November 22 – November 29, 2019

Friday, November 22

2 Chronicles 29: Hezekiah began his rule by purging the Temple of pagan “rubbish” (verse 5) with a view to restoring the authentic Temple liturgy, so woefully neglected during the reign of his father, Ahaz (verses 6-9,19; 28:24).

Unlike his faithless father, Hezekiah was aware of the spiritual origin of Judah’s political problems. Hard times had befallen the people, he was convinced, because Judah, and especially Judah’s king, had strayed from the path of righteousness (verse 8). We recall that King Ahaz had sought to deal with the national crisis by playing geopolitical games, seeking help from Assyria to deal with enemies closer to hand. This approach had simply gained him a larger and more serious enemy. Indeed, the most significant crisis in Hezekiah’s reign, the Assyrian invasion near the end of the eighth century, was the direct result of the efforts of King Ahaz to alter the power politics of the region.

Hezekiah, for his part, would have none of this. He was determined to deal with spiritual problems as spiritual problems, and not something else. Indeed, Hezekiah programmatic reform maintained the proper priority indicated by our Lord’s mandate that we “seek first the Kingdom of Heaven. Nothing else in Judah’s national life, Hezekiah believed, would be correctly ordered if anything but the Kingdom of God was put in first place. What was first must be placed first, not second or somewhere else down the line.

The Kingdom of God is first, not only as a point of sequence, but as a matter of principle. It is first, not only in the sense that it precedes everything else, but also in the sense that it lays the foundation for everything else. The foundations of houses are laid prior to the rest of the house, because the rest of the house is impossible without that foundation. It is that foundation that supports the rest of the house. This is what is meant by the priority of a principle. This priority is more than mere sequence. It has to do with essence. It is silly to think that we can first build the house and then add the foundation. It is similarly silly to think that we can first have a well-ordered life and then start on the foundation of that life. The Kingdom of God, accordingly, must be put first, and the Lord warns us about those who build on any other foundation.

The Temple was not a building simply consecrated to God; it was consecrated to the worship of God. Consequently, after the Temple was purged of defilements, King Hezekiah saw to it that this sacred space was restored to the people’s sacrificial worship.

In fact, however, the first sacrifices offered in the restored Temple were part of the restoration itself, for they were expiatory sacrifices, “sin offerings” to atone for Judah’s recent infidelities (verses 21-24).

And not for Judah only. It is important and worthy of note that the expiatory sacrifices were offered on behalf of “all Israel.” As we shall see in the ensuing chapters, Hezekiah had in mind to restore all Israel to unity under the Davidic covenantal monarchy and around the one Temple in Jerusalem.

Saturday, November 23

2 Chronicles 30: This religious unity of Judah and the Galilean tribes, established by Hezekiah in this chapter, was to endure over the centuries. From that point on, pilgrims would came, at the appointed times, to offer their devotion at Solomon’s Temple. We know some things about these Galilean pilgrims. Of one of these Galileans it was said, “His parents went every year to Jerusalem at the Feast of the Passover. And when He was twelve years old, they went up to Jerusalem according to the custom of the feast” (Luke 2:41-42). Of this same Galilean, some years later, it is recorded, “He remained in Galilee. But when His brothers had gone up, then He also went up to the feast, not openly, but as it were in secret” (John 7:9-10).

These Galilean pilgrims would be easily recognized by their curious northern accent, and people would remark on it. They would say such things as “Surely you are one of them; for you are a Galilean, and your speech shows it” (Mark 14:70). If a group of Galileans all started speaking at once, everybody present took note of it. They remarked, “Are not all these who are speaking Galileans?” (Acts 2:7 ESV).

In 715, therefore, the people of Judah, their ranks swollen by the reunited brethren from the north, gathered in Jerusalem to observe the first joint celebration of the Passover in two hundred years.

A first order of business was to purge the place of pagan altars and shrines that that King Ahaz had erected in deference to the Assyrian overlord (verse 14). We may remark on two points of significance about this action:

First, the destruction of the vile Assyrian symbols had to be especially gratifying to the people from the north, whose homeland had been ravaged and laid waste by Sargon II and the Assyrian army just seven years earlier (722).

This action on the part of Hezekiah was not only religious. It expressed an explicit, intentional affront to the Assyrian Empire, making it perfectly clear to everyone meant business and would go all out in resistance to Assyria. That is to say, Hezekiah was knocking the chip off the shoulder of Sennacherib, the new Assyrian emperor.

It was a very bold move for this young king, only twenty-five years old, directly and explicitly to defy armed might of the massive Assyrian Empire. It clearly marked Hezekiah as a “leader,” in the sense used by the writer who remarked that “a leader is someone with a seriously underdeveloped sense of fear.” On the other hand, Hezekiah’s action most certainly won him new friends within the remnant of Israel’s northern tribes.

Many of these northern newcomers, who had lived in schism and even apostasy for over two centuries, were not ritually pure (verse 18), but they were permitted to share in the Passover anyway. Hezekiah, perceiving that this was a time when wisdom urged a certain latitude in the application of the Law, waived the rules about ritual purity, praying that the Lord would look indulgently on each man’s good intention (verses 19-20)

It is worth remarking that the Chronicler, who treated matters of ritual with singular respect and seriousness, not only did not criticize Hezekiah for this, but he also remarked, “And the Lord heard Hezekiah and healed the people” (verse 20).

Sunday, November 24

2 Chronicles 31: The Chronicler gives us to understand that those many Israelites reunited through the efforts of Hezekiah, doubtless inspired by the restoration of their common worship in the Temple, went without delay to other cities in the Holy Land to initiate its spiritual reform and renewal (verse 1).

It is impossible to say whether Hezekiah was conscious, ahead of time, that his ecumenical appeal to the north would also bring important economic and geopolitical benefits to his kingdom, but it is certain that such benefits did come about as results of his appeal.

A first benefit was economic. After all, the northern sections of the Holy Land were and have always been its more prosperous parts. Thus, the arrival of these northern visitors to Jerusalem automatically brought the place enhanced revenue (verses 5-6), being doubtless the first of many beneficial commercial contacts. The economy of the region improved.

This economic development should also be related to the teaching of the social prophets that had been so active in Judah during recent years, Micah and Isaiah. It is reasonable to think that the king, prompted by the preaching of these men, undertook the sorts of social reform that would lead to the prosperity we see here in Chronicles.

A second benefit was sociological, because the prosperity of Hezekiah’s reign led to the considerable growth of Jerusalem during that period. Indeed, archeologists estimate that the city doubled or even tripled in size while Hezekiah was king; the city’s western wall was extended to include a second hill. This growth can be explained in two ways, both of them plausible and both of them traceable to the greater economic prosperity. First, there was a higher birth rate. Second, Jerusalem became the home to many refugees fleeing from the north.

The next chapter of Chronicles will describe a third benefit, also derivative from Judah’s financial prosperity—namely, a growing sense of political autonomy from the Assyrian overlord. Hezekiah could not seriously contemplate resistance to Assyria without the financial resources to make it stick. Now, from Judah’s increased wealth, made available by the king’s new friendship with the north, Hezekiah was able to construct fortifications and take other steps to enhance the kingdom’s military strength.

For example, Hezekiah was now able dig the underground aqueduct that would enable the capital to withstand a lengthy siege. While the city’s besiegers would be obliged to endure the heat and thirst otherwise prevalent in the Judean desert, its citizens would have plenty of water (32:30).

These benefits to Judah all came from its new association with the remnants of the Northern Kingdom. There is a lesson here, of course, because this story exemplifies those blessings, good and pleasant, that abound when the brethren, united under the Lord’s anointed king, live together in harmony, commonly served by His anointed priesthood. These blessings resemble that anointing oil upon the head, running down richly to saturate the priestly beard of Aaron, flowing further yet to consecrate the very fringes of his vestment. This blessing falls as the dew of the north, even from Mount Hermon, descending on Mount Zion, for there the Lord gives His blessing, life for evermore.

Monday, November 25

2 Chronicles 32: The beginning of this chapter is abrupt. We have been reading about the reforms of Hezekiah, his renewal of the Temple worship, and his endeavor to restore the ancient unity of “all Israel.” Now, all of a sudden, we encounter somebody named Sennacherib, coming out of nowhere, invading Judah and threatening the kingdom of Hezekiah. How did all this come to pass?

Six years or so before Hezekiah came to the throne of Judah, Sargon II became the Emperor of Assyria (721-705). As so often was the case when a new emperor came to power, various disgruntled elements in the empire, sensing that the political transition was their chance for rebellion and a new political order, chose the moment to foment insurgencies. This was a common pattern, and when a new emperor had to deal with more than one insurrection at a time, he could have his hands full for several years. This is exactly what transpired when Sargon took the throne in 721.

First, there was a rebellion of the Babylonians, led by their king, Merodach-Baladan, who will appear in the next chapter of Chronicles. Then, on the northwest corner of the empire King Midas of Phrygia stirred an insurrection among the Syrians in 717. Meanwhile, a barbarous Indo-Aryan group called the Cimmerians was moving south from the Caucusas and threatening several northern sections of the Assyrian Empire. Finally, on the empire’s southwestern border, the border closest to the Holy Land, the Ethiopians were effectively taking effective charge of Egypt and would, in 710, create Egypt’s Twenty-fifth Dynasty.

With so many problems facing the new emperor, some of the smaller nations within the empire were prompted to contemplate a little rebelliousness on their own. As the Phrygians had encouraged an uprising among the Syrians, so Egypt fostered an impulse toward rebellion in the Holy Land.

The first to act on this impulse were the Philistines, who began to rebel in 714, at the very time when Hezekiah was initiating his reforms in Judah. Because Egypt promised military aid to whoever would join in that uprising, the temptation was strong for Edom, Moab, and Judah to throw in their lot with the Philistines. Both 2 Kings and Isaiah testify to the extraordinary geopolitical pressure brought to bear on the smaller kingdoms of Palestine during this period.

Isaiah himself strongly opposed this rebellion against Assyria. Not only did he distrust Egypt’s intentions in the region; he perceived that Egyptian and Philistine foreign policy was something quite distinct from the will of God. He urged Hezekiah and Judah not to take part in the rebellion inspired by the political machinations of Ethiopia and Egypt (Isaiah 18—19).

Early in 712 Isaiah pleaded with Hezekiah not to become involved. Later that very year, when Sargon invaded the Holy Land to deal with the Philistines, Hezekiah could be glad that he had hearkened to the counsel of Isaiah (Isaiah 20). In the Assyrian’s eyes, of course, Hezekiah was already compromised by his destruction of the Assyrian altars in the Holy Land, but at least he had not joined the open rebellion of the Philistines, and in 712 Judah was spared the destruction inflicted on the latter, thanks to the prophetic counsel of Isaiah.

Everything changed, however, in 705, when Sargon II was killed in a battle with the Cimmerians that had invaded Asia Minor. The Assyrian Empire was once again agitated by various insurrections, rendered more serious and volatile by the fact that the emperor had perished so far from the center of political power at Nineveh. The new emperor, Sennacherib (704-681), faced trouble on all sides. For example, the Babylonians immediately revolted, as they would continue to do periodically until they were strong enough to conquer Assyria itself a century later.

Hezekiah, concluding that the time had arrived for Judah’s independence, joined a general revolt that was taking shape on the eastern shore of the Mediterranean, largely under the leadership of Phoenicia. Indeed, it seems that Hezekiah himself brought pressure to bear on some of the Philistine cities in order to bring them into the coalition (2 Kings 18:8). He further saw to the fortifications of Jerusalem (2 Chronicles 32:3-5) and the digging of the underground aqueduct (32:30).

Meanwhile, Hezekiah also sent delegates to Egypt, sent a delegation to Egypt, seeking assistance in the rebellion. Isaiah thoroughly denounced all these efforts (Isaiah 30:1-7), but the king apparently paid him no mind.

Sennacherib needed nearly three years to fight Babylon to a standstill, but by 701 he was ready to move against the rebels in the west. He went straight for the strongest among them, Phoenicia, replacing the king of Tyre, who sought refuge on Cyprus. Indeed, this crushing of the Phoenician uprising in 701 led to the serious demise of Phoenicians as the great maritime power of the Mediterranean. In due course they would be replaced by their own colonies, such as Carthage, and also, of course, by the Greeks.

Once the Phoenicians fell, Hezekiah realized that the game was up and sued for terms of peace. Sennacherib, destroying forty-six walled cities of Judah and deported their populations, was not interested in dragging out the campaign, agreed to peace terms but made them severe. Hezekiah was obliged to strip the Temple of its gold and empty the royal treasury. The whole adventure, taken up over the objections of Isaiah, proved to be very expensive.

This is the point at which 2 Chronicles once again picks up the narrative in the present chapter. According to Josephus, Sennacherib was not satisfied with the amount that Hezekiah paid. He planned to lay siege to the city anyway.

Tuesday, November 26

2 Chronicles 33: We come now to Manesseh, whose reign (687-642, but with a co-regency from 697) was an unmitigated failure. First, he rebuilt, or permitted to be rebuilt, all of the idolatrous shrines throughout the land, places his father Hezekiah had taken great pains to destroy (verse 3). Second, he defiled the Temple itself by the erection of pagan altars within its precincts (verses 4-5). Third, he resorted to human sacrifice in the case of his children. Fourth, he engaged in magic and sorcery (verse 6).

Not only were these same sins of Manasseh recorded in 2 Kings 21:3-6, but Jeremiah (7:31) also, several decades later, described some of the evils of this time: “And they have built the high places of Tophet, which is in the Valley of the Son of Hinnom, to burn their sons and their daughters in the fire.”

It would appear that the biblical authors were most offended by Manesseh’s erection of an idol in the Temple (verse 7; 2 Kings 21:7). Both the Chronicler and the author of Kings cite the promise of the Lord to Solomon that His “name” would abide in His house in Jerusalem (2:1,4).

The Bible-reader is stunned by this massive apostasy within a single generation. What can account for so thorough and swift a fall from grace? It is likely that it should be ascribed to several causes, but I suggest that among those causes should be counted a certain erroneous and unwarranted sense of security, nearly unto superstition and magic. When Manasseh was but a child, Jerusalem had been miraculously delivered from Sennacherib’s siege. That deliverance, which had arrived as though out of nowhere, gave rise in many minds to the persuasion that Jerusalem was invincible and would never fall to the enemy. Once saved, Jerusalem would always be saved.

My suggestion is not without basis in the actual history, because we know from the prophet Jeremiah that such a superstitious attitude toward Jerusalem, accompanied by a magical sense of the city’s invulnerability, would endure throughout the rest of that century and, indeed, all the way to that day in 587 when the Babylonians destroyed it:” Do not trust in these lying words, saying, ‘The temple of the LORD, the temple of the LORD, the temple of the LORD are these’” (Jeremiah 7:4).

There are few impressions more deceptive than that of invincibility, and this story of Manasseh is one of the Bible’s clearest illustrations of the danger.

Nonetheless, Holy Scripture gives us two views of King Manasseh.

In 2 Kings he was a thoroughly bad man, whose reign had no redeeming aspects. He was not only an idolater of first rank (21:3-5,7,11), but also a murderer and sorcerer. Manasseh offered at least one of his children in sacrifice (21:6) and “shed very much innocent blood, till he had filled Jerusalem from one end to another” (21:16). Flavius Josephus must have had this text in mind when he wrote that Manasseh “barbarously slew all the righteous men that were among the Hebrews; nor would he spare the prophets, for he every day slew some of them, till Jerusalem overflowed with blood” (Antiquities 10.3.1).

The most notable of the prophets murdered by Manasseh was the great Isaiah. According to an account recorded in the apocryphal story, The Martyrdom of Isaiah, Manasseh caused the prophet to be sawn in two. A passage in the Epistle to the Hebrews, because it mentions this detail, is often thought to refer to the era of Manasseh: “Still others had trial of mockings and scourgings, yes, and of chains and imprisonment. They were stoned, they were sawn in two, were tempted, were slain with the sword” (11:36-37).

There is a rather different–or at least a more ample–account on Manasseh’s reign in 2 Chronicles. As we have seen the Chronicler tells the same story of the evils of Manasseh, but he assigns them only to the first part of his long reign (verses 1-10).

Then the Chronicler goes on to tell quite another story of Manasseh: “Therefore the LORD brought upon them the captains of the army of the king of Assyria, who took Manasseh with hooks, bound him with bronze fetters, and carried him off to Babylon.”

Wednesday, November 27

2 Chronicles 34: Josiah’s chronology seems pretty well established for us. Reasonably placing the beginning of his reign (under a regency, of course) in 640, we surmise he was born in 648 (verse 1), fathered by the 16-year-old Amon (cf. 33:21). Josiah himself became a father at age 16 (cf. 36:2). It was 632, and he had a serious religious conversion that same year (verse 3). Fathering children and getting serious about God often go together.

On reaching age 20 in the year 628, Josiah took the kingdom in hand and initiated a religious reform of the nation (verses 3-7). There are five things noticeable about this reform.

First, Josiah got rid of only Canaanite gods (verses 3-4). Evidently the Assyrian gods had already been purged by the repentant Manasseh (33:15).

Second, in the pursuit of this reform Josiah ignored his northern border (verse 6). He could afford to do this, because the recently weakened Assyrian warrior would never again show his face at the walls of Jerusalem. The last of the great Assyrian emperors, Asshurbanapal (668-633) had lately died, and none of his feeble successors could ever again threaten the western end of the Fertile Crescent. The Assyrian Empire was already in grievous decline, and the Babylonian king, Nabopolassar (626-605) would soon be in full revolt against it. Asshur would fall to the Babylonians in 614, Nineveh in 612, Haran in 610, and the dreaded Assyrian would be no more.

Third, only the Chronicler notes that the Levites were charged with the financial oversight of the refurbishing of the Temple (verses 11b-13). This is not only the kind of detail we expect in Chronicles, but it also ties the Levites to the discovery of the scroll in the Temple. In the next chapter it will be obvious that the priests and Levites were very much involved in Josiah’s project of reform.

Fourth, Josiah’s reform was seconded by the prophet Jeremiah. Apparently born in 640, the very year of Josiah’s succession, Jeremiah received his prophetic call in 627 (Jeremiah 1:2), five years before the discovery of the scroll in the Temple. Thus, Jeremiah was only 18 when the scroll was discovered. Josiah’s reform seems to have been something of a youth movement. In 627 Jeremiah complained, in fact, that he was still a mere boy (Jeremiah 1:6).

Fifth, Josiah’s reform involved the refurbishing of the Temple, and as preparations were being made for it in 622 a mysterious scroll was discovered there (verse 8). Except for the mention of the Levites, the Chronicler (verses 9-11a,14-18) describes this discovery pretty much as it is described in 2 Kings 22:3-7. The scroll is described as containing “the law of the Lord given through Moses,” and biblical scholars since patristic times have suspected that it was either the Book of Deuteronomy or a significant portion thereof.

On hearing the scroll read and learning its content, Josiah was horrified, realizing how woefully he and the people had failed to observe the Law (verse 19). Even his extensive reforms, which have been in progress for several years, did not measure up. The king had a sense of impending doom by reason of the nation’s accumulated sins over many generations, so he sent his companions to seek prophetic guidance on the matter (verses 20-21).

They consulted the prophetess Huldah (verse 22), who did the them kindness of telling them the worst. The accumulation of evil was already too great, she said, to evade its inevitable results. The scales were already overbalanced to the point of a relentless crash, and there was no way to stop the forces of history unleashed by so much sin. The nation would soon perish because of its chronic infidelities (verses 23-25). Only thus, remarked Josephus, could the Lord vindicate the warnings of the prophets (Antiquities 10.4.2).

The sole consolation held out by Huldah was the guarantee that the punishment of the nation would not come to pass during the lifetime of the present godly king (verses 26-28). Since Josiah was a relatively young man at the time, perhaps there were those who took comfort in the thought that they too would be spared the vision of the impending punishment. Alas, they did not know how little time Josiah had left in this world. The king would be dead in thirteen years.

Josiah took this prophecy of Huldah in the same spirit of humility that he displayed when the Law was first read to him. Resolving that whatever time was left would be spent in the pure service of God, he caused the book of the Law to be read aloud in the presence of the national leaders and whoever else could join them (verses 29-30). He would not spare them the bad news. He would not permit them to walk blindly into the future or put their hopes on a vain sense of security. Their days were numbered, after all, and Josiah thought it a mercy that they should know it. God was still God, and man still owed Him pure service (verse 31). Josiah would continue to love God “with all his heart and all his soul,” an expression that he had recently learned from reading the Sacred Text of Deuteronomy!

The chapter’s closing verses (32-33) are proper to the Chronicler.

Thursday, November 28

2 Chronicles 35: Although 2 Kings 23:21-23 tells of the Passover observed in Jerusalem in the year that the scroll was discovered, the account of that same celebration here in Chronicles is far more ample and detailed. Indeed, verses 2-18 of the present chapter are peculiar to the Chronicler.

Josiah entrusted the organization and preparation for this feast to the ever-reliable Levites, who were especially charged with the actual slaying of the paschal lambs (verses 3-5). At each part of the ritual the Levites performed their sundry duties as assistants, musicians, and doorkeepers (verses 10-15).

So great was Josiah’s celebration of Passover that the Chronicler’s mind was forced back to the time of Samuel to find its equal (verse 18). For two reasons this high estimate is unexpected. First, it makes Josiah’s celebration of Passover eclipse notable Passover celebrations of David, Solomon, and Hezekiah. Second, it suggests a liturgical standard in the pre-monarchical period, a time about which, as we have seen, the Chronicler had fairly little to say at the beginning of the book. These considerations render the Chronicler’s assessment very surprising.

The Chronicler is careful to note that this Passover celebration involved “all Judah and Israel” (verse 18). Josiah’s ability to bring together the entire Chosen People, all the descendants of those who celebrated that first Passover on the night before the Exodus, indicates the recent political changes in the Fertile Crescent. Obviously no one was any longer afraid of what the Assyrians might think.

It is very significant of Josiah’s thinking, moreover, that the remnants of the northern tribes were invited to the feast, as Hezekiah had done in the previous century. The Passover was not just any feast. It was the feast in which Israel was separated from all other peoples of the earth. It was the feast that rendered Israel God’s Chosen People. Therefore, it was preeminently the feast of the unity of the People of God.

Being restricted to Jerusalem, Josiah’s celebration of the feast, we observe, corresponded to the prescription of Deuteronomy, which we believe to have formed, at least in part, the scroll so recently discovered. In that text it was commanded, “You may not offer the Passover sacrifice within any of your towns that the Lord your God is giving you, but at the place that the Lord your God will choose, to make his name dwell in it, there you shall offer the Passover sacrifice” (Deuteronomy 16:5-6 ESV).

Perhaps more than any other feast in the liturgical calendar, Passover roots Israel’s worship in the concrete, documented facts of history. The annual feast itself is part of the historical continuity inaugurated by the events remembered on that holiest of nights. Israel represents, in this respect, a religious adherence profoundly different from that of the religions of India, which involve various efforts to escape from history into some kind of experience transcendent to history. Israel’s worship does not endeavor to escape the flow of history but to place the worshippers into the People’s historical identity established by historical events. Those who keep this feast become one with those who have always kept it, including those who stood to eat the Passover on that first night, protected by the sprinkled blood of the paschal lambs.

Friday, November 29

2 Chronicles 36: The Chronicler especially blames Zedekiah for ignoring the sound counsel of Jeremiah, the last of the pre-exilic prophets. Indeed, the entire leadership of the nation is charged with polluting the Temple (verse 14), apparently with various forms of both idolatry and neglect, an indictment found only in the Chronicler.

The Chronicler indicts the leaders of Judah for their sustained refusal to take seriously the warnings of the messengers whom the Lord who “sent warnings to them . . . , rising up early and sending” (verse 15). This quaint latter expression the Chronicler took straight out of the Book of Jeremiah, where it is common (7:13,25; 25:3,4; 26:5; 29:10; 35:15; 44:4; cf. 11:7; 32:33), though it appears nowhere else in Holy Scripture.

The Chronicler, even as he invokes the prophetic literature against his countrymen, appeals to the Wisdom literature by accusing them of mockery (mal‘bim), contempt (bozim) and scoffing (mitta‘t‘im) (verse 16). That is to say, the leaders of Judah have proved themselves to be the consummate “fools,” who not only refuse to receive instruction but treat with malice those who would instruct them. Against such as these, says the Chronicler, there is no remedy.

As our reading of Chronicles would lead us to expect, Jerusalem’s fall is described chiefly in terms of the Temple (verses 17,19) and its sacred vessels (verse 18).

Judah’s exile in Babylon lasted until 517 B.C. (verse 20), exactly seventy years from Jerusalem’s fall in 587. The Chronicler notes that Jeremiah (25:12) prophesied this detail (verse 21). That number, seventy, serves in the Bible as a kind of ironic Sabbath, because during all this period it is a fact that the land lay fallow and no one worked on it.

Because there was no Temple, active priesthood, nor sacrifice during the seventy years of the Babylonian Captivity, that period held no interest for the Chronicler. He skipped it completely and went straight to the downfall of Babylon and the return of the exiles in the Book of Ezra.

In a later editing the Book of Chronicles were separated from Ezra and Nehemiah, which had originally served as a narrative sequence, and became the final works in the Hebrew Scriptures. Hence, this became the last page of the Hebrew Bible. When this editing was done, the opening verses of the Book of Ezra were borrowed and added to the end of Chronicles, an arrangement that permitted the Hebrew Bible to end on a positive and optimistic note.