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Second Chronicles Research

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I & II CHRONICLES

  • Books trace the history of Israel from Adam to end of Babylonian captivity.
  • Book written to exiles who had returned to Jerusalem after 70 years in Babylon.
  • This selective history reminded them of Israel’s glorious days from the past and gave them encouragement in rebuilding their heritage.
  • The material covers the same period of Jewish history described in II Samuel and I & II Kings.
  • However the perspective is different; II Samuel and the books of I and II Kings give a political historical history of Israel and Judah, Chronicles gives a religious history of the Davidic dynasty of Judah.
  • II Samuel through to II Kings is written from a prophetic and moral point of view while Chronicles are a religious and spiritual point of view.
  • Chronicles does not deny failures but concentrates on the messianic line, the temple, and spiritual reforms.
  • II Chronicles ignores the northern Kingdom of Israel because of its false worship and refusal to acknowledge the temple in Jerusalem.
  • Chronicles focuses on those kings who pattern their reign and life after that of godly King David; it ignores his sins.
  • It gives extended treatment to such zealous reformers as Asa, Jehoshaphat, Joash, Hezekiah and Josiah.
  • The temple and temple worship are central throughout the book – this is because worship of God is to Israel’s survival.

Structure

I Chronicles

  1. The royal line of David (1-9:44)
  2. Reign of David (10:1-29:30)

II Chronicle

  1. Solomon’s reign (1-9)
  2. Reign of Judah’s kings (10-36)

Ezra

Chronology of the return

538 B.C                Edict of Cyrus permitting the return (Ezra 1:1-4. 2 Chronicles 36:22-23

536 B.C                Return of 49,897 from Babylon to Jerusalem

536 B.C                Altar rebuilt, sacrifice offered in 7th month (3:1-7)

535 B.C                 Temple begun but stopped (4:1-5)

535-520 B.C                 Economic and political struggle

520 B.C                Ministry of Haggai (5:1-17, Hag 1:1-4, 2:1-4)

520-515 B.C                Ministry of Zechariah (Zec 4:9, 6:15)

515 B.C                Temple completed

458 B.C                Ezra returned (1,754)

445 B.C                Nehemiah rebuilt the walls

  • Book of Ezra continues of OT narrative of II Chronicles by showing how God fulfilled His promises to return to His people to the land of Promise after 70 years in Babylon.
  • Ezra-Nehemiah was one book in Hebrew Bible.
  • Ezra relates 2 returns from Babylon

First return – led by Zerubabbel who rebuilt the temple (1-6)

Second return- Under Ezra to rebuild the spiritual condition of the people (7-10)

  • Sandwiched between the 2 accounts is a gap of nearly 60 years during which Esther lives as queen of Persia.

Theme and Purpose

  • The basic theme of Ezra is the spiritual, moral and social restoration of the returned remnant in Jerusalem.
  • Ezra worked with Nehemiah to bring spiritual and social reforms.
  • The people and priests had married foreign women, whom they had to put away after conviction resulting from the reading of the word and intercession by Ezra.
  • Ezra was a scribe and teacher with extensive training in the books of the Law (7:6)

Nehemiah

  • A contemporary of Ezra and cupbearer of the King of Persia- led the last and final return to Jerusalem from Babylonian exile.
  • Nehemiah challenged his countrymen to arise and rebuild the shattered walls of Jerusalem.
  • Despite opposition from without and abuse from within, the task is completed within 52 days.

Structure

1-7        Nehemiah’s restoration of thee walls

8-13        Ezra’s & Nehemiah’s reforms

Esther

  • Book provides the only biblical portrait of the vast majority of Jews who chose to remain in Persia rather than return to Israel after the Exile.
  • God’s hand of providence and protection on behalf of His people is evident throughout the book, though His name does not appear once.
  • Haman’s plot to destroy the Jews in the empire (1-4) is countered by the courage of Esther and the wise counsel of Mordecai her cousin (5-10)
  • The Feast of Purim is celebrated yearly as a reminder of the faithfulness of God on behalf of his people.

Haggai

  • After years of frustration over not being able to rebuild the temple, most people in Judah just gave up on the idea.
  • They did not have enough money to complete such an expensive project because God sent a drought on their land (1:6, 9-11).
  • What income they had, they spent on building nice homes for themselves.
  • Everything pointed to the conclusion that it was not the appropriate time to build the temple (1:4).
  • Haggai challenged these conclusions and set higher priorities of doing what God desires and glorifies Him (1:8).
  • The people obeyed what God said and began to rebuild the temple (1:12-15).
  • The Lord promised that ‘the glory of the present house would be greater than that of the latter house’ (2:9).

Zechariah

  • A contemporary of Haggai
  • He also encouraged the Jews to complete the construction of the temple.
  • Zechariah’s series of visions, messages and burdens offer some of the clearest Messianic prophecies in Scripture.

Malachi

  • The prophet Malachi proclaimed God’s word about 100 years after Haggai and Zechariah.
  • Since the rebuilding of the temple happened long ago, many were not very excited about their worship there.
  • The priests were no longer teaching the people about sacrificial regulations.
  • Many were twisting Ezra’s command to divorce foreigner wives into permission to divorce their Hebrew wives.
  • Some even questioned if there was any value in serving God.
  • Malachi addressed these issues using a dialogue format, which included a series of questions and answers.

Structure

Disputation about God’s love for Israel                 1:1-5

Disputation about honouring God in worship        1:6-14

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