Bible Query from
Q: In 2 Chr 1:5-6 (KJV), what is a brasen altar?
A: This is a bronze altar, as the NASB, NIV, and NKJV say.
Q: In 2 Chr 1:10-11, how are some prayers more commendable than others?
A: As I ponder this question, I remember from last night the prayer of one of my little kids, thanking God for his Digimon toys. Solomonís prayer was commendable for two reasons.
1. Solomon prayed what was on his heart, and he was more concerned with doing well in serving God and governing the people, than in His own gain.
2. Solomon valued wisdom above riches and revenge.
It is OK to pray anything on our heart to God, but our prayers are more commendable when our hearts share Godís concerns.
Q: In 2 Chr 1:14,17, did Solomon immediately gather chariots and horsemen right after returning from Gibeon?
A: No, the fact that verse 14 is directly after verse 13 does not mean he started gathering them immediately. Scripture does not say when Solomon began accumulating chariots and horsemen, contrary to what the law said.
Q: In 2 Chr 2:7,13,14 (KJV), what does cunning mean here?
A: It means skillful.
Q: In 2 Chr 2:11, what is strange about Hiramís statement in light of 1 Ki 11:5?
A: In 2 Chronicles 2:11 Hiram, the pagan king of Tyre, said of Solomon "Because the Lord loves his people, he has made you their king" (NIV) Yet in his old age, Solomon worshipped Ashtoreth (Ishtar, Ashtarte), the goddess of the Sidonians. Tyre and Sidon were very close culturally. The Phoenicians presented themselves as friends of the Israelites, and used that friendship to draw Solomon and others away from God.
Q: In 2 Chr 2:11 and 1 Ki 11:5, how do some Christians today have the same problem?
A: Sometimes we see no difference between some of our friends, who genuinely wish us well, and those who wish us well, and think turning us away from God is wishing us well.
Q: In 2 Chr 2:17 (KJV), what was the stranger in the land?
A: These were the aliens, or non-Israelites who lived in the land.
Q: In 2 Chr 2:17, why was Solomon not punished for taking a census of the aliens, since David was punished in 1 Chr 20:7-19?
A: Davidís census was evil in the sight of God according to 1 Chronicles 20:7. While scripture does not say why Solomonís census was neither condemned nor commended by God, we can see at least two complementary possibilities.
1. While Davidís census was of Israel, Solomonís census was of non-Israelites. Solomonís apparent purpose of the census, to fairly obtain laborers, was not done simply for pride in the greatness of his kingdom.
2. As parents sometimes treat an older child different from a younger child, God sometimes treats different believers differently. Solomon had no idea his census of aliens was wrong (if it was), while David was conscience-stricken at ordering the census in 2 Samuel 24:10. Romans 14:23b says that whatever does not proceed from faith is sin.
Q: In 2 Chr 3:5 (KJV), what does "cieled with the fir tree" mean?
A: The NIV says, "paneled the main hall with pine", the NASB says, "overlaid the main room with cypress wood". Greenís Literal Translation says, "covered with cypress wood". The NRSV says, "lined with cypress".
Q: In 2 Chr 3:7, why were there graven cherubim on the walls, since Ex 20:4-5 and Dt 5:8-9 say they were not to have graven images before them?
A: These two verses, taken together give us a balanced view on images. We are not to bow to images, put them between God and us, worship or venerate them. However, images for decorative art, even religious art in the Temple, is OK.
This is in contrast to strict Muslim teaching that prohibits images, even portraits of people in a non-religious context, to prevent the possibility that they might be worshipped. (Note that Turkish Muslims and other Muslims often disregard this traditional prohibition, which is not in the Qurían.)
This is also in contrast to Catholic and most Eastern Orthodox practice, not of worshipping images, but of venerating images. They do not believe the images are God, or have any power except as a focusing point, but I have never heard a convincing explanation of how praying to images is not having a graven image before God.
It was not always this way in the Greek Orthodox church. At some times they were against images. For example, the Byzantine Emperor Leo III, who reigned from 717-741 A.D., is called "the Iconoclast" because he tried to stamp out veneration of icons in the Orthodox Church. However, soon after his death, the icons were all restored.
Q: In 2 Chr 4:2-4 and 1 Ki 7:23, why is the ratio of the circumference to the diameter 3.0 instead of the value of pi (3.14.159)?
A: Since we do not know anything of the shape of the round "sea" except these two dimensions, there are three simple explanations.
Rounding with significant digits: Assume the circumference was exactly 30.0 cubits. Since they only gave the dimensions in whole numbers, which number would Asimov have them use? A perfectly round basin with no rim would give a value of 9.55, and that is closer to 10 than to any other number.
A rim: Assume either the inner circumference was exactly 30.0 cubits, or that the thickness of the basin made the inner and outer circumference almost the same. A diameter that included a rim of 4 inches (0.22535 cubits) would give a ratio of exactly 3 to 1.
A flare: Nothing says the walls of the basin were perfectly vertical. If the basin had a very slight flare of 0.75% at the top, then the outer circumference at the narrow part and the outer or inner diameter at the top would give a ratio of exactly 3 to 1.
Q: In 2 Chr 4:12 (KJV), what are pommels and chapiters?
A: Chapiters are called "capitals" today. These are at the top of a column and usually have fancy artwork. They are also mentioned in 1 Kings 7:17,19,20,31,41.
Q: In 2 Chr 5:10, was nothing in the ark except two tablets, or were there also a pot of manna and Aaronís rod that budded, as Ex 16:33-34 and Heb 9:4 say?
A: Originally all three items were in the ark. However, over the centuries, as the manna decayed and branch probably decayed, and as the Philistines and irreverent Israelites took possession of the ark, apparently the tablets were all that was left. See Bible Difficulties & Seeming Contradictions p.160 for basically the same answer.
Q: In 2 Chr 6:5-6, how did God not choose anyone to be a ruler over Israel before, since Israel had many judges?
A: Judges were leaders over a loose confederation of tribes. They were not kings, did not have a standing army, and did not collect taxes. Here the word "ruler" refers to a king. See the next question for more info.
Q: In 2 Chr 6:5-6, how did God not choose any rulers prior to David, since God chose Saul?
A: God initially chose Saul, but after Saul did not wait for Samuel to sacrifice, and after Saul disobeyed in regard to the Amalekites, God retracted his choice and Saul was no longer the chosen king.
One could make the case that Saul "not being chosen" was different from Saul "never having been chosen ", but that misses the point. Whether David spoke accurately in his prayer or not, the Bible is recording what David prayed. Thank goodness God still hears our prayer if we have faulty information or biases.
Q: In 2 Chr 6:5-6, was God pleased to have a king over Israel, or was He displeased as 1 Sam 8:5-22 and especially 1 Sam 12:17-20 show?
A: 1 Samuel and 2 Chronicles had different contexts for these different events. In Samuelís time, the motives of the Israelites displeased both God and Samuel. God was displeased that the Israelites wanted to be just like the other nations around them.
In one sense, we can relate with the Israelites. They probably considered their safety and security the most important. They apparently reasoned that they would be safer if they always had a king to organize them, and lead them, regardless of whether they were following God or not. That would seem more constant than having judges, whom God only raised up when the people wanted to follow Him. From Solomonís time onward, the people had a degree of security, and constantly had a problem with worshipping idols
Today, Christians sometimes can want to rely on programs and human leaders to ensure the prosperity of their organization, regardless of whether God is a part of it or not. People often naturally prefer to rely on themselves instead of relying on God. When the people in a church or organization stop trying to follow God, if they do not return, then it is best for that church to die.
After the people chose a king, it pleased God to choose David to be king over them. This gives hope for Christians today. When a believer is in a less than optimal situation, he or she can still please God. For example, a Christian should not be yoked to an unbeliever by marrying a non-Christian as 2 Corinthians 6:14-18. However, if the Christian sins by choosing to marry an unbeliever, then once they are married the Christian can please God by not choosing to divorce their husband or wife, as 1 Corinthians 7:12-14.
Q: In 2 Chr 6:23,30, why was Solomon eager for God to give to each man according to his ways?
A: Solomon was not thinking anyone was sinlessly perfect, for he said that there is nobody who does not sin in 2 Chronicles 6:36. Rather Solomon is asking God to punish the ungodly, and to justify the cause of the righteous. The righteous here does not mean anyone is sinless perfect, but rather it means god-fearing people.
Q: In 2 Chr 6:28 (KJV), what is a dearth, pestilence, and blasting?
A: A dearth is a shortage, often of food. A pestilence is a plague, and a blasting is either a disease of the crops or poor crop production for other reasons.
Q: In 2 Chr 6:36 why do all sin, since 1 Jn 3:4-6; 1 Jn 3:9; and 1 Jn 5:18 say we should be without sin?
A: John did not teach that people are sinless, otherwise, how would he write 1 John 1:8? While the KJV and NKJV translate these passages in 1 John as "...doth not commit sin..." and "...does not sin...", they do not convey the fact that the Greek word is in the continuous tense. The Wuest New Testament translates 1 John 3:9, "Everyone who has been born out of God with the present result that he is a born-one of God does not habitually commit sin...". The NIV translates 1 John 3:9, "No one who is born of God will continue to sin..." Williams Translates this "practices sin" and "makes a practice of sinning". The NASB and uNASB translate it, "No one who is born of God practices sin..." The NET Bible translates this, "Everyone who has been fathered by God does not practice sin." When Critics Ask p.539 translates this, "Whoever is born of God does not continually practice sin." Geisler and Howe explain the difference as follows: "If a pig and a lamb fall into the mud, the pig wants to stay there, but the lamb wants to get out. Both a believer and an unbeliever can fall into the same sin, but a believer cannot stay in it and feel comfortable." 2 Chronicles 6:36 also says that all sin. See 1001 Bible Questions Answered p.71-75 and Encyclopedia of Bible Difficulties p.428-429 for more info.
Q: In 2 Chr 6:38, how did Solomon know the Israelites might be taken captive?
A: While Solomon could have known solely through divine revelation, nothing requires that it was this way. Solomon simply could have read Deuteronomy 29:28 or Leviticus 26:33-35; 43-44.
Q: In 2 Chr 7 and 1 Ki 8:65-66, when were the people sent home?
A: Both these descriptions do refer to the dedication of the temple. 1 Kings 8:65-66 says: 14 days in all, then the people were sent away. 1 Kings 8:2 says this was in the 7th month. 2 Chronicles 7:9 also says 7 days plus 7 days more. 2 Chronicles 7:10 says the people went home on the 23rd day of the 7th month. The NIV Study Bible p.632 and The Expositorís Bible Commentary volume 4 p.464 say the Israelites dedicated the temple from the 8th to 14th day of the month, and the Feast of Tabernacles was from the 15th day to the 22nd day.
Q: In 2 Chr 7:1, what exactly is the glory of the Lord here?
A: 735 Baffling Bible Questions Answered p.136 puts it as "a technical theological term in the Old Testament that indicates a visible invasion of the material universe by the Lord - a revelation of Godís presence."
Q: In 2 Chr 7:8-10, did Solomon fast as Lev 16:30 commands?
A: Solomon was not perfect. However, 2 Chronicles 7:8-10 does not actually show that Solomon broke any of the law here. They held a festival for seven days, but it does not say whether they fasted on the day of atonement or not.
See When Critics Ask p.207 for a slightly different answer.
Q: In 2 Chr 7:12, would God dwell in the Temple, or does God not dwell in temples made with human hands as Paul preached in Acts 7:48?
A: Solomon himself said that even the Heavens do not contain God in 2 Chronicles 6:18. Solomon saw no problem here, and neither should we. The Hebrew in 2 Chronicles 7:12 says, "...[I, God] have chosen this place to Myself for a house of sacrifice." It does not say that it was where God lived, or that God could not be anywhere else. Likewise Stephen recognized the tabernacle as Godís holy place, yet in Acts 7:48 meant that God is not limited to just living in the tabernacle, or that Heaven was empty when the tabernacle and temple were on earth.
God had a special place that was holy to Him: first the tabernacle (tent of meeting) and then the temple. Yet God fills the Heavens and the earth. When we say a church a "Godís House", that does not mean God cannot live anywhere except in a church on earth!
See Bible Difficulties & Seeming Contradictions p.224-225 and When Critics Ask p.207-208 for more info.
Q: In 2 Chr 7:14, what is the significance of Godís promise to heal their land if His people humble themselves and pray and turn from their wicked ways?
A: There is no expiration date on Godís promises. This is still promised today. It does not say that everyone in the land must turn from wickedness, but if only Godís people, who are called by His name, turn from wickedness, God will heal the entire land.
Q: In 2 Chr 7:16, is Godís name still in Jerusalem today?
A: Godís name is still there, but his glory is not there in the same way that it was. There are four parts to understanding this answer.
Godís name is always there both as the place where the Holy ark was kept, and as the place where Jesus died to pay the penalty for our sins.
Godís glory entered into Solomonís Temple, according to 2 Chronicles 7:1-3. However, later the people became so wicked, that prior to the Exile of Judah, Godís glory departed from the Temple according to Ezekiel 9:7 and chapter 10.
Jesus entered the Temple, so since Jesus is God the Son, God Himself entered the Temple 2,000 years ago. Jesus will come to Jerusalem again, in Revelation 14 and other verses.
The New Jerusalem will come down from heaven to the new earth in Revelation 21:1-2. God, in His glory, will dwell there with people forever.
Q: In 2 Chr 8:11, what are some types of spiritual compromises of which the Bible gives examples?
A: James 4:17 (NIV) says, "Anyone, then, who knows the good he ought to do and doesnít do it, sins." Here are compromises various people have made.
Get someone else to do your job: King David compromised in 1 Kings 2:5, by not punishing the wickedness of Joab and others, and putting the burden on his son Solomon to do so.
Marrying for money or connections: Marriage is good, but marriage should be not be a tool or weapon. Solomon married Pharaohís daughter for political reasons in 1 Kings 3:1 and 2 Chronicles 8:11. However, Pharaoh attacked Judah during the time of Solomonís son Rehoboam.
Marrying nonbelievers: Solomon sinned by marrying many wives, and marrying women he was not supposed to marry in 1 Kings 3:2-3. The king sinned by marrying unbelieving wives in 1 Kings 11:1-2, and the king was not to marry many wives according to Deuteronomy 17:17. Likewise the artistic workman Hiram of Tyre sent to oversee the artistic work was half-Tyrian, and half Israelite in 2 Chronicles 2:13.
Accumulating weapons and wealth in 1 Kings 10:26-29. Kings of Israel were not to gather chariots, horses, and much gold for themselves according to Deuteronomy 17:16-17. The gold of Jerusalem later served as a magnet for foreign invaders. Today, when we accumulate weapons and excessive wealth, in whom are we trusting?
In judging between two prostitutes in 1 Kings 3:16, Solomon showed great wisdom in determining which woman was the mother of the child. However, the point should have been moot, as both should have been executed for prostitution.
Solomon traded away Israelite towns to Tyre in 1 Kings 9:12-13 in exchange for help building the temple. Sometimes today people can love things and use people, rather than love people and use things.
Wisdom over God: The kings of the earth sought Solomonís wisdom in 2 Chronicles 9:23. Did Solomon tell them about his God? There is no mention of this, and if Solomon did, perhaps it was not very prominent. There was once a Christian politician, who when a reporter asked if "do you think Christ is the only was to heaven?" answered: "Christ is the only way to Heaven - for me." When people seek our wisdom, do we try to give the glory to God or keep the glory for ourselves?
Multiple Temples: Solomon built a magnificent-looking temple to the One True God. Most disappointing though, was that Solomon also built other temples to idols in 1 Kings 9:8-9,25 and 1 Kings 11:7-8 . As we give our time, money, and lives to serve God, are we also building up any idol temples or ungodly causes?
Q: In 2 Chr 8:11, why did Solomon used "compartmentalized thinking"?
A: Compartmentalized thinking is using one set of assumptions, and trusting in one thing in a certain area of your life, and using different and often contrary assumptions and trust in another area. One example is a thief who decides it is wrong to steal on Sunday. Another is someone who needs almost absolute proof before he or she will choose to believe in a supernatural God, but easily believes in spirits and other New Age phenomena. Compartmentalized thinking is one form of hypocrisy. Someone once said that most really bad decisions had very good rationalizations.
In 1 Ki 9:16, Solomonís alliance to Egypt by marrying Pharaohís daughter was very politically correct. Solomon benefited from the wedding gift, which was the Egyptians capturing the Philistine city of Gezer and giving it to Solomon in 1 Kings 9:16. Building a palace for his wife seemed innocent enough in 1 Kings 7:8 and 1 Kings 9:24, but the reason was that his wife should not enter holy places. Well, if that was true, Solomon, why did you think God wanted you to marry her in the first place?
Q: In 2 Chr 8:3-10 when should we accept money and material from false religious groups, or other non-Christians, for Godís work?
A: First letís see what Solomon did, and then apply what we learn to our lives. In 2 Chronicles 2:3-10 Solomon sent a letter to the pagan king Hiram of Tyre to help him build the temple. Hiram sent Solomon a letter (either before or after) in 1 Kings 5:7 giving the impression that Hiram respected the true God. Afterwards, Solomon and Hiram formed a trading partnership. Still later Solomon traded Israelite towns to Hiram for his help, and Solomon married a Phoenician wife from Sidon, who was one of the wives that led Solomonís heart astray. Here are the different "stages" of what was done, applied today.
In the market, buying material from non-Christians, at fair market price. When Christians go to a store, such as a home improvement store, we do not walk out because the management or owners are not necessarily Christian. Over time, a relationship of trust might build up, where they know they can trust us to be honest, and we can trust them. That is OK too. When we buy something in a store for Godís work, there is no appearance that we endorse, (either directly or implicitly) their religious reliefs, or endorsement by them of our beliefs. As long as the goods are not known to be stolen, it is a simple commercial transaction.
Becoming a partner with unbelievers is not good and is forbidden in 2 Corinthians 6:14-18.
Casting pearls before pigs is forbidden in Matthew 7:6. Letting Phoenician workmen work inside the temple might not be proper.
Many would lead you astray, and you are not supposed to submit to either friends or others who would lead you astray from your devotion to Christ, as 2 Corinthians 11:3-4 shows.
In conclusion, note that each step is just a gradual change from the preceding step. However, the first step is OK, and others are not.
Q: In 2 Chr 9, who was the Queen of Sheba?
A: Sheba was a prosperous trading nation on the southwest corner of the Arabian peninsula and Ethiopia. Solomonís ships would have to pass through the sea that she controlled. See The New International Dictionary of the Bible p.926, the Wycliffe Bible Dictionary p.1566, and 735 Baffling Bible Questions Answered p.136 for more info.
Q: In 2 Chr 9:21, did Solomonís ships get gold from Tarshish (in Spain), or from the south in Ophir, as 1 Ki 9:28 says?
A: Both are true. Solomon and Hiram had two fleets of ships. Remember there was no Suez Canal back then, so ships could not go from the Mediterranean to the Red Sea. Gold was the standard of monetary exchange, and Solomon and Hiram profited from both fleets. See When Critics Ask p.208 for more info.
Q: In 2 Chr 9:25, did Solomon have 4,000 stalls, or 40,000 stalls as 1 Ki 4:26 says?
A: Solomon had 4,000 stalls; 40,000 stalls is most likely a copyist error. When Critics Ask p.181 points out that since there were 1,400 chariots in both passages, 4,000 still is a ratio of almost 3 stalls per chariot, and 40,000 stalls give a ratio of 28.5 stalls per chariot. Thus 4,000 gives a much more reasonable ratio. The Hebrew for 40 is rbym and the Hebrew for 4 is rbh, so this would be a difference of only two letters. See Bible Difficulties & Seeming Contradictions p.64-64 for more info.
Q: In 2 Chr 10:7 did the advisors tell Rehoboam to say, "be kind and please them", or "be a servant ... serve them," as 1 Ki 12:7 says?
A: Four points to consider in the answer.
Paraphrase: There were no quote marks in Hebrew, and probably both sentences are paraphrases.
Timing: Chronicles was written much later than Kings, and besides small changes in meaning, 2 Chronicles is clearer that they were not advising Rehoboam to abdicate the throne.
On the other hand, both exact phrases could be said by one or more advisors. When one advisor said one thing, a second chimed in with a similar sentiment.
The Content is important: There is a lesson for us in these verses. The Bible has preserved for us the content and meaning of these words, not the exact words.
Q: In 2 Chr 11:2, does the division of Israel violate Godís promise to Solomon in 2 Chr 7:18?
A: No. While Judah could be thought of as a part of the united kingdom of Israel, that is not relevant to the answer. The answer is the conditional phrase in the previous verse, 2 Chronicles 7:17, says, "if you walk before Me as your father David walked..." (NASB). Some blessing and promises from God are conditional on our obedience. See 735 Baffling Bible Questions Answered p.136 and Hard Sayings of the Bible p.244-245 for more info.
Q: In 2 Chr 11:18, was Rehoboam right to marry two of his cousins?
A: It was allowed. Leviticus 20 teaches us the family marriage restrictions, and while Rehoboam could not marry an aunt, it was OK to marry a cousin from the same grandfather.
Q: In 2 Chr 11:20, was Abijahís mother Maacah a daughter of Absalom, or a daughter of Uriel of Gibeah as 2 Chr 13:2 says?
A: While 2 Chronicles 11:20 does not specifically say this Absalom was the same as the son of David, it most likely was the same person.
735 Baffling Bible Questions Answered p.137 says that the Hebrew word for daughter, bet, can mean descendant, and Maacah might have been Absalomís granddaughter. Hard Sayings of the Bible p.245 also mentions that Genesis 46:15 is an example where the "sons of Leah" mean the descendants of Leah. There are at least three ways this could be.
Absalom->Uriel->Maacah Absalom had a son, Uriel who lived in Gibeah, who had a daughter Maacah.
Uriel->daughter+Absalom->Maacah Uriel who lived in Gibeah had a daughter who married Absalom. They had a daughter named Maacah.
Absalom->daughter+Uriel->Maacah Absalom had a daughter, who married Uriel who lived in Gibeah, and they had a daughter named Maacah.
Q: In 2 Chr 11:21, what can we learn about Rehoboam here?
A: Rehoboam did not learn from his fatherís mistake, because Rehoboam had 18 wives and 60 concubines. Deuteronomy 17:17 said a king was not to have many wives, but Rehoboam perhaps was not too concerned about obeying the law. See The Expositorís Bible Commentary volume 4 p.477 for more info.
Q: In 2 Chr 12:3, who were the Sukkites?
A: We do not know much about this tribe, except that the Sukkites probably were the same people Egyptians called the Tjuku or Tjukten. They were light-armed scouts. While the skeptical Asimovís Guide to the Bible p.418 speculates they might be people from Succoth, a native Egyptian city in the Nile Delta, this likely is incorrect. The NIV Study Bible p.637 says they also are mentioned in Egyptian writings. See the Wycliffe Bible Dictionary p.1631 for more info.
Q: Does 2 Chr 12:3 greatly exaggerate the size of Pharaohís army, as the skeptical Asimovís Guide to the Bible p.418 says?
A: Nothing indicates that a force from all Egypt, Libya, and northern Sudan, or 1200 chariots, 60,000 horsemen, and uncounted infantry is exaggerated.
Q: In 2 Chr 12:5,9, archaeologically what do we know about Shishak, Pharaoh of Egypt?
A: Also known as Sheshonk I, he actually was a Libyan who revolted and founded the 22nd Dynasty in Egypt. A list of 156 cities he conquered in Palestine is written on the south outer wall of his temple of Amon in Thebes. Shishak was a political opportunist. He married his son to the daughter of the last king of the 21st Dynasty. When Jeroboam fled from Solomon, Shishak gave him sanctuary. However, once Jeroboam became king in the north, Shishak plundered both Israel and Judah. According to the Wycliffe Bible Dictionary p.1581-1582 and especially The New International Dictionary of the Bible p.938-939, the 156 towns included Adoraim, Aijalon, Beth Horon, Beth Shan, Gibeon, Megiddo, Shechem, Shunem, Socoh, Taanach, and an unknown place called the "field of Abraham".
See The Expositorís Bible Commentary volume 4 p.479 for more info.
Q: In 2 Chr 12:13, was Solomon right to marry an Ammonite?
A: No, Solomon sinned. Later Solomon would build a Temple to the chief Ammonite god, Milcom, in 1 Kings 11:1,5,7,33.
Q: In 2 Chr 12:15; 13:3, why did God allow continual war between Judah and Israel, since He could have stopped it or prevented a divided kingdom?
A: The question presumes God has some sort of obligation to promote peace among people who were disobedient to Him. They wanted to fight over control, and as long as they did not want Godís Lordship over their lives, they would never be under the proper powers.
Q: In 2 Chr 12:15; 13:2, 1 Ki 14:30; 15:6, what examples are in recent history of senseless wars where you should not be fighting on either side?
A: Typically, when two rulers, who appear to be nearly equally evil, are fighting, there is no point in fighting for either side. If you are in a country that is this way, it is better to find people of peace on the other side, so that you can protect each other. First, here is my personal opinions of wars that had very clear moral issues, and then of wars where it was a waste to die for either side.
Wars with Clear Moral Issues:
The Cherokee Trail of Tears "non-war": When the Cherokees supported the British in the War of 1812, Andrew Jackson had them removed to Oklahoma when he became president. The Supreme Court said that was not legal, Jackson asked of the Chief justice of the Supreme Court "what army does he have?" and illegally relocated the Cherokee Indians to Oklahoma anyway in 1835-1842, breaking the treaty with them. Christians should have stood up for the oppressed Cherokees, not with guns, but peacefully with laws, lawsuits and the political process. An estimated 2,000 Cherokee Indians died on the forced march.
The American Civil War (1861-1886) - One nation or two was not a moral issue, but the unChristian, dehumanizing treatment of 4 million black slaves was a moral issue. Around half a million people died.
The Opium Wars in China (1839-1842 and 1856-1860). Christians should have been actively involved on the Chinese side, not the British side. More arms would not have been helpful against the British gunboats. Rather, public opinion in England should have shamed the British for forcing the import of opium into China, causing over 2 million Chinese opium addicts.
World War II - Whether most of Europe was united, such as under Charlemagne or Napoleon, was not a moral issue. The wholesale slaughter of the Jews in Europe, and the brutality against the Chinese were moral issues.
The Bosnian War - The religions of the different sides were not the issue here. The Serbs were "ethnically cleansing" the Bosnian Muslims, the Bosnian men slaughtered, and their women raped. This was a tough situation, because the Bosnians were not totally innocent either. However, I think the solution was not so much to enter the conflict on the side of the Bosnians, as to enter the conflict on the side of peace and ceasefire.
The War in southern Sudan - The religions of the two sides are not the issue here, and whether a peaceful Muslim regime (which Sudan is not) ruled the whole country would not be the issue here either. The human rights violations of the Muslim government, in massacring entire villages of men, and selling the women and children into slavery, makes them at least as bad as the Serbs in Europe. However, America is somewhat hypocritical about this, as Jesse Jackson, Louis Farrakhan, and a number of prominent black leaders in America apparently turn a blind eye to black slavery today.
Fighting the Shining Path Rebels in Peru 1980-: These Maoists used drug money and were against peaceful people, including Christian missionaries.
The Soviet-Polish "non-War": The Poles wanted independence from the U.S.S.R., and they achieved it without bloodshed. Fighting was not called for here, but "Solidarity" with the Poles was good.
Apartheid In South Africa (non-war): Many Christians did oppose Apartheid, using peaceful means.
And there are others too.
Wars with no clear Moral Issues:
Just as the good king Josiah had no business getting involved in the war between Egypt and Assyria, here are some major wars where it was a waste of energy and blood to be on either side.
The Spanish-American War of 1889-1898 was the pompous flexing of Americaís muscle, starting from the blowing up of an American ship by an unknown and unproven cause.
The War of the Triple Alliance (1864-1870) was a particularly bloody war that occurred about the same time as the American Civil War, with 12 times more casualties. Paraguay fought against Argentina, Brazil, and Uruguay and about 6 million were killed.
The 1980-1988 Iran-Iraq War killed about 1.55 million people. In the end the only thing the war accomplished was increasing the poverty and lowering the population of both countries.
In the Civil War in Tajikistan Muslims have been in a fierce struggle with other Muslims over control of this new nation.
Q: In 2 Chr 13, did Abijah rely on the Lord, or was Abijah evil as 1 Ki 15:3 says?
A: Both were true at various times. Abijah was evil, but this one time the king chose to rely on the Lord. See 735 Baffling Bible Questions Answered p.137 and When Critics Ask p.208-209 for more info.
Q: In 2 Chr 13:1, how do you pronounce "Abijah"?
A: It is pronounced as "a-BI-ja", with a long i and a dot over each of the two aís, according to the Wycliffe Bible Dictionary p.5. Note that the accent is on the second syllable.
Q: In 2 Chr 13:3-4, how could king Abijah stand on Mount Zemaraim and speak to 1.2 million soldiers?
A: Abijah spoke a message that addressed everyone, and while a voice can carry far from a mountain, it is not necessary that every single soldier have heard him directly. The ones that did hear could relay it to the others.
Q: In 2 Chr 13:5, what is a covenant of salt?
A: This is mentioned in Leviticus 2:13 and Numbers 18:19. All the offerings to God were sprinkled with salt, as a symbol of Godís covenant. God made covenants with David and Solomon in 1 Chronicles 17:13-14 and 2 Chronicles 7:17-22.
Q: In 2 Chr 13:7, who were the children of Belial?
A: This Hebrew idiom meant "worthless people". The term "Belial" also is used in 1 Samuel 1:16; 2:12; 10:27; 25:17,25 and 1 Samuel 30:22.
Q: In 2 Chr 13:22, who was the prophet Iddo?
A: According to 1001 Bible Questions Answered p.372, tradition claims Iddo was the prophet who denounced Jeroboamís calf in 1 Kings 13. The writer of the book of Zechariah was a son of Berechiah, who was a son (or descendant) of Iddo. This Iddo might have been the ancestor of Zechariah.
Q: In 2 Chr 14:3-4, did King Asa of Judah remove the foreign altars and high places in Judah, or were the high places not removed in 1 Ki 15:14 and 2 Chr 15:17?
A: Both are true. Early in his reign he destroyed every high place in Judah, but by the end of his reign every high place was not destroyed in Israel, including rebuilt ones. Without a change in heart from the people, the trouble with destroying the high places is that they get rebuilt. A high place was very simple to construct, and could be rebuilt quickly.
Early in his reign, Asa removed every foreign altar and high place in Judah. Both 2 Chronicles 14:3-4 and 1 Kings 15:12 show that he was very thorough.
Did they stay gone? No, because before the 15th year of his reign, he had to remove the idols from not only Benjamin and Ephraim, but it also mentions Judah again.
Did they stay gone? No, because sometimes before his 35th year, his own grandmother Maacah made an Asherah pole in 2 Chronicles 15:16. He deposed her for that.
2 Chronicles 15:17 does not say if all the high places remained gone from Judah or not, but it says they were not all removed from Israel. Now, Asa did not control all of Israel, but presumably it referred to lands of Benjamin and Ephraim that Asa controlled.
There is a lesson for Christians here. If with Godís grace we conquer an idol in our life, we are not done. At a later time, in a different place, we have to remain diligent that it does not come back again.
Q: In 2 Chr 14:3-4, 15:17 and 1 Ki 15:14, why werenít all the high places removed in Israel?
A: There are four possible reasons, and the real answer might be a combination of them.
a) Asa did not control all of Israel, only Judah and part of Israel. Perhaps God had intended that he conquer King Baasha of Israel, but the high places in Israel were not removed because he had no rule over most of Israel.
b) It took decades for Asa to [allegedly] successfully keep all high places removed from Judah, but the part of Israel he occupied had high places because he did not control it for long enough.
c) He got rid of all the ones in Judah early in his reign, but they crept back, not only in Israel, but [allegedly] in Judah.
d) Early in his life he followed God whole-heartedly, but after he relied on his own resources to defeat Baasha, imprisoned the seer from God, and did not consult God when his feet were diseased, he stopped preventing high places from being rebuilt.
See When Critics Ask p.186, The Expositorís Bible Commentary vol.4 p.485,489, and Bible Difficulties & Seeming Contradictions p.160-161 for more info.
Q: In 2 Chr 14:2-16:14 and 1 Ki 15:11-24, what is the sequence of events of Asaía life?
A: Here is a combined sequence from both books.
2 Chronicles 14:2 and 1 Kings 15:11 Asa did what was right in the LORDís eyes.
2 Chronicles 14:3-5 and 1 Kings 15:12 King Asa expelled the male shrine "workers" and got rid of all the idols his father made. 2 Chronicles 14:3-4 says Asa smashed the foreign altars and high places, smashing the sacred stones and cut down the Asherah poles. Verse 5 says this was done in every town in Judah. Some see that he only destroyed high places to false gods, not high places to the true God. This could have been done initially in his reign. Alternatively, this might be a summary of Asaís life and this actually occurred in 2 Chronicles 15:8. Either alternative does not affect the answer to the previous question though.
2 Chronicles 14:6-8 Judah had peace, but Asa also fortified the land.
2 Chronicles 14:9-15 Zerah the Cushite invaded Judah, but Asa called out to God and the Cushites were struck down.
2 Chronicles 15:1-8 Asa listened to the prophet Azariah and removed the idols from Judah, Benjamin, and the towns in Israel he had captured.
2 Chronicles 15:9-10 Many people left Israel and settled in Judah. Asa assembled them all in the third month of the fifteenth year of his reign.
2 Chronicles 15:15-17a and 1 Kings 15:13-14 Asa deposed his grandmother Maacah for making an Asherah pole, but he did not remove the high places from Israel.
2 Chronicles 15:17b,19 and 1 Kings 15:14 Asa was committed to the LORD all his life. 2 Chronicles 15:19 says there was no war until his 35th year.
2 Chronicles 15:18 and 1 Kings 15:15 Asa brought into the temple all the silver, gold, and articles his father had dedicated.
1 Kings 15:16 There was war between Asa and Baasha throughout their reigns.
2 Chronicles 16:1-6 and 1 Kings 15:17-22 In the 36th year, King Baasha of Israel invaded Judah Asa depended on his own resources to pay the Arameans to attack Israel. They did so, and Asa recaptured the towns.
2 Chronicles 16:7-10 Hanani the Seer rebuked Asa and Asa imprisoned him. Asa also brutally oppressed some of the people.
2 Chronicles 16:11-13 and 1 Kings 15:23b In his 39th year Asa contracted a disease of his feet, sought help only from doctors, not the LORD.
2 Chronicles 16:13 In the 41st year Asa died
2 Chronicles 16:14 and 1 Kings 15:24a they buried him in a tomb he had prepared for himself in Jerusalem. Asa was buried with his fathers.
Q: In 2 Chr 14:5-6, was the kingdom quiet under Asa, or was there war between Asa and Baasha all their days as 1 Ki 15:16 says?
A: 2 Chronicles 14:5-6 shows that there was quiet under Asa until 2 Chronicles 16:1 in the 36th year of Asaís reign, when Baasha attacked Israel. From that point on there was war. See Bible Difficulties & Seeming Contradictions p.161-162 for more info.
Q: In 2 Chr 14:9-12, why would an Ethiopian attack Judah?
A: At this time an "Ethiopian" dynasty, called the Twenty-Fifth Dynasty, was ruling Egypt. These Ethiopians were not from the modern land of Ethiopia, but rather from northern Sudan.
Q: In 2 Chr 14:9-12, how could there be a million-man army here?
A: The skeptical Asimovís Guide to the Bible p.420 says this is exaggerated. The Hebrew here literally means "thousands upon thousands", which can simply mean a vast army, as the NIV has translated it. The NET Bible says "million" with a footnote saying in Hebrew it is "a thousand thousands". Egypt and Sudan might have had a population of 4 to 5 million people, which is not enough for a million-man army.
Q: In 2 Chr 15:1, how do you pronounce the name of the prophet "Oded"?
A: The Wycliffe Bible Dictionary p.1244 pronounces it as "O-did" with a long o and a short i. Crudenís Concordance pronounces it as "O-ded" with a long o and a short e.
Q: In 2 Chr 15:13, why did they resolve to kill all the Jews who did not want to seek God?
A: The type of government there were under was a theocratic monarchy. Idolatry is such a serious sin, that they were supposed to put idolators to death according to Deuteronomy 13 and 17:2-7.
Q: In 2 Chr 15:16, was Maacah the queen mother killed for making an idol?
A: It does not say so. It says that she was deposed from being the queen mother. It does not say whether or not they carried out their resolve and killed her.
Q: In 2 Chr 16:1, did Baasha fight against Judah in the 36th year of Asa, or did Baashaís son Elah become king in the 26th year of Asa as 1 Ki 16:8 says?
A: First here is a chronology of the relevant kings.
909-868 B.C. Asa of Judah started ruling from the 20th year of Jeroboam for 41 years (1 Kings 15:9-10)
909-886 B.C. Baasha of Israel reigned 24 years (1 Kings 15:33)
886-885 B.C. Elah of Israel, Baashaís son, started ruling in the 26th year of Asaís reign (1 Kings 16:8)
It was not the 36th year of Asa, because in 2 Chronicles 16:5, Baasha, Elahís father was still reigning, Christians have two answers.
Copyist error: It should probably be the 16th year of Asaís reign. Likewise 2 Chronicles 15:19 should say "15" not "35". See Bible Difficulties & Seeming Contradictions p.162-163 for more info.
Copyist error from a different starting point: In addition to giving the previous answer, The NIV Study Bible p.641 and the Encyclopedia of Bible Difficulties p.225-226 also say that some think the 36th year was from the division of the kingdom. Rehoboam reigned 17 years, and Abijah 3 years, so this would be the 16th year of Asaís reign. The Hebrew word for "reign" can also mean "kingdom". Apparently this would be a copyist error of 16 for 26.
When Critics Ask p.209 says that in Hebrew numerical notation, the number 10 xx and the number 30 xx differ by only two small strokes at the top.
Q: In 2 Chr 16:4-17, why did Asaís attitude change so suddenly?
A: Asa was the first king to imprison a prophet. The only event that Scripture mentions is Baasha of Israel going against Judah. Perhaps Asa thought that as long as he obeyed God, Judah would never be attacked, much less attacked by their brothers the Israelites. When God did not meet Asaís conditions, Asaís obedience evaporated. Today, do we consciously or unconsciously demand God to meet conditions for our obedience. If so, will our obedience evaporate when God tests us by not meeting our expectations?
God wants people to love and serve Him unconditionally, as Abraham did.
Q: Does 2 Chr 16:12 teach that Asa died because he sought doctors instead of God, as the false religion Christian Science teaches?
A: No. The gospel writer Luke was a doctor, and there was no rebuke for seeking the help of doctors and medicines. After all, even Isaiah told King Hezekiah to use a poultice of figs as a medicine when Hezekiah was near death.
Rather, 2 Chronicles 16:12 teaches that Asa consulted doctors, instead of the Lord, meaning he did not pray to God but relied only on doctors.
See When Cultists Ask p.56 for more info.
Q: In 2 Chr 16:12, is disease punishment for sin?
A: Yes, no, yes, yes, and yes, properly understood.
Since the Fall, the fact that everyone has to live with disease is a result of the fall of man. Did you know that in addition to infectious diseases, there are at least 2,000 genetically inherited diseases and conditions in humans? The world too was subjected to frustration when man sinned in Romans 8:20-22.
Nevertheless, Jesus showed that things such as blindness, oppression, and natural disasters harming an individual are not because of that personís own sin, or that the person is a worse sinner than others.
In a culture, sometimes widespread occurrence of a disease is a natural consequence of a widespread sin. For example, AIDS and sexually transmitted diseases are rampant in Southeast Asia and much of Africa. One estimate is that 15% of all adults in South Africa will die of AIDS.
The world is not fair (yet): Sometimes a particular person suffer disease because of a particular sin of someone else. A number of people have died of AIDS due to blood transfusions, not from immoral sexual activity.
All this being said, sometimes God chooses to strike a particular person with a disease as a particular punishment for sin, as Elymas was struck with blindness for a time, for opposing Paul. Not only was Asa afflicted in 2 Chronicles 16:12, but Herod was struck down with a disease of the intestines (Acts 12:23), Miriam was made leprous (Numbers 12), the Assyrians were struck down by plague (2 Chronicles 21:18-19), and Uzziah became leprous in 2 Chronicles 26:19.
Q: In 2 Chr 16:12-14, why did Asa fail to pray to God for healing?
A: Asa had been rebuked in 2 Chronicles 16:10-11. Asa had not repented, and perhaps Asa falsely thought that he had done so much wrong there was no point in repenting and asking God for healing now. However, as long as you breathe the air, it is never too late to repent and turn to God. There is no guarantee God will physically heal, but God delights in showing mercy, so do not hesitate to sincerely repent and ask for His mercy and grace.
See 735 Baffling Bible Questions Answered p.137 for a complementary answer.
Q: In 2 Chr 16:12-14, why do Christians today sometimes fail to ask God for what we know we need?
A: While a few might do so for the same reason as Asa, more commonly Christians simply forget because they are too busy to develop their prayer life.
Q: In 2 Chr 17:14-18, how did Jehoshaphat have such a large army of 1.16 million men?
A: We are not certain of the number meant here. "200,000" etc. might mean 200 units instead of 200,000. Also, the book of 2 Chronicles has a relatively high number of copyist errors. See The NIV Study Bible p.642 for essentially the same answer.
Q: In 2 Chr 18:14-16, why did Ahab rebuke Micaiah here?
A: Ahab said he hated Micaiah because Micaiah always said bad things about King Ahab (2 Chronicles 18:7). Micaiah gave the answer everyone wanted to hear (2 Chronicles 18:24). However his manner must have been sarcastic, for even Ahab knew he was being toyed with, as 2 Chronicles 18:15 shows. Then Micaiah told everyone how things really were.
Micaiah not only humiliated Ahab before Jehoshaphat and the others, but Ahab likely did not want Micaiah to lower the morale of his troops.
Q: In 2 Chr 19, why would the good king Jehoshaphat align himself with king Ahab?
A: Jehoshaphat was an unusual man. Jehoshaphat was wrong to do so according to 2 Chronicles 19:1-2. Here is a speculation as to why.
There had been terrible war between Israel and Judah prior to Jehoshaphat, and he valued friendship and a degree of unity with the faithless people of the northern kingdom as well as following God.
In Revelation 18:4, an angel actually had to tell Godís people to come out of Babylon. Otherwise presumably, they would not leave this spiritual harlot. Even today, a number of Christians are involved in churches where leaders deny Christís atoning work on the cross, or His physical resurrection. Other genuine Christians are members of groups that preach a different gospel, or a different God, such as free masons. You know, perhaps Jehoshaphat was not so unusual after all in making the mistake of getting himself in a compromising arrangement. Are there organization, arrangements, or commitments you have made, that are compromising and not pleasing to God? If so, get out of them, as soon as you can.
Q: In 2 Chr 20:1-2, why would these people attack now?
A: Perhaps they thought Jehoshaphat was so focused on internal affairs that now would be a good time to diminish some of their enemyís power. They made a grave mistake.
Q: In 2 Chr 20:15-17, how are some battles ours, and other battles the Lordís?
A: God may have allowed Satan to gather this host to test Jehoshaphat, just like Asa was tested in 2 Chronicles 16:1-2. However, while Asa originally appeared to rely on the Lord, Jehoshaphat continued to rely on the Lord. Perseverance through testing can bring blessing, as James 1:2 and 1 Peter 1:6-7 show.
Q: In 2 Chr 20:25, why would the enemy army be carrying precious jewels?
A: The king and nobles were among them. Jewels might be very handy if they were captured and needed to bribe someone. Common soldiers would also carry jewels they might have looted from captured towns.
Q: In 2 Chr 20:35, why did Jehoshaphat ally himself with Ahaziah, instead of learning his lesson in 2 Chronicles 19:2 and 1 Ki 22:6-7?
A: Jehoshaphat either did not listen to the prophet, or else he learned the wrong lesson. The alliance in 2 Chronicles 20:35 was a peaceful trading alliance, not a military alliance. The skeptical Asimovís Guide to the Bible p.421 says that Jehoshaphat was a subservient ally, but there is no proof that Jehoshaphat reigned under Ahabís control. Perhaps Jehoshaphat wrongly thought the prophetís words were limited to only fighting together in war. Sometimes when people learn a lesson, it can be a wrong or incomplete lesson.
Q: In 2 Chr 20:36, why would they make ships at Ezion Geber, on the Red Sea, to go to Tarshish?
A: They were very ambitious here, for they would have to sail around Africa. The Carthaginians may have sailed around Africa.
Q: In 2 Chr 21:12-15, how did King Jehoram of Judah receive this letter from Elijah, since Elijah was taken up to heaven during the reign of Ahaziah, King of Judah?
A: The letter could have been given to the king after Elijah died. However, there is no reason to suppose that Elijah was not alive in 2 Chronicles 21:12-15.
Letter probably given after 848/7 B.C. Jehoram of Judah reigned from 853/2 to 841 B.C. The first five or so years were as co-ruler with his father Jehoshaphat. While strictly speaking, dates do not require the letter to be read after Jehoshaphatís death in 848/7 B.C., it probably was, since Jehoram was in charge.
From 852-841 B.C., Joram son of Ahab (a different person than Joram/Jehoram of Judah) ruled over Israel. Elijahís whirlwind is mentioned after Joram son of Ahab became king in 2 Kings 1:17.
1 Kings is often thematic, not strictly chronological: For example, the discussion of Elijahís whirlwind is mentioned after Joram of Israel becoming king in 2 Kings 1:17 and before discussing what Joram of Israel did as king starting in 2 Kings 3:1. Quite frankly, the literary style would be diminished if 2 Kings discussed Elijah, then Joram, then Elijah again, and then discussed Joram again.
See the Encyclopedia of Bible Difficulties p.226-227 and When Critics Ask p.210 for more info.
Q: In 2 Chr 22:1, how did the Arabs kill all of Ahaziahís brothers, since they took them captive in 2 Chr 21:16-17?
A: Unfortunately being taken captive does not guarantee your future safety; captives sometimes are later killed. Perhaps Jehoram was not willing to pay a high enough ransom.
For a second, similar example of captives being killed, see Jeremiah 52:9-10. The Babylonians captured Zedekiah and his party, and then passed sentence on Zedekiah, and after that then killed his sons before his eyes.
Q: In 2 Chr 22:2 (KJV), how was Ahaziah 22 years old when he began to reign?
A: The King James version faithfully translated the Masoretic text, which is wrong here, as it differs from both 2 Kings 8:26. Both the Syriac and some Septuagint manuscripts as 22 years old in 2 Chronicles 22:2. If Ahaziah was 42 years old here, and Jehoram died when he was 40 years old in 2 Chronicles 21:20, then Ahaziah would be two years older than his father! 2 Kings 8:26 in the Septuagint says he was 20 years old.
See 735 Baffling Bible Questions Answered p.128, the Encyclopedia of Bible Difficulties p.206-207, The Expositorís Bible Commentary volume 4 p.203 and 508, Bible Difficulties & Seeming Contradictions p.163-164, and the New International Bible Commentary p.474, and When Critics Ask p.194, for essentially the same answer. Bible Difficulties & Seeming Contradictions p.164 adds that in both this copyist error and 2 Kings 24:8 (18) and 2 Chronicles 36:9-10 (8), the tens digit was missed. Numbers written in the time of Ezra and Nehemiah had horizontal and vertical strokes, and if a manuscript was blurred or smudged, one of the strokes would be missed.
Q: In 2 Chr 22:5, was Ahaziah the son of Ahab, or Joram as 2 Ki 8:29 says?
A: This is obviously a copyist error for Joram. If it were Ahaziah here, then 2 Chronicles 22:5 would say that Ahaziah went with Ahaziah son of Ahab. In addition, 2 Chronicles 22:5 says "Joram" in some Hebrew manuscripts, the Septuagint, Vulgate, and Syriac.
Q: In 2 Chr 22:8, should this be translated as Ahaziahís brothers or Ahaziahís relatives?
A: The Hebrew word could be translated either way. However, since Ahaziah was born when his father was 18, and his father was 40 years old when he died, it probably means relatives, as the "sons" of Ahaziahís brothers likely would not be old enough to attend to Ahaziah.
See The Expositorís Bible Commentary volume 4 p.509 and When Critics Ask p.210-211 for more info.
Q: In 2 Chr 23:11, what was the copy of the testimony/covenant here?
A: It might have been a contract under which Joash was to rule, but more likely it was a copy of the Torah, which spelled out the kingly duties. See The Expositorís Bible Commentary volume 4 p.511 for more info.
Q: In 2 Chr 24:2,17-18, why was Joash so godly while Jehoiada was alive, yet turn away once Jehoida died?
A: Joash must have felt very grateful to Jehoiada. If it were not for Jehoida, Joash would be dead instead of king. However, undetectable to others, apparently Jehoiadaís faith did not become Joashís faith. Joashís loyalty and gratitude only lasted as long as Jehoiada was alive and was no substitute for genuine faith.
Jehoiada raised Joash, and it is possible that Jehoiadaís son Zechariah and Joash played together as kids. Sadly, Joash later killed Zechariah in 2 Chronicles 24:21.
Q: In 2 Chr 24:2,17-18, why are some people today good churchgoers for years, and then turn away from God?
A: It happened with Demas in 2 Timothy 4:1, and with Diotrephes in 3 John 9-10, and it happens today. Jesus spoke of the prodigal son, and in the parable of the four soils, one of the soils is those who receive the gospel eagerly, but are choked out by the cares of this world. Some can be led astray by false teachers, some are disillusioned, and some drift through simple neglect of their relationship with God.
Even though God knows who all the elect are who are going to Heaven, the Bible is very clear that we all have a responsibility to persevere, whether in faith, love, through suffering, and throughout our life. Verses showing the believers responsibility to persevere include Hebrews 10:23,26; 12:1, 12-13; 1 John 2:24; 1 Corinthians 13:7; Romans 5:3-4; James 1:3-4,12; James 5:11; and 2 Peter 1.
Q: In 2 Chr 24:25, were the servants right to kill Joash for killing Jehoiadaís son Zechariah?
A: Nothing indicates the officials were doing this for godly reasons; their motive probably was simply to quickly get rid of a king who was physically incapacitated, militarily incapacitated, and had lost the respect of his officials.
Regardless of their motives, God can use evil and well as good people to accomplish His purposes.
Q: In 2 Chr 25:3, Was Amaziah right to take a census?
A: Amaziah might have been wrong, but this was a small thing compared to what he was about to do in worshipping other gods.
Q: In 2 Chr 25:14-15, why did Amaziah turn away here?
A: Amaziah initially followed God in 2 Chronicles 25:2. It seems strange to us that just after defeating the Edomites, Amaziah started worshipping the gods of the people he defeated. Perhaps Amaziah thought gaining the loyalty of the Edomites was more important than trusting in God. We know that his strategy failed though.
Q: In 2 Chr 26:1, how do you pronounce "Uzziah"?
A: It is pronounced "u-ZI-a", with a short u and a dot over the a, according to the Wycliffe Bible Dictionary p.1762. Crudenís Concordance says the same, except with a tilde over the a.
Q: In 2 Chr 26:14 (KJV), what is a habergeon?
A: This King James Version word means a type of spear that was used for thrusting, not throwing. Over four hundred years ago, English speakers were more precise in their descriptions of spears than people generally are today.
Q: In 2 Chr 26:16-21, why was Uzziah punished for coming before the ark, since David was not in 1 Sam 6:5?
A: The skeptical Asimovís Guide to the Bible p.423 says it was because "the position of the priests had hardened since those days." However, Uzziahís problem was not with the priests, but with God.
First we will answer the question from the perspective of action, and then from motives.
Action: David and others went before the ark which was in plain view. Before the ark was in Jerusalem, and hidden from the people, it was in plain view during the 40 plus years of the Exodus and from then until the time of David.
Now David was not following the proper protocol in transporting the ark, but he was doing wrong from careless ignorance, and his heart was in the right place.
Motives: David was worshipping God and trying to please God. Uzziah was trying to take the place of the role of the priest. It is interesting that Uzziah was trying to do something he knew God prohibited and trying to be very religious at the same time.
Q: In 2 Chr 26:19-20 why did God give a severe punishment of never-to-be-cured leprosy?
A: God used many ways in the Old Testament to give His people a glimpse of the importance of Godís Holiness. Regardless of Uzziahís motives, 2 Chronicles 26:18 says that Uzziah knowingly "trespassed" his role; what he did was a direct affront to the holiness of God. And this was done by a servant of God who should have known better even before he was specifically warned. After Uzziah was explicitly reproved, he responded not with repentance but with fury, and the punishment was not just to stop Uzziahís deliberate defiance, but also as a lesson to others as to the primacy of Godís holiness.
There is a lesson here for Christians today. Though people may know we are following Christ, we can speak about God and holy things so casually or disrespectfully that we do not honor the things of God before others. Humor can be OK, but if you have any humor that is dishonoring of God, angels, or Christians who have gone before, make sure you are not dishonoring Godís holiness in the eyes of others.
Q: In 2 Chr 26:20, what archaeological evidence do we have of King Uzziah?
A: On the Mount of Olives, on the grounds of a church, a plaque was discovered that reads, "Here, the bones of Uzziah, King of Judah, were brought. Do not open." See the Rose Book of Charts, Maps & Time Lines p.76 for more info.
Q: In 2 Chr 26:22 where did Isaiah write of the acts of King Uzziah?
A: The book of Isaiah only briefly mentions Uzziahís death in Isaiah 6:1, so apparently Isaiah wrote another work, which we do not have today. But generalizing beyond Isaiah, probably every prophet, speaking for years and years, undoubtedly said things that were not recorded in the books we have about them. God has the freedom to give words to certain people for a certain time, and not record them for everyone else.
Q: In 2 Chr 27:2, how should a godly ruler, such as David, govern a corrupt people?
A: David first ruled sheep, then outcasts, and finally all of Israel. First David had to have his own life in order. Then people would respect him and be more likely to follow him.
Q: In 2 Chr 27:4, what were wooded areas in Judah?
A: Judah was rather arid. However, even places like the panhandle of Texas have wooded areas. The hills of Judah in particular had many small trees.
Q: In 2 Chr 27:5, how much was the tribute of 100 talents of silver worth?
A: One hundred talents of silver, was about 3 3/4 tons (3.4 metric tons) according to the NIV footnote. The Expositorís Bible Commentary volume 4 p.524 mentions that Curtis in 1910 calculated the value as $187,500. It also says that the city of Mari paid a similar amount as tribute to the city of Ebla in just one payment.
Q: In 2 Chr 27:6 how did Jotham "prepare his ways before the LORD his God"?
A: Though the Hebrew word kuwn has many synonyms in English, the point of 2 Chronicles 27:6 comes across clearly. Jotham take care in making sure that his purposes, plans, and actions were in accord with Godís will.
Strangely enough, the Hebrew word kuwn (Strongís 3559) comes from the word to be perpendicular. It means "(establish, fix, prepare, apply) or fig[uratively] (appoint, render, sure, proper or prosperous)".
This is translated as "prepared" in the KJV, NKVJ, Greenís Literal Translation. It is translated as "ordered" in the uNASB and NRSV. It is "pleased" in the NET Bible. It is "walked steadfastly" in the NIV. The New Century Version has "always obeyed" The Holman Christian Standard has "did not waver in obeying".
The exact wording used here is not important; rather, what is important is whether or not you have chosen to order all your ways before the Lord.
Q: In 2 Chr 28:8, how did the army of Israel carry away 200,000 captives?
A: The Israelite army basically took the entire upper class of Judah as captives. However, they released all the captives in 2 Chronicles 28:14-15. Only a few years after this, Sennacherib of Assyria would carry away many from Israel.
Q: In 2 Chr 28:18, how do you pronounce the village names Aijalon, Gederoth, and Soco?
A: According to Crudenís Concordance, these are pronounced as "AJ-a-lon" with all vowels short, "ge-DE-roth" with all vowels short, and "SO-ko" with both vowels long. The Wycliffe Bible Dictionary says the same, except that "AJ-a-lon" has a dot over the middle o, Gederoth is "ge-DER-oth" with the first e short, and the last two vowels long, and Soco is pronounced the same.
Q: In 2 Chr 28:20, how do you pronounce the name of the Assyrian name "Tiglath-Pileser"?
A: It is pronounced as "TIG-lath-pi-LE-zer" with the E long and the rest of the vowels short, according to The Wycliffe Bible Dictionary p.1705. The NASB writes this as "Tilgath-pilneser".
As a side note, most of the Assyrian kings had two names, one for Assyria proper and one for Babylonia. His Babylonian name was "Pulu", called "Pul" in the Bible. The Expositorís Bible Commentary volume 4 p.237 says that the Babylonian name of Shalmaneser V was "Ululaia".
Now donít you get any funny ideas about naming your kids here!
Q: In 2 Chr 28:24, did King Ahaz shut the doors to Godís Temple, or did he encourage worship in the Temple as 2 Ki 16:15 says?
A: Both were true at different times. King Ahaz was evil, but earlier in his reign he allowed worship in the Temple. After the Aramaeans, Israelites, Philistines, Edomites, and the Assyrians all fought successfully against Ahaz, 2 Chronicles 28:22 (NRSV) says, "In the time of his distress he became yet more faithless to the LORD - this same King Ahaz."
Why did Ahaz go from bad to worse? 2 Kings 16:17-18 says that he removed many furnishings from the Temple because of the king of Assyria. It could be both to melt down metal for tribute, and because the king of Assyria demanded that his subjects worship Assyrian gods.
There is a similarity between King Ahaz early in his career and Hiram, King of Tyre, who praised Solomonís God in 2 Chronicles 2:11. Both encouraged the worship of God, but both were not believers. Today, everyone who says something nice about God, and wants people to go to church, is not necessarily a Christian.
See When Critics Ask p.211 for more info.
Q: In 2 Chr was Ahaz not placed in the tombs of the kings of Israel, or was he buried with his fathers in 2 Ki 16:20a.
A: Both 2 Kings 16:20a and 2 Chronicles 28:27 say Ahaz rested with his fathers and was buried in the city of David. But idol-worshipping king Ahaz was not buried in the same tombs as the good kings of Israel (David and Solomon) according to 2 Chronicles 28:27. Being buried with his fathers in 2 Kings 16:20a can mean three things:
1) They were buried in the same city.
2) They were buried close by in the same city.
3) Ahaz was buried adjacent to his idol-worshipping fathers, but not with David and Solomon, kings of Israel. (The other kings were never kings of Israel).
Here are some other examples where kings were buried close by in Jerusalem but not in the same tomb.
Azariah/Uzziah "rested with his fathers and was buried near them in the City of David." 2 Kings 15:7a "rested with his fathers and was buried near them in a field for burial that belonged to the kings, for the people said, ĎHe had leprosy.í" 2 Chronicles 26:23
Joash was "buried with his fathers in the City of David" 2 Kings 12:21 "buried in the City of David, but not in the tombs of the kings." 2 Chronicles 24:25
Jehoram "rested with his fathers and was buried with them in the City of David." 2 Kings 8:24a. "passed away to no oneís regret, and was buried in the City of David, but not in the tombs of the kings." 2 Chronicles 21:20. Here "buried with them in the City of David" means in "buried in the same city", and also possibly "buried close by".
Q: In 2 Chr 29:2, how could David be Hezekiahís father?
A: The Hebrew word for father was also used to mean ancestor.
Q: In 2 Chr 29:12-13, how do you pronounce "Mahath," "Jehallelel", "Elizaphan", and "Jeiel"?
A: According to Crudenís Concordance, they are pronounced as "MA-hath" with both aís short, "JA-ha-LE-le-el" with the eís short and a tilde over the a, "e-LI-ze-fan" with all vowels short, and "je-I-el" with all vowels short. The Wycliffe Bible Dictionary pronounces these are "MA-hath" with the first a long and the second a short, "ja-ha-LE-le-el" with the first three eís long, the a has a dot over it, and the last e is short. "EL-I-ZA-fan" has a long a, and the rest of the vowels are short. "Je-I-el" has the first two vowels long and the last e is short.
Q: In 2 Chr 29:15-19, why did they need to clean the temple?
A: It is a misplaced priority to be more concerned with cleaning our own house than with Godís church being clean in all aspects. There were two aspects here, and two additional aspects for us today.
Physical: They first took out the sacred idolatrous things and other trash.
Dedicational: Then they went through the ritual of purification, prior to using the temple of its intended purpose, to worship the One True God.
There are two other aspects to having a church be clean, though these were not applicable back then.
Heresy: The local church needs to be clean of spiritually serious, heretical teaching in the church. Specifically, those who deny the physical resurrection of Christ, deny that Jesusí died for our sins, denied the virgin birth of Christ, or denied the authority of the Bible should not be permitted to teach or become members.
Divisiveness: In balance to the previous point, we should accept one another just as Christ accepted us, in order to bring praise to God (Romans 15:7). People may have wrong views on such things as the Sabbath (Romans 14:5), food (Romans 14:1) and other matters, and still be genuine Christians. Despite our differences on non-essential matters, we should accept them with open arms. There is a term for Christians who fail to do this, even if they are doctrinally correct themselves; they are called schismatics, because they can start schisms or divisions within the church.
Q: In 2 Chr 29:15-19, today when do we need to "cleanse the temple"?
A: There are time in our life when we likewise need to take out any idols and everything else that keeps us from drawing closer to God. Then we need to dedicate ourselves to the Lord and His service.
Q: In 2 Chr 29:34; 30:2-3; 2 Chr 30:18-20, were they right to deviate from Godís regulations here?
A: Yes. Either they would fail to sacrifice all the offering, or they would fail to have just the priests do it. Under unusual circumstances, they chose the right thing. Legalism has been called obeying the law without context. Their goal was first to please God, not just follow a law.
Moses himself was confronted with a case where some men could not celebrate the Passover at the regular time, since they were defiled by being near a dead body. Moses asked God in Numbers 9:6-12, and the Lord told them to celebrate the Passover as usual, except one month late in Numbers 9:6-12. See The Expositorís Bible Commentary volume 4 p.536 and the Believerís Bible Commentary p.462 for more info.
Q: In 2 Chr 30:10, why would the Israelites scorn the messengers from Judah?
A: Israel had just defeated Judah. The Israelites neither feared the people of Judah, or wanted the God who was worshipped in Jerusalem, a conquered city. What a far cry this was from Davidís time, when their ancestors were working together and fighting on the same side for Godís kingdom on earth.
Q: In 2 Chr 31:13, how do you pronounce "Nahath", "Jozabad", and "Eliel"?
A: The Wycliffe Bible Dictionary pronounces these as "NA-hath" with the first a long and the second a short, "JO-za-bad" with the first a long, the second a with a dot over it, and the last a short, and "e-LI-el" with both eís short and the i long. Crudenís Concordance pronounces these as "NA-hath" with all vowels short, "JOZ-a-bad" with the o short, the second a long, and the last a short, and "E-li-el" with both eís short and the i long.
Q: In 2 Chr 31:17-18, why did they think genealogies were important?
A: The Assyrians exiled the Elamites, Israelites, and others, and if the people of Judah were exiled next, they would need the genealogies to restore the Levitical system. Perhaps the people of Judah thought it would be important to recognize who was a Jew after their exile. Both Isaiah and Jeremiah prophesied that Judah would be exiled, so they knew it was only a matter of time.
Q: In 2 Chr 32:1,33:1, and 2 Ki 21:1 how do you pronounce "Sennacherib" and "Manasseh"?
A: Crudenís Concordance pronounces them as "sen-AK-e-rib" with all vowels short, and "ma-NAS-se" with all vowels short. The Wycliffe Bible Dictionary pronounces these as "sen-AK-e-rib" with the first e long and the rest of the vowels short, and "ma-NAS-a" with the middle a short and the first and third aís with a dot over them.
The Assyrians probably pronounced Sennacherib as "Sinakhe-erba" according to Asimovís Guide to the Bible p.384.
Q: In 2 Chr 32:17 (KJV), what does "rail" mean?
A: It means continuously to say negative things about someone or some thing. The NIV uses the term "insulting".
Q: In 2 Chr 32:21, how did the Assyrians die?
A: The Bible does not explicitly say the means God used to kill so many men in so short a time. However, 2 Chronicles 32:3-5 gives a clue. It says that Hezekiah had his men block up all the springs of water. This would cause rats and other animals to have to look for other sources of water too. Herodotus mentions that the Assyrian army, when it was north of Egypt at Pelusium, suffered from a plague of rats. Bubonic plague, carried by rats, can kill in less than a week.
Q: In 2 Chr 32:24, how was Hezekiahís heart lifted up?
A: Hezekiah became proud because the mightiest empire of the world was just stopped right outside the gates of his city. Apart from the Bible and the Greek historian Herodotus, who also wrote about a plague of field mice destroying the Assyrian arrows and shield-leather at Pelusium, secular historians would be totally mystified as to why the aggressive and powerful Assyrian Empire decided to stop expanding in this direction. Even the Babylonians came by to visit Hezekiah, perhaps to learn how "he" did it. It would be understandable that Hezekiah might succumb to the sin of pride.
Q: In 2 Chr 33:13-16, was Manassehís repentance made up, since 2 Kings does not mention it?
A: No. Perhaps Kings was written down before the Jews knew of Manassehís repentance, since Manasseh repented in Babylon. As the Encyclopedia of Bible Difficulties p.227-228 and most commentaries show, in general, Chronicles takes more personal notice of religious life in general and the good in each king, while the Book of Kings focuses on the political kingdoms and the consequences of their wickedness. Regardless, either the writer of 2 Kings was not aware of this, or else he chose not to include it as it did not advance the theme of the effects of kings obeying and disobeying God. See When Critics Ask p.211-212 and 735 Baffling Bible Questions Answered p.138 for more info.
Q: In 2 Chr 33, do we have an extra-Biblical evidence of King Manasseh?
A: Yes, the records of the Assyrian king Esarhaddon list Manasseh and 21 other kings who had to provide building materials for the Assyrians, as The NIV Study Bible p.663 says. The skeptical Asimovís Guide to the Bible p.425 says that Assyrian records show that in 672 B.C. Manasseh, along with other vassal kings, had to travel to the Assyrian capital to swear allegiance to Asshurbanipal, king Esarhaddonís successor.
Q: In 2 Chr 33:18, where are the acts of Manasseh and his prayer written in the book of the kings of Israel?
A: The skeptical Asimovís Guide to the Bible p.426 says that if the Biblical book of Kings is intended, then the Chronicler errs.
Asimov might be confused here. The book (annals) of kings are the official records, not the Biblical book of Kings. We know this because the book of Kings itself mentions the "book of Kings of Israel" and also the "book of Kings of Judah" in 32 verses: 1 Kings 14:19,29; 15:7; 31; 16:5,14,20,27; 22:39,45; 2 Kings 1:18; 8:18,23; 12:19; 13:8; 14:15,16,18,28; 15:6,11,15,21,26,31,36; 16:19; 20:20; 21:17,25; 23:28; 24:5.
Chronicles mentions this in only 12 verses: 1 Chronicles 1:43; 9:1; 2 Chronicles 16:11; 20:34; 24:27; 25:26; 27:7; 23:26; 32:32; 33:18; 35:27; 36:8
Q: In 2 Chr 34:1 was the order of events removing the idols, restoring the Temple, finding the Law and celebrating the Passover, or was the order restoring the Temple, finding the Law, and removing the idols as 2 Kings 22:1-23:30 implies?
A: It is the first sequence, since 2 Kings 22:1-23:30 does not specify the order. See The NIV Study Bible p.664 for more info.
Q: In 2 Chr 34:3-5, why did Josiah destroy the idols and altars, since Manasseh had already destroyed them in 2 Chr 33:15?
A: This question presupposes that once you destroy bad altars you have made once and for all, there is no more work left to do. Two points to consider in the answer.
1. Manasseh only destroyed the altars he had built in 2 Chronicles 33:15.
2. Perhaps just as fast as Manasseh and Josiah were destroying altars, the worshippers of Baal and Ashtoreth were trying to rebuild them.
In summary, even though Manasseh had repented, he had previously encouraged idolatry, and the fruit of his previous sins was continuing to grow in others.
See When Critics Ask p.212 for more info.
Q: In 2 Chr 34:5, why did Josiah burn the bones of the priests upon the altars?
A: These were the bones of priests who were buried nearby. Burning the bones on the altar would desecrate the altars, so that Baal worshippers would not use those altars again. It seems fitting that the bones of the idol priests who led Israelites astray would be used to desecrate that to which they were religiously and wickedly devoted.
Q: In 2 Chr 34:5, how today should we "burn bones on altars"?
A: When we individually or else collectively as a people repent of sin, it is good when possible to make it where we cannot go back that way again to commit that sin. Confessing your sin to a mature believer (James 5:16), and having an accountability partner are steps in the right direction. For theft of monetary fraud, a repentant person should return the money or stolen items.
Q: In 2 Chr 34:12-13, metaphorically speaking, how are people in the church today skilled musicians, burden bearers, overseers, scribes, officers, and porters?
A: The specific tasks have changed, but the roles remain similar. Overseers organize, direct, and appoint people. Scribes record teachings, finances, and other records. Porters carry burdens for others, and musicians, then and today, lead people in the musical worship of God.
Q: In 2 Chr 34:14-18, how do we know they found the Torah, and did not just make it up at that time?
A: While the Hebrew word here is Torah, it might be the entire Pentateuch or just the book of Deuteronomy. Regardless, they did not make it up at that time for the following reasons.
1. If they did just make everything up then, they would not be mentioning that they found it here. They would be silent on this.
2. In a short period of time it would be nearly impossible to create as complex a literary work as the entire Old Testament up to this time.
3. It would be difficult for the people living in this time, to get all the details correct of earlier ages, especially the details about living in Egypt.
Q: In 2 Chr 34:23-28, why did God give such a negative message to the godly king Josiah?
A: God does not just give unpleasant messages to wicked people and pleasant messages to nice people. Rather, God tells them what they need to hear. Two points to consider in the answer.
1. God told Josiah that great disaster was imminent. God told Josiah, not because Josiah was evil, but to show Josiah the urgency of turning the people back to God.
2. The message was not only to Josiah, but also to the people. Even though Josiah was godly, many people of Judah were not, and certainly few of the Israelites were at this time.
Q: In 2 Chr 35:4, where did David and Solomon write about the duties of the priests and Levites?
A: They wrote about them in 1 Chronicles 15 and 16:1-6. They might also have written other regulations for their time, that are not in the Bible.
Q: In 2 Chr 35:21, did God really command Pharaoh Neco to fight the Babylonians?
A: Probably not, but this is a moot point. God could have intended Pharaoh Neco to fight the Babylonians and actually communicated with Pharaoh to do this. However, even if God had directly told Neco, would Neco have listened? Neco was set to defend Egypt with an attack on the Babylonians regardless of what he would have claimed to have heard from the God of Israel. Sennacherib made a similar statement, which was a lie, in 2 Kings 18:25.
Q: In 2 Chr 35:21, was Pharaoh Neco giving Josiah a message from God?
A: Yes, 2 Chronicles 35:22 says that Neco was. Now Pharaoh Neco himself might have just thought he was making that up about God speaking to him. However, regardless of the source, this message was true, and Josiah should have seen there was no point in fighting the Egyptians. See 735 Baffling Bible Questions Answered p.138, Hard Sayings of the Bible p.245-247, and The Bible Knowledge Commentary : Old Testament p.648 for more info.
Q: In 2 Chr 35:22, why did Josiah disguise himself?
A: Josiah trusted in this trick to improve his safety. Egyptians relied heavily on archery, and many arrows might be shot at random. Ahab tried this before, also unsuccessfully, in 2 Chronicles 18:29.
Q: In 2 Chr 35:25, were these laments part of the book of Lamentations?
A: The skeptical Asimovís Guide to the Bible p.581 mentions that the laments in 2 Chronicles 35:25 could not be the book of Lamentations, because this was prior to the fall of Jerusalem. Asimov might be correct here, or else parts were written before the fall of Jerusalem. Remember, Jeremiah knew the fall was going to occur, and he might have written parts prior to the fall. See the first question on Lamentations for more info.
Q: In 2 Chr 36:3 (KJV), how did the Egyptian Pharaoh "condemn the land" for 100 talents of silver and one talent of gold?
A: This means Pharaoh forced them to pay him this amount in tribute.
Q: In 2 Chr 36:3, how much was one talent of gold and 100 talents of silver?
A: 100 talents of silver was about 3 3/4 tons (3.4 metric tons) according to the NIV footnote. One talent of gold was about 75 pounds (34 kilograms) according to the NIV footnote. The Wycliffe Bible Dictionary p.1792 says that a talent weighed about 75 pounds in Israel. In Babylon there also was a heavy talent (132 pounds) and a light talent (66 pounds).
The New International Dictionary of the Bible p.1062 says that the Hebrews used 60 minas to a talent, and 50 shekels to a mina. A temple shekel was 0.35 ounces, a commercial shekel was 0.4 ounces, and there also was a "heavy" shekel that was 0.45 ounces. This would make a talent between 105 and 135 pounds.
Q: In 2 Chr 36:6, was Jehoiakim bound with chain to take him to Babylon, or did Jehoiakim rest with his fathers as 2 Ki 24:6 says?
A: Both are true. All who are captured to go on a journey into captivity do not necessarily reach their destination. Some even die before the journey begins.
In 2 Kings 24:6, the phrase "slept with his fathers" means he died. It says nothing indicating where he was buried or where he died.
Jeremiah 22:19 shows that Jehoiakimís burial would have as much regal splendor as the burial of a donkey. Jeremiah 36:30 says that his body would be thrown out and exposed. The last part of Jeremiah 22:19 (NIV) "- dragged away and thrown outside the gates of Jerusalem" sounds almost like the burial of a donkey in Jerusalem, but it actually refers to Jehoiakimís burial
2 Chronicles 36:6 says that Jehoiakim was bound with fetters in order to take him to Babylon. It did not say whether Jehoiakim died before being taken, died on the way, or died in Babylon.
In summary, none of these verses say where Jehoiakim died, though Jeremiah 22:19 most probably means that Jehoiakimís body would be thrown away outside the gates of Jerusalem.
Q: In 2 Chr 36:9, was Jehoiachin (Jeconiah) eight years old when he became king, or eighteen years old as 2 Ki 24:8 says?
A: There is a copyist error here in 2 Chronicles 36:9. One Hebrew manuscript, some Septuagint and the Syriac say eighteen, when most Hebrew manuscripts say eight years old. See the footnote in the NIV, NKJV, Wycliffe Bible Dictionary p.888-889, the Believerís Bible Commentary p.467,470, and The Bible Knowledge Commentary : Old Testament p.648-649, the Encyclopedia of Bible Difficulties p.214-215, The Expositorís Bible Commentary volume 4 p.8, and When Critics Ask p.199-200 for more info. This is in the footnotes in the NIV and NKJV, but the KJV, NASB, and NRSV missed this.
Contextually, we can be sure the 18 number is correct rather than 8. 1 Chronicles 3:17 says that Jehoiachin had seven sons, and he only reigned 3 months (2 Kings 24:8) before he was imprisoned in Babylon. Imprisoning an 8-year old boy with seven sons is not too likely.
(This answer is repeated in 2 Ki 24:8).
Q: In 2 Chr 36:14, how can people today pollute the house of the Lord?
A: "Pollution" is a broad term for a broad problem. Letís first look at pollution of the earth, and then relate that the spiritual pollution.
On earth, pollution refers to things that we take in that should not be there, that are harmful in the short-term, or are harmful in the long-term. Pollution on land just plain looks ugly. People pollute for short-term gain for themselves, at the cost of harm to others. Pollution can mean you cannot build a home where you otherwise would, or use a stream of water that might look cool and inviting. It can mean that the animals otherwise would be around you to provide food and other blessings, are dead. Typically, pollution is harder on children and babies then adults. Cleaning up pollution is often expensive, but necessary.
We are Godís house, Godís temple. Spiritual pollution has most of the aspects of earthly pollution.
Heretical doctrine is soul-perishing teaching that hurts others. It kills many, and even for Christians who do not believe it, tolerating it can numb them to the importance of what is essential to Christianity. Some heresies within some churches today include denying that Christ died for our sins, or that Jesus physically rose from the dead, as 1 Corinthians 15:1-5 and 1 John 2:2 show.
Human doctrine can become pollution when people place it on the same level as Godís word. 1 Corinthians 4:6 and Proverbs 30:5-6 stress that we are not to add to Godís word.
Divisiveness pollutes Godís Temple when we do not accept other genuine Christians as Christ accepted us (Romans 15:7; 1 Corinthians 1:11-13). John 17:21 says that our being one will be a way the world will know us. However we are to separate from those who claim to be Christians but are not, as 2 Corinthians 6:14-16 and 2 Timothy 3:1-3 command us. Ephesians 4:3 says to preserve (not create) the unity of the Spirit.
Immorality and other wickedness are things that should not be in the church. In Revelation 2:20-24, the church in Thyatira was not rebuked for immorality, but they were rebuked for their toleration of an immoral woman.
Dishonesty has no place in a church, as Ephesians 4:25 shows.
Idolatry is never compatible with the worship of the True God. You cannot eat at the table of God and the table of idols demons, as 1 Corinthians 10:20-21 shows.
Materialism and the cares of this world might be like land pollution. Some might think they are not harmful, because there is no immediate and sudden harm seen. However, like land pollution, they pile up, clog things out, and keep people from building on top of them.
Lack of concern and lack of love for both other believers and the lost are things that can make a church look ugly and un-Christlike. 1 John 4:7-21 emphasizes the importance of loving others.
In summary: we each have a responsibility not to bring pollution into Godís house, and church leaders (both official and unofficial) have the responsibility to guard the flock from all the kinds of pollution.
Q: Why does 2 Chr 36:17 say "King of Chaldees", since Nebuchadnezzar was the king of the Babylonians?
A: Chaldea was a synonym for the land of Babylonia, as Habakkuk 1:6 and other verses show.
The skeptical Asimovís Guide to the Bible p.429 has an interesting speculation here that sounds very reasonable. The first chapter of 1 Chronicles 1 mentions Abraham, who left Ur of the Chaldees, and the last chapter of 2 Chronicles ends with the Jews returning back to Chaldea.
Q: In 2 Chr 36:17, how bad do a people have to be, so that there is no remedy?
A: They would have to be bad enough that they will never have a desire to change. Even the immoral woman at the well, even David after the affair with Bathsheba, and even Saul of Tarsus, as evil as they were, were not so bad they were beyond Godís remedy. But the Pharisees, who outwardly did not appear bad at all, did not see any need to draw closer to God.
Regardless of how good or bad you might perceive yourself to be, do you desire to draw closer to God? If so, then spend more time with Him, in prayer, in His word, and in His service to others.
Q: In 2 Chr 36:18-19, 2 Chr 28:21, and 2 Ki 18:14-16, why does God seems so unconcerned about all the treasure in Jerusalem?
A: Angels must think it strange that human beings have a fixation with shiny metal objects, but then again so do crows. The only real use for that treasure was to give it to foreign armies threatening Jerusalem, when they were not obedient and trusting God to defend them.
Worth far more than all the treasure were the people who loved and obeyed God.
Q: In 2 Chr 36:19, since they destroyed all the good vessels, how did they carry them to Babylon in Dan 5:2-3 and Ezr 1:7-11?
A: Every vessel was not destroyed. Verse 18 says that many vessels were taken to Babylon. Verse 19 says the Babylonians destroyed everything of value that was left in Jerusalem.
Q: In 2 Chr 36:22-23, is this reference to Cyrus a prophecy?
A: No it is not, and it does not claim to be a prophecy either. This shows that the writing of Chronicles was only completed after the exile, since it is speaking of the liberation of Cyrus as an event that already occurred.
It might have been that all of Chronicles was written after the exile (438 B.C.), or else that different parts of Chronicles were written at different times, and the last part was after the exile. The skeptical Asimovís Guide to the Bible p.403, mentioning the Anchor Bible Dictionary, says the Chronicler might have been writing about 400 B.C.
Q: Which early writers referred to 2 Chronicles?
A: Pre-Nicene writers who referenced or alluded to verses in 2 Chronicles are:
Melito/Meleto of Sardis (170-177/180 A.D.) lists all the books of the Old Testament, and he includes every book we have except Nehemiah and Esther. Fragment 4 From the Book of Extracts p.759.
Hippolytus (222-235/6 A.D.) refers to 2 Chronicles 3:1,3,4 as "the book of Chronicles". Fragment from commentary on Jeremiah and Ezekiel p.177.
Novatian (250/254-256/7 A.D.) quotes half a verse: 2 Chronicles 19:6 "or when it says, ĎIncline thine ear, and hear." Treatise Concerning the Trinity ch.6 p.616-616
Origen (225-254 A.D.) implies 2 Chronicles. He quotes 1 Chronicles 16:8 as "Again, in First Chronicles" implying there is a second Chronicles.
Origen (240 A.D.) mentions "the First Book of Paralipomenon" which is another name for 1 Chronicles. Commentary on the Song of Songs prologue p.49
Cyprian of Carthage (c.246-258 A.D.) refers to 2 Chronicles 15:2 as "in the Chronicles". The Treatises of Cyprian Treatise 3 Third book ch.27 p.542.
Eusebius of Caesarea (318-339-340 A.D.)
Aphrahat the Syrian (337-345 A.D.) Select Demonstrations
Ephraim/Ephrem (350-378 A.D.)
Cyril of Jerusalem (c.349-386 A.D.)
Gregory Nanzianus (330-391 A.D.) mentions Chronicles as one book in his poem of scripture. Gregory's poem is (in Greek) in Gregory vol.37 of Migne's Patrologia Graeca, cols. 471-474 (Carmina Dogmatica, Book 1, section 1, Carmen XII) See http://www.bible-researcher.com/gregory.html for more info.
Gregory Nanzianzus (330-391 A.D.) alludes to 2 Chronicles
Rufinus (374-406 A.D.)
Jerome (373-420 A.D.)
Council of Carthage (218 bishops) (393-419 A.D.)
Epiphanius of Salamis (360-403 A.D.) implied
John Chrysostom (-407 A.D.)
Augustine of Hippo (388-430 A.D.) allusion
Semi-Pelagian John Cassian (419-430 A.D.)
Q: In 2 Chr, what are some of the translation differences between the Hebrew and Greek Septuagint?
A: Here are a few of the translation differences. The first phrase is from the Hebrew and the second from the Greek Septuagint translation. To get a sampling, this part focuses on chapter 22.
2 Chr 1:13 "came to the high place at Gibeon" (Masoretic text) "came from the high place at Gibeon" (ancient versions, Septuagint, Vulgate)
2 Chr 3:1 "where He" (Masoretic text, Vulgate) vs. "where the LORD" (Septuagint) vs. "where the angel of the Lord" (Targums)
2 Chr 3:4 "120" (Masoretic, Septuagint, Vulgate) vs. "20" (some Septuagint, Syriac, Arabic)
2 Chr 3:12 In Masoretic text and Alexandrine Septuagint, but absent in other Septuagint manuscripts.
2 Chr 5:9 "it [the ark] is still there" vs. "they [they arkís poles] are still here" (some Hebrew manuscripts according to The Expositorís Bible Commentary volume 4 p.465.)
2 Chr 6:42 "Your anointed" vs. "Your anointed ones" (Leningrad MS B 19A and others, according to The Expositorís Bible Commentary volume 4 p.465.)
2 Chr 8:16 "accomplished to the day" (Masoretic according to the NRSV) vs. "well-ordered as far as" (Masoretic text according to the NKJV) vs. "accomplished from the day" (Septuagint, Syriac, Vulgate according to the NRSV) vs. "well-ordered from the day" (Septuagint, Syriac, Vulgate according to the NKJV)
2 Chr 9:4 "his ascent" vs. "his burnt offerings" (Septuagint, Vulgate)
2 Chr 10:14 "I made your yoke heavy" (Masoretic, including the Leningrad MS B 19A codex) vs. "My father made your yoke heavy" (many Hebrew manuscripts including the Ben Hayyim (Bomberg) MT, Septuagint, Syriac, Vulgate)
2 Chr 13:2 "Micaiah" vs. "Maacah" (most Septuagint, Syriac) (NIV footnote)
2 Chr 15:1 "Oded" vs. "Azariah son of Oded" (Vulgate, Syriac)
2 Chr 15:8 "the prophecy, the prophet Oded" (Masoretic, Septuagint) vs. "the prophecy of Azariah son of Oded" (Syriac, Vulgate)
2 Chr 20:1 "some of the Ammonites" (Masoretic text, Vulgate) vs. "some of the Meunites" (Septuagint)
2 Chr 20:2 "from Aram" (Masoretic, Septuagint, Vulgate) vs. "from Edom" (one Masoretic text, Old Latin/Italic)
2 Chr 20:25 "equipment and corpses" (most Masoretic texts) vs. "armor" (Septuagint) vs. "equipment and clothing" (some Hebrew, Vulgate, Old Latin/Italic)
2 Sam 22:1 "youngest son" vs. "little [or youngest] son"
2 Chr 22 "Ahaziah ...Athaliah" vs. "Ochozias ... Gotholia" (throughout the chapter)
2 Chr 22:1 "troop that came in with the Arabians to battle" vs. "band of robbers that came against them, even the Arabians and the Alimazonians"
2 Chr 22:2 "42" vs. "22" (Some Septuagint, Syriac, 2 Kings 8:26) (Note that if Ahaziah was 42 here, he would be older than his father in 2 Chronicles 21:20.
2 Chr 22:5 "Ahariah" (most Masoretic texts) vs. "Joram (some Hebrew, the Septuagint, Vulgate, and Syriac)
2 Chr 22:5 "Syrians" vs. "archers"
2 Chr 22:6 "Azariah" (Masoretic) vs. "Ahaziah" (some Hebrew manuscripts, Septuagint, Syriac, Vulgate)
2 Chr 22:7 "destruction of Ahaziah was from God, for coming" vs. "And destruction from God came upon Ochozias in his coming"
2 Chr 22:7 "went out with Jehoram to Jehu" vs. "went out with him against Jeu"
2 Chr 22:7 "whom Jehovah had anointed to cut off the house of Ahab" vs. "the anointed of the Lord against the house of Achaab."
2 Chr 22:8 "executing judgment" vs. "taking vengeance"
2 Chr 22:9 "he sought out" vs. "he gave orders to seek"
2 Chr 22:9 "hiding himself in Samaria" vs. "healing his wounds in Samaria"
2 Chr 22:10 "and spoke to destroy all the seed of the kingdom of the house of Judah" vs. "and destroyed all the seed royal in the house of Judah"
2 Chr 22:11 "into the storeroom of the bedroom" vs. "in a bedroom"
2 Chr 22:11 "because she was the sister of Ahaziah" vs. "sister of Ochozias"
2 Chr 22:11 "hid him from the face of Athaliah" vs. "hid him from Gotholia"
2 Chr 23:1 "seventh year" vs. "eighth year"
2 Chr 23:1 "Zicri" vs. "Zecharias"
2 Chr 23:3 "sons of David" vs. "house of David"
2 Chr 24:6 "and the congregation" (Masoretic text) vs. "on the congregation" (Vulgate)
2 Chr 24:25 "the sons" vs. "the son" (Septuagint, Vulgate) (only one son of Jehoiada was known to be murdered)
2 Chr 26:5 "fear of God" (many Hebrew manuscripts, Septuagint, Syriac, Targums, Arabic) vs. "vision of God" (other Hebrew manuscripts)
2 Chr 27:8 In Masoretic text and Alexandrine Septuagint, but not in other Septuagint
2 Chr 28:1 "20 years old" vs. "25 years old" (some Septuagint and Syriac)
2 Chr 28:6 "kings of Assyria" (most Hebrew manuscripts) vs. "king of Assyria" (one Hebrew manuscript, Septuagint, Vulgate)
2 Chr 28:16 "kings of Assyria" vs. "king of Assyria" (Septuagint, Syriac, Vulgate)
2 Chr 32:4 "kings of Assyria" (Masoretic, Vulgate) vs. "king of Assyria" (Septuagint, Syriac, Arabic)
2 Chr 32:22 "He took care of them" (Masoretic text according to NIV) vs. "He guided them (Masoretic text according to the NRSV) vs. "He gave them rest" (Septuagint and Vulgate according to the NRSV) vs. "gave them treasures" (Vulgate according to the NKJV)
2 Chr 32:28 "flocks for sheepfolds" (Masoretic text) vs. folds for flocks" (Septuagint, Vulgate) vs. (absent) (Syriac, Arabic)
2 Chr 33:19 "records of Hozai" (Most Masoretic texts) vs. "records of the seers" (one Hebrew manuscript, Septuagint)
2 Chr 34:22 "Hilkiah and those the king went to speak" (most Masoretic texts) vs. "Hilkiah and those the king had sent with him went to speak" (one Hebrew manuscript, Vulgate, Syriac)
2 Chr 36:9 "8" (Most Masoretic texts) vs. "18" (one Hebrew manuscript, some Septuagint, Syriac)
Bibliography for this question: the Hebrew translation is from Jay P. Greenís Literal Translation and the Septuagint rendering is from Sir Lancelot C.L. Brentonís translation of The Septuagint : Greek and English. The Expositorís Bible Commentary and the footnotes in the NASB, NIV, NKJV, and NRSV Bibles also were used.
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