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1 Chronicles

Updated
Nov 16, 2023 12:21 AM
Tags
Old TestamentHistoryK'tuvim
Status
In progress
Progress

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Completed Chapters
29
Total Number of Chapters
29

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 titled 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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Table of Contents

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.”

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 (in the Christian canon, at least). 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.

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 between 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]

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.

Chapter by Chapter Breakdown

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1 Chronicles 1-9: Genealogies
1 ChroniclesChapter StudyWomen
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1 Chronicles 10: Saul’s Death
1 ChroniclesChapter StudySaulDeath
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1 Chronicles 11-12, 14: David Becomes King
1 ChroniclesChapter StudyDavidRelationshipsLeadership
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1 Chronicles 13, 15-16: The Ark Comes Back to Jerusalem
1 ChroniclesChapter StudyMusicDavidTemple Furnishings
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1 Chronicles 17: The Temple
1 ChroniclesChapter StudyDavidSolomonEgyptTemple
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1 Chronicles 18-21: David’s Military
1 ChroniclesChapter StudyAmmonSyriaPhilistineDavid
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1 Chronicles 22: David Prepares Solomon to Build the Temple
1 ChroniclesChapter StudyDavidSolomonTemple
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1 Chronicles 23-26: Levite Duties
1 ChroniclesChapter StudyLeviPriesthoodMusic
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1 Chronicles 27-29: The Last Days of David
1 ChroniclesChapter StudyWealthTempleDavidSolomonSacrifice

Important People

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David
Character StudyRuth1 Samuel2 Samuel1 Kings2 Kings1 Chronicles2 ChroniclesPsalms

Lessons Learned: The Great King David

A lot of attention is given to David throughout the Bible, but 1 Chronicles is almost exclusively about David. Although much of this is repeated from 1&2 Kings, it made me stop to think about the importance of David.

When Jesus came as the Messiah, the Jews were expecting another David, a legendary man of war whom they had read so much about. They expected Jesus to battle the Romans the way David had battled the Philistines and usher in the age of peace of prosperity that followed with Solomon. When Jesus turned out to have a different agenda, they rejected Him. David was a great leader and on fire for God, but there are 2 points that must be made. In Chronicles, we learn the David was denied the right to build God's Temple because he was violent. This proves that even though God loved David and even though he truly repented when he committed sins, David's militaristic campaigns which left the earth defiled with blood, defiled David too. He wasn't good enough to build the Temple because he'd participated in too much violence. The second thing we notice is that Jesus does not come the way David did. Jesus carried out His mission in peace, like Solomon, and stayed away from battle. Together, this tells us that God prefers peace and reasoning as we follow Him as opposed to military campaigns in His name. Of course Ecclesiastes does tell us that there is a time for everything. On many occasions, war was necessary and in David's case he had to secure Israel for Solomon to have a peaceful reign in which to build the Temple. This is why David is not condemned for his actions. We live in an imperfect world, so sometimes, the best option for us is still ugly.

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References & Footnotes

  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 Encyclopædia Britannica. "Babylonian Exile". Encyclopædia Britannica. February 2016
  5. "Book of Chronicles". Wikipedia; visited February 2017