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Bible Commentaries
2 Chronicles 31

Old & New Testament Restoration CommentaryRestoration Commentary

Introduction

Second Chronicles Chapter 31

2 Chronicles 31:1 "Now when all this was finished, all Israel that were present went out to the cities of Judah, and brake the images in pieces, and cut down the groves, and threw down the high places and the altars out of all Judah and Benjamin, in Ephraim also and Manasseh, until they had utterly destroyed them all. Then all the children of Israel returned, every man to his possession, into their own cities."

If we were speaking of the churches in our day, and something like this happened, we would say we had a revival. They had a revival, also. They were back in fellowship with their LORD. The people were still enthusiastic and excited about what had taken place. Now, they went out with zeal and cut down the groves, threw down the high places, and brake the images and altars to false gods. The children of Israel went back to their respective homes renewed in their fellowship with God.

2 Chronicles 31:2 "And Hezekiah appointed the courses of the priests and the Levites after their courses, every man according to his service, the priests and Levites for burnt offerings and for peace offerings, to minister, and to give thanks, and to praise in the gates of the tents of the LORD."

We see Hezekiah restored the offices of the priests and the Levites, as it had been established by Moses.

2 Chronicles 31:3 "[He appointed] also the king’s portion of his substance for the burnt offerings, [to wit], for the morning and evening burnt offerings, and the burnt offerings for the sabbaths, and for the new moons, and for the set feasts, as [it is] written in the law of the LORD."

We know that Hezekiah gave thousands of animals to be used in the service of the LORD. The king tithed the same as everyone else. There was no want of animals for the daily sacrifices. Hezekiah gave them enough that they could carry on all of the prescribed burnt offerings with no difficulty. He wanted to keep the letter of the law.

2 Chronicles 31:4 "Moreover he commanded the people that dwelt in Jerusalem to give the portion of the priests and the Levites, that they might be encouraged in the law of the LORD."

The Levites lived of the offerings of the people. Hezekiah reminded them that 10% of everything they owned belonged to God. Hezekiah commanded the people to give their tithe to the priests and Levites. This way the Levites would have a living too.

2 Chronicles 31:5 "And as soon as the commandment came abroad, the children of Israel brought in abundance the firstfruits of corn, wine, and oil, and honey, and of all the increase of the field; and the tithe of all [things] brought they in abundantly."

They seemed to be pleased to bring of their substance to sustain the Levites. It was a privilege to give of their substance for renewed fellowship with God.

2 Chronicles 31:6 "And [concerning] the children of Israel and Judah, that dwelt in the cities of Judah, they also brought in the tithe of oxen and sheep, and the tithe of holy things which were consecrated unto the LORD their God, and laid [them] by heaps."

The verses, before this one, spoke of those from Jerusalem, and what they gave. This was speaking of the entire land of Judah, and even into Israel. They all gave willingly. Holy things were, probably, speaking of offerings. The heaps showed there was an abundance of them.

2 Chronicles 31:7 "In the third month they began to lay the foundation of the heaps, and finished [them] in the seventh month."

This could be speaking of the grain that was harvested and brought in. The early harvest is about the third month, and the latter harvest is in the seventh month. This first time could be speaking of the end of the Feast of Weeks, or Pentecost. The seventh month harvest had to do with Feast of Trumpets, and then Tabernacles. At both times, there was much grain harvested.

2 Chronicles 31:8 "And when Hezekiah and the princes came and saw the heaps, they blessed the LORD, and his people Israel."

The harvest was plentiful, because the LORD had blessed the people. Hezekiah first blessed the LORD for providing the harvest. Then, he blessed the people for bringing their portion as a tithe.

2 Chronicles 31:9 "Then Hezekiah questioned with the priests and the Levites concerning the heaps."

Now, that they had the grain, they had to figure out how to handle it. This was what was intended above.

2 Chronicles 31:10 "And Azariah the chief priest of the house of Zadok answered him, and said, Since [the people] began to bring the offerings into the house of the LORD, we have had enough to eat, and have left plenty: for the LORD hath blessed his people; and that which is left [is] this great store."

There had been so much grain coming in, that there was more than the Levites could use. Now, we see that Azariah was acting high priest in the temple. This tremendous abundance of grain would have to be taken care of. Hezekiah would, possibly, be the one, who decided what to do.

2 Chronicles 31:11 "Then Hezekiah commanded to prepare chambers in the house of the LORD; and they prepared [them],"

These chambers would be for the sole purpose of the caring for of the grain.

2 Chronicles 31:12 "And brought in the offerings and the tithes and the dedicated [things] faithfully: over which Cononiah the Levite [was] ruler, and Shimei his brother [was] the next."

It appeared, that Cononiah had been put in charge of the offerings that had come in. His brother, Shimei, was his helper. These two men had to be of high character to be trusted with the tithes. There was so much of it, it would be a tremendous job to just keep it straight. I am sure, that the high priest and Hezekiah would ask for an accounting of how it had been distributed. We know for sure, the LORD would require an accounting. The word "faithfully" gives an indication these were honest men.

2 Chronicles 31:13 "And Jehiel, and Azaziah, and Nahath, and Asahel, and Jerimoth, and Jozabad, and Eliel, and Ismachiah, and Mahath, and Benaiah, [were] overseers under the hand of Cononiah and Shimei his brother, at the commandment of Hezekiah the king, and Azariah the ruler of the house of God."

These were men, not so responsible for the accounting of the tithe, as they were the distribution. We know that the physical part of distributing this grain to the various families of the Levites would be a large undertaking.

2 Chronicles 31:14 "And Kore the son of Imnah the Levite, the porter toward the east, [was] over the freewill offerings of God, to distribute the oblations of the LORD, and the most holy things."

The freewill offerings of the LORD were shared with the family of the person who offered. This, again, would be a task to divide fairly. This was not an offering of obligation. All offerings were taken to the temple and given. It was up to the one who was in authority in that particular area, to see that it was divided properly. All of these offerings remind me of the offerings taken to the church, and given to the LORD for use in His work. It is very important for the church to have honest people in charge of the receiving and distributing of the funds received by the church.

2 Chronicles 31:15 "And next him [were] Eden, and Miniamin, and Jeshua, and Shemaiah, Amariah, and Shecaniah, in the cities of the priests, in [their] set office, to give to their brethren by courses, as well to the great as to the small:"

2 Chronicles 31:16 "Beside their genealogy of males, from three years old and upward, [even] unto every one that entereth into the house of the LORD, his daily portion for their service in their charges according to their courses;"

All of the Levites were to share in the offerings equally. It was necessary to have men who took care of this. If they did not, some would get too much, and others nothing at all.

2 Chronicles 31:17 "Both to the genealogy of the priests by the house of their fathers, and the Levites from twenty years old and upward, in their charges by their courses;"

2 Chronicles 31:18 "And to the genealogy of all their little ones, their wives, and their sons, and their daughters, through all the congregation: for in their set office they sanctified themselves in holiness:"

The verses, above, are explaining how they decided who needed what portion. The children and wives of the Levites lived of the gifts, as well as the Levites. The inheritance of the Levites was to share with the altar the things offered there-on.

2 Chronicles 31:19 "Also of the sons of Aaron the priests, [which were] in the fields of the suburbs of their cities, in every several city, the men that were expressed by name, to give portions to all the males among the priests, and to all that were reckoned by genealogies among the Levites."

This is just explaining that even those who did not work in the temple, but had other duties, were cared for, also. They were reckoned by the names of the father of each family of Levites.

2 Chronicles 31:20 "And thus did Hezekiah throughout all Judah, and wrought [that which was] good and right and truth before the LORD his God."

Hezekiah wanted to do everything God’s way. He was a man after God’s own heart. He was righteous in the sight of the LORD. His actions proved his faith in the LORD.

2 Chronicles 31:21 "And in every work that he began in the service of the house of God, and in the law, and in the commandments, to seek his God, he did [it] with all his heart, and prospered."

Hezekiah would receive tremendous blessings from God, because he kept God’s commandments and law. He was careful to carry out his obligations in the house of the LORD, as well. His heart was stayed upon God. We, Christians, should desire to do God’s will in everything in our lives, as well. A blessed life is a life stayed upon God.

2 Chronicles 31 Questions

1. When the 14 days of celebration and feast were over, what did the people do?

2. How could we compare what happened then, to a happening in our churches today?

3. Who appointed the courses of the priests and the Levites?

4. This had originally been established by whom?

5. The king’s portion is speaking of what?

6. These large numbers of sacrificial animals, that Hezekiah had given, would be used for what?

7. What did Hezekiah command the people to do?

8. Who received their living of the offerings?

9. What percentage of what they owned belonged to God?

10. How did the people respond to Hezekiah’s command to give their tithes?

11. Who, besides those in Jerusalem, brought an offering?

12. What were the heaps?

13. What did they decide to do with the abundant offerings?

14. Who was over the offerings and tithes?

15. Who was his assistant?

16. The men listed, in 2 Chronicles 31:13, were involved in the ____________.

17. Who was over the freewill offerings?

18. This was not an offering of ___________.

19. Who received of the offerings and tithes, besides the priests?

20. Quote 2 Chronicles 31:20.

21. How did Hezekiah serve the LORD?

Verse 1

2Ch 31:1

2 Chronicles 31:1

THE PROSPERITY OF ISRAEL UNDER HEZEKIAH;

THE PEOPLE DESTROY THE PILLARS; THE ASHERIM; AND THE HIGH PLACES

"Now when this was all finished, all Israel that were present went out to the cities of Judah, and brake in pieces the pillars, and hewed down the Asherim, and brake down the high places and the altars out of all Judah, Ephraim also and Manasseh, until they had destroyed them all. Then all the children of Israel returned, every man to his possession, in their own cities."

E.M. Zerr:

2 Chronicles 31:1. Public professions of loyalty to God are not enough. The Israelites conducted an earnest and prolonged season of devotions to the true God. They made many sacrifices and much blood was shed in service to the one Lord whom they declared to be the one and only Being entitled to their worship. But had no actions been taken to remove the means of the false worship, their professions of faith would have been empty. So they "showed their faith by their works" by attacking the things that had been used in idolatrous worship. These consisted in the images or statues; the groves or trees consecrated to false worship; the’ high places (see 1 Kings 3:2) devoted to false worship, and the altars used on which to burn the animals in sacrifice to Baal. These reform measures were taken all through the home territories, those cities of Judah and Benjamin. The work also was extended to the places that had been occupied by the 10 tribes. After completing the national cleansing, the people returned home.

Verses 2-10

2Ch 31:2-10

2 Chronicles 31:2-10

THE MAGNIFICENT GENEROSITY OF THE ISRAELITES

"And Hezekiah appointed the courses of the priests and the Levites after their courses, every man according to his service, both the priests and the Levites, for burnt-offerings and for peace-offerings, to minister, and to give thanks, and to praise in the gates of the camp of Jehovah. He appointed also the king’s portion of his substance for the burnt-offerings, to wit, for the morning and evening burnt-offerings, and the burnt-offerings for the sabbaths, and for the new moons, and for the set feasts, as it is written in the law of Jehovah. Moreover he commanded the people that dwelt in Jerusalem to give the portion of the priests and the Levites, that they might give themselves to the law of Jehovah. And as soon as the commandment came abroad, the children of Israel gave in abundance the first-fruits of grain, and new wine, and oil, and honey, and of all the increase of the field; and the tithe of all things brought they in abundantly. And the children of Israel and Judah, that dwelt in the cities of Judah, they also brought in the tithe of oxen and sheep, and the tithe of dedicated things which were consecrated unto Jehovah their God, and laid them by heaps. In the third month they began to lay the foundation of the heaps, and finished them in the seventh month. And when Hezekiah and the princes came and saw the heaps, they blessed Jehovah, and his people Israel. Then Hezekiah and the princes questioned the priests and the Levites concerning the heaps. And Azariah the chief priest, of the house of Zadok, answered him and said, Since the people began to bring the oblations into the house of Jehovah, we have eaten and had enough, and have left plenty: for Jehovah hath blessed his people; and that which is left is this great store."

"This paragraph pictures Hezekiah, not only as a second Solomon, but as a second David." There was a wholesale reordering of the religious life and personnel of Israel. The freedom provided by these events gave the Levites time to devote themselves to the Law of Jehovah, thus making it absolutely certain that during the times of Josiah, less than seventy-five years later, there would be countless persons left in Israel who were thoroughly familiar with the entire Mosaic covenant and the precious "Book of Moses" that attended it. This effectively refutes the notion that a reprobate priesthood could have gotten away with forging any kind of a brand new religious constitution of Israel so soon afterward. It is this mountain fact that leads the radical critics to write that, "The Chronicler writes (in these chapters) much that is quite unhistorical." Where is the proof that any of this material is unhistorical? The only thing on earth that contradicts any of what is written here is that favorite fairy tale of unbelievers frequently referred to as the D Document. To allow that to be true is to allow that an HISTORICAL REPORT (CHRONICLES) can be nullified by an imaginary, fraudulent, and absolutely UNHISTORICAL REPORT. This writer cannot subscribe to any such proposition, nor can he accept the allegation that any scientifically minded scholar could be persuaded to do so.

E.M. Zerr:

2 Chronicles 31:2. At such a time as we have been considering, all of the items of the public service would naturally suffer some neglect. Thus the king found that the original setup of the priesthood had been somewhat disrupted. In 1 Chronicles 23:6; 1 Chronicles 24:1-19 is a record of these courses of the priests that David had arranged and he restored it. The particular work that was intended to be done by the several classes of citizens was again assigned to them. Some of that work pertained to the sacrifices, while other men were given parts to perform that pertained to the praise service.

2 Chronicles 31:3. The occasions for sacrifices named in this verse were the set feasts, or those regularly established by the law. They were not to vary as to date (except as God made the variation as he did in the passover for the 2nd month), purpose, and manner of observance. They were not considered as individual services, but were for the nation as a whole. That was the reason that the contributions for them on behalf of the kingdom were to be taken from the substance or products of the king; that is, they were to be taken from the royal stores. It should be observed that these set feasts were according to what was written in the law of the Lord. Now they are found only In the "ceremonial law" that was given through Moses, yet that law is here called the law of the Lord. This all condemns the doctrine of the sabbatarians who try to distinguish between the law of Moses and the law of God.

2 Chronicles 31:4. Portions of the priests and the Levites refers to the support that was to be given them for their services. They were not permitted to have a tribal possession as were the others, and therefore had no productive means of income. The other tribes were to give a tenth of all their income, and that was to go for the support of Levi. They were to receive also certain parts of the animals that were offered on the altar, which they could use as their food. See Numbers 18:8-24.

2 Chronicles 31:5-6. This paragraph is a showing of the response the people made to Hezekiah’s commandment in 2 Chronicles 31:4. We are impressed with the promptness with which they came up with their duties, for it says they did it as soon as the commandment came abroad. They brought in their tithes which means the tenth.

2 Chronicles 31:7. Foundation was the starting of the collection of the fruits of the land. They were added unto the third month until the seventh, when the collection was complete. It will be interesting to note that pentecost came in the third month, and that was when the Jews brought the "firstfruits" unto the Lord. (Leviticus 23:17.) The seventh month was the one in which the great day of atonement came, followed in a few days by the feast of tabernacles. Also, by that time the year’s crops were all in, so that these heaps mentioned in this verse would be complete by then.

2 Chronicles 31:8. It is significant that Hezekiah and his princes, or leading men, blessed the Lord and his people. They could not have given the products had not the Lord caused them to grow. But after they were made to grow, the Lord expected the people to show their appreciation by the return of part of them to him.

2 Chronicles 31:9-10. Hezekiah questioned means he made inquiry about the resources for all the piles of produce, and of the use that had been made of them. The information was furnished by the chief (high) priest. God wants his servants to put the divine interests ahead of all others; yet he does not require them to go undernourished in so doing. The children of Israel had been sufficiently fed and were still able to offer this great store for the Lord’s service. We are reminded of Paul’s teaching along this same line in 2 Corinthians 9:8-10. This is not the particular place to enter into any speculation about "special providence." I do not believe, however, that any faithful child of God ever suffered bodily harm by reason of his contributions to the work of the Lord. Hezekiah saw the bountiful supply of foodstuff, and seemed to wonder if the people had been deprived of their actual needs by making such gifts.

Verses 11-19

2Ch 31:11-19

2 Chronicles 31:11-19

PREPARATIONS FOR STORING AND DISTRIBUTING THE `HEAPS

"Then Hezekiah commanded to prepare chambers in the house of Jehovah; and they prepared them; and they brought in the oblations and the tithes and the dedicated things faithfully. And over them Conaniah the Levite was ruler, and Shemei his brother was second; and Jehiel, and Azaziah, and Nahath, and Asahel, and Jerimoth, and Jozabad, and Eliel, and Ismachiah, and Mahath, and Benaiah, were overseers under the hand of Conaniah and Shimei his brother, by the appointment of Hezekiah the king, and Azaziah the ruler of the house of God. And Kore the son of Imnah the Levite, the porter at the east gate, was over the freewill-offerings of God, to distribute the oblations of Jehovah, and the most holy things. And under him was Eden, and Menianim, and Jeshua, and Shemaiah, Amariah, and Shecaniah, in the cities of the priests, in their office of trust, to give to their brethren by courses, as well to the great as to the small: besides them that were reckoned by genealogy of males, from three years old and upward, even every one that entered into the house of Jehovah, as the duty of every day required, for their service in their offices according to their courses; and them that were reckoned by genealogy of the priests by their fathers’ houses, and the Levites from twenty years old and upward, in their offices by their courses; and them that were reckoned by genealogy of all their little ones, their wives, and their sons, and their daughters, through all the congregation: for in their office of trust they sanctified themselves in holiness. Also for the sons of Aaron the priests, that were in the fields of the suburbs of their cities, in every city, there were men that were mentioned by name, to give portions to all the males among the priests, and to all that were reckoned by genealogy among the Levites."

The historicity and accuracy of this account is evident in the very nature of it, there being no earthly explanation of such a paragraph as this otherwise. Only those blinded by some false theory could view this as anything other than historical material. The mention of all these names could not be a forgery, because the Jews knew too much about their genealogies (even down to and including the times of Jesus Christ) to have allowed such a thing. This account was written by the Chronicler about the time of the end of the Babylonian captivity; and the author followed very closely the records before his eyes. Furthermore, in instances where we are able to find parallel accounts in other Scriptures, we are impressed with the fact that the Chronicler’s accounts are always reconcilable with the parallels.

E.M. Zerr:

2 Chronicles 31:11-12. The produce had been temporarily piled up while the amount was incomplete. Now that the collection was finished, it was necessary to make better provisions to care for it. The chambers were storehouses, suitable for housing the products of the field and herd, to be used later as the service demanded. Someone must be made responsible for the proper distribution of this store. One man, Cononiah, was made head of the entire department, with helpers under him. Offerings and tithes indicates that there must have been a difference. That is true, and it is as follows. Every Jew was required to give a tithe or tenth of his income to the Lord. If his flocks brought ten young animals into the world, one of them must be turned over to the Levites to be used in the service of the Lord. If the field prdouced a hundred bushels of wheat, ten of it were to be turned over. But in addition to all the tithes, a Jew was encouraged to make voluntary offerings. For instance, the man who brought the ten bushels out of his crop of 100 bushels, could offer an additional five bushels if he wished, and when such a contribution was made in connection with the tithes, it was called an offering. The two words were often used interchangeably, which suggests the following observation: All tithes were offerings, but not all offerings were tithes.

2 Chronicles 31:13. We can see that the work was well systematized into a food administration. Cononiah was chief, with a personal helper in the association of his brother Shimei (2 Chronicles 31:12), and now the men named in this verse were to have the more direct charge of the work of distribution. They were called overseers which would be called foremen in the industrial language of our day. Hezekiah was the king and Azariah was the high priest, and they jointly commanded the whole procedure. That was very fitting, for the one was "chief executive" of the government, and the other was the supreme authority in regard to the religious activities. In a system such as the Mosaic, a combination of religious and secular principles, we would expect to see some men who were assigned to their proper places in the nation.

2 Chronicles 31:14. This has to do with the receiving and distribution of the things brought in by the Israelites in their service as citizens. The law of Moses made certain requirements of all persons regarding their income, and someone would be needed to see that the things were taken care of. Kore was in charge of the east gate, to receive the products coming from that direction and placing them where they belonged in the service of the temple. Oblations comes from several Hebrew words, but all have practically the same meaning, referring to that which is given for the altar or other service to God. It is thus the same as the offerings, but the distinction of freewill offerings is explained by a closer study of the law. Certain offerings were stipulated and required of the children of Israel, and they were not left to decide the matter. In addition to them, it was permitted to make voluntary gifts to the service, and such were called freewill offerings.

2 Chronicles 31:15. Next him means next in rank. The law did not assign any major possessions to the tribe of Levi. They had no use for it since their time was to be taken up in the service about the temple. But they needed homes, and they were provided by giving them certain cities scattered through the possessions of the other tribes. And when the turn or course of any particular group came, the ones needed at the temple would come up and serve. In the meantime they would reside in their own cities, but while there they would have to be supported. This verse is an explanation of that part of the great system.

2 Chronicles 31:16. The Israelites observed their birth records in different methods at different epochs. At this time they entered the names of their sons when they were three years of age. Then, as they came up into maturity and were called into the priestly services, their support from the offerings was furnished as the need demanded.

2 Chronicles 31:17. It should constantly be remembered that all priests were Levites, but not all Levites were priests. And while the record of births started when the boy was three years old, the attention of the overseers was centered on those 20 years old.

2 Chronicles 31:18. To the genealogy ("pedigree or family list") was a certain portion given. That was necessary because the fathers had been sanctified or set apart to the holy work of the priesthood. They had no opportunity to produce the necessities of life, therefore their wives and little ones had to be cared for out of the tithes.

2 Chronicles 31:19. A suburb in Bible language was not what the word denotes today. Instead of meaning the outlying parts of a city, it meant the open area surrounding it. The word is from MIGRASHAH, and Strong defines it, "a suburb (i. e. open country whither flocks are driven for pasture); hence the area around a building, or the margin of a sea." The question is sometimes raised, why would these priests need any ground if they did not engage in the production of crops. They were supported out of the gifts of the tribes. Included in those gifts were the animals turned over for the use of these men of the family of Aaron. Since the animals would be brought to these families as they were produced, and also since they would not be consumed at once, they needed an area in which to keep them. These suburbs or open fields of pasture were used for this purpose.

Verses 20-21

2Ch 31:20-21

2 Chronicles 31:20-21

SUMMARY OF HEZEKIAH’S DEVOTION TO THE LORD

And thus did Hezekiah throughout all Judah; and he wrought that which was good and right and faithful before Jehovah his God. And in every work that he began in the service of the house of God, and in the law, and in the commandments, to seek his God, he did it with all his heart, and prospered.

E.M. Zerr:

2 Chronicles 31:20-21. This paragraph as a whole is a commendation of Hezekiah for his good life and work. It is not in the nature of flattery, but states a logical reason for the favorable treatment he received from God. Every work that he attempted for the house of God prospered, and the reason for it was the fact that he did it with, all his heart. It has ever been the desire of the Lord for his people to be in earnest about their work and not be halfhearted in the doing of it.

Bibliographical Information
"Commentary on 2 Chronicles 31". "Old & New Testament Restoration Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/onr/2-chronicles-31.html.
 
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