Good morning! We are nearly done with Chronicles—only one more day after this! With today’s passage (2 Chronicles 32-33), we celebrate Hezekiah’s righteous triumph and revisit the less successful generations until Josiah’s reign. Part of the background here—unmentioned in Chronicles because of its focus on Judah—is the capture and exile of the northern kingdom to Assyria. Hezekiah’s ability to withstand where Israel had fallen is credited to him as righteousness, but the kings who follow him forsake his example and thereby imperil the kingdom.
Hezekiah takes on Assyria directly in chapter 32. When the Assyrian king Sennacherib determines to conquer Judah as well as Israel, Hezekiah is a proactive, confident, and encouraging leader. The description of his encounter with Assyrian messengers is shorter than what we see in Kings, and more directly supernatural as well. (Sennacherib’s defeat here comes because of angelic intervention, rather than Sennacherib’s decision to pay attention to another threatened part of his realm.) Hezekiah earns tremendous honor and acclaim for withstanding Assyria’s advance. He also gets immensely wealthy. Imagine that Hezekiah is a combination of David (for his military success) and Solomon (for his wealth and acclaim). If that’s the case, he also got a little bit of Solomon’s hubris. We hear brief mention of how he wasn’t sufficiently thankful for having been saved in a time of illness. He later returned to humility, which (according to Kings) preserved his health and postponed his death a dozen years.
Manasseh is the total opposite of his father Hezekiah, as we see in 2 Chronicles 33. He builds altars where his father had torn them down, and he sacrifices a child in fire—the ultimate form of disrespect for God (murder + idolatry). This fits a common pattern that a great generation typically leaves a succeeding generation that seldom shares their greatness. Manasseh is taken captive by Assyria and exiled to Babylon, but there he prays to God and is delivered. Persuaded of the reality of the Hebrew God, Manasseh’s remaining years as king show more traditional devotion, undoing his earlier idolatry. Upon his death though, his son Amon succeeds him and sins in the same unrepentant ways. Before long Amon is killed by his servants, but then they are executed for their treason, and the famous Josiah comes to the fore. He will be the last hope for Judah, and the final high water mark for favored Judah, according to Chronicles. Happy reading!
Please join discussion of this passage at the Daily Bible Facebook group, or comment below. The passage for tomorrow is 2 Chronicles 34-36. Thanks for reading!