There are few examples of theological teachings in the Old Testament more difficult for us as Christians to understand and to preach to our churches than retribution. This is not a minor issue in Old Testament studies: Deuteronomy-2 Kings is largely a document depicting the adage “you reap what you sow,” and its theological introduction, the book of Deuteronomy, goes to great lengths to specify what will happen if people forsake the Lord and his commandments, and what will happen if they obey. In addition, several other Old Testament books demonstrate a heavily retributive theology: Proverbs and Haggai come to mind immediately, as does the book of Chronicles.
It is often observed that the book of Chronicles is replete with “retribution” passages. Retribution is simply recompense for behavior: good recompense for good behavior and bad for evil behavior. Retribution theology teaches “you reap what you sow.” The Chronicler believes in immediate retribution, however; that is, that there is usually an immediate connection between bad behavior and recompense.
The retribution passages in Chronicles are not so friendly to our contemporary way of thinking. Most moderns do not like to think in terms of consequences for behavior. There are any number of teens and young adults that have not learned this lesson.