By William Johnstone
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Extra resources for 1 and 2 Chronicles: Volume 2: 2 Chronicles 10-36: Guilt and Atonement
Verse 14 thus describes, with 34 2 Chronicles 10-36 great poignancy, how these northern Levites have had to abandon their 'pasture grounds and ancestral holdings', that is, have had to give up their symbolic witness to the ideals of pastoral existence in the midst of the northern tribes (cf. 1 Chron. 54-81; for 'holdings', the ideal stake in the land to be restored in the jubilee, cf. 1 Chron. 2; Levitical holdings in Judah have hitherto been exclusively priestly, 1 Chron. 54-65). For the north to remain independent this expulsion has to be permanent: it is an act not just of Jeroboam, but also of his 'sons', not just of the founder, but also of the dynasty.
This is emphasized at the end of v. 3, where, for the 'to all the house of Judah and Benjamin and the rest of the people' in Kings, C reads, 'to all Israel in Judah and Benjamin': what is happening in Judah is in principle an expression of the destiny of the whole people of God. Only the commissioning of Shemaiah is described (vv. 3, 4a), not his actual delivery of the message to the qahal (that is presupposed by v. 4b). Shemaiah's oracle in v. 4a is very tersely formulated (for structure cf. 1 Chron.
16). As the Davidic king is himself the 'prefect' of God (1 Chron. 2; 2 Chron. 5), so these officials are the king's representatives and agents in his kingdom. Appropriately enough, therefore, they are charged with the task of stocking these fortresses with provisions: corn, wine, and oil. Again a word is used that is of central significance in C's presentation: 'storehouses'. It is the storehouses in the Temple that provide the index of Israel's fulfilment of its obligations towards God (cf. 1 Chron.