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CRITICAL NOTES.] This chapter is par. with 2 Kings 15:32-38, and taken mainly from the same source or sources. Ampler than narrative in Kings, and given with certain religious reflections after manner of writer (cf. Speak. Com.). Jotham’s character (2 Chronicles 27:1-2), Jotham’s buildings and wars (2 Chronicles 27:3-6), Jotham’s death and successor (2 Chronicles 27:7-9).
2 Chronicles 27:1-2.—J.’s character. Right, better than his father, as he did not intrude into temple. 2 Chronicles 27:2. Corruptly, which frustrated his efforts to reform (cf. 2 Kings 15:35). For general character of corruption, see Isaiah 1-5.
2 Chronicles 27:3-6.—J.’s conduct. Built, i.e., repaired. High gate, the north hill of temple. Ophel, i.e., the mound or eminence on south-eastern slope of temple hill. Much to defend Jerusalem in every direction. 2 Chronicles 27:4. Mountains, hill tract of Judah. Castles (2 Chronicles 18:12), forts to check invaders. Ammon, restless under the yoke of Uzziah (2 Chronicles 26:8), revolted against Jotham. Revolt repressed, and higher tribute exacted. 2 Chronicles 27:6. Prepared, marg. established; directed, disposed his ways aright (cf. Proverbs 21:29).
2 Chronicles 27:7-9.—J.’s death. Wars besides with Ammon, in later years with Rezin and Pekah (cf. 2 Kings 15:37). City, i.e., “with his fathers” (2 Kings 15:38), in the sepulchre of the kings.
JOTHAM’S PROSPEROUS REIGN.—2 Chronicles 27:1-8
I. He began by imitating his father in good, not evil ways. Amaziah considered a good king in the greater portion of his reign, though guilty of two great sins (cf. 2 Kings 14:3 and 2 Chronicles 25:2; 2 Chronicles 25:14; 2 Chronicles 25:16). J. imitated his father in all respects, except impious usurpation of priestly office. Far more easy to copy bad than good deeds. But J. took warning from his father’s folly and punishment, acted a wise part, and displayed a piety singular and conspicuous among “the people” who “did corruptly.”
II. He became powerful by the adoption of right measures. He detected the dangers, and desired the welfare of his kingdom.
1. His military measures. He strengthened Jerusalem, fortified country places, and repressed revolting nations. Wise to fortify against attack and guard weak places in character, churches, and kingdoms.
2. In religious measures. “He prepared his ways before the Lord his God” (2 Chronicles 27:6). Earnest and whole-hearted in piety. Thoughts fixed on God, and desired to please him in life. “In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths.” This leads to power and prosperity, for both come from God. The more steadfast in religion, the more able to resist evil, perform good, and influence others.
PREPARATION AND STRENGTH.—2 Chronicles 27:6
Here we get an insight into Jotham’s purpose and ways. He prepared his ways, exercised forethought, arrangement, and prayer.
I. All Strength is gained by preparation. Not the result of accident or negligence. Strength of body and mind, strength of character and position, result from exercise, discipline, and growth. The virtue of the soil, the events of Providence, the creation of the world, and the incarnation of Christ after long and silent preparation.
II. All preparation must be in recognition of God. This invests all acts with influence, and gives them religious character. “Prepare thy work without and make it fit for thyself in the field”.
1. In recognition of God’s supremacy. “Before the Lord”. God sovereign and supreme Ruler. All power in his hands, all events under his control.
2. In covenant with His mercy. “Before the Lord thy God”. Conscious of God’s presence and love; a sense of interest and sonship. Loving appropriation and humble dependence.
III. When a person thus prepares his ways before God, he will become mighty. “J. became mighty because he prepared his way”. Preparations never vain; rashness and haste lead to failure and misfortune. Strength and success gained by fixed resolve, entire consecration, and devout preparation. Mighty in prayer, influence for good given “before God”; required in Christian effort and in a sinful world. “Mighty through God”.
HOMILETIC HINTS AND SUGGESTIONS
2 Chronicles 27:2. “According to all that his father Uzziah did”. One single act of impiety destroys not general good character of his reign [Speak. Com.]. People did corruptly, civil injustice and social cruelty; laborious service and empty ritual; foreign oppression and providential misery (cf. Isaiah 1-5). Jotham a witness for God in prevalent corruption and national faithlessness.
2 Chronicles 27:1-9. Jotham’s life. His mother’s name and relations. His age at succession (2 Chronicles 27:1). His great achievements: built cities, conquered enemies, and became mighty in fame, wealth, and power. His death a lamentation, and his son an unworthy successor. “Wrought a woeful change, being optimi patris pessimus filius” [Trapp].
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Exell, Joseph S. "Commentary on 2 Chronicles 27". Preacher's Complete Homiletical Commentary. https://www.studylight.org/
the Week of Proper 6 / Ordinary 11