Monday, May 13: 2 Chronicles 9-12
Who sinned? Rehoboam or his father Solomon? That’s a great question for us to wrestle with, and an answer that is a bit vague and may leave us a bit confused. Here’s what I observed . . .
According to the story told in 1 Kings, Solomon “loved many foreign women” (11:7) who turned his “heart after other gods.” (11:4) There he built high places, offered incense, and sacrifices to the false gods of the other lands. It was a horrible and selfish demise to the leadership Solomon had provided. For his sin, God says, “I will surely tear the kingdom from you and give it to your servant. Yet for the sake of your father David I will not do in in your lifetime; I will tear it out of the had of your son.” (11:11b-12) With that, Solomon’s reign comes to an end with the inkling of turmoil for all of Israel soon to be on hand.
However, our reading from 2 Chronicles is much different. “King Solomon excelled all the kings of the earth in riches and in wisdom. All the kings of the earth sough the presence of Solomon to hear his wisdom, which God had put into his mind.” (9:22-23) Here, it appears that Solomon knows no wrong. He comes across as being nearly perfect and right with God. It isn’t until Rehoboam takes the throne that turmoil begins as he strays from the ways of God by ignoring the counsel of his advisers. Instead he responds, “My little finger is thicker than my father’s loins. Now, whereas my father laid on you a heavy yoke, I will add to your yoke. My father disciplined you with whips, but I will discipline you with scorpions.” Ouch. Talk about self righteous gains. Seems like being an heir to the throne gave him a bit of a complexion issue.
Regardless, the picture painted between the stories found in Kings and in Chronicles are much different. Why? For the limited Bible expert that I am, I would have to think it is to preserve the image and legacy of David. If Solomon is great, then his father must have done something right in order to make him so great. By passing the evil intention, sins, and fall of Israel/Judah on to Rehoboam, David is protected and preserved as good and righteous in the eyes of us the reader and of God. And remember, that is the purpose of Chronicles, it is a story looking back (many centuries later) at the rise of David and the Temple of God.
Our next readings:
Tuesday, May 14: 2 Chronicles 13-17
Wednesday, May 15: 2 Chronicles 18-20
Thursday, May 16: 21-24