2 Chronicles 21-24
(Evil Begets Evil)
May 10th

Produced by The Listening for God Ministry
Copyright 2016

Please refer to one or more Bible versions of your choice to read this section. We recommend that you read at least two versions for added understanding. For your convenience, we have provided six links below, each of which takes you directly to today's chapters in a specific version:

Key Verse

When Jehoram established himself firmly over his father’s kingdom, he put all his brothers to the sword along with some of the officials of Israel. Jehoram was thirty-two years old when he became king, and he reigned in Jerusalem eight years.

- 2 Chronicles 22:4-5 (NIV)

Summary of Chapters

Today's chapters convey the story of a succession of three kings in the line of David, but none of them were worthy of burial in Tomb of Kings with their ancestors. Two were fully evil and one started out his career as a reformer but slid down the slippery slope to evil.

After Jehosophat died, his first-born son, Jehoram, succeeded him. Jehoram was a heinous king who murdered his siblings, led the people away from God, and gave birth to an evil son. He married Athaliah, the daughter of King Ahab and Queen Jezebel of the northern kingdom (Israel). Chapter 21 records that the prophet Elijah rebuked him and correctly prophesized his painful death.

But Jehoram did not listen and suffered the consequences. He was so despised that the author of Chronicles reports that "He passed away, to no one’s regret (21:20 - NIV)." This letter was the only mention of Elijah in Chronicles because he was a prophet in the northern kingdom and the emphasis in Chronicles is on Judah.

In chapter 22 we read that Ahaziah, the youngest son of Jehoraam succeeded him, and he was equally immoral, so God brought him down also. His mother, Athaliah, then took over and killed all the princes except for Joash, who had been hidden by his aunt. Athaliah was the daughter of Ahab and Jezebel, the cruelest and most depraved pair that had ever ruled Israel.

The priest Jehoida led a holy rebellion after seven years of rule by the loathsome Athaliah, as described in chapter 23. He and other priests stood guard at the temple, anointed young Joash as king, and executed Athaliah.

Joash walked in the ways of the LORD during the life of the priest Jehoida. He collected offerings from the people as commanded by Moses and used it to restore the temple which had been raided and neglected. But when Jehoida died, Joash lost his way and walked in the footsteps of his nefarious father. He allowed worship of idols, ignored the prophets of the LORD, and killed Zechariah, the son of Jehoida, who had been prophesizing against him. As a result, Joash died as a dishonorable king.

Reflection and Application

Any story-teller who wanted a role model for a wicked queen would not have had to look any further than Jezebel of Israel and her daughter Athaliah, as recorded in 2 Kings and 2 Chronicles. Jezebel caused great tragedies, as we learned in 2 Kings. Athaliah was so corrupt with power that she tried to kill all of her grandsons – and thought she had. These two are long gone, but the same type of evil persisted from generation to generation and continues to exist in our world today. We must be alert and on guard against it.

Evil may arrive in the form of advice that seems beneficial to us but takes advantage of others and has long-term consequences for our own souls. Therefore, we must be able to discern the advice we receive.

Ahaziah, the son of Jeroham and Athaliah failed to apply discernment. He received advice from his father’s wicked counselors, who led him down a path of evil ways and destruction, but he ignored the warnings of Elijah.

Jeroham’s son Joash had temporarily reversed the course set out by his father and grandfather. The priest Jehoida had become his mentor and introduced him to the Law of Moses. But Joash did not learn how to distinguish good advice from bad. As a result, he eventually ignored the warnings of the prophets, which led to his undoing. His morals sank so low that he had the prophet Zechariah stoned in front of the temple, which was a double-desecration. This act was so contemptuous that Jesus referenced it as part of a long discourse to put the Pharisees in their place, as recorded in the book of Matthew:

A lesson to be learned from Joash's story is that if we are mentoring someone we should make sure that they have developed the skills to make decisions on their own, or else ensure there is another mentor to replace us.

Sometimes God calls us to speak out and defend what is right, as in the case of Jehoida, who led the revolt against Athaliah and then mentored Joash. One of the best 20th century role models for this obligation was Dietrich Bonhoeffer, a pastor from Berlin who spoke out against Hitler. Bonhoeffer observed early on that Hitler considered himself above God, so he boldly spoke the truth, even at the risk of his own life (1).

If we believe we have been called by God to speak the truth in a situation, then we should follow through with faith and courage. We can love our neighbors, as commanded, but may also disagree in a respectful manner when the situation calls for it – not for petty differences, but for important issues that affect the well-being and spiritual health of our community or nation.

Questions and Prayers for Further Reflection

    Related Questions
    1. Who would you consider to be the most evil fictional queen that you have read about or seen in plays or movies (and why)?
    2. Whom do you consider to be a good mentor for you?
    3. How do you distinguish between good advice and bad advice?
    Recommended Prayer
    Father in heaven, all goodness points to you. We don't understand why we were tempted by the temporary gains of this world. Please help us to put you first so that we can discern good from evil.

    Suggested Prayer Concerns
    Those falsely imprisoned


    (1) Metaxas, Eric, Bonhoeffer, Paster, Martyr, Prophet, Spy, Thomas Nelson Publishers, 1978, p.142-143

    Looking Ahead

    Tomorrow's reading: 2 Chronicles 25-28 (Can’t Serve Two Masters)

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