Chapter 14: 2 Chronicles
2Chron:3:10: And in the most holy house he made two cherubims of image work, and overlaid them with gold.
By so doing, Solomon broke God's law, which specifically stated:
Ex:20:4: Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image, or any likeness of any thing that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth:
2Chron:6:4: And he said, Blessed be the LORD God of Israel, who hath with his hands fulfilled that which he spake with his mouth to my father David, saying,
2Chron:6:5: Since the day that I brought forth my people out of the land of Egypt I chose no city among all the tribes of Israel to build an house in, that my name might be there; neither chose I any man to be a ruler over my people Israel:
2Chron:6:6: But I have chosen Jerusalem, that my name might be there; and have chosen David to be over my people Israel.
The above statement is false according to other parts of the Bible. God did indeed choose a man to be a ruler over Israel prior to David:
1Sam:9:16: To morrow about this time I will send thee a man out of the land of Benjamin, and thou shalt anoint him to be captain over my people Israel, that he may save my people out of the hand of the Philistines: for I have looked upon my people, because their cry is come unto me.
1Sam:15:1: Samuel also said unto Saul, The LORD sent me to anoint thee to be king over his people, over Israel: now therefore hearken thou unto the voice of the words of the LORD.
The Biblical book of First Samuel relates that God chose Saul to be king over his people prior to the reign of king David. The Biblical book of Second Chronicles states that God did not choose anyone to be king over his people prior to king David. It is not possible to believe both accounts. Therefore -- like it or not -- it is simply impossible to believe the Bible as a whole (unless we ignore what it actually says, or we surrender our reason).
2Chron:6:26: When the heaven is shut up, and there is no rain, because they have sinned against thee; yet if they pray toward this place, and confess thy name, and turn from their sin, when thou dost afflict them;
2Chron:6:27: Then hear thou from heaven, and forgive the sin of thy servants, and of thy people Israel, when thou hast taught them the good way, wherein they should walk; and send rain upon thy land, which thou hast given unto thy people for an inheritance.
Today we know that the hydrologic cycle is not affected by prayer, but rather by evaporation, condensation, and precipitation. It's unclear why God would punish innocent animals with a drought, and watch as they slowly died of thirst, just because some people sinned.
2Chron:6:36: If they sin against thee, (for there is no man which sinneth not,) and thou be angry with them, and deliver them over before their enemies, and they carry them away captives unto a land far off or near;
2Chron:6:39: Then hear thou from the heavens, even from thy dwelling place, their prayer and their supplications, and maintain their cause, and forgive thy people which have sinned against thee.
The Bible states that "there is no man which sinneth not." In line with that, the Christian religions teach that all human beings are sinners. But I don't believe that.
If we take the term "man" literally in this verse, then we must ask: at what point does a boy become a man? Whatever criteria we use (other than saying "as soon as he sins") we will find that many men have died at exactly that point (when they went from boys to men). In those instances they would not have had time to sin.
On the other hand, if we take the term "man" to be generic for "human being," then we must ask what sin was committed by a baby who died at birth.
In addition to these extremes, I believe that there are many good people who have never sinned in their lives. Of course it depends on how one defines "sin". To claim that being born is a sin ("all are born in sin"), besides being unprovable, is a very negative viewpoint which leads to unhealthy guilt and makes no positive contribution to how we view our fellows.
Real sins are not committed against God, but against people. God is in no way involved and by rights has no say in such transactions. It would be as if someone were to deliberately stomp on your foot, and as you were holding your foot and hopping around on the other, screaming in pain, I went up to the perpetrator, smiled and said, "I forgive you!"
Only the victim has the right to forgive. God, as a perfect being could never be victimized, and so cannot forgive. This totally destroys the basis of Christianity.
2Chron:6:42: O LORD God, turn not away the face of thine anointed: remember the mercies of David thy servant.
The dictionary defines mercies as follows:
1. Compassionate treatment, especially of those under one's power; clemency.
2. A disposition to be kind and forgiving: a heart full of mercy.
In what way could we associate "mercy" with David? Was he merciful when he ordered the murder of a man who had spoken harshly to him? Was he merciful to his "ten thousands" of Philistines whom he slew with the sword? Was he merciful to those he sawed asunder, or to those he hacked to death with axes, or to those he burned to death in brick kilns (1 Ki. 2:8-9; 1 Sam. 18:7; 2 Sam. 12:31)? One might as well refer to the "mercies of Adolph Hitler"; it would make as much sense.
2Chron:7:5: And king Solomon offered a sacrifice of twenty and two thousand oxen, and an hundred and twenty thousand sheep: so the king and all the people dedicated the house of God.
Today, if someone were to celebrate the grand opening of a shopping mall (or church) by publicly slaughtering 22,000 animals, it wouldn't be only animal rights advocates who would protest. Anyone with a shred of humanity would condemn the action as an immoral waste of life. Yet, the Bible (our "source book for moral conduct") implies that this was an appropriate action!
2Chron:9:9: And she gave the king an hundred and twenty talents of gold, and of spices great abundance, and precious stones: neither was there any such spice as the queen of Sheba gave king Solomon.
This is nonsensical; if there was no such spice as the queen of Sheba gave Solomon, then she gave him something that didn't exist!
2Chron:9:18: And there were six steps to the throne, with a footstool of gold, which were fastened to the throne, and stays on each side of the sitting place, and two lions standing by the stays:
2Chron:9:19: And twelve lions stood there on the one side and on the other upon the six steps. There was not the like made in any kingdom.
Once again, Solomon broke God's law against making images (Ex. 20:4).
2Chron:9:23: And all the kings of the earth sought the presence of Solomon, to hear his wisdom, that God had put in his heart.
Do you suppose that every nation of what is now called the Americas sent their chiefs to the Middle East to hear Solomon's wisdom? How about the Australian Aborigines, or the kings of Tasmania and Hawaii? According to the above verse, the answer to these questions is Yes; it plainly states that all the kings of the earth sought Solomon's presence. Since no one in the Middle East knew that such lands even existed, I wonder why historians of the time did not think the sudden appearance of these foreigners on their shores merited mentioning. Certainly someone would have been curious enough to ask them where they had come from, and the ignorance of such lands would have disappeared 2,000 years before the time of Columbus. Since all the kings of the earth had heard of king Solomon, and were able to travel from their homelands to the Middle East, knowledge of the Middle East must've been ubiquitous. Evidently every other land on earth knew about the existence of Europe and knew how to get there, while the Europeans remained in ignorance of these other lands even after the kings of these lands had paid them a visit! Since Solomon had the greatest concentration of wealth in the world it is strange that some of these foreign kings did not establish trade with him then and there.
After making these long journeys to a strange land, not one of these kings or their entourage saw fit to write one word about the experience! The only reference to this marvelous and unique event is in the Bible. This fact, and history cast grave doubts on its truthfulness.
2Chron:9:24: And they brought every man his present, vessels of silver, and vessels of gold, and raiment, harness, and spices, horses, and mules, a rate year by year.
This makes matters stranger still! Not only did every king on earth make an epic journey to see Solomon, they also unanimously decided to send him a present every year! I wonder why the kings of the Philistines -- the mortal enemies of Israel -- would send an annual gift to Solomon. In any case, this compounds the mystery because now we are to believe that someone from every nation on earth was dispatched annually to the Middle East with a precious gift for Solomon. Were these people never seen by anyone else? Were they never robbed along the way? Did no curious European ever follow them back to their homelands? Why is it that no historian ever wrote down one word about their strange dress and customs? Why is it that not one of the men who were chosen for this task thought to write about their adventure to a strange, far away land?
Why would the kings of poor nations decide to squander what little they had by sending a valuable gift to a foreign potentate with whom they had no other contact? Why didn't their subjects rebel at such a foolish act?
Which of the following conclusions honestly makes more sense to you:
(a). All of the above strange things actually occurred.
(b). The writer fabricated the story in a naïve effort to glorify a legendary king of his people.
If you answered (b), congratulations, and welcome to reality! You can now kiss the idea of an inerrant Bible goodbye.
2Chron:20:6: And said, O LORD God of our fathers, art not thou God in heaven? and rulest not thou over all the kingdoms of the heathen? and in thine hand is there not power and might, so that none is able to withstand thee?
To a Jehovah's Witness, the answer to Jehoshaphat's second question would be a resounding: No! They believe that Satan is the ruler of this "old world", and the "new world" has yet to arrive. Yet, the way this and subsequent rhetorical questions are asked, it is clear that the writer intended the answer to be an obvious: Yes.
2Chron:21:11: Moreover he made high places in the mountains of Judah, and caused the inhabitants of Jerusalem to commit fornication, and compelled Judah thereto.
How does one person "cause" another person to commit fornication? If a person does not have sexual intercourse of their own free will (as is the case when someone else "causes" them to do it), then it is rape, and rape is definitely not fornication.
It is probable that the writer was trying to excuse the actions of his ancestors by blaming those actions on king Jehoram. Just like some people today might say (usually in jest), "the devil made me do it."
2Chron:21:12: And there came a writing to him from Elijah the prophet, saying, Thus saith the LORD God of David thy father, Because thou hast not walked in the ways of Jehoshaphat thy father, nor in the ways of Asa king of Judah,
2Chron:21:13: But hast walked in the way of the kings of Israel, and hast made Judah and the inhabitants of Jerusalem to go a whoring, like to the whoredoms of the house of Ahab, and also hast slain thy brethren of thy father's house, which were better than thyself:
2Chron:21:14: Behold, with a great plague will the LORD smite thy people, and thy children, and thy wives, and all thy goods:
2Chron:21:15: And thou shalt have great sickness by disease of thy bowels, until thy bowels fall out by reason of the sickness day by day.
2Chron:21:16: Moreover the LORD stirred up against Jehoram the spirit of the Philistines, and of the Arabians, that were near the Ethiopians:
2Chron:21:17: And they came up into Judah, and brake into it, and carried away all the substance that was found in the king's house, and his sons also, and his wives; so that there was never a son left him, save Jehoahaz, the youngest of his sons.
2Chron:21:18: And after all this the LORD smote him in his bowels with an incurable disease.
2Chron:21:19: And it came to pass, that in process of time, after the end of two years, his bowels fell out by reason of his sickness: so he died of sore diseases. And his people made no burning for him, like the burning of his fathers.
If God didn't like what Jehoram had done, why didn't he just zap him instantly (as he had done to Uzza for touching the ark (1 Chron. 13:10))? Why would a just God kill a man's wives and children, inflict a plague upon his people, and stir up a war? Why would a God of love torture a man with "sore diseases" for years rather than take his life away quickly? When we "mere humans" execute a vile criminal, we don't torture him (at least in enlightened countries). We try and find the quickest, most humane way of ending his life (such as by lethal injection). It's true that sometimes the human heart cries out for punishment against arch criminals: we want to hurt them as they hurt others, and we want to see them suffer. But these are our baser instincts, and I think most people would cry "enough!" after only a few minutes of watching even the vilest criminal suffer. How then can we reconcile a sense of justice and love with a God who tortures a man for two years, and also visits suffering upon other innocent people for that man's crime? It's easy to say "God's ways are higher than ours, and his justice is absolute". It is harder to actually use one's own heart and mind and admit that injustice and cruelty are not "higher" or "absolute" forms of justice.
2Chron:30:18: For a multitude of the people, even many of Ephraim, and Manasseh, Issachar, and Zebulun, had not cleansed themselves, yet did they eat the passover otherwise than it was written. But Hezekiah prayed for them, saying, The good LORD pardon every one
2Chron:30:19: That prepareth his heart to seek God, the LORD God of his fathers, though he be not cleansed according to the purification of the sanctuary.
2Chron:30:20: And the LORD hearkened to Hezekiah, and healed the people.
This is quite a contrast to how God handled the case of Uzza. In both cases, God's law was broken out of zeal for God. In Uzza's case, death was meted out instantly, but in the case above, where people broke God's law by partaking of the Passover without having been cleansed, God "healed the people". This is markedly inconsistent for a God who does not change (James 1:17).
This also reveals that God can simply decide to overlook or forgive the breaking of his laws without having to shed blood. This contradicts the following:
Heb:9:22: And almost all things are by the law purged with blood; and without shedding of blood is no remission.
It also demonstrates that the sacrifice of Jesus was not necessary for the "salvation" of mankind. God could have as easily granted Jesus' prayer in the garden of Gethsemane as he granted Hezekiah's prayer in the verses quoted above.
2Chron:32:23: And many brought gifts unto the LORD to Jerusalem, and presents to Hezekiah king of Judah: so that he was magnified in the sight of all nations from thenceforth.
If Hezekiah was "magnified in the sight of all nations," why is that none of these other nations have left any reference to him in any of their writings? Do you suppose this king of an obscure tribe in the Middle East was really magnified in the sight of, for instance, the Sioux or Apache nations in what is now called "America"? Can you imagine the tribal elders of these nations sitting around the campfire and discussing how magnificent the king of Judah was, when they didn't even know that such a place as Judah even existed? Such a ludicrous scene is required by the above Bible verse!
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