Thoughts on 2 Chronicles 27-28

2 Chronicles 27‑28  •  4 min. read  •  grade level: 10
Very brief is the notice of Jotham, no event does the Spirit of God dwell on. In a general way he did right in the sight of the Lord, but, it appears, manifested no energy, for while he did right, the people still did corruptly. Nevertheless, outward prosperity marks a righteous king, his enemies pay tribute, and “Jotham became mighty, because he prepared his ways before the Lord his God” (27:6). But if the people acting corruptly is evidence of the want of energy in the king, how much greater the corruption in his son Ahaz, who soon exceeded and led the people in their corruption? If Jotham could not put down the idolatry of his own family, and restrain the tendencies of the heir of his throne, much less the same tendencies in the nation. Two things mark his reign, the king personally righteous but without zeal, while the people doing corruptly were fitting themselves to follow Ahaz in all his abominations.
Rather longer is the account of Ahaz, or of what happened during his reign, than of Jotham, a righteous king. But it was the iniquity of Ahaz that made him prominent; and there were two events in connection with Israel which were brought out at that time, viz., Judah's decadence, “For the Lord brought Judah low because of Ahaz king of Israel for he made Judah naked, and transgressed sore against the LORD.” Ahaz is called king of Israel, his position before God, for the ten tribes were apostate. Judah was the Israel of God, but Judah was made naked, never so low as now, even lower than apostate Israel. It is this that we see; and secondly, that Israel, who had taken an apostate place before God, had yet some righteous men, who felt their position, men of weight and influence who would not allow their trespass to be added to by retaining the captives from Judah. “Our trespass” was no doubt their great trespass in rebelling against the house of David. The rebuke of Oded and the remonstrance of the four princes cause the captives to be sent home. Israel seemed to be more amenable than Judah to correction. At least; with some, the remembrances of what they had been under David, and how they had sinned and forfeited every covenanted mercy in their rebellion against Rehoboam, extorted the confession “for our trespass is great, and there is fierce wrath against Israel.”
The return of the captives and the cause of it could have been no secret to Judah and Aliaz; but it had no effect on the besotted hearts of the men of Judah, who were already feeling the judgment of God. Unconscious of it they might be; but no less visible was the judgment; for while the LORD was calling them to the remembrance of His goodness, by causing the Israelites to restore the captives of Judah fed and clothed, and the remembrance too of His just wrath in permitting the Edomites and the Philistines to smite and invade Judah, yet “At that time did king Ahaz send to the kings of Assyria to help him,” and purchased it with the gold of the temple, and of his palace. And though the Assyrian king did not help, but distressed him more, yet did Ahaz sin more, for he sacrificed to the gods that smote him; and the sacred writer, even the Holy Spirit, as in the utmost human contempt says “This is that king Ahaz.” Yet to him the prophet speaks of the glory of the Son to be born, and Hezekiah gives a dim shadow of the coming glory. Dim, for though wonderful in itself, as coming after the abominations of Ahaz, what can it be but partial and dim when taken as a picture of the future millennial glory of the Son? “For now we see through a dim window obscurely.”
The power and goodness of the Lord is manifest in the fact that Hezekiah was a good king, his father was the worst that yet sat on the throne. Where was the youth Hezekiah trained, was it in his father's palace or in the city? Ahaz had sill rounded him with idolatry, he had idols in every separate city, in every grove, on every high hill, he had shut the doors of the LORD'S house. Wherever Hezekiah looked, an idol met his eye. And yet in the first year of his reign, the first month (!) he opened the doors of the house of the LORD. It is not only remarkable, and astonishingly so, in Hezekiah personally as being an evidence of the power of God over surrounding influences, but also in that Hezekiah was used governmentally (for God still waited for Israel though the judgment was pronounced). He was giving a sample (shall we say?) of what the fulfillment of the promise would be, the promise of the Son just made to Ahaz. There is no excuse for the rationalistic pretension that the virgin's Son, Immanuel, was to be a child either of the king or of the prophet. Compare Isa. 9:6, 76For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace. 7Of the increase of his government and peace there shall be no end, upon the throne of David, and upon his kingdom, to order it, and to establish it with judgment and with justice from henceforth even for ever. The zeal of the Lord of hosts will perform this. (Isaiah 9:6‑7).