1 Chronicles – The Annals of the Times

David bringing the Ark to Jerusalem

David bringing the Ark to Jerusalem

Like the Book of Samuel, 1 & 2 Chronicles were originally one book. The Hebrew title is “Dibre Hayyamim” (meaning “Events of the Times” or “Annals”), which can be assumed to have been abbreviated from “Sepher Dibre Hayyamim,” for “The Book of the Events of the Times.”  In the Septuagint, it is known as “Paraleipomena,” or “The Things Omitted,” suggesting information supplemental to The Books of Samuel and Kings. In fact, so much of the Scripture in the Books of Chronicles can be found in Kings that many people wonder why God would have wanted two such similar records.

There are a couple of very good answers to that question. As always, it is good to remember that any time we see something repeated in Scripture, it is a pretty good indication that it is important. Secondly, unlike Kings, the Books of Chronicles have little at all to say about the northern kingdom, but instead they are centered almost totally around Judah, or the southern kingdom. It is also argued that the perspective in the Chronicles is less from a historical viewpoint than it is for edification.

As an act of pride, King David forced Joab to take a census of men of military age. The Lord was displeased with David for this and sent a great plague.

As an act of pride, King David forced Joab to take a census of men of military age. The Lord was displeased with David for this and sent a great plague.

Jewish tradition holds that Ezra was the author, although there is nothing in the books to verify this. It was once believed that the Chronicles along with Ezra and Nehemiah were once one book, but most scholars now recognize them as separate works of approximately the same period. A post-exilic date of 450-400 BC for the Book seems to be validated by the mention of several descendants of David from the period in places such as 1 Chronicles 3:17-24.

The first nine chapters of 1 Chronicles are a lengthy list of genealogies that begin with Adam and conclude with that of the returning exiles. Such a long and tedious (to us) list provokes questions about the reason for them to be there at all.  In fact, they are important for more than one reason. First, it would be important to identify the Levites after returning from captivity in order to properly preserve the priesthood. Secondly, the proper heirs for the land could be identified for distribution to those returning to Jerusalem from captivity. Finally, it preserves the record of the lineage of David – important to validate the lineage of the Messiah.

Outline of 1 Chronicles

 /Bob’s boy

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image © V. Gilbert & Arlisle F. Beers

Please note: I did not design the reading plan that I am following in my blog.  All of my comments in this blog, however, are solely my responsibility.  When reading ANY commentary, you should ALWAYS refer first to the scripture, which is God’s unchanging and unfailing word. Reading schedules, as well as a link to the site where you can get the reading plan that I’m currently following for yourself can be found on the “Bible Reading Schedules” page of my website at http://graceofourlord.com.  

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