1 Chronicles

The Historic Context of the Two Books of Chronicles

Originally each pair of the books of Samuel, Kings and Chronicles were a single entity. It was during their translation into Greek that they were split, probably because of the length of parchment available. As Samuel and Kings recount five centuries of political history of Israel, the same period is considered in Chronicles but with a priestly and worship focus: all these books are complimentary texts written about parallel times.

The Author of the Two Books of Chronicles

As the author of Kings (possibly Jeremiah) addresses the Jews deported into Babylon in the sixth century BC, the author of Chronicles renews this thread of history, addressing the deportees returning to Jerusalem. In comparing the conclusion of 2 Chronicles with the commencement of the book of Ezra, we can without hesitation, attribute these writings to Ezra the scribe who was versed in the law of his God (Ezra 7:6), written in the fifth century BC.

The General Theme of the Two Books

In 1 Chronicles 1–9 Ezra details Israel’s genealogy, which was particularly important in light of their return from exile because it linked them to the inheritance that God had given them. Thou shat not remove thy neighbour’s landmark, which they of old time have set in thine inheritance, which thou shalt inherit in the land that the LORD thy God giveth thee to possess it, Deuteronomy 19:14.

Aside from their physical inheritance, the author highlights the spiritual inheritance promised to God’s people Israel. The focus is brought to the covenant of God, the preparations for the construction of the Temple and the organisation of the service of the Levites.

1 Chronicles centres around the life of David: his victories over the surrounding nations to establish peace, the bringing up the ark to Jerusalem, the organisation of the service of the tabernacle, his senior officials, the functions of the Levites, the musicians, the gate-keepers, the stewards, the magistrates, the overseers, the 12 army leaders, the 12 leaders of the tribes the administrators and councillors and his preparations for the construction of the Temple.

Ultimately, Chronicles focuses on the annals of the Kings of Judah to the exclusion of the Kings of Israel and their religious life in Jerusalem.

Chapter Overview

Section 1 chapters 1–9 The Royal Line of David

Section 2 chapters 10–29 The Reign of David

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