“Unit 21: Day 1, 2 Kings 21–2 Chronicles 36,” Old Testament Study Guide for Home-Study Seminary Students (2014)
“Unit 21: Day 1,” Old Testament Study Guide
Under the reign of kings Manasseh and Amon, the kingdom of Judah engaged in wicked practices of idolatry. When Josiah became the king, he sought to restore Judah’s worship of the true God. After Josiah was killed in battle, the next four kings led the people of Judah back to wickedness. Under the reign of King Zedekiah, Jerusalem was besieged, the city and the temple were destroyed, and the people were taken into bondage in Babylon. The books of 1 and 2 Chronicles provide a lineage and brief history from Adam to Cyrus, the king of Persia.
In the space provided, write the names of 5 to 10 people you spend the most time with.
Consider ways those people have influenced you. What influence do you think you have had on them?
As you study 2 Kings 21–25 today, look for principles that can help you understand how your choices can impact the lives of others.
Read 2 Kings 21:1–9, looking for ways King Hezekiah’s son Manasseh influenced the people of Judah.
In verse 6, the statement that Manasseh “made his son pass through the fire, and observed times, and used enchantments” likely means that Manasseh offered one of his own children as a sacrifice to one of the false gods he worshipped, as well as seeking and heeding false prophets and prophecies. You may want to mark the following phrase in 2 Kings 21:9: “Manasseh seduced them to do more evil than did the nations whom the Lord destroyed before the children of Israel.”
- Complete the following assignments in your scripture study journal:
Write at least one principle we can learn from Manasseh’s unrighteous influence upon the people of Judah.
List two or three general examples of how someone’s unrighteous actions and influences might lead others to sin today.
Read 2 Kings 21:10–13, looking for what the Lord compared to a dish.
What do you think the Lord meant when He said He would “wipe Jerusalem as a man wipeth a dish, wiping it, and turning it upside down” (2 Kings 21:13)?
More about the deplorable sins of Manasseh and the Lord’s judgments against the people of Jerusalem and the kingdom of Judah are found in 2 Kings 21:14–16.
In the remainder of 2 Kings 21, we read that Manasseh died, and his son Amon became the king. Amon followed his father’s example by ruling in wickedness. He was killed by his servants two years after he became king. The people then appointed Amon’s son Josiah as the next king.
Read 2 Kings 22:1–2, looking for what kinds of choices Josiah made as king of Judah.
The book of the law was scripture written on scrolls. It contained the Lord’s law given through Moses, which the Israelites had covenanted many years before to obey. These scriptures had been lost or hidden during the reign of the wicked kings before Josiah. Knowing that the scriptures were not widely available at that time helps us to better understand the setting of the Book of Mormon account in which the Lord commanded Lehi to send his sons to obtain the brass plates from Laban (see 1 Nephi 3–4).
Read 2 Kings 22:10–13, looking for how Josiah responded when the book of the law was found and read to him.
Why was Josiah so concerned after he heard the words of the scriptures?
In 2 Kings 22:14–20 we read that Hilkiah the priest and others went to speak with the prophetess Huldah. Huldah was a prophetess in the sense that she had the gift of prophecy, which is available to all members of the Church. She told them of the prophecy of judgment against the wicked, which was contained in the scriptures. She also prophesied that Josiah would be blessed because of his faithfulness to the Lord.
Read 2 Kings 23:1–3, 21–23, looking for the kind of influence Josiah’s leadership and his reading the scriptures to his people had on them.
Notice in 2 Kings 23:3 that Josiah made a covenant with the Lord to keep His commandments, “and all the people stood to the covenant.” This phrase means that the people promised to live according to the covenant recorded in the book of the law.
How would you summarize the influence Josiah had on his people?
One principle we can learn from Josiah’s example is that if we make righteous choices, then our actions can lead others to turn to the Lord.
As you read the following statement, think about ways you might be able to influence others by making righteous choices:
“As you strive to live the gospel, you will encourage your friends to do likewise. Set an example of keeping the commandments, participating in Church activities, preparing to serve the Lord throughout your life, and remaining worthy to attend the temple.
“Invite your friends of other faiths to your Church meetings and activities. Help them feel welcome and included. Many people have joined the Church through the example and fellowship of their friends. Also make a special effort to reach out to new converts and to those who are less active” (For the Strength of Youth [booklet, 2011], 17).
- Answer the following questions in your scripture study journal:
In what ways have you been blessed because of the righteous choices of others?
When have you been able to help someone by setting a good example or by reaching out to him or her?
Read 2 Kings 23:25, looking for what helped Josiah have such a great impact on his people.
One principle the account of Josiah in 2 Kings 22–23 can teach us is that studying the scriptures can help us turn to the Lord with all our heart and put away evil influences.
- Reflect on the impact your study of the scriptures has had on you up to this point in your life. In your scripture study journal, write about what you can do in the coming week to make your scripture study a more meaningful experience.
In 2 Kings 23:26–37 we learn that after King Josiah had ruled for 31 years, he was killed in a battle. After his death, two of his sons, Jehoahaz and then Jehoiakim, ruled in wickedness and led the people again into idolatry.
The king of Babylon installed Zedekiah as king of Judah. Zedekiah and the Jews were to pay tribute to the Babylonians. Zedekiah reigned in wickedness and eventually rebelled against Babylon. As a result, the Babylonians destroyed Jerusalem.
Read 2 Kings 25:7–11, looking for what happened to Zedekiah, his sons, and the city of Jerusalem.
It is important to note that Mulek, one of Zedekiah’s sons, escaped the Babylonian siege and destruction of Jerusalem. We learn from the Book of Mormon that he and others were directed by the Lord to the promised land in the Americas sometime after Lehi and his family had left Jerusalem. A portion of Lehi’s descendants found the descendants of Mulek and joined with them in Zarahemla (see Omni 1:12–16; Mosiah 25:2; Helaman 8:21).
Review the Lord’s words about Jerusalem being wiped like a dish and turned over (see 2 Kings 21:10–13). What principle can we learn about the consequences of disobeying the Lord’s commandments?
The books of 1 and 2 Chronicles contain a brief history of the Lord’s people from Adam to the time of King Cyrus of Persia. The books of 1 and 2 Chronicles largely mirror the writings of 1 and 2 Kings. For more information about 1 and 2 Chronicles, see “Chronicles” in the Bible Dictionary or Guide to the Scriptures (scriptures.lds.org).
Open your Bible to the table of contents, and notice the names of the books that follow 1 and 2 Chronicles. (Many of the books are named after prophets.) Then look at the chart entitled “The Kingdoms of Israel and Judah at a Glance,” found on the next page. This chart shows you the context of when the prophets ministered in the Old Testament.
Notice that the books listed in the table of contents are not in chronological order. For example, Ezra and Nehemiah lived around 450 B.C., many years after most of the prophets in the Old Testament, yet the books of Ezra and Nehemiah are placed before these prophets in the sequence of the scriptures. As you study the rest of the books in the Old Testament, you may want to use “The Kingdoms of Israel and Judah at a Glance” to help you understand what was happening in history.
- Write the following at the bottom of today’s assignments in your scripture study journal:
I have studied 2 Kings 21–2 Chronicles 36 and completed this lesson on (date).
Additional questions, thoughts, and insights I would like to share with my teacher: