1&2 Chronicles

This history, origins, and contents of Chronicles are examined.

Introduction

Like Kings & Samuel, Chronicles started as 1 book. Chronicles repeats much of what we are told in Genesis and Kings concerning the history and lineage of Israel, though it focuses on the Southern kingdom of Judah. Chronicles is title Dibre Hayyamim in Hebrew, which is roughly translated The Matters of the Days. In Greek, the book is called Paraleipomenon, which means things omitted. The latter title possibly refers to text in Kings that reminds us the details of each king are recorded elsewhere. The English title of Chronicles came about when Jerome referred to the book as a chronicle.[1]
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Authorship

Most scholars attribute the text to Ezra.[2][3] Compelling evidence of Ezra's authorship includes the style of writing and the fact that 2 Chronicles 36:22-23 is exactly the same as Ezra 1:1-2. Since this is not explicitly confirmed, however, most scholars refer to the author as the chronicler.
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Date Written

Chronicles was one of the last books of the Old Testament to be written despite its placement almost in the center of the books. Estimating the date of authorship isn't as hard with Chronicles because there are two facts given to help us pin point the date. First, we know that the book was written after the Israelites returned from Babylonian exile. The Babylonian captivity ended in 538 bc,[4] which places the date of authorship some time after 538 bc.
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Purpose

One of the reasons many people (myself included) struggle to find significance in the book of Chronicles is that it appears to be a retelling of everything we've already been told. Chronicles lists the genealogy from Adam all the way to the line of David, which isn't the most interesting thing to read. Chronicles also covers information on the kings, mirroring the books of Samuel and Kings. So why is it included?

The previous books were all meant to tell this history of how things fell in to place, while Chronicles was meant to showcase spirituality. The author of Chronicles expands on things we didn't learn in the previous books, while omitting events we did learn about. The pattern of which events are highlighted versus which are left out shows that the author was more concerned about the spiritual progress of Israel than anything else. This would also explain why the chronicler focused on Judah over Israel.[2]
The second fact we have to work with is the chronicler's diligence at recording the history of David's lineage. The last ancestor of David mentioned in Chronicles is Anani, who was born about 8 generations after Jehoiachin. Scholars estimate that Anani was born 425 bc and 400 bc. The Septuagint adds 5 more generations between Anani and Jehoiachin. Accounting for these generations, Anani would have been born between 325 bc and 300 bc. Since descendants of David born after Anani are absent from the text, scholars assume the text was written during Anani's life time. This would date the book to some time between 425 bc and 250 bc; if Anani was born in the 5th century bc, we can conclude the text was written earlier (between 425 bc and 350 bc).[2][3][5]
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A Chance To Think

Chronicles also gives believers a chance to exercise our thinking skills. Since it reiterates the history from man's beginning through the Babylonian exile, it's also the place where people go to point out "contradictions." I discussed some of the supposed contradictions between Chronicles and 2 Samuel 21-24 already, but as I step through the text, I'll try to point out the others. The Bible isn't a children's book, so sometimes we have to dig for answers. I believe that God wrote the Bible this way to inspire us to consult with Him for answers.
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References

  1. "III. Title and Canonical Placement". Asbury Bible Commentary, via Bible Gateway; visited February 2017
  2. William MacDonald. Believer's Bible Commentary, pg. 423-425. 1998
  3. Holman Bible Publishers. Holman KJV Study Bible, pg. 683-686. 2014
  4. The Editors of Encyclop√¶dia Britannica. "Babylonian Exile". Encyclopædia Britannica. February 2016
  5. "Book of Chronicles". Wikipedia; visited February 2017

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About

Author Image Author Image I love reading the Word of God. With prayer God's Word reveals so much: from comfort to temperance, from perspective to affirmation. Digging into the depths of the Word, cross-referencing history, language and time differences, is a passion of mine. In March of 2015 I decided to go back through the Bible doing an in depth study on each section I read. Eventually I decided to share my journal of notes as I partake in this journey. I hope you are blessed by God and inspired to pursue a deeper relationship with Him. I love reading and learning about God, nature, and science. I am interested in how it all connects. The Creator's fingerprints are all over his creation. We can learn so much about Him and how we came to be by exploring the world around us. Join me as I explore the world and draw closer to the One who created it all.
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