Like First Chronicles, Second Chronicles is a lot of repeat content from earlier books of the Bible. Second Chronicles retells many of the stories of the kings who ruled Israel after David from First and Second Kings. Though we learn in First Kings that Israel divided into two kingdoms—Southern Judah and Northern Israel—Second Chronicles focuses on David’s descendants and only mentions the kings of Judah.
The author of Second Chronicles retells many familiar stories and also includes new stories about kings who were obedient to God, and how their obedience led to success and God’s blessing, as well as kings who were unfaithful to God, and how their immoral, unfaithful leadership led to horrible consequences, culminating in Judah’s exile to Babylon.
The book ends with King Cyrus of Persia allowing the Israelites to return home from exile so they can rebuild the city of Jerusalem and the Temple.
What is unique about Second Chronicles is its last line, spoken by King Cyrus of Persia: “‘The Lord his God be with him, and let him go up’” (2 Chronicles 36:23, KJV). It’s quite the cliffhanger. This ending shows that the author’s hope is set on yet another return from exile.
The Messiah: Second Chronicles, like First Chronicles emphasizes the hope of the coming Messiah. Each of the kings who followed David failed to fulfill God’s promise to bring an eternal kingdom to all the nations. However, God never gives up on His people. Though they rebelled against Him, He brought them back from exile and His promise of a Messiah King still stands.
The Temple: Much of the first half of Second Chronicles is devoted to retelling the stories of Solomon building and dedicating the Temple, and chapter 29 tells of King Hezekiah’s plans for rebuilding the Temple. The Temple is God’s dwelling place, and throughout the book, God expresses His desire to dwell among His people in the Temple.
Faithfulness: All of the stories of Israel’s kings in Second Chronicles focus on the king’s faithfulness to God. The author emphasizes that the kings of Israel were remembered by whether or not they “did what was right in the eyes of the Lord.”
2 Chronicles 2:1: “Solomon gave orders to build a temple for the Name of the Lord and a royal palace for himself.”
2 Chronicles 29:1-3: “Hezekiah was 25 years old when he became king, and he reigned in Jerusalem 29 years. His mother’s name was Abijah daughter of Zechariah. He did what was right in the eyes of the Lord, just as his father David had done. In the first month of the first year of his reign, he opened the doors of the temple of the Lord and repaired them.”
2 Chronicles 36:23: “‘This is what Cyrus king of Persia says, “The Lord, the God of heaven, has given me all the kingdoms of the earth and he has appointed me to build a temple for him at Jerusalem in Judah. Any of his people among you may go up, and may the Lord their God go with them.”’”
HOW DOES THIS FIT INTO GOD’S STORY?
The stories of Second Chronicles are character studies of the kings of Israel. Their purpose is to teach future generations of Israelites about their family history, so they can learn from their past and remain faithful to God and His commands.
Second Chronicles also provides hope for the future.
As the last book in the Hebrew Bible, it invites the reader to look back on the kings of the past so they may look forward to the hope of the coming Messiah, who will restore His people.
Our Bible could’ve ended here, but God is not done with His people just yet.