August 4 – The Burning and Rebuilding of the Temple

2 Chronicles 35:1-36:23
1 Corinthians 1:1-17
Psalm 27:1-6
Proverbs 20:20-21

My apologies for going long here – but we are covering one of the most fascinating centuries in the Bible in one day! Buckle up and let’s go!

2 Chronicles 35:1 — Josiah kept the Passover. Why is this detail included? This and Hezekiah’s Passover (2 Chronicles 30:1) are the only two Passovers mentioned in 2 Chronicles. Keep in mind, this is the 18th year of Josiah’s reign. The boy King is now 26 years old. It has been 20 years since Manasseh presumably held a Passover, and 75 years since Hezekiah held a great Passover. The Post-Exilic people who have returned to the land will have held the first official Passover in the land in over 70 years as well. Though we stray from the LORD, the LORD will hear us when we call to Him!

2 Chronicles 35:3 — For those who are curious where the Ark is today, here’s another mystery: where was the Ark before Josiah moved it back into the Temple?

2 Chronicles 35:7 — Josiah gave 33,000 bullocks. Compare Hezekiah’s gift: he only gave a thousand bullocks (2 Chronicles 30:24). Perhaps that’s why the Chronicler says it was the greatest Passover since Samuel the Prophet (2 Chronicles 35:18).

2 Chronicles 35:25 — Why did Jeremiah weep? Because in less than twenty-five years the Southern Kingdom of Judah would be no more. The next chapter will go quickly through many names. But add up the dates; within one generation Josiah’s great Kingdom will collapse.

2 Chronicles 36:3 — Jehoahaz, son of Josiah, quickly becomes prisoner in Egypt (2 Chronicles 36:4). Eliakim, the second son of Josiah, is Egypt’s puppet until Nebuchadnezzar takes him to Babylon in chains along with the temple vessels (2 Chronicles 36:6-7). This is the king that cut up the scroll and burned the prophecy of Jeremiah (Jeremiah 36:23).

Interesting that Pharaoh changes Eliakim’s name from El-iakim to Jeho-iakim. The prefix changes from “El” (generic name for a god, translated in the KJV as “God”), to “Jeho” (short for Jehovah, translated in the KJV as “LORD”, the personal name of God). This is especially interesting because Eliakim/Jehoiakim did evil in the sight of the LORD. Eliakim’s son, Jehoiachin, joins his dad shortly in the Babylonian captivity with more temple vessels (2 Chronicles 36:10).

2 Chronicles 36:11 — Zedekiah, Josiah’s grandson by Eliakim, rejected Jeremiah’s warnings. Zedekiah also imprisoned Jeremiah in the jail in the king’s house (Jeremiah 32:2) because the king would not repent and wanted to “shoot the messenger.”

2 Chronicles 36:13 — God takes vows very seriously (Ecclesiastes 5:4-6, Deuteronomy 23:21-23, Numbers 30:2, Psalm 76:11), but Zedekiah didn’t and violated his vow. From Ellicott’s Commentary for English Readers:

When Nebuchadnezzar appointed Zedekiah vassal-king of Judah, he would naturally make him swear fealty to himself by the God of his fathers. The fact is not specially recorded in Kings; but the prophet Ezekiel makes it the point of a prophecy against the king and his grandees (Ezekiel 17:11-21; comp, especially 2 Chronicles 36:17, “mine oath that he hath despised.”)

2 Chronicles 36:19 — Four hundred years of the Temple, and now it comes to an end. Just 19 chapters earlier we read how God threatened to destroy Solomon’s offering, the Temple, and make it a byword (2 Chronicles 7:20). Now it has happened.

2 Chronicles 36:21 — Depending on how you count, the Sabbath of the land had only been royally observed four times since Samuel anointed Saul as king. The laws each king had to copy (Deuteronomy 17:18) included the command to give the land the seventh year off (Leviticus 25:1-7). There was specific punishment of exile if they did not (Leviticus 26:34-35). But how many kings decided to prove the promised miracle of triple-abundance (Leviticus 25:21)? Most commentators simply say “70 years of rest” or 70 X 7 = 490 years. However, the year of Jubilee was a second year of rest. Thus, we would go back 442 years from the destruction of Jerusalem in 586 BC to 1028 BC. Subtracting 1028 BC from 1050 BC (anointing of Saul) would imply that the “Sabbath of the Land” had been kept only 3 or 4 times from when Samuel anointed Saul and passed the duty to keep the Sabbath to the king. Seventy years pass after the period at the end of verse 21.

2 Chronicles 36:23 — The Book of 2 Chronicles ends at the start of Ezra. Compare 2 Chronicles 36:22-23 with Ezra 1:1-3. The people are returning to build again the House of the LORD that was burned. The House of the LORD was defiled by Jewish kings, burned by Babylonian kings, but will be rebuilt by a Persian king! The Priests will need to organize themselves, but we read already how Josiah had to do that as well (2 Chronicles 35:2). They will need to keep a Passover that hadn’t been kept in a hundred years, but this wasn’t the first long gap between Passovers. God allowed bad foreign policy to end the life of good King Josiah and hasten the destruction of the Temple by pagan kings. Now God commanded a pagan king to fund the reconstruction of the Temple!

1 Corinthians 1:7 — We too are waiting for the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ! “What if it were today?

Psalm 27:1 — ”The LORD Is my light and my salvation!

Proverbs 20:21 — Solomon is contrasting the inheritance that is normally connected with a blessing, with an inheritance that is not blessed. Reminds me of the Prodigal Son (Luke 15:12).

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