2 Chronicles
New American Bible Revised Edition

* [1:5] The bronze altar…the tabernacle of the Lord: by this notice, the Chronicler justifies Solomon’s worship at the high place of Gibeon. He pictures the tabernacle, i.e., the Mosaic meeting tent, and the bronze altar made at Moses’ command (Ex 31:1–9) as remaining at Gibeon after David had installed the ark of the covenant in another tent in Jerusalem (1 Chr 15:1, 25; 16:1). Bezalel’s altar was made of acacia wood plated with bronze (Ex 27:1–2). Later, Solomon made an all-bronze altar for the Temple in Jerusalem (2 Chr 4:1).

* [1:16–17] Egypt and Cilicia: it seems likely that the horses came from Cilicia and the chariots from Egypt. Some scholars find a reference to Musur, a mountain district north of Cilicia, rather than to Egypt (Misrayim) in 1 Kgs 10:28–29, the Chronicler’s source for this notice. The Chronicler himself probably understood the source to be speaking of Egypt; cf. 2 Chr 9:28.

* [2:9] There is probably some exaggeration here. The parallel passage in 1 Kgs 5:25 does not list the barley or the wine, and mentions only twenty kors of olive oil. Kors: see note on Ez 45:14; baths: see note on Is 5:10. The amount given in Chronicles would be one hundred times as much (20,000 baths equals 2,000 kors).

* [2:13] A Danite woman: in 1 Kgs 7:14 she is called a widow of the tribe of Naphtali. The Danites had settled in the northern section of Naphtali’s territory (Jgs 18:27–29). Bezalel, the head artisan in the time of Moses, had as his assistant a member of the tribe of Dan (Ex 31:6).

* [3:1] Mount Moriah: Gn 22:2 speaks of a “height in the land of Moriah.” This is the only place in the Bible where the Temple mount is identified with the site where Abraham was to have sacrificed Isaac.

* [3:4] The front porch…twenty cubits high: this figure, not given in 1 Kgs 7, is based on a variant Greek text that may be due to a later revision. The Hebrew text itself has “one hundred and twenty cubits high.” The Chronicler nearly doubles the height of the two free-standing columns adjacent to the porch in 2 Chr 3:15 as compared with the source, 1 Kgs 7:15–16.

* [3:14] The veil: this was suspended at the entrance of the holy of holies, in imitation of the veil of the Mosaic meeting tent (Ex 26:31–32). Solomon’s Temple had doors at this point, according to 1 Kgs 6:31. Apparently the Temple of the Chronicler’s time did have a veil, just as did Herod’s Temple (Mt 27:51; Mk 15:38; Lk 23:45).

* [4:3] Oxen: in 1 Kgs 7:24 this double row of ornaments is described as consisting of gourds. The text of Kings available to the Chronicler may have been corrupt at this point since the two words sound similar in Hebrew. In 4:16 the Chronicler speaks of forks while 1 Kgs 7:40 refers to bowls.

* [4:5] Three thousand baths: two thousand baths according to 1 Kgs 7:26; see note on 1 Kgs 7:23–26.

* [5:3] Festival of the seventh month: feast of Booths (Tabernacles); cf. notes on 7:9–10; 1 Kgs 8:2.

* [5:4] The Levites: the parallel passage in 1 Kgs 8:3 reads “the priests”; but in 2 Chr 5:5 the Deuteronomic expression “levitical priests” is used, as it is in 23:18; 30:27.

* [5:9] They remain there to this day: the Chronicler must have copied this notice from his source (1 Kgs 8:8), losing sight of the fact that there was no ark in the Temple of his own day. (According to 2 Mc 2:4–8, the ark of Solomon’s Temple was concealed by Jeremiah at the time of the Babylonian destruction of Jerusalem.)

* [6:6] Jerusalem…David: Ps 132:11, 13 puts in parallel the Lord’s choice of David and Zion, the royal house of David and the mountain in Jerusalem as the site for the Lord’s house.

* [6:13] This verse has no equivalent in 1 Kgs 8:22–23, the Chronicler’s source. Solomon is depicted as praying on “a bronze platform…in the middle of the courtyard” because in the time of the Chronicler only priests were permitted to pray before the altar.

* [7:9–10] The feast: Booths, celebrated on the fifteenth day of the seventh month and followed by a solemn octave lasting through the twenty-second day (Lv 23:33–36; Nm 29:12–35); the people are therefore sent home on the twenty-third day of the month (v. 10). The festival (v. 8) marking the dedication of the altar and of the Temple was held during the seven days prior to the feast of Booths, i.e., from the seventh to the fourteenth day of the seventh month. According to 1 Kgs 8:3, 65–66 the dedication of the Temple was celebrated concomitantly with the seven days of the feast of Booths, after which the people were dismissed on the eighth day.

* [8:2] The cities which Huram had given him: according to 1 Kgs 9:10–14, it was Solomon who ceded the cities to the king of Tyre as payment for the timber and gold received from him. Since, however, 1 Kgs 9:12 states that Hiram was not satisfied with the cities, the Chronicler may have inferred that he gave them back to Solomon.

* [8:4] Tadmor: later known as Palmyra, an important caravan city in the Syrian desert. The parallel passage in 1 Kgs 9:18 has “Tamar,” in southern Judah; cf. Ez 47:19; 48:28. But Solomon may well have fortified Tadmor against the Arameans.

* [9:28] See note on 1:16–17.

* [10:1] All Israel: as in the source (1 Kgs 12:1), this term designates the northern tribes, as distinct from Judah and Benjamin. Elsewhere the Chronicler, writing on his own, speaks comprehensively of “those Israelites who lived in the cities of Judah” (10:17), and “all the Israelites [lit., all Israel] in Judah and Benjamin” (11:3).

* [11:5–12] These verses have no parallel in 1 Kings; they are apparently based on a separate source.

* [12:3] Sukkites: foreign mercenaries in the Egyptian army.

* [12:16] Abijah: in 1 Kgs 14:31–15:8 this king is called Abijam.

* [13:3–21] This passage is a free composition of the Chronicler based on the reference in 1 Kgs 15:6 to the war between Abijam (so in Kings, “Abijah” in Chronicles) and Jeroboam.

* [13:5] Covenant of salt: see note on Nm 18:19.

* [14:7–14] This Ethiopian invasion of Judah is not mentioned in 1 Kings. The account is likely a legend intended to show the pious King Asa being rewarded with divine assistance. It could, however, reflect an incursion by nomads from the Negeb in Asa’s time.

* [15:10–12] With this description of a covenant ceremony in “the third month” of a year beginning in the spring, the Chronicler provides a basis for the later understanding of the ancient Jewish spring feast of Weeks as a commemoration of the covenant on Mount Sinai; see Ex 19:1–3; Lv 23:16 and note on Lv 23:16–21. In the Greek period the feast came to be called Pentecost, from the Greek word for “fifty,” i.e., fifty days or seven weeks after Passover. The Chronicler’s presentation here has also influenced the celebration of Christian Pentecost as the “birthday of the Church”; cf. Acts 2.

* [15:16] Mother: see note on 1 Kgs 15:10.

* [16:7] The king of Aram has escaped: the Lucianic recension of the Septuagint reads, “the king of Israel escaped.” This may well be the original reading, since according to the story Asa hired the king of Aram as an ally against Israel.

* [17:3] The Lord was with Jehoshaphat: along with his successors Hezekiah and Josiah, Jehoshaphat is one of the Chronicler’s exemplary kings.

* [17:6] Thus he was encouraged: lit., “his heart was high,” a phrase that ordinarily describes arrogance and rebelliousness; in this case, however, it introduces a notice of Jehoshaphat’s fidelity to the Lord.

* [18:12–22] See note on 1 Kgs 22:19–23.

* [18:27] “Hear, O peoples, all of you!”: this quotation, which also appears in 1 Kgs 22:28, ascribes to the prophet Micaiah ben Imlah the opening words of the book of the prophet Micah of Moresheth (Mi 1:2), who was active a century later.

* [19:2] Jehu the seer, son of Hanani: probably not the Jehu, son of Hanani, who prophesied against Baasha of Israel almost fifty years earlier (1 Kgs 16:1).

* [19:3] Has been found: theological passive, i.e., God is the implied agent.

* [20:1–30] This account seems to be a free composition of the Chronicler. However, there could well have been a raid of nomads against Judah in the reign of Jehoshaphat, similar to the one that occurred under Asa (14:8–14). The story may also be connected in some way with the campaign of Israel and Judah against Moab launched through the territory of Edom (2 Kgs 3:4–27).

* [20:21] In accordance with Israelite conceptions of Holy War (cf. Ex 14:13–14), this highly stylized narrative presents the Lord as active in battle, while the people have only to sing hymns of praise; the enemy, in panic, fight among themselves to their mutual destruction (v. 23). Splendor: the Lord “goes before,” i.e., leads, the army of Israel (cf. 2 Sm 5:24) with the heavenly hosts. Israel’s God is depicted as present “enthroned upon the cherubim” atop the ark of the covenant. By postexilic times, the ark had disappeared, but the Lord was still present to his people. Here that presence is described as “holy Splendor,” a phrase found in Ps 29:2; 96:9. Cf. the cognate image of cloud and fire that led Israel in the wilderness (Ex 13:21–22), or the cloud of the Lord’s glory that fills the sanctuary (Ex 40:34; 1 Kgs 8:10–11).

* [20:26] Berakah: the Hebrew word for “blessing.”

* [21:6] The daughter of Ahab: her name was Athaliah. In 22:2 (and its source, 2 Kgs 8:26) she is called the daughter of Ahab’s father Omri, but this should probably be understood in the sense of granddaughter.

* [21:12] Elijah: this is the Chronicler’s only mention of this prophet of the Northern Kingdom. It is doubtful that Elijah was still living in the reign of Jehoram of Judah; in any case, the attribution of the letter to him has a folkloristic quality.

* [22:9] This account of the death of Ahaziah of Judah does not agree with that given in 2 Kgs 9:27–28.

* [23:13] By his column: there was a special place reserved for the king in the eastern gateway of the Temple court where the altar for burnt offerings stood. The king occupied this place on feasts and sabbaths at the time of the prescribed offerings, or when he came to make voluntary offerings of his own; cf. 2 Kgs 11:14 and Ez 46:1–8.

* [24:5] Gather money: according to 2 Kgs 12:5 the people themselves brought the money, consisting at least in part of voluntary contributions, to the Temple. By the time of the Chronicler, a fixed head tax for the upkeep of the Temple had been introduced; see 2 Chr 34:9; Neh 10:32; Ex 30:12–16. This was still in force in New Testament times (Mt 17:24–25).

* [24:14] See the parallel in 2 Kgs 12:14–15; the passages are difficult to reconcile.

* [25:12] Sela…rock: a pun—the name of the city, Sela, in Hebrew means “rock.”

* [25:24] With Obed-edom: perhaps an Edomite priest (cf. v. 14), or possibly a member of a levitical family of gatekeepers; cf. 1 Chr 15:18; 26:12–15.

* [25:28] The City of Judah: i.e., Jerusalem, the capital of Judah; the parallel passage (2 Kgs 14:20) reads “the City of David.”

* [26:5] Zechariah: not otherwise identified, but cf. 29:1.

* [28:5–8, 16–23] The account of Ahaz’s reign in 2 Kings refers to hostilities of Syria (Aram) and Israel against Judah, the revolt of the Edomites, submission to Tilgath-pilneser, king of Assyria, the stripping of Temple treasures to pay him tribute, and, in deference to him, shaping the cult of the Jerusalem Temple according to patterns seen in Damascus (2 Kgs 16:5–18; cf. Is 7:1–2). The account in Kings relates all this to an attack of Syria and Israel on Judah (735 B.C.), as they attempted to force Judah into an anti-Assyrian coalition; but the Chronicler, who does not mention the attack, depicts these troubles as the result of, or examples of, Ahaz’s infidelity.

* [28:19] Ahaz, king of Israel: in his account of the period of the divided monarchy, the Chronicler regularly uses the term “Israel” as here to designate, not the Northern Kingdom, but the entire people. See note on 10:1.

* [31:7] Third month…seventh month: between the late spring feast of Weeks or Pentecost and the fall feast of Booths or Tabernacles, there is seldom any rain in Palestine; at the end of this dry period the problem of storage (v. 11) would become acute.

* [31:16] Three years of age: this may be a textual error for “thirty years.” According to Nm 4:3, 23, 30, men of the priestly clans served from the ages of thirty to fifty.

* [32:33] The approach to the tombs: lit., “the ascent of the tombs,” perhaps “the upper section of the tombs,” i.e., their most prominent and honored place.

* [33:11] There is no evidence elsewhere for such an imprisonment of King Manasseh in Babylon. According to the Assyrian inscriptions, however, Manasseh did pay tribute to the Assyrian kings Esarhaddon (680–669 B.C.) and Asshurbanipal (668–627 B.C.). He may well then have been obliged to go to Nineveh, Assyria’s capital (rather than to Babylon as the Chronicler has it), to take his oath of allegiance as vassal to the king of Assyria.

* [33:13] And prayed to him: these words inspired an unknown writer to compose the apocryphal “Prayer of Manasseh,” which since the Council of Trent appears as an appendix to many editions of the Vulgate Bible and is used in the Church’s liturgy.

* [34:3] In his twelfth year: ca. 628 B.C., i.e., around the time of the Assyrian emperor Asshurbanipal’s death, which enabled Judah to free itself from Assyrian domination. On the basis of 2 Kgs 22:1–23:25 alone, one might suppose that Josiah’s reform began only after and as a result of the discovery of the book of the law in the Temple, in the eighteenth year of his reign (622 B.C.). But the Chronicler is no doubt right in placing the beginning of the reform at an earlier period. The repair of the Temple itself, which led to the finding of the book of the law, was likely part of a cultic reform initiated by Josiah.

* [34:31] The column: see note on 23:13.

* [35:25] There is no mention of such a lamentation for Josiah composed by Jeremiah in either 2 Kings or Jeremiah; but see note on Zec 12:11. Lamentations: probably a reference to the Book of Lamentations.

* [36:6] Nebuchadnezzar…bound him in chains to take him to Babylon: the Chronicler does not state that Jehoiakim was actually taken to Babylon. According to 2 Kgs 24:1–6, Jehoiakim revolted after being Nebuchadnezzar’s vassal for three years; he died in Jerusalem before the city surrendered to the Babylonians. Dn 1:1–2, apparently based on 2 Chr 36:6–7, does speak of Jehoiakim’s deportation to Babylon.

* [36:10] His brother Zedekiah: Zedekiah was actually the brother of Jehoiakim and the uncle of Jehoiachin (2 Kgs 24:17; Jer 37:1), though scarcely older than his nephew (2 Kgs 24:8, 18; 2 Chr 36:9, 11).

* [36:22–23] These verses are identical with those of Ezr 1:1–3a and were to prevent the work from ending on a note of doom.

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Scripture texts, prefaces, introductions, footnotes and cross references used in this work are taken from the New American Bible, revised edition © 2010, 1991, 1986, 1970 Confraternity of Christian Doctrine, Inc., Washington, DC All Rights Reserved. No part of this work may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying, recording, or by any information storage and retrieval system, without permission in writing from the copyright owner.

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