The Books of History
The next books are books of history. Each book tells a part of Israel’s* story. The first book of history is the book of Joshua. His story begins just after the death of Moses. The last book of history is the book of Esther. Her story takes place almost 900 years after the stories in Joshua. These books of history show how God kept his promises to Israel*.
THE OLD TESTAMENT | THE BOOKS OF HISTORY
PEOPLE TO KNOW
PLACES TO GO
Solomon built the temple*.
2 Chronicles 5
Solomon talked to God and God talked to Solomon.
2 Chronicles 6-7
The Queen of Sheba visited.
2 Chronicles 9
The people had two good kings.
2 Chronicles 29, 34
Babylon came to defeat Judah.
2 Chronicles 36
The second part of Chronicles tells the rest of the story.
The book begins when Solomon was still the king of Israel*. He cared about the temple* of God just like his father did. This book tells how he built it. He wanted the temple* to be beautiful.
When the temple* was finished, Solomon called the people together. He wanted to give thanks to God. So he called them to a special time of worship*. The people made many sacrifices. They gave praise* to God. And God blessed* Solomon in many ways. God made Solomon wise. God promised that he would bless* the kingdom* of Israel*.
The people followed God. God gave the people many good things. God blessed* the people.
Remember the promise that God made to David? Was Solomon the son God promised? He was a great king. He was wise. He made the nation strong. The nations knew about Solomon. People from far away came to listen to him. God gave Israel* a great king. And God was with him.
But, soon, Solomon forgot about God. He forgot about God’s promises. So he began to do many bad things. He made the people pay heavy taxes. He made friends with the enemies of God. He married foreign wives. He let his wives follow false gods. He kept more wealth than he needed.
God was not happy with Solomon. He did the very things that God told him not to do.
When Solomon died, Solomon’s son Rehoboam was the next king. But he soon faced a big problem. Another strong ruler named Jeroboam did not want him to be king. So Jeroboam fought against the son of Solomon and took the tribes* in the north away from him. The ten tribes* in the north took the name Israel. The tribes* in the south took the name Judah. We can read many stories about the ten tribes* in the north in the book of 2 Kings. But 2 Chronicles does not tell many of those stories. It only tells the stories that happened in Judah. The book tells the stories about the kingdom* where David’s sons ruled.
There were many kings that followed Rehoboam. Some of these kings were good kings. They followed God. But these times did not last very long. Most of these kings were evil*. They did not obey God’s laws. Some of them even followed false gods. And many of these kings were cruel to the people. God was not pleased with the people. So God let the enemies of Judah attack them. One of those enemies was Babylon.
Babylon’s army came and fought against Judah. The battles lasted over many years. But Judah still did not turn back to God. They did not follow God.
So Babylon destroyed the city of Jerusalem. They burned the temple*. They took all of the valuable things. And they took many people out of Judah. They took them back to Babylon and made them live there. The book tells us these things happened because God was punishing Judah.
God sent his prophets* to warn the people to worship* him again. The prophets said that if the people turned back to God, God would bless* them again. That is what God had promised to Solomon.
‘Suppose I close up the sky and there is not any rain. Suppose I command insects to eat up the crops. And I send a disease among my people. But they make themselves low in my sight. They pray and look to me. And they turn from their evil* ways. Then I will listen to them from heaven*. I will forgive* their sin*. And I will heal their land. After all, they are my people.’
But the people did not listen. So God sent an enemy to punish them. The Chronicles say it this way:
‘But God’s people made fun of his prophets. They hated his words. They laughed at his prophets. So then, the Lord’s* burning anger was stirred up against his people. Nothing could save them.’
But what about God’s promise to Abraham? When would they become a great nation again? What about God’s promise to David? When would one of his sons rule all of the nations?
Near the end of Chronicles, a new enemy entered the story. This new army was from Persia. They fought against Babylon and won. So, now, Persia ruled Judah. But this was not a bad thing. In fact, it gave the people of Judah some hope*.
The new ruler of Persia knew about the God of Judah. So he told the people that they could go back to Jerusalem. They could build their temple* again. The end of the story in this book helps us to understand the next book. That book is Ezra.
The books of 1 and 2 Chronicles were written long after the house of David fell. But the ones who read the story would learn how God punished Judah. They would also know that God did not give up on them. He brought them back to the land. He is a God who keeps his promises. He is faithful* and true. God did not give up on his people.