2 Chronicles 27

2 Chronicles 27 Devotional
By Pastor Lawrence

Just like the corresponding account in 2 Kings, this is a very short passage concerning the reign of King Jotham. Of the sixteen years of his reign, a number of them likely occurred while his father was still living but cooped up in a house of isolation due to his leprosy. In summation of Jotham’s reign, we are told merely that he did what was right in the eyes of the Lord, like his father Uzziah, yet without trying to enter the temple of the Lord like his proud patriarch. We are also told that he engaged in many building projects in Judah and successfully defeated the Ammonites in battle, which added glory and peace to the land of Judah. And we are told specifically in v.6 that Jotham became mighty in this way because he ordered his ways before the Lord his God, enjoying the peace and prosperity of Judah during his reign.

What is strange, though, is the people’s response to his godly leadership in the land. Even though he did what was right in the eyes of God, the people still followed corrupt practices, which is the same expression used just prior to the world-wide flood in Genesis 6:11 that the whole earth was corrupt in God’s sight. So, the use of this language here suggests that the days in Judah are also numbered. Even though God had given them a godly king, he wouldn’t reign over them for long, only sixteen years, and he would die an early death at the age of forty-one.

The other disappointing note is that when he dies, his own son, King Ahaz, did what was evil in the sight of the Lord even burning his own son in the fire as a sacrifice to a foreign god.” Perhaps this should surprise us, but Jotham has a very complicated family history: his mother’s name means literally dispossessor, whereas her father’s name means righteousness, for he was of the priestly line. Normally we would think that a king marrying into the priestly line would be a sign of godliness, unless it was just another arranged marriage to establish control over the priesthood. Was this another means of Uzziah trying to usurp God’s authority? We’re not given that answer.

Compared to the three previous kings, Jotham gets high marks: he committed no egregious offense as the king of Judah and he protected the land and built up the infrastructure. But although there is no outstanding transgressions, there are nevertheless blaring omissions. Even if he himself sought to do what was right in God’s eyes, he did not correct the corrupt practices of his people nor did he proactively educate his people in the law of the Lord like some of the godlier kings did. We’re also not told exactly what he did or didn’t do as a father to Ahaz, but it seems rather suspicious that his son would turn away from the Lord so drastically and worship the Baals. Again, we know that the Lord is sovereign and that any of us might bear an Ishmael or Esau in addition to an Isaac and Jacob, but as a father myself, I would hate to have my ministry summed up as a fighter and a builder but one who failed to nurture the faith in his own children. May the Lord give us the strength and perseverance to do both by the power of His Spirit.