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2 Chronicles 33-36 | Treasures from God’s Word: week starting January 11-17

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2 CHRONICLES 33-36 | TREASURES FROM GOD’S WORD: WEEK STARTING JANUARY 11-17


BIBLICAL TEXTS AND REFERENCES FOR: 2 CHRONICLES 33-36


“JEHOVAH VALUES GENUINE REPENTANCE”: (10 MIN.)


TREASURES FROM GOD’S WORD | 2 CHRONICLES 33-36
Jehovah Values Genuine Repentance


MANASSEH

Jehovah allowed him to be captured by Assyria and taken to Babylon in fetters
REIGN BEFORE CAPTURE
o Built altars to false gods
o Offered own sons as sacrifices
o Shed innocent blood
o Promoted spiritistic practices throughout the nation
REIGN AFTER RELEASE
o Humbled himself greatly
o Prayed to Jehovah; offered sacrifices
o Removed altars to false gods
o Urged nation to serve Jehovah

JOSIAH

THROUGHOUT REIGN
o Searched for Jehovah
o Cleansed Judah and Jerusalem
o Repaired the house of Jehovah; found the book of the Law

2Ch 33:2-9, 12-16—On the basis of genuine repentance, Manasseh was shown mercy (w05 12/1 21 ¶5)


2 Chronicles 33:2-9 New World Translation

2 He did what was bad in Jehovah’s eyes, following the detestable practices of the nations that Jehovah had driven out from before the people of Israel. 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. 4 He also built altars in the house of Jehovah, about which Jehovah had said: “In Jerusalem my name will be forever.” 5 And he built altars to all the army of the heavens in two courtyards of the house of Jehovah. 6 And he made his own sons pass through the fire in the Valley of the Son of Hinʹnom; he practiced magic, used divination, practiced sorcery, and appointed spirit mediums and fortune-tellers. He did on a grand scale what was bad in Jehovah’s eyes, to offend him.

7 He put the carved image that he made into the house of the true God about which God had said to David and to his son Solʹo•mon: “In this house and in Jerusalem, which I have chosen out of all the tribes of Israel, I will permanently put my name. 8 And I will never again remove the feet of Israel from the land that I assigned to their forefathers, provided they carefully observe all that I have commanded them, the entire Law, the regulations and the judicial decisions given through Moses.” 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.

2 Chronicles 33:12-16 New World Translation

12 In his distress, he begged Jehovah his God for favor and kept humbling himself greatly before the God of his forefathers. 13 He kept praying to Him, and He was moved by his entreaty and heard his request for favor, and He restored him to Jerusalem to his kingship. Then Ma•nasʹseh came to know that Jehovah is the true God.

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. 15 He then removed the foreign gods and the idol image from the house of Jehovah and all the altars that he had built in the mountain of the house of Jehovah and in Jerusalem, and he had them thrown outside the city. 16 He also prepared the altar of Jehovah and began to offer up communion sacrifices and thanksgiving sacrifices on it, and he told Judah to serve Jehovah the God of Israel.

Highlights From the Book of Second Chronicles

33:2-9, 12, 13, 15, 16.
A person shows true repentance by abandoning a wrong course and putting forth a determined effort to do what is right. On the basis of genuine repentance, even a person who has acted as wickedly as King Manasseh can receive Jehovah’s mercy.

2Ch 34:18, 30, 33—Reading the Bible and meditating on it can affect us profoundly (w05 12/1 21 ¶10)


2 Chronicles 34:18 New World Translation

18 Shaʹphan the secretary also told the king: “There is a book that Hil•kiʹah the priest has given me.” Then Shaʹphan began to read from it before the king.

2 Chronicles 34:30 New World Translation

30 After that the king went up to the house of Jehovah with all the men of Judah, the inhabitants of Jerusalem, the priests, the Levites—all the people, the great as well as the small. He read in their hearing all the words of the book of the covenant that had been found in the house of Jehovah.

2 Chronicles 34:33 New World Translation

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.

Highlights From the Book of Second Chronicles

Reading God’s Word and meditating on what we read can affect us profoundly. Does not reflecting on the account of the kings in the Davidic line encourage us to imitate the examples of those who made Jehovah their confidence and avoid the conduct of those who did not? Second Chronicles stimulates us to give our exclusive devotion to the true God and remain faithful to him. Its message certainly is alive and exerts power.—Hebrews 4:12.

2Ch 36:15-17—Jehovah’s compassion and patience must not be taken for granted (w05 12/1 21 ¶7)

2 Chronicles 36:15-17 New World Translation

15 Jehovah the God of their forefathers kept warning them by means of his messengers, warning them again and again, because he felt compassion for his people and for his dwelling place. 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.

17 So he brought against them the king of the Chal•deʹans, who killed their young men with the sword in the house of their sanctuary; he felt no compassion for young man or virgin, old or infirm. God gave everything into his hand.

Highlights From the Book of Second Chronicles

36:15-17.
Jehovah is compassionate and patient. However, his compassion and patience are not limitless. People must respond favorably to the Kingdom-preaching work if they are to survive when Jehovah brings an end to this wicked system of things.

DIGGING FOR SPIRITUAL GEMS: (8 MIN.)


2Ch 33:11—What prophecy was fulfilled when Manasseh was taken to Babylon? (it-1 62 ¶2)


2 Chronicles 33:11 New World Translation

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.

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).”

2Ch 34:1-3—What encouragement can we draw from Josiah’s example? (w05 12/1 21 ¶6)


2 Chronicles 34:1-3 New World Translation

34
Jo•siʹah was eight years old when he became king, and he reigned for 31 years in Jerusalem. 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.

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.

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.

What does this week’s Bible reading teach me about Jehovah?



What points from this week’s Bible reading can I use in the field ministry?



BIBLE READING: 2CH 34:22-33 (4 MIN. OR LESS)


2 Chronicles 34:22-33 New World Translation

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. 23 She said to them: “This is what Jehovah the God of Israel says, ‘Tell the man who sent you to me: 24 “This is what Jehovah says, ‘I will bring calamity on this place and its inhabitants, all the curses that are written in the book that they read before the king of Judah. 25 Because they have abandoned me and are making sacrifices smoke to other gods in order to offend me with all the works of their hands, my rage will pour out on this place and it will not be extinguished.’” 26 But to the king of Judah who sent you to inquire of Jehovah, this is what you should say to him, “This is what Jehovah the God of Israel says: ‘Regarding the words that you have heard, 27 because your heart was responsive and you humbled yourself before God on hearing his words concerning this place and its inhabitants and you humbled yourself before me and ripped your garments apart and wept before me, I also have heard you, declares Jehovah. 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. 29 So the king sent word and summoned all the elders of Judah and Jerusalem. 30 After that the king went up to the house of Jehovah with all the men of Judah, the inhabitants of Jerusalem, the priests, the Levites—all the people, the great as well as the small. He read in their hearing all the words of the book of the covenant that had been found in the house of Jehovah. 31 The king stood in his place and made a covenant before Jehovah that he would follow Jehovah and keep his commandments, his reminders, and his regulations with all his heart and with all his soul by carrying out the words of the covenant that were written in this book. 32 Furthermore, he had all those who were in Jerusalem and Benjamin to agree to it. And the inhabitants of Jerusalem acted according to the covenant of God, the God of their forefathers. 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.

RESEARCH TO FIND MORE TREASURES FROM GOD’S WORD: 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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