Because the books of 1 and 2 Chronicles largely present much of the same history as 1 and 2 Kings, this lesson will serve as a review of material students have previously studied. It will also provide context that will help them as they continue their study of the Old Testament.
Note: You could teach the daily teacher lesson written for 1 and 2 Chronicles (lesson 102), or you could use the following lesson. Adapt either lesson as needed.
Provide each student with the handout “The Kingdoms of Israel and Judah at a Glance” found at the end of the 1 and 2 Chronicles daily teacher lesson (lesson 102).
Invite students to open their Bibles to the table of contents. Ask them to find the books of 1 and 2 Chronicles.
Explain that 1 and 2 Chronicles present a genealogy and condensed history from Adam to about 537 B.C. These books, along with the books of Ezra and Nehemiah, mention a number of the prophets whose writings make up the last portions of the Old Testament. However, the books in the latter part of the Old Testament are not in chronological order. One of the purposes of today’s lesson is to provide an overview of how these prophetic writings fit into the history of Israel.
Invite a student to read aloud the names of the books listed on the scroll near the bottom-left corner of their handout. Explain that David wrote some of the psalms contained in the book of Psalms. Psalms are poems of praise, adoration, worship, regret, repentance, or sorrow, often set to music. You may want to invite students to read a portion of one of David’s psalms in 1 Chronicles 16:8–12.
Explain that some of Solomon’s wisdom is recorded in the book of Proverbs. Invite a student to read aloud the paragraph explaining wisdom literature, found under the scroll on the handout. Then ask:
What happened to the united kingdom of Israel after Solomon died? (It was divided [see 1 Kings 12]. Ten of the tribes followed Jeroboam and formed the Northern Kingdom, called Israel. The tribes of Judah and Benjamin followed Solomon’s son Rehoboam and formed the Southern Kingdom, called Judah.)
Who were some of the prophets who ministered among the people of the Northern Kingdom? (Elijah, Elisha, Amos, Hosea, and Jonah.)
What eventually happened to the Northern Kingdom of Israel when the people became wicked? (The Lord allowed the Assyrian Empire to conquer the ten tribes and carry them away into captivity in about 721 B.C. These tribes were eventually scattered throughout the nations of the earth [see 1 Nephi 22:3–4]. They are often referred to as “the lost ten tribes.”)
Tell students that the Lord continued to help and guide the people in the Southern Kingdom of Judah. Invite a student to read 2 Chronicles 36:14–15 aloud. Ask the class to follow along, looking for what the Lord did to help His people. Ask students to report what they find. Explain that the messengers referred to in these verses were prophets of the Lord.
From what you have learned in these verses, why does the Lord send prophets in our day to warn us of sin? (The following is a principle students may identify: Because of the Lord’s compassion for us, He sends prophets to warn us of the consequences of sin. Write this principle on the board.)
How can the prophets’ warnings about the consequences of sin help us understand the Lord’s compassion for us?
Invite students to notice on their handout the names of some of the prophets who ministered to the Southern Kingdom.
Invite a student to read 2 Chronicles 36:16–20 aloud. Ask the class to follow along, looking for how the people in the Southern Kingdom treated the Lord’s prophets and what happened as a result.
How did the people in the Southern Kingdom of Judah treat the Lord’s prophets?
What happened to them because they rejected the prophets?
What happened to the prophet Lehi during this time? (Lehi and his family left Jerusalem and traveled to the Americas shortly before the Babylonians destroyed Jerusalem in 587 B.C. We have the record of Lehi and his descendants in the Book of Mormon.)
According to 2 Chronicles 36:20, what happened to most of the Jews in Jerusalem who were not killed? (They were carried away captive into Babylon.)
Invite students to notice who the Lord sent to minister to the Jews in captivity in Babylon. Explain that the Lord helped Daniel rise to be one of the wise men in the king’s court in Babylon and that the prophet Ezekiel ministered to the Israelites. After some time, the Persians conquered the Babylonian Empire and allowed some Jews to return to Jerusalem to rebuild the temple (see 2 Chronicles 36:22–23). The Lord called Haggai and Zechariah to minister to this group in Jerusalem.
Explain that during this time, a Jewish woman named Esther became the queen of Persia. Later, Ezra and Nehemiah led most of the Jews back to Jerusalem to rebuild the walls of the city and begin reestablishing the Jewish nation in the promised land.
Explain that the last prophet we have record of in the Old Testament is Malachi.
How might it be helpful as you study these books to understand when and where these prophets lived?
Testify of the love and compassion the Lord has for us and the value of prophets who can speak for God. Invite students to continue to use their handout as they study the remaining books of the Old Testament during this course.
Ask students if they have ever been afraid to stand up for what was right because of the possible consequences. Explain that in the next unit they will study the life of a courageous woman who saved the lives of thousands of Jews by standing up for what was right. Then ask students the following questions: How does inspirational music bless our Church meetings? What is your favorite hymn? Explain that the book of Psalms is a collection of sacred poems that are praises and prayers to God, and many of them were written as songs. Ask students if they have a favorite Psalm.