’s contribution,” it serving in behalf of the tent of meeting. (Ex 30:12-16) It appears that it became customary for the Jews to give a fixed amount every year, even though a census was not taken annually. Jehoash, for example, called for “the sacred tax ordered by Moses.” (2Ch 24:6, 9) The Jews of Nehemiah’s time obligated themselves to pay a third of a shekel (c. 75 cents) yearly for the service of the temple.—Ne 10:32.

(2 CHRONICLES 24:8)

“Then, at the king’s order, a chest was made and placed outside at the gate of the house of Jehovah.”

*** it-1 p. 242 Bag ***
however, most modern translations render the Greek word glos•soʹko•mon as “box” or “money box.” Originally used to refer to a case for keeping the mouthpiece of a wind instrument, the Greek word came to stand for a small box used for any purpose, including the keeping of money. The translators of the Greek Septuagint used this word to refer to the chest mentioned at 2 Chronicles 24:8, 10.

(2 CHRONICLES 24:10)

“All the princes and all the people rejoiced, and they kept bringing contributions and dropping them into the chest until it was full.”

*** it-1 p. 242 Bag ***
however, most modern translations render the Greek word glos•soʹko•mon as “box” or “money box.” Originally used to refer to a case for keeping the mouthpiece of a wind instrument, the Greek word came to stand for a small box used for any purpose, including the keeping of money. The translators of the Greek Septuagint used this word to refer to the chest mentioned at 2 Chronicles 24:8, 10.

(2 CHRONICLES 24:20)

“God’s spirit came upon Zech•a•riʹah the son of Je•hoiʹa•da the priest, and he stood above the people and said to them: “This is what the true God says, ‘Why are you violating the commandments of Jehovah? You will not be successful! Because you have abandoned Jehovah, he will, in turn, abandon you.’””

*** gt chap. 110 Ministry at the Temple Completed ***
Zechariah son of Barachiah [called Jehoiada in Second Chronicles], whom you murdered between the sanctuary and the altar. Truly I say to you, All these things will come upon this generation.”
Because Zechariah chastised Israel’s leaders, “they conspired against him and pelted him with stones at the king’s commandment in the courtyard of Jehovah’s house.”

*** w90 3/1 p. 24 Ministry at the Temple Completed ***
Zechariah son of Barachiah [called Jehoiada in 2 Chronicles], whom you murdered between the sanctuary and the altar. Truly I say to you, All these things will come upon this generation.”
Because Zechariah courageously chastised Israel’s leaders, “they conspired against him and pelted him with stones at the king’s commandment in the courtyard of Jehovah’s house.”

(2 CHRONICLES 24:21)

“But they conspired against him and stoned him at the king’s order in the courtyard of Jehovah’s house.”

*** it-1 p. 254 Barachiah ***
According to 2 Chronicles 24:21, Zechariah was murdered “in the courtyard of Jehovah’s house.” The altar of burnt offering was in the inner courtyard, outside of and in front of the entrance to the sanctuary. This would correspond with Jesus’ location of the incident “between the sanctuary and the altar.”

(2 CHRONICLES 24:22)

“Thus King Je•hoʹash did not remember the loyal love that his father Je•hoiʹa•da had shown toward him, and he killed his son, who said as he was dying: “May Jehovah see to it and call you to account.””

*** it-1 pp. 254-255 Barachiah ***
Concerning both Abel and Zechariah a reckoning for the shedding of their blood was foretold. (Ge 4:10; 2Ch 24:22) Also, there is a strong parallel between the circumstances and events in the days of Zechariah the son of Jehoiada and those of the generation living when Jesus spoke these words. As Zechariah was dying he said: “Let Jehovah see to it and ask it back.” Very soon his prophetic words began to be fulfilled. A small Syrian force came up, and Jehovah delivered a great military force of Judah into their hand, the princes of Judah being greatly ruined and despoiled. The Syrians executed acts of judgment on Jehoash and left him with many diseases, after which he was murdered by his servants. (2Ch 24:23-25) After describing the bloodguilt of those to whom he was talking, Jesus said: “All these things will come upon this generation.” (Mt 23:36) Jesus’ prophecy was fulfilled on Jerusalem and Judea in 70-73 C.E.

*** it-2 p. 1223 Zechariah ***
12. Son of High Priest Jehoiada. After Jehoiada’s death, King Jehoash turned away from true worship, listening to wrong counsel rather than to Jehovah’s prophets. Zechariah, Jehoash’s cousin (2Ch 22:11), sternly warned the people about this, but instead of repenting, they stoned him in the temple courtyard. Zechariah’s dying words were: “Let Jehovah see to it and ask it back.” This prophetic request was granted, for not only did Syria do great damage to Judah but also Jehoash was killed by two of his servants “because of the blood of the sons of Jehoiada the priest.” The Greek Septuagint and the Latin Vulgate say that Jehoash was killed to avenge the blood of the “son” of Jehoiada. The Masoretic text and the Syriac Peshitta, however, read “sons,” possibly using the plural number to denote the excellence and worth of Jehoiada’s son Zechariah the prophet-priest.—2Ch 24:17-22, 25.
Zechariah the son of Jehoiada is most likely the one whom Jesus had in mind when prophesying that “the blood of all the prophets spilled from the founding of the world” will be required “from this generation [the Jews of the time of Jesus’ earthly ministry], from the blood of Abel down to the blood of Zechariah, who was slain between the altar and the house.” (Lu 11:50, 51) The places mentioned as the site of the slaying correspond. In the first century C.E., Chronicles was the last book in the canon of the Hebrew Scriptures. So Jesus’ phrase, “from Abel . . . to Zechariah,” was similar to our expression, “from Genesis to Revelation.” In the parallel account at Matthew 23:35, Zechariah is called the son of Barachiah, possibly another name for Jehoiada, unless, by chance, it indicates a generation between Jehoiada and Zechariah or is the name of an earlier ancestor.—See BARACHIAH.

(2 CHRONICLES 24:25)

“And when they withdrew from him (for they left him severely wounded), his own servants conspired against him because he had shed the blood of the sons of Je•hoiʹa•da the priest. They killed him on his own bed. So he died and they buried him in the City of David, but they did not bury him in the burial places of the kings.”

*** it-2 p. 1223 Zechariah ***
12. Son of High Priest Jehoiada. After Jehoiada’s death, King Jehoash turned away from true worship, listening to wrong counsel rather than to Jehovah’s prophets. Zechariah, Jehoash’s cousin (2Ch 22:11), sternly warned the people about this, but instead of repenting, they stoned him in the temple courtyard. Zechariah’s dying words were: “Let Jehovah see to it and ask it back.” This prophetic request was granted, for not only did Syria do great damage to Judah but also Jehoash was killed by two of his servants “because of the blood of the sons of Jehoiada the priest.” The Greek Septuagint and the Latin Vulgate say that Jehoash was killed to avenge the blood of the “son” of Jehoiada. The Masoretic text and the Syriac Peshitta, however, read “sons,” possibly using the plural number to denote the excellence and worth of Jehoiada’s son Zechariah the prophet-priest.—2Ch 24:17-22, 25.
Zechariah the son of Jehoiada is most likely the one whom Jesus had in mind when prophesying that “the blood of all the prophets spilled from the founding of the world” will be required “from this generation [the Jews of the time of Jesus’ earthly ministry], from the blood of Abel down to the blood of Zechariah, who was slain between the altar and the house.” (Lu 11:50, 51) The places mentioned as the site of the slaying correspond. In the first century C.E., Chronicles was the last book in the canon of the Hebrew Scriptures. So Jesus’ phrase, “from Abel . . . to Zechariah,” was similar to our expression, “from Genesis to Revelation.” In the parallel account at Matthew 23:35, Zechariah is called the son of Barachiah, possibly another name for Jehoiada, unless, by chance, it indicates a generation between Jehoiada and Zechariah or is the name of an earlier ancestor.—See BARACHIAH.

Dec. 28 Bible reading: 2 Chronicles 25-28


(2 CHRONICLES 25:6)

“Further, he hired from Israel 100,000 mighty warriors for 100 silver talents.”

*** it-1 p. 77 Alliance ***
Obeying divine counsel, Amaziah of Judah wisely decided against the use of mercenary troops from Israel though it meant a loss of 100 talents of silver ($660,600) paid to them as a fee.—2Ch 25:6-10.

(2 CHRONICLES 25:7)

“But a man of the true God came to him, saying: “O king, do not let the army of Israel go with you, for Jehovah is not with Israel, not with any of the Eʹphra•im•ites.”

*** it-1 p. 754 Ephraim ***
As the dominant tribe of the northern kingdom, Ephraim came to stand for the entire ten-tribe kingdom. (2Ch 25:7; Jer 7:15)

(2 CHRONICLES 25:12)

“And the men of Judah captured 10,000 alive. So they brought them to the top of the crag and threw them down from the top of the crag, and they were all dashed to pieces.”

*** it-1 p. 550 Crime and Punishment ***
Precipitation, that is, throwing one off a cliff or high place, was not enjoined by law, but King Amaziah of Judah inflicted this punishment on 10,000 men of Seir. (2Ch 25:12)

(2 CHRONICLES 25:23)

“King Je•hoʹash of Israel captured King Am•a•ziʹah of Judah, son of Je•hoʹash son of Je•hoʹa•haz, at Beth-sheʹmesh. Then he brought him to Jerusalem and made a breach in the wall of Jerusalem from the Gate of Eʹphra•im to the Corner Gate, 400 cubits.”

*** it-1 p. 63 Ahaziah ***
Ahaziah is also referred to as “Azariah” at 2 Chronicles 22:6 (though here 15 Hebrew manuscripts read “Ahaziah”), and as “Jehoahaz” at 2 Chronicles 21:17; 25:23 (a case of transposing the divine name to serve as a prefix instead of as a suffix).

*** it-1 p. 894 Gate, Gateway ***
Corner Gate. This gate was evidently located in the NW angle of the city wall, W of the Gate of Ephraim. (2Ki 14:13; 2Ch 25:23) It was on the E side of the Valley of Hinnom, apparently in the W wall of the old city at the point where it joined the Broad Wall.

*** it-1 p. 894 Gate, Gateway ***
Gate of Ephraim. The Gate of Ephraim was located in the Broad Wall 400 cubits (178 m; 583 ft) E of the Corner Gate. (2Ki 14:13; 2Ch 25:23) It was an exit N in the direction of the territory of Ephraim. It, too, has been identified by some researchers with the Middle Gate (Jer 39:3), by others with the First Gate. (Zec 14:10) It is thought to be (or correspond to) the Gennath or Garden Gate spoken of by the Jewish historian Josephus. (The Jewish War, V, 146 [iv, 2]) Near the Gate of Ephraim there was a public square in which the people made booths to celebrate the Festival of Booths in Nehemiah’s time. (Ne 8:16) This gate is not named in Nehemiah’s reconstruction text, evidently because it did not need extensive repairs.

(2 CHRONICLES 26:5)

“And he kept searching for God in the days of Zech•a•riʹah, who taught him to fear the true God. During the time he was searching for Jehovah, the true God made him prosper.”

*** w07 12/15 p. 10 Do You Have a Spiritual Mentor? ***
Do You Have a Spiritual Mentor?
AT THE tender age of 16, Uzziah became king of the southern kingdom of Judah. He reigned for over 50 years, from the late ninth to the early eighth century B.C.E. From a young age, Uzziah “kept doing what was right in Jehovah’s eyes.” What influenced him to take an upright course? The historical record states: “[Uzziah] continually tended to search for God in the days of Zechariah, the instructor in the fear of the true God; and, in the days of his searching for Jehovah, the true God made him prosperous.”—2 Chronicles 26:1, 4, 5.
Not much is known about Zechariah, the adviser to the king, apart from this account in the Bible. Yet, as “the instructor in the fear of the true God,” Zechariah exercised a fine influence on the young ruler to do what was right. The Expositor’s Bible observes that Zechariah was obviously “a man versed in sacred learning, rich in spiritual experience, and able to communicate his knowledge.” One Bible scholar concluded about Zechariah: “He was well versed in prophecy and . . . was an intelligent, devout, good man; and, it seems, had great influence with Uzziah.”
Uzziah’s faithful course brought him many blessings, and he “displayed strength to an extraordinary degree” because “the true God continued to help him.” Yes, success in his secular efforts followed his spiritual success “in the days of Zechariah.” (2 Chronicles 26:6-8) After Uzziah became successful, he left the teachings of Zechariah, his mentor. Uzziah’s “heart became haughty even to the point of causing ruin, so that he acted unfaithfully against Jehovah.” As a result of a particularly irreverent act, he was struck with a loathsome skin disease, which incapacitated him, so that he could no longer serve as king in the fullest sense.—2 Chronicles 26:16-21.
Do you have someone who might be called an instructor, a mentor, who influences you “to search for God”? This can be so whether you are young or past the days of your youth, whether you are male or female. Treasure such a mentor, for his or her admonition can help you to keep doing what is right in Jehovah’s eyes. Listen to this mature Christian, and seriously consider the advice he gives. May you never turn aside from the wise words of such an “instructor in the fear of the true God.”—Proverbs 1:5; 12:15; 19:20.

(2 CHRONICLES 26:6)

“He went out and fought against the Phi•lisʹtines and broke through the wall of Gath, the wall of Jabʹneh, and the wall of Ashʹdod. Then he built cities in the territory of Ashʹdod and among the Phi•lisʹtines.”

*** it-2 pp. 633-634 Philistia ***
Prophetic References. The prophecy of Joel indicated that because of their selling “the sons of Judah” and “the sons of Jerusalem” to “the sons of the Greeks,” the Philistines would experience like treatment. (Joe 3:4-8) Since the words of the prophet Joel appear to have been recorded in the ninth century B.C.E., the defeats of the Philistines at the hands of Uzziah (2Ch 26:6-8) and Hezekiah (2Ki 18:8) could have been included in the fulfillment of this prophecy.
However, a larger fulfillment evidently came after the Israelites returned from Babylonian exile. Notes commentator C. F. Keil: “Alexander the Great and his successors set many of the Jewish prisoners of war in their lands at liberty (compare the promise of King Demetrius to Jonathan, ‘I will send away in freedom such of the Judaeans as have been made prisoners, and reduced to slavery in our land,’ Josephus, Ant. xiii. 2, 3), and portions of the Philistian and Phoenician lands were for a time under Jewish sway.” (Commentary on the Old Testament, 1973, Vol. X, Joel, p. 224) (Compare Ob 19, 20.) Noteworthy, too, is the fact that Alexander the Great took the Philistine city of Gaza. Many of the inhabitants were slain, and the survivors were sold into slavery. A number of other prophecies likewise pointed to the execution of Jehovah’s vengeance upon the Philistines.—Isa 14:31; Jer 25:9, 20; 47:1-7; Eze 25:15, 16; Am 1:6-8; Zep 2:5; Zec 9:5-7; for details see ASHDOD; ASHKELON; EKRON; GATH; GAZA No. 1.

(2 CHRONICLES 26:9)

“Moreover, Uz•ziʹah built towers in Jerusalem by the Corner Gate, the Valley Gate, and the Buttress, and he fortified them.”

*** it-1 p. 894 Gate, Gateway ***
Uzziah built a tower by this gate; whether or not it was the Tower of the Bake Ovens is not stated. (2Ch 26:9) Both Jeremiah and Zechariah appear to refer to the Corner Gate as being on the western edge of the city.—Jer 31:38; Zec 14:10.
There is no other gate described as existing in the W wall from the Corner Gate to the Valley Gate in the SW wall, this no doubt being because of the steep slope of the Valley of Hinnom, making any other gate impractical. The Corner Gate does not appear in Nehemiah’s accounts; again the reason may be that it did not need extensive repairs. The account does speak of repairing the Tower of the Bake Ovens, which seems to have been a part of, or near, the Corner Gate.—Ne 3:11.

(2 CHRONICLES 26:10)

“Further, he built towers in the wilderness and dug many cisterns (for he had a great deal of livestock); he also did so in the She•pheʹlah and on the plain. He had farmers and vinedressers in the mountains and in Carʹmel, for he loved agriculture.”

*** it-1 p. 865 Fortifications ***
Besides these city towers, other towers (Heb., migh•dalʹ; plural, migh•da•limʹ) were built in isolated places. These were constructed as “police stations” to protect wells or other water sources, highways, frontiers, communication lines, or supply lines. King Uzziah of Judah is noted for building towers in Jerusalem as well as in the wilderness; these apparently were erected to protect the cisterns that he built for watering his livestock. (2Ch 26:9, 10) Several of such towers have been found in the Negeb.

(2 CHRONICLES 26:15)

“Further, in Jerusalem he made engines of war designed by engineers; they were set on the towers and on the corners of the walls and could shoot arrows and large stones. So his fame spread far and wide, for he received tremendous help and he became strong.”

*** it-2 p. 43 Jerusalem ***
Uzziah also equipped the towers and corners with “engines of war,” perhaps mechanical catapults for shooting arrows and large stones. (2Ch 26:14, 15)

(2 CHRONICLES 26:16)

“However, as soon as he was strong, his heart became haughty to his own ruin, and he acted unfaithfully against Jehovah his God by entering the temple of Jehovah to burn incense on the altar of incense.”

*** it-1 p. 1044 Haughtiness ***
Even a person whose heart has been humble in service of God can become haughty because of gaining wealth or power or by reason of his beauty, success, wisdom, or the acclaim of others. King Uzziah of Judah was such a person. He ruled well and enjoyed Jehovah’s blessing for many years. (2Ch 26:3-5) But the Bible record states: “However, as soon as he was strong, his heart became haughty even to the point of causing ruin, so that he acted unfaithfully against Jehovah his God and came into the temple of Jehovah to burn incense upon the altar of incense.” (2Ch 26:16) Uzziah lifted himself up to perform priestly duties, which privilege God had expressly withheld from the kings of Israel, making kingship and priesthood separate.

(2 CHRONICLES 26:17)

“Immediately Az•a•riʹah the priest and 80 other courageous priests of Jehovah went in after him.”

*** it-1 p. 224 Azariah ***
14. A high priest, son of Johanan, descendant of Aaron. (1Ch 6:1-10) When King Uzziah presumptuously attempted to offer incense in the temple, perhaps it was this Azariah who then ordered him out, and when he resisted, Jehovah struck the king with leprosy. (2Ch 26:16-21)

(2 CHRONICLES 26:18)

“They confronted King Uz•ziʹah and said to him: “It is not proper for you, Uz•ziʹah, to burn incense to Jehovah! It is only the priests who should burn incense, for they are the descendants of Aaron, those who have been sanctified. Go out from the sanctuary, for you have acted unfaithfully and you will receive no glory from Jehovah God for this.””

*** it-1 p. 224 Azariah ***
14. A high priest, son of Johanan, descendant of Aaron. (1Ch 6:1-10) When King Uzziah presumptuously attempted to offer incense in the temple, perhaps it was this Azariah who then ordered him out, and when he resisted, Jehovah struck the king with leprosy. (2Ch 26:16-21)

(2 CHRONICLES 26:19)

“But Uz•ziʹah, who had a censer in his hand to burn incense, became enraged; and during his rage against the priests, leprosy broke out on his forehead in the presence of the priests in the house of Jehovah next to the altar of incense.”

*** nwt p. 1698 Glossary ***
Fire holders. Utensils made of gold, silver, or copper, used at the tabernacle and the temple for burning incense and for removing coals from the sacrificial altar and burnt lampwicks from the golden lampstand. They were also called censers.—Ex 37:23; 2Ch 26:19; Heb 9:4.

*** it-1 p. 849 Forehead ***
When King Uzziah presumptuously and illegally usurped a priest’s duties in attempting to offer incense upon the altar of incense in the temple of Jehovah, his sin and Jehovah’s judgment were plainly and immediately made manifest by leprosy flashing up in his forehead.—2Ch 26:16, 19, 20.

(2 CHRONICLES 26:20)

“When Az•a•riʹah the chief priest and all the priests turned toward him, they saw that he had been stricken with leprosy in his forehead! So they rushed him out of there, and he himself hurried out, because Jehovah had struck him.”

*** nwt p. 1695 Glossary ***
Chief priest. An alternate term for “high priest” in the Hebrew Scriptures. In the Christian Greek Scriptures, the expression “chief priests” evidently denoted the principal men of the priesthood, possibly including any deposed high priests and the heads of the 24 priestly divisions.—2Ch 26:20; Ezr 7:5; Mt 2:4; Mr 8:31.

(2 CHRONICLES 26:23)

“Then Uz•ziʹah 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.” And his son Joʹtham became king in his place.”

*** it-1 p. 379 Burial, Burial Places ***
Leprous King Uzziah was buried “with his forefathers, but in the burial field that belonged to the kings, for they said: ‘He is a leper.’” This would seem to indicate the placement of his diseased body in the ground rather than in a tomb hewed out of rock.—2Ch 26:23.

*** it-2 p. 1146 Uzziah ***
Concerning his death and burial, 2 Chronicles 26:23 reports: “Finally Uzziah lay down with his forefathers; and so they buried him with his forefathers, but in the burial field that belonged to the kings, for they said: ‘He is a leper.’” This may mean that, because of his leprosy, Uzziah was buried in the ground of a field connected with the royal cemetery instead of being placed in a rock-hewn tomb.
A limestone plaque, found at Jerusalem and thought to date from the first century C.E., bears the following inscription: “Hither were brought the bones of Uzziah, king of Judah. Not to be opened.”—PICTURE, Vol. 1, p. 960.

(2 CHRONICLES 27:3)

“He built the upper gate of Jehovah’s house, and he did much building on the wall of Oʹphel.”

*** it-1 p. 897 Gate, Gateway ***
“Upper gate of the house of Jehovah.” This may have been a gate leading to the inner court, possibly “the new gate of Jehovah,” where Jeremiah was tried; also where Jeremiah’s secretary Baruch read the scroll before the people. (Jer 26:10; 36:10) Jeremiah may have called it “the new gate” because it had not been so anciently built as the others; possibly it was “the upper gate of the house of Jehovah” built by King Jotham.—2Ki 15:32, 35; 2Ch 27:3.

(2 CHRONICLES 27:5)

“He waged war against the king of the Amʹmon•ites and eventually prevailed against them, so that the Amʹmon•ites gave him in that year 100 silver talents, 10,000 cor measures of wheat, and 10,000 of barley. The Amʹmon•ites also paid this to him in the second and third years.”

*** it-1 p. 94 Ammonites ***
The strong government of Uzziah (829-778 B.C.E.) once more made the Ammonites tributaries of Judah (2Ch 26:8), and Uzziah’s son Jotham reimposed this dominance over Ammon, exacting from them 100 silver talents ($660,600) and 10,000 cor measures (2,200 kl; 62,500 bu) of wheat and 10,000 of barley. (2Ch 27:5) The ability of the Ammonites to pay this large sum during three successive years may have been due to their favorable position along one of the major trade routes from Arabia to Damascus and to the relative fertility of the Jabbok Valley region, wheat and barley still being principal products in this area.

*** it-1 p. 256 Barley ***
King Jotham of Judah exacted tribute of the king of Ammon that included 10,000 cor measures (2,200 kl; 62,500 bu) of barley. (2Ch 27:5)

(2 CHRONICLES 27:7)

“As for the rest of the history of Joʹtham, all his wars and his ways, it is written in the Book of the Kings of Israel and of Judah.”

*** w09 3/15 p. 32 Questions From Readers ***
On the other hand, certain references may be to books that have names similar to books of the Bible but that are not actually part of the Bible. We might illustrate this with four ancient books: “the book of the affairs of the times of the kings of Judah,” “the Book of the Kings of Judah and of Israel,” “the Book of the Kings of Israel,” and “the Book of the Kings of Israel and of Judah.” While those names may sound similar to the names of the Bible books we know as 1 Kings and 2 Kings, the four books were not inspired, nor do those books find a place in the Bible canon. (1 Ki. 14:29; 2 Chron. 16:11; 20:34; 27:7) They were likely just historical writings available back in the period when the prophet Jeremiah and Ezra wrote the accounts that we have in the Bible.

(2 CHRONICLES 28:1)

“Aʹhaz was 20 years old when he became king, and he reigned for 16 years in Jerusalem. He did not do what was right in Jehovah’s eyes as David his forefather had done.”

*** it-1 p. 61 Ahaz ***
1. The son of King Jotham of Judah. Ahaz began to reign at the age of 20 and continued for 16 years.—2Ki 16:2; 2Ch 28:1.
Since Ahaz’ son Hezekiah was 25 when he began to reign, this would mean that Ahaz was less than 12 years old when fathering him. (2Ki 18:1, 2) Whereas puberty in males is usually reached between the ages of 12 and 15 in temperate climates, it may come earlier in warmer climates. Marriage customs also vary. Zeitschrift für Semitistik und verwandte Gebiete (edited by E. Littmann, Leipzig, 1927, Vol. 5, p. 132) reported that child marriage is frequent in the Promised Land even in modern times, one case being cited of two brothers aged 8 and 12 who were married, the wife of the older attending school with her husband. However, one Hebrew manuscript, the Syriac Peshitta, and some manuscripts of the Greek Septuagint at 2 Chronicles 28:1 give “twenty-five years” as the age of Ahaz when beginning to reign.

(2 CHRONICLES 28:15)

“Then the men who had been designated by name rose up and took hold of the captives, and they provided clothes from the spoil for all those among them who were naked. So they clothed them and gave them sandals, food and drink, and oil for their skin. Furthermore, they transported the feeble on donkeys and brought them to their brothers in Jerʹi•cho, the city of palm trees. After that they returned to Sa•marʹi•a.”

*** it-1 p. 113 Anointed, Anointing ***
Greasing the head with oil was a sign of favor. (Ps 23:5) The headmen of Ephraim took favorable action toward the captured Judean soldiers by greasing them and returning them to Jericho, as advised by the prophet Oded. (2Ch 28:15)

(2 CHRONICLES 28:16)

“At that time King Aʹhaz asked the kings of As•syrʹi•a for help.”

*** it-2 p. 1102 Tiglath-pileser (III) ***
At 2 Chronicles 28:16 Ahaz is spoken of as sending “to the kings of Assyria for them to help him.” While the plural “kings,” occurring in the Hebrew Masoretic text, appears in the singular (“king”) in the Septuagint and in other ancient manuscripts, there are modern translations that favor the Hebrew plural. (JP, NW) Some scholars view the plural here as merely indicating the sum of majesty and greatness ascribed to the one monarch (Tiglath-pileser III) as the “king of kings.” Yet attention is also called to the boastful claim of the Assyrian monarch recorded at Isaiah 10:8: “Are not my princes at the same time kings?” It is thus possible that the reference to “Pul the king of Assyria” (2Ki 15:19) may also be applied in the sense of his being the ruler of an Assyrian province prior to becoming head of the entire empire.

(2 CHRONICLES 28:20)

“King Tilʹgath-pil•neʹser of As•syrʹi•a eventually came against him and caused him distress rather than strengthening him.”

*** it-1 p. 62 Ahaz ***
Vassalage to Assyria, and Death. Rather than put faith in Jehovah, however, Ahaz, out of fear of the Syro-Israelite conspiracy, chose the shortsighted policy of bribing Tiglath-pileser III of Assyria to come to his aid. (Isa 7:2-6; 8:12) Whatever relief the ambitious Assyrian king now brought to Ahaz by smashing Syria and Israel was only temporary. In the end it “caused him distress, and did not strengthen him” (2Ch 28:20), since Ahaz had now brought the heavy yoke of Assyria on Judah.

Jan. 4 Bible reading: 2 Chronicles 29-32


(2 CHRONICLES 29:6)

“For our fathers have been unfaithful and have done what was bad in the eyes of Jehovah our God. They abandoned him and turned their faces away from the tabernacle of Jehovah and turned their back on him.”

*** it-1 p. 802 Face ***
‘Turning the face away’ may display insulting indifference or contempt. (2Ch 29:6; Jer 2:27; 32:33)

(2 CHRONICLES 29:10)

“Now it is my heart’s desire to make a covenant with Jehovah the God of Israel, so that his burning anger may turn away from us.”

*** it-1 p. 1103 Hezekiah ***
Then, calling together the priests and Levites, he said to them: “It is close to my heart to conclude a covenant with Jehovah the God of Israel.” This was a covenant of faithfulness, as though the Law covenant, still in effect but neglected, was inaugurated anew in Judah. With great energy he proceeded to organize the Levites in their services, and he reestablished the arrangements for musical instruments and singing of praises. It was Nisan, the month for Passover to be celebrated, but the temple and the priests and Levites were unclean. By the 16th day of Nisan, the temple was cleansed and its utensils restored. Then a special atonement had to be made for all Israel. First, the princes brought sacrifices, sin offerings for the kingdom, the sanctuary, and the people, followed by thousands of burnt offerings by the people.—2Ch 29:1-36.

(2 CHRONICLES 29:27)

“Then Hez•e•kiʹah ordered that the burnt sacrifice be offered on the altar. When the burnt offering started, the song of Jehovah started and also the trumpets, following the direction of the instruments of King David of Israel.”

*** it-2 p. 452 Music ***
After the temple music organization was established, it is likely that the rest of the instruments joined the trumpets on these and other special occasions. This conclusion, as well as the musical procedure followed, seems to be indicated by the order of events described as taking place when sacred services were revived by King Hezekiah after he had cleansed the temple: “At the time that the burnt offering started, the song of Jehovah started and also the trumpets, even under the direction of the instruments of David the king of Israel. And all the congregation were bowing down while the song was resounding and the trumpets were blaring—all this until the burnt offering was finished.” (2Ch 29:27, 28) The trumpets’ being “under the direction of the instruments of David” seems to denote that the trumpeters played in such a manner as to complement the other instruments rather than to overshadow them. The position of the entire body of musicians was “to the east of the altar.”—2Ch 5:12.

(2 CHRONICLES 30:2)

“However, the king, his princes, and the whole congregation in Jerusalem decided to observe the Passover in the second month,”

*** si p. 83 par. 28 Bible Book Number 14—2 Chronicles ***
28 A tremendous Passover is planned, but since there is no time to prepare it in the first month, a provision of the Law is taken advantage of, and it is celebrated in the second month of the first year of Hezekiah’s reign. (2 Chron. 30:2, 3; Num. 9:10, 11)

(2 CHRONICLES 30:5)

“So they decided to make an announcement throughout Israel, from Beʹer-sheʹba to Dan, that the people should come and observe the Passover to Jehovah the God of Israel at Jerusalem, for as a group they had not observed it according to what is written.”

*** it-1 p. 277 Beer-sheba ***
Beer-sheba came to stand for the southernmost point in describing the length of the Promised Land, as expressed in the proverbial phrase “from Dan down to Beer-sheba” (Jg 20:1), or, in a converse direction, “from Beer-sheba to Dan.” (1Ch 21:2; 2Ch 30:5) After the division of the nation into two kingdoms, Beer-sheba continued to be used to indicate the southern extremity of the kingdom of Judah in the expressions “from Geba as far as Beer-sheba” (2Ki 23:8) and “from Beer-sheba to the mountainous region of Ephraim” (where the northern kingdom of Israel began). (2Ch 19:4) In postexilic times the expression was used in a yet more limited form to refer to the area occupied by the repatriated men of Judah, extending from Beer-sheba “clear to the valley of Hinnom.”—Ne 11:27, 30.
In reality, there were other towns of the Promised Land that lay to the S of Beer-sheba, even as there were Israelite towns N of Dan. However, both Dan and Beer-sheba were situated at natural frontiers of the land. In the case of Beer-sheba, its position was below the mountains of Judah on the edge of the desert. Additionally, it was one of the principal cities of Judah (along with Jerusalem and Hebron), and this was not only because it had an excellent supply of water as compared with the surrounding region, thus allowing for both farming and grazing of herds and flocks, but also because important roads converged on it from several directions. From Egypt an ancient route led up by the “Way of the Wells” through Kadesh-barnea to Beer-sheba, being joined by another road over which traveled the camel caravans from the “Spice Kingdoms” of the Arabian Peninsula, heading for Philistia or Judah. From Ezion-geber, at the head of the Gulf of ʽAqaba, another route led up through the Arabah and then turned W, climbing the Ascent of Akrabbim to Beer-sheba. At Gaza, in the Philistine Plain, a road branching from the highway led SE to Beer-sheba. And, connecting it with the rest of Judah, a road ran from Beer-sheba to the NE, climbing the plateau up into the mountains of Judah to Jerusalem and points farther N.—Ge 22:19.

(2 CHRONICLES 30:6)

“Then the couriers went throughout all Israel and Judah with the letters from the king and his princes, as the king had commanded, saying: “People of Israel, return to Jehovah the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Israel, so that he may return to the remnant who escaped out of the hand of the kings of As•syrʹi•a.”

*** it-1 p. 516 Courier ***
COURIER
A man especially selected from the royal bodyguard to deliver royal decrees and other urgent correspondence from a king to distant areas of his realm. The speed of delivery by couriers (Heb., ra•tsimʹ; literally, runners) was of prime importance. From early times such men were referred to as “runners.” They are called this at 2 Chronicles 30:6, 10; Jeremiah 51:31.

(2 CHRONICLES 30:10)

“So the couriers went from city to city throughout the land of Eʹphra•im and Ma•nasʹseh, even to Zebʹu•lun, but the people were making fun of them and mocking them.”

*** it-1 p. 516 Courier ***
COURIER
A man especially selected from the royal bodyguard to deliver royal decrees and other urgent correspondence from a king to distant areas of his realm. The speed of delivery by couriers (Heb., ra•tsimʹ; literally, runners) was of prime importance. From early times such men were referred to as “runners.” They are called this at 2 Chronicles 30:6, 10; Jeremiah 51:31.

(2 CHRONICLES 30:11)

“However, some individuals from Ashʹer, Ma•nasʹseh, and Zebʹu•lun humbled themselves and came to Jerusalem.”

*** it-1 p. 1103 Hezekiah ***
Since the people’s uncleanness prevented their observance of the Passover at the regular time, Hezekiah took advantage of the law that allowed those who are unclean to celebrate the Passover one month later. He called not only Judah but also Israel by means of letters sent by runners throughout the land from Beer-sheba to Dan. The runners met with derision from many; but individuals, particularly from Asher, Manasseh, and Zebulun, humbled themselves to come, some from Ephraim and Issachar also attending. Besides this, many non-Israelite worshipers of Jehovah were on hand. It was likely a difficult matter for those in the northern kingdom who stood for true worship to attend. They, like the messengers, would meet opposition and ridicule, inasmuch as the ten-tribe kingdom was in a decadent state, sunk in false worship and harassed by the Assyrian menace.—2Ch 30:1-20; Nu 9:10-13.

(2 CHRONICLES 30:13)

“A multitude of people gathered together at Jerusalem to observe the Festival of Unleavened Bread in the second month; it was a very large congregation.”

*** it-1 p. 827 Festival of Unfermented Cakes ***
In the other two instances the circumstances are outstanding. One is the revival of the observance of the Festival of Unfermented Cakes, after a time of neglect. This revival was during the first year of faithful King Hezekiah’s reign. Interestingly, in this case there was not enough time to prepare for the annual festival on Nisan 15, because the work of cleaning and repairing the temple took until Nisan 16. So, advantage was taken of the Law to celebrate the festival during the second month. (2Ch 29:17; 30:13, 21, 22; Nu 9:10, 11)

(2 CHRONICLES 30:23)

“Then all the congregation decided to observe it for seven more days, so they observed it for seven more days with rejoicing.”

*** it-1 p. 827 Festival of Unfermented Cakes ***
It was such a joyous occasion and resulted in such a religious revival that the celebration of seven days proved to be just too short, and so another seven days were set aside. King Hezekiah and his princes contributed generously, giving 2,000 bulls and 17,000 sheep to supply food for the multitudes attending.—2Ch 30:23, 24.

(2 CHRONICLES 31:1)

“As soon as they had finished all of this, all the Israelites who were present went out to the cities of Judah, and they smashed the sacred pillars, cut down the sacred poles, and tore down the high places and the altars throughout Judah and Benjamin, as well as in Eʹphra•im and Ma•nasʹseh, until they had destroyed them completely, after which all the Israelites returned to their cities, each one to his own possession.”

*** it-1 p. 1103 Hezekiah ***
That this was a real restoration and revival of true worship and not merely a transient emotional gathering is seen in what followed. Before their return home the celebrants went out and destroyed the sacred pillars, pulled down the high places and the altars, and cut down the sacred poles throughout Judah and Benjamin and even in Ephraim and Manasseh. (2Ch 31:1)

(2 CHRONICLES 31:5)

“As soon as the order was issued, the Israelites gave in great quantities the firstfruits of the grain, new wine, oil, and honey, and of all the produce of the field; they brought in abundantly the tenth of everything.”

*** it-1 p. 1135 Honey, Honeycomb ***
Since most of the honey used by the Israelites was wild honey, not a cultivated crop, the “honey” offered as firstfruits when Hezekiah motivated the people to support the priesthood was undoubtedly the juice or syrup of fruits.—2Ch 31:5.

(2 CHRONICLES 32:4)

“Many people were gathered together, and they stopped up all the springs and the stream that flowed through the land, saying: “Why should the kings of As•syrʹi•a come and find plenty of water?””

*** it-1 pp. 941-942 Gihon ***
When Assyrian attack became imminent in Hezekiah’s reign (732 B.C.E.), King Hezekiah took measures to ensure that Jerusalem’s supply of water would not fall into the hands of the enemy. (2Ch 32:2-4) However, possibly with reference to another time, the record at 2 Chronicles 32:30 shows that he shut off the flow of the Gihon through its previous channel and diverted the waters to the western side of “the City of David,” well within Jerusalem’s fortifications.

*** it-1 p. 1104 Hezekiah ***
In the face of imminent attack by greedy Sennacherib, Hezekiah displayed wisdom and military strategy. He stopped up all the springs and water sources outside the city of Jerusalem so that, in the event of a siege, the Assyrians would be short on water supplies.

*** it-2 p. 43 Jerusalem ***
Hezekiah had readied the city for a siege. He stopped up the water sources outside the city to hide them and make things difficult for the enemy, strengthened the walls, and fortified them. (2Ch 32:2-5, 27-30) It would seem that “the conduit” for bringing water into the city from the spring of Gihon was already constructed at this time, possibly being a peacetime project. (2Ki 20:20; 2Ch 32:30) If, as believed, it was the conduit that includes the tunnel cut through the side of the Kidron Valley with its termination at the Pool of Siloam in the Tyropoeon Valley, then it was no minor project to be completed in a few days. (See ARCHAEOLOGY [Palestine and Syria]; GIHON No. 2.)

(2 CHRONICLES 32:5)

“Furthermore, with determination he rebuilt the entire broken-down wall and raised towers on it, and outside he made another wall. He also repaired the Mound of the City of David, and he made a large number of weapons and shields.”

*** w97 6/15 p. 11 Jerusalem in Bible Times—What Does Archaeology Reveal? ***
Yes, in 1969, Professor Nahman Avigad discovered remains from this period. Excavations revealed a section of a massive wall, the first part being 130 feet [40 m] long, 23 feet [7 m] wide, and, according to estimates, 27 feet [8 m] high. The wall stood partly on bedrock and partly on recently built houses. Who built the wall and when? “Two passages in the Bible helped Avigad pinpoint the date and purpose of the wall,” an archaeological magazine reports. These passages read: “Furthermore, he took courage and built up all the broken-down wall and raised towers upon it, and on the outside another wall.” (2 Chronicles 32:5) “You will also pull down the houses to make the wall unattainable.” (Isaiah 22:10) Today visitors can see part of this so-called Broad Wall in the Jewish Quarter of the Old City.

*** it-1 p. 171 Arms, Armor ***
The smaller “shield” or “buckler” (Heb., ma•ghenʹ) was customarily carried by archers and is usually associated with light weapons such as the bow. For instance, it was carried by Benjaminite bowmen of Judean King Asa’s military force. (2Ch 14:8) The smaller shield was usually round and more common than the large shield, probably being used chiefly in hand-to-hand fighting. That the Hebrew tsin•nahʹ and ma•ghenʹ differed considerably in size seems to be indicated by the gold shields Solomon made, the large shield being overlaid with four times as much gold as the smaller shield, or buckler. (1Ki 10:16, 17; 2Ch 9:15, 16) Ma•ghenʹ, like tsin•nahʹ, seems to be used as part of a formula for weapons of war.—2Ch 14:8; 17:17; 32:5.

*** it-1 p. 894 Gate, Gateway ***
Fish Gate. Hezekiah apparently built a part of the wall around the second quarter as far as the Fish Gate. (2Ch 32:5; 33:14)

(2 CHRONICLES 32:8)

“With him is an arm of flesh, but with us is Jehovah our God to help us and to fight our battles.” And the people were strengthened by the words of King Hez•e•kiʹah of Judah.”

*** it-1 p. 168 Arm ***
The arm of flesh, representing human power, is described in the Bible as unreliable and failing the one trusting in it. Jehovah warns his people of the fallacy and disaster of trusting in the human arm. (2Ch 32:8; Jer 17:5)

(2 CHRONICLES 32:9)

“After this, while King Sen•nachʹer•ib of As•syrʹi•a was at Laʹchish with all his imperial might, he sent his servants to Jerusalem, to King Hez•e•kiʹah of Judah and to all the Ju•deʹans in Jerusalem, saying:”

*** it-1 p. 148 Archaeology ***
Nineveh, Assyria’s capital, was the site of excavations that unearthed the immense palace of Sennacherib, containing about 70 rooms, with sculptured slabs lining over 3,000 m (nearly 10,000 ft) of the walls. One depicted Judean prisoners being led into captivity following the fall of Lachish in 732 B.C.E. (2Ki 18:13-17; 2Ch 32:9; PICTURE, Vol. 1, p. 952)

(2 CHRONICLES 32:21)

“Then Jehovah sent an angel and wiped out every mighty warrior, leader, and chief in the camp of the king of As•syrʹi•a, so that he went back to his own land in disgrace. He later entered the house of his god, and there some of his own sons struck him down with the sword.”

*** w93 6/1 p. 6 A Lost Empire That Embarrassed Bible Critics ***
And why was Sennacherib unable to boast about conquering the Judean capital, Jerusalem, in the way he boasted of his conquest of the Judean fortress Lachish? Three Bible writers give the answer. One of them, an eyewitness, wrote: “The angel of Jehovah proceeded to go forth and strike down a hundred and eighty-five thousand in the camp of the Assyrians. When people rose up early in the morning, why, there all of them were dead carcasses. Hence Sennacherib the king of Assyria pulled away and went and returned and took up dwelling in Nineveh.”—Isaiah 37:36, 37; 2 Kings 19:35; 2 Chronicles 32:21.
In his book Treasures From Bible Times, Millard concludes: “There is no good reason to doubt this report . . . Understandably, Sennacherib would not record such a disaster for his successors to read, for it would discredit him.” Instead, Sennacherib tried to create the impression that his Judean invasion had been a success and that Hezekiah continued in submission, sending the tribute to Nineveh.

*** it-2 p. 895 Sennacherib ***
Sennacherib’s death is considered to have come some 20 years after his campaign against Jerusalem. This figure is dependent on Assyrian and Babylonian records, their reliability being subject to question. At any rate, it should be noted that the Bible account does not state that Sennacherib’s death occurred immediately upon his return to Nineveh. “Later on he entered the house of his god” Nisroch, and his sons, Adrammelech and Sharezer, “struck him down with the sword,” escaping to the land of Ararat. (2Ch 32:21; Isa 37:37, 38) An inscription of his son and successor, Esar-haddon, confirms this.—Ancient Records of Assyria and Babylonia, by D. Luckenbill, 1927, Vol. II, pp. 200, 201; see ESAR-HADDON.

(2 CHRONICLES 32:23)

“And many brought gifts to Jehovah at Jerusalem and choice things to King Hez•e•kiʹah of Judah, and he was greatly respected by all the nations after that.”

*** ip-1 chap. 29 p. 396 A King’s Faith Is Rewarded ***
After Sennacherib’s defeat, surrounding nations brought gifts of gold, silver, and other precious things to Hezekiah. At 2 Chronicles 32:22, 23, 27, we read that “Hezekiah came to have riches and glory to a very great amount” and that “he came to be exalted in the eyes of all the nations.” These gifts may have allowed him to replenish his treasure-house, which he had emptied when paying tribute to the Assyrians.

(2 CHRONICLES 32:25)

“But Hez•e•kiʹah did not respond appreciatively to the good done to him, for his heart became haughty, bringing indignation against him and against Judah and Jerusalem.”

*** w05 10/15 p. 25 par. 20 Beware of Developing a Haughty Heart ***
20 You can contrast that with the example of King Hezekiah. On one occasion, that king’s excellent record was in danger of being spoiled because “his heart became haughty.” Happily, “Hezekiah humbled himself for the haughtiness of his heart” and regained God’s favor. (2 Chronicles 32:25, 26) Notice that the cure for Hezekiah’s haughtiness was humility. Yes, humility is the opposite of haughtiness. Therefore, in the next article, we will consider how we can cultivate and maintain Christian humility.

*** it-1 pp. 1044-1045 Haughtiness ***
At one time good King Hezekiah became, for a brief period, haughty in heart, and his haughtiness evidently infected the people he ruled. He had been exalted in rulership because of Jehovah’s blessing, but he failed to appreciate and to recognize that all credit should have gone to God. The chronicler writes of him: “But according to the benefit rendered him Hezekiah made no return, for his heart became haughty and there came to be indignation against him and against Judah and Jerusalem.” Happily, he recovered from this dangerous attitude. The account continues: “However, Hezekiah humbled himself for the haughtiness of his heart, he and the inhabitants of Jerusalem, and Jehovah’s indignation did not come upon them in the days of Hezekiah.”—2Ch 32:25, 26; compare Isa 3:16-24; Eze 28:2, 5, 17.

*** it-1 p. 1105 Hezekiah ***
Hezekiah’s Mistake and Repentance. The Scripture record states that “according to the benefit rendered him Hezekiah made no return, for his heart became haughty and there came to be indignation against him and against Judah and Jerusalem.” (2Ch 32:25) The Bible does not say whether or not this haughtiness was connected with his unwise act in showing the entire treasure of his house and all his dominion to the messengers of the Babylonian king Berodach-baladan (Merodach-baladan) who were sent to Hezekiah after he recovered from his illness. Hezekiah may have displayed all this wealth to impress the king of Babylon as a possible ally against the king of Assyria. This, of course, could tend to excite the greed of the Babylonians. The prophet Isaiah was against any alliance with or dependence on God’s age-old enemy Babylon. When Isaiah heard how Hezekiah had treated the Babylonian messengers, he uttered the inspired prophecy from Jehovah that the Babylonians in time would carry away everything to Babylon, including some of Hezekiah’s descendants. Hezekiah, however, humbled himself and God kindly allowed that the calamity would not come in his days.—2Ki 20:12-19; 2Ch 32:26, 31; Isa 39:1-8.

(2 CHRONICLES 32:26)

“However, Hez•e•kiʹah humbled himself for the haughtiness of his heart, he and the inhabitants of Jerusalem, and Jehovah’s indignation did not come upon them in the days of Hez•e•kiʹah.”

*** ip-1 chap. 29 p. 397 par. 30 A King’s Faith Is Rewarded ***
30 Apparently referring to the incident in which Hezekiah showed his treasure to the Babylonians, 2 Chronicles 32:26 states: “Hezekiah humbled himself for the haughtiness of his heart, he and the inhabitants of Jerusalem, and Jehovah’s indignation did not come upon them in the days of Hezekiah.”

(2 CHRONICLES 32:27)

“And Hez•e•kiʹah came to have vast riches and glory; and he made storehouses for himself for silver, gold, precious stones, balsam oil, shields, and for all the desirable articles.”

*** ip-1 chap. 29 p. 396 A King’s Faith Is Rewarded ***
After Sennacherib’s defeat, surrounding nations brought gifts of gold, silver, and other precious things to Hezekiah. At 2 Chronicles 32:22, 23, 27, we read that “Hezekiah came to have riches and glory to a very great amount” and that “he came to be exalted in the eyes of all the nations.” These gifts may have allowed him to replenish his treasure-house, which he had emptied when paying tribute to the Assyrians.

(2 CHRONICLES 32:30)

“It was Hez•e•kiʹah who stopped up the upper source of the waters of Giʹhon and directed them straight down to the west to the City of David, and Hez•e•kiʹah was successful in every work of his.”

*** gl p. 21 Jerusalem and the Temple of Solomon ***
Gihon
Later water tunnel

*** gl p. 20 Jerusalem and the Temple of Solomon ***
King Hezekiah stopped up this spring and built a tunnel to a pool on the west side.—2Ch 32:4, 30.

*** w97 6/15 pp. 9-10 Jerusalem in Bible Times—What Does Archaeology Reveal? ***
Other questions have been raised about the famous Siloam Tunnel, likely dug by King Hezekiah’s engineers in the eighth century B.C.E. and referred to at 2 Kings 20:20 and 2 Chronicles 32:30. How could the two teams of tunnelers, digging from opposite ends, manage to meet? Why did they choose a serpentine path, making the tunnel considerably longer than a straight one? How did they get enough air to breathe, especially since they would likely have used oil-burning lamps?
The magazine Biblical Archaeology Review has offered possible answers to such questions. Dan Gill, a geological consultant of the excavation, is quoted as saying: “Underlying the City of David is a well-developed natural karst system. Karst is a geological term that describes an irregular region of sinks, caverns and channels caused by groundwater as it seeps and flows through underground rock formations. . . . Our geological examination of the subterranean waterworks beneath the City of David indicates that they were fashioned essentially by skillful human enlargement of natural (karstic) dissolution channels and shafts that were integrated into functional water supply systems.”
This may help to explain how the Siloam Tunnel was excavated. It could have followed the winding course of a natural channel under the hill. Teams working from each end could have dug a provisional tunnel by altering existing caverns. Then a sloping channel was dug for the water to flow from the Gihon spring to the Pool of Siloam, which probably was located inside the city walls. This was a real engineering feat as the height difference between the two ends is only 12.5 inches [32 cm], despite its length of 1,749 feet [533 m].

*** w96 8/15 pp. 5-6 Practical Lessons From the Promised Land ***
Jerusalem drew a supply of water from the Pool of Siloam. However, during the eighth century B.C.E., in anticipation of a siege by the Assyrians, King Hezekiah built an outer wall to protect the Pool of Siloam, enclosing it within the city. He also stopped up the springs outside the city, so that the besieging Assyrians would be hard-pressed to find water for themselves. (2 Chronicles 32:2-5; Isaiah 22:11) That is not all. Hezekiah found a way to divert an extra supply of water right into Jerusalem!
In what has been called one of the great engineering feats of antiquity, Hezekiah dug a tunnel from the spring of Gihon all the way to the Pool of Siloam. Averaging 6 feet [1.8 m] in height, this tunnel was 1,749 feet [533 m] long. Just imagine it—a tunnel almost a third of a mile [half a kilometer] long, cut through rock! Today, some 2,700 years later, visitors to Jerusalem can wade through this masterpiece of engineering, commonly known as Hezekiah’s tunnel.—2 Kings 20:20; 2 Chronicles 32:30.
Hezekiah’s efforts to protect and increase Jerusalem’s water supply can teach us a practical lesson. Jehovah is “the source of living water.” (Jeremiah 2:13) His thoughts, contained in the Bible, are life-sustaining. That is why personal Bible study is essential. But opportunity for study, and the resulting knowledge, will not simply flow to you. You may have to ‘dig tunnels,’ such as through your hard-packed daily routine, to make room for it. (Proverbs 2:1-5; Ephesians 5:15, 16) Once you have begun, stick to your schedule, giving high priority to your personal study. Be careful not to let anyone or anything rob you of this precious water supply.—Philippians 1:9, 10.

*** g96 6/8 p. 29 Watching the World ***
Tunnel Mystery Hypothesis
Archaeologists have long wondered why Hezekiah’s tunnel, excavated during the eighth century B.C.E. to assure water for Jerusalem when besieged by the Assyrian army, followed such a haphazard, meandering course. A straight, more efficient route would have taken only 1,050 feet [320 m] of digging, instead of the 1,748 feet [533 m] the tunnel took. An inscription, written in ancient Hebrew, was found on the tunnel wall in 1880. It explained how two teams of workers started at opposite ends of the rock-hewn tunnel and met in the middle. This raised the additional question of how they managed to do so, considering the tunnel’s wandering route. Geologists now feel they have the answer. According to Dan Gill of the Geological Survey of Israel, the workers followed and widened natural channels formed by water traversing through the rock where cracks occurred under seismic stresses or where different layers met. Over time, these could become quite broad in places, which may explain why the tunnel height varies from 5.5 feet [1.7 m] to as much as 16 feet [5 m] and also how the workers, using oil lamps, could get enough air. The workers were skillful as well, for the success of the tunnel depended on having a slightly descending slope—a mere 12.5 inches [31.75 cm] over the entire course.

*** it-1 p. 151 Archaeology ***
One tunnel, known as the Siloam Tunnel, averaged 1.8 m (6 ft) in height and was cut through rock for a distance of some 533 m (1,749 ft) from Gihon to the Pool of Siloam in the Tyropoeon Valley (within the city). It thus seems to be the project of King Hezekiah described at 2 Kings 20:20 and 2 Chronicles 32:30.

*** it-1 p. 592 David, City of ***
Hezekiah also diverted the waters of the Gihon spring, bringing them over to the W side of the City of David, evidently by means of the rock-cut tunnel that has been discovered connecting that spring with the Pool of Siloam on the SW slope of the spur. (2Ch 32:30)

*** it-1 p. 942 Gihon ***
However, possibly with reference to another time, the record at 2 Chronicles 32:30 shows that he shut off the flow of the Gihon through its previous channel and diverted the waters to the western side of “the City of David,” well within Jerusalem’s fortifications. Evidence of the manner in which this was accomplished came to light in 1880 C.E. when an inscription was found carved in the wall of a water tunnel terminating in what is presently known as the Pool of Siloam on the W side of the old “City of David.” The inscription, in early Hebrew script regarded as dating from the eighth century B.C.E., described the excavation of the tunnel through solid rock by the two teams of men working toward each other from opposite ends. When the tunnel was completely cleared in 1910, it was found to measure some 533 m (1,749 ft), with an average height of 1.8 m (6 ft) and at times narrowing to a width of only 0.5 m (20 in.). It seems evident that this remarkable engineering feat is the result of Hezekiah’s measures to protect and maintain Jerusalem’s water supply originating in the Gihon.

*** it-1 p. 1104 Hezekiah ***
One of the outstanding engineering feats of ancient times was the aqueduct of Hezekiah. It ran from the well of Gihon, E of the northern part of the City of David, in a rather irregular course, extending some 533 m (1,749 ft) to the Pool of Siloam in the Tyropoeon Valley below the City of David but within a new wall added to the southern part of the city. (2Ki 20:20; 2Ch 32:30) An inscription in ancient Hebrew characters was found by archaeologists on the wall of the narrow tunnel, which had an average height of 1.8 m (6 ft). The inscription reads, in part: “And this was the way in which it was cut through:—While [. . . ] (were) still [. . . ] axe(s), each man toward his fellow, and while there were still three cubits to be cut through, [there was heard] the voice of a man calling to his fellow, for there was an overlap in the rock on the right [and on the left]. And when the tunnel was driven through, the quarrymen hewed (the rock), each man toward his fellow, axe against axe; and the water flowed from the spring toward the reservoir for 1,200 cubits, and the height of the rock above the head(s) of the quarrymen was 100 cubits.” (Ancient Near Eastern Texts, edited by J. B. Pritchard, 1974, p. 321) So the tunnel was cut through the rock from both ends, meeting in the middle—a real engineering accomplishment.

*** it-2 p. 43 Jerusalem ***
He stopped up the water sources outside the city to hide them and make things difficult for the enemy, strengthened the walls, and fortified them. (2Ch 32:2-5, 27-30) It would seem that “the conduit” for bringing water into the city from the spring of Gihon was already constructed at this time, possibly being a peacetime project. (2Ki 20:20; 2Ch 32:30) If, as believed, it was the conduit that includes the tunnel cut through the side of the Kidron Valley with its termination at the Pool of Siloam in the Tyropoeon Valley, then it was no minor project to be completed in a few days. (See ARCHAEOLOGY [Palestine and Syria]; GIHON No. 2.)

*** it-2 p. 651 Pool ***
Pools of Jerusalem. The general location of the ancient Pool of Siloam (Joh 9:7) is thought to be the present Birket Silwan, just SW of the City of David. Likely this is also the approximate location of King Hezekiah’s pool adjoining the conduit that he constructed to bring the waters of the spring of Gihon into Jerusalem.—2Ki 20:20; 2Ch 32:30.

*** it-2 p. 944 Siloam ***
Likely this is also the approximate site of King Hezekiah’s “pool” or reservoir adjoining the conduit he constructed to carry the waters of Gihon.—2Ki 20:20; 2Ch 32:30.

(2 CHRONICLES 32:31)

“However, when the spokesmen of the princes of Babylon were sent to ask him about the sign that had occurred in the land, the true God left him alone to put him to the test, to get to know all that was in his heart.”

*** it-2 p. 1044 Sun ***
The miracle performed could have involved the relationship between earth and sun, and if so, it could have been similar to the miracle recorded at Joshua 10:12-14. (See POWER, POWERFUL WORKS [Sun and moon stand still].) It appears that this portent had far-reaching effects, inasmuch as 2 Chronicles 32:24, 31 shows that messengers were sent from Babylon to Jerusalem to inquire about it.

(2 CHRONICLES 32:33)

“Then Hez•e•kiʹah was laid to rest with his forefathers, and they buried him in the ascent to the burial places of the sons of David; and all Judah and the inhabitants of Jerusalem honored him at his death. And his son Ma•nasʹseh became king in his place.”

*** it-1 p. 379 Burial, Burial Places ***
The location of these royal burial places has not been determined. On the basis of the reference to “the Burial Places of David” at Nehemiah 3:16 and the mention of “the ascent to the burial places of the sons of David” at 2 Chronicles 32:33, some believe the likely location to have been on the SE hill of the city near the Kidron Valley. A number of what appear to be ancient rock-cut tombs have been found in this area, their entrances being in the form of sunken rectangular shafts. However, no positive identification can be made; any effort at identification was complicated not only by the destruction of the city in the year 70 C.E. and again in 135 C.E. but also by the use of the southern part of the city by the Romans as a stone quarry. Hence, the above-mentioned tombs are in a greatly deteriorated state.

Jan. 11 Bible reading: 2 Chronicles 33-36


(2 CHRONICLES 33:3)

“He rebuilt the high places that his father Hez•e•kiʹah had torn down, he set up altars to the Baʹals and made sacred poles, and he bowed down to all the army of the heavens and served them.”

*** it-1 p. 229 Baal ***
There are indications that Baal and other gods and goddesses of the Canaanite pantheon were associated in the minds of their worshipers with certain heavenly bodies. For instance, one of the Ras Shamra texts mentions an offering to “Queen Shapash (the Sun) and to the stars,” and another alludes to “the army of the sun and the host of the day.”
It is, therefore, noteworthy that the Bible makes several references to the heavenly bodies in connection with Baal worship. Describing the wayward course of the kingdom of Israel, the Scriptural record states: “They kept leaving all the commandments of Jehovah . . . , and they began to bow down to all the army of the heavens and to serve Baal.” (2Ki 17:16) Concerning the kingdom of Judah, it is noted that right in the temple of Jehovah there came to be “utensils made for Baal and for the sacred pole and for all the army of the heavens.” Also, the people throughout Judah made “sacrificial smoke to Baal, to the sun and to the moon and to the constellations of the zodiac and to all the army of the heavens.”—2Ki 23:4, 5; 2Ch 33:3; see also Zep 1:4, 5.

(2 CHRONICLES 33:9)

“Ma•nasʹseh kept leading Judah and the inhabitants of Jerusalem astray, causing them to do worse than the nations that Jehovah had annihilated from before the Israelites.”

*** w86 10/1 p. 25 Child Sacrifice—Why So Detestable? ***
IN THE days of the Judean kings Ahaz and Manasseh, the nation of Israel fell into the snare of the degraded worship of neighbor nations. This included sacrificing their children to Molech. (2 Chronicles 28:3; 33:6, 9) Even though King Josiah later abolished many of “the detestable” practices, “Jehovah did not turn back from the great burning of his anger, with which his anger burned against Judah over all the offensive things with which Manasseh had made them offend.” (2 Kings 23:10, 26) Why? What made the transgression so “offensive” that it could not be forgiven?
“Child-sacrifice was a prominent feature of the worship of the Phenician Malik-Baal-Kronos,” says the Funk and Wagnalls Jewish Encyclopedia. The Phoenicians originally occupied the northern coastal regions of Canaan. Being a seafaring people, they established colonies throughout the Mediterranean, and wherever they went they took with them their detestable ritual of child sacrifice. A recent archaeological find at the ancient Phoenician city of Carthage (now a suburb of Tunis in Tunisia, North Africa) has shed some light on the depth of depravity of this practice.
The site was first discovered in 1921. But starting in the 1970’s, intensive excavation was done because of the expansion of the modern city toward the area. The dig turned out to be a huge burial ground for the remains of sacrificed children. The journal Biblical Archaeology Review reports:
“Here, from the eighth century B.C. until the second century B.C., mothers and fathers of Carthage buried the bones of their children sacrificed to the god Ba’al Hammon and to the goddess Tanit. By the fourth century B.C. the Tophet [from Biblical Topheth] may have been as large as 64,800 square feet (6,000 square meters), with nine levels of burials.”
Similar sites have been discovered in Sicily, in Sardinia, and elsewhere in Tunisia. At one time, all had been Phoenician colonies. In the Carthaginian burial ground, the researchers found numerous stone markers inscribed with figures of the goddess Tanit, who has been identified with the Canaanite goddess Ashtoreth, or Astarte, the wife of Baal. Underneath the markers are found earthen urns, some brightly decorated, that contain the charred bones of the sacrificial victims.
As an indication of the extent of the practice, the report says: “Using the density of urns in our excavated area as a standard, we estimate that as many as 20,000 urns may have been deposited there between 400 and 200 B.C.” This enormous number is made all the more shocking when one bears in mind that in its heyday the population of Carthage, according to the article, was only about 250,000.
Inscriptions on the stone markers show that children were sacrificed to fulfill vows their parents made to Baal or Tanit in exchange for favors. Ranks and titles on the markers indicate that the practice was particularly popular with the upper class, evidently to invoke the blessing of the gods on their efforts to achieve and maintain their wealth and influence. Some of the urns were found to contain the remains of two or three children, possibly of the same family, judging from the age differences.
If the practice of the Phoenicians is shocking, then remember that “Manasseh kept seducing Judah and the inhabitants of Jerusalem to do worse than the nations that Jehovah had annihilated from before the sons of Israel.” (2 Chronicles 33:9) It was no exaggeration when Jehovah said: “They have filled this place with the blood of the innocent ones.” (Jeremiah 19:4)

(2 CHRONICLES 33:11)

“So Jehovah brought against them the army chiefs of the king of As•syrʹi•a, and they captured Ma•nasʹseh with hooks and bound him with two copper fetters and took him to Babylon.”

*** w88 2/15 p. 28 Part 2—Cruel Assyria—The Second Great World Power ***
Esar-haddon, a younger son and successor of Sennacherib, is mentioned three times in the Bible—in Second Kings, Ezra, and Isaiah. The Bible records that the Assyrians captured Judah’s king Manasseh. Archaeologists have found an Assyrian list that includes “Manasseh king of Judah” among those who paid tribute to Esar-haddon.—2 Chronicles 33:11.

*** it-1 p. 62 Ahaz ***
With regard to the “sixty-five years” at Isaiah 7:8, which Isaiah prophesied would be the period within which Ephraim would be “shattered to pieces,” the Commentary on the Whole Bible (by Jamieson, Fausset, and Brown) states: “One deportation of Israel happened within one or two years from this time [the time of Isaiah’s prophecy], under Tiglath-pileser (2 Kings 15. 29). Another in the reign of Hoshea, under Shalmaneser (2 Kings 17. 1-6), was about twenty years after. But the final one which utterly ‘broke’ up Israel so as to be ‘not a people,’ accompanied by a colonization of Samaria with foreigners, was under Esar-haddon, who carried away Manasseh, king of Judah, also, in the twenty-second year of his reign, sixty-five years from the utterance of this prophecy (cf. Ezra 4.2, 3, 10, with 2 Kings 17.24; 2 Chronicles 33.11).”

*** it-1 p. 204 Assyria ***
Esar-haddon. During Manasseh’s reign (716-662 B.C.E.), Assyrian army chiefs were permitted by Jehovah to take this Judean king captive to Babylon (then under Assyrian control). (2Ch 33:11) Some think this may have been at the time of Esar-haddon’s victorious campaign against Egypt. At any rate, Menasi (Manasseh) of Judah is named in inscriptions as one of those paying tribute to Esar-haddon. Manasseh was later restored to Jerusalem. (2Ch 33:10-13)

*** it-1 p. 758 Esar-haddon ***
The record at 2 Chronicles 33:10-13 shows that Manasseh was captured by “the chiefs of the army that belonged to the king of Assyria” and taken to Babylon. In the past some have thought that this reference to Babylon was in error, considering Nineveh to be the place to which Manasseh would be taken. However, as has been seen, Esar-haddon, whose inscriptions show him to have been contemporaneous with Manasseh, had rebuilt Babylon and is said to have been “much less interested than any other Assyrian king in the embellishment of his capital, Nineveh.” (The Interpreter’s Dictionary of the Bible, edited by G. Buttrick, 1962, Vol. 2, p. 125) If it was during Esar-haddon’s reign that Manasseh was captured, there would be nothing incongruous about his being taken to Babylon, about whose restoration Esar-haddon so proudly boasted. It may be noted, however, that Esar-haddon’s son Ashurbanipal also makes reference to Manasseh as tributary during his reign.

(2 CHRONICLES 33:14)

“After this he built an outer wall for the City of David west of Giʹhon in the valley and as far as the Fish Gate, and he continued it around to Oʹphel, and he made it very high. Further, he appointed army chiefs in all the fortified cities in Judah.”

*** it-1 p. 894 Gate, Gateway ***
Fish Gate. Hezekiah apparently built a part of the wall around the second quarter as far as the Fish Gate. (2Ch 32:5; 33:14)

(2 CHRONICLES 33:20)

“Then Ma•nasʹseh was laid to rest with his forefathers, and they buried him at his house; and his son Aʹmon became king in his place.”

*** it-1 p. 378 Burial, Burial Places ***
The site might be near the person’s house, perhaps in a garden (1Sa 25:1; 1Ki 2:34; 2Ki 21:25, 26); the expression “at his house” does not mean within the building, as is shown by a comparison of 2 Chronicles 33:20 and 2 Kings 21:18.

(2 CHRONICLES 34:1)

“Jo•siʹah was eight years old when he became king, and he reigned for 31 years in Jerusalem.”

*** w05 12/1 p. 21 par. 6 Highlights From the Book of Second Chronicles ***
34:1-3. Any negative circumstances of childhood need not prevent us from coming to know God and serving him. A positive influence Josiah may have had during his early years could have come from his repentant grandfather, Manasseh. Whatever positive influences Josiah might have had eventually produced fine results. So it can be with us.

(2 CHRONICLES 34:2)

“He did what was right in Jehovah’s eyes and walked in the ways of David his forefather, and he did not deviate to the right or to the left.”

*** w05 12/1 p. 21 par. 6 Highlights From the Book of Second Chronicles ***
34:1-3. Any negative circumstances of childhood need not prevent us from coming to know God and serving him. A positive influence Josiah may have had during his early years could have come from his repentant grandfather, Manasseh. Whatever positive influences Josiah might have had eventually produced fine results. So it can be with us.

(2 CHRONICLES 34:3)

“In the 8th year of his reign, while he was still a boy, he started to search for the God of David his forefather; and in the 12th year, he started to cleanse Judah and Jerusalem of the high places and the sacred poles, the graven images, and the metal statues.”

*** w96 3/1 pp. 8-9 par. 3 “Keep Yourselves in Expectation of Me” ***
3 Noteworthy is the fact that, while Zephaniah proclaimed divine judgments against the civil “princes” of Judah (nobles, or tribal chiefs) and “the sons of the king,” he never mentioned the king himself in his criticism. (Zephaniah 1:8; 3:3) This suggests that young King Josiah had already shown a propensity for pure worship, although, in view of the situation decried by Zephaniah, obviously he had not yet started his religious reforms. All of this suggests that Zephaniah prophesied in Judah during the early years of Josiah, who reigned from 659 to 629 B.C.E. The energetic prophesying of Zephaniah undoubtedly heightened young Josiah’s awareness of the idolatry, violence, and corruption that prevailed in Judah at that time and encouraged his later campaign against idolatry.—2 Chronicles 34:1-3.

(2 CHRONICLES 34:14)

“While they were taking out the money that had been brought to the house of Jehovah, Hil•kiʹah the priest found the book of Jehovah’s Law given through Moses.”

*** it-1 p. 1118 Hilkiah ***
During the course of the temple repair work, Hilkiah found the very “book of Jehovah’s law by the hand of Moses.” What made the find outstanding was most likely the manuscript’s being the original book written by Moses. Hilkiah gave it to Shaphan the secretary, who took the manuscript to the king. Upon hearing Shaphan read the book, King Josiah dispatched a delegation headed by High Priest Hilkiah to Huldah the prophetess to inquire of Jehovah in behalf of the king and the people.—2Ki 22:3-14; 2Ch 34:14.

*** it-2 p. 117 Josiah ***
After King Josiah completed cleansing the land of Judah and while he was having Jehovah’s temple repaired, High Priest Hilkiah found “the book of Jehovah’s law by the hand of Moses,” doubtless the original copy.

*** it-2 p. 118 Josiah ***
2Ch 34:8-28;

*** it-2 p. 713 Public Reading ***
Centuries later Josiah read in the hearing of all the people “the book of Jehovah’s law by the hand of Moses” that Hilkiah the priest found during temple repair work, doubtless the original book of the Law written by Moses. (2Ki 23:2; 2Ch 34:14) The result was a national purge of demon worship.

(2 CHRONICLES 34:19)

“As soon as the king heard the words of the Law, he ripped his garments apart.”

*** w01 4/15 p. 27 You Can Succeed Regardless of Your Upbringing ***
“As soon as the king heard the words of the law,” writes Ezra, “he immediately ripped his garments apart.” This was a heartfelt expression of sorrow because he realized that not all of God’s commands had been carried out by their forefathers. Indeed a sign of humility! The king immediately commissioned a five-man delegation to inquire of Jehovah through the prophetess Huldah. The delegation brought back a report to this effect: ‘Calamity will come as a consequence of disobedience to Jehovah’s Law. But because you, King Josiah, humbled yourself, you will be gathered to your graveyard in peace and will not see the calamity.’ (2 Chronicles 34:19-28) Jehovah was pleased with Josiah’s attitude.

(2 CHRONICLES 34:22)

“So Hil•kiʹah, along with those sent by the king, went to Hulʹdah the prophetess. She was the wife of Shalʹlum son of Tikʹvah son of Harʹhas, the caretaker of the wardrobe, and she was dwelling in the Second Quarter of Jerusalem; and they spoke to her there.”

*** it-1 p. 893 Gate, Gateway ***
The gates named in Nehemiah’s record are gates that had been in the wall that was built prior to the eighth century B.C.E. and in the wall surrounding “the second quarter.” (2Ki 22:14; 2Ch 34:22; Zep 1:10) “The second quarter” was a northern part of the city bounded on the W and part of the N by Hezekiah’s wall (2Ch 32:5) and joined by Manasseh’s wall, which continued on the NE and E. (2Ch 33:14) This was N of the earlier city and wall, but apparently it did not extend as far W as the earlier wall.

*** it-2 p. 43 Jerusalem ***
During Josiah’s time “the second quarter” (“the new town,” JB) of the city receives initial mention. (2Ki 22:14; 2Ch 34:22) This “second quarter” is generally understood to be the section of the city lying W or NW of the temple area.—Zep 1:10.

*** it-2 p. 906 Shallum ***
8. Husband of Huldah, the prophetess whom King Josiah’s delegation visited; son of Tikvah. He was presumably “the caretaker of the garments,” either for the priests or the king. (2Ki 22:14; 2Ch 34:22) Possibly the same as No. 10.

(2 CHRONICLES 34:28)

“That is why I will gather you to your ancestors, and you will be laid in your grave in peace, and your eyes will not see all the calamity that I will bring on this place and its inhabitants.’”’” Then they brought the reply to the king.”

*** it-1 p. 1157 Huldah ***
When Josiah heard the reading of “the very book of the law” found by Hilkiah the high priest during the temple repair work, he sent a delegation to inquire of Jehovah. They went to Huldah, who, in turn, relayed the word of Jehovah, indicating that all the calamities for disobedience recorded in the “book” would befall the apostate nation. Huldah added that Josiah, because of having humbled himself before Jehovah, would not have to look upon the calamity but would be gathered to his forefathers and be taken to his graveyard in peace.—2Ki 22:8-20; 2Ch 34:14-28.
Some consider Huldah’s prophecy to be in error in view of Josiah’s death in an unnecessary battle. (2Ki 23:28-30) However, the “peace” in which Josiah would be gathered to his graveyard is obviously in contrast with “the calamity” due to come upon Judah. (2Ki 22:20; 2Ch 34:28) Josiah died prior to the coming of that calamity in 609-607 B.C.E., when the Babylonians besieged and destroyed Jerusalem. Additionally, that the expression ‘to be gathered to one’s forefathers’ does not necessarily exclude dying a violent death in warfare is indicated by the use of the comparable expression ‘to lie down with one’s forefathers’ with reference to a death in battle as well as a nonviolent death.—Compare De 31:16; 1Ki 2:10; 22:34, 40.

*** it-2 p. 591 Peace ***
The prophecy concerning Josiah’s ‘being gathered to his own graveyard in peace’ indicated that he would die before the foretold calamity upon Jerusalem. (2Ki 22:20; 2Ch 34:28; compare 2Ki 20:19.)

(2 CHRONICLES 34:33)

“Jo•siʹah then removed all the detestable things out of all the lands that belonged to the Israelites, and he made everyone in Israel serve Jehovah their God. Throughout his lifetime they did not deviate from following Jehovah the God of their forefathers.”

*** w05 12/1 p. 21 Highlights From the Book of Second Chronicles ***
Moved to Action by a Book
“Josiah removed all the detestable things out of all the lands that belonged to the sons of Israel,” states 2 Chronicles 34:33, “and he had all who were found in Israel take up service, to serve Jehovah their God.” What moved Josiah to do this? When Shaphan the secretary brought the newly discovered book of Jehovah’s Law to King Josiah, the king had it read aloud. So touched was Josiah by what he heard that he zealously promoted pure worship throughout his life.
Reading God’s Word and meditating on what we read can affect us profoundly.

(2 CHRONICLES 35:3)

“Then he said to the Levites, the instructors of all Israel, those who were holy to Jehovah: “Put the holy Ark in the house that Solʹo•mon the son of David the king of Israel built; you are no longer to carry it on your shoulders. Now serve Jehovah your God and his people Israel.”

*** w09 9/1 p. 18 Did You Know? ***
The Ark is last mentioned at 2 Chronicles 35:3 when King Josiah in 642 B.C.E. returned it to the temple. The Ark may have been removed by Josiah’s apostate predecessor, Manasseh, who put an image in the temple. Or perhaps the move had been for safekeeping during Josiah’s temple renovations. (2 Chronicles 33:1, 2, 7; 34:1, 8-11)

*** w05 12/1 p. 20 par. 6 Highlights From the Book of Second Chronicles ***
35:3—From where did Josiah have the holy Ark brought into the temple? Whether the Ark was removed earlier by one of the wicked kings or was relocated by Josiah for safekeeping during the extensive repair work of the temple, the Bible does not say. The only historical reference to the Ark after Solomon’s day is when Josiah brought it into the temple.

*** it-1 p. 167 Ark of the Covenant ***
The only post-Solomonic historical reference to the ark of the covenant, nearly 900 years after it was made, is at 2 Chronicles 35:3 where King Josiah, in 642 B.C.E., commanded that it be returned to the temple. How it had come to be removed is not stated. Josiah came to the throne following some very apostate kings, one of whom had put an image in the house of Jehovah, and possibly one of these wicked kings removed the Ark. (2Ch 33:1, 2, 7) On the other hand, Josiah sponsored extensive repairs of the temple, during which time the Ark might have been kept elsewhere for its own protection against damage. (2Ch 34:8–35:19)

(2 CHRONICLES 35:4)

“And prepare yourselves by your paternal houses according to your divisions, following what was written by King David of Israel and by his son Solʹo•mon.”

*** it-1 p. 816 Father’s House ***
At the celebration of the Passover in Jerusalem in King Josiah’s time, the people apparently entered the court of the temple by their paternal houses to offer their sacrifices. The Levites, by their divisions based on paternal houses, received the sacrifices of the people and prepared them.—2Ch 35:4, 5, 12.

(2 CHRONICLES 35:5)

“Stand in the holy place grouped by the paternal houses of your brothers, the rest of the people, with a corresponding group of the paternal house of the Levites.”

*** it-1 p. 816 Father’s House ***
At the celebration of the Passover in Jerusalem in King Josiah’s time, the people apparently entered the court of the temple by their paternal houses to offer their sacrifices. The Levites, by their divisions based on paternal houses, received the sacrifices of the people and prepared them.—2Ch 35:4, 5, 12.

(2 CHRONICLES 35:12)

“Next they prepared the burnt offerings so as to distribute them to the rest of the people, who were grouped by paternal house, so that they could be presented to Jehovah as it is written in the book of Moses; and they did the same with the cattle.”

*** it-1 p. 816 Father’s House ***
At the celebration of the Passover in Jerusalem in King Josiah’s time, the people apparently entered the court of the temple by their paternal houses to offer their sacrifices. The Levites, by their divisions based on paternal houses, received the sacrifices of the people and prepared them.—2Ch 35:4, 5, 12.

(2 CHRONICLES 35:24)

“So his servants took him out of the chariot and had him ride in his second war chariot and brought him to Jerusalem. Thus he died and was buried in the tomb of his forefathers, and all Judah and Jerusalem mourned Jo•siʹah.”

*** it-1 p. 379 Burial, Burial Places ***
The statement that Amon’s son, faithful King Josiah, was buried in “the graveyard of his forefathers” may refer either to the royal tombs in the City of David or to the burial places of Manasseh and Amon. (2Ch 35:23, 24)

(2 CHRONICLES 35:25)

“And Jeremiah chanted over Jo•siʹah, and all the male and female singers keep singing about Jo•siʹah in their dirges down to this day; and a decision was made that they should be sung in Israel, and they are written among the dirges.”

*** it-1 p. 627 Dirge ***
DIRGE
A composition, lyrical or musical, expressing deep sorrow, such as the grief occasioned by the death of a friend or loved one; an elegy. In the New World Translation the rendering “dirge” usually is from the Hebrew word qi•nahʹ, which denotes a mournful composition, an elegy, or a lamentation.
The Hebrew term shig•ga•yohnʹ in the superscription of Psalm 7 is also translated “dirge” and may denote a highly emotional song with rapid changes of rhythm. (NW ftn) A plural form of the Hebrew word appears in Habakkuk 3:1, where it is rendered “dirges.” Because of their nature, dirges are associated with moaning and wailing (Eze 2:10), and at least some of them were written down and preserved. Second Chronicles 35:25 reports that Jeremiah chanted over deceased King Josiah and indicates that there once existed a collection of dirges (Heb., qi•nohthʹ), for it is there stated: “All the male singers and female singers keep talking about Josiah in their dirges down till today; and they have them set as a regulation over Israel, and there they are written among the dirges.”

*** it-2 p. 454 Music ***
Chanting might be said to be halfway between singing and speaking. In pitch it is rather monotonous and repetitious, with the emphasis being on rhythm. While chanting continues to be quite popular in some of the world’s leading religions, its use in the Bible appears to be limited to dirges, as in the case of David chanting a dirge over the deaths of his friend Jonathan and of King Saul. (2Sa 1:17; 2Ch 35:25; Eze 27:32; 32:16) Only in a dirge or lamentation would the chanting style be preferable to either the melody of music or the modulation and oral emphasis of pure speech.—See DIRGE.

(2 CHRONICLES 36:2)

“Je•hoʹa•haz was 23 years old when he became king, and he reigned for three months in Jerusalem.”

*** it-2 p. 80 Joahaz ***
3. Variant spelling, at 2 Chronicles 36:2, of the name of Jehoahaz, the son and successor of Josiah, king of Judah. Here certain translations (AS, AT, JP, Ro) follow the Masoretic text and read Joahaz, whereas others (KJ, JB, Mo, NW) read Jehoahaz.—See JEHOAHAZ No. 3.

(2 CHRONICLES 36:6)

“King Neb•u•chad•nezʹzar of Babylon came up against him in order to bind him with two copper fetters to take him off to Babylon.”

*** it-1 p. 1269 Jehoiakim ***
It may have been in the sense of his dying under siege and of his son’s thereafter having to go out into captivity, so that Jehoiakim’s line suffered the loss of the kingship at Nebuchadnezzar’s hands. There is no way to confirm the Jewish tradition (recorded by Josephus) that Nebuchadnezzar killed Jehoiakim and commanded that his dead body be thrown outside Jerusalem’s walls. (Jewish Antiquities, X, 97 [vi, 3]) By whatever means Jehoiakim’s death came, it appears that the copper fetters Nebuchadnezzar had brought along to bind Jehoiakim were not used as planned.—2Ch 36:6.

(2 CHRONICLES 36:10)

“At the start of the year, King Neb•u•chad•nezʹzar sent to have him brought to Babylon, along with valuable articles of the house of Jehovah. And he made his father’s brother Zed•e•kiʹah king over Judah and Jerusalem.”

*** it-2 p. 326 Jerusalem’s Conquest by Babylon ***
Three years later, in 617 B.C.E., the Babylonians deported many of Jerusalem’s inhabitants—its nobility, its mighty men, and its craftsmen—and looted the city’s treasures. (2Ch 36:5-10)

(2 CHRONICLES 36:16)

“But they kept ridiculing the messengers of the true God, and they despised his words and mocked his prophets, until the rage of Jehovah came up against his people, until they were beyond healing.”

*** g03 6/8 p. 19 Avoid Speech That Injures ***
The people of Israel “were continually making jest at the messengers of the true God and despising his words and mocking at his prophets, until the rage of Jehovah came up against his people, until there was no healing.” (2 Chronicles 36:16) Although God’s rage was principally incited by his people’s idolatrous and disobedient course, it is noteworthy that the Bible specifically mentions the verbal abuse directed at God’s prophets. This highlights God’s outright disapproval of such conduct.

(2 CHRONICLES 36:19)

“He burned down the house of the true God, tore down the wall of Jerusalem, burned all its fortified towers with fire, and destroyed everything of value.”

*** si pp. 68-69 par. 25 Bible Book Number 11—1 Kings ***
However, most outstanding are the prophecies relating to the house of Jehovah, built by Solomon. Jehovah told Solomon that falling away to false gods would result in Jehovah’s cutting Israel off from the surface of the ground and in His throwing away before Him the house that He had sanctified to his name. (1 Ki. 9:7, 8) At 2 Chronicles 36:17-21 we read how utterly true this prophecy proved to be. Moreover, Jesus showed that the later temple built by Herod the Great on the same site would suffer the same fate and for the same reason. (Luke 21:6) How true this also proved to be! We should remember these catastrophes and the reason for them, and they should remind us always to walk in the ways of the true God.

*** si p. 156 par. 4 Bible Book Number 33—Micah ***
4 There is an abundance of evidence to show the authenticity of the book of Micah. It has always been accepted by the Jews as part of the Hebrew canon. Jeremiah 26:18, 19 refers directly to Micah’s words: “Zion will be plowed up as a mere field, and Jerusalem herself will become mere heaps of ruins.” (Mic. 3:12) This prophecy was accurately fulfilled in 607 B.C.E. when the king of Babylon razed Jerusalem, “so as to cause ruin.” (2 Chron. 36:19)

(2 CHRONICLES 36:21)

“to fulfill Jehovah’s word spoken by Jeremiah, until the land had paid off its sabbaths. All the days it lay desolate it kept sabbath, to fulfill 70 years.”

*** w06 11/15 p. 32 Did Judah Remain Desolate? ***
Did Judah Remain Desolate?
THE Bible foretold that the land of the kingdom of Judah would be devastated by the Babylonians and would remain desolate until the return of the Jewish exiles. (Jeremiah 25:8-11) The strongest reason to believe that this prophecy came true is the inspired historical account recorded some 75 years after the first group of exiles returned to their homeland. It states that the king of Babylon “carried off those remaining from the sword captive to Babylon, and they came to be servants to him and his sons until the royalty of Persia began to reign.” And regarding the land, it is reported: “All the days of lying desolated it kept sabbath.” (2 Chronicles 36:20, 21) Is there any archaeological evidence to support this?
In the journal Biblical Archaeology Review, Ephraim Stern, professor of Palestinian archaeology at Hebrew University, points out: “The Assyrians and Babylonians both ravaged large parts of ancient Israel, yet the archaeological evidence from the aftermath of their respective conquests tells two very different stories.” He explains: “While the Assyrians left a clear imprint of their presence in Palestine, there is a strange gap after the Babylonian destruction. . . . We find no evidence of occupation until the Persian period . . . There is a complete gap in evidence suggesting occupation. In all that time, not a single town destroyed by the Babylonians was resettled.”
Professor Lawrence E. Stager of Harvard University agrees. “Throughout Philistia, and later throughout Judah,” he says, the Babylonian king’s “scorched-earth policy created a veritable wasteland west of the Jordan River.” Stager adds: “Only with Cyrus the Great, the Persian successor to the Babylonians, does the archaeological record begin again . . . in Jerusalem and in Judah, where many Jewish exiles returned to their homeland.”
Yes, Jehovah’s word concerning Judah’s lying desolate was fulfilled. What Jehovah God foretells always comes true. (Isaiah 55: 10, 11) We can put our complete confidence in Jehovah and in the promises recorded in his Word, the Bible.—2 Timothy 3:16.

*** si p. 84 par. 33 Bible Book Number 14—2 Chronicles ***
33 Finally, Zedekiah rebels against Babylon’s yoke, and this time Nebuchadnezzar shows no mercy. Jehovah’s rage is full, and there is no healing. Jerusalem falls, its temple is looted and burned, and the survivors of the 18-month siege are carried as captives to Babylon. Judah is left desolate. Thus, in this very year of 607 B.C.E., begins the desolation “to fulfill Jehovah’s word by the mouth of Jeremiah . . . to fulfill seventy years.” (36:21) The chronicler then leaps this gap of nearly 70 years to record in the last two verses the historic decree of Cyrus in 537 B.C.E. The Jewish captives are to be set free! Jerusalem must rise again!

*** si p. 84 par. 35 Bible Book Number 14—2 Chronicles ***
35 The closing verses of Second Chronicles (36:17-23) give conclusive proof of the fulfillment of Jeremiah 25:12 and, in addition, show that a full 70 years must be counted from the complete desolation of the land to the restoration of Jehovah’s worship at Jerusalem in 537 B.C.E. This desolation therefore begins in 607 B.C.E.—Jer. 29:10; 2 Ki. 25:1-26; Ezra 3:1-6.

*** it-1 p. 463 Chronology ***
From 607 B.C.E. to return from exile. The length of this period is fixed by God’s own decree concerning Judah, that “all this land must become a devastated place, an object of astonishment, and these nations will have to serve the king of Babylon seventy years.”—Jer 25:8-11.
The Bible prophecy does not allow for the application of the 70-year period to any time other than that between the desolation of Judah, accompanying Jerusalem’s destruction, and the return of the Jewish exiles to their homeland as a result of Cyrus’ decree. It clearly specifies that the 70 years would be years of devastation of the land of Judah. The prophet Daniel so understood the prophecy, for he states: “I myself, Daniel, discerned by the books the number of the years concerning which the word of Jehovah had occurred to Jeremiah the prophet, for fulfilling the devastations of Jerusalem, namely, seventy years.” (Da 9:2) After describing the conquest of Jerusalem by Nebuchadnezzar, 2 Chronicles 36:20, 21 states: “Furthermore, he carried off those remaining from the sword captive to Babylon, and they came to be servants to him and his sons until the royalty of Persia began to reign; to fulfill Jehovah’s word by the mouth of Jeremiah, until the land had paid off its sabbaths. All the days of lying desolated it kept sabbath, to fulfill seventy years.”
Jerusalem came under final siege in Zedekiah’s 9th year (609 B.C.E.), and the city fell in his 11th year (607 B.C.E.), corresponding to Nebuchadnezzar’s 19th year of actual rule (counting from his accession year in 625 B.C.E.). (2Ki 25:1-8) In the fifth month of that year (the month of Ab, corresponding to parts of July and August) the city was set afire, the walls were pulled down, and the majority of the people were led off into exile. However, “some of the lowly people of the land” were allowed to remain, and these did so until the assassination of Gedaliah, Nebuchadnezzar’s appointee, whereupon they fled into Egypt, finally leaving Judah completely desolate. (2Ki 25:9-12, 22-26) This was in the seventh month, Ethanim (or Tishri, corresponding to parts of September and October). Hence the count of the 70 years of desolation must have begun about October 1, 607 B.C.E., ending in 537 B.C.E. By the seventh month of this latter year the first repatriated Jews arrived back in Judah, 70 years from the start of the full desolation of the land.—2Ch 36:21-23; Ezr 3:1.

*** it-1 pp. 568-569 Cyrus ***
In view of the Bible record, Cyrus’ decree freeing the Jews to return to Jerusalem likely was made late in the year 538 or early in 537 B.C.E. This would allow time for the Jewish exiles to prepare to move out of Babylon and make the long trek to Judah and Jerusalem (a trip that could take about four months according to Ezr 7:9) and yet be settled “in their cities” in Judah by “the seventh month” (Tishri) of the year 537 B.C.E. (Ezr 3:1, 6) This marked the end of the prophesied 70 years of Judah’s desolation that began in the same month, Tishri, of 607 B.C.E.—2Ki 25:22-26; 2Ch 36:20, 21.

*** it-2 p. 834 Sabbath Year ***
The land would have enjoyed 121 Sabbath years besides 17 Jubilee years prior to the exile if Israel had kept the Law properly. But the Sabbath years were only partially kept. When the people went into exile in Babylon, the land remained desolate for 70 years “until the land had paid off its sabbaths.” (2Ch 36:20, 21; Le 26:34, 35, 43) Nowhere do the Scriptures state that the Jews had failed to keep exactly 70 Sabbath years; but Jehovah let 70 years of enforced desolation of the land make up for all the Sabbath years that had not been kept.

(2 CHRONICLES 36:22)

“In the first year of King Cyrus of Persia, in order that Jehovah’s word spoken by Jeremiah would be fulfilled, Jehovah stirred the spirit of King Cyrus of Persia to make a proclamation throughout his kingdom, which he also put in writing, saying:”

*** it-1 p. 454 Chronology ***
Persian Chronology. A number of important Biblical events took place during the Persian period: the fall of Babylon, followed by Cyrus’ release of the Jews and the end of the 70-year desolation of Judah; the reconstruction of the temple at Jerusalem, completed “in the sixth year of the reign of Darius [I, Persian]”; and the rebuilding of Jerusalem’s walls by Nehemiah, according to the decree given in the 20th year of Artaxerxes Longimanus.—2Ch 36:20-23; Ezr 3:8-10; 4:23, 24; 6:14, 15; Ne 2:1, 7, 8.
The date of 539 B.C.E. for the fall of Babylon can be arrived at not only by Ptolemy’s canon but by other sources as well. The historian Diodorus, as well as Africanus and Eusebius, shows that Cyrus’ first year as king of Persia corresponded to Olympiad 55, year 1 (560/559 B.C.E.), while Cyrus’ last year is placed at Olympiad 62, year 2 (531/530 B.C.E.). Cuneiform tablets give Cyrus a rule of nine years over Babylon, which would therefore substantiate the year 539 as the date of his conquest of Babylon.—Handbook of Biblical Chronology, by Jack Finegan, 1964, pp. 112, 168-170; Babylonian Chronology, 626 B.C.–A.D. 75, p. 14; see comments above under “Babylonian Chronology,” also PERSIA, PERSIANS.

*** it-1 p. 463 Chronology ***
From 607 B.C.E. to return from exile. The length of this period is fixed by God’s own decree concerning Judah, that “all this land must become a devastated place, an object of astonishment, and these nations will have to serve the king of Babylon seventy years.”—Jer 25:8-11.
The Bible prophecy does not allow for the application of the 70-year period to any time other than that between the desolation of Judah, accompanying Jerusalem’s destruction, and the return of the Jewish exiles to their homeland as a result of Cyrus’ decree. It clearly specifies that the 70 years would be years of devastation of the land of Judah. The prophet Daniel so understood the prophecy, for he states: “I myself, Daniel, discerned by the books the number of the years concerning which the word of Jehovah had occurred to Jeremiah the prophet, for fulfilling the devastations of Jerusalem, namely, seventy years.” (Da 9:2) After describing the conquest of Jerusalem by Nebuchadnezzar, 2 Chronicles 36:20, 21 states: “Furthermore, he carried off those remaining from the sword captive to Babylon, and they came to be servants to him and his sons until the royalty of Persia began to reign; to fulfill Jehovah’s word by the mouth of Jeremiah, until the land had paid off its sabbaths. All the days of lying desolated it kept sabbath, to fulfill seventy years.”
Jerusalem came under final siege in Zedekiah’s 9th year (609 B.C.E.), and the city fell in his 11th year (607 B.C.E.), corresponding to Nebuchadnezzar’s 19th year of actual rule (counting from his accession year in 625 B.C.E.). (2Ki 25:1-8) In the fifth month of that year (the month of Ab, corresponding to parts of July and August) the city was set afire, the walls were pulled down, and the majority of the people were led off into exile. However, “some of the lowly people of the land” were allowed to remain, and these did so until the assassination of Gedaliah, Nebuchadnezzar’s appointee, whereupon they fled into Egypt, finally leaving Judah completely desolate. (2Ki 25:9-12, 22-26) This was in the seventh month, Ethanim (or Tishri, corresponding to parts of September and October). Hence the count of the 70 years of desolation must have begun about October 1, 607 B.C.E., ending in 537 B.C.E. By the seventh month of this latter year the first repatriated Jews arrived back in Judah, 70 years from the start of the full desolation of the land.—2Ch 36:21-23; Ezr 3:1.

*** it-1 p. 568 Cyrus ***
Cyrus’ Decree for the Return of the Exiles. By his decreeing the end of the Jewish exile, Cyrus fulfilled his commission as Jehovah’s ‘anointed shepherd’ for Israel. (2Ch 36:22, 23; Ezr 1:1-4) The proclamation was made “in the first year of Cyrus the king of Persia,” meaning his first year as ruler toward conquered Babylon. The Bible record at Daniel 9:1 refers to “the first year of Darius,” and this may have intervened between the fall of Babylon and “the first year of Cyrus” over Babylon. If it did, this would mean that the writer was perhaps viewing Cyrus’ first year as having begun late in the year 538 B.C.E. However, if Darius’ rule over Babylon were to be viewed as that of a viceroy, so that his reign ran concurrent with that of Cyrus, Babylonian custom would place Cyrus’ first regnal year as running from Nisan of 538 to Nisan of 537 B.C.E.

(2 CHRONICLES 36:23)

““This is what King Cyrus of Persia says, ‘Jehovah the God of the heavens has given me all the kingdoms of the earth, and he has commissioned me to build him a house in Jerusalem, which is in Judah. Whoever there is among you of all his people, may Jehovah his God be with him, and let him go up.’””

*** it-1 p. 148 Archaeology ***
Also at Babylon, at the site of the temple of Marduk, a clay cylinder about King Cyrus the conqueror of Babylon was found. This cylinder tells about the ease with which Cyrus captured the city and also outlines his policy of restoring to their native lands the captive peoples residing in Babylon, thus harmonizing with the Biblical account of Cyrus as the prophesied conqueror of Babylon and of the restoration of the Jews to Palestine during Cyrus’ reign.—Isa 44:28; 45:1; 2Ch 36:23.

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Highlights From the Book: 2 Chronicles

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