The Chronicler catalogued the kings of Judah so that his audience would walk in covenant faithfulness, as exemplified during the best days of Jehoshaphat (2 Chronicles 20). When some of the Transjordan nations allied themselves against Judah, King Jehoshaphat led the people to seek the Lord for His deliverance (2 Chron 20:3-4). Although Judah’s king had fortified the cities and amassed military might (2 Chron 17:12-19), he knew that his true hope was in God. He was finite, but none could stand against his God.
When he prayed, Jehoshaphat’s logic was based upon principles of justice and mercy. Since Israel had obeyed God and shown mercy to the Moabites during their Transjordan conquest (Numbers 20-21), God should now look upon His people with favor and wipe out not only Moab, but Israel’s other Transjordanian enemies as well. And He did, accomplishing the kind of victory that was celebrated in Psalm 118. After Israel plundered the camp of her enemies (2 Chron 20:20-28), the people returned to celebrate their victory “with harps, lyres, and trumpets” in the temple (2 Chron 20:27; Psalm 134). Yet Jehoshaphat again made an alliance with an evil Israelite king, this time with Ahaziah. The Lord sent a prophet to rebuke Jehoshaphat (2 Chron 20:35-37), just as He had after Jehoshaphat made an alliance with Ahab (2 Chron 18:1-19:3).
Jehoram’s and Ahaziah’s rebellious behavior (2 Chronicles 21-22) provided the Chronicler with examples he wanted his audience to avoid. In comparison with 2 Kings 8-9, the Chronicler expanded the account of these two kings of Judah, but he gave them the same indictment found there. Jehoram and Ahaziah walked according to the behavior of the kings of Israel. Jehoram “died to no one’s regret” (2 Chron 21:20), and the Lord sent Jehu to execute justice on Ahaziah (2 Chron 22:7-9). What is the message for the Chronicler’s audience? Unfaithfulness leads to destruction.
Conversely, Jehoiada’s devotion to the temple and cult (2 Chronicles 23) provided an example the Chronicler wanted his audience to follow. When Athaliah, King Ahaziah’s mother, saw that her son was dead, she elevated herself to the throne by killing all the royal heirs. She was unaware that Jehoida the priest hid Joash, one of Ahaziah’s sons, in the temple. In time, “Jehoida summoned his courage” (2 Chron 23:1). He entered into a covenant with Judah’s leaders to make Joash king. When Athaliah protested, Jehoida had her put to death—but not in the Lord’s temple (2 Chron 23:14-15). That was the location of Jehoida’s reforms. He “made a covenant between himself, the king, and the people that they would be the LORD’s people” (2 Chron 23:16).
In the storyline of Scripture, the Psalms describe Israel’s history and theology. In the New Testament, Psalms 102 and 118 provide a basis for understanding God’s revelation in Christ.
(1) The author of Hebrews cited Ps 102:25-26 in Heb 1:10-12 to describe Jesus’ role in creation and His eternality. In Psalm 102, the psalmist juxtaposed his affliction with God’s greatness. Since the creation displays God’s unchangeable might, the psalmist cried out to God for relief from his temporary distress. To advance his argument that Jesus is superior to angels, the author of Hebrews employed Ps 102:25-26 in Heb 1:10-12. He portrayed Jesus as the Agent of creation, the Lord who established the heavens and the earth as the works of His hands. Hebrews’ presentation of Jesus distinguished Jesus from angels—transient as flames of fire (Heb 1:7; Ps 104:4).
(2) Jesus and Peter used Ps 118:22-23 to illustrate Jesus as One who was rejected but also chosen. Psalm 118 is a joyous hymn of thanksgiving for victory, perhaps something similar to what was on the hearts of Judah after the Lord delivered them from Moabites and Ammonites. The psalmist’s phrase, “The stone that the builders rejected has become the cornerstone. This came from the LORD; it is wonderful in our eyes,” referred to the victories the Lord provided Israel despite its relatively weak status in comparison with the surrounding nations. In the Parable of the Vineyard Owner (Matt 21:33-43//Mark 12:1-11//Luke 20:9-18), Jesus used the reversal-of-fortunes imagery in Ps 118:22-23 to describe His own ministry. Psalm 118:22-23 was a favorite passage of Peter. Once before the elders and the high priest (Acts 4:11) and also in his first epistle (1 Pet 2:4, 7), Peter proposed that ultimately the cornerstone of Ps 118:22-23 was Jesus.
(3) The Gospel writers noted that the crowds welcoming Jesus into Jerusalem in the last week of His life shouted phrases of Ps 118:25-26. The psalmist cried out, “LORD, save us! LORD, please grant us success! Blessed is he who comes in the name of the LORD.” The crowds lauded Jesus with the psalmist’s words, proclaiming Jesus as the Messiah even though they did not understand that God would deliver His people through Jesus’ death and resurrection (Matt 21:9//Mark 11:9-10//Luke 13:35//John 12:13).
(4) In Heb 13:6, the author of Hebrews quoted Ps 118:6 to encourage his audience that God would meet their financial needs. The psalmist was confident that the Lord was with him and that no human force could ultimately harm him. The author of Hebrews saw in Ps 118:6 a promise for his audience. Since the Lord would provide for their financial needs, he hoped that his audience would be content with their provisions and fear no human foe (Heb 13:5-6).