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Old Testament Survey

1 and 2 Chronicles




Key Verses

1 Chron 11:1-3
1 Chron 17:11-14
1 Chron 29:11-12
2 Chron 7:14
2 Chron 16:9


Key Chapters

1 Chron Chapter 17
2 Chron Chapter 7
2 Chron Chapter 34


Key Concepts

David
Davidic Covenant
House of God
Priests


Thoughts for Reading

What is the proper way to worship God?


Title

The Hebrew Title is "The Words [or Events] of the Days” which is equal to saying "The Annals." Unlike most of the Hebrew names, this comes from 1 Chronicles 27:24, not from the first verse of the books. The Greek title means the book of the “Things Left Out.” This carries across the idea that Chronicles is a supplement to the history of the Jewish nation as told in Samuel and Kings. This name fails in that much of the material is a repeat, not a supplement to, the stories in 2 Samuel and the Kings. In addition, the compiler/author/editor of Chronicles has his own agenda to accomplish.

These are not the “Chronicles” mentioned in the books of Kings.

Our English title comes from comments made by Jerome in the 4th Century. Although his Latin title followed the Greek, he states in his prologue to the books of Samuel and Kings "we might more significantly call it the chronikon [chronicle] of the whole sacred history.” As the early reformers created translations, this is the title which stuck to the English versions.

AUTHOR

Tradition states that Ezra wrote the books of Chronicles. If he did not, another Levite Priest of the same time period is the author. The earliest possible date for the book is 538 B.C. when Persia was established over Babylon and Cyrus issued the decree for the Jews to return to Jerusalem and build the temple, a fact which ends the two books (2 Chron. 36:20-23). The latest date of writing must be the middle of the third century B.C. since the books are included in the Septuagint.

Most conservative scholars date the book between 450-400 B.C. David&s descendants are listed to the eighth generation after Jehoiakim (Chronicles 3:1-24). This would allow for a date as late as 400 B.C. Jehoiakim was 18 years old in 597 B.C. when he was taken captive by the Babylonians (2 Kings 24:18). If the average of 25 years per generation is used, eight generations would yield 200 years, placing the earliest date around 400 B.C.

As has been previously mentioned, Chronicles were originally one book or scroll. The translators of the Septuagint divided the materials into two books, a pattern followed by Jerome in the Latin Vulgate and by the English translators. In about 1448 the Hebrew Scriptures commenced to divide the materials into two books. Chronicles were part of the third division of the Hebrew Scriptures, the Writings. This division came about in the 4th Century and the Chronicles were placed last in this section. Cyrus’ decree closes the Hebrew Scriptures..

PURPOSE

As has been mentioned, the Chronicles are written from a priestly, as opposed to a prophetic, point of view. They are designed to given the returning Jews the true spiritual foundation of the theocracy and to bear witness to the continuity of the proper, obedient response within the history of the nation. This emphasis on worship and the place of the Temple in the lives of the nation shows the unity of God’s Will for His chosen people. This stress shows the place of the holy Scriptures in the lives of the people, thus, showing the emphasis of the need and importance of the Temple and the priestly worship. This is all set around God’s eternal covenant with Abraham and, therefore, with his descendants, the Jewish people.

Keep in mind that there is this comparison between the view points of Chronicles and the Samuel/Kings history. While it is easy to state that Chronicles is priestly and the Samuel/Kings are prophetic, such a comparison is too simple.

A Comparison of Samuel/Kings and Chronicles

SAMUEL/KINGS

CHRONICLES

Viewed both North and South Viewed on the South
Emphasis on the throne Emphasis on the Temple
Civil / political history Religious history
Emphasis on the prophet Emphasis on the priest
Wars prominent Wars less prominent
Indictment of the two nations Encouragement for the remnant
Sees events as historical Sees events as theological
1 Sam 12 - Isaac’s son called Jacob 1 Chron 1- Isaac’s son called Israel
1 Sam 31 - Philistines killed Saul 1 Chron 10 - God killed Saul
2 Sam 2:8 - Saul’s son called Ish-bosheth (“man of shame”) 1 Chron 8:33 - Saul’s son called Esh-baal (“man of Baal”)
2 Sam 6 - one chapter on the recovery of the Ark of the Covenant 1 Chron 13-16 - three chapters on the recovery of the Ark
2 Sam 6 - Uzziah smitten with leprosy 1 Chron 15 - Why Uzziah was smitten
2 Sam 7 - David told he cannot build the Temple 1 Chron 22ff – Why David could not build the Temple
2 Sam 11, 12 - David’s sin with Bathsheba Chronicles does not mention this sin
2 Sam 24 - David sinned in numbering Israel 1 Chron 21 - Satan instigated David to number Israel
1 Kings 11:1 - Solomon’s sin with foreign wives 2 Chron 9 - No reference to this sin

A “chronicle” is an account of events arranged in order. It is fitting that the books commence with an orderly account of the genealogies, the lineage of the chosen people.

Many find the opening verses tiring and boring, for the author spends ten chapters giving the genealogies from Adam to Nehemiah. For the Jewish nation these show the unity and continuity of the people. Those returning from the exile and setting up the “second nation” were all really part of the first nation chosen by God through Abraham. First Chronicles 11 moves on to stories of David. Second Chronicles 2 through 9 give the story of Solomon and the balance of 2 Chronicles covers the same grounds from Judah’s point of view as that of 1 and 2 Kings, from the division of the Kingdom to the exile. This provides a simple outline for the two books.

To the author of Chronicles, the Temple was the symbol of the unity of the Nation. The Temple also served as a reminder of the Nation’s place before God (Exod 19:1-6) and as a sign that Israel was God’s chosen people. The Temple was, if you will, the sign of the Covenant. It is against this background that one must compare 2 Samuel and the Kings to Chronicles. The Chronicles are more statistical and “official” than the Samuel-Kings unit. The “keeping” of the Nation by the Temple officials is the underlying theme, a theme which is taught in the abstract against the background of apostasy and rebellion. To the author, the entire theme of both books rests upon the Nation’s response (or lack thereof) to God. This is the decisive factor in the history of Israel.

2 Chron 7:14
If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land.

If you want to take just one verse away from the Old Testament, this may be the verse to memorize! This “tells it all.”

David’s great sin with Bathsheba is not mentioned in Chronicles. It has nothing to do with the Temple emphasis of the author.

David’s importance in the eyes of the author is seen from the amount of material devoted to him. While Solomon may have built the Temple, it is David who forms the Nation. His first great act, as recorded by Chronicles is the bringing of the Ark of the Covenant to Jerusalem (1 Chron 13-16). Then, with the Ark in God’s city, the Davidic Covenant is repeated (1 Chron 17:7-15). The emphasis on David’s importance to the spiritual well-being of the Jewish people is continued with the emphasis on his gathering the materials for the eventual building of the Temple. In addition, much space is related to David’s organizing the various families of Levites into “courses” or orders for the Priests, Temple Levites, singers, porters, and so forth. This creates workable shifts and assures a smooth bureaucratic operation of the Temple once it is built.

Keep in mind that under the Mosaic law, only the Levities could be priests. Remember, however, that David acts as a priest at the return of the Ark (1 Chron 15:27; 16:1-3) and Solomon acts as a priest at the dedication of the Temple (1 Kings 8, 9; 2 Chron 2), even though they are from the tribe of Judah. This foreshadows the line of priests after the order of Melchizedek (Gen 14; Heb 4:14-16; 7:20-28) looking toward Christ as the true High Priest. Contrast this with the actions of Uzziah in deciding that he should be a priest. He was struck with leprosy (2 Chron 26:16-23).

While the sin of David as it relates to Bathsheba is not part of the Chronicles, his sin of numbering the people plays an important role in Temple history. It is repeated here since this becomes the source for the Temple ground (1 Chron 21:28; 2 Chron 3:1).

The Temple is built on the same ground purchased by David at this conclusion of the plague from God as punishment for David giving in to Satan’s temptation of numbering the army. Notice this is Mt. Moriah, the location of Abraham’s obedience in offering Isaac as a sacrifice to the Lord (Gen 22).

In 2 Chronicles, there is growing conflict and tension between the Temple and the Throne. The Throne was to be the voice of God on earth. The Temple was the representative of God. All of this being true, the Throne would, indeed, must lose this conflict. In the end, the nation is banished to exile because the Throne failed to be the true representative of the Theocracy. The priests may have been “bad” and failed to be God’s voice to the people, but the kings failed to be God’s true leaders. The emphasis of all of the history books is not on the failure of the priesthood, but on the failure of God’s leaders to rule as God would want them. In the end God’s principle as stated by Paul rules the day.

Galatians 6:7
Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap.

Yet, in the end, the Chronicles conclude with the glorious promise of the future. While ½ Kings stop at the exile, the Chronicles contain the promise of deliverance. God has sent a “judge,” a savior, from a strange source.

2 Chron. 36:22-23
Now in the first year of Cyrus king of Persia, that the word of the Lord spoken by the mouth of Jeremiah might be accomplished, the Lord stirred up the spirit of Cyrus king of Persia, that he made a proclamation throughout all his kingdom, and put it also in writing, saying, 23Thus saith Cyrus king of Persia, All the kingdoms of the earth hath the Lord God of heaven given me; and he hath charged me to build him an house in Jerusalem, which is in Judah. Who is there among you of all his people? The Lord his God be with him, and let him go up.

It is doubtful that Cyrus ever became a believer in the God of Abraham. Indeed, if one thinks about it, there are plenty of good, practical, political reasons for wanting “friendly” subjects in the areas around the borders of your kingdom. But God did use Cyrus to fulfill His prophecy.

2 Chron. 36:21
To fulfil the word of the Lord by the mouth of Jeremiah, until the land had enjoyed her sabbaths: for as long as she lay desolate she kept sabbath, to fulfil threescore and ten years.

Many see the Chronicles, Ezra, and Nehemiah as being a single history of the Nation, a unit written separate and apart from the other books of history.

Jesus in the Chronicles

As with Samuel, the picture of David in 1 Chronicles is a type of Christ. The same thoughts expressed earlier about this typology would equally apply here. As one moves into 2 Chronicles, David still remains the background picture of Christ, but more in the form of God’s faithfulness to the Davidic Covenant. The throne has been destroyed, and murder, treachery, and captivity all threaten the Messianic line. But, as Chronicles shows from start to finish, the line of David remains clear and unbroken from Adam to Zerubbabel. This fulfillment is emphasized in the genealogies of Christ given by Matthew 1 and Luke 3.

At the same time, as with the Tabernacle, the Temple itself is a type of Christ (Matt 12:6; John 2:19; Rev 21:22).

God’s faithfulness is seen through the promises which are kept.

What promises has God kept for you lately?

 


Key Verses

1 Chron 11:1-3
1 Chron 17:11-14
1 Chron 29:11-12
2 Chron 7:14
2 Chron 16:9


Key Chapters

1 Chron Chapter 17
2 Chron Chapter 7
2 Chron Chapter 34


Key Concepts

David
Davidic Covenant
House of God
Priests


Thoughts for Reading

What is the proper way to worship God?


Title

The Hebrew Title is "The Words [or Events] of the Days” which is equal to saying "The Annals." Unlike most of the Hebrew names, this comes from 1 Chronicles 27:24, not from the first verse of the books. The Greek title means the book of the “Things Left Out.” This carries across the idea that Chronicles is a supplement to the history of the Jewish nation as told in Samuel and Kings. This name fails in that much of the material is a repeat, not a supplement to, the stories in 2 Samuel and the Kings. In addition, the compiler/author/editor of Chronicles has his own agenda to accomplish.

These are not the “Chronicles” mentioned in the books of Kings.

Our English title comes from comments made by Jerome in the 4th Century. Although his Latin title followed the Greek, he states in his prologue to the books of Samuel and Kings "we might more significantly call it the chronikon [chronicle] of the whole sacred history.” As the early reformers created translations, this is the title which stuck to the English versions.

AUTHOR

Tradition states that Ezra wrote the books of Chronicles. If he did not, another Levite Priest of the same time period is the author. The earliest possible date for the book is 538 B.C. when Persia was established over Babylon and Cyrus issued the decree for the Jews to return to Jerusalem and build the temple, a fact which ends the two books (2 Chron. 36:20-23). The latest date of writing must be the middle of the third century B.C. since the books are included in the Septuagint.

Most conservative scholars date the book between 450-400 B.C. David&s descendants are listed to the eighth generation after Jehoiakim (Chronicles 3:1-24). This would allow for a date as late as 400 B.C. Jehoiakim was 18 years old in 597 B.C. when he was taken captive by the Babylonians (2 Kings 24:18). If the average of 25 years per generation is used, eight generations would yield 200 years, placing the earliest date around 400 B.C.

As has been previously mentioned, Chronicles were originally one book or scroll. The translators of the Septuagint divided the materials into two books, a pattern followed by Jerome in the Latin Vulgate and by the English translators. In about 1448 the Hebrew Scriptures commenced to divide the materials into two books. Chronicles were part of the third division of the Hebrew Scriptures, the Writings. This division came about in the 4th Century and the Chronicles were placed last in this section. Cyrus’ decree closes the Hebrew Scriptures..

PURPOSE

As has been mentioned, the Chronicles are written from a priestly, as opposed to a prophetic, point of view. They are designed to given the returning Jews the true spiritual foundation of the theocracy and to bear witness to the continuity of the proper, obedient response within the history of the nation. This emphasis on worship and the place of the Temple in the lives of the nation shows the unity of God’s Will for His chosen people. This stress shows the place of the holy Scriptures in the lives of the people, thus, showing the emphasis of the need and importance of the Temple and the priestly worship. This is all set around God’s eternal covenant with Abraham and, therefore, with his descendants, the Jewish people.

Keep in mind that there is this comparison between the view points of Chronicles and the Samuel/Kings history. While it is easy to state that Chronicles is priestly and the Samuel/Kings are prophetic, such a comparison is too simple.

A Comparison of Samuel/Kings and Chronicles

SAMUEL/KINGS

CHRONICLES

Viewed both North and South Viewed on the South
Emphasis on the throne Emphasis on the Temple
Civil / political history Religious history
Emphasis on the prophet Emphasis on the priest
Wars prominent Wars less prominent
Indictment of the two nations Encouragement for the remnant
Sees events as historical Sees events as theological
1 Sam 12 - Isaac’s son called Jacob 1 Chron 1- Isaac’s son called Israel
1 Sam 31 - Philistines killed Saul 1 Chron 10 - God killed Saul
2 Sam 2:8 - Saul’s son called Ish-bosheth (“man of shame”) 1 Chron 8:33 - Saul’s son called Esh-baal (“man of Baal”)
2 Sam 6 - one chapter on the recovery of the Ark of the Covenant 1 Chron 13-16 - three chapters on the recovery of the Ark
2 Sam 6 - Uzziah smitten with leprosy 1 Chron 15 - Why Uzziah was smitten
2 Sam 7 - David told he cannot build the Temple 1 Chron 22ff – Why David could not build the Temple
2 Sam 11, 12 - David’s sin with Bathsheba Chronicles does not mention this sin
2 Sam 24 - David sinned in numbering Israel 1 Chron 21 - Satan instigated David to number Israel
1 Kings 11:1 - Solomon’s sin with foreign wives 2 Chron 9 - No reference to this sin

A “chronicle” is an account of events arranged in order. It is fitting that the books commence with an orderly account of the genealogies, the lineage of the chosen people.

Many find the opening verses tiring and boring, for the author spends ten chapters giving the genealogies from Adam to Nehemiah. For the Jewish nation these show the unity and continuity of the people. Those returning from the exile and setting up the “second nation” were all really part of the first nation chosen by God through Abraham. First Chronicles 11 moves on to stories of David. Second Chronicles 2 through 9 give the story of Solomon and the balance of 2 Chronicles covers the same grounds from Judah’s point of view as that of 1 and 2 Kings, from the division of the Kingdom to the exile. This provides a simple outline for the two books.

To the author of Chronicles, the Temple was the symbol of the unity of the Nation. The Temple also served as a reminder of the Nation’s place before God (Exod 19:1-6) and as a sign that Israel was God’s chosen people. The Temple was, if you will, the sign of the Covenant. It is against this background that one must compare 2 Samuel and the Kings to Chronicles. The Chronicles are more statistical and “official” than the Samuel-Kings unit. The “keeping” of the Nation by the Temple officials is the underlying theme, a theme which is taught in the abstract against the background of apostasy and rebellion. To the author, the entire theme of both books rests upon the Nation’s response (or lack thereof) to God. This is the decisive factor in the history of Israel.

2 Chron 7:14
If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land.

If you want to take just one verse away from the Old Testament, this may be the verse to memorize! This “tells it all.”

David’s great sin with Bathsheba is not mentioned in Chronicles. It has nothing to do with the Temple emphasis of the author.

David’s importance in the eyes of the author is seen from the amount of material devoted to him. While Solomon may have built the Temple, it is David who forms the Nation. His first great act, as recorded by Chronicles is the bringing of the Ark of the Covenant to Jerusalem (1 Chron 13-16). Then, with the Ark in God’s city, the Davidic Covenant is repeated (1 Chron 17:7-15). The emphasis on David’s importance to the spiritual well-being of the Jewish people is continued with the emphasis on his gathering the materials for the eventual building of the Temple. In addition, much space is related to David’s organizing the various families of Levites into “courses” or orders for the Priests, Temple Levites, singers, porters, and so forth. This creates workable shifts and assures a smooth bureaucratic operation of the Temple once it is built.

Keep in mind that under the Mosaic law, only the Levities could be priests. Remember, however, that David acts as a priest at the return of the Ark (1 Chron 15:27; 16:1-3) and Solomon acts as a priest at the dedication of the Temple (1 Kings 8, 9; 2 Chron 2), even though they are from the tribe of Judah. This foreshadows the line of priests after the order of Melchizedek (Gen 14; Heb 4:14-16; 7:20-28) looking toward Christ as the true High Priest. Contrast this with the actions of Uzziah in deciding that he should be a priest. He was struck with leprosy (2 Chron 26:16-23).

While the sin of David as it relates to Bathsheba is not part of the Chronicles, his sin of numbering the people plays an important role in Temple history. It is repeated here since this becomes the source for the Temple ground (1 Chron 21:28; 2 Chron 3:1).

The Temple is built on the same ground purchased by David at this conclusion of the plague from God as punishment for David giving in to Satan’s temptation of numbering the army. Notice this is Mt. Moriah, the location of Abraham’s obedience in offering Isaac as a sacrifice to the Lord (Gen 22).

In 2 Chronicles, there is growing conflict and tension between the Temple and the Throne. The Throne was to be the voice of God on earth. The Temple was the representative of God. All of this being true, the Throne would, indeed, must lose this conflict. In the end, the nation is banished to exile because the Throne failed to be the true representative of the Theocracy. The priests may have been “bad” and failed to be God’s voice to the people, but the kings failed to be God’s true leaders. The emphasis of all of the history books is not on the failure of the priesthood, but on the failure of God’s leaders to rule as God would want them. In the end God’s principle as stated by Paul rules the day.

Galatians 6:7
Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap.

Yet, in the end, the Chronicles conclude with the glorious promise of the future. While ½ Kings stop at the exile, the Chronicles contain the promise of deliverance. God has sent a “judge,” a savior, from a strange source.

2 Chron. 36:22-23
Now in the first year of Cyrus king of Persia, that the word of the Lord spoken by the mouth of Jeremiah might be accomplished, the Lord stirred up the spirit of Cyrus king of Persia, that he made a proclamation throughout all his kingdom, and put it also in writing, saying, 23Thus saith Cyrus king of Persia, All the kingdoms of the earth hath the Lord God of heaven given me; and he hath charged me to build him an house in Jerusalem, which is in Judah. Who is there among you of all his people? The Lord his God be with him, and let him go up.

It is doubtful that Cyrus ever became a believer in the God of Abraham. Indeed, if one thinks about it, there are plenty of good, practical, political reasons for wanting “friendly” subjects in the areas around the borders of your kingdom. But God did use Cyrus to fulfill His prophecy.

2 Chron. 36:21
To fulfil the word of the Lord by the mouth of Jeremiah, until the land had enjoyed her sabbaths: for as long as she lay desolate she kept sabbath, to fulfil threescore and ten years.

Many see the Chronicles, Ezra, and Nehemiah as being a single history of the Nation, a unit written separate and apart from the other books of history.

Jesus in the Chronicles

As with Samuel, the picture of David in 1 Chronicles is a type of Christ. The same thoughts expressed earlier about this typology would equally apply here. As one moves into 2 Chronicles, David still remains the background picture of Christ, but more in the form of God’s faithfulness to the Davidic Covenant. The throne has been destroyed, and murder, treachery, and captivity all threaten the Messianic line. But, as Chronicles shows from start to finish, the line of David remains clear and unbroken from Adam to Zerubbabel. This fulfillment is emphasized in the genealogies of Christ given by Matthew 1 and Luke 3.

At the same time, as with the Tabernacle, the Temple itself is a type of Christ (Matt 12:6; John 2:19; Rev 21:22).

God’s faithfulness is seen through the promises which are kept.

What promises has God kept for you lately?

 

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